Re: After Fundamentalism (was Destructive criticism of Christian apologists (was Denigrating...

Stephen Jones (
Thu, 28 May 1998 21:34:31 +0800


On Mon, 25 May 1998 12:35:17 -0400, Jim Bell wrote:

JB>Steve Jones posted a nice summary with excerpts from Ramm's After
>Fundamentalism. Thanks, Steve.

It's so great to hear someone saying nice things about my posts! Thanks
to you, Jim.

SJ>I think this is a good point, that Glenn (and Hugh Ross) could well
>heed. Trying to show that man is different from the animals, can play
>into the naturalists' hands. They can always show that animals can use
>tools and that hominids may have had some abilities in common with
>Homo sapiens. But the Biblical teaching is that only man (ie. Homo
>sapiens) is in the image of God, a category revealed to man by God
>(Gn 1:26-27; 9:6), not derived from nature by comparing man with
>his fellow creatures.>>

JB>Great point! In all of the debate raging about the humanity (or not) of
>Neanderthal, the issue clearly is the definition of humanity. Glenn and
>others point to evidence of Neanderthal's reflective consciousness (e.g.,
>burial sites) or "art" (such as it is) as, perforce, evidence of humanity.

Yes. This is a no-win game for us. Whatever criteria we set up, Darwinists
can always find the beginnings of it in nature. Darwin even thought his
dog showed signs of religion:

"Yet he professed to find "some distant approach to this state of mind" in
the love of a dog for his master or of a monkey for his keeper; and he cited a
German professor who held that "a dog looks on his master as on a god."
(Darwin C., "The Descent of Man", 1871, II, p68). Thus, as he earlier reduced
language to the grunts and growls of a dog, he now contrived to reduce
religion to the lick of the dog's tongue and the wagging of his tail." (Himmelfarb
G., "Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution," 1996 reprint, p374)

JB>This, however, may be based on an erroneous definition of "humanity." If
>so, the house of cards crumbles.

Yes. While I think Hugh Ross' program has good use as apologetics, to
remove obstacles to taking the Bible seriously in an age dominated by
science, it may be ultimately flawed by trying to find a common-ground definition
of "humanity" on non-Christian criteria. Ross recognises that the true mark of
humanity is man's relationship with God, but he is on shaky ground IMHO to claim
that altars necessarily are evidence of that relationship. On that basis the altars
that the Canaanites used to sacrifice their children to Molech (Lev 18:21; Lev
20:2-4; 2Ki 23:10; Jer 32:35), would be evidence of man's relationship with

JB>We must look to see what the Bible's definition of humanity is. And it is,
>of course, abundantly clear that biblical man's mark is the image of God
>(imago Dei).

Agreed. In the final analysis, man is defined as truly "human" *by* his being made
in the image of God, and that is something *declared* by God and revealed
to man. And whatever our views on Pre-Adamites, Genesis 9:6 makes it plain that
only *Homo sapiens* is in the image of God, and hence truly human.

JB>As Carl Henry puts it, "The Bible does not discriminate man from the
>animals in terms of morphological considerations, but in terms of the imago
>Dei. Man is made for personal and endless fellowship with God, involving
>rational understanding (Gen. 1:28ff.), moral obedience (2:16-17), and
>religious communion (3:3)." ["Image of God" in Dictonary of Evangelical
>Theology, p. 548].

I'll have to get that book! Here is another interesting quote from Henry
(which I may have posted before), in which he guardedly does not
"rule out dogmatically the possibility that the dust of man's origin may have
been animated:

"The biblical record does not settle the uniqueness, antiquity, and unity
of the human race by a central appeal to morphological
considerations. The disjunction between man and the animals, of the
sub-Adamic forms and the Adam form of life, in Genesis, takes place
with the formation of a creature under moral command. Man's basic
distinction is that he is divinely endowed with the imago Dei, through
the specially inbreathed breath of life. The Bible knows man as from
the beginning intended for fellowship with God, for rational-moral-
spiritual discrimination, for social responsibility for dominion over the
earth and the animals. The record moves swiftly, in biblical theology,
from the primal Adam, who is already a "cultured gentleman," to the
beginnings of society and civilization. And here it must not be ignored
that the study of the origin of religion discloses that religion is as old
as man; no primitive tribe is without a form of religious life and

Perhaps we are not to rule out dogmatically the possibility that the
dust of man's origin may have been animated, since the animals
before man appear to have been fashioned from the earth (Gen. 1:24).
The Bible does not explicate man's physical origin in detail. The fact
that, after Genesis 1:1 the narrator deals with a mediate creation,
which involves the actualizing of potentialities latent in the original
creation, should caution us against the one-sided invocation of divine
transcendence. The new levels of being arise with quite obvious
dependence on the lower in the creation account. Yet man's
disjunction from the animals appears specific enough, especially since
fiat beginning is an essential idea in the Hebrew-Christian revelation
of origins and since Eve, while deriving her body from an anatomical
form, gains it from Adam in distinction from the lower forms.

Be that as it may, it is the ethico-religious fact about man which
marks him off most conspicuously from the animals. Only an age
secular in spirit could concentrate its interest in Homo on
morphological structure seeking to understand man's origin and
nature by focusing solely on prehuman and sub-human forms, then
naming man for the brute, and finding his imago at last among the
beasts. From the Hebrew-Christian viewpoint this course, by which
man in a scientific age makes bestiality self-respecting, is but another
chapter in his sophisticated revolt against God. If the cleft between
Christianity and science is to be repaired, the theology of revelation
will not ascribe to nature and nature's God any course disputed by the
assured results of science, nor will science find man's dignity, and its
own renown also, in anything inferior to thinking the Creator's
thoughts after Him."

(Henry C.F.H., "Science and Religion", in Henry C.F.H., ed.,
"Contemporary Evangelical Thought: A Survey", Baker: Grand
Rapids MI, [1957], 1968 reprint, p282)


"Evolution is the greatest engine of atheism ever invented."
--- Dr. William Provine, Professor of History and Biology, Cornell University.

Stephen E (Steve) Jones ,--_|\
3 Hawker Avenue / Oz \
Warwick 6024 ->*_,--\_/ Phone +61 8 9448 7439
Perth, West Australia v "Test everything." (1Thess 5:21)