27 August 2010

The Great Blue Ox of History, um, I mean Mythology

by Frank Turk

Let me say that this subject is completely astonishing for three reasons:
  1. It is stunning in its plain-spoken objectives.
  2. It is stunning in its unqualified rejection of historical categories.
  3. It is baffling in its appeal that it is “compatible” with faith in Jesus Christ.
On 14 Aug 2010, BioLogos posted a video from Tremper Longman, and a brief essay from him regarding the historicity of Adam and Eve. Before we get into this, let’s make sure that the allegedly-meek supporters of the BioLogos site and agenda as they have manifested here have said plainly that BioLogos is not trying to re-write Christian orthodoxy – that their concern is about the stumbling block of 6-day creation and not about how we understand man anthropologically or spiritually.
But here’s what Longman says:
The description of how Adam was created is certainly figurative. The question is open as to whether there was an actual person named Adam who was the first human being or not. Perhaps there was a first man, Adam, and a first woman, Eve, designated as such by God at the right time in his development of human beings. Or perhaps Adam, whose name after all means “Human,” is himself figurative of humanity in general. I have not resolved this issue in my own mind except to say that there is nothing that insists on a literal understanding of Adam in a passage so filled with obvious figurative description. The New Testament’s use of Adam (Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15) does not resolve the issue as some suggest because it is possible, even natural, to make an analogy between a literary figure and a historical one.
This issue is an important one. It is wrong to challenge people to choose between the Bible and the science of evolution as if you can only believe that one or the other is true. They are not in conflict. It is particularly damaging to insist that our young people make this kind of false choice as they are studying biology in secondary school or college. If we do so, we will force some to choose against the Bible and others to check their intelligence at the classroom door. This is a false dilemma created by a misuse of the biblical text.
Aha. The Biblical text is misused when Adam is referred to as a historical person. So to say this:
Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Sala, the son of Nahshon, the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. [Luke 3:23-38, ESV]
is a misuse of the text, dear reader.



Moreover, that Luke thought this way doesn’t speak to us at all (see above from Longman) about how Paul thought about this – because Paul’s use of the fall as evidence of all our sin is somehow the right way to see what Jesus did. Without getting overwrought here, that’s like saying, “Since in Paul Bunyan we all have a great blue Ox, so in Obama we all have the hope for the future.” It’s childish at best, and an insult to the kind of work Paul is saying Jesus -- who is God -- has done for us really and not merely mythically or somehow supernaturally.

The longer this goes on, the more ridiculous it looks to say that BioLogos is somehow preserving orthodoxy and making science’s peace with faith in Christ.

And that said, the Keller paper at BioLogos is on my agenda for next Wednesday. For those of you who haven't read that paper, find it here, and then pack a lunch.








78 comments:

Tom Chantry said...

Can you make an analogy between a literary and a historical figure? Of course. But when you say repeatedly that "one man" initiated a problem, and that in the same sense "one man" resolved the same problem, you're well beyond analogy. If the first man in this falsely-so-called "analogy" is mythological, then so is the problem, and so is the one who resolves the problem. Thus, if Adam is a literary figure, sin is merely a literary construct, and Christ need not be anything more than a recent literary development. Are we to imagine that Paul is saying that Christ is a historic figure resolving a real world problem brought about which was metaphorically explained through a literary device? Shame on Longman. He should know better.

Randy Talley said...

Frank, thank you for bringing this up. The genealogies of Jesus in Luke and Matthew deserve more attention than they get where this whole debate is concerned.

Carrying Longman's thought (or lack of it) to its natural conclusion would have to mean that man either does NOT possess the image of God, or he eventually evloved to a point where God decided to do something special with him.

And, of course, that still doesn't answer the question of sin. But if evolution is true, sin must be a GOOD thing, no?

DJP said...

Goodness, such pompous nonsense from Longman. He writes like an isolated academic who hasn't even touched the issues (nor engaged the giants) with a pinkie.

For just one thing: it hasn't occurred to him that mankind is named after its progenitor, not the reverse?

