26 June 2010

A Coda on the Week's Discussion

posted by Phil Johnson



An anonymous commenter named David was active in two or three comment-threads this week, taking BioLogos's side against our critique of that organization's skeptical approach to Scripture. His comments so closely followed the BioLogos party line that many of our commenters assumed he was a professing Christian from the BioLogos community. In the end it became clear that David was actually a devoted atheist trolling for controversy.

At the end of Monday's thread, Dan Phillips made the following comments. Since lots of our readers never delve into the comments, I wanted to bring these points to the front page. (Dan's original comment inadvertently had two points 4, so I have renumbered the list; and point 7 below is added to Dan's original list from a subsequent comment Dan himself made well down in the morass of yesterday's comment-thread.)

My thanks to Dan for these comments. I couldn't watch the discussion as closely as I would have liked, but Dan's closing comments perfectly reflected my own thoughts about Genesis and modernist skepticism.

—Phil Johnson


Summing Up
by Dan Phillips



     would hope a few things became apparent to all despite the efforts of a few dedicated individuals to cast as much murk on the issue as possible:



  1. The language of Genesis 1 is not problematic. The style is prose, and the words are straightforward. One has the impression of six normal days of creative activity beginning with 1:1. Exodus 20:11 cements that understanding as being the same as Moses', which means that it was God's intent as well.
  2. Given that Genesis 1 flows right into the rest of the book's sequential narrative, whose genealogies mark it as a tale of millennia and not endless eons, the universe is thousands of years old, not gazillions.
  3. Evidence is not self-interpreting.
  4. We have in Genesis the one and only utterly unimpeachable eyewitness account, with its own interpretive keys to assure that we do not miss the meaning. Words mean things; God spoke to be understood by us (Hebrews 1:1-2); great doubts are not obscuring the text taken on its own terms. Possessing the text, we posses what we need for an interpretive grid for the evidence.
  5. By contrast, the dominant school that has printed up the "I Am the Only Real Scientist" T-shirts for our day is (A) in possession of a tiny fragment of evidence; (B) driven by philosophical and religious pre-commitments which assure misinterpretation of the evidence; and (C) arrogant out of all proportion to reality.
  6. I hope that the TE/OE compromisers learned a very important truth from the sneering visitors. By your compromise, (A) you are not winning them over, but (B) are signalling to them that they are winning you over. They will simply wait you out, until you continue in your process of jettisoning everything the world hates about you as a Christian.
        After all, if they can get you to toss such a straightforward chapter, the rest should be child's play.

    I add this:
  7. It is instructive that many commenters could not tell David apart from a "Christian" old-earther/evolutionist. The contempt towards the Biblical text, and the fawning, unquestioning faith in (today's dominant, self-proclaimed version of) science were indistinguishable to many.
The lesson goes out to all. Some will admit it, some won't.

Dan Phillips's signature

129 comments:

P.D. Nelson said...

Excellent Dan you have hit the nail on the head as usual. That is why I love coming here and reading what you have to say on the issues.

Mike said...

Well said brother.

Bobby Grow said...

I think what Dan communicates in his points is right on. Scripture is clear; and the point on Ex. 20 and the six days, in my mind has always been the most salient one in re. to interpreting the "days" of Gen. 1 (analogy of scripture/faith).

Scripture presents THE narrative, by which all others are judged and critiqued. The resurrection of Jesus Christ vouchsafes the veracity of who He is/was and thus the veracity of all that was said before in anticipation of Him (the OT Jn 5.39).

I don't really like the YEC/OE debate; I often think those categories when brought to the text do damage to what the text really is on about (Gen 1 and the Pentateuch); and that is to introduce God's people (in context Israel) to their God, who is the Creator (in contrast to the pagan deities surrounding Israel). And once He introduces Himself He keeps going until we finally meet Him in the Incarnation.

Anyway, good points, Dan!

Rob Bailey said...

"Are you gonna do something? Or just stand there and bleed?" - Fake Wyatt Earp.

one busy mom said...

Point #7 is extremely instructive!

Very insightful comments.

Alen Basic said...

Excellent points. I especially like the statement "After all, if they can get you to toss such a straightforward chapter, the rest should be child's play".

The entire concept is foolish, whenever you try to please everyone you often end up doing the opposite.

Barbara said...

That's why some of us started evangelizing him, no? I remember my own contempt for the Scripture, and I still called myself a believer at the time. It's THE sin that the Holy Spirit convicted me of - the grandaddy of all the rest.

I pray the soil begins to be tilled and the seed take root.

greglong said...

I'm surprised David was allowed to go on as long as he did, but I know you guys want to give the benefit of the doubt.

My spidey sense started tingling back on the previous thread when he said it was fruitless to debate the meaning of ancient Hebrew words. Obviously not a high view of Scripture.

Sonja said...

I hope I don't come across as some spiritualizing, warm and fuzzy Christian, but I want to thank you all. I spent 50 years in the dark, and have so much to learn. Since my conversion, I couldn't buy into YEC at all, but that has always nagged at me from that little compartment I dispatched it to in my head. An easy solution was the Gap Theory, and besides, does it really make that much difference?

Yeah, it does; a dangerous attitude. I call into question everything I believe if I don't believe in YEC. If He's not telling me the truth at the very beginning, why should I believe anything through the end of His revelation?

I wanted to make God fit into my own "knowledge", which isn't wisdom, but foolishness. And I'm a literalist -- a day means a day, a thousand years means a thousand years, an hour means an hour. God is concerned with time and that was what was nagging at me, He couldn't be plainer. So, with all the comments responding to David I took to heart. You were all talking to me, not in the same way, but with a message I needed to hear to be built up and made stronger in my faith.

It's still a mystery, I'm still not there yet, not all the way. I was complacent and comfortable -- being shaken up takes getting used to.

Just wanted to let you all know how much you helped and taught me and forced me to ponder and pray on this and yeah, repent on my unbelief, and who knows who else has done the same. So thanks for your fruit -- it's delicious.

Peter said...

What's amazing about 'David' is that he asked very many questions without making a positive statement of his own, a sign that he could not defend himself. I think by asking questions he expected Christians to run out of replies, or to run out of patience and become ornery.

Instead, it became a wonderful opportunity to share the Gospel using his questions as a foil, leaving him with a lot to sleep on.

RealityCheck said...

#6 really jumps off the screen to me because I often think and wonder (and ask) why? Why such a willingness to compromise Gods word? I mean the text couldn’t be more straight forward, so obviously, the pressure has to be coming from outside of the Bible. This means that despite whatever excuse given, the bottom line is that something is trumping Gods word. Sorry, but it really is that simple. And it doesn’t matter who’s doing it. Take the piece that someone linked to by Ankerberg and Geisler, which I read and found interesting, unconvincing, but interesting. The entire time I was reading it I couldn’t help but keep asking… why? Why such an effort (and we’re talking a lot of effort here) to find some way to jam a bunch of time into a place that doesn’t even hint at it? I don’t get it… I mean… I really don’t get it! Anyway, thanks Dan for pointing out the futility of such an effort.

Sir Aaron said...

@Sonja: Thanks for sharing your testimony. I hope others will realize what you have.

@Peter: I engaged him once on the "facts" that he wanted to talk about. As soon as I got him cornered on the floor (I told him there is no way we could ever be sure what effect a global flood as described in the Bible would do to the planet) he immediately said that the flood was irrelevant and moved onto the fossil record. Thereafter, he quickly delved into statements that showed outright contempt. Which just goes to show what AiG and ICR have been saying forever. Evolutionists aren't really interested in truth or facts.

Phil Johnson said...

Dan's #6 is spot on, and it applies to most of the gimmicks and gewgaws evangelicals entertain themselves with in the name of being "missional."

And BioLogos-style compromise is being done in other fields besides science. This is the very same kind of project:

"Muslim, atheist, Jew—these are adjectives to the name 'Christian,'" according to Samir Selmanovic.

This too:

"Speakers from Claremont noted the need to 'desegregate religious education' and tear down the walls that have long separated them. They repeatedly called for a culture of inclusiveness, tolerance and pluralism and stressed the urgency of that call."

What wins people to Christ is not accommodastion to their worldviews, but the gospel, which confronts every worldview.

And Scripture is explicit about that. If we have to yield the ground that explains why the gospel is necessary in order to persuade committed naturalists that Christianity is OK, what possible good will that accomplish?

And why would someone who refuses to believe that creation itself is a supernatural event accept any of the miracles in Scripture, up to and including the resurrection?

Phil Johnson said...

I realize that quite a few in the BioLogos community would formally affirm the bodily resurrection of Christ. I just can't figure out why they would do so, given their presuppositions and their devotion to an empiricist epistemology. At whatever point they accept any of the miracles in Scripture, they are being inconsistent. Their fellow naturalists understand that and keep pointing it out to them. BioLogos has no good answer in its arsenal for that point.

Here's a devoted naturalist's reply to the BioLogos agenda. Her whole post is worth reading, because it shows precisely what kind of thinking Biologos is so keen to accommodate. She writes:

"That's why there's a problem with accommodationism. It's more about winning numbers for your cause than truly communicating and educating people about evolution. Are people truly supporters of evolution if they're not accepting it as a natural process? Do people really understand natural selection if they think God is zapping in mutations or had a plan for humans to eventually evolve? Why is it that our tactic involves people preserving their religious beliefs (which are based on faith), but molding science (which is based on facts) to fit their world view? If anything, it should be the other way around. Religion should have to accommodate science."

Many of the atheistic commenters at BioLogos this week made precisely the same point.

Accommodate that.

chaplain mike said...

