Re: [asa] discussion of concordism essay

From: Terry M. Gray <>
Date: Thu Sep 14 2006 - 12:57:55 EDT


Ah, yes... the historian's luxury to discuss the relationship between
the Bible and science as an object of disinterested historical
scholarship. In many ways, you guys annoy me to no end. (I give
similar grief to Mark Noll and David Livingstone!). Oh, if we
scientists only had the luxury to just talk about others' views in a
time gone by instead of having to face our own faith dilemmas and how
to hold our faith world and our scholarly scientific world together
in some kind of intellectually satisfying and credible way.

Just kidding, of course. I'm sure this all flows out of your own
personal wrestling with these issues, but you historians make it look
so easy and you never have to show your own hand when you talk about
this stuff. No suspicious glances from church members. No threats of
withholding support from constituents. No ecclesiastical trials.

Great piece, however.

My other first reaction has to do with how narrowly you've construed
concordism (at least in this piece). All of your historical examples
seem to operate with Genesis 1 in view. You may know that I'm no
concordist when it comes to Genesis 1. I'm a confirmed Framework
Hypothesis advocate and believe that there are NO issues of conflict
between Genesis 1 and the contemporary cosmology, historical geology,
or evolutionary biology.

While evangelicalism still struggles, as you have noted, with
concordism and Genesis 1, many of us, who would call ourselves
evangelicals (and even inerrantists) are "past" that.

However, other questions of concordism remain--and since concordism
is such a dirty word today among ASA members and the broader
evangelical left, perhaps a different word is in order. Perhaps
there's not a single word to describe what I'm after, but it's
roughly along the lines that sometimes the subject matter of science
and scripture converge. In the two books metaphor, since God is the
author of both, I expect there to be some unity of knowledge/truth/
whatever when that convergence is there. Most of the time I'm quite
content with Asa Gray's way of putting things as you quoted him, but
I think there's somewhat of an idealization/theologization of
Christianity that is somewhat contrary to Christianity's fundamental
historical character (at least in the parts that you quoted). I'm
also content to let each "world" speak for itself, but it appears to
me that sometimes they talk about the same thing--sometimes when
they're talking about the same thing problems seem irreconcilable.
With Asa Gray, this shouldn't and doesn't bother me, but I have
nagging doubts about whether the cognitive dissonance that I espouse
on these issues is consistent with the unity of knowledge and the
comprehensiveness of Christian belief that I also espouse. Ah, the
luxury of the historian...

Anyway, what would be interesting to me is to find out what folks
like Asa Gray who seemed to have such a progressive view already in
the 19th century did with Genesis 2-3 and Genesis 6-9 and Genesis 11.
While the 19th century Bible and science scholars were in turmoil
over Genesis 1 (as some still are today), Genesis 1 is easy.

Some of us are "past" this (Lamoureux, Seely, etc.). I am not (and,
of course, Denis mocks me as an incorrigible concordist).


On Sep 13, 2006, at 11:03 AM, Ted Davis wrote:

> Would anyone like to discuss the concordism essay that I sent several
> participants in recent days?
> If so, who has the first comment or question?
> ted
> To unsubscribe, send a message to with
> "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.

Terry M. Gray, Ph.D.
Computer Support Scientist
Chemistry Department
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523
(o) 970-491-7003 (f) 970-491-1801

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Thu Sep 14 12:58:47 2006

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Thu Sep 14 2006 - 12:58:48 EDT