Re: [asa] Designed Kangaroos?

From: Michael Roberts <michael.andrea.r@ukonline.co.uk>
Date: Thu Aug 02 2007 - 12:06:23 EDT

This really sums up the whole problem. It is first an unwillingness by some Christians to refuse to consider what type of literature the Bible is (yes I note Peter's protestations). Iain's slightly flippant comment
"Didn't you know that the reason God designed the Ebola virus was because a real man and a real woman ate a piece of fruit in 4004BC?

Really you lack of knowledge is shocking, Michael"

does no more than highlight the total absurdity of he YEC position as held by AIG, ICR, BCS Truthinscience (despite official denials). It is hard, if not impossible to counter such nonsense with reasoned biblical arguments as quite frankly receptors are switched off.

Secondly the so-called science of YEC is so risible as we get in the RATE arguments - recently re-iterated by Snelling who Peter assisted when he came to Britain a few years ago. He said at the recent conference of Creationist geology at Cedarville.

"Andrew A. Snelling
Answers in Genesis
The 1998-2005 RATE (Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth) research project at the Institute for Creation Research demonstrated that creationists could support a larger-scale collaborative research effort, particularly if it
delivered significant breakthroughs in a key challenging issue. Significant outcomes of the project included:
1. There is visible physical evidence (fission tracks and radiohalos) in rocks that a lot of nuclear decay has
occurred through earth history; 2. There are often systematic differences in the radioisotope ages provided by the four main parentdaughter isotope pairs from the same samples of dated rock units; 3. There is evidence that nuclear decay
rates were grossly accelerated during a recent catastrophic episode or episodes (radiohalos, discordant ages and helium diffusion);
and 4. There is intrinsic radiocarbon (14C) in ancient coal and diamonds as direct evidence of a young earth."

How anyone with high school science could argue point 3 is amazing, but when a Ph D does then it is difficult not to laugh or cry. The damage done to the credibility of the Gospel by such an approach is immense.

But then if one criticises those who hold such views or to highlight how absurd and risible they are , results in one being called a scoffer.

I would say it was those who put forward such arguments who are the scoffers not Iain who highlighted the absurdity through humour

Michael

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Iain Strachan
  To: Peter Loose
  Cc: dopderbeck@gmail.com ; Michael Roberts ; asa@calvin.edu
  Sent: Thursday, August 02, 2007 4:19 PM
  Subject: Re: [asa] Designed Kangaroos?

  I'll just address your problem "Mythical Adam ... Literal Christ" - doesn't add up.

  Why doesn't it?

  Going back to the computer world "Hit the Enter key or click on OK" adds up perfectly. But the Enter key is a literal physical key on the keyboard, and the OK button is a metaphor - an illusion created by the computer.

  That still adds up fine to me and I'm sure it does to you.

  I think the nature of the writing in Genesis indicates clear figurative intent. I have not studied the Hebrew, but according to accounts I've read, from Hebrew scholars, the account abounds in literary constructs such as word-play, puns etc. This is NOT the same as saying it's poetry - clearly it is not. But all sorts of poetical devices are used, e.g. rhyme "Tohu w'bohu = formless and empty". e.g. the fact that Adam's name is symbolic, and means "man". e.g. the fact that the name also makes a pun with "mud" ( Admah). If one were to get the same "folk-tale" effect, one might call the central character "mud-man".

  Now if you contrast that with something that tells you literally what to do, for example a car repair manual (many was the hour I spent on my first ropey car with a Haynes manual following the instructions on how to replace the clutch, wheel bearings etc), then you do not find witty word play - indeed the writers of such manuals strive to be completely unambiguous. This does not seem so in the way the Biblical text is constructed - and the literary devices are clearly put there to show there is a spiritual meaning.

  And as I said, but can't cite the source except that it was an industrial chaplain, in the Jewish way of thinking the important question is not "did it happen?" but "what does it mean?".

  You may ask why I go on about it so much. It's because the cause of the gospel is damaged. How can I be an effective witness to atheist colleagues when they dig up laughable things like where all the poo went on the ark, or the fact that they had to take baby dinosaurs on the ark to make room for all of them? We're giving the scoffers plenty to scoff about, which isn't even biblical. Then there's the RATE project that asserts that 90% of all radioactive decay happened during day 3 of creation week - leaving unsolved the simple fact that it would have raised the temperature to 22,000 C - sufficient to vapourise the planet. I have to ask myself "what on earth has all this bad science got to do with the gospel?"

