Re: Non-truths that do not transform

From: Jim Armstrong <jarmstro@qwest.net>
Date: Fri Apr 29 2005 - 01:25:44 EDT

I expect this is waste motion, given that some of these points have been
made before, to no avail. However, this is a forum for discussion, and
scripture talks of "rehearsing these things among themselves".
And it helps me in the long run to articulate these arguments. So...

Vernon Jenkins wrote:

> Hi Christopher,
>
> As promised, some observations on the 'apparent age' issue:
>
> You will know that, in the words of the Apostle Paul, "All
> (Judaeo-Christian) scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is
> profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction
> in righteousness..." (AV, 2Tm.3:16).

Once again, this this is a statement from a NT letter, referring to the
OT scriptures, not "Judaeo-Christian" scripture. One can only get to
"Judaeo-Christian" (in the sense of changing the purvue of this passage
to include letters written after the OT texts, AND in some cases, even
after the writing of Timothy!) by adding some assumptions, an action I
would think you would eschew.

> Putting this another way, the Bible represents a body of _divine
> revelation_ which (as Paul says in Eph.6:17) is intended to function
> as the "sword of the (Holy) Spirit".

And how, on the basis of the Genesis creation account, can you think of
the indellible writing of Creation itself as less a thing of divine
creation? Or less than divine expression?
How and when, and by what power, did that "thing" with its creative
impulse and designed-in, built-in structure and intent become somehow
less than divine?

You suggest that we should automatically subordinate the expressions in
nature to the expressions in scripture.
I ask, which expression is most amenable to nuancing at the human hand?
Is it the writing on paper, or the writing in stone, ... or in the stars?
Which of these CANNOT be limited by human constraints of thought, or
language and translation, temporal changes in culture or tradition, and
agendas?

I'm NOT saying the message embodied in physical creation is preferred.
I'm just saying that it is a valid and intentional second testament,
written with a different and timeless mode of communication, intended to
complement the first, and as such should not be dismissed.

Is it really so unremarkable that Creation is incredibly discoverable,
susceptible to progressive understanding as our bases for interpreting
and tools for discovery increase?

My sense is that the testimony of nature is both intended to be
understandable and created to be durable and not inclined to mislead,
         else how....pray how ....can Romans 1:20 say,
"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are
clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his
eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse."?

> However, it is clear that this becomes a blunt (hence, useless) weapon
> in the hand of the Christian who allows wordly wisdom to question the
> Authority of this unique Book. Such people apparently believe that no
> one should be _deceived_ by its claims - particularly as these relate
> to ultimate origins and earth history.

I am still baffled by folks' unwillingness to examine the handwork of
the Creator for what it might have to say about its maker.
It was declared "good", a pronouncement that to my knowledge was not
rescinded.
To think that a subordinate entity could have (or could be given) enough
power could corrupt such a "good" thing is to cede a remarkable and
unorthodox amount of power IMHO to the subordinate being.
It happens in Job (to some extent), but one key aspect of the story is
that releasing of the reins is unique.

You seem to speak of "worldly wisdom" as if the powerful testimony of
Creation somehow has nothing to do with the message and substance of
scripture.
No message? No purpose, other than to put us here?

> But, in resisting these 'deceptions', do they not imply that God
> himself is a would-be _deceiver_? - saying one thing, but meaning
> another? Not wishing to put too fine a point on it, Christian
> evolutionists and 'old-earthers' believe in a God who occasionally
> seeks to deceive - they themselves being wise to the attempted
> deceptions. It's a bit rich, then, that when I come along with a
> reasoned defence of 'apparent age' and a young earth you immediately
> step in with the accusation that the Creator must, therefore, be a
> Deceiver!

That's simply not what they said. They took issue with the "reasoned
defence", your part of the equation.

>
> In the Creator's hands, those markers which convince you and others
> that certain entities must indeed be very old, are not necessarily
> there to deceive, but may serve another purpose of which we are
> completely ignorant.

Why should any of God's creation be understandable at all? It clearly
need not be so. Nothing needs to be understandable, ...unless God deems
it to be so.
But our experience is that it IS understandable in part. At the end of
the day we don't know which parts are "reserved", or even if that
assumption is correct.
What we know is that some of it is understandable and understood, by
God's provision on both ends.
If any of it is understandable, that is reason enough to be cautious
about declarations about what is and always will be unknown. History
speaks loud and clear about the dubious "wisdom" of such declarations.
Since we have a history of progressive discovery and understanding, then
we can reasonably expect that we will understand more from time to time
in the future.
And, we can similarly expect for our understanding to be revised and
refined as we go, ...as we learn more.

So let's not be quite so quick to blow off this gift of the Creator.

Ignorance by choice is not the lesson of the "talents" in scripture.
It's not about status quo. It's about acting in good stewardship to
create opportunity out of riches entrusted to us.

> For who are we to claim that the divine parameters within which the
> creation was accomplished are, to us, an open book?

Not an open book, but at least a library nonetheless, wherein we are
children and some volumes are even in our language and simple enough for
us to read...in time, and sometimes with a little help.

> But aside from this, I have already drawn attention to scriptural
> information which warns that mankind faces a _spiritual antagonist_
> -and _real_ deceiver - who, clearly, has a considerable interest in
> seeing the Word of God rubbished and our minds diverted from the
> truths revealed therein. We are first introduced to this powerful
> being in Gen.3:1-15; further details appear in Job 1:6-12, 2:1-7 where
> he is revealed as a petitioner and, even more remarkably, as God's
> 'hatchet man'!

God's hatchet man???? Oh my goodness, you must reread this story. God
gave permission, but did not express intent in Satan's actions (assuming
this story is historical).
Even Jesus said he had no power save that which came of the Father!!

> This last observation strongly suggests that the outworking of God's
> agenda contains elements (like the crucifixion) that we cannot
> possibly understand - indeed, were never intended to understand;
> nevertheless, because they are clearly recorded they cannot, sensibly,
> be ignored.

Actually I agree that God's overall agenda is mostly quite beyond our
ken, but I don't think your (or anyone's) personal conviction as to what
is accessible or not is any more than that.
A little more caution might be in order because the passage of time has
historically not favored those who make these sorts of assertions.

Moreover, isn't there just the tiniest bit to worry about in discounting
God's physical creation and intent this way and attributing this kind of
power to His adversary?

>
> So I suggest that you (and others) who reject the biblical account of
> creation and of earth history (having, in effect, already judged God,
> and found him wanting) are being tested by these 'wonders in the
> heavens'. Such 'theatricals' are clearly within the scope of a being
> who delights to deceive - and, for reasons which are completely beyond
> our understanding, is being _allowed_ to deceive.

Your interpretation. I hope that is not a significant offense to the one
who holds the REAL power! Isn't there scripture that relates to
attributing to Satan that which is the work of God?

> As Christians, it is wise that we always remember that His thoughts
> and ways are completely beyond our own. He has an _agenda_; whether we
> like it or not, its fulfilment inevitably involves us!

Missed again.
They are not completely beyond our own understanding or we would not
have any basis for our Christianity.
We might have a theology, but not a Christianity.
These folks you address are not rejecting the biblical account. That's
another Vern perspective.

Regards - JimA
Received on Fri Apr 29 01:26:39 2005

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