I don't find any of your points persuasive, and not because I am committed to a particular view of science. I think they represent a poor reading of the Bible. And folks at least as far back as St. Augustine have thought so too. This is not the place to argue a particular position. Just to say your view is by no means the only legitimate interpretation of Genesis.

chaplain mike said...

And Phil, the reason I and others can hold to the reality of the resurrection is because the genre of the literature, and the apologetic appeals to empirical evidence of the NT support that. The genres in Genesis 1-11 are entirely different and are open to a variety of interpretive approaches.

Gordan said...

Chaplain Mike, you remind me of a guy I knew in the Navy who had a talent for walking up on the end of a conversation and generously inserting his opinions, without listening long enough to know that everything he said had already been discussed. We used to make him follow the Two Minute Rule: listen for 120 seconds, so you get the feel for what's going on.

You claimed this isn't the place to argue it...but it has been just that all week long, if you cared enough to look and see.

DJP said...

The genres in Genesis 1-11 are entirely different and are open to a variety of interpretive approaches.

Is that a fact? I just went back and read Genesis 11:32—12:1 in Hebrew, to see if I'd missed the phrase "OK, kiddies, you can take off your decoder rings now."

Still not seeing it.

romey said...

The genre distinction argument that so many are using to categorize Genesis as myth while preserving the Gospels as factual is bunk, plain and simple.

The gospels are a unique genre in themselves, but if one wants to look for mythical elements in them, it is easy to do so. Only an utterly inconsistent hermeneutic can so blithely call the Gospels fact and Genesis fiction.

I am in full agreement with Dan, Phil and the others that view Genesis as clearly in itself presenting historical facts. It's the only view that is consistent with the rest of Scripture - period.

romey said...

Also it's obvious that the Biologos folks is allowing their postmodern viewpoints to shape their view of God. Their view provides a God that doesn't challenge the wrongheaded views of the Babylonians or Egyptians - he just enters into conversation with them. He doesn't reveal any truth about how the world came to be, simply that He created it and not some other false God. Nor, does he correct faulty thinking about a flood - he just fiddles along and lets everyone remain confused about it.

This is just an example of postmoderns framing God after their image - nothing more or less.

Bobby Grow said...

What genre is Genesis in? It's clearly poetry, which is a type of literature (like narrative and discourse). But poetry in the Bible is used all the time to communicate historical "Thus saith the LORD" truth (think of the Prophets, like: Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel).

I'm just not sure what genre you're thinking of, Mike. There are only 7 that come to my mind; and when I think them through in re. to scripture none of them fit the category of myth or legend (in fact nothing in the Bible does, at least according to Jesus' view of Scripture --- see Gordan Wenham's "Jesus and the Bible").

Until BioLogos honestly deals with what Jesus said about the Bible (ie how He used it, etc.); and how the whole of the NT views the OT and then uses it to make its points (like the 1st and 2nd Adam motif), then this "genre" thing just cannot fly (again, I don't know of any biblical genre that fits into "myth" --- Bultmann might).

Daryl said...

Bobby,

Are you serious about Genesis being poetry?
Isn't that the perennial claim of the BioLogos-like thinkers?

In English it reads to me like narrative, plainly. And I've yet to hear a Hebrew reader say that it looks like Hebrew poetry.
It clearly doesn't read like the Psalms or the poetic parts of the prophets.

Bobby Grow said...

Daryl,

Well there is a chiasm at work between the Days of Creation. But there is no precedent in scripture for taking poetry as less "true" than didactic.

Ask Dan if Genesis 1 has poetry in it. I really don't care if Biologos recognizes poetry in Gen., it's there. But like I said, it doesn't matter; this does not make it less historical or true (don't give into the "consequences of belief arguement or guilt by association, Daryl).

Do you think the Psalms are less historical or true because they are "Hebrew Poetry?" Or the prophets, like I already mentioned?

chaplain mike said...

You guys already have your minds made up. That's why I said I won't discuss it here. You have zero tolerance for any other views, and the smug dismissals you just gave me make my point. This thread has been a consistent love-fest for the POV of the post, and I simply wanted to point out that you are not the only Christians in the universe and that your interpretation of Genesis is not the only legitimate point of view.

mikeb said...

Chaplain Mike, turns out OE's shouldn't appeal to Augustine, as it appears he wasn't too prideful change his ways in later years.

"Augustine wrote in De Civitate Dei that his view of the chronology of the world and the Bible led him to believe that Creation took place around 5600 BC"

Full article here:
http://creation.com/augustine-young-earth-creationist

Daryl said...

Bobby,

Don't worry, I won't fall for that. I just haven't seen the poetry.

But there is a difference, factually, in what is written in poetry and what is written in prose, is there not?

What seems to be the common question is, if the trees of the field don't really clap their hands, then why should we believe that God really created in 6 days?

Without being told, I've always read all of Genesis the same way. As narrative.

That's all.

Bobby Grow said...

Daryl,

I overstated on the chiasm point; I just went and looked it over again, I was thinking of something else. But there is a Poetic like parallelism going on between the days (i.e. compare 1st and 3rd day, 2nd and 4th, 3rd and six --- and then note the 6-in-1 pattern, same as in Exodus 20).

C. Mike,

What I would like to know is what genre you place Gen. 1--11 in? That's all. There's no love-fest here, at least with me; ask any of the Pyros or its readers if I'm all that "loved" around here ;-).

Bobby Grow said...

Daryl,

I see what you're saying with the "figurative" language often appealed to in Hebrew Poetry. But there are certainly literary devices used within Genesis that are quite beautiful flourishes to be honest (like the parallelism between the days). I guess all I was noting is that there is more than "prose" going on in Genesis; but I wouldn't want to make it sound like I don't think its historical, because I do.

Daryl said...

Thanks Bobby. I follow.

BTW. Not loved? Often disagreed with, but not loved?

Bobby Grow said...

Daryl,

Thanks, brother!

Garrett said...

Dan or Phil, I have a couple of honest questions that I'd like your take on. Travis Allen and my patient new friend Fred Butler over at the GTY blog have been very kind in offering their sage advice on my current struggles (former YEC, burned out by Kent Hovind's awfulness, apostatized to OEC, then TE, now a bit confused, plus I study genetics at the grad level and I NEED to get a bit of closure on this topic, talked with a church elder, planning on talking w/ pastor tomorrow).

Here's my problem with a few of Dan's points:

1.)The language of Genesis seems to paint a picture of the cosmos that looks like this: http://ncse.com/files/images/continuum-Fig-3-2-hebrew.preview.gif Bruce Waltke and John Walton seem to agree. Is that how Genesis portrays the structure of the cosmos? Did the Hebrews actually think of it that way since the text does say God made a firmament (apparently solid) with waters above it, etc? This has bothered me for some time and I've yet to hear a satisfactory response.

5.)When you say that "the dominant school...is (A) in possession of a tiny fragment of evidence" I almost wince, since I wouldn't be in this conundrum in the first place if that were the case. For me, the more I study evolution (with my original intent being to demolish it) the more convincing it seems and yet the more I study YEC the less convincing it seems. What does Dr. MacArthur counsel science students at Master's to do in my situation, since I'm sure it has come up before? Is there a prof there I can contact? I'm at a Christian grad school, but all the profs here are TEs of some sort.

I'll take anything I can get from anyone on these subjects, esp Phil (your critique of "What Love is This?" changed my life, for the good!) and Dan (most of your instincts here seems sharp and no-nonsensical). Thanks in advance.

chaplain mike said...

Bobby: IMHO, I would consider Genesis to be "exalted prose"—not plain journalistic narrative reporting, nor poetry, but something like liturgical speech. It is so ordered, so numerically structured (note all the uses of 7 and multiples of the number 7), that I consider it likely that it was designed for meditation and worship rather than for bare analysis.

The parallelism you observe (Days 1-3/4-6) convinces me that we are not reading a strictly chronological ordering of events, but a thematic one. On the first three days, God "forms" his land, and on the second three days, God "fills" what he has formed.

I think John Sailhamer, John Walton, and William Brown (as well as others) are on to something when they see this as a portrayal of the building of God's "cosmic Temple," (and the parallels and similar imagery with regard to the Garden, the Tabernacle, the Temple, and the New Creation, as well as ANE parallels, support this for me).

In my view, reading Genesis 1 as narrative is one thing (it is a special kind of narrative). However, reading it through modern eyes that expect it to communicate factual data related to the process of creation is simply making a huge category error.

Furthermore, thought it goes beyond your genre question a bit, Genesis 1 was written first to communicate a message in the context of the Torah and God's provision of the Promised Land. And the organization, language, and literary style of Genesis 1 point directly to that application.

Without going into detail, I suggest Genesis 1-3 in particular would have first spoken to the Israelites in Moses' day because it tells the story of God providing a good land for his people and blessing them to be his representatives in the world. But it goes on to show how they became exiled from that good land because they did not trust and obey his Word. That's the message of Moses' final great sermon in the Torah (Deut 30), of which Genesis is the introduction.

Mike Riccardi said...

Wondering what you guys think of this study done by Dr. Stephen Boyd (actually it's only a summary of the study, but one where his method is transparent). Seems to blow the non-literal interpretation of Genesis out of the water. Here's his description:

Although the Hebrew text’s ordinary morphology, syntax, and vocabulary betray no indication that it should be read other than as a narrative, many who mold it to an old earth model, read it as mere poetry. But is this approach
defensible? I’m convinced the text will tell us whether the author wanted us to read it as poetry or prose: countable linguistic features—which allow statistical analysis—can inform us of what his original readers would have intuitively grasped. I chose to study the distribution of Biblical Hebrew finite verbs (verbs inflected for person, gender, and number), to find the answer
.

