Re: [asa] discussion of concordism essay

From: Charles Carrigan <>
Date: Thu Sep 14 2006 - 10:32:16 EDT

Comments below David's.
Charles W. Carrigan, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Geology
Olivet Nazarene Univ., Dept. of Physical Sciences
One University Ave.
Bourbonnais, IL 60914
PH: (815) 939-5346
FX: (815) 939-5071
"To a naturalist nothing is indifferent;
the humble moss that creeps upon the stone
is equally interesting as the lofty pine which so beautifully adorns the valley or the mountain:
but to a naturalist who is reading in the face of the rocks the annals of a former world,
the mossy covering which obstructs his view,
and renders indistinguishable the different species of stone,
is no less than a serious subject of regret."
          - James Hutton

>>> "David Opderbeck" <> 9/13/2006 5:22 PM >>>
Here's the sentence I kind of take issue with -- the concluding sentence: "To a significant degree, one's view of evolution determines which model one endorses." This seems a bit chicken-and-eggy to me. I would say that one's view of scripture to a significant degree determines one's view of evolution as well as the model one endorses.
The present controversies seem to me to be the fallout of evangelical reaction to higher criticism in the nineteenth century, early battles between the fundamentalists and neo-evangelicals, and the later "battle for the Bible" within evangelicalism. The evangelical center of gravity has become a tight understanding of inerrancy that makes YEC easy, concordism difficult, and TE almost impossible.
This tight understanding of inerrancy, at the end of the day, is how we evangelicals distinguish ourselves from other traditions, many of which are still regarded as apostate, though we wouldn't use that harsh word anymore.
I completely agree that one's view of scripture is critical.
However, your statement that evangelicals distinguish ourselves by a "tight understanding of inerrancy" is problematic. First question that must be raised is "what means inerrancy?", further, what is a "tight" understanding of it? Defining evangelicals by this seems problematic because numerous groups typically thought of as evangelical view biblical inerrancy in different ways.
Is the bible free from all possible errors? grammatical? historical? geological? mathematical? geographical? Is the bible free from all errors in the original texts, i.e., all errors have been introduced by translation/copying? Or does inerrancy have more to do with spiritual truth than other kinds of "errors"?
In my opinion, the view that scriptural texts contain no factual errors of any sort is not one that can not be held to with any plausibility. There are instances where geographical situations appear to not make sense, situations where geometrical measurements are, at best, grossly approximated, situations where one author describes a situation completely differently from other authors, and even situations where an author appears to be confused about a historical figure that he is writing about. All of these factors reveal the human side of scriptural writings - but that does not mean they do not rule out any divine side.
The view that the bible is "inerrantly revealing the will of God concerning us in all things necessary to our salvation" is a view that preserves the divine side of revelation without reducing the human side to robotic dictation. Further, such a view easily accommodates views of origins that are an alternative to YEC. Finally, it is a view that in my opinion is theologically consistent with divine kenosis.
I'm sure that all Christians believe that the scriptures are theologically inerrant. The question remains as to whether or not we can, or even should, say it is also inerrant in other domains.
If you are going to lump all evangelicals under "a tight understanding of inerrancy that makes YEC easy, concordism difficult, and TE almost impossible", the please define precisely what you mean.
Best Regards,

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Received on Thu Sep 14 10:32:46 2006

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