Re: [asa] "Evolutionary Creation" book comments

From: Murray Hogg <>
Date: Tue Sep 29 2009 - 17:05:45 EDT

Hi Denis,

This all makes perfect sense.

I have no real issue with your qualified use of terms (i.e. "ancient science" and "ancient history"). Indeed, my point was precisely that the UNQUALIFIED use of "science" and "history" in reference to Genesis is problematic and makes some such qualification necessary.

The problem, as I see it, is that at times it seems that no degree of qualification will be allowed by people who insist that the author of Genesis was engaged in "(modern) science" and/or "(modern) history" - the major argument for which seems to be a cultural bias toward particular ways of formulating and transmitting truth-claims.

In such a context it turns out that the qualifier "ancient" is effectively disallowed and one ends up with a situation in which it is imagined that the Genesis author intended to speak to modern scientific concerns according to the canons of modern historiography.

It seems to me that EITHER one allows (and takes seriously) some sort of qualification of the sort you propose OR one is foisting upon Genesis a set of inappropriate modern assumptions hence perpetuating an anachronism.

But this is largely tangential to the main point, I think. The real question is: whether the MEANING of Genesis is dependent upon its scientific and/or historical accuracy? Regardless of how one slices the pie, I think we're both agreed that the answer to that question is "no."


Denis O. Lamoureux wrote:
> Dear Murray,
> A nice question, but I deal with it by using the qualifying
> term "ancient" in both cases (ancient science & ancient history).
> If you want to use this anachronism argument, then don't use the
> term "theology" when referring to the Bible because the inspired
> writers didn't have this category.
> So, are these terms foreign to the Text? Yes. But they are helpful
> for understanding the Scriptures. It's like the terms Incarnation and
> Trinity. Not in the Text, but heuristic devices.
> The ancients asked: Where did the heavens come from? Though
> they didn't "stand on the shoulders of giants" like us, they were
> still asking questions about the physical world--and using the
> term "ancient science" is judicious.
> Same with the origins of peoples, including the Hebrews. Gen 1-11
> is an ancient understanding of where people came from. Thus,
> an ancient understanding of history--or ancient history.
> BTW, I'm not the first to say this. Check out Kent Sparks' book
> on ANE texts.
> Hope this makes sense.
> Denis
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Murray Hogg" <>
> To: "ASA" <>
> Sent: Monday, September 28, 2009 5:30 PM
> Subject: Re: [asa] "Evolutionary Creation" book comments
>> Hi Denis,
>> I actually wonder if using the terms "science" and "history" in this
>> context isn't - in the end analysis - anachronistic.
>> I'd offer the observation that what "pre-modern" societies do is tell
>> stories - they don't do "science", and they don't record "history".
>> And if one can escape the need to force Genesis into either category,
>> then the result is very liberating. One can even begin to read Genesis
>> theologically as per the entire point of the narrative!
>> Here I think much benefit might be gained from a familiarity with the
>> field of ethnohistory - which discipline gives some interesting
>> insights into the way non-Western and pre-modern societies deal with
>> their past. It's on my list of subjects to get around to "one day."
>> Actually, as I think about it, this might be more or less another way
>> of putting your entreaty of "Separate, don't conflate", viz; if one
>> can discriminate between "history", "science", and "story" -- where
>> "story" is a way of conveying meaning (theological meaning in the case
>> of Genesis) -- then one is, I think, well on the way to resolving the
>> "problem" which arises in light of our modernist inability to see that
>> there is more than one way of conveying spiritual truth.
>> Blessings,
>> Murray
>> Denis O. Lamoureux wrote:
>>> Dear Bernie,
>>> You are a scrapper my friend!
>>> You write:
>>>> Ancient theological idea:
>>>> Adam was the first human to sin.
>>>> This statement is nothing but theology
>>> NOT true. It's ancient science (creation
>>> and existence of Adam) delivering an inerrant
>>> and Holy Spirit-inspired theology (sin is
>>> very real and humans are sinners).
>>> Bernie: Separate, Don't Conflate!
>>> Best,
>>> Denis
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Received on Tue Sep 29 17:06:44 2009

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