His conclusion:

Three major implications from this study are (1) it is not statistically defensible to read Genesis 1:1–2:3 as poetry; (2) since Genesis 1:1–2:3 is a narrative, it should be read as other Hebrew narratives are intended to be read as a concise report of actual events, couched to convey an unmistakable theological message; and (3) when this text is read as a narrative, there is only one tenable view of its plain sense: God created everything in six literal days.

CR said...

Chaplain Mike,

Wouldn't you agree that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the most important and good news of the Bible? If so, wouldn't you agree that the reason for the salvation was because of Adam's disobedience? Rom 5:12ff tells that sin entered the world through one man's disobedience, Adam's disobedience?

Don't you agree that how God deals with the human race is representation? God sees the unregenerate through Adam and the parallel is God sees His people through Christ? (Rom 5:15)

I ask this because you say that it is an error to read Genesis and to expect it to communicate factual data related to the process of creation. Well, Genesis is not only a narrative of the cosmos, and earth, but also Adam.

If Gen 1-11 is not actual history and if the genres of Gen 1-11 are open to a variety of interpretative approaches then we're in trouble.

I take it by your profile name, you are a chaplain? You probably have had to console many people. Hasn't anyone come to you ask whether if it's a child or a soldier or spouse or what have you and ask: "why did my husband have to die? Why does anyone have to die?" Well, the Bible is very clear and saying that death reigns because of Adam's disobedience.

The whole story, Mike, of the human race (and the world) can be summed up because of Adam and what has happened and what will happen because of Christ. Why are there roadside bombs, Mike and terrorist attacks not to mention the soldiers you may have to counsel because of their spouses divorcing them or separating from them? The book of Romans and the book of Genesis is very clear this happened because of one man.

Don't we have to assert the historicity of these supernatural manifestations of the Bible, Mike? Adam's disobedience plunged the WHOLE human race and creation (see Romans 8:18, supernaturally, God curses the earth, supernaturally. In other words, human race didn't plunge into darkness over a process or stage of development (I'm sure you would agree) and neither did the cosmos get curses over a developing stage of processes (I'm sure you would agree). All of that was supernatural. I hope you would agree that Adam was created supernaturally.

So, we as Christians believe (or suppose believe) that these manifestations are supernaturally. So why, would we all of sudden, say, "yes, I believe all of that. I believe that human race plunged from its original state of perfection to what it is now, supernaturally, BUT, the creation got to its state of perfection of intermediate steps of evolution and development."

Why would we not reject the supernatural manifestations of the Fall, Christ's work, but we reject the supernatural manifestations of how the Earth came to its original state of perfection?

CR said...

Chaplain Mike: And Phil, the reason I and others can hold to the reality of the resurrection is because the genre of the literature, and the apologetic appeals to empirical evidence of the NT support that. The genres in Genesis 1-11 are entirely different and are open to a variety of interpretive approaches.

Chaplain Mike, one last point, I submit to you that the only (I hope you'll agree) reason why any would hold, meaning, trust, to the Resurrection of Jesus is because that person is born-again, and because they see the Resurrection account being presented as history.

Now you've said that Genesis is entirely different. Well, as we know, the Bible uses pictures and symbols sometimes and when it uses symbols, pictures and parables, the Bible indicates that it is doing so. But when it presents us something in the form of history it requires us to accept it in the form of history.

It is inconsistent to accept the creation of man, the result of the Fall and the resurrection as supernatural events but reject the supernatural manifestation of how it got to an original state of perfection.

Johnny Dialectic said...

It's obvious that Gen. 1 is written in a heightened, majestic, poetic style. It's a mistake, however, to say it therefore holds no hard truth. That's an imposed hermeneutic. It is quite clearly conveying hard truth at the very same time it is appealing to heart and spirit. It's magnificent and inerrant.

chaplain mike said...

Johnny, I don't know what "hard truth" is, but I never said Genesis 1 is not true. I just said it wasn't a journalistic report of how things happened. The truths it teaches are theological, not scientific. It's about the who and the why of creation, not the mechanics of how.

chaplain mike said...

CR: regarding the resurrection. There is a difference between the NT texts and their insistence that there were eyewitnesses, bodily appearances, putting one's hands on the wounds of a Person risen from the dead, hearing his voice, watching him eat, and so on, from the literary and theological presentation of creation in Genesis 1. One is about empirical evidence. The other is about a theological claim. I accept both, and the Creed I confess each day says so.

Johnny Dialectic said...

Hi Chaplain Mike. I don't get why you say it's only "theological" truth. The text does not mandate that you take it that way. Why cant' it be reporting hard facts at the same time? That's the question you have to deal with. What principle, other than the genre itself (which is neutral), do you rely on to make this judgment?

When George Washington was extolled as being "first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen," that did not mean there was no actual war or that he was not in fact the most highly esteemed American of his time. It does not mean, IOW, that those words did not convey actual (i.e. "journalistic") truth.

donsands said...

"It's about the who and the why of creation, not the mechanics of how."

Paul said about the who of creation, this:

"But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ."

"For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor."

If Paul wrote these truths for us of Genesis 1, then we must trust that he is telling us divine truth. He was even taken up to the 3rd heaven.
Paul was instructed by the risen Lord.

Paul's words are clear, and as Dan said, Genesis one's "words are straightforward" as well.

I'm not saying that there is a mystery, and a difficulty, to putting truth and what we learn from science together.

But we need to let God be true first and foremost, not man.

Have a good Lord's day all.

chaplain mike said...

Johnny, the parallelism in the account is one big reason. For example, it simply doesn't make sense to have days and nights for three days before the sun and moon. The arrangement is thematic rather than chronological. See my earlier comment to Bobby.

romey said...

I've got it - "incarnational analogy." God begins by telling us fairy tales before getting into real truth, just like we teach our kids through nursery rhymes and whatnot before getting real with them.

Except, God never clearly articulates that his first stories are fairy tales and only the most learned few have the ability to recognize this and tell the masses about it.

Yep, makes tons of sense.

chaplain mike said...

romey, great example of not answering a statement, but setting up a straw man.

Barbara said...

Is Chaplain Mike the same Chaplain Mike who posts at iMonk?

romey said...

I'm just trying to accommodate to language that postmoderns understand best...

But seriously, even if you accept that there might be allusions to temple and garden type language in Gen 1 and 2 one can easily view it as anthropomorphic language that God used to communicate actual truth about the creative act. Not just some "theological truth" that renders our knowledge of creation agnostic at best.

Sorry if I sound a bit snarky. Just tired of folks saying that the Gospels hold up as not being mythical while calling Gen 1-11 myth. A simple glance at the characteristics of the mythic genre will show that one can rightly say that the Gospels hold these elements, if they are willing to affirm that God uses myth to communicate truth in the Bible.

If I adopt that hermeneutic, logically I'd believe that the Gospels are the marriage of Hebrew messianic belief with ANE resurrected god myths, written in the form of Greek biographical narrative.

Just saying that the Gospels state in themselves that there were eyewitness to Jesus' resurrection doesn't mean much either when outside "evidence" is the controlling factor in determining that Genesis 1-11 is myth. Where is the outside "evidence" of the Gospels claims.

Guess what - there isn't any. Josephus making mention of the followers of "Chrestus" in no way validates anything more than that Christians existed.

In fact, the outside "evidence" of science proves that people don't rise from the dead. I guess we have to accept that, lest we become a cult...

Johnny Dialectic said...

Hi Chaplain Mike. I think I perceive a bit of the problem here, in your take that the events of Gen. 1 are not chronological. Where did that imposition come from? Why can't the events be chronological?

romey said...

Yep, the chronological order that God's inspired instrument used in writing Genesis 1 is completely irrelevant.

Thank goodness for the scholars who have informed us of this fact.

RealityCheck said...

See, there it is, right there, Mike said, “it simply doesn't make sense to have days and nights for three days before the sun and moon”. Says who Mike… says who? Notice I didn’t ask Who… but who.

who (apparently not Who) is your authority Mike?

Solameanie said...

Chaplain Mike,

Just what, in your view, determines whether an interpretation of Scripture is "legitimate?"

chaplain mike said...

Yes, this is Chaplain Mike from Internet Monk. You folks can throw all the snark you want my way. I still haven't anyone answer anything I have put forward other than to simply dismiss it. I'm happy to have discussion, but if this just turns into name-calling and salvation-questioning nonsense, I'm out.

If you want to read a full account of my interpretation of Genesis 1, you can do so here:

http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/my-view-genesis-1#more-6019

and here:

http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/ok-you-asked

We'll be doing more posts all week on the issue, too. I hope you'll check it out. You are welcome to the discussions, too.

CR said...

Chaplain Mike,

Do you believe that the fiat creation of Adam and his disobedience in the garden and God's cursing of the earrh is actual history or mere "theological claim."

Bobby Grow said...

I've read Sailhammer, been taught by one of his colleagues, and taught for that colleague. I understand, C. Mike, the exegesis and canonical critical approach that Sailhammer advocates. I think there is some literary and textual substance to it (and the notion of "Land" is highly plausible).

As far as the thematic structure with the days, even so, I don't see why this should lead to the conclusion that these aren't literal (as one of my former profs Al Baylis has noted in his book"From Creation too the Cross") days.

DJP said...

Garrett

Your new friend Fred had a really good, well-documented article on the whole three-decker universe issue (particularly raqia`, "firmament").

