RE: [asa] "Evolutionary Creation" book comments (was: RE: (fall-away) TE and apologetics)

From: Dehler, Bernie <>
Date: Fri Sep 25 2009 - 13:22:53 EDT

Hi Denis- just a short comment and note before I reply to the rest. A short answer would also be appreciated.

First, as I see it, in your book "Evolutionary Creationism," you say concordism should be evaluated on three levels: science, history, and theology. You then use and define terms, with examples, for 'ancient science' and 'ancient history.' You don't do that for 'theology.' Why is that? Why not also use the term 'ancient theology' and use and define it like the other two?

If you ask "what would be an example of 'ancient theology'" I would say one example is the notion that death entered the world through the sin of Adam (we both reject a literal Adam; and you laid out the case that the Apostle Paul specifically taught that physical death entered by way of Adam).

My point: you imply 'ancient theology' (whether intentional or not) but don't explicitly state it.

Pithy answers appreciated, pal ;-)

And just to be clear on the big picture, I think your two books are the only ones that I can think of to recommend to other Christians who want to integrate evolution into theology. They are the best I've seen.


-----Original Message-----
From: Denis O. Lamoureux []
Sent: Friday, September 25, 2009 10:01 AM
To: Dehler, Bernie
Cc: asa
Subject: Re: [asa] RE: (fall-away) TE and apologetics

Dear Bernie,

A few folks on the listserv have contacted me to share of your recent shift
away from Christianity. Since my name and work have come up in your posts,
they thought that I should comment. After reading some of your arguments, I
am sorry to say that you misrepresent my views, and quite badly. Of course,
it runs through my mind whether you actually read my material with any care.
Let me give you a couple examples.

On Fri Sep 18 2009, Bernie writes:

"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.)"

Bernie, you've completely missed the entire point of my book, and you've
committed the error that I attack throughout the book-CONFLATION.

In the example you cite, you've conflated:

(1) the ancient science (the de novo of Adam, which is an ancient
phenomenological perspective on how life arose) and

(2) the Divine Theology (the reality of human sin and the fact that sin
entered the world because of humans).

I give scores of examples of the ancient science being used as an incidental
vessel to deliver the Holy Spirit inspired Messages of Faith (ie, the
Message-Incident Principle which I repeat ad nauseam), but somehow you are
oblivious to this categorical distinction. In this example, my conclusion is
that "sin entered the world, but not with Adam" (p. 329).

Your comment regarding the integrity of theologians ("even though they
believe it") is shameful and crosses the line. And it simply is not true. I
believe the theology in Scripture is inerrant/infallible, and I use these
terms in my book Evolutionary Creation (2008) 153 times in 386 pages-about
once every 2.5 pages.

Another of your misrepresentations and CONFLATIONS regards the history in
Scripture. You write: "There is theology, science, and history in the Bible;
and the last two are ancient and they are wrong." You fail to distinguish
the ancient history in Gen 1-11 from the historical statements in the rest
of the Bible. Remember, the focus of my book is on Gen 1-11. However, I did
make a critical qualification right at the beginning of the first chapter
where I deal with Gen 1-11. In the second paragraph of this chapter I made
my views very clear regarding the history in Scripture:

"It has long been acknowledged that Scripture describes actual historical

events. The scientific discipline of biblical archaeology explores

the history of ancient Palestine and the surrounding regions. Evidence

collected from sites in the Middle East confirms the existence of many

customs, places, and peoples referred to in the Bible. To mention a few

examples, the Old Testament record is consistent with archaeological data

regarding religious practices (stone altars, blood sacrifices, holy mounts),

nomadic life (tenting, herding, hospitality), cities (Rameses, Babylon,

Jerusalem), nations (Egyptians, Assyrians, Canaanites), and kings

Nebuchadnezzar, David). The New Testament also presents accurate

history of first-century Palestine in regards to the Jewish religion

(Pharisees, temples, sacrifices) and the Roman occupation (Pontius Pilate,

centurions, crucifixion). And solid evidence supports the historical reality

of a man named "Jesus of Nazareth" and the beginning of the Church.

However, some Christians do not accept the historicity of Gen 1-11." p. 177

So, don't assume that because the history in Gen 1-11 is ancient, that the
rest of the Bible features a similar ancient understanding of history. This
is an injudicious extrapolation.

Mon Sep 21 2009 Bernie writes:

"The idea of a firmament is wrong. Same with the idea of the Earth being
stationary and unmoveable (it is moving 67,000 mph around the Sun), and the
universe being geocentric. Lamoureux identifies ancient (and wrong) science
and history. But he never identifies theology in the same way, explicitly,
that it can be likewise "ancient and wrong" (but he does implicitly state
it). Example of ancient theology that is wrong: A literal Adam brought sin
and death into the world... something most TE's would say is theologically
wrong (all those who don't accept a literal Adam)."

