08 September 2010

Walking the Dog

by Frank Turk

After much waiting and a very severe lack of time for me in the last two weeks, finally we get to Pastor Tim Keller's paper, available at the BioLogos website, regarding "Creation, Evolution, and Christian Laypeople." Let me say this clearly: I think the people who run BioLogos didn't actually read this paper. In fact, I think a lot of people who have criticized this paper have not read this paper, so have a synopsis of the work itself with some analysis, and then come closing remarks.

Keller wisely breaks the paper up into clear subheadings:
1. What's the Problem?
2. Pastors and people
3. Three Questions of Laypeople
4. Concluding Thoughts

Keller defines the problem as he sees it precisely:
Many  believers  in  western  culture  see  the   medical  and  technological  advances  achieved  through  science  and  are  grateful  for  them.    They  have  a   very  positive  view  of  science.    How  then,  can  they  reconcile  what  science  seems  to  tell  them  about   evolution  with  their  traditional  theological  beliefs?
And as I blogged last week, there's no reason to think it's either science or religion -- it's entirely right-minded to see science as a tool which man uses in his God-ordained place to be in dominion over the world.

In his second section, Keller also wisely sees the problem as having four main points of difficulty for orthodox protestants: Biblical authority; the confusion of biology and philosophy (I would say the problem is "conflation", but let Keller have his own say here); the historicity of Adam and Eve; and the problem of evil. And the reason for his lining out of these problems is explicitly pastoral -- that is, these are the questions real people have when they come to their pastors because we live in a world where science is seen as somehow prophetic, somehow authoritative and able to speak to all things when in fact it only speaks to a few. But as he moves to the three main questions these four points of difficulty make obvious, Pastor Keller says this:
if  I  as  a  pastor  want  to  help  both  believers  and  inquirers  to  relate  science  and  faith   coherently,  I  must  read  the  works  of  scientists,  exegetes,  philosophers,  and  theologians  and  then  interpret   them  for  my  people.  Someone  might  counter  that  this  is  too  great  a  burden  to  put  on  pastors,  that  instead  distilling  and  understanding  the  writings  of  scholars  in  various  disciplines,  how  will  our  laypeople  do  it? This  is  one  of  the  things  that  parishioners  want  from  their  pastors.  We  are  to  be  a  bridge  between  the know  that  there  has  ever  been  a  culture  in  which  the  job  of  the  pastor  has  been  more  challenging.   Nevertheless,  I  believe  this  is  our  calling.
And he's right: it is actually part of the pastoral calling to be a voice of discernment for the people he is shepherding -- and sometimes that's going to including knowing more than what's printed on the page of the English Bible. We call that "apologetics" in most church circles -- and it's a godly pursuit when followed for pastoral reasons.

So here are his three questions:

1. If God used evolution to create, then we can't take Genesis 1 literally, and if we can't do that, why take any other part of the Bible literally?

2. If  biological  evolution  is  true, does  that  mean  that  we  are  just  animals  driven  by  our   genes,  and  everything  about  us  can  be  explained  by  natural  selection?

3. If  biological  evolution  is  true  and  there  was  no  historical  Adam  and  Eve  how  can  we  know   where  sin  and  suffering  came  from?

Before covering his answers to these questions, let me suggest something: the first significant error in this paper is that Pastor Keller is being too simplistic in the answers he gives to these questions. For example, his answer to question 1 doesn't address at all that, in spite of the alleged "genre" Genesis, the most time-honored and ancient reading of Genesis 1 is that this is the history of creation and not some other liturgical/poetic section of Scripture intended to convey "Truth" but not actually describe any true things.

What Pastor Keller does in answering these questions has a pastoral motive -- but it also has another motive which I would suggest is competing with his better angel, and that's the motive to speak to the fears inherent in unbelief.

So in answering the question of whether we can take any of the Bible "literally" if Gen 1 is not "literal", Pastor Keller forgets to include the copious references from the rest of the Bible to Genesis 1 which make it clear that God created in days, and that these days formed our concept of the week, and that his rest at the end of it created the sabbath. He forgets the copious references in OT and NT to Adam as a person who lives in a lineage which leads to Jesus. He forgets that the Serpent in the garden is the father of all lies, and was a murderer from the beginning. Instead he gives an alternative explanation for Genesis 1-3 which is meant to allay fear in the supernatural aspect of the events, and to appeal to people who have other intellectual commitments. I find this interesting from a fellow who speaks so vibrantly elsewhere on the subject of the Gospel destroying our idols.

In the second question, he then turns to the problem which his first question actually creates: that is, doesn't factual evolution trump literary or poetical conceit? Doesn't the fact that man is an animal like all the other animals (rather than the special creation who was given to name all the animals) make man morally just another animal? Keller's answer here is not very convincing -- even if its pastoral stripes show.

His answer is that it's actually only a prior commitment to naturalism which makes this logic necessarily true. He references Plantinga on this point, and says that "Christian  pastors,  theologians,  and  scientists  who  want  to   argue  for  an  [evolutionary process]  account  of  origins  must  put  a  great  deal  of  emphasis  at  the  same  time  on  arguing   against  [grand evolutionary theory]." But the question he leaves unanswered then is "why?" Why argue for the evolutionary process as the one which produces both chimps and Pastor Kellers only to say, "but that doesn't mean anything metaphysically?"

The argument to go there, he says, looks like this:
Does  natural  selection  (alone)  give  us   cognitive  faculties  (sense  perception,  rational  intuition  about  those  perceptions,  and  our  memory  of   them)  that  produce  true  beliefs  about  the  real  world?  In  as  far  as  true  belief  produces  survival  behavior, yes.  But  who  can  say  how  far  that  is?  If  a  theory  makes  it  impossible  to  trust  our  minds,  then  it  also  makes   it  impossible  to  be  sure  about  anything  our  minds  tell  us-­‐-­‐including  macro-­‐evolution  itself-­‐-­‐  and   everything  else. Any  theory  that  makes  it  impossible  to  trust  our  minds  is  self-­‐defeating.
It's one of those arguments, as they say, which destroys the village in order to capture the village. Sure: it's sort of a classic presuppositional argument which may be logically flawless, but it is also one of those arguments too smart by half which leaves most people feeling like you're trying way too hard.

What if you said instead, "well, it seems to me that if I have to posit the supernatural anyway to be epistemologically-sure that my perceptions of my personhood are true, I'll trust the whole shootin' match for meaning to what God has said -- and then science can then be my servant rather than a competing master."