I'm puzzled that someone as knowledgeable as I'd assume you to be, and not wed to evolutionism as you aren't, objecting to my remark about evidence. How much of the planet's surface do you think has been explored, and to what depth? How much do you think is certainly known about what has been found? Anyone whose pose (and it is just a pose) is that he has no axe to grind, and is simply driven by the evidence, would be forced by honesty to admit that he has no idea whether the next find or the next method of testing or the next paradigm-shift might actually undo absolutely everything that has been found and thought thus far.

There is only one being in the universe who both possesses all the facts that can be possessed, and fully understands their significance. That would be God. He says it all was created within 6 24-hour days thousands of years ago.

I really feel that the stance based on God's unimpeachable, self-interpreted eyewitness testimony is the superior position.

Bobby Grow said...

One would expect to find beauty, structure, and intentionality in a book that God Himself authored --- just as we find this same beauty and artistry in His creation. Parallelisms, literary devices, and thematic structure don't take away from the actuality that is being "described" in the text of scripture; instead it enhances and adds to God's story to us as His people. As one reads didactic or discourse literature there is chiasm, parallelism, and all kinds of lit. devices appealed to. This does not take away from the factuality or truth being communicated; on the contrary it reinforces the reality and truth of what is being disclosed. I see no difference with the book of Genesis and the thematic structuring there.

In my mind, the only reason take that structure as connoting non-literalness is because a prior commitment to some other motive to do so --- the the text does not require that, at all!

Phil Johnson said...

Garrett:

Thanks for the feedback. I answered the question you posted at your own blog, and in Monday's blogpost I'll reply to the question(s) you have raised here.

Phil Johnson said...

Garrett:

On second thought, let me give direct replies to your questions here, and in tomorrow's post I'll recount some of my experience in a secular college's science classroom. Perhaps you'll find that more of an encouragement than my answers to your actual questions.

But as for your questions:

Garrett: "The language of Genesis seems to paint a picture of the cosmos that looks like this: http://ncse.com/files/images/continuum-Fig-3-2-hebrew.preview.gif Bruce Waltke and John Walton seem to agree. Is that how Genesis portrays the structure of the cosmos? Did the Hebrews actually think of it that way since the text does say God made a firmament (apparently solid) with waters above it, etc?"

Well, the Genesis account is a (somewhat ambiguous) description without any graphics. The chart may indeed reflect one of the ways the Hebrews imagined the universe. Is that precisely what the text itself describes? I think not. No believer today would envision that from the data in the text. And the book of Job contains imagery that's much more mysterious yet, but Job clearly believed the earth is hung on nothing (Job 26:7).

Also, it's an unwarranted assumption to claim that the "firmament" was "apparently solid." I've heard four or more different explanations of what the "firmament" and "the waters above" meant. Jody Dillow wrote a book with that title (The Waters Above) arguing that both expressions describe a vapor canopy that protected the earth in the antediluvian era.

What if Dillow is wrong (as he clearly is seriously wrong in other things he teaches)? Or what if a large majority of the ancient Hebrews misunderstood the meaning of firmament? That doesn't disprove the biblical record. Lots of ancient Hebrews misunderstood a lot of the OT's true meaning. That's clear from the NT book of Hebrews.

As I said here earlier and today at your blog, the fact that there are many possible interpretations doesn't mean all interpretations are equally valid. Always there is one true interpretation and all interpretations that contradict the true one are necessarily wrong. The salient question for us is: What is the supreme authority by which we measure the rightness or wrongness of any proposition or interpretation? And the Christian answer is Scripture itself.

Faith often (usually? always?) comes before understanding. And the question that troubles me is not whether the ancient Hebrews correctly understood what the firmament was, but, What does the biblical text truly mean? That's the proper perspective for a Christian. We don't doubt the authority of God's word just because we find out someone's interpretation was incorrect, of just because all the details in the text aren't perfectly clear to us.

Garrett: "What does Dr. MacArthur counsel science students at Master's to do in my situation, since I'm sure it has come up before?"

Raise the hard questions in class and don't be cowed by your professors' dogmatic disdain toward anyone who doesn't find scientists' bald assertions--or evolving theories--persuasive. (See tomorrow's blogpost for more on this topic.)

RealityCheck said...

Mike,

You say, “I'm happy to have discussion”.

O.k. so let’s have one. You said, “it simply doesn't make sense to have days and nights for three days before the sun and moon” and I asked, “Says who Mike… says who?”

How about an answer?

David Rudd said...

Chaplain Mike,

I hear you. I disagree with your conclusion, but I'd be happy to worship with you on Sunday, and share my table with you on Monday...

It is important for all of us to remember that we have brothers and sisters who may not see everything (even important things) the same as we do. They're still our brothers and sisters!

Fred Butler said...

Thanks Dan for the link.
Make sure all you folks who follow it to my article read the "rebuttal" comments by apostate, Ed Babinski (another "friend" with whom OEC unwittingly hold hands) who was shilling for his new book allegedly debunking biblical cosmology, and then follow my link to Steve Hays masterful rejoinder.

Garrett said...

Thanks Phil for your thoughts. I freaked out when I saw that you commented on my blog (a true honor for me, the least of all bloggers!).

I think, and only Dr. Falk can know this for sure, that you may have misread his comment about interpretation. You took it to mean "that because we interpret things subjectively, one interpretation is always as good as another." But I don't think Dr. Falk would agree with that. In fact, he probably thinks your interpretation is inferior to his. Here's how I read it: "even YOU must interpret the text." This is a valid point, since denying that would be making what D.A. Carson calls the tabula rasa fallacy. It goes like this: "I don't interpret Genesis; I just read it!" Henry Morris used to say something akin to that. Well, in fact everyone comes to the text with certain expectations and presuppositions that color his/her reading and influence his/her conclusions. These we must acknowledge and test in light of scripture, or our conversations will be like two trains on parallel tracks, each side assuming that if the other just read the text, their position would just leap off the pages. But that's naive. Carson, adapting a phrase from Carl Henry, said this: "There are two kinds of practitioners of hermeneutics: those who admit it and those who don't. For every time we find something in the Bible (whether it is actually there or not!), we have interpreted the Bible." Falk is merely echoing Carson's sentiment when he said "we both interpret. Anyone who thinks otherwise is only fooling himself." Of course, he may have been implying what you said, but I'd give him the benefit of the doubt since he and Collins have said repeatedly, in essence, "We all interpret, and the YEC interpretation is inferior to ours" not "that because interpretation by definition has an element of subjectivity to it, everyone is free to interpret however he or she prefers, and everyone's interpretation deserves equal respect." I'm sure if you'd ask him, he'd say that wasn't his intent.

Garrett said...

In the comment on my blog you said: "That's the choice you are faced with, Garrett, and it's the starting point for every answer to all the questions you are asking: Do you truly believe God's Word is authoritative or not?"

Yes I do. It is authoritative on all it attempts to address, but since I don't think it was trying to give a date for the age of the earth/universe, I think it is improper to expect it to. In Augustine's day, philosophers debated the relative weight of the 4 essential greek elements, and some Christians, seeking the bible's take on the matter, cited Psalm 136:6 ("who spread out the earth upon the waters") to conclude that earth was less dense than water. But clearly this was a misuse of the text; it simply wasn't the author's intention to weigh in on that debate, which didn't even exist when the Psalm was written. Today, I suspect Christians do the same, wanting the bible to weigh in on matters that we find important, but which the author was not concerned with answering. Article XIII of the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy says "WE DENY that it is proper to evaluate Scripture according to standards of truth and error that are alien to its usage or purpose. We further deny that inerrancy is negated by Biblical phenomena such as a lack of modern technical precision, [...] observational descriptions of nature [etc.]." I think YEC's too often apply alien, anachronistic standards to Genesis, expecting a sort of scientific concordance it just wasn't intended to give. I don't say the bible errs in saying the sun and moon are the two great lights, even though Jupiter is larger than the moon and the moon isn't a "great light" per se, but merely reflects the sun's light. Calvin said "For, to my mind, this is a certain principle, that nothing is here treated of but the visible form of the world. He who would learn astronomy, and other recondite arts, let him go elsewhere." And he also said "Moses makes two great luminaries; but astronomers prove, by conclusive reasons that the star of Saturn, which on account of its great distance, appears the least of all, is greater than the moon. Here lies the difference; Moses wrote in a popular style things which without instruction, all ordinary persons, endued with common sense, are able to understand; but astronomers investigate with great labor whatever the sagacity of the human mind can comprehend.

Nevertheless, this study is not to be reprobated, nor this science to be condemned, because some frantic persons are wont boldly to reject whatever is unknown to them. For astronomy is not only pleasant, but also very useful to be known: it cannot be denied that this art unfolds the admirable wisdom of God.[...] Moses, therefore, rather adapts his discourse to common usage. For since the Lord stretches forth, as it were, his hand to us in causing us to enjoy the brightness of the sun and moon, how great would be our ingratitude were we to close our eyes against our own experience? There is therefore no reason why janglers should deride the unskilfulness of Moses in making the moon the second luminary; for he does not call us up into heaven, he only proposes things which lie open before our eyes."

I think Calvin was right, and that his insights on the bible's relation to astronomy may be instructive to our debates on the bible's relation to geology/biology.

Garrett said...