I'd just apply the hermeneutic that the Lord used to save me: had the Bible meant to depict Adam as a historical individual, how could it have done so more plainly?

love God... said...

Tim Keller...."I believe in the historicity of Gen 1-11 and Adam and Eve and I don't believe in young earth-creation or six 24-hour day creation"

So Frank...will you be taking Mr. Keller to task? Please say yes because you quoted him in your post the other day and I'm a little confused...

Zaphon said...

What is interesting is that he is willing to make Adam figurative in order to justify belief in evolution, but able somehow to maintain a literal, historical belief in Jesus, whose entire existence is characterized by the supernatural.

DJP said...

If I can opine as a writer, though not speaking for Frank:

It isn't encouraging, when one has gone to the trouble of writing A, when a reader comments "So, are you going to write B?"

Because then, one expects, one will hear "...and how about C? D? E?...."

Robert said...

How do these guys explain Genesis 3? God speaks to Adam and he blames Eve (and God indirectly). God speaks to Eve and she blames the serpent (Satan). Then God tells them each of the consequences of their actions. And before that even happens, the serpent (Satan) talks to Eve and tempts her directly. Then she goes and tells Adam and he sins, too. NONE of that text can honestly be handled as figurative language.

I was listening to a sermon today and it raised a very important point from Scripture. "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene ." (2 Timothy 2:15-17)

I think if we do a good study of the philosophy of evolution, that we can see that it is irreverent babble. And it has definitely spread like gangrene. I'm not saying we don't need to address its problems, I am saying that people who take up the name of Christ should have no business espousing such a philosophy. The emphasis on should is to make sure I'm not taken out of context as I am sure there are immature Christians caught up in this.

love God... said...

sorry Dan I, I did not disregard today's post...I am genuinely confused. There really is no sinister intent here. I was surprised the other day when Frank quoted him and then Frank referenced him again today so...you can charge me with being impatient

Steve Gentry said...

B. B. Warfield believed in both evolution and divine creation. He saw no problem with the creation of Adam’s body by a long evolutionary process and the creation of his spirit by a divine in-breathing.

I think you're leaving us with a false choice.

donsands said...

"..and others to check their intelligence at the classroom door."

Yep. So if we don't accept evolution, then we are brainless.
Evolution is not a theory, but truth. That's the battleground we have. And it ain't goin' away is it.

Thanks for the great post.

Tim Keller's paper is long and well written. Look forward to your thoughts.

This is such an essential subject in the Church. Thank you TeamPyro for engaging this and putting it out on the blogisphere table so to speak, for us to see.

bou2010 said...

What a load of skubalon.

You cannot deny the literal Adam or a literal fall or you have denied a fundamental of the faith.

I am sympathetic to those who hold to an allegorical interpretation of "day" but it looks like BioLogos is just repackaged Schleiermacher liberalism.

Good article, Mr. Turk.

donsands said...

"..creation of Adam’s body by a long evolutionary process"

So Adam had a dad and a mom?

So Adam was not as Luke said, "..the son of Adam, the son of God."

How does that work Steve?

Robert said...

Steve,

Let me direct you to a simple resource:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B._B._Warfield

Go read the section on evolution and tell me how certain you are about your statement. I'd say he believed the Bible allows for it. And I still stand by my earlier comment even in light of this. I'll always maintain that before we write/speak/preach anything, we should work out the implications of our thoughts and words.

romey said...

it looks like BioLogos is just repackaged Schleiermacher liberalism.

originally posted by bou2010

I agree with this statement wholeheartedly. The Biologos folk are mostly OT guys and they can chant "genre distinction" forever to try and protect the gospels and rest of NT from their hermeneutic that, but logic dictates that just isn't the case.

The next step will be a re-introduction of the old liberalism and its de-mythologizing of the NT, and they will ride on the backs of the Biologos guys for sure.

James Joyce said...

To quote Richard Dawkins on the churchians who try compromise on the historicity of Adam and Eve.