The reason to say that, btw, is to avoid having to say what Pastor Keller says in his third Q & A. But before we get to his third answer, we should read carefully his disclaimer:
I  find  the  concerns  of  this  question  much  more  well-­‐grounded.  Indeed,  I  must  disclose,  I   share  them.  Many  orthodox  Christians  who  believe  God  used  EBP  to  bring  about  human  life  not  only  do   not  take  Genesis  1  as  history,  but  also  deny  that  Genesis  2  is  an  account  of  real  events.  Adam  and  Eve,  in   their  view,  were  not  historical  figures  but  an  allegory  or  symbol  of  the  human  race.  Genesis  2,  then,  is  a   symbolic  story  or  myth  which  conveys  the  truth  that  human  beings  all  have  and  do  turn  away  from  God   and  are  sinners.
See: this is perhaps the key reason I think that maybe the folks at BioLogos didn't read this paper very carefully: Tim Keller believes that Adam was a real guy, the first man after which the race was named.

And his concern here is for exactly the right reasons: he fears that discounting the historicity of Adam will impact our belief in the trustworthiness of Scripture. He fears that the problem of sin and the solution of salvation in Christ will be ruined into mythology and not real and present facts of human existence.

Isn't that a bizarre thing to say after answering as he did his Q#1? Why lay the groundwork for the antithesis of a belief in a historical Adam if in fact you see Adam and his sin as the lynch pin of the theology of human fallenness and a need for a savior?

But that objection aside regarding Q1 and Q2, Pastor Keller is exactly right in his answer to Q3 -- and in that, the curators of BioLogos need to think hard about the solution to the problem he is posing. Tim Keller is not posing the same problem they are -- because he doesn't see Gen 2-3 as myth but as "high history". So the solution He is posing does not work for the problem BioLogos is posing.

Now: to overcome all the baggage Keller has essentially stipulated to in Q1 and Q2, he resorts to the theological hypotheses of Derek Kidner to reconcile evolution to the fall of Adam. But does this actually buy either of them more credibility in the world of process evolution advocates? In Kidner's view, Adam was taken from among the "tool users" who has evolved and given the gift of imago Dei, and then God uses special creation to make Eve! That is, God makes Eve from Adam as it says, but Adam was not made from the red clay but from a lesser primate.

I wonder if someone who accepts the biological explanation for evolution will find that more credible than what it actually says in the Bible -- or if any of the BioLogos advocates would buy Kidner/Keller's exegesis here as more compelling than what Al Mohler would have to say about these passages. And in that, I wonder if someone who has accepted Pastor Keller's answers to Q1 and Q2 wouldn't feel somewhat put upon to accept the answer to Q3 -- because the question of God's supernatural power has only been shifted from Day 1 to Day 6.

So what are Pastor Keller's concluding thoughts? He says it plainly: "We  must  interpret  the  book of nature by the book of God." However, he also states plainly "Christians  who  are  seeking  to  correlate  Scripture  and  science must  be  a 'bigger  tent' than either the anti­‐scientific  religionists  or  the  anti-­‐religious  scientists."

If we are serious to do what Tim Keller says to do -- and use Scripture as the governing authority over what we observe in the world, especially when we are talking about the fundamental metaphysicaland ethical conditions man finds himself in -- then the potential solutions he poses here are not really sufficient to meet the task. But the interesting thing is that they are supported by the tribe at BioLogos as somehow compatible with their view of science and religion.

Do you think they read this paper? I don't think they did. But if they did, I think their motives are an interesting case study. We'll talk about that next week. You probably won't wait that long and will unload your conspiracy theories in the comments.

Have at it.







80 comments:

bou2010 said...

Good post and I thought you gave Keller a pretty fair hearing, Mr. Turk. I appreciate that.

Tom Chantry said...

Very interesting analysis. I went and read Keller's paper back when you said you were going to review it. My thought then was, "Wait a minute; this doesn't fit - he believes in the historicity of Adam!"

I appreciate the way you've broken this down. It's a pity the biologos cult won't read Mohler as seriously as you've read Keller, but cults rarely if ever read the opposition seriously.

Thomas Louw said...

Nice one Turk.
I was really worried my grasp of Keller’s English was a bit off or that I have been sucked in by the Evolution Vortex , without knowing it.

David Rudd said...

well said, Frank. I first heard Keller on this topic in his book, The Reason for God. Although I didn't agree with his conclusions, I did appreciate his approach.

I appreciate that you have clearly addressed him here as a BROTHER with whom you disagree. I hope that spirit can continue to characterize this debate!

Robert said...

Thanks for the analysis, Frank. As I read this and thought back to my reading of Keller's article, it reminded me a lot of the article by Vern Poythress that Dan referenced not too long ago. Christians seem a bit too eager to try to bridge gaps that can not honestly be bridged. I'd say this argument is very much analagous to that one and they are both built on faulty foundations.

As you stated, Genesis gives us a historical account of God's work in creation. In saying that part of this is figurative, Keller is trying to appease "scientists" who go around with this theory and treat it as if it is a law of science. Sadly, the culture today is one that breeds laziness and most people are just going to follow like sheep instead of learning for themselves. And that is what brings us people trying to bridge these gaps that nobody has any business trying to bridge.

romey32324 said...

Conspiracy Theory #1

Biologos realizes that Keller, while holding to a historical (albeit reworked, product of evolution) Adam, is not viewed by the academy and "intellectual elite" as a rube. He pastors a large church that reaches said "elite" in NYC, so he is an ally. Mohler is a southern, fundy hick who does not have the cool factor of a Keller, so he is fair game and an idiot in their eyes.

Steve Drake said...

I always find it fascinating to follow the references in the footnotes to see who a particular author is quoting, and who he/she uses to support his/her position. This is quite natural I suppose, but any research on Keller's sources lines up like a 'who's who' of 'anything but 6-day 24 hour' adherents. The detail is in who he chose to 'leave out'.

David said...

So is Keller Borg?

John said...

Extra points for the Sir Patrick Stewart graphic :-)

Word verification" clogitzl (a dutch sausage)

Steve Drake said...

Borg: cybernetically enhanced humanoid drones of multiple species, organized as an interconnected collective, the decisions of which are made by a hive mind. (from Star Trek).

Interesting question.

DJP said...

Dang, I wish my book reviews were this good.

]c:

Aaron said...

