Re: YEC Destroying Faith

From: bivalve <>
Date: Tue Apr 20 2004 - 12:34:45 EDT

Oddly enough, I tend to share both the misgivings about questioning the reliability of the Bible and the misgivings about a concordistic interpretation. Neither history nor science (in the sense of modern Western ideas) is the main focus of the Bible. To the extent that they come up as incidentals, they seem to be accurately addressed. However, the general language is that of ordinary speech. The imagery of Genesis 1 suggests a flat earth and a solid dome for the sky. These are perfectly good descriptions of what the earth and sky look like and are only “errors” if they are first misinterpreted as scientific. Likewise, a strictly chronological reading of Exodus seems to have Moses running up and down Sinai a lot, but this may reflect a non-chronological arrangement and does not prove multiple sources thrown together. It does not disprove it, either; the main problem with the documentary hypothesis is that the most touted versions reject the historical accuracy of the !
Bible and the possibility of supernatural revelation. The widespread presence of Biblical interepretation that relies on a priori rejection of supernaturalism or of its historicity makes the YEC reactionism understandable. Greater care in distinguishing non-literalistic and non-reverent interpretation might help in reaching them.

    Dr. David Campbell
    Old Seashells
    University of Alabama
    Biodiversity & Systematics
    Dept. Biological Sciences
    Box 870345
    Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0345 USA

That is Uncle Joe, taken in the masonic regalia of a Grand Exalted Periwinkle of the Mystic Order of Whelks-P.G. Wodehouse, Romance at Droitgate Spa

---------- Original Message ----------------------------------
From: George Murphy <>
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2004 08:27:42 -0400

>Glenn Morton wrote:
>> > -----Original Message-----
>> > From: George Murphy []
>> > Sent: Sunday, April 18, 2004 2:15 PM
>> > In my attempt to answer briefly I didn't put this very
>> > well. My point is not
>> > that the Bible is theologically true because it's
>> > theologically true. It is rather that
>> > the purpose of the Bible is theological, so that one might
>> > expect that the author would
>> > be more concerned with its theological than with its
>> > scientific truth. I.e., one cannot
>> > conclude (as you do) that the use of obsolete cosmology
>> > compromises its theological
>> > truth.
>> Unfortunately, more people given the polls (the YECs) agree with my
>> version of this. I think this is why the ASA is totally inconsequential
>> in these areas.
> I agree with your first sentence, & with the need to be able to make contact
>with YECs in crisis. But sometimes (as here) you seem so concerned about being able to
>communicate with YECs that the question of whether or not arguments are correct takes 2d
>> I wrote:
>> > > My only point is that by accepting a mediated origin of life, one
>> > > clearly opens the possibility for evolution. Given that I
>> > know of few
>> > > other options than miraculous instantaneous creation or
>> > evolution, I
>> > > feel the way the Bible phrases things indicates evolution.
>> > I know you
>> > > disagree on this and have stated your objections before.
>> >
>> > This seems obvious to you because you're a westerner of
>> > ~2000 trained in
>> > science. To somebody of biblical times the earth & waters
>> > bringing forth life by no
>> > means implied evolution.
>> But given that ancient Greeks had some rudimentary understanding of
>> evolution, one can't claim that the Hebrews were so stupid as to be
>> unable to understand such concepts.
> I never said or implied that the Hebrews were stupid, or even that none of them
>in the OT period had any evolutionary concepts. The question is, pure and simple,
>whether or not there is any indication of biological evolution - slow extinction of some
>types & emergence of others - in Genesis 1. & there isn't.
> If you disagree, show me where it is. Is there anything in the OT or
>intertestamental literature or early rabbinic stuff that shows that Gen.1 was
>interpreted in that way?
>> And I am not sure that I would agree with what I see to be an implicit
>> assumption is true. That assumption is that the Hebrews had to
>> understand totally what was revealed to them. The Jews didn't
>> understand the Messianic prophecies. Why do we expect the Hebrews to
>> have to understand all of what God's words entailed?
> This is a license to read almost anything you wish into the text. We read OT
>texts as messianic when the NT points us to such an interpretation. The NT does not
>point us to an evolutionary (in the above sense) reading of Gen.1.
>> > So now it's not just that it doesn't have to be Misner,
>> > Thorne & Wheeler, it
>> > doesn't even have to be The Little Golden Book of Science.
>> > God could easily have given
>> > elementary statements of the phenomena I mentioned above, but
>> > he didn't.
>> >
>> > But it's most telling that you omit, & do not respond
>> > to, my reference the
>> > aspects of Gen. 1 which, if interpreted as scientific
>> > descriptions, are just wrong -
>> > i.e., the sun being formed after the earth & land plants
>> > before marine animals.
>> That is why I like the Days of Proclamation view. It takes Genesis 1 and
>> makes it the preplanning for the unvierse. One can plan things in
>> different order than the fulfilment or actualization. See
> So now the order of events is irrelevant. This makes it possible to read almost
>any text at all as a scientifically true statement about origins as long as it mentions
>earth, water, sun and living things.
>> > How did the Hindu scriptures get in here?
>> Because the Hindus can say exactly parallel things as the Christian.
>> > I think I asked the direct question earlier. Do you
>> > think that Whitman's poem
>> > about Lincoln's death is false?
>> I think it is irrelevant.
> It is of course profoundly relevant to questions that are crucial here:
> 1) Can texts that are not accounts of actual historical events be true?
> 2) Can 2 accounts (e.g., a scientific account of origins and either Gen.1 or 2)
> disagree then they are both read as narratives of events that actually
> took place but both be true when one or both understood to be a
> different type of text?
> But I can guess why you don't want to answer the question. It's silly just to
>say "Whitman was wrong," but if what he wrote conveys truth then the answer to question
>1 is "Yes." (Of course there are many other texts that could be used here - e.g., as
>Paul pointed out, Nathan's story.) & if the answer to 1 is "Yes" then the answer to 2
>is also "Yes." & then the claim that Genesis 1 & 2 can be true only if they are
>scientifically & (for Gen.2) historically correct accounts falls to the ground.
> & to this you may say "The YECs won't buy it." Perhaps not. But 1st let's
>decide what's true to the best of our ability. Then we can talk about how to use that
>knowledge & how to address YECs.
> Shalom,
> George
>George L. Murphy
Received on Tue Apr 20 12:35:24 2004

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