"Oh but of course the story of Adam and Eve was only ever symbolic, wasn’t it? Symbolic?! Jesus had himself tortured and executed for a symbolic sin by a non-existent individual. Nobody not brought up in the faith could reach any verdict other than barking mad!"

And atheist and director of the National Center for Science Education, Dr. Eugenie Scott states, "I have found that the most effective allies for evolution are people of the faith community. One clergyman with a backward collar is worth two biologists at a school board meeting any day!"

BioLogos needs to realize that they are considered by the atheistic science community to be no more than 'useful idiots'.

Tom Chantry said...

I don't remember the details here, but I believe the statement above re. Warfield to be a slight overstatement. Warfield was certainly an Old Earther (as was Hodge before him) and was somewhat open to the possibility of evolution.

Certainly there can be a difference in how we judge a man's response to a fairly new error and how we judge another man's response to a well entrenched error. Today we know exactly what happens when the church embraces naturalism in this particular form. Warfield didn't.

For a comparison, we are much more patient with Augustine's erroneous ecclesiology than we are with that of, say, Beckworth. Augustine hadn't seen what the Roman magesterium was going to become. Beckworth has, and evidently he approves.

Likewise, Warfield hadn't seen the ravages of mainline liberalism in the 20th Century. The folks at Biologos have, and apparently they approve.

Robert said...

Tom,

Thank you for the clarification. I certainly think that we should be held to a higher standard on such issues as evolution today because things have been worked out. I do think, though, that we should stick with the Bible as our basis and really look at the language and context there before turning to the world to see whether the text is literal/historical or figurative/allegorical. I might say that is where I would have my problem with Warfield's train of thought on parts of Genesis.

romey said...

Plus, Warfield's conception of an old earth was an earth that was possibly 40,000 years old, not one that is 5 billion years old or whatever Science has deemed it to be today. So, it isn't as huge a leap to see God as possibly using natural processes to bring about creation, excluding the special creation of Eve. From my reading of Warfield, he does seem to allow for Adam - the man made of "dust of the ground" to be the product of evolution.

But, guys like Warfield and Machen held to the authority of Scripture in a way that the Biologos guys do not. I seriously doubt that they would jettison a historical Adam and Eve because of the sheer violence it does to the rest of the Biblical narrative of salvation in Christ.

For the life of me, I can't understand how appealing to a mythical Adam and Eve is helpful at all to someone struggling with their faith. You know, the intellectual college students that the Biologos folk claim they are trying to reach through this "reconciliation" of the Bible and Science. Sure, you can make evolution "fit" this way, but then you wind up with no meaningful doctrine of sin.

Seriously, God didn't clearly reveal the origin of sin? If Gen 3 is myth, we are left with nothing but an agnostic view about sin's origin. How can that be of any comfort to anyone?

Eric said...

Does Steve's bringing up B.B. Warfield's belief on the matter border on the appeal to authority fallacy? It seems to me that he was saying, or at least insinuating that since theological figure "A" believed such and such, then the belief must be valid.

Let's be honest, in this fallen world, there is no perfect theologian or person. We all have "flat spots on our wheel", some more than others. I submit that I sometimes appear to have a square wheel. The point, then is not whether or not some theological giant from the past believed something, but rather whether or not the belief holds up to Biblical scrutiny.

Stefan said...

As a non-believer, I didn't believe that Adam and Eve were real people, just as I believed that all the miracles of Jesus had to be explained naturalistically.

I professed interest in the Bible, but because there was so much of it that I refused to take at face value, its saving power was nil.

Nowadays, it doesn't make sense to me to read Adam and Eve as anything other than real people—and our first ancestors. To allegorize or spiritualize even this is to unwittingly undermine the truth of everything else in the Bible.

Frank Turk said...

love God:

If everyone was perfectly good or perfectly evil, we wouldn't need discernment.

My response to Pastor Keller's paper at BioLogos is not a rant but a response. be prepared to be educated, informed, and deeply troubled.

Frank Turk said...