Conspiracy theory #2. Once BioLogos traded the inerrant scriptures to be compatible with worldly knowledge, they have a hard time recognizing truth and error (Rom 1:25)...anyway, my two cents.

David said...

If BioLogos read it, the reason for inclusion is a sort of blending of viewpoints that liberals treasure. And I apologize for painting BioLogos with such a broad brush ("Liberals"). Such is their way of hearing all viewpoints and using their "hearing" as the conscience salve that they're fair and balanced....but never letting something as archane as the Authority of Scripture judge their own faulty thinking.

In other words, it's the debate that's exciting, but never so much as to change entrenched belief. Or non-belief, depending on your kool-aid.

Brad Williams said...

The Bible teaches that God made everything out of nothing. Did I mention that this is the real mind-blower and really messes up inquiry into the age of things?

Daryl said...

I've never seen, and still, after reading Keller's paper, the incompatibility of Genesis 1&2.
In particular I don't see how that taking Genesis 1 as detailed and Genesis 2 as a summary doesn't work.

One "for instance" is the vegetation issue that Keller brings up.
Does not Genesis, in the same way that it distinguishes animals from livestock, also distinguish between vegetation and "plants of the field"?
I've just seen that God created vegetation on day 3, but separate and distinct from that, until there was man to tend the fields, there were no "plants of the field".

So I think Keller's problems begin with insisting that Genesis 1 is not to be read as even "high history", providing actual, trustworthy information.
Which of course, then ties him in knots over how to deal with Genesis 2&3 as real-historical.

Frank Turk said...

I actually had this discussion with someone from AiG this weekend. It seems to me that the problem is not the age of the Earth: it is the reality of supernatural origins for the person of Adam, especially as he is distinguished from all the other animals. The point of Genesis 1 & 2 is not to establish a birthday for the Earth: it is to establish the uniqueness of mankind, and the sovereignty of God above all creation.

I think the real money in Keller's essay, btw, is his brief treatment of ancient methods of telling history. The insight there -- that for the ancients, it was right to make history tell the right story even if they compressed time or omitted inconsequential events -- is golden, and again points away from the BioLogos interpretation that Genesis is somehow metaphysically true but historically untenable.

I am a 6-day guy, and a son of Adam. I don't think that if we can't guess the actual age of the Earth we are Christ-rejecting heretics. We are simply taking the text as far as it intends to take us.

Daryl said...

Frank,

I think that the issue of supernatural origins is exactly right.

I've done a little reading over at Biologos, and find it interesting and troubling that very often they will say something along the lines of "there is no need for God's intervention, evolution takes care of that."
I would still disagree, but find it much easier to swallow, if they would go all Calvinistic and admit that, if evolution were true, it's because God intervened IN THAT WAY, not that he wound it all up and let evolution do it's thing.

Even Dawkins and now Hawking (again) realize that their issue, evolution or no, is that there need be no first cause, no God at all. Biologos seems to start with God, and then carry on without him.

I think that's Biologos real danger, for themselves, is that they skate further and further away from ever being able to say "God did it".

I just don't get that. And its interesting that in trying to give them space and still saying "God did it", Keller gets a little tangled up.

Rachael Starke said...

So helpful - thank you!

Tim Keller's writings have been a blessing to me. And I won't deny it, that he writes in a way that is both respectful of intellectuals and faithful to Scripture, while still being able to be sold at Costco, is tremendous. (When I'm at Costco, I often pick up a copy of "The Reason For God" and look for anyone who's picked up a copy of that terrible Echart Tolle mess so I can offer to buy the Keller book for them if they'll leave the Tolle book behind.)

So, I was really afraid to read his paper, because I was fearful he had indeed been assimilated by all the super-brains who visit his church. Maybe he's being pulled a little, or maybe, like you say, he's there to blow the whole thing up from the inside?

And I think Romey3234 has nailed it on the conspiracy theory. As you prove with those graphics, Frank - Keller looks like the brainiest, coolest man on T.V. Who does Al Mohler look like except another Bapdiss preacher??

stratagem said...

Frank's last comment in this combox - EXCELLENT. Exactly what I was trying to convey not so long ago. He did it a lot better than I did. I am not a 6-day guy necessarily (I am not sure if it was 6 days or not), but I am definitely a ex nihilo, supernatural origin of man, guy.

Now onto my conspiracy theory: BioLogos could not afford to pay royalties to Brian McLaren, so they got some dude who was passionate about the BioLogos subject matter and who also looked like BMcL, with that shaved head and serene middle-aged look to him. And was cheap, or would allow publishing of his work for free.

Steve Drake said...

Hi Stratagem,
Just curious, 'what theory of origins do you hold to', if as you say, "I'm not a six day guy necessarily'?

DJP said...

Oh, mercy -- don't get him started again.

stratagem said...

Steve - I can't explain the rude comment by Dan treating me as if I were some sort of troll, seeing as how he is a person I have never been anything but very respectful toward up to now. But nevertheless since I was asked a direct question I'll answer it for you.

I think the 6 days is probably figurative of a longer period than six literal days as we know them, but am not sure exactly. And I don't major on that point.

I am sure that Adam and Eve were literal people, and that God spoke us (and all life forms) into existence, not through evolution or other such means.

You might simply say I haven't made up my mind.

Simple as that. Thanks.

Frank Turk said...

Just to be clear: I'm a 6-day guy and I believe that Adam was a real person in the history of the world. What actually happens in Gen 1-2-3 happened in fact as events in history.

Less than that is simply not what the Bible teaches. My concern is reaching for more than that either in the direction of filling out the complete calendar of the history of the world, or in the other direction of disounting the actual text for science-fawning tales of how God formed man from a red-tailed monkey rather than the red clay -- as if the monkey-miracle is more appealing to naturalists than the one the Bible actually describes.

donsands said...

"Christians who are seeking to correlate Scripture and science must be a 'bigger tent' than either the anti­‐scientific religionists or the anti-­‐religious scientists."-Tim Keller

good thought here.

Thanks for the hard work you did on this post. Well done my friend.

DJP said...

I'm sorry if I wasn't plain before, stratagem. I don't respect your position on this one issue. I saw folks patiently try to set you straight over and over again, and you just repeat yourself. So whatever the issue is for you, it isn't one that has been remedied by more information. And I'd just as soon not restart the cycle.

If I was unclear, I hope I'm no longer so.

Steve Drake said...

