I know it’s been kind of a one-trick pony around here for a bit, but I can’t get this stuff out of my mind right now.
If you’ve followed this discussion over the age of the universe, one thing you’ve likely noticed is the prevalence of a particular view of truth. This view is the one that permits people to say that Genesis 1 is religiously, but not historically, true. Essentially this is Kant’s old epistemology, dividing the world of truth into the noumenal and phenomenal, where things we see and can reason out and know by science are phenomenal truths on the one hand, and on the other we have religious truths, emotional truths, things like love and spirituality, and these are noumenal truths. I don’t mean to condemn by association, but it is helpful to refer to Kant since he did such a good job of explaining his philosophy. And so, Genesis 1 (and Genesis 1-11, all too often) are said to communicate noumenal, but not phenomenal truths.
One of the frequent defenses of this kind of thinking is that a lot of people will never believe in Christianity if the Bible is allowed to make the historical claims that it makes. Ignorant people might believe it, but people who are in the sciences will know better and not become Christians, because they know these things in the Bible could not possibly be true. So we need to protect the Scriptures by not trying to make the Scriptures do things they’re not intended to do, like teach science or history.
Whenever you hear someone referring to these stories in the Old Testament as “myths”, but try to say that that doesn’t mean they think they’re false, just true in the mythological sense, this is essentially what they’re saying. Genesis 1 is a myth in the sense that it communicates religious but not historical truth.
This concern to protect Christianity from the attacks of modernity was just what motivated Kant as well. He was unable to answer the empiricism of Mill and Hume, and so to preserve some realm of truth, he did what was essentially a tactical retreat, conceded the world of the logical and rational to science (the “phenomenal”), and carved out for himself a realm called the “noumenal” where Christianity could be safe. If Christianity is made to be essentially subjective and irrational, then science could never get it. It was safe.
To put it another way, he thought Christianity was like the good china- really pretty and nice, but not up to the rigors of everyday use. So you put it up in the china cabinet and look at how pretty it is and bring it out for special occasions, but you really didn’t use it for all the day-to-day stuff.
One of the big problems with this view (besides the small matter of being completely unscriptural), is the fact that rationalism is never content with the treaty. They keep grabbing more territory. Over time, more and more things that were said to be matters of the noumenal have been seized by the phenomenal. It’s like thinking Hitler will be content with the Sudetenland. We gave them science, the understanding of the rational world, and then they came for the miracles. At first those were a matter of religion, but David Hume wrote “On Miracles” and we had to give them that. Then we said morality was a matter of the noumenal but along comes Freud and we had to give them that. Spirituality, right and wrong, love itself- what is there that the rationalist doesn’t say belongs to him?
But what Kant failed to realize is that Christianity is not the good china. Christianity is an all-purpose tool and it doesn’t need to be protected. It’s rugged, durable and very useful. If it talks about history, then we can trust it. If it talks about science then we can trust it.
The doctrine of inspiration does not teach that God’s truth is contained in Scripture. This it the way of liberalism. The doctrine of inspiration says that all of Scripture is the very words of God- God-breathed. So if the Bible says that Seth lived five hundred years and then begat Enos, then God says that Seth lived five hundred years and begat Enos. And if we say that people have never really lived for five hundred years, then we’re calling the Holy Spirit a liar. Otherwise, the Bible isn’t the Word of God, it just _contains_ the word of God, and it’s every man for himself to decide which bits are true and which bits aren’t. And guess what the next part to go usually is- the resurrection.
The Word of God is a light to our feet. The Word of God is our strong shield and buckler, a high tower, a rock of defense. The word of God is bread and water, a life giving stream. It’s not some fragile thing that can only be used for a few delicate tasks but for the most part has to be kept safe up in the china cabinet. Throw it out into the business of life. Use it in every occasion. Get comfortable with it, like your favorite pair of shoes or your work vehicle. Use it all the time for everything you do. You might be surprised at how durable it actually is. It’s like those commercials for Ford trucks where they show them doing all kinds of crazy things, in the mud, in the snow, climbing up crazy rock piles. Built Ford tough. That’s the word of God, only more so.