Finally, when you say (as Dr. MacArthur has) that the book of Job contains numerous insights that modern science has confirmed, I would just refer you to an article put out by Creation Ministries International entitled "Aguments we think creationists should NOT use." One of the arguments is "There is amazing modern scientific insight in the Bible." They say:

"We should interpret the Bible as the author originally intended, and as the intended readership would have understood it. Therefore we should be cautious in reading modern science into passages where the readers would not have seen it. This applies especially to poetic books like Job and Psalms. For example, Job’s readers would not have understood Job 38:31 to be teaching anything about gravitational potential energy of Orion and Pleiades. Rather, the original readers would have seen it as a poetic illustration of God’s might, i.e. that God, unlike Job, could create the Pleiades in a tightly-knit cluster which is what it looks like; while God created Orion as a well spread out constellation, again something well beyond Job’s ability. Similarly, Job 38:14 is not advanced scientific insight into the Earth’s rotation, because the earth is not being compared to the turning seal but to the clay turning from one shape into another under the seal."

I have heard Dr. MacArthur cite Job 38:14 to say that very thing and when you say "Job clearly believed the earth is hung on nothing (Job 26:7)" I fear you may be falling into the same trap. How is that any different from when Hugh Ross claims Genesis 1:1 is a clear reference to the Big Bang? Aren't you taking imagery with a superficial resemblance to modern concepts and reading into them meaning that wasn't even on the author's radar screen (especially considering that that verse also says that God "stretches the northern sky over empty space" as well. Is that referring to red shift, as Ross also claims?)?

David said...

To all who think the earth is young and was covered in a global flood,

If it happens that you are wrong, how could you tell if you're wrong?

donsands said...

"To all who think the earth is young and was covered in a global flood,"

There's no doubt about it my friend.

Jesus said, "For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man." - Matthew 24:37-39

The Lord Jesus was the One who brought the flood.

Halcyon said...

And heeeeerrrrreeee's David!

What took you so long? It's been like sixty-five comments already.

Phil Johnson said...

Garrett: "But I don't think Dr. Falk would agree with that. In fact, he probably thinks your interpretation is inferior to his. Here's how I read it: 'even YOU must interpret the text.'"

I'm quite certain he thinks my interpretation is inferior to his. The problem is, he made no such argument. His ONLY answer was that he has a different interpretation.

The argument for MY interpretation (on the historicity of Adam) would be that Jesus and Paul both interpreted Adam as a historical figure, and that settles the question. If Dr. Falk thinks he has a better interpretation, he accomplishes nothing by stating his disagreement with no actual argument--except in the minds of postmodernists (like some of our readers and a lot of his disciples), who think the mere existence of alternative interpretations proves that no one can know the true interpretation for certain.

If BioLogos is so keen to start "dialogue" (as they claim), they need to resist blowing off their critics with the "well, that's just your interpretation" rejoinder to every disagreement. They need to at least TRY to make the case that their interpretation is better.

And in all candor, that's something they will never be able to do if their position hinges on believing Jesus and Paul were mistaken. (Which is why they have guys like the fellow on your blog who urged you not to have any dialogue with us.)

Frank Turk said...

For the record, "you guys" already have your minds made up -- Chaplain Mike and others who find Genesis 1-2 to be about aeons or ages or perhaps about the emergence of God's plan and process certainly do not have their minds made up. That's why they can lecture us about why we're wrong.

I find it interesting, though, that Jesus himself said that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. Jesus apparently had his mind made up about this as well.

DJP said...

Well, Frank, you know that the really important thing is that people who walk away from even the plainest passage of Scripture not feel bad about it, and not look bad. It matters more than anything that they have a place to go where compromise is tolerated, even embraced, even encouraged.

I mean, you know that's what Jesus did. After He was through doing all those things that actually got written down in the Gospels.

Frank Turk said...

David:

I like it when atheists talk about falsification and validation.

DJP said...

I like it when they can't answer straight questions and sneer that everyone else is an idiot.

romey said...

Hey Chaplain Mike.

For the record, I would never question your salvation and consider you my brother. I do think that you hold a view that is ultimately inconsistent and causes major soteriological problems that strike the essentials of the faith more than having to disbelieve the prevailing worldview that the earth is old and in effect deny their "evidence." And since it's the internet, of course I sound harsh. I don't really mean to. I think that if we actually talked you'd see that I'm just poking fun a bit and not being an outright jerk. I'd hope we'd each laugh at ourselves and have a good time.

As for your "exalted prose" argument for Gen 1. I agree that the author wrote that section in a lofty style to match the grandeur of the subject matter. But, I don't see why that renders the message as devoid of historical truth. For example, would you not agree that John 1:1-17 is pretty exalted as well? Does that mean that Jesus isn't actually the Word?

Also, what other examples in the Hebrew Bible do you view as "exalted prose" that helps you classify Gen 1 as such?

David said...

So, the answer to my question appears to be that you have no way of knowing if you're wrong. There is no evidence, no observation or data point that you would ever accept as invalidating your view that the earth is young and was covered with a global flood.

Is there a question I didn't answer?

As far as the "sneering" goes...well, with respect to some who comment here, when it comes to sneering, I am but a fingerpainter in the presence of Da Vincis.

Warren Lotter said...

David,

Oblige me if you will...

So, the answer to my question appears to be that you have no way of knowing if you're wrong. There is no evidence, no observation or data point that you would ever accept as invalidating your view that the universe is billions of years old.

Does that work as well?

Halcyon said...

David:

I'm pretty sure that donsands answered you right after your comment. Our evidence is the testimony of Scripture, whether it be what Moses wrote in Genesis or what Jesus said in the Gospels. If you (for some reason) do not want to count verbal/textual testimony as "evidence," then that's your fault and problem, not ours.

David said...

Warren,

"There is no evidence, no observation or data point that you would ever accept as invalidating your view that the universe is billions of years old. Does that work as well?"

Uh, no. There are plenty of ways to disprove the hypothesis that the universe is billions of years old. Just ask any astronomer. Maybe Hugh Ross could help you.

Unfortuntately, I don't know much about cosmology (I'm more of a geology-biology guy), so I can't give as good an answer as an astronomer would. However, I think one example of possible disproof would be the absence of any light from any objects that are more than 6000 light years away (we measure the distance to stars and all are 6000 light years away or less). Or what if the universe was only a few light years in width and expanding at a rate that would extrapolate back to a single point at a few thousands years? How about a radiometric date for the moon of only a few thousand years old?

I'm sure the astronomers could give you a much better and more extensive list. The point is, astronmers routinely test that hypothesis that the universe is very old, and in all of the cases, there are possible observations which, if made, would disprove the hypothesis.

I don't know much about the history of astronomy, so I may be mistaken here. But given the prevailing religious opinions of the time, I suspect that the European astronomers of a few hundred years ago had every reason to expect that their observations would be consistant with a young universe. That is, they did not start out expecting to find an ancient universe. It was the collection of data and observations that led them to reject a young universe model. Observations simply supported an old universe model much better than a young universe model. If the universe was actully very young, then the observations would have been different and would have disproved an old universe model.

David said...

Halcyon,

"Our evidence is the testimony of Scripture, whether it be what Moses wrote in Genesis or what Jesus said in the Gospels. If you (for some reason) do not want to count verbal/textual testimony as "evidence," then that's your fault and problem, not ours."

It's not a question of whether one WANTS to count something as evidence or not. What one wants to do is not the issue. The question is, if Moses and/or the gospels happen to be wrong about the age of the earth, global floods and other things, how would you know? Is there any evidence, observation or data point that you would ever accept as invalidating your views about young earths and global flood?


Genesis is human-created text. Human-created texts can be wrong or can be misinterpreted. Whoever created the Genesis story could have been wrong about the age of the earth and global floods. (I doubt of there was single originating author, the story is probably a cultural collaboration thing that included ideas from neighboring cultures.)

You can claim Genesis as evidence if you like, but it has to be tested, just like everything else.

Consider all of the creation stories created by all of the cultures of the world. Individuals of those cultures could also say that their evidence is the testimony of their sacred texts and if you do not want to count verbal/textual testimony as "evidence," then that's your fault and problem, not theirs.

Would you find this a convincing reason to accept their version of creation? Or would you want to put their version to the test?

Frank Turk said...

David:

How would I invalidate your view -- whichever one it is -- of the beginning (or lack thereof) of the entire universe?

I'm curious. I want to be a better man.

Mike Riccardi said...

The question is, if Moses and/or the gospels happen to be wrong about the age of the earth, global floods and other things, how would you know? Is there any evidence, observation or data point that you would ever accept as invalidating your views about young earths and global flood?

[...]

You can claim Genesis as evidence if you like, but it has to be tested, just like everything else.
?

You're begging the question. You're forcing your own naturalistic epistemology and worldview on us, and we don't accept them. You necessarily define "evidence" as empirical, something that must be external to Scripture and fully available and comprehensible to the material world. We're saying, That's not reality. That's not the universe we live in. Nothing can be truly known apart from the One who is Truth, who is the sum of all wisdom, who alone imparts knowledge. And nobody knows Him apart from faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

God is God. You and I are not. What He says, is. There's no possibility that God -- the only One who was there at creation -- can give an erroneous report about it. Your religious, even dogmatic assertion that Genesis was a work of man and not a work of God does not make it so, and amounts to little more than closing your eyes, putting your fingers in your ears, and yelling, "La la la la la la! I can't hear you!"

For crying out loud, David, open your eyes! Look outside your window! See what God in His mercy has given you to see. Repent and believe, dear friend.

CR said...

David,

I have one question. Have you read the Bible from cover to cover?

David said...

So...yall's answer to my question is no. Clear enough.

Frank Turk said...

David --

Gloating about the fact that I have faith rather than science in God doesn't really do much for you. I gloat in my faith in God as well.

However, discovering that you have faith in something and do not disparage such a thing might be educational for you.