Dear Stratagem,
Thank you for your comment. I can respect your, can I say, 'doubt', 'indecision' (I'm sure it's not ambivalence), 'uncertainty', 'hesitation', or 'unsureness'. I would only challenge you brother, and I say this with all Christian love, to continue the dialog, ask the questions, investigate the Scriptural evidence, so that 'doubt' is erased, and you are convinced of the position you choose to hold. The matter is too important to leave to 'indecisiveness', or 'unsureness', or to a mind not made up.

As to the matter of Pastor Keller, and Biologos, Frank's post does raise interesting questions as to the fears inherent in unbelief.

Ben said...

There's no need for conspiracy theories. Keller's paper is a polished version of one that he presented at the November 2009 conference that he and Francis Collins held in NYC. If you look at the signed statement, you'll see the names of people who have contributed to the BioLogos site (Kent Sparks being an exception, but please, no more conspiracy theories). Given Keller's leadership role and the fact that the papers were presented, it's dubious that Keller's points went by unnoticed.

I think it'd be wonderful if Keller could contribute a bit more to BioLogos, as he is a great thinker and is familiar with Evangelical anxiety about evolutionary biology, but he really has a lot on his plate right now: Redeemer Presbyterian Church is currently in the process of strategic mitosis, spawning four separate congregations in Manhattan.

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

I wonder how Collin's most recent slip down the slope regarding his wish that embryonic stem cell research be stepped up significantly, (see Al Mohler's column yesterday) will play into Keller's seeming accommodation of Biologos' apparent rejection of Scripture.

I find it hard not to see this as yet another important Biblical principle being dropped by Biologos in it's ever widening search for acceptance.

I wonder how many more of these slips can happen before Keller steps back and says "whatever I meant before about reconciling science to Scripture it sure wasn't THAT!"

Adam Omelianchuk said...

Frank, I have heard you reference Ex. 20 a few times now in arguing for a literal 7 day creation period. It's an interesting argument for a few reasons. First, it presupposes the uniformity of nature between the creation account and the time of the Exodus. The time period of a day was the same length at both times, and it seems to have retained its length today.

Second, this seems inconsistent with the YEC denial of the uniformity of nature as a warranted scientific belief. In this view, we cannot assume that the present was like the past.

Third, your argument is the same argument George McCready Price used when developing his flood geology in the early half of the 20th century. It explains quite well why YEC flood geology became so popular among Seventh-Day Adventists.

This last reason is irrelevant to the argument's truth value, but first two are relevant to considering the possibility that Gen 1's days were not the same kind of days spoken of Ex 20. The citation demonstrates a justification for a day of rest, not how many hours are in a day.
This might help explain why the Seventh-Day Adventists scholarship of Price was not well-received in his time. It does not handle the principle of uniformity consistently.

And that is what I think Keller is trying to do--be consistent.

round.tuit said...

Why is it so difficult to accept a literal 6 (24 hour) day creation? Could it be that an old earth view is perceived to be for the learned and accepted by academia? That is the message that I get from Keller's paper and why it is probably at the biologos site.

David said...

One thing I see happening is that there is a way to talk about six-day creation that makes it sound like the cosmos is very small, and I have a pretty good handle on how God created it, thank you very much. There are both proponents and opponents who speak about it in this way, and they fail to consider scriptures like Psalm 8 and 19 when they do so.

But even beyond that, Jesus lets us know in John 5 that we can't even read Genesis 1 right if we aren't doing it in light of John 1. Paul confirms and expounds this in Colossians 1.

If all the Biologos people ever do is move the ball half the distance to the goal line, they'll still never cross it.

stratagem said...

Dan-

You yourself know that there were (and are) plenty of people within Christian orthodoxy who feel that the six days are figurative, not literal, many of these pre-dated even Darwin and so couldn't have been influenced by the evolutionary (God-directed or otherwise) lie. Already been covered elsewhere, no need to get into specifics.

So, I don't, and I suspect a lot of others don't, buy your assertion that that the entirety of orthodox Christianity agrees with you on the "literal day" point, and you can't support that assertion. So it is also not true that if someone refuses to be "set straight" on this with 100% certainty, then they are stiff-necked rebels and ought to be rudely rebuffed as you are doing.

I generally respect and agree with most of what you say on the interpretation of most Biblical subjects, including Genesis. I think you are a wonderful person, resource, and brother. Having said that, I can live with myself, while disagreeing on this (in my view, minor) point.
Thanks for your time.

DJP said...

Right: all of which is just a repeat of what you say when folks set out what Scripture says and you don't want to deal. Which is what I was hoping to avoid recycling again.

Except the nice stuff isn't a repeat, and I echo it back atcha. Sure we agree about most vital central issues.

DJP said...

...well, except this. It is also important, not peripheral.

stratagem said...

Steve - I appreciate very much your concern. This is something that I have thought about quite a bit lately. I would say this much: I used to be 100% convinced that the "days" couldn't have been literal, and now I am not so sure of that position for a number of reasons that are off-topic but Biblically-based.

I do not view the literal days controversy as being nearly as important as the question of whether Adam and Eve, the Garden, etc were real and literal, which I most certainly believe they were.

I covet and appreciate your prayers!

round.tuit said...

A young earth view does not compromise the message of the wages of sin. How could death and disease precede sin?

Frank Turk said...

Adam --

I am familiar with the uniformitarian view of things, and I reject it for only one reason: it is anti-supernatural. Demanding that there be a scientific explanation for anything which is plainly a miracle is simply opposed to the idea that God is greater than His creation, and His creation is entirely contingent on Him. If God wants to, the sun will stand still in the sky and the day will be made longer so that Israel may gain its victory over its enemies. In fact: it did.

That said, you are simply missing the point of citing Ex 20 in the discussion over how to interpret Gen 1. here's the part of Ex 20 I mean, for those who have missed it before:

Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

There is a one-to-one correspondence in this passage between the period of the LORD's rest and the period of man's rest. It's the same day of the week, and the analogy here is that as God rested on one day, man shall rest on one day.

The writer of Exodus thought that God rested on the seventh day, so Israel must rest on the sabbath day. That the SDA can read it that way and BioLogos can't really speaks more to me about the abject faithlessness of BioLogos than it does to any question about Ex 20's specific meaning about the sabbath day.

Steve Drake said...