If the word of God addresses the origin of the universe, then we can trust it completely. If it addresses the sinfulness of homosexuality, we can trust it completely. If it addresses the history of the Egyptian nation or the decrees of Emperor Tiberias or whether or not a certain man in a certain time walked on water, we can trust it completely. And just as the Allies eventually realized Hitler wasn’t going to stop and had to go to war with him, eventually we are going to have to realize that there is no compromise with rationalism. We must cede no territory at all to it. We are going to have to go to war whether we like it or not, because rationalism is at war with us.
To use another example, it’s like wondering whether a chair will really hold your weight if you settle down on it. Those in the sciences, with scientific backgrounds, too often don’t seem to think that the chair can really bear their whole weight. So they say, It’s really just ornamental, like those old chairs that Dutch people hang on their walls. Useful once upon a time, but now just a reminder of our heritage. I’m challenging you- take the chair down and sit on it. See if it holds your weight. Start doing science assuming the Bible is true in all its details and see where it gets you. Trust His word- I triple dog dare you.
The problem of the scientist is not unique. They seem to think it is, but it’s not. All of us have problems trusting it. Are God’s ways really the best? Is homosexuality really a sin? Should wives really submit to their husbands? Does it really matter if I go to church or give tithes? Did Jesus really die for my sins and rise from the dead? Is He really coming again?
The problem here is faith. Do we really believe what God said? Can we really trust it?
Proverbs 30: 5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. 6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.
I think that pretty much says it all.
31 thoughts on “Christianity in the China Cupboard”
As you may recall, we’ve had some “discussion” about this topic. I’m not particularly interested in reviewing that area of our debate, but I would like to point out that the old earth point of view is a bit more complex than you’ve stated. For instance, there are old earth creationists who have no problem believing to be literal, what some may consider myth, with regards to Genesis 1 – 11. I would be one of those OEC. Now, while you and I would differ with regards to the interpretation of the word yom, we would probably agree that there was a specially created human, the first human, named Adam, along with his specially created wife, named Eve. We also would agree that the first humans lived for hundreds of years and that a flood destroyed all of humanity, as it was intended to do (alas, we may also disagree on the physical extent of the flood).
I appreciate your comments. And I agree. I am not saying, and never did, that all OEC’s take the position outlined above, and I’m sorry if I implied it. I know it’s quite a diverse set of interpretations. I’m specifically aiming my comments at those who believe that religious and historical truth can somehow be separated, that the Bible can be wrong about history but right about religious things, which is essentially the view taken by some of my recent protagonists. I know you don’t take that view, and while I still disagree with you strongly, I can respect your view of Scripture.
I think we see a lot of what you are writing about in the transcendental phenomenology of the 20th century; especially from the Catholics, Vatican II is filled with TP (pun intended) which leads to other problems outside of science. Take for instance the finding of the RC INternational Theological Council that dogmatic/doctrinal statements are not binding philosopically on a believer. This is utter nonesense, unless one establishes that they are symbolic language from a TP perspective. So, if one runs full course under this rubric, creation becomes another SYMBOL which has no philosophical significance as a doctrinal constraint. Of course this is all utter %#*&%^
“But what Kant failed to realize is that Christianity is not the good china. Christianity is an all-purpose tool and it doesn’t need to be protected. It’s rugged, durable and very useful. If it talks about history, then we can trust it. If it talks about science then we can trust it.”
You still don’t get it. Young earth ideas are absolutly NOT durable! They are completely worthless for making accurate scientific predictions about natural history! Even Christians who work in the sciences have to adopt a Old Earth view in order for observations to align with predictions.
And the Bible explicitly describes a geocentric universe. Do you really believe the literal straightforward meaning of the Bible or do you only pretend you do? The only time the earth moves in the Bible is when God is angry and shakes the foundations of the earth so that the stars fall from the firmament like figs from a tree. Do you agree with Calvin that “those who teach the earth moves are possessed by the devil?” So tell me again, how “durable” and “rugged” are these verses that describe the ancient universe? If your job is launch satellites into geosychronous orbit, you might need to take the motion of the earth into consideration. You can’t completely close yourself off form the real world!
The Bible is indeed without error, but without error with respect to what exactly? Clearly you can’t apply this to matters of science and history without locking yourself in a bubble and completely ignoring natural revelation. Which appears to be your position on these matters.
“The Bible is indeed without error, but without error with respect to what exactly? Clearly you can’t apply this to matters of science and history…”
As I’ve said before, you’ve clearly denied the historic doctrine of inerrancy. You call yourself Reformed, but you’re not Reformed by any definition I recognize. Which of the historic Reformed creeds do you subscribe to? The historic doctrine of inerrancy teaches that the Bible is without error according to the intentions of the original authors. You seem to want to claim to believe the Bible, as long as you get to decide which parts are worthy of believing.
