Re: Glenn wrote: a clarification

David J. Tyler (
Fri, 22 May 1998 13:29:49 GMT

David Tyler, responding to Burgy's post of Thu, 21 May 1998:

> >>To me if Noah is a myth, then Luke 3:36 drew Jesus' genalogy through a
> mythical person. >>
> Glenn, your god is too small.
> (IMHO of course).

Can I emerge from lurking to make a comment on this? Burgy - is this
a proper response to Glenn? Some of us feel that the tendency to
minimise the historical content of Genesis is ultimately destructive
of Evangelical Christianity - but we do not use this as a polemic in
a debating forum. Such a remark would unnecessarily personalise
issues and raise questions about motives. I can think of many
situations where it would be right to say "Your God is too small" -
but they would all be situations where we need to bring encouragement
and to increase faith.

> So many other possibilities:
> 1. The "Noah" referred to is not the flood guy
> 2. The text is corrupted
> 3. Luke just repeated "popular knowledge"
> 4. etc.

This is the real substance of Burgy's response to Glenn. Do we need
to remind ourselves that "possibilities" do not carry with them any
indication of "probabilities"!

If you really think (1) is a serious possibility, state your case.
IMO the geneology is so clearly based on Genesis history that this
possibility must be discounted.

(2) can apply to any biblical statement. Some take this thought to
great lengths - arguing that we cannot be sure of anything the text
says - because it may be corrupted. Christians do not need an
elaborate and detailed study of this "problem", although there is a
place for this. Christians have generally held to the preservation
of the text of Scripture - God did not give it as a revelation only
to find that it was sufficiently marred by transmission so that no
one could be sure of what He was saying! If there are specific
reasons for suggesting the text is corrupted, let them be set forth.
If not, the possibility must be considered remote.

(3) again raises a more general problem. If Luke was just repeating
"popular knowledge", why should we not challenge anything that he
wrote as a version of "popular knowledge"? The principle I think
Christians should use when they read Scripture is that God was, by
His Spirit, moving an author to write. The words then are, at the
same time, the words of a writer and the words of God. Without this,
Scriture has no authority. Our role, as disciples, is to learn, to
be changed, to respond.

In my view, none of these "other possibilities" do justice to the
text. Glenn is IMO correct in advocating the historical character of
Genesis, and the historicity of the various characters that appear on
its pages. He is also fully in line with Christian exegetical
tradition, which has perceived that God's mighty acts in history and
God's revealed truths are inseparable.

If I have over-reacted on this, I apologise. I am not wanting to
be contentious. But the comment "Your God is too small" has been the
trigger for this response.

Best wishes,
David J. Tyler.

*** From David J. Tyler, CDT Department, Hollings Faculty,
Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.
Telephone: 0161-247-2636 ***