RE: Seely's Views 2

From: Glenn Morton <>
Date: Fri Aug 20 2004 - 19:38:28 EDT


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From: []
Sent: Friday, August 20, 2004 5:39 PM

PHS I am not trying to save what is false. The history as such in Gen
1-11 is largely false. This raises the question, Why did Moses use
unreliable Mesopotamian stories, traditions, and motifs as his basic
source for origin stories?
GRM: There are two reasons, one of which you reject for no clear reason
I can see. The first reason to use 'unreliable' stories is that Genesis
is not true in any way shape or form. That is the position taken by the
atheists, You seem to rule it out, but I don't see why. What possible
POSITIVE evidence can there be for the 'truth' in Genesis, if everything
it says is simply historically and factually false? I see no reason to
believe it has any deep theology other than mere fideism.
The second reason to use 'unreliable' stories is that we might have been
misinterpreting them and they aren't as unreliable as you think.
 I think because they came into Israelite culture originally from the
patriarchs whose ancestral home was Mesopotamia. They were told for
years before Moses ever got there, only the theology being changed to
reflect the revelation the patriarchs received.
GRM: The first alternative above would say that the human forebears of
Moses simply told campfire stories, like Chinese whispers, and the whole
thing got garbled over the centuries, and the changed theology means
nothing important at all. I don't see how you rule this out. You really
provide no evidence or reason to actually believe the Genesis account is
worth a second look, but you act as if there is no doubt of its worth.
That behavior is not that much different than the behavior of the YEC
who give no reason to believe their crazy ideas, but who also act as if
there is no doubt of the worth of YEC. .
 The stories were thus pre-ingrained, which is why they were
accommodated. Moses was trained in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. Why
would he adopt and adapt Mesopotamian origin stories unless they were
already imbedded in the Israelite culture?
GRM: Can you provide a single bible verse which actually SPEAKS to the
idea of God's accomodation? I think I can find lots of verses where God
tells the Israelites not to accommodate with the surrounding religions,
but then God hypocritically does it himself. Your view makes God a
 2 chron. 14: 3He took away the foreign altars and the high places, and
broke down the pillars and hewed down the Asherim, 4and commanded Judah
to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, and to keep the law and the
commandment. "

GRM: Why didn't God accommodate his message to the foreign altars and
high places?


Jeremiah 5:19 'As you have forsaken me and served foreign gods in your
land, so you shall serve strangers in a land that is not yours.'"

GRM: What is in a name? Why didn't God just change his name and
accommodate his theological message to the views of the strangers?
Accommodation is so easy, why If God does it with Genesis does he resist
it in the cases above?



In the days of Kepler, people believed that God was perfect, that he put
the planets into orbit, and therefore the orbits would be perfect, and
therefore they would be perfect circles because an ellipse is not
perfect. It took Kepler himself awhile to get away from that ingrained
idea. Today we have the "God cannot lie" syllogism which demands that
God always reflect the absolute truth in anything he inspires.
GRM: It seems very troubling to me that if we let God misrepresent
things, then YEC very well may be true! After all, maybe God actually
did the global flood thing but accommodated the evidence to what we
Worse, maybe God accommodated the resurrection to the theology of the
first century. There were lots of mystery cults which arose at that time
and many of them had Gods who died and resurrected. Maybe God was full
of accommodation at that time. Consider this:
" The coming of Osiris was announced by Three Wise Men. His flesh was
eaten in the form of communion cakes of wheat. Only through Osiris could
one obtain eternal life, they believed. The much loved 23rd Psalm of the
Bible is a modified version of an Egyptian text appealing to Osiris,
"the good shepherd," to lead the dead "to green pastures and still
waters," "to restore the soul" to the body and to give protection in
"the valley of the shadow of death."
 He cannot use pre-ingrained false stories to teach theological lessons.
The result of this assumption is that we now have two camps trying to
save the false assumption by offering either a world of imaginary
science or a world of imaginary Bible (day-age, pre-Adamites, local
Flood, local tower of Babel). I understand the motivation and I am not
judging anyone, but ultimately Christians have no business distorting
either science or the Bible. Allowing for divine accommodation which
fits the fact that the stories in Gen 1-11 reflect Mesopotamian orginals
is a biblical option (Matt 19:8).
GRM: I agree, but ultimately we have no right to believe that which is
patently false either. If god can't use pre-ingrained false stories (as
you say) to teach theological lessons, then why use the 'unreliable'
Mesopotamian stories in the first place, which you acknowledge in the
first paragraph above. That seems highly inconsistent.

When you cross from Gen 11 to 12, you can no longer find Mesopotamian
stories that match the stories told. and when you get to the kings, you
begin to get royal scribes who kept records which have been shown in
part to match archaeology.
GRM: so given that you just said " He cannot use pre-ingrained false
stories to teach theological lessons" does this mean that there is n o
theological truth in Genesis 1-11 either? How can he teach theological
truths in things He cannot use?
 And when you get to the NT, you get eyewitnesses; and that is as good
as ancient history gets. So, the significance of the Mesopotamian
sources behind Gen 1-11 is that it explains why Gen 1-11 is lousy
history; and at the same time sets Gen 1-11 off from the rest of the
Bible as far as historical reliability is concerned. There will still be
questions here and there, but the divine accommodation in Gen 1-11 sets
that section apart from the rest of the Bible and does not in itself
provide an objective basis for the kind of wild rampant skepticism which
atheists think is the only alternative to an historically inerrant
Bible. No one would practice that kind of skepticism in everyday life,
so why use it on the Bible?
GRM: What I see is that you have set Gen 1-11 off as useless. Would we
not be better to simply start a denomination ripping that section out of
the Bible because it is so unreliable and historically so false?

Paul, This is the first time I have seen such contradiction in your
otherwise well thought out position. You say God accommodated to a set
of stories he is not supposed to be able to use but He is teaching
things with a changed theology from the Mesopotamian view, but that it
is set apart from the rest of the Bible as unreliable. How can I tell
what part of that lousy history/theology is true and what part isn't?
You have never explained that. As to scepticism, that kind of scepticism
has often been used in modern scientific discourse. I could cite the
Chicxulub debates, the debates on the pre-Clovis Native Americans in
Anthropology and several others if I think about it for a while. .
Received on Fri Aug 20 19:58:43 2004

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