Re: [asa] Pinnock on Climbing out of the Swamp (was Lamoureux, Concordism, and Inerrancy)

From: David Opderbeck <dopderbeck@gmail.com>
Date: Wed Mar 05 2008 - 14:29:23 EST

Dick -- I said an "'Adam of biology or anthropology.'" If I understand your
views right (I do need to read your book -- want to send me a review copy
for my blog? ;-)), you're suggesting that Adam is a literal neolithic
individual based on your reading of the Biblical text in connection with the
related Mesopotamian documents. I don't take you to be arguing that the
sciences of biology or anthropology can identify who Adam was.

On Wed, Mar 5, 2008 at 2:04 PM, Dick Fischer <dickfischer@verizon.net>
wrote:

> Hi David, you wrote:
>
> >The question of Paul's use of Adam is of course a key flashpoint here.
> Personally, I find it very difficult to dismiss Paul's references to Adam
> as merely an accommodation to cultural modes of thought. "Adam" has nothing
> to do with general cultural background assumptions about the cosmos (e.g.,
> the raqia). Rather, Adam is presented as a key figure in redemption
> history. I don't think Adam can be placed into the same background as the
> solid firmament or the rising and setting sun. But of course we know it's
> impossible to identify an "Adam" of biology or anthropology.<
>
> Who is the "we" who knows it's impossible? Those of you who haven't
> bothered to look? Please don't include those of us who did look and did
> identify. All I could do was write the book I can't come and read it to
> you.
>
>
> Dick Fischer
>
> Richard James Fischer, author
>
> Historical Genesis from Adam to Abraham
>
> www.historicalgenesis.com
>
> -----Original Message-----
> *From:* asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] *On
> Behalf Of *David Opderbeck
> *Sent:* Tuesday, March 04, 2008 11:15 AM
> *To:* Austerberry, Charles
> *Cc:* asa@lists.calvin.edu
> *Subject:* Re: [asa] Pinnock on Climbing out of the Swamp (was Lamoureux,
> Concordism, and Inerrancy)
>
> Right, and here's where I brought up Pinnock and others like Pinnock who
> represent what I'd call "moderate" or others might call "progressive"
> evangelicals. I didn't intend to say that Pinnock contradicts Lamoureux's
> entire thesis. What I wanted to say is that rhetorically, it seems to me
> Lamoureux sets up a box: "evangelical=inerrancy=literal
> hermeneutic=concordist." That box, I think, is too small. Certainly there
> is a group of influential evangelicals who think that box is exactly right.
> Maybe numerically that group commands the largest following within
> evangelicalism right now -- assuming more than a handful of people in the
> churches really understand these debates. But why cede the center to them?
> I'd be very interested to see a social science survey of theology profs in
> colleges and seminaries that self-identify as "evangelical' as to nuances on
> "inerrancy" and hermeneutics. I don't think the results would be quite so
> tight -- maybe not even totally coherent.
>
> I think this matters because I don't want to see the notion of
> accommodation set up as an "alternative" to an evangelical doctrine of
> scripture. In my view, when we start to see accommodation as an
> "alternative" to inerrancy, we start to get into dangerous territory.
> Instead, I think we need to understand "accommodation" as part of what the
> categories of "truth" and "error" mean in relation to the scripture God
> actually gave us. We don't impose "inerrant" on the text as a logical
> construct from the outside (ala Geisler) regardless of historical criticism;
> we rather affirm that God does not err and build up what that means from the
> inside, taking into accound sound historical criticism.
>
> The question of Paul's use of Adam is of course a key flashpoint here.
> Personally, I find it very difficult to dismiss Paul's references to Adam
> as merely an accommodation to cultural modes of thought. "Adam" has nothing
> to do with general cultural background assumptions about the cosmos (e.g.,
> the raqia). Rather, Adam is presented as a key figure in redemption
> history. I don't think Adam can be placed into the same background as the
> solid firmament or the rising and setting sun. But of course we know it's
> impossible to identify an "Adam" of biology or anthropology. So perhaps
> there's accommodation in this instance in the sense that God doesn't reveal
> in scripture, through Paul or otherwise, anything like the full biological /
> anthropological picture of human origins, but the story is nevertheless
> universal, true and "historical" (even if the details of its telling are in
> some senses mythological).
>
> In sort of critical realist terms, it raises questions about what it would
> mean to be the "first man" at a theological level, and about how that
> theological level might emerge from, yet be distinct from, the biological /
> anthropological level. We might never have answers to that question, but
> personally I'd prefer to frame things in those terms than to play
> "accommodation" against "history" or "inerrancy."
>
> On Tue, Mar 4, 2008 at 10:20 AM, Austerberry, Charles <
> cfauster@creighton.edu> wrote:
>
> > Denis Lamoureux made one important point, I think: God's inspiration of
> > the Biblical writers apparently did not override those writers'
> > contemporary views of the cosmos. Rather, divine inspiration replaced
> > polytheistic mythology with monotheistic theological truth. Seely's
> > communication at the end of the PSCF issue makes much the same argument
> > as Lamoureux's essay. I find them both pretty compelling. By the way,
> > no doubt we today also have some cosmology, biology, etc. that in the
> > future will be seen to be erroneous.
> >
> > Lamoureux says that concordism takes two forms, both fueled by a refusal
> > to accept that Biblical writers had what we now know to be) mistaken
> > cosmologies, such as the solid firmament, and waters above the
> > firmament:
> >
> > (1) Straining to translate Hebrew and Greek words so that the
> > scientific/historical errors are minimized - e.g., arguing that the
> > Biblical texts don't really refer to waters above a solid firmament, but
> > to expanses, atmospheres, clouds, etc.
> >
> > (2) Claiming that the Biblical authors wrote metaphorically about waters
> > above a solid firmament - even in the same verse in which the moon and
> > stars, for example, were written about in a literal, non-metaphorical
> > sense.
> >
> > I certainly agree (and I think Lamoureux does too) that the writer(s) of
> > Genesis 1 used a literary device - the framework of two triads of days,
> > with creation of habitats in days 1-3 and creation of inhabitants in the
> > corresponding days 4-6. But within that symbolic story, there are still
> > clear non-symbolic references to ancient cosmology (e.g. firmament with
> > waters above) that were as real to the writer as the sun, moon, and
> > stars.
> >
> > Lamoureux ends his essay by noting that Biblical writers apparently had
> > no concept of the evolution of living organisms. But that Paul, for
> > example, erroneously thought a single Adam was literally the first man
> > should not shock us nor shake our faith. E.O. Wilson (in his book
> > Consilience) claims that the absence of evolution in the Bible led him
> > to reject the Bible. The same could be said of Darwin himself.
> > Lamoureux might note that such is the result of concordist hermeneutics
> > which refuses to accept that God accommodates the erroneous worldviews
> > of the people God is inspiring.
> >
> > Where it gets stickier is, what was Jesus' own view of cosmology and
> > origins? Did Christ empty Himself of knowledge of evolution, for
> > example, when He was incarnated as Jesus in first century Palestine?
> >
> > Cheers!
> >
> > Charles (Chuck) F. Austerberry, Ph.D.
> > Assistant Professor of Biology
> > Hixson-Lied Room 438
> > Creighton University
> > 2500 California Plaza
> > Omaha, NE 68178
> >
> > Phone: 402-280-2154
> > Fax: 402-280-5595
> >
> > e-mail: cfauster@creighton.edu
> >
> > Nebraska Religious Coalition for Science Education
> > http://nrcse.creighton.edu
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu with
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> >
>
>

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Received on Wed Mar 5 14:30:21 2008

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