Re: CT article: Darwinists, not Christians, stonewalling the facts

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Fri Apr 01 2005 - 22:35:01 EST

Message----- Original Message -----
  From: Glenn Morton
  To: 'asa'
  Sent: Friday, April 01, 2005 6:28 PM
  Subject: RE: CT article: Darwinists, not Christians, stonewalling the facts
   Sure there are things that help us understand the historicity of the Scripture, but there is NOTHING, save your crystal ball and your certitude, that tells one definitively how much history there is.
    I am sorry to disagree with you about the personal whimsy business. When there is NO definitive answer that is what ALL will do because they HAVE to. They will create a theory/hypothesis/theology which fits their personal preconceptions because they can and because there is nothing that can definitively rule out their position. This is no different than what a geologist does on an oil prospect. The unofficial rule is always, "If I can make the prospect bigger without violating the data, I will. " Why is this done? Because they want a big prospect so that it will get drilled. There is no definitive data to say it can't be that big so voila, it becomes that big. Surely, you can understand this or are you unable to understand the presuppositional nature of knowledge?

    Of course, of course. I repeatedly emphasize exactly that presuppositional nature of knowledge - & if I recall correctly have been criticized by one Glenn Morton for doing so in connection with my suggested approach to apologetics. & I agree (recalling a discussion we had awhile ago about Lakatos) that if you're set on maintaining "X% historical data in Genesis," you can put together ways to defend it - e.g., by pushing the supposed historical events back millions of years into the past. But that doesn't do anything beyond defend your hard core. It's a degenerating research program.

    You are right, you are not starting from the assumption that there needs to be an irreducible minimum of accurate historical data. I am. But I like reality. I don't like being self-deluded, I don't like people telling me I am right when I am wrong, I don't like believing false things. Your position that Genesis doesn't need any historical data means that you very well might be believing and teaching pure utter nonsense. False nonsense at that. Why otherwise rational people think it is wise to praise as 'meaningful, and significant' something that doesn't have any reality is well beyond me. (My view of your position is derived from the statement above in which you imply that there doesn't have to be a minimal amount of history),

    As I have always maintained, early Genesis makes theological statements about the real world. If you don't think theological statements can be "real" because they can't be tested by scientific or historical means then you have to say that the statement "Jesus is Lord" is "unreal" because it (unlike the statement, e.g., "Jesus rose from the dead") can't be tested by such means - except (a la Pannenberg) eschatologically.

    If God DIDN'T create the world, then Genesis is false and so is most of the Bible. Why should I listen to a God who doesn't seem to know what in the heck happened at creation, or, listen to a God who seems incapable of transmitting anything real concerning that event? IS THAT GOD REAL? I would say NO. But of course, you will make genesis true even though it is false as grandpa's teeth by the means of declaring it to have deep meaning and signficance. Which is utter hogwash. The YECs go and make Genesis true by declaring science false. Both approaches stink. Both are means to avoid the real problems. THey are both escapism. Your approach, the one with no need for minimal history, seems to lead one to the position in which no matter how absurd Genesis is, no matter what nonsense it says (including talking snakes), It is still divinely inspired. That is utterly Orwellian.

    A number of times before I have listed significant claims that Genesis makes about creation that don't depend on the texts being historical narrative. E.g., God is the sole creator, the world that God has created is good, humanity is given special honor & special responsibility in creation, God's intention for humanity is community. (The list isn't exhaustive.) Those are in fact the claims that are significant for our lives today. The notion that those statements are meaningful only if we can first say that (e.g.) Gen.1 provides some nursery school version of big bang cosmology stinks - if I can use your technical term.

    We've been through this many times before. The only reasons I got into it again are (a) your statement about "putting historicity into Genesis" made your hermeneutic especially clear & (b) in the context of discussion about how ASA should try to influence Evangelicals, I felt constrained to say that your approach to that issue, though perhaps appealing in the short run, is the wrong one. But you can have the last word this time.

    (How many rounds is this?)

Received on Fri Apr 1 22:37:23 2005

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