Steve:

I'm not creating the false choice. I think Tremper Longman does a lot more violence to the issue than I could even invent.

Stay tuned.

Frank Turk said...

bou2010:

Aha!

love God... said...

deeply troubled? educated and informed? what does that mean? Speak plainly Frank...apparently I am too dull for your nuances...

Frank Turk said...

You smell like you live under a bridge, "love God..." (no profile). Are you a troll?

Turns out I'm not a billy goat.

Next.

love God... said...

nope..i'm not a troll...just asked a simple question.

donsands said...

"Turns out I'm not a billy goat." -Cent

Man does that bring so many memories into my mind. I always loved that story as a young boy.

LeeC said...

Steve Gentry,

Well if BB Warfield didn't have a problem with it it has to be true....er no.

Don't tell me what someone else thinks, tell me what the Bible SAYS.

So Steve what does YOUR Bible say about the fall of man and sin entering the world?

Paul said...

I suppose, if one was to read the Magna Bible, it is possible I was conceived in sin because of the actions of a cartoon character.

Fred Butler said...

Steve writes,
B. B. Warfield believed in both evolution and divine creation.

Enough with B.B. Warfield. He was wrong on this issue. Plain and simple. As were many of his ilk during his day who desired to be perceived as "intellectual" to the secular world. None of them ever thought out the inconsistencies of their capitulation to "scientism" of their day with the text.

Phil Johnson said...

The Warfield issue has been hashed and rehashed here. Some good listening and reading there.

It kills me how those who want to jump on the BioLogos bandwagon and yet maintain some veneer of orthodoxy will throw Warfield's name into the mix--as if an appeal to Warfield could justify Biologos's heresies on original sin and the historicity of Adam (not to mention the authority and inerrancy of Scripture).

Sure. As if Warfield would be even slightly sympathetic with what the BioLogos crew are doing. He wouldn't. He would have deplored the BioLogos project. He DID deplore movements just like it from the modernists of his era.

If BioLogos actually agreed with Warfield's position on ANY of the disputed issues, we would not be having this discussion.

Chris Hobeck said...

"Speak plainly Frank...apparently I am too dull for your nuances..."

He did speak plainly. His hope is that the forthcoming response to Pastor Keller will leave us "educated, informed, and deeply troubled."

I don't see any nuances. In fact, I suspect that Frank means exactly what he says. Kinda like Genesis.

David said...

I am grateful that many people were patient with me before I settled where my faith was on this issue.

That said, if someone says his stumbling block is 6-day creation, he has misidentified his Stumbling Block.

That said, if we misidentify that person's stumbling block as 6-day creation (i.e. preaching YEC instead of Christ, or prior to preaching Christ)(and yes, that happens), we have committed the same error, and indeed, we're proselytizing to make twice the sons of hell.

I'm packing a lunch for Wednesday.

round.tuit said...

It is telling that Keller writes of an inconsistency between Genesis 1 and 2.

Sir Aaron said...

Who else here thinks Pyro should sell Frank Turk lunchboxes?

Mike Riccardi said...

I kinda just want to hear Frank say, "Aha!" out loud.

Steve Gentry said...

Fred says" Enough with B.B. Warfield. He was wrong on this issue. Plain and simple.

So you say. I've heard your argument before. Disagreed with it then, disagree with it now. Just because you say he's wrong, don't make it so.

Phil says: If BioLogos actually agreed with Warfield's position on ANY of the disputed issues, we would not be having this discussion.

You may be right. But if fundamentalism hadn't been hijacked by the Morris' and Whitcomb's of the world with their pseudoscience of flood geology and young earth creationism, and had actually engaged real science, we might not be having this discussion today either.

We need theologians today, like Warfield, that actually engage science instead of trying to deny evidence. We need to be orthodox without denying the reality of the evidence around us.

LeeC said...

Make sure you keep that whole Bible thing out of it Steve.

witness said...

I don't think YEC'ers deny evidence... just the faulty interpretation of it especially at the expense of Scriptures interpretation of it.

witness said...