I have faith: I admit it. I have confidence in things I have never seen.

How would I invalidate your view -- whichever one it is -- of the beginning (or lack thereof) of the entire universe?

I'm curious. I want to be a better man.

chaplain mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Warren Lotter said...

David,

Your answer reminds me of a line in Ice Age 3, "Buck, short for Buckmeister, long for Bu". (I have young children in case you're wondering.)I take it the Bu version of your answer is, "There is none because I emphatically BELIEVE there to be none".

The truth is even when existing models lead to incorrect predictions the naturalist preposes even more untestable hypotheses, e.g. the Oort Cloud. They don't really throw them out, they simply add rescuing ones.

I find it amazing that you invest so much in an EVER CHANGING body of knowledge (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100613212708.htm) and then totally dismiss our faith in Genesis.

Although the good news is I think we have found something to agree on..well sort of. And that is in regards to your statement "Human-created texts can be wrong or can be misinterpreted.", but obviously I am thinking of commonly held scientific theory concerning origins.

chaplain mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chaplain mike said...

Romey, first of all thanks for your comments. Second, I think we're talking past each other.

My question is not so much whether Genesis 1 is "historical truth" or not. I believe it is! It teaches that God created all things and then prepared the world and populated it with his creatures. That's historical fact.

I believe Genesis records these historical facts by writing a literary, anthropomorphic account that reflects the creation stories of the ancient world and is designed to answer them with truths about who God is and why he created the universe.

I don't see how that compromises anything concerning truth.

Mike Riccardi said...

I'd like to add that I don't believe it's right for Christians to dichotomize faith and concrete knowledge, or assert that there can't be real evidence for what we believe without undermining the necessity of faith. I'm just saying that the Christian and the naturalist define "real evidence" in two different ways. I'd like to explain what I mean with the help of Jonathan Edwards.

I agree with Edwards when he says faith must be a reasonable conviction. "By a reasonable conviction I mean a conviction founded on real evidence, or upon that which is good reason, or just ground of conviction." We should not simply blindly accept things and pat ourselves on the back for being 'faithful.' That's more a willful naivete than anything.

But the question is, where does that evidence come from? What qualifies as evidence? The naturalist responds that evidence must be materially empirical. It has to be physically observable and testable; i.e., it has to meet the standards and presuppositions of the naturalist.

But Edwards doesn't define evidence that way.

"The gospel of the blessed God does not go abroad a begging for its evidence, so much as some think: it has its highest and most proper evidence in itself."

In other words, the natural instinct of both the naturalist and, sadly, many contemporary Christians, is to go outside of the Scriptures themselves when trying to prove their genuineness. But what Edwards is saying is that the Word of God itself is so self-authenticatingly glorious that the very glory of it is its own evidence.

See, rationalists appeal to reason as the source of knowledge. That's what makes them rationalists. Naturalists appeal to nature as the source of knowledge. That's what makes them naturalists. But Christians must appeal to the Scriptures as the source of knowledge. That is what makes us Christians. If I ask a rationalist for evidence for his credence in rationalism he's going to give me a reason. If I ask a naturalist for evidence for his credence in naturalism he's going to give me a summary of observable facts of nature. They're just being consistent with their epistemology. But when they demand evidence of Scripture's genuineness and we give them a Bible verse, they shout, "Circular reasoning!" But it's no more circular than what they do; it's simply remaining consistent with one's own epistemology.

(Continued)

Mike Riccardi said...

What David doesn't realize when he demands evidence and dismisses the testimony of Scripture is that he is forcing us to accept his epistemology, his worldview. And what the Christian doesn't realize is that when he acquiesces and seeks to prove the genuineness or veracity of any doctrine of the Bible by going outside of the Bible, is that he is forfeiting his Christian worldview and accepting that of the skeptic.

But, as Edwards goes on to say, specifically, "The mind ascends to the truth of the gospel but by one step, and that is its divine glory. ... Unless men may come to a reasonably solid persuasion and conviction of the truth of the gospel...by a sight of its glory, it is impossible that those who are illiterate and unacquainted with history, should have any thorough and effectual conviction of it at all."

And that is why along with scientifically verifiable evidence we must consistently present the Gospel to our inquiring friends: because the evidence they're looking for is only authenticated by the unveiled sight of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

Elsewhere he says, "This evidence that [the] spiritually enlightened have of the truth of the things of religion, is a kind of intuitive and immediate evidence. They believe the doctrines of God's word to be divine because they see divinity in them, i.e. they see a divine, and transcendent, and most evidently distinguishing glory in them; such glory as, if clearly seen, doesn't leave room to doubt of their being of God and not of men."

God Himself, and the beauty of His glory, is our evidence.

David said...

As far as the beginning of the universe goes, as stated, I don't know much about cosmology, so what can I say besides "I don't know?".

I'm not gloating about anything. Just wanted to see if there was any point in discussing facts, data and observations. I see that there isn't. Learning that the answer to my question is "no" does not lead me to gloat. It leads me to sigh.

Solameanie said...

I can't help but notice my question about what constitutes a "legitimate" interpretation didn't get answered.

Warren Lotter said...

David, As far as facts go could we discuss the five problems of the big bang theory or the fact that a YEC atrophysicist predicted the magnetic forces of the outer planets as eventually measured by Voyager as opposed to evolutionary model predictions. Or how about the conundrum of the Universal/Uniform Laws of Nature being somewhat super natural. That is did they exist before the universe began or are they themselves the result of random processes. If the result of random processes can they be....

Oh wait you just wanted to discuss anti-creation 'facts'.

David said...

"...Or the fact that a YEC atrophysicist predicted the magnetic forces of the outer planets as eventually measured by Voyager as opposed to evolutionary model predictions."

Um, evolution and astronomy are two different fields. And is there some part of "I'm not an astronomer" that isn't clear?


"Oh wait you just wanted to discuss anti-creation 'facts'."

Well, I do try to stick to fields that I know something about. And in the fields of geology, paleontology, biology and anthropology, the anti-YEC/Global Flood facts fill entire libraries. No need to put quotes around the word facts. These facts are real.

In any event, you've made it very clear that facts of any kinds are totally irrelevant. When someone tells that they will will absolutely, positively continue to hold a given hypothesis, regardless of any facts, data and observations, then discussion is essentially pointless. Since you're going to claim that information comes from God, what's the point of discussing the issue? But what if your information does not come from God? If your information does not come from God, how could you tell that you were wrong about this? Easy enough to say "God told me", but what evidence would you accept as invalidating this claim?

CR said...

David,

The Bible does not err in anything it states whether it be spiritual realities, morals, history or science. Because the Bible is God's word, what it says is true as if God spoke them directly from Heaven today. So, the information we have in the Bible comes from God. There is no "what if it doesn't come from God."

Now, that doesn't mean we believe the facts, whether they be data, observations, etc. to be irrelevant. We believe the Bible do fit the facts of history and archeology, for example. But we do so because we have been what the Bible speaks of, born-again, the Holy Spirit has persuaded us that the Bible is God's word, it is authoritative, therefore it is to be believed. Christians are presuppostionalists.

This is why I asked you if you have read the Bible cover to cover. If you had, you would at least know, intellectually, that the Bible teaches that these things must be spiritually discerned.

Now, the $64,000 question is why don't you and others like you see the Bible as truth? I don't mean to be disrespectful in asking this question. You see, the problem isn't that there is a lack of information, the problem is man needs a new heart.

The new testament affirms (1 :14-15) is that it is only the Christian, (not just someone who says he's a Christian), but the man who has been enlightened and spiritually awakened that can understand the truths of the Bible. These truths have to spiritually discerned, David, not merely intellectually understood.

So, to answer your question, David, no there is no point in discussing just observations and data. Because what is taught in Scriptures must be spiritually discerned.

CR said...

Chaplain Mike,

I'm not sure if you understand nature of the historicity of Genesis debate. The debate or issue is not whether the Genesis stories are conveying truth. Even some liberal theologians would agree with that. The historicity that is being questioned, is again, not whether there is any truth in what is being conveyed, but the historical truth of the supernatural character of the events that Genesis records.

As you know it isn't just the length of days that is being challenged, but whether the universe was created from nothing, the fiat creation of Adam, the Fall, the longevity of pre-Flood patriarchs, the global Flood and the tower of Babel incident.

The truth that is being compromised, Mike, is the supernatural characteristic of these events, not whether they convey some religious truth.

I'm not sure if you also don't believe in the supernatural event of the Flood, but would you also conclude that Genesis is writing a "literary" account of the fiat creation of Adam, a literary account of the effects of Adam's fall on the human race, a literary account of what we read of the serpent who speaks and the two trees of knowledge of good and evil and tree of life and would you say the Bible is writing a literary account of the cherubim who guarded the tree of life?

Warren Lotter said...

David, a few random thoughts..

For evolution to occur you need a starting point, no? The pointed question that Frank and I have asked was can you (or anyone) prove your starting point? Your answer, no. Can you prove how non-living material became living? Your answer, no? I know you want to narrow the focus to the fossil record but we don't and I sure hope that your entire belief system is not based on just what has been hypothesized about the fossil record.

Here is the point we are driving at...Your evolutionary theories are all good and well but you don't have a starting point beyond problematic hypotheses. In other words, as yet, your world view lacks consistency and cohesiveness. And by your own admission you confirmed that you too may be wrong. All it takes is one refutation right? Yet by faith you are quite happy to live with those inconsistencies.