Dear Statagem,
Your wish (for prayers) is my command. I might only add that since you take a literal, historic view of Adam and Eve and the Garden, that you consider going one step further to understand the description in Genesis 1 with it's modifiers of 'evening and morning, the xth day' as also literal and historic.

What is it that convinces you that Adam and Eve and the Garden were historical? I would guess that it is Scripture which tells you this and so thus you are convinced. I would only ask that you 'consider' Scripture's description of the 'days' in Genesis in the same light.

Raise your questions however. Don't ever stop asking questions even if you 'doubt'. For example, I might ask you, 'what is it about Genesis 1 and it's description of the 'day's' that you can't quite get your head around?" In other words, 'what is it that is holding you back from being convinced that the writer of Genesis is describing six rotations of the earth around a light source?"

You might similarly ask me 'How can one have a literal day without the Sun being created until the 4th day? Or whatever, you might have other questions, I don't know. May God grant you wisdom in your search for truth, especially the truth of His word.
Blessings.

Adam said...

Hey Frank, I was curious about something: your paper appears to appeal to tradition ("the most time-honored and ancient reading of Genesis 1 is that this is the history of creation and not some other liturgical/poetic section"); but then one of your comments seems to argue that this tradition doesn't factor into your interpreation ("what happens in Gen 1-2-3 happened in fact as events in history... Less than that is simply not what the Bible teaches.")

So, how would you describe the relationship between tradition and Scripture in your interpretation of Genesis 1?

Peace
adam

Halcyon said...

Adam (the 2nd one):

Not to steal Frank's thunder, but I'm pretty sure that his answer to your question is going to be along the lines of sola scriptura, i.e., tradition is useful and beneficial when and where it is true, but it is always subject to the word of God.

Matt Gumm said...

At the risk of ascribing motives, here’s my take on Biologos, after spending a fair amount of time on their website a couple weeks back.

The sections of the website I read, which were specifically dealing with the theology of the fall, seemed less interested in coming to a consensus position on what happened, and more geared toward presenting the broadest range of possibilities or alternatives.

The difference between Biologos and Pastor Keller seem pretty evident. Here’s how I would summarize the two messages.

Keller: Here is how I think you can reconcile faith with science – you don’t need to choose between them.

Biologos: Science isn’t antithetical to faith. There are many options for interpreting the Bible from a variety of theologians which don’t require you to to subscribe to that unscientific, literalistic, 6 day creation point of view. A point of view, by the way, that Biologos “exists in no small part to marginalize,” and that they are “diametrically opposed to,” because it “makes a makes a mockery of the entire scientific enterprise and its ability to reveal truths about nature.”

stratagem said...

Steve - thank you for the kind reply. I'm not sure Dan would agree with your encouragement to keep asking questions :-), but risking that: Sure, I definitely agree with you that the "days" were days in some fashion - from either God's vantage point, or ours. That's the rub - whose vantage point? The "pre-mankind" era had no observers other than God himself. Some people say that because He was writing to humans he must have necessarily translated the pre-man Creation time period into human days (which is possible, I admit), or some say, He didn't do that and spoke in God-days. The God-days theory has some holes in it; for instance, why does it say "the first day"? Did God experience no days before that? Good question - are there "days" in heaven? Another good question.

Questions like this are ones I have thought of that have caused me to reconsider my non-literal-days view on this subject, so I am still "processing" it all, so to speak, with the Lord's help no doubt.

Again, I much-appreciate your prayers.

Daryl said...

God-days? Where does that come from except someone's attempt to discredit the idea of 6-24 hour days?

As soon as the whole vantage point issue is raised then what isn't up for grabs?
It sounds a lot like those who claim a healing when someone dies because "they're alive in the presence of God, therefore they've been healed."

Frank Turk said...

Adam (2) --

Ah, tradition!

It seems to me that, for example, the BioLogos approach to Gen 1 and Ex 20 specifically (that is: how they relate) comes to a place where the critics making statements about the way the passages interact say, "well, there is a liturgical tradition which helps us understand the genre." The problem is that when we look for the "liturgical tradition", we find something else entirely.

The appeal to a non-historical genre in order to dismiss Adam as a historical person makes the appeal in order to unseat the reader by appealing to a supposedly-lost "tradition" (as you say). The problem is that this "tradition" was never lost: it was never actually found.

So in order to refute the problem as they pose it, we have to deal with the history of the interpretation of the passage. After that, the question of how to read what is written is a fairly-simple matter.

Moreover, the most ancient tradition for interpreting Gen 1-3 is found in the rest of Scripture. That is: Moses himself tells us how to understand Gen 1 in Exodus 20, and we can follow that hand-off through the OT right to the person of Jesus. I mean: he's the guy who says that the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath, right? So when was the sabbath made? What does Jesus mean here?

If you want to set the categories up so that "tradition" is one of the categories, so be it -- but remember that "tradition" is either that which dictates meaning, or that which has merely received the meaning and transmits it faithfully. It is not both -- and the former is the one most "traditionalists" cling to.

Robert said...

God doesn't fit into time and space...He is eternal. That is the problem with thinking of the vantage point. Romans 8:30 says that God already glorified us before time began. The thing is, we don't get glorified until Jesus comes again and we get our glorified bodies.

Adam said...

Frank, thanks for your response.
I don’t understand how Exodus 20 (& other references to the Sabbath) support your position over Keller’s.
If your position is “Moses himself tells us how to understand Gen 1 in Exodus 20,” then Keller’s position (based on his interpretation of Genesis 1-3) could be stated as ‘Genesis 1-3 tells us how to understand Exodus 20.’

Side note: I love that Halcyon called me “Adam (the 2nd one)”. I’d like to think this alludes to my Christ-likeness ;-)

Steve Drake said...

Dear Stratagem,
You said: "Sure, I definitely agree with you that the "days" were days in some fashion - from either God's vantage point, or ours. That's the rub - whose vantage point?"

Dear brother, I am afraid you have illegitimately 'dichotomized' God-days versus our-days. What does the Hebrew text say? Textual criticism requires that we understand the text in 'context' as the author intended to convey it. You have no warrant 'textually' to specify God-days versus our-days since the Hebrew used is a specific word in the Hebrew language that translated into English is our normal word for 'day'.

you say: "The "pre-mankind" era had no observers other than God himself."

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by this. I'm sure you realize that 'time' wasn't created until God brought it into existence ex nihilo. There are no 'days' in heaven, as time will cease to exist, as there were no 'days' before God created because God had not 'yet' brought time into existence.

