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

From: Dick Fischer <dickfischer@verizon.net>
Date: Wed Mar 05 2008 - 21:13:33 EST

Biological science might be able to prove whether or not such a person
had natural parents or not by examining the y-chromosome of related
individuals assuming we could know who are straight-line descendents.
Archaeological evidence, however, is the backbone of anthropology. You
would think that ancient texts that speak of such a person would
certainly make an argument for him. After all, anthropologists do
recognize Akkadians. These are peoples who lived exactly where Adam
lived at the time Genesis places him, and they spoke a language
precursor to Hebrew Anthropologists won't speak of Adamites, though,
because they are convinced Adam is part of some religious myth. They're
reading our mail. Semites are acknowledged, but Shem's father, Noah, is
likewise some religious relic. So to answer your question, Adam is
unlikely to become part of mainstream anthropology. In essence, being
part of our religious heritage weighs against his being included in
anything scientific at all.

 

Dick Fischer

Richard James Fischer, author

Historical Genesis from Adam to Abraham

 <http://www.historicalgenesis.com/> www.historicalgenesis.com

-----Original Message-----
From: David Opderbeck [mailto:dopderbeck@gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2008 2:29 PM
To: Dick Fischer
Cc: ASA
Subject: Re: [asa] Pinnock on Climbing out of the Swamp (was Lamoureux,
Concordism, and Inerrancy)

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

 <http://www.historicalgenesis.com/> 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 <http://nrcse.creighton.edu/>

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Received on Wed Mar 5 21:14:59 2008

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