I am not anti-science. My Bachelors degree is in Chemistry and Physics and I taught both subjects at a high school level for a few years. Yes there are tons of scientific facts (biological, medicinal, chemical, physical) we can determine using the scientific method. But ideas about origins are different. You cannot directly observe it because it happened in the past. Scientists make observations after the fact and then hypothesize, extrapolate and infer.

The thing is I do believe in evolution - micro evolution. That we can observe. Hence my question to Crystal. I do not believe that the species and sub species we see today are exactly what God created. Environments put pressure on 'kinds' and they adapt and change but only as far as the information ALREADY STORED in their genes allows. The human genome allows for 10 to the power of 2070 variations.


So it seems none of us really want to comprehensively argue facts due to the fact that, as Dan said, evidence is NOT self-interpreting.
And if I am reading between the lines correctly, your commenting on this blog is an attempt to get us to see the light. To lead us out of darkness.

I have to be honest that so far I've looked down your road and all I see is dead men walking. Meat sacks whose only true reason for existence is to progenate and die. Beauty, art, culture, philosophy, etc. are just illusionary constructs applied to random natural synaptic processes. And this is not just from a Christian perspective. Read your philosophers, many of them are questioning all forms of morailty and are now espousing nihilism.

And really what you refuse to admit is that the Judeo-Christian worldview, in light of all your facts and theories, is probably the best survival mechanism around since it's constructs and commandments ensure the survival of the maximum number of individuals. (I don't really hold to this view of the survival of the fittest by the way and this is not why I am a Christian). The freedoms and life you enjoy is a direct result of this worldview.

So tell me in the grand scheme of things what HOPE are you offering? Please don't tell me it's just about cold scientific fact.

Sir Aaron said...

All you need to know about Chaplain Mike is in one of his posts:

For example, it simply doesn't make sense to have days and nights for three days before the sun and moon.

The creation account doesn't make sense according to man's knowledge of things so therefore, he just throws it out as being "thematic."

David said...

The questions that you raise about the origins of the universe are totally irrelevant to question of whether YEC/Global Flood is wrong or not. If you'd like, we'll say that God created the universe and all its physical laws. I don't know where the universe came from, so that answer is fine with me. None of that changes the mountains of evidence against YEC/Global Flood.

Again, the question is, if you are wrong about the age of the earth and a global flood, how would you know that you are wrong? What evidence would you accept as disproof? If you're going to claim that you can't possibly be wrong because God is never wrong, then you need to test the proposition that what you have is a correct interpretation of the actual word of God.

So, now the question becomes, if you're wrong about your interpretation and/or wrong about your belief that you have the word of God, how would you know? What evidence, facts or data would you accept as disproof of your word of God hypothesis?

It's not worth arguing about macroevolution, etc., with someone who is immune to contradictory evidence. Since you refuse to acknowledge that possiblity that you might be wrong, what's the point? I could present mountains of evidence for macroevolution, and it would have no impact at all. So, why bother?

Warren Lotter said...

David, where exactly did I state that I couldn't possibly be wrong?

Could I be absolutely wrong just as you could be. Yes. Am I 100% sure of what I believe all the time. No. Do I have doubts? Yes. Do I have the knock down, drag out undeniable proof for what I believe. No. Do current scientific theories mount a substantial case against my beliefs. Yes. Is there is strong element of faith to what I believe? Yes.

Is all the above true for you to?

As I've stated before and have provided evidence for, just about every scientifc theory/hypothesis has empirical and philosophical problems. The next time you watch a documentary with evolutionary themes count the 'may haves, could have's, we think's, we believe's. It will surprise you. Why won't you admit that yours is also a faith based belief system. You believe that our evolving brains correctly interpret the stimuli we receive?

So now that I've formerly admitted what you want me to, again, what HOPE do you offer me based on the logical conclusions of what you believe?

See even if I am deluded and continue to believe what I believe, in your worldview, what do I lose?

David said...

"Could I be absolutely wrong just as you could be. Yes."

Good. Perhaps I have confused you with some of the other commenters. Now, if it happens that you're wrong, how could you tell if you were wrong?

What hope do I offer you? Science is about understanding how the natural world works. The natural world does not exist to give us hope. It just is what it is.

David said...

...As far as my doubts about a given scientific theory are concerned, it's one of the rules of the science game that one must accept that they could be wrong. So, obviously, doubt is built into the system.

CR said...

Warren - You've just let David have a foot in the door. Don't let him in.

David - I've noticed that you haven't answered all the questions either. You've completely ignored mine.

You asked if we're wrong about our interpretation and/or wrong about our belief that we have the word of God, how would we know?

We're not wrong, and I'm not just saying that. The Bible regards itself as the living word of God. In other words the Bible appeals to itself as God Himself speaking. In certain places in the Bible the verses of the Bible are spoken of as if they were God, in other places in the Bible God is spoken of as if He was the Bible. In other words, there is no distinction between God and the Bible. (Gal 3:8; Gen 7:1-3, Rom 9:17; Ex 9:16).

This is why I asked you David, have you actually read the Bible cover to cover? How can you make all of these criticisms about it if you have never read it cover to cover? Maybe you have. I don't know because you haven't answered any of my questions.

You said in one of your comments that you didn't know much about cosmology and that you stick to fields that you know something about, but you seem to really be talking like an expert on the things of God. You're unbelievable, David. I mean if I ask people in the street questions on differential equations or Maxwell's equations, they'll be like, "uuuuh, well, I'm not an expert on that topic, in fact, I couldn't really speak to that subject at all to be quite honest with you."

But here you are going on talking as an expert on the things of God without having, (if my suspicions are true) reading the Bible from cover to cover?

David said...

"This is why I asked you David, have you actually read the Bible cover to cover?"

I attend church regularly for about 20 years. I never sat down and read the whole thing cover-to-cover in a single, continuous act, but I figure I read most of it at one time or another.

"We're not wrong."

Well, there you have it. Discussion over.

Warren Lotter said...

David,

I would seriously reconsider if science could accurately and consistently explain (1) the uniformity/universal laws of nature,(2) the laws of logic and (3) morality as a direct result of random evolutionary processes/chance.

If science could convincingly prove beyond a doubt how the universe started, how non-living matter gave rise to living matter I would take a second look.

But more importantly if science could provide me with a more profound meaning and hope than simply telling me what is - Essentially a meat sack whose only real purpose is to pass on my genes, Oh and if the human race was obliterated by an asteroid tomorrow, ne're a ripple would be felt anywhere.

Yes I have stacked the deck. But the truth is, so have you and I have noted that you pose a question you cannot answer for yourself. For it seems to me that that what you are trying to imply that somehow science is an objective, purist pursuit devoid of the fallibilities that randomly evolving humans would bring to the process. You first have to assume that (1) our cognitive faculties are super natural, that is they are not affected by random natural processes and therefore trustworthy and that (2) we can attain to a science devoid of our interpretive grids.

So then how would you know?

I trust my senses and cognitive faculties based on my interpretive grid (the Bible). Why, because it has not only provided me with a consistent and cohesive teleological framework, but it provides a broader logical, philosophical and epistemological framework for the meaning and purpose of life. In short HOPE.

In light of that what capital, what benefit do you offer? What do I gain from jumping ship? If I am wrong what do I lose?

Warren Lotter said...

CR,

I am debating David on his terms. For every finger he points he has three pointing back at him even if he won't admit it.

CR said...

No, there YOU have it, David. You know more can understand the Bible by just sitting in a pew listening to sermons and reading the Bible here and there anymore than you can sit in a Calculus class and just listen to the lectures and the read the chapter. You have to study it.

I've already said about the Bible's claim that these things need to be spiritually discerned, they just can't be intellectually understood. They certainly involve the intellect that's why it never ceases to amaze me, how people know that when they want to learn a skill or a trade they know they have to put the diligent work and study into it, but when it comes to the things of God, they think they don't have to put anything into it.

You're right that the discussion is over but it's not anything we have done, it's on your end.

CR said...

I meant to say "you no more can understand..."

David said...

Lots of words here. All comes down to the same thing. You believe that a 3000 year old story is a literal, historical account of the history of the planet, and there there's not a single observation, data point or bit of evidence that will change this. So it goes.

CR said...

Science can't prove your view either, David. A real creation would of necessity require that some aspects of the creation come with an appearance of age. This was the case with Adam. When he was created he was created as a mature man.

The global flood would account for much of the geologists "evidence" for an ancient earth notwithstanding the fact that the carbon-14 dating, potassium-argon dating, thermoluminescent dating used for fossil and pottery dating are suspect, imprecise and contradictory in their findings.

Bottom line:we cannot discover the age of the earth (or man) on the basis of any evidence we have to date.

But with what we know about the genealogies and even the gaps, the earth is more thousands of years rather than millions or billions.

CR said...

...years old.

Warren Lotter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Warren Lotter said...

David,
All comes down to the same thing. You believe that a 300 year old body of knowledge is a literal, historical account of the history of the planet, and that there's not a single observation, data point or bit of evidence that will change this. So it goes.

Agreed - no point in continuing this discussion then.

You may be a fingerpainter when it comes to sneering but you have proven to be a Da Vinci when it comes to deflection.

David said...

"Bottom line:we cannot discover the age of the earth (or man) on the basis of any evidence we have to date."

Bottom line: It's already been made clear that there will never, ever be anything that will be accepted as disproof of YEC/Global Flood. Not today, not tomorrow, never. In the future, even if further research answers any and all questions ever raised about Earth's history, including it's biological history, and even if each answer was backed by mountains of evidence...it would have no effect. You'd still believe YEC/Global Flood.

David said...

Deflection? Examples?

Warren Lotter said...

Are you actually trying to be obtuse or is that simply a result of your blind faith. Hmmm...point proven. I'm done.