I mean either God is right... or folks at BioLogos are right... I'm going with God.

Jacob said...

@SirAaron I'd buy one. Or, I would if I had money to spare. =)

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"And atheist and director of the National Center for Science Education, Dr. Eugenie Scott states, "I have found that the most effective allies for evolution are people of the faith community. One clergyman with a backward collar is worth two biologists at a school board meeting any day!"

BioLogos needs to realize that they are considered by the atheistic science community to be no more than 'useful idiots'."


That's a powerful observation, James Joyce.

Stefan said...

Sir Aaron:

YES!

Some '70s-style, cartoon version of Frank (with the rays radiating from his head), fist extended, and a big "KA-POW!" bubble.

Frank:

"Educated, informed, and deeply troubled" describes the effect of pretty much everything you write, so that was really just a teaser.

Come to think of it, it reads like a book blurb.

Stefan said...

And if even Richard Dawkins lampoons the inconsistency of spiritualizing Adam and Eve, then that's a problem.

MSC said...

Frank,
It seems that the geneaology of Luke 3 has to be understood in the context of Luke's stated purpose in 1:1-4, especially verse 4. I find it hard to believe that he would hold to a mythological Adam in that context.

Stefan said...

David:

I agree with you completely. Believing in a literal, 6-day creation cannot and should not be a litmus test for salvation.

But a straightforward reading of Genesis 1 and 2 is the only one that does justice to the entire redemptive narrative.

And I say this as someone who grew up with an atheistic, materialistic, evolutionary worldview. It took a while to get to this point.

threegirldad said...

Steve Gentry wrote:

B. B. Warfield believed in both evolution and divine creation. He saw no problem with the creation of Adam’s body by a long evolutionary process and the creation of his spirit by a divine in-breathing.


That claim is demonstrably false (see section 1.5, esp. the third paragraph).

wordsmith said...

Biologos' problem isn't really creation - it's the authority of inerrant, infallible, God-breathed Scripture.

~Mark said...

I remember thinking as a child that God created Adam and Eve as our first parents AND that there was some truth to macro-evolution.

I also remember the day in the 8th grade when I walked into science class and for some reason it all suddenly hit me like a cold blast of water: there was absolutely no way both prospects could be true.

Quite the dilemma for a 14 year old.

Eric said...

I noted that Frank posed the Luke 3 dilemma at the Biologos site and got only one response, from a commenter named Merv.

Merv seemed like he might have spent a fair amount of time around the Biologos site, noting that the genealogy question has come up quite a bit at Biologos. He then makes the following curious statements:

"I have yet to see somebody from an evolutionary creationist perspective (which includes me) give a definitive and clear-cut answer to this—probably because we just don’t know. If ECs are correct that Adam isn’t a literal single human being who lived six thousand years ago, then at some point(s) along the genealogy from Abraham back to God the line becomes non-literal in the biological sense."

It is interesting to me that Frank went "straight to the source" to seek and answer to the dilemma posed by their hermeneutic in light of Luke 3 and this is the only response that I can see that he got.

So, if I understand Merv correctly, he is essentially saying that likely somewhere in the middle of the genealogy written by Luke under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the genealogy changes from actual/biological to metaphorical. So, Luke, being the worst communicator in the history of the world inspired by the misleading Holy Spirit starts by saying the Jesus was the son of Joseph (which we are apparently supposed to understand by its plain meaning) and carries the same line and pattern all the way back to Adam, but somewhere in there he switches to a metaphorical/nonbiological sense and forgets to clue his readers in.

If that is truly the way Biologos and their defenders want to read their Bibles, then I pity them more than ever. Instead of being able to trust and believe the Bible in its plain meaning, they must search for hidden (gnostic) meanings and secret trap doors. What a painful and utterly unsatisfying way to read Scripture.

Chris H said...

DJP,

As usual, your comment made me wonder. Specifically, when you said: had the Bible meant to depict Adam as a historical individual, how could it have done so more plainly? I started to wonder the converse:
If Adam was intended as not an historical individual, why was it not made more clear?

