Re: Seely's Views

From: gordon brown <>
Date: Sat Aug 21 2004 - 18:15:47 EDT

On Fri, 20 Aug 2004, Michael Roberts wrote:

> I can see the attraction of concordism but as Paul has pointed out the bible is written in a background and acceptance of the cosmology (science if you like ) of the day. Hence for Genesis that means a solid firmament of vs 6-8 and tiny stars in the New Testament. We can have no concord with that and must say with Calvin that God "accommodated" himself to the rude and unlearned. Another way is to say that the OT does relate to the reality of the natural world and the cosmos but this is not a one-to-one relationship. We have the same problem with Paul's (St not Seely!) deficient biology of dead seeds in 1 Cor 15. Paul's message is clear but is science is utterly wrong. There is no way we can find concord between 1 Cor 15 and today's botany but that does not negate what he was teaching, the stars falling to earth in the Gospels - I liked P seely's comments about Pliny as I went to where he was killed by Vesuvius last year and Pliny's genius is beyond question. But then I jud!
 ge any scientist from history by his contemporaries rather than what we know today. Thus I respect the crypto-geologists of the 17th century like Ray, Burnett and others for their skills and don't denigrate them for attempting to show all strata were laid down in the flood. But I have no respect for nearly all flood geologists today until they start questioning as did Glenn in the 80s.

If we allow Paul to use his understanding of what it means for something
to be dead and not force him to use the word in the sense that a modern
botanist would, then calling a seed dead is not an error. But then maybe
you discern Paul's ignorance of how a seed becomes a plant. You might also
have cited what Jesus said in John 12:24.

I have comments on a few other topics related to the terminology of the

Water is not the only thing that was supposed to pour out through the
floodgates of heaven. See Malachi 3:10, II Kings 7:2,19, and possibly
Psalm 78:23,24. These could be figurative.

It must have been evident even to the ancient Hebrews that some of the
references to creation were figurative. God presumably didn't use the same
construction equipment and methods as a man would in building a house (Job

The Queen of Sheba came from the ends of the earth (Matthew 12:42). Since
Sheba was supposed to be at the far end of the Arabian peninsula, it seems
that the "ends of the earth" refers to the end of the land, land being
just as normal a translation of ge as earth is. (I presume that ge is the
word used here. I haven't looked it up.)

I am not aware that NT phraseology differs from that of the OT in
reference to cosmological concepts. However the Greek cosmology of the
first century was different from the Hebrews' cosmology of OT times. The
Greeks knew the size and shape of the earth. If the early Christians had
held on to the cosmology of OT times as being a part of their theology in
spite of living in a society dominated by Greek culture, I would have
expected it to have been a major issue used against Christianity just as
the anti-science stereotype of Christians turns people away from seriously
considering the gospel message today. Maybe someone on this list knows
more about this. In Augustine's day he expressed concern that people got
the impression that the Scriptures taught the nonsense about science that
some Christians espoused.

Gordon Brown
Department of Mathematics
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO 80309-0395
Received on Sat Aug 21 19:07:19 2004

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