And if the Bible can’t be trusted with regards to history, how can you be sure of the historic resurrection of Christ? You keep throwing these straw man arguments at me, that I’ve dealt with over and over, and never dealt with the very real application of your doctrine to deny the resurrection of Christ. My example of Bultmann is a lot more relevant than your example of “Geocentricity”. Guess which one of those two is believed by a greater proportion of Christianity? And guess which one of them shipwrecks your soul, as opposed to just making you a harmless eccentric? Bultmann is advocating a particular view of hermeneutics which is precisely your view. He’s just applying it more consistently than you.
Your continued examples of people who twist Scripture to make it say things it doesn’t say are classic straw man arguments. Is there any place in Scripture where it explicitly states that the earth does not move? These arguments are the equivalent of calling a man scientifically ignorant because he says he saw the sun go down last night. They are statements from a particular perspective, and as such are completely accurate. This is completely different than just saying that several historical accounts never occurred. The passages in question are clearly not intended to thoroughly describe the structure of the solar system. But they are intended to describe history.
Perhaps I can put the question a little more succinctly. If I believe in the resurrection of Christ “religiously but not historically”, that is to say I believe in the principle of forgiveness and eternal life, but do not believe that a man named Jesus actually rose from the dead, will I go to heaven? If not, why not?
Let’s not question eachothers’ faith. We have already established that Christians can disagree on these points.
Calvin said that only those “possessed by the devil” believe that the earth moves. Luther called Copernicus a “fool” and said the he was trying to “upset the science of astronomy”. Calvin also said that those who believe the earth moves “seek to pervert the order of nature”. You seem to be falling into the same trap that ensnared these great men of God. In a few hundred years, people will look back on YECs just as we now look back on these unfortuante statements by Calvin and Luther. Faithfull men of God, who unfortunely didn’t understand the scope and limitations of special revelation.
The geocentric testimony of Scripture is absolute. Do your own search. I can provide you countless scriptures if you want. In fact, that might be an interesting thread – “does the Bible teach geocentricism” I’d be willing to demonstrate that it does if you take it literally. Every reference to the earth explicitly implies that it DOES NOT move. And every verse that describes the sun and stars clearly says that they move across the firmament. Do your own research! This goes beyond just figure of speech. The sun is described as “hastening to its place of rising” after it sets. Why would the biblical authors say that sun “hastened” unless they wanted to imply its motion. They could have just as easily mentioned the motion of the earth instead, but they didn’t. The same author who wrote that also said that God “set the earth on its foundation so that it can’t be moved.” Who are you going to believe? The astronomers of the Bible?
You just pass this off as irrelavent, but this is central. These verses clearly indicate that God’s intent was not to use the Scripture to provided accurate scientific information. You have admitted to this. But you only want to apply it where it suits you.
I have a lot of respect for Calvin and Luther. But thier high-view of scripture left little room for scientific discovery. You are making the same mistake today. But I believe that had Calvin lived a little longer, he would have changed his mind on the motion of the earth. He seemed willing to examine the evidence even when it appeared to contradict a clear reading of Scripture. In fact, Calvin’s commentary on Genesis 1:6 and 1:16 is a perfect example of how to deal with science and the Bible. Don’t take my word for it – look it up for yourself. My arguments are no different than his, applied to the issues of our own day. Unfortunatly, Calvin died the same year that Galileo was born so he never had the benefit of evidence for a moving earth. At the time he spoke out against the motion of the earth, Copernicus had no proof, just a “crazy” theory. But over time, the Church changed it’s view of the solar system without sacrificing any theology. We can still do this today as science sheds new light on old beliefs. And none of this threatens our faith in the least.
“. Every reference to the earth explicitly implies that it DOES NOT move.”
This is an oxymoron. Something can’t be both explicit and implicit at the same time. And of course that’s the whole thing. Your claim that the Bible teaches geocentricity is just an implication. There’s no text that purports to explain the structure of the solar system- just statements made from our perspective. And from our perspective, the world doesn’t move. So it’s just an implication. But the age of the world isn’t an implication, even an “explicit” one, whatever that means. It’s an explicit narrative covering several chapters in Scripture, which you say never happened.
