[asa] Concordism & accommodation, Ross & Seely

From: <SteamDoc@aol.com>
Date: Sat Mar 17 2007 - 12:58:11 EDT

David O wrote:

Very briefly, here's what I found fascinating about the Seely-Ross
exchange: it seems to set up "accomodation" and "concordism" as two
distinct and essentially incommensurable paradigms. Reading those two
articles, either Hugh is right, and all the "data" in Genesis matches up
with some "data" from the natural sciences, or Paul is right, and the early
Genesis stories can be considered completely ahistorical. The interesting
thing is that I don't think either Hugh or Paul (I'm pretty sure this is so
for Paul at least as Paul has very helpfully corresponded with me at various
times) would really want to set it up this way.

I think "concordism" and "accommodation" ARE incommensurable paradigms, but
that still leaves a place for the middle ground you are seeking.
Concordism (Ross) says that everything MUST line up 100%, no exceptions
because any exception would make God a liar. [Side note -- I have friends who
are expecting their 2nd child, and they are telling their 2-year-old about the
"baby in Mommy's tummy" -- does this accommodation (it is really the uterus,
not the stomach) make my friends liars?]
The doctrine of accommodation says that God MAY, in the interest of good,
incarnational communication, accommodate his revelation to the limited
knowledge of the audience in matters peripheral to the message God is conveying.
There is nothing in the doctrine that says things have to be "completely
ahistorical". In the accommodation paradigm, the amount of accommodation in the
science and/or history mentioned peripherally in a particular passage could be
0%, or 100%, or anywhere in between. Figuring out the degree of accommodation
takes good exegesis, informed by knowledge of the context and perhaps by
scientific knowledge. Now, Paul Seely has done that exegesis and concluded that
the degree of accommodation in the early chapters of Genesis is close to
100% (and Paul also says that all of the science throughout Scripture seems to
be accommodated to the knowledge of the times). But the accommodation
paradigm could just as easily encompass somebody who came to the conclusion that
some parts (perhaps the firmament and the 6-day framework) were accommodations
but that other parts (perhaps Adam & Eve) were literal history. The
accommodation paradigm could even include somebody who decided that none of early
Genesis was accommodated, as long as it was admitted that God MIGHT communicate
that way.
So I think we do have two incommensurable paradigms. But the difference is
not between 100% historical and scientific accuracy and 0%. It is a
difference between one paradigm that insists on the 100% as the only way God is
allowed to communicate, and the other paradigm that allows God to be anywhere on
the 0-100% scale in a particular passage, depending on God's choice of
communication style in any instance.
P.S. Having just downloaded 10 lengthy digests of messages from yesterday,
it may be time for the periodic reminder of list etiquette. Please trim your
replies! Please just include the parts of a message relevant to your reply,
and don't make every message include the 5 previous rounds of lengthy
exchanges that are no longer relevant to the current state of the discussion.
Dr. Allan H. Harvey, Boulder, Colorado | SteamDoc@aol.com
"Any opinions expressed here are mine, and should not be
attributed to my employer, my wife, or my cat"

************************************** AOL now offers free email to everyone.
 Find out more about what's free from AOL at http://www.aol.com.

To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Sat Mar 17 12:59:00 2007

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sat Mar 17 2007 - 12:59:00 EDT