Steve Gentry said...

threegirldad said: That claim is demonstrably false (see section 1.5, esp. the third paragraph).

Ok, we have a disagreement between authors. Your author also said that "he remained open to the possibility of it [evolution] and affirmed that Scripture could accommodate it, if it were to be proven true."

Paragraph 1.5(3) doesn't negate my first comment. If you want to change my beginning sentence from "B. B. Warfield believed" to "B. B. Warfield allowed", fine. It doesn't change the essence of my point.

Frank Turk said...

I smell a new t-shirt brewing ...

Eric said...

Chris H,

Don't you see that in order to answer your question a person has to answer Dan's question first?

In other words, your question of "why was it not made more clear?" begs the question of "how would/should it have been made more clear?".

So, Dan's question inherently has to be answered first.

round.tuit said...

I appreciate Calvin's commentary on Genesis 1 "...Let there be light....The sun and moon supply us with light: and, according to our notions, we so include this power to give light in them, that if they were taken away from the world, it would seem impossible for any light to remain. Therefore the Lord, by the very order of the creation, bears witness that he holds in his hand the light, which he is able to impart to us without the sun and moon..."

and Genesis 2 "...And every plant...although he has before related that the herbs were created on the third day, yet it is not without reason that here again mention is made of them, in order that we may know that they were then produced, preserved, and propogated, in a manner different from that which we perceive at the present day. For herbs and trees are produced from seed; or grafts are taken from another root, or they grow by putting forth shoots: in all this the industry and the hand of man are engaged. But, at that time, the method was different: God clothed the earth, not in the same manner as now, (for there was not seed, no root, no plant which might germinate,) but each suddenly sprung into existence at the command of God, and by the power of his word..."

round.tuit said...

The issue is about how one views God and His Word.

Eric said...

Chris H,

My apologies. I read your reply too quickly. In my haste I read "...intended as a historical..." instead of your actual "...intended as not an historical...". So, please disregard my post above. Note to self: read, read again, think, read again, think more, then reply if constructive.

Rachel said...

"It is particularly damaging to insist that our young people make this kind of false choice as they are studying biology in secondary school or college. If we do so, we will force some to choose against the Bible and others to check their intelligence at the classroom door. This is a false dilemma created by a misuse of the biblical text."

As someone who's taking advanced science courses I don't agree with this at all. I find no issue holding a creationist view point while in biology. In fact, having a creationist view point only enhances my belief that evolution didn't occur.

With how many things had to line up exactly right for the earth to support the vast array of organisms it does there's no other way for it to have happened than for God to have created it. And God being God could easily have done it in 6 days because God defies all science laws.

So when I read passages that say, "It had to have taken billions of years for this to happen." I replace it with, "God made the earth in six days because with God all things are possible." I also don't get into arguments with my teacher when he says something took billions of years. I find it to be a useless argument because all it will do is distract from the class and make a super uncomfortable environment for me to learn in. He's either saved and doesn't believe the creation story or unsaved and in any of the categories from athiest to pagan.

What I find rather cool is my lab partners are Christian ladies. They're wonderful, and he's aware we're Christian so he's extremely respectful about our faith, which I appreciate. If he hadn't been I'd have requested he just stay far away from any commentary concerning my beliefs and not insult my intelligence because doing that isn't going to change my mind only confirm his sad spiritual state.

And besides, if a believer loses their conviction about something like God creating the earth in six days...what else would they easily lose their conviction in? I'd question if they'd ever been saved to begin with.

threegirldad said...

Steve Gentry,

For a brief period in his younger years, it seems that Warfield accepted the then-current notions of Evolution more readily. Later on, he was openly skeptical but "allowed" that it might prove true, and that there might be ways to accomodate a specifically constrained version of it. What he was "open to" bears no resemblance at all to what BioLogos promotes.

What the written record does not show is him having "no problem with the creation of Adam’s body by a long evolutionary process and the creation of his spirit by a divine in-breathing."