  Iain

    bringing forward leaves the problem precisely where it always is for a non-literal, figurative Adam. It is "Mythical Adam, literal Christ – doesn't add up". Or to put it another way, the phrase is a mismatch and thus seems to be devoid of significant meaning.

    Blessings

    Peter

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    From: dopderbeck@gmail.com [mailto: dopderbeck@gmail.com]
    Sent: Thursday, August 02, 2007 3:00 PM
    To: Peter Loose
    Cc: Michael Roberts; Iain Strachan; asa@calvin.edu

    Subject: Re: [asa] Designed Kangaroos?

    Peter said: I'm hoping for something Biblical that illuminates my question!
     

    Peter, I think one of the problems is that you are using, and asking for, proof texts. Before using proof texts, there are a bundle of theological and hermeneutical questions that have to be answered -- and there are no proof texts by which those questions can be answered! You can't skip the prolegomena and go right to the proof texts. Really, the use of proof texts assumes a very particular prolegomena without argument.

    I think your position is a coherent one based on the prolegomena you assume. But I think it's very unfair to then suggest that no other position could be "Biblical" without engaging the underlying assumptions.

    For example, you aggregate quotes from Luke, Timothy, and Jude. It doesn't seem that you've considered, though, the particular nature and purposes of those very different parts of scripture and the particular nature and purposes of the quotations you give within those different parts of scripture. Jude, for example, is a fascinating study because the author draws heavily on apocryphal works (particularly 1 Enoch) that include some fanciful stories most Christians today don't accept as canonical. How is it possible to string together a quote from a book like Jude with a quote in a pastoral letter of encouragement (Timothy) and another quote from a highly stylized geneology (Luke) -- all of which serve different purposes through very different literary forms? It seems very possible that you're systematizing something that isn't there based on an a priori decision about what the phenomena of scripture must look like.

    Again, not to suggest the "literal Adam" view is entirely wrong at the end of the day -- I've said before that I still feel compelled to find some essential historicity in Adam. But it just isn't so simple as stringing together proof texts.

    On 8/2/07, Peter Loose <peterwloose@compuserve.com> wrote:
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> Hello Michael:
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> I do understand what you're saying – but it reads to me like just another opinion and isn't dealing with the focus I've sought to bring from a consideration of the Biblical text. I've asked some specific questions about the parallelism between Adam and the Lord Jesus Christ as exemplified by the Apostle Paul's treatment of that. All that you say I am well aware of and have heard often. As you'd expect, I find it evidentially unconvincing.
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> While I agree with much of your general thesis that the Bible is neither literal nor figurative but a varying mixture of both, with respect Michael that's not the matter in hand. The matter in hand is simply what Paul says about Adam and Christ. What has to be shown for your thesis to have weight is that on the specific question of Adam and Christ, a figurative understanding is what the Apostle has in mind. This requires IMO an evidential response not a blanket assertion to the contrary.
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> I'm hoping for something Biblical that illuminates my question!
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> Blessings
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> Peter
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> ________________________________