Please continue to seek for knowledge, especially from the excellent websites, books, and articles that speak to these issues.

J.R. Polk said...

Thanks for pointing to Tim Kellers article. Nice job breaking it down too. I had no idea that he attempts to walk such a fine line between to completely incompatible views.

stratagem said...

Steve- "pre-mankind" time = days 1 thru 5. God surely created time at some point; the Bible doesn't say exactly when, it only says when "days" began, not time. Time can exist apart from the movement of heavenly bodies, as you know. I have no idea when He started time.

You say there are no days in Heaven - the Bible is a little fuzzy on that one, saying that Satan accuses the saints day and night, and that the martyrs at the throne in Revelation serve him day and night. I realize this could be a figure of speech meaning "continuously", but taken literally, means "night and day".

I am still thinking this through, as I said. I haven't yet heard a convincing argument of why this literal-six-day issue is critical to the believer, except that in my experience EVERYONE who majors on a particular interpretation of a minor point is convinced that it is critical and if you don't accept this, and their interpretation, you are willfully rebellious and doomed to slide down the slippery slope toward perdition.

I'll give you an example of this unrelated to Genesis: I have spoken with pastors from certain denominations who are convinced that drinking wine responsibly is a sin. The Bible says plainly that Jesus made wine, and the context of same suggests that wine was a drink that could intoxicate if drunk in sufficient quantities. Yet, never mind, if you don't change your mind on this point after being given "more information" on why the wine wasn't wine, or after being "set straight", then you are in rebellion in their minds. So, everyone has their set of so-called "critical" beliefs and interpretations (beyond the Gospel) that if you don't accept them, you are stubborn, obstinate, looking for an excuse to sin, etc. What I am trying to do is to tune out that sort of nonsensical input and sort out which ones are truly critical, which ones aren't and what the text says in context and what it doesn't say. In the area of Genesis, I think a lot of imaginative things have been added to what the text actually says - I also recognize that I may be guilty of doing exactly that in this case, and am considering that in the process.

I do very much appreciate the help you are giving me by asking me these questions.

Steve Drake said...

Dear Stratagem,
I have read your comments. I am afraid we might be running off topic here, and I don't want to run afoul of Dan's comments, or go too far astray of Frank's post. I'm afraid that we might be doing both, so I hope to defer my comments to another post and another day perhaps?
Blessings.

DJP said...

Too late for that. You just gave Stratagem a chance to trot out what's already been answered many times, with an extra helping of "poor me."

Like I said, I can't guess what the issue is, but it isn't that his questions haven't been answered adequately.

J.R. Polk said...

Stratagem,

I answer your concern regarding the critical nature of this debate here:

http://www.warrantedfaith.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=501:if-the-foundations-are-destroyed-what-can-the-righteous-do&catid=73:bibliology&Itemid=86

Jonesy said...

Frank

Were you not troubled by the fact that Keller didn't answer the 4th question, i.e. how can you reconcile evolutionary thinking with the scriptures (Rom 5, 8, et. al.) that teach that death entered this world when Adam & Eve sinned? [In other words how can one say there was death, "the engine of evolution", before sin enters the world and still be faithful to all of God's word?]

It seems to me that if had he sought a Biblical answer to the 4th question, then, if he were to continue to be consistent, he would have come to the conclusion that Adam was a historically real person, specially created by God and created relatively soon after the creation world.

In other words, it appears to me that he was able to weasel in his non-sense answers to questions 1-3 because he ignored question 4.

Frank Turk said...

Jonesy --

No, that actually doesn't bother me. I think that Dr. Keller actually is trying to talk about questions people with actual doubts have -- not questions posed by people with plenty of faith and apologetical intentions.

Frank Turk said...

Stratagem:

Dan's right, and you're just not really listening to the many kinds and types of answers being given to you.

Next.

Jonesy said...

Frank

I won't disagree with your or Keller that the average person struggles most with questions 1-3. I guess my issue is one of logical foundations: had he dealt with question #4, even though it's not one that comes to the mind of most people, would he not have had an "easier" time, if he were consistent, in answering Qs 1-3 because the answer to those questions are rooted in the answer to Q 4?

Also, I don't quite catch the point you're making about Q4 being for people of faith with apologetical intetions. I have a hunch that my comment above must be primae facie evidence that I am one of those with faith and apologetic intentions. However, I just can't seem to limit my understanding to what you are alluding to.

Sorry to make you do extra duty. Maybe it's because it's late.

ibcarlos said...

Jeepers! ...when I come on here and read these exchanges, boy, does I gets tempted to renounce all pretense of personal intelligence.

(Or perhaps life these days has just been too busy for me to think as straight as all you brainiacs.)

Keep up the dialog, gents! (c:

Shawn said...

I think your use of Exod 20 is interesting. "God's rest is the exact same as man's rest." But then Heb 3-4 says that those who enter God's rest enter by obedience...for eternity (at least the natural inference from the passage is that it is an indeterminate amount of time). Also I don't think you are taking Gen 1-2:3 "literally." I have yet to see a thorough exegesis of the passage that deals with the issues from both sides. I have seen both you and Dan tout your opinions, but have not seen you engage the actual text. To help with this I might recommend a couple of books: Henri Blocher In the Beginning and John H. Walton The Lost World of Genesis 1 (Also note his Genesis commentary in the NIVAC series: some of the best stuff I have read on Genesis). After spending lots of time trying to better enter the world of the bible through careful exegesis and broad reading of ancient Near Eastern literature, I don't think an Israelite sitting on the banks of the Jordan saying: "You know, I think Ken Ham is right. He is asking all the right questions of the text. And this first part of the book IS all about how to make a world."

Bruce said...

It seems clear to me that the primary flaw in Keller's argument is his presupposition that the scientific case for macro-evolutionary processes is so incontrovertible as to REQUIRE Christians to "reconcile" it with Scripture. While he makes a half-hearted attempt to acknowledge the responsibility of the pastor to "read the works of scientists", it is obvious that he has committed an egregious pastoral error in discounting (or completely missing) the substantial body of scientific research that calls much of macro-evolutionary theory into question. Why are we SO willing to cede this crucial ground to evolutionists at just the point in history when recent advances in bio-chemistry and genetic research (among other disciplines) are beginning to highlight the infinitesimally small probability "evolutionary biological processes" could have EVER resulted in genetically viable forms of biological life? I would suggest that Keller open his mind and at least consider the possibility that he may be wasting his time trying to reconcile Biblical fact with scientific fiction. Keller's true pastoral dilemma may be the danger he is exposing Christ's flock to in legitimizing evolution baselessly and causing confusion and division amongst the people of God. I wish Keller would expend as much effort informing himself on the current debate in the scientific community as he does creating the sort of hermeneutical legerdemain evident in his article.