No quibbling over semantics on that score. You're flat-out wrong.

Sir Aaron said...

Rachel:

Thank you for sharing. It gives me hope for my own children to hear how you are succesffuly dealing with the situation at school.

Steve Gentry said...

threegirldad says: What the written record does not show is him having "no problem with the creation of Adam’s body by a long evolutionary process and the creation of his spirit by a divine in-breathing."

No quibbling over semantics on that score. You're flat-out wrong.


Peter Wallace in his essay on Warfield and the Darwinian Controversy provides this information:

In the face of James Orr's insistence that body and mind must develop together--eliminating the possibility of human evolution, Warfield uses this approach to suggest that animal ancestry for man would be quite possible: "If under the directing hand of God a human body is formed at a leap by
propagation from brutish parents, it would be quite consonant with the fitness of things that it should be provided by His creative energy with a truly human soul."


It is true that Warfield's postition isn't the same as that of BioLogos, but Warfield didn't have the mountain of evidence that we have today either.

The real point though is that Warfield was willing to engage the science of his day instead of trying to make up his own creation science. Today, we need conservative (orthodox) theologians to address the theological issues that evolutionary theory raises.

The BioLogos project is a good start although I would like to see more conservative theologians join the conversation.

I'm through discussing Warfield. What he believed or didn't believe isn't the issue. His willingness to try to reconcile theology and science without doing violence to either, is the real issue.

donsands said...

"..mountain of evidence.."

Steve, I guess this is where the rubber meets the road.

You say "mountain". I Don't see any mountain brother.

I see the Scriptures say that Adam was a "son of God", not that he had a mom and dad,who were evolved apes.

Can you enlighten me here bro?

donsands said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jacob said...

Tom Chantry, romey, Stefan, and LeeC (and others) - Just wanted to say thanks for making some excellent points!

Steve Gentry:
"Fred says, "Enough with B.B. Warfield. He was wrong on this issue. Plain and simple."
So you say. I've heard your argument before. Disagreed with it then, disagree with it now. Just because you say he's wrong, don't make it so."


No-no, he doesn't have to prove anything here -- he wasn't the one who brought B.B. Warfield into this. B.B. Warfield was raised by the OTHER side as an argument as an attempt to prove (or at least add some significant merit to) THEIR position.

The correct comment to make is, "Just because they use his name, doesn't make them right."

Frank: The thought of smelling a t-shirt brewing makes for a clever double entendre.

commoncents said...

Just a quick note to say I really like your blog! Keep up the good work...

Steve
Common Cents
http://www.commoncts.blogspot.com

cephas said...

Wouldn't you hate to be the hominid right before Adam who was deemed not "human" enough to be "made in the image of God?"

Tom Chantry said...

lol Cephas!

Makes me think of the Geico commercials. Some cavemen just can't catch a break!

John said...

#1 @SirAaron - YES!!! A Turk Lunchbox would be the epitome of nerd cool.

#2 For all the "scientists" at Biologos and elsewhere begging us to take science seriously, I only respond that they need to take philosophy seriously. There is a reason for the dramatic upswing in theistic philosophers in the last two decades, and one of those reasons is that Plantinga and others have offered excellent arguments for why evolution can't work.

#3 Are we really really discussing whether Adam was historical on a Christian blog? Do you not recognize what this proposition necessarily entails? Kenton Sparks, at least, is intellectually honest.

Zaphon said...

John, yup. It boggles the mind, the egregiousness of the error, and it's incredulity.

We just don't live in a time where we can assume truth is a robust currency in the epistemic economy of ideas.

Instead of buying the gold of Biblical truth, they've invested in man-made get-rich quick schemes, and they don't see that the market is crumbling, and they're panic-investment is going broke.

ok, that's all the metaphor I'm capable of this morning.

Mike Riccardi said...

One of the things that vexes me most about the theistic evolutionist position is that it has to do dramatic violence to passages of Scripture that praise God for creating the world in a divinely supernatural way.

