[asa] RE: Demythologizing miracles (was: Does ASA believe in Adam and Eve?)

From: Jon Tandy <tandyland@earthlink.net>
Date: Thu Mar 22 2007 - 18:47:30 EDT

And what does one make of the large dimensions of the ark? I've read of
calculations on the Biblical dimensions of the ark, that some have made
model simulations and found it to be in fact seaworthy. Is this
significant? If significant, is it just a huge coincidence that the
Biblical writer exaggerated dimensions of a huge boat such that it happened
to turn out a seaworthy vessel?
I appreciate Glenn's comments about hurricanes not existing in then
Mesopotamian Basin, the downhill flow of water to the sea, etc. I realize
those can be dealt with through healthy speculation, but are these
reasonable assumptions?
On the other hand, I also recognize that Glenn, and I, and many of us with a
modern scientific mindset are looking for many things to be explained on the
basis of emprical evidence which were once believed by faith. Why is it
that we find it incredible that God could do something if we can't find
empirical evidence for it? Why do we find such satisfaction at finding
there is a "logical" explanation that, for instance, Napolean actually cross
the Red Sea on dry land at a certain point, which could turn out to be a
"rational" explanation for Moses' crossing? Why do we find it necessary to
"demythologize" the burning bush as a fire plant of the Sinai Peninsula?
We can take this further, and note that some theologians demythologize
Jesus' miracle of the loaves and fishes. They suggest that maybe it wasn't
a ex nihilo creation of new loaves and fishes -- maybe people had really
brought their lunches with them, but were unwilling to share, and through
the influence of Jesus' love and compassion on the multitude or shame that
the young boy was willing to give freely, people secretly pulled their
lunches out and filled the baskets as they were passed around, so the
increase that was left was more than the boy provided at first. While this
is perhaps a possibility, why do some even consider it seriously as opposed
to the clear statement in the Gospels that Jesus simply multiplied the
loaves and fishes?
I believe even YECists are willing to demythologize miracles to an extent,
as long as it's not perceived that God is excluded by such a natural
explanation. Without spending time finding lots of examples, I'm sure I've
read some of the above and others like them (fire plant = evidence of
burning bush, etc.) from conservative, global-flood-believing Christian
Why does it have to always be a rational explanation, fully explained by
scientific evidence, rather than simply admitting a miracle? I suggest that
we post-Enlightenment readers are predisposed to thinking that everything
must be fully explained by rationalist description. This ultrarationalist
view is perhaps as much a deficient cultural perception as ancient cultures'
supernaturalist belief that everything happened at the whim of the gods.
Many of you have made the point that the truth doesn't have to be either/or,
but both. But why do we still lean so strongly in the rationalist
direction, going so far as saying that miracles are probably "rare" (I've
read that in some TE literature recently)?
Here I am questioning my own bias, while at the same time recognizing that
there is nothing inherently wrong with rational explanations that also
recognize God's providence and timing, etc. So what if the Red Sea
sometimes pulls back at certain times, under certain conditions at a given
point, allowing an army to walk across -- why did it happen at just that
moment when Moses needed it? It was still a miracle of timing even if it
was a scientifically explanable occurrence. Even if DNA can now be seen to
have the potential to create innovative new forms, how really did natural
processes end up creating sentient, rational beings who could ponder their
own origins and destiny? It had to be a grand miracle, even if it were
accomplished through scientifically observable events.
Jon Tandy

-----Original Message-----
From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On
Behalf Of Bill Hamilton
Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2007 4:43 PM
To: George Murphy; Dick Fischer; ASA
Subject: Re: [asa] Does ASA believe in Adam and Eve?

These posts have been fascinating. Thanks, Dick, Phil and George.

On another (but related) subject: can we devise a suitable flood scenario?
If the flood occurred in southern Mesopotamia as Dick's scenario suggests,
what do we do about the depth and duration of the flood? Since the land is
relatively flat in that region, the flood cannot have been very deep, and by
the same token cannnot have lasted very long. Are we justified in concluded
that the depth and duration of the flood are exaggerations typical of
ancient near east literature? Are there other possible explanations? (I
don't like Dick's view that Noah and his sons poled the ark upstream to the
mountains of Ararat.)

Bill Hamilton
William E. Hamilton, Jr., Ph.D.
248.652.4148 (home) 248.821.8156 (mobile)
"...If God is for us, who is against us?" Rom 8:31


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Received on Thu Mar 22 18:48:24 2007

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