Re: Kurt Wise on the creation crisis in Christian colleges

From: Bill Hamilton <>
Date: Thu Feb 02 2006 - 22:49:41 EST

This has been a very interesting thread, in which some excellent observations
have been made. I think David and George have hit on two crucial points:
David said (I'm paraphrasing. Correct me if I get it wrong, David) that for the
YEC all knowledge forms an integrated whole -- it all fits together. So once
the YEC has a view of Scripture and a view of science that apparently fit
together, trying to correct one challenges the other. George observed that
YEC's get science wrong because their theology is misguided. I'd like to add
that it frequently seems to me that YEC's either didn't take or didn't learn
anything in high school literature: the use of simile, metaphor and allegory.
One other individual asked the question of whether it was better to correct a
YEC's science, if by so doing you cause him to abandon his faith, or to keep
his incorrect scientific views and remain saved. As a Reformed believer, that
gets us into theological issues that we won't resolve, but I do agree: if the
choice is correct science and no faith, or saving faith and incorrect science,
I'll take the second every time. So as I believe David said, the challenge is
to gently and lovingly correct the misconceptions -- a task which is far more
easily said than done.

--- David Opderbeck <> wrote:

> *without appearing to chop down the trees!!!? Appearances are
> certainly important -- but I think the issue is deeper than mere
> appearances.*
> Of course! I didn't mean to suggest that appearances are all that matters.
> What I was trying to suggest is that the problems in popular American
> evangelicalism are bigger than just YEC, that they are intertwined together,
> and that thoughtful people who are concerned about those problems have to
> approach them lovingly and wisely, in ways that are not and to the fullest
> extent possible don't appear to be challenges to orthodox faith. Really,
> the truth is that paring away the vines is far from a threat to orthodoxy --
> it lets the light shine in so orthdoxy can continue to flourish.
> On 2/2/06, Mervin Bitikofer <> wrote:
> >
> > David Opderbeck wrote:
> >
> > >
> > > I think it's critically important to understand YEC'ism in the milieu
> > > of this defensive subculture. The whole worldview hangs together --
> > > simple moral certainties, basic libertarian politics, an authoritative
> > > and easy-to-understand Bible, a "golden age" view of history, and
> > > insulation from a corrupt world -- and it provides an enormous sense
> > > of security and community to those who hold it. This worldview has
> > > become intertwined with a "Christian" worldview in popular
> > > evangelicalism like kudzu in a cypress stand. The challenge isn't
> > > only to show why YEC is wrong. The biggest challenge is to peel away
> > > all this growth without appearing to chop down the trees.
> > >
> > ... without appearing to chop down the trees!!!? Appearances are
> > certainly important -- but I think the issue is deeper than mere
> > appearances. How does one go about challenging scientific (or even
> > theological) illiteracy without actually chopping down trees for real?
> > What is one man's peripheral and optional doctrine is another's central
> > tenant of truth. What if the intended corrective "surgery" envisioned
> > by many here finds the YEC "cancer" so intermingled with vital organs
> > that it cannot be removed without spiritually killing the patient? So
> > invested are some people in this concordist thinking, that they cannot
> > separate an attack on YEC thought from an attack on God's word
> > itself. If it came down to a choice -- which would be more
> > important? A scientifically (and even -- by the opinion of some here
> > -- theologically) deficient view of reality, that is nevertheless held
> > by an otherwise sincere believer whose heart belongs to God? Or a
> > burned out spiritual husk of a life who has rejected God because of his
> > devotion to having a correct scientific appraisal of nature -- and his
> > inability to reconcile this with his convictions (very fundamentalist
> > flavored) of what God's word ought to look like if it were really true?
> > (I know someone, who IMO, strongly qualifies for the latter category,
> > and I don't wish that on any of my YEC friends, though I think their
> > position deliberately courts that danger.)
> >
> > I don't think we'll be finding any checklist at the pearly gates that
> > will sort out the "scientifically correct", or even the "theologicall
> > correct". Significantly, those things didn't even make the slightest
> > mention when Jesus spoke of the sheep and goats. We must remember to
> > keep all these things in perspective. There are other aspects to life.
> > Some others (may I humbly suggest) may even be more important than the
> > scientific take on the origins debate.
> >
> > --merv
> >
> >
> >

Bill Hamilton
William E. Hamilton, Jr., Ph.D.
586.986.1474 (work) 248.652.4148 (home) 248.303.8651 (mobile)
"...If God is for us, who is against us?" Rom 8:31

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Received on Thu Feb 2 22:50:26 2006

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