Just one example, Psalm 33:6-9, reads as follows:

By the word of Yahweh the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deeps in storehouses. Let all the earth fear Yahweh; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.

But in the TE's Bible, it's got to say:

By -billions of years of evolutionary processes- the heavens were made, And by -their own spontaneous developments- all their host. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deeps in storehouses -but He couldn't have, ya know, flooded the world with them or anything. A part of the world, sure. But c'mon, the whole world?- Let all the earth fear Yahweh; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it -took a really long time, but eventually got there... or, is getting there;- He commanded, and -billions of years later- it stood fast -...er, is standing sorta fast, or... continuing to evolve... or something.-

See, God means to get glory from the reality that He said, "Let there be," and there was. He spoke, it was done. Let everyone stand in awe of the Creator who does such things. And so among all the other things that have been discussed in these past few weeks about the dangers and damage of theistic evolution, you can add, "Treacherously robs God of His glory" to the list.

LeeC said...

Don't discuss Scripture Mike, it makes Steve squirm...

Second said...

Just reading Keller's white paper where he states, "Any theory that makes it impossible to trust our minds is self-defeating" (p.6, last line). Hmm. Just how does that occur? If we don't trust our minds, how can we trust our minds ... that we aren't trusting our minds? Reminds me of the line of reasoning that produces "there are no absolutes." Absolutely!

Satan's "theory" that God didn't have Eve's well-being in mind in the Garden of Eden certainly turned out to be "self-defeating" to put it mildly (Gen 3:5). But Eve was fooled into trusting her own mind (1Ti 2:14), demonstrating that this is not always such a grand thing after all. But has that not been the Deceiver's m.o. all along (Joh 8:44)?

But what do I know ... quoting Scripture and everything? I wonder if the genre of Jeremiah 17:9 allows for the prophet to be taken literally or not ["The way to respect the authority of the Biblical writers is to take them as they want to be taken" (Keller, p.3, Answer)] when he states, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?"

Steve Gentry said...

LeeC said" Don't discuss Scripture Mike, it makes Steve squirm...

Lee, I'm not going to get into an argument with you over what you think the Bible says versus what I think it says.

I realize that there are many issues that have to be resolved around original sin, a literal Adam, what Paul believed, etc. Keller makes a start. I think it's important that conservative theologians be involved in this discussion over at BioLogos.

There are no theologians posting at this blog and I don't see much point arguing over specific passages of Scripture. You'll quote your favorite theologian and I'll quote mine. At the end of the day I'll believe what I started with and so will you.

Steve Gentry said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
donsands said...

"..I don't see much point arguing over specific passages of Scripture."-Steve

I would love to know what your theologians say about Luke's genealogy of Jesus, with the last few verses:

"...the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God."

This with out a doubt shows that Adam was the son of God, not parents, doesn't it.

I mean wouldn't God write and Adam the son of Adam Sr., if there was another father?

Christopher Tillman said...

To ask a question of any who would fall in with Dr. Longman on this issue: What have you to gain by agreeing to the possibility of an evolutionary creative process? Do you have anything to gain biblically? Does the glory of God have any stake in your position? Ask those questions seriously. Don't assume your heart is fine on this issue. Frankly, I would much rather err with a heart that is willing to trust what has historically been regarded as an orthodox doctrine of creation than any number of these other positions. Evolution is a set of spectacles that many, many people are blinded by. How sad a thing when we seek to replace one lens of Scripture's spectacles with a lens from the world's. Again: what have you to gain and how is God glorified through this process? These should be the pressing questions. Not whether Dr. Longman, Tim Keller, or B.B. Warfield hold/held a particular position, and most certainly whether or not it will provide a "serious hearing" in intellectual circles.

LeeC said...

Steve,

You obviously don't know what the word theologian means then, and you certainly seem to put little value on the power of the Living Word.

Why are you here?

Frank Turk said...

I like it that there are "no theologians" here in Steve's view. That way we can discard his views as "not theology" and just never bother to find out what they are.

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