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> From: michael.andrea.r@ukonline.co.uk [mailto:michael.andrea.r@ukonline.co.uk ]
> Sent: Thursday, August 02, 2007 12:49 PM
> To: Peter Loose; 'Iain Strachan'
> Cc: dopderbeck@gmail.com; asa@calvin.edu
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> Subject: Re: [asa] Designed Kangaroos?
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> Subject: Re: [asa] Designed Kangaroos?
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> Peter
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> You so over-polarise figurative vs literal that you do not allow any other position. Yours is a good debating tactic to the uninformed - either A or B but you ignore the possibility that Genesis may not be a totally literal narrative which means your simple either/or is invalid.
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> In fact the whole of the bible is neither literal nor figurative but a varying mixture of both. even the Gospels are not literal accounts.
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> As literal historical is meaningless, so is a literal historical Fall. That does not mean that there has not been a Fall and that we are not fallen.
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> Further early Genesis does not state that animals did not die before humans appear.Too much reading into the Bible of notions like an alleged curse affecting all of creation with suffering sickness and death coming to the animals is just not justified.
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> Lastly I believe in the fall but not the curse as the latter is not scriptural.
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> Michael
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> ----- Original Message -----
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> From: Peter Loose
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> To: 'Iain Strachan'
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> Cc: dopderbeck@gmail.com ; 'Michael Roberts' ; asa@calvin.edu
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> Sent: Wednesday, August 01, 2007 11:28 PM
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> Subject: RE: [asa] Designed Kangaroos?
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> Actually Iain, I did not mean what you appear to think I mean. I apologise for not being clear in the first place.
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> If you read again what I said, it was your "stance in respect of bad things being literally due to…" that is cause for sadness on my part. That's why I went on and raised the perspective from Paul in I Corinthians - 'as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive'.
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> This is what I said Sat 28/07/2007 10:54
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> A challenge to the figurative interpretation of the origin of 'bad things' would be the Apostle Paul in 1 Cor. 15:22 (NIV) "For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive."
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> Would those who adopt a figurative interpretation of Genesis 3 in respect of the cause of bad things, please explain why Paul didn't take that same view – apparently? Do they propose a mythical Adam and a literal Christ? Or are they proposing that 'all will be made alive' is also figurative? Figurative of what may I ask?
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> You are free of course to reject your YEC friend's view of The Fall. But in so doing you raise absolutely huge questions about the entire record of redemption. Are you seriously suggesting that one can have a mythical Adam and a literal Christ? The parallelism fails. I think this Genesis 3 'myth' or 'figurative' interpretation needs some careful discussion and explaining. Indeed, I find it impossible to understand the flow of reasoning in 1 Corinthians 15 in any other way than demands a literal historical Fall as recorded in Genesis 3. A further sample of that account in 1 Cor. 15:21 (NIV) "For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man." is in harmony with 15:22.
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> Do we understand something in this matter that Paul didn't?
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> Blessings
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> Peter
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> From: dopderbeck@gmail.com [mailto: dopderbeck@gmail.com]
> Sent: Wednesday, August 01, 2007 10:35 PM
> To: Iain Strachan
> Cc: Peter Loose; Michael Roberts; asa@calvin.edu
> Subject: Re: [asa] Designed Kangaroos?
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> But Iain, though I agree with you on the need for a broader hermeneutical perspective, and though I agree with you that it's too pat and simple to attribute carnivorous animals and such to a recent historical fall, I'm really struggling with the way in which, it seems to me, you're dismissing a central narrative of the Christian faith. The picture scripture gives us of human rebellion against God is, in fact, the picture of a man and woman eating fruit God told them not to eat. And scripture does, in fact, suggest that this somehow messes up everything. It seems to me that we need to appropriate this picture and interpret it in the context of what we know about the physical world, but not to dismiss it.
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> On 8/1/07, Iain Strachan <igd.strachan@gmail.com> wrote:
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> Peter
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> On 7/28/07, Peter Loose < peterwloose@compuserve.com > wrote:
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> Iain and Friends:
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> I find this stance in respect of 'bad things being literally due to one historical woman and her husband eating a piece of fruit' to be very sad.
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> Sorry, but that is exactly what my YEC friends tell me. That the fall is a literal historical event, tied precisely to Adam and Eve eating the fruit, literally on a given day. As direct result of this God put the curse on the whole of creation, and from thenceforth all the bad things happened. "Carnivory" started up (I've even seen articles on this on the AiG website), animals started eating each other.
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> The logical extension to this is that to answer Michael's pointed question as to why God "designed" the Ebola virus is that Adam's specific act of disobedience in eating the forbidden fruit was the direct reason that God made this happen.
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> My creationist friends tell me that the whole Gospel falls apart if you don't accept this.
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> I agree - the whole stance is very sad indeed, and I feel honour bound as a Christian to continue to point out its absurdity - an absurdity that keeps people away from Christianity because most people think you must be a nutter to believe such things.
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> As I have said elsewhere, we must think about what the Fall narrative _means_ rather than being stuck on whether it happened literally as described. (Man+woman+fruit).
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> Iain
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