DJP said...

Shawn - I have seen both you and Dan tout your opinions, but have not seen you engage the actual text

Trying to understand this remark. Is this the first and only post you've read on this blog?

Daryl said...

All this talk (OK there's not been a lot, but it always come up with this topic), about understanding Ancient Near Eastern Literature, in order to understand Genesis...

Where does that end? Do we need to understand all the ancient pagan versions of history and poetry and wisdom lit and prophecy and apocalyptic and gospel and personal letter etc etc etc, in order to understand the whole bible?

May McLaren has a point...maybe we do need and English Lit major to explain the bible to us. It's clearly too complicated for anyone to understand by simply studying the text.

Why can Genesis not simply be Genesis regardless of how Gigamesh wrote his made up stories of how the world began.

stratagem said...

Actually, I have listened and am listening to all the "answers" given to me - I just haven't come to the same conclusions as you all, just yet. Maybe I will. I am about to listen to a teaching by John MacArthur on the "six days" subject, as an example.

As an aside, I assume one of the goals of the Pyro team is to be persuasive and not just accumulate kudos and agreeable comments? If so, then I think a realization that to listen and yet not agree, is possible, would be constructive. A lot of people come on here trolling, I realize, and they do have no intention of thinking things through, but that's not true of everyone who comes here with a contrary position. A lot of us are coming here struggling with making up our minds on things that (to me at least) may not be as Biblically clear as some maintain. I have no issue with someone telling me they don't agree with me, but the snide ad hominems about "poor me" and so on simply do nothing but stifle any real communication beyond the "great job, you're SO right" types of comments. And they detract, in my opinion, from the really meaty, thought-provoking content available at this website. Thank you.

DJP said...

Oh, goodness, LET IT GO, Stratagem. You're like a guy with fifty great songs who won't stop singing the one lone stinker.

Yep, one of our goals is to persuade. However, one of our goals is not to have anyone say "Gee, I have a question," to answer that question, then have the same person say, "Gee, how come nobody ever answers my question?" over and over. Nor are we moved when that same person (you) plays the "poor me" that he's a "poor me" because someone points out that he's playing a "poor me."

I am telling you, dude: learn to be content with having repeated your same 1 or 2 points over and over again as if for the first time. They're out there, in The Intrawebs. All may read them. That can be your legacy, if that's what you want.

You have our permission not to accept the answers to your question. You do not have our permission to keep pretending they haven't been answered, or that everyone's mean (see "poor me" above) for pointing that out.

I said at the outset, don't do this again. You did it again. Great job. Now let it go.

James Joyce said...

Good post Frank. Ahead of the curve as usual.

CMI only put up there response today.
http://creation.com/timothy-keller-response

stratagem said...

Dan - to my recollection, I have never complained that no one is answering my questions. I have expressed an opinion which doesn't happen to coincide with yours, and it annoys you.

There is an old saying in business management that observes "feedback is a gift." If your reaction to suggestions of how to turn fewer people off with invective is merely defensive, then you are cheating yourself of any benefit - but you can do that of course, while bearing the consequences. I have read enough to know I am not the only one who has made legitimate suggestions along these lines, so I still think you would benefit by considering what I and others have said. But that's up to you. Thanks.

DJP said...

Yeah, you have. And to the rest, done.

This line of discussion is also done.

recreatedinchrist said...

I don't think Keller is outside the boundaries of the Christian tradition on this. Just see Calvin in his commentary on Genesis on how he sees the relation of the "text of Scripture" and science. I think Keller is actually operating in a very Calvinian mode.

~Bobby

PuritanReformed said...

@Bobby:

that is a miscitation of Calvin's writings. Calin did not advocate for figurative creation days. It simply astonishes me when the Biologos folks wrote that. Do they think that we cannot READ Calvin's commentaries in context?

DJP said...

Oh, boy.

recreatedinchrist said...

DJP,

Your response is funny (it made me laugh :-).

PuritanReformed,

Let me just quote Calvin scholar, Randall Zachman to clarify what I was getting at (and then see what you think):

. . . Calvin . . . was a keen student of astronomy, the study of which he considered to be commended by God. 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." [Calvin's Comm. on Gen. 1:16] However, precisely because of his studies, Calvin was aware that the description of the universe given by astonomers is not the same as the depiction of the universe given in Scripture, as in the creation of the greater and lesser light in Gen. 1:16.

First, he assigns a place in the expanse of heavens to planets and stars, but astronomers make a distinction of spheres, and at the same time, teach that the fixed stars have their proper place in the firmament. Moses makes two great luminaries; but astronomers prove, by conclusive reasons, that the star of Saturn, which, on account of its great distance, appears least of all, is greater than the moon. [Calvin's Comm. on Gen. 1:16]

To avoid an unnecessary conflict between the free investigation of the universe by astronomy and the truth of Scripture, Calvin employs his understanding of the accommodated nature of Scripture, which describes the world from the point of view of a person standing in a field at night, and hence does not claim to be science.

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. . . . Nor did Moses truly wish to withdraw us from this pursuit in omitting such things as are peculiar to this art; but because he was ordained a teacher as well of the unlearned and rude as of the learned, he could not otherwise fulfill his office than by descending to this grosser method of instruction. [Calvin's Comm. on Gen. 1:16]

recreatedinchrist said...

Quote cont.

As his discussion of astronomy indicates, Calvin was concerned that the true and genuine meaning of Scripture not conflict with the understanding of the world and human nature developed by the liberal sciences. Because he was convinced that the Scripture was a book for the unlearned, he did not expect to find in Scripture scientific accounts of the nature of the world, for he was convinced that these could be found only in the writings of the learned. Thus, when Scripture states that there are waters above the heavens, Calvin knows that his learned peers will find this contrary to the way they have come to understand the universe.