David said...

Obtuse? How?

round.tuit said...

I couldn't say it better than a former Prof of mine...

"...There are two distinct explanations for the host of successful ideas that have been derived from nature studies. First, some conclude that credit goes to millions of years of evolutionary change. Over time, beneficial features in living things are said to be optimized while those that are less fit are weeded out and eliminated. It is to be expected that exquisite designs are found in nature. After all, there have been millions of generations of trial and error to get it right. In this view, the brilliant tail of the peacock survives because earlier peacocks with short, drab tails failed in the competition to pass their genes on to later generations. There is, however, a major flaw with this explanation of design in nature: It simply does not work. Patterns and information may be conserved with the passing of generations but there is no increase in complexity. A beautiful peacock tail does not gradually develop from fish scales, or from a knobby skin protrusion, or even from a short, drab tail. The development of genetic mutations, including the occasional production of new species, actually displays an unavoidable loss or limitation of the earlier content of information. Many scholars conclude that there is no convincing natural explanation for the peacock’s tail or for any other design feature in living things.

There is a second explanation for the useful designs found in nature. This alternative approach is a complete reverse of the first explanation. It is proposed that the valuable, practical design ideas surrounding us have been present from the beginning of time. These features were embedded in the material universe by supernatural acts of creation. Beneficial ideas and applications were placed in nature for the purpose that they could be discovered and utilized for the welfare of mankind. This explanation assumes intelligent planning by a beneficient Creator. Some critics might object that a Divine hand in nature is not allowed. After all, today’s science enterprise limits itself to naturalistic explanations for everything with no outside intervention. However, the historic definition of science is the search for knowledge and truth about the physical world, wherever this may lead. And when it comes to design in nature, the path of inquiry leads directly to an intelligent plan."

http://discoveryofdesign.com/id11.html

David said...

That former Prof of yours clearly did not understand genetics.

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...

A final point of clarification.

Hypothesis testing is not done by making a competing hypothesis explain things first. A given hypothesis is tested on its own merits. It must make testable predictions independent of any other hypothesis. Even in the absence of any competing hypotheses, if the evidence contradicts a given hypothesis, we toss it out. That is, saying that scientists must explain everything before you'll reconsider your position is not the same thing as offering a way to tell if your hypothesis is wrong.

David said...

A final final clarification (if anyone is still checking".

I believe it was said of me...

"All comes down to the same thing. You believe that a 300 year old body of knowledge is a literal, historical account of the history of the planet, and that there's not a single observation, data point or bit of evidence that will change this. So it goes."


Er, no. You don't understand my position at all.

chaplain mike said...

CR, with all due respect, I have been studying Genesis for 30 years. I'm pretty familiar with the issues.

One thing I would say to you is this: you fail to see all of the modern, scientific, Enlightenment-influenced perspectives that you are bringing to the text when you read it.

You and I both believe these texts reflect historical facts (not just "religious truths").

But you are demanding that God must have written these facts in a certain way. For some reason you cannot conceive that people who lived thousands of years ago in another culture might have expressed historical facts differently. Not being scientific, Enlightenment-influenced people, they might have used anthropomorphic metaphors and stories to communicate those historical facts rather than the kind of "just the facts" reporting we're used to in our modern scientific culture.

CR said...

Chaplain Mike,

No, you don't believe certain accounts of Genesis as historical facts. As I said in my last comment to you, the problem in the chapters of Gen 1-11 is not the audience of the hearers of Scriptures. It's not that they wouldn't be able to understand certain things. The problem some people have is the distinctively supernatural character of the events laid out in Genesis. I gave you examples: creation ex nihilo, 6 day, 24 hour creation days, Adam's fall with the resultant effects, the longevity of the pre-flood partriachs, the global flood and the tower of Babel incident.

I'm curious, Chaplain Mike, you didn't answer this question: do you reject the supernatural character of creation ex nihilo, the Fall, the longevity of the pre-Flood patriarchs, the global flood and the tower of Babel incident?


Also, I want to respond to your comment on what you said about hearers not being scientific minded or enlightened, and therefore Moses had to express the facts differently. The fact is, Mike, if the age of the earth is as old as you say, instead of using "yom" (2,225 occurrences in the OT where the overwhelming proponderance of these occurences it designates a day cycle), Moses could have used "olam", which means age or period of indeterminate duration. (Incidentally, just in case this comes up, the 858 occurrences of the plural "yamim" always reference ordinary days. Ages are never expressed by the word, yamim.)

I'm not demanding that God write anything in anyway. But, God could have written the creation story if he wanted using different vocabulary to communicate something other than regular day cycles.

chaplain mike said...

Carlo, What gives you the right to tell me what I believe?

In case I haven't made myself clear:

I believe in God the Father, Maker of heaven and earth.
I believe God created the universe ex nihilo.
I believe God prepared the world as a good place for his creatures and humans, and created them to populate it.
I do not believe this happened in 6 24-hour days, not because I think God couldn't do it that way, but only because I think the 6-day scheme is an anthropomorphic literary device to describe God's work. We don't differ on the facts, we differ on what the nature of the writing is that is presented in Genesis 1.
I believe Adam was the first representative man, that he failed in his calling, and that his fall had effects on the whole world.
I'm not sure what I think about the ages of the pre-flood patriarchs, because I haven't done enough study on that yet.
I don't believe the flood in Genesis was global. I believe it affected "the whole land" (not "earth"). That, again, is a matter of interpretation, not a judgment against supernaturalism.
I believe that people who formed the nations were scattered from Babylon.
I have never said what I believe about the age of the earth. I don't think it is a Biblical concern. It only comes into play if one tries to reconcile Biblical teaching with modern science, which is not a main concern of mine.

You take the day cycles of Genesis as literal reporting. I take them as an anthropomorphic literary framework. I think they make better sense that way. It's that simple. It's got nothing to do with what I think about what God can or cannot do.

We disagree about some things. OK, now what?

CR said...

Chaplain Mike,

I didn't ask if you believed in the God. My questions were specific to the origin and nature of the universe (and earth) and biblical anthropology, not whether you believed in God.

I do question your claim that you believe the texts reflect historical facts. I'm not questioning your motives but your understanding of what history is. We know the difference between when something is presented in the form of history or not - eg., symbolism or parables.

You can't redefine what it means for something to be in the form of history and say I believe in the historical facts of Genesis. Genesis presents itself as history, not in a literary framework.

Thanks for answering my other questions. You simply pick and choose which Genesis 1-11 events you are going to believe have a supernatural character. Either all of it is history or it is literary. You can't say from Gen 1:1-25 it's a literary framework but when we get to v.26 on man, it's history. That's essentially what you are saying.

And the people weren't dispersed from Babylon, they were dispersed from Babel.

chaplain mike said...

CR, I'm done. You either do not listen or we are talking past each other. I won't be answering any more of your comments. You wear me out.

And by the way, Babel = Babylon. Read the passage. It's about the founding of a city in Shinar, not just about building a tower.

Sheesh.

romey said...

I actually agree with Chaplain Mike on a number of points. I personally see Gen 1 as both historical and literary. I don't think there needs to be a harsh divide between a historical and literary writing as CR says.

But, while I view it as literary, I don't completely buy into Kline's Framework Interpretation because I do believe that there is an obvious rising action present in the narrative that builds up day by day, climaxing in the creation of mankind and God's royal rest on the seventh day.

The best contemporary genre that I can compare Genesis (and much of Scripture) to is creative non-fiction. All the writers of Scripture have their theological bents and emphases they bring to their writing, which I of course believe that God superintends by the Holy Spirit. The Bible could be considered God's book of literary history.

Look at Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" for the birth of creative non-fiction. He interviewed the characters and studied the situation thoroughly and definitely presents the "facts" of the murders. But, he also has parts in which he creatively constructs thoughts that the killers may have thought at various points. I think Scripture works in the same manner, the only difference is that when a Biblical author presents a theological slant (look at the differences in the Gospels or Sam/Kings and Chronicles) it is an infallible/inerrant interpretation of the historical facts behind the narratives, whereas Capote's interpretation of the "In Cold Blood" killers thoughts and motives could be errant.

So, I think that Gen 1 does reflect the literary conventions of the ANE, but I do think that it describes real history and that we should take great care to not throw away the details, such as chronological order, when we approach the text.

I believe that the God revealed truth is that he created all things in 6 days. It is probably best that we understand this as regular days because that is what the narrative and the interpretation of Ex 20:11 suggest. Like Chaplain Mike has also said, the goal of reconciling Genesis with modern science isn't God's goal.

CR said...

Babel does equal Babylon. My bad.

MCC said...

Whew, got to the end.

I picked up on the tail end of this thing. Didn't know where it started. I've been in discussion with Chaplain Mike over at IM among other places.

Well I have to say Phil is right on the money with this one. That means I agree.

And sometimes I does and sometimes I doesn't... ;-)

One thing I always have to say... Genesis 1 is not poetry, as Bobby Crow and John Dialectic (Is that your real name?) suggested.

's jus' not.

And poetry is not less true than prose; it's just more often figurative.

But apart from some mild anthropomorphism there does not seem to be any reason to take Gen 1 as being figurative.

Ktisophilos said...

Excellent! Just saw a link to this page on the CMI Facebook group http://www.facebook.com/creationnewsl#!/creationnewsl

Oliver said...

C Mike thinks that because Genesis 1 has a literary structure, it does not represent what actually happened. To my mind, God chose to create in a structured manner; his creation was a work of art as well as mere "mechanics". So there is no problem in regarding it as plain history as well as art.