RE: Believe it even if it isn't true theology

From: Dick Fischer <dickfischer@verizon.net>
Date: Sun Feb 19 2006 - 13:57:17 EST

Accommodating Genesis to science isn't easy. A popular method among
many denominations is to assign Genesis to some category that allows it
to be theologically "true," but lacking in historical truth. Thus
Genesis is allegory, or poetry, or mythology, or tradition, but not a
narrative of true history.
 
So many authors have devised ways of making something "true" which
otherwise would be false. Hyers and Clouser decide the days of creation
in Genesis can be helpfully rearranged to make them more palatable.
Ross needs some extra generations between Adam and Abraham to drive him
back into a more reasonable timeframe. Carol Hill can't live with long
life spans and finds a way to bring their long ages into alignment with
normal life spans. And so on .
 
No matter how nicely words are couched in tones of moderation, many
believe that Genesis is simply untrue, but rally around the New
Testament as it apparently is an exception. Okay, that may work for
some, for some it doesn't.
 
Like it or not, but good theology can be negatively impacted by bad
exegesis. Just to say the first part of the OT about cosmology and Adam
and Eve may be untrue but the good stuff about Christ and our redemption
is true, will not work for everybody. How we interpret the beginning
can taint the rest of the Bible. You can see this among some liberal
authors who doubt the historical resurrection as a continuation of how
they regard Genesis and the rest of the Old Testament.
 
I personally have found more historical foundation for Genesis 1-11 than
any other living human being. (The Library of Congress is a big help!)
Genesis appears to be relevant Hebrew history written in archaic Hebrew
style. It's about them - not us. Our ancestors were still hunters and
gatherers when they were growing crops, raising cattle, and carrying on
trade. And I don't see any glaring mistakes in Genesis One that needs
our helping hands to save a semblance of integrity for the
scientifically deficient, uneducated writer. As we say inside the
beltway, "It's close enough for government work."
 
Dick Fischer
~Dick Fischer~ Genesis Proclaimed Association
Finding Harmony in Bible, Science, and History
 <http://www.genesisproclaimed.org> www.genesisproclaimed.org
 
-----Original Message-----
From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On
Behalf Of David Opderbeck
Sent: Sunday, February 19, 2006 11:40 AM
To: Glenn Morton
Cc: asa@calvin.edu
Subject: Re: Believe it even if it isn't true theology
 
I am asking if your methodology of God accommodating theology to the
science of the day is applicable to other religions. For some reason
you go off answering things not asked. Please answer yes or no. Can an
Mormon beleive that his God accommodated the true theology (mormon
theology to a f alse science and therefore we are all going to rule our
own planet someday in the afterlife? Why won't you answer this simple
little question?

Glenn, I used to be a trial lawyer, and this is the kind of unfair
question trial lawyers ask. It's not a "yes or no" question. Period.
You haven't addressed the point I made the first time you brought up the
"green slug / Mormonism" hypo: in the context of the faith tradition in
question, is there a historical theology and a historical tradition of
interpretation that would allow the interpretation that accomodates
modern understandings of science? If so, I would say "yes," a Green
Sluggist or Mormon could hold such views and be consistent with his /
her faith tradition.
 
Whether the Green Sluggist or Mormon or Christian or Atheist faith
tradition is "true" is a different question. First you need to ask
whether a particular understanding of the faith tradition is coherent
and consistent with the tradition. Only then can you begin comparing
traditions with each other and with evidence from history, philosophy
and science. For someone who seems to want to escape fundamentalism,
you still think like a fundamentalist: everything is always either a
simple binary "yes" or "no," "on" or "off." Reality doesn't work like
that.
 
Received on Sun Feb 19 13:59:04 2006

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