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

From: Don Nield <d.nield@auckland.ac.nz>
Date: Mon Feb 20 2006 - 17:19:52 EST

Comments by Don Nield interpolated.
glennmorton@entouch.net wrote:

> ****
>
> Don wrote:
>
>
> >Glenn: You have not considered the possibility that it could be the
> claim of a group of Hebrew theologians who have >thought deeply about
> this matter, and this is their way of expressing a profound truth
>
> Actually no I hadn't thought of that any more than I had thought about
> the possibliity that druids were involved. To suggest the above would
> be going way beyond the evidence of which I am aware. Where is the
> evidence that a group of Hebrew scholars told Jesus what to say about
> the Samaritan? If this is in the Talmud, I would really like to know
> it but I have never heard that it was.
>
Unlike some of the other contibuters to theis thread, I was not
referring to the parable of the Good Samaritan. I was not referring to
the Talmud. I was referring to the writers/editors of Genesis 1, in
response to Glenn's claim that Genesis 1 was either history or falsehood.

>
>
> >Genesis 1 is a statement that Jehovah is in charge and the other gods
> are of no account. The truth of the statement in >Genesis 1 can be
> assessed independently in the light of the teaching and resurrection
> of Jesus Christ.
>
> Gee, then why didn't he say that rather than saying that he created
> the world? Seems to me that it would be much simpler to simply state,
> "I AM IN CHARGE OF ALL OTHER GODS" than going through the mumbojumbo
> of days, and trees before the sun etc.
>
> How do you know that it is such a statement???? who told you this???
> Did God tell you this???? Did you read it in a book??? How does the
> author know this???? Did your teacher tell you this??? How does he
> know it to be true???
>
> This illustrates what is so silly about the entire approach of saying
> that Genesis is a statement about this or that, anything BUT the
> creation. I could speculate that the Genesis account is about the
> multiverse. On Day one God was in a universe needing light. On day two
> he was in another universe needing oceans and continents. On day 3 he
> was in a third universe needing plants.. on and on. How exactly are
> you going to show that my silly interpretation is wrong and yours is
> right???? You don't seem to want to appeal to observational data, so
> we come to a standoff with you saying yea and I saying nay.
>
> Maybe Genesis is a story of a guy who walked from the North pole to
> the equator and started out in the winter. It was dark, On the ice he
> saw neither continent nor ocean. Then he saw the ocean, then trees,
> (and having seen clouds extend from southern Canada all the way across
> the North Pole to southern Siberia, I know how extensive the clouds
> can be) so he saw trees before the sun. I could go on you know. One
> could concoct the most ridiculous interpretation and proclaim it true,
> as you have with your proclamation that you know what the Genesis
> story is about. And it is so odd to me that it has nothing whatsoever
> to do with creation itself. Could have fooled me.
>
Glenn is assuming that Genesis 1 is written by God, or it is nonsense --
and if nonsense then anything goes. My intepretation is not a a result
of being told it by any particular person, author, teacher, or God. It
is based on the totality of scholarship with which I have come in
contact -- and in particular appreciation of various genres --- applied
to the actual text in Genesis, not what might have been in Genesis.

>
>
> >Glenn needs to recognize that the account can be about something real
> without being real in the sense of the logical >positivists.
>
> So one has to be a logical positivist to believe that when I say
> I drilled an oil well I am talking about something real? Come on. I am
> not sure you understand the term positivist nor why it failed as a
> philosophical research program. It failed because it couldn't satisfy
> its own criteria for knowledge. And that is why I think the AMA
> approach fails. It can't satisfy its own means of determining truth.
> I have 13+ interpretations of what people think God is trying to say
> in Genesis 2--advocates of all these positions are sure that their
> view is what God is trying to say and all of them are mutually
> exclusive and ad hoc.
>
No, one certainly does not have to be a logical positivist to accept
that an oil well is real. I now note that Glenn accepts that logical
positivism has failed. But that does not mean that the alternative is
post modernism. That some things are not fully known precisely does not
mean that anything goes. The proper postiion for a Christian is that of
critical realism. There is a real world, but we can have only a limited
understanding of that reality. A scientific-historical approach leads
only to an approximate understanding of reality. One can express some
aspects of our understanding of reality in terms that are not scientific
and not historical. One can express theological truth by means of
narratives that are not historical.

Some things are neither black or white. One loses all the colour if one
classifies tham as black or white. Glenn is wrong in saying that his
13+ interpretations are mutuality exclusive and are ad hoc. Rather, they
have a common central core of truth -- that God created the heavens and
the earth.
Don Nield
Received on Mon Feb 20 17:20:33 2006

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