For, to my mind, this is a certain principle, that nothing here is treated of but the visible form of the world. He who would learn astronomy, and other recondite arts, let him go elsewhere. Here the Spirit of God would teach all men without exception; and therefore what Gregory declares falsely and in vain respecting statues and pictures is truly applicable to the history of creation, that it is the book of the unlearned. [Calvin's Comm. on Gen. 1:6]

Beyond reminding his readers that Scripture was written according to the capacities of the unlearned, and so should not be understood as being on the same level as the scientific writings of the learned, Calvin also employs the distinction between proximate and ultimate causality to explain why the investigations of the learned do not conflict Scripture. . . . (Randall C. Zachman, "John Calvin As Teacher, Pastor, And Theologian: The Shape of His Writings and Thought," 123-24)


PuritanReformed,

I quoted this at length just so you could get the context of Zachman's point. And then to my point in re. to Keller; really it is toward the end of the quote above that I think Keller's approach fits into how he is trying to articulate his points. I.e. He seems to be engaging a bit of a via media (middle way) between "Calvin's" learned and unlearned. Bearing in mind that Calvin believed that Bible study and the "Natural Sciences" are distinct, nevertheless related entities. It seems to me that Keller is drawing off of this Calvinian tradition or line of inquiry. That's all I was saying. I wasn't saying anything about Calvin's view of the literal days.

~Bobby

PS. I'm not an advocate for BioLogos, at all; just to be clear.

recreatedinchrist said...

Quote cont.

As his discussion of astronomy indicates, Calvin was concerned that the true and genuine meaning of Scripture not conflict with the understanding of the world and human nature developed by the liberal sciences. Because he was convinced that the Scripture was a book for the unlearned, he did not expect to find in Scripture scientific accounts of the nature of the world, for he was convinced that these could be found only in the writings of the learned. Thus, when Scripture states that there are waters above the heavens, Calvin knows that his learned peers will find this contrary to the way they have come to understand the universe.

For, to my mind, this is a certain principle, that nothing here is treated of but the visible form of the world. He who would learn astronomy, and other recondite arts, let him go elsewhere. Here the Spirit of God would teach all men without exception; and therefore what Gregory declares falsely and in vain respecting statues and pictures is truly applicable to the history of creation, that it is the book of the unlearned. [Calvin's Comm. on Gen. 1:6]

Beyond reminding his readers that Scripture was written according to the capacities of the unlearned, and so should not be understood as being on the same level as the scientific writings of the learned, Calvin also employs the distinction between proximate and ultimate causality to explain why the investigations of the learned do not conflict Scripture. . . . (Randall C. Zachman, "John Calvin As Teacher, Pastor, And Theologian: The Shape of His Writings and Thought," 123-24)


PuritanReformed,

I quoted this at length just so you could get the context of Zachman's point. And then to my point in re. to Keller; really it is toward the end of the quote above that I think Keller's approach fits into how he is trying to articulate his points. I.e. He seems to be engaging a bit of a via media (middle way) between "Calvin's" learned and unlearned. Bearing in mind that Calvin believed that Bible study and the "Natural Sciences" are distinct, nevertheless related entities. It seems to me that Keller is drawing off of this Calvinian tradition or line of inquiry. That's all I was saying. I wasn't saying anything about Calvin's view of the literal days.

~Bobby

PS. I'm not an advocate for BioLogos, at all; just to be clear.

Robert said...

Keller is trying to take a middle road that is really just a different road than the literal truth of the historical account of Genesis. Like I alluded to earlier, I put his article/paper in the same category as the attempt by Vern Poythress to create a middle road between continuationists and cessationists. These are two different beliefs and cannot be reconciled...plain and simple. People have no business trying to do so, either, because it just weakens the positions, of which only one can be correct (which doesn't mean any people on either side know everything there is to know).

Steve B said...

Not sure what purpose the discussion of literal vs. figurative six days serves other than as some sort of litmus test of the veracity of scriptures. Mostly I've found that the more secular or agnostic "debaters" on this are really looking to pin Believers to the literal six day creationism so that they can write them off as unscientific kooks.

I think we should take the text as written, but at the same time, I also think that the topic is essentially IMMATERIAL to the overall gospel message. It usual serves only as a focal point of dissent and division.

It makes NO DIFFERENCE unless you NEED it to in order to pigeonhole those who believe one way or the other into some predetermined category. And again, those who seem to push the question the hardest are those with an agenda to marginalize believers.

Kind of strikes at one of the earlier "NEXT!" posts about which questions to really spend your time answering. There's just so many weightier issues out there, I wonder why people so often get bogged down in this one?

Shawn said...

Dan: Nope, I happen to have read quite a bit of your posts, but I see very little serious exegesis. On some other issues, a little, but on Genesis 1, you are woefully lacking serious engagement with the text. And What about the Hebrews 3-4 issue? Scripture interpreting Scripture?

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

PS Dan, why don't you send me a link to a post where either you or Frank focus on explaining the meaning of Genesis 1-2:3. I don't subscribe to your blogs and I might have missed it. However, in the posts I have read you guys seem a lot more interested in talking about how other people are wrong, than what the text is actually trying to say. If you have a post on it, send the link my way.

PuritanReformed said...

@recredtedinChrist:

The issue here is Calvin's view on creaion. While Calvin does indeed speak of God accomodating His speech to us, we nowhere see Calvin saying that Genesis is either (1)figurative, or (2) not describing the creation process as a human observer (if he was present) would have described it.

Everyone can read for themselves Calvin's commentaries for themselves to see whether that is so (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom01.vii.i.html).

I have previoulsy refuted Biologos' use of Calvin's commentary on Gen. 1:6through reading it in context.
(http://puritanreformed.blogspot.com/2010/06/biologos-and-downgrade-of.html). As for Gen. 1:16, Calvin was denying that the words of the Bible must be astronomically precise, NOT that the event itself is not true from the view of uneducated man on earth.

Therefore, it is most untrue to use Calvin as a person who would approve of any teaching that treats Gen. 1 as either figurative or not true from our persepctive. Calvin does not open the possibility of using his position to endorse anything short of 6-day creation. The distinction between learned and unlearned is between technical knowledge and mere observational descriptions, not some esteric third way endorsed by Keller.

recreatedinchrist said...

PuritanReformed,

I never made any comment, ever, about Calvin's interpretive work relative to Gen. and literal vs. figurative. I don't want to talk about that, at all; it is actually a waste of time to do so in this context.

My original point, my middle point, and now my last point was that Keller's approach mirrors Calvin's approach quite closely. He sees a difference between the laity and technicians; your comment presupposes the same distinction in re. to Calvin, so in all actuality in trying to deny my point you affirm and make it for me!

Peace