RE: [asa] The Bible and the Anthropologically Universal Flood

From: Ted Davis <>
Date: Fri Mar 16 2007 - 13:11:17 EDT

>>> "Jon Tandy" <> 03/16/07 12:02 PM >>>is dead on target, IMO, with this point:

But if we don't like the principle of accommodation there, where
does it stop? To what lengths will God go to reveal partial truth to an
imperfect people, bound by culture and prior experience? And though true,
accommodation is a difficult sell to many in the pews when it conflicts with
the very straightforward Bible stories.
Ted comments:
I teach all of my students about accommodation, esp as we find it in Galileo and Calvin. On the latter, on which I gave a lecture at the ASA meeting 25 years ago, let me promote this wondeful and important new book by ASA member Davis Young:

with a much better price here:

I also point out that the principle of accommodation does not come with an "off switch," ie, it doesn't tell you when/where/how to use it, or not to use it. Another way to make this point: Galileo opened a can of worms, and you can't put the worms back into the can. It's too late for that. This is scary for a lot of believers, and I understand why. But we need to learn to live with it, one way or another.

I've recently written an essay, as yet unpublished but it will be in a couple of years (part of a volume accepted for publication but a long process lies ahead), called "Galileo and the Garden of Eden: Historical Reflections on Creaitonist Hermeneutics." Here is the abstract: Creationists regard the Bible as the only fully reliable source of truth about origins. All information from the sciences must conform to, or be made to conform to, their particular interpretation of early Genesis and other texts. This paper uncovers and examines creationist hermeneutical principles against the historical background of the Galileo affair, using a comparative method in three parts. First, we study what Galileo himself said about the Bible and natural science, comparing this with what Roberto Cardinal Bellarmine said on the same topic. Next, we see how members of a creationist subgroup, the modern geocentrists, approach the same issue, comparing their hermeneutical principles with th!
 ose of Galileo and Bellarmine. Finally, we study what other creationists say about their geocentrist colleagues and about Galileo’s hermeneutical strategy.

A key issue in this is accommodation. The modern geocentrists reject accommodation entirely; the heliocentric creationists accept it only in very limited ways--they reject it in the so-called historical sciences, accepting it only in the so-called empirical sciences. Whereas OECs and TEs generally accept it more widely. It's premature to circulate that paper, or I would. Here is information about the conference at which it was given:

As Calvin himself knew (see Young's book or what Hooykaas wrote about this in Religion and the Rise of Modern Science), accommodation can mean that God may have used actual errors to communicate truth. That is why, for myself, I can affirm "bilbical inerrancy" only if it is understood to include something like Calvin's understanding of accommodation. I am not convinced that it always does.


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Received on Fri Mar 16 13:12:12 2007

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