Re: [asa] RE: (fall-away) TE and apologetics

From: Douglas Hayworth <>
Date: Sat Sep 19 2009 - 09:15:31 EDT

Dear Bernie,

Thanks for your honesty. I'd like to share recent thoughts of mine that I
think relate to what you've outlined here. Did you attend that session at
the ASA meeting in which Paul Seely, Carol Hill and Denis Lamoureux
presented? I didn't go to that one, but I did listen to the audio files
later, and I wrote about them on my blog:

Regardless whether one accepts a historical Adam (as Carol asserts) or not
(as Lamoureux asserts), there is a useful "balance" in the juxtaposition of
Carol's and Denis's presentations. If you take Denis's view out of context,
you might conclude that all the ancient ideas were just "wrong" (as you
say). Carol's presentation emphasizes (and I think Denis would agree with
this much) that the notions of the Ancients were "inaccurate" and
"imprecise" as a result of their primitive science, but they were not just
making things up (constructing complete fictions) out of the blue. Whatever
the incidental trappings were, the writers were nonetheless attempting to
express the nature of realities that they had genuine beliefs of having
encountered. For Carol, the reality includes a historical Adam; for Denis,
the reality includes the real experience of the Israelites with a God who
delivered them from Egypt (to name what I presume is just one sort of
example he would offer).

In other words, just as our science represents our best attempt to describe
what we see, so too our theology is our best attempt to describe what we
experience in our encounters with the divine. So both are fundamentally
based on experiences with reality, and we continually test the theories of
both by measuring them against continued observation. So, I think we have to
be careful about what we mean when we say the former theories were "wrong."
It's often more true to say that those former concepts were simply less

I make this point because you seem to have decided that Christianity is no
longer a viable theory because the 'ancient theology' is "wrong". Yes,
ancient theology is incomplete and inaccurate, just as our current theology
is incomplete. In this sense, I understand your gripe with the concept of
inerrancy (I'm with you there, and I've written about that on my blog too:

Here's what I'm driving at: our theologies are not mere fictions; they are
theories about things that our observations lead us to believe are
realities. So the real question is, of the competing theories (theologies),
which one is most likely to be closest to the truth? I find
monotheism/Christianity to be by far the most compelling and powerful
theological "theory". For example, I think it is astonishing that Abraham
would look up at the stars and (totally contrary to his surrounding culture
and worldview) would understand that they are part of God's creation, not in
fact gods themselves. Likewise, the resurrection and deity of Jesus were
astonishing discoveries for the disciples -- things that they came to
believe because the empirical evidence (experience with reality) forced them
to abandon an earlier "theory".

To come full-circle to Ted's recommendation that you read some John
Polkinghorne, this similarity in the way natural science and theology
operate is exactly what Polkinghorne describes in "Belief in God in the Age
of Science". Creation is orderly, but it cannot be discovered by pure logic;
it has to be discovered empirically because it is objectively real (i.e.,
not dependent on us). Truth about God is likely to be the same.

I hope that helps. I really enjoyed meeting you at Baylor. Here's my blog
post about the value of fellowship at ASA meetings:

Keep in touch.


On Fri, Sep 18, 2009 at 11:02 AM, Dehler, Bernie <>wrote:

> I can explain how it ended my faith in Christ. Once accepting evolution, I
> had to figure out how to integrate it into theology. Lamoureux helped here.
> There is theology, science, and history in the Bible; and the last two are
> ancient and they are wrong. But now that I was on that road, I could go
> further, and say "Ah ha- it is the same case for theology- there is also an
> 'ancient theology' in the Bible that is also wrong." Of course, no
> theologian will use the term 'ancient theology' even though they believe it,
> because it will make them a heretic. So what is "ancient theology?" For
> one, the sin of Adam brought death into the world. Ancient, and wrong
> (according to TE's and YEC's). (Your quoted paragraph above mentions
> 'ancient' and wrong ideas related to theology, only they aren't labeled as
> such.)
> So when I went down the path to determine what theology is 'ancient' (and
> wrong) and what is 'modern' and correct, I found it all to be based upon
> superstition (Jesus dying on the cross for sins and rising from the dead).
> Another wrong and ancient idea is the idea of the Bible being "infallible"
> or without error.
> So that is how the 'fall' happens. Once you identify errors in 'ancient
> theology,' and go farther to find out which are errors and which are true
> (testing it all against philosophy, science, ANE material, history, etc.),
> it all looks like superstition.
> And I'd be happy to answer any questions regarding what I wrote.
> That's my opinion. My fall was recent- in the last few weeks- so I'm still
> sorting some things out. But I held out as long as I could, so I think it
> is a solid fall.
> ...Bernie

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Received on Sat Sep 19 09:16:13 2009

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