Bernie, your rhetoric (use of the term "wrong") is irritating. The ancient
science was the best science of the day, and it's what we would have
accepted had we lived then.

But more irritating is your comment that I "implicitly state" that the
theology is "ancient and wrong." UTTER NONSENSE. Here is the first
paragraph of the chapter that begins my hermeneutical thesis in Evolutionary

"The Bible is a precious gift that has been given to us in order to reveal

God and His will. Contained within its pages are the foundations of

the Christian Faith-the creation of the world, the fall of humanity into

sin, the offer of redemption through the Blood shed on the Cross, and

the promise of eternal life. The Scriptures are also an everlasting source

of spiritual nourishment for our soul. Through the power of the Holy

Spirit, the Bible assures and encourages, challenges and admonishes, and

equips men and women for a faithful life of good works. In particular,

the primary purpose of God's Word is to reveal Jesus and the Father's

unconditional love for all of us." p. 105

Are you telling me that I believe the theology is "ancient and wrong"? As
noted above, I refer to the theology as inerrant/infallible once every 2.5
pages. So don't give me this NONSENSE that I "implicitly state" that the
theology is "ancient and wrong," because I do not at all believe the
theology is "wrong."

It is clear to me that you only read what you wanted out of my book to serve
your agenda, which is clearly just an attempt to justify your rejection of

[The next paragraph has got Bernie's approval to be posted because the
contents came in a private e-mail]

But let's get personal, because faith is not just an academic exercise. A
month or so ago I asked you if you read the Bible DEVOTIONALLY. Your answer
was a terse 'no'. Bernie, you're missing the point of God's Word
completely. Scripture leads to a spiritual encounter. It is here to convict
you and also to bless you. Reading the Bible entails having a set of ears
that "hear." And though I don't for second believe in the historical reality
of Adam and Eve, the account in Scripture about them is foundational to
Christian Faith, because it reveals the inerrant and eternal truth of the
human condition-we don't listen to God. And your non-devotional reading of
the Bible is just like Adam and Eve's treatment of the words that God gives
them in the garden. Like them, you just don't want to listen to His Word.

It is my 30 year experience with hearing a "voice" in the Bible that leads
me to reject the idea that Scripture has ancient theology. It contains a
living theology that changes lives forever. I don't see the same impact of
other ancient theologies (Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, etc.) on people
today. But for most on this listserv, the "voice" in the Scripture is real,
and it talks to them everyday. And that "voice" has got people praying for
you, and concerned enough to challenge you.

Now in your defense, I can empathize with you regarding the challenges of
modern biblical criticism. It certainly shook the core of my being when I
was exposed to it in seminary. In EC (pp. 348-350), I write about a moment
at the end of Regent College when I was ready to toss the faith because I
saw an ancient feature in Scripture (the pre-creative state of Gen 1:2). But
at the same time that "voice" arose and put things in perspective. The Bible
has an ancient vessel that carries the life-changing Words of God. But you
need "ears" to hear that "voice."

And I will also empathize with your tendency of focusing on the literature
of the Bible. I'll confess that this has been an issue in my faith walk at
times. As a theologian, I am always analyzing the Text critically, and it's
easy to think that because I'm reading Scripture 8 hours a day that I'm in
the Word all the time. NOT TRUE. I need devotional time in Scripture.
Biblical criticism is great, but it's only a tool that serves us to get at
the Message of Faith, and to understand the Holy Spirit's revelatory
process. The Word was intended to be read DEVOTIONALLY. And that's the best
part of reading the Bible-it results in a mystical encounter with God.

To use an earthy example: People like you who focus just on the literature
of Scripture through biblical criticism are like to those who limit sex with
their spouse to just the anatomical and physiological facts of the act. They
know all the physical details of sex, and when they are in bed with their
spouse they keep their mind focused on the physical reality, missing
completely the transcendent/spiritual/mystical character of the
event/encounter. Those who only read the Bible critically are like those who
fail to realize that there is something more to sex . . . it's called making

So what's the bottom line: your arguments regarding Scripture are based on a
misrepresentation and proof-texting of my work. Your so-called "ah ha"
moment is an injudicious extrapolation of my views. It's rooted in
simplistic conflations.

Bernie, have more integrity than Adam and Eve as they attempted to justify
themselves with silly excuses before the Lord (eg, Eve to God: It's the
snake that made me do it, or Adam to God: It's the woman YOU put here with
me that made me do it [!]). Bernie, just be honest, toss the excuses, the
rationalizations, and the justifications aside, and just say you simply don't
want to believe. You just don't want to listen to God.

Over the last two years and two ASA meetings I have really enjoyed
connecting with you and I quite appreciate your intensity in trying to make
sense of things. You'll always be a pal.

Best wishes in your future,


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Received on Fri Sep 25 13:23:35 2009

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