And you didn’t answer the question. I’m not questioning your faith. I’m trying to understand how you can posit the ability to believe something religiously but not historically, but somehow “firewall” off the resurrection from that proposition. So here’s the question again.
If I believe in the resurrection of Christ “religiously but not historically”, that is to say I believe in the principle of forgiveness and eternal life, but do not believe that a man named Jesus actually rose from the dead, will I go to heaven? If not, why not?
If you can’t answer this, I really don’t care about anything else you have to say.
Exactly!!! “From our prospective” is exactly how the Biblical authors described things. Perhaps you are finally getting it. To quote Calvin, “Moses only speaks of things as they appear to the unlearned, but astronomers are able to investigate with great labor whatever the sagicity of the human mind can comprehend – and this study is not to reprobated, nor this science to be condemned, because some frantic persons are wont boldly to reject whatever is unknown to them.” You appear to be the “frantic person” who “boldy rejects whatever is unknown” to you.
Likewise, each creature only appears to “descend after its kind” to the unlearned – but biologists are able to investigate with great lavor whatever the sagicity of the human mind can comprehend… To quote Calvin again, “Nothing is here treated but of the VISIBLE FORM OF THE WORLD, he who would learn astronomy (or biology) should look elsewhere.” Do you see how this works? Why are you so against it? Would you accuse Calvin of the same things you accuse me of based on his commentary of Genesis?
Look at Psalm 104:5 and Ecclesiastes 1:5 and Judges 5:20 and tell me how these are not explicitly geocentric. They are as clear as the meaning of the word “day” in Genesis 1. And if they are not, why did Christians understand them to be explicit for thousands of years until science proved them to be incorrect? I’ll tell you why – it’s the same reason that YECs still think the earth was created in 6 days: if we have no other way to investigate something, whether it be the age of the earth or the motion of the sun, earth and stars, then we natrually assume that the Bible is providing us this infomation. Sola Scriptura, right? But when new discoveries challenge our beliefs, we go back to the Scripture to see if perhaps we missed something – does the text really teach science? That is all we are doing today. The chruch survived the geocentric controversy, and we’ll survive Old Earth controversy. But you, my friend, are on the wrong side. Learn from the mistakes of the past and do not repeat them!
To answer your question: “If I believe in the resurrection of Christ “religiously but not historically”, that is to say I believe in the principle of forgiveness and eternal life, but do not believe that a man named Jesus actually rose from the dead, will I go to heaven? If not, why not?”
Christianity does not allow one to believe in anything other than a literal resurrection. If you deny this, then you are not a Christian. Paul tells us in I Corinthians 15:17 that “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile.” I understand that this was a very risky statement for a Christian to make during the first century. Had the Pharisees or the Romans produced scientific evidence that disproved the resurrection, such as the dead body of Jesus, it would have surely ended the Christian religion. Had Thomas’ doubt not been met with evidence of Christ’s resurrection, the Apostles would have probably scattered. Creationist claims are also not without risk, but we should choose our battles thoughtfully and carefully – and avoid making foolish claims that stand to gain nothing but seem to risk everything. Many Christians today assume that “if the earth was not created in six 24-hour days, then our faith is futile.” It would serve us well to first command a solid grasp of the entire spectrum of God’s revelation before making such claims in His Holy name.
Whatever point you were trying to make with that question is irrelavent to my position. I don’t, nor have ever advocated anything other than a literal interpretation of Scripture, even when it comes to science an history. The only difference is that in order for the statements of science and history to make sense, we must understand them in their native contexts, and not filter them through a grid of 21st century post-enlightement Western rationalism. Only then can they remain “literal.” Therefore, we understand statements of science and history to be consistent with what was believed at the time, and are not authroitatively binding to us today. Otherwise we would have to be geocentrists. We do the same with the old testament law. Good hermenutics is able to to distinquish the timeless principles from the passing cultural forms used to convey those principbles to us.
Now you answer my question about how to interpret those verses I mentioned consistent with YEC.
I’ve already answered your questions, time and time again. They are statements made about our observation of things from our perspective. You act as if this is some new insight for me, but this is how I’ve answered these straw men from the beginning. A statement such as “The sun came up this morning” can be said to be true, though we might actually know from a different perspective that the earth actually turned so that the sun was visible. But what you’re trying to say is that this is the same as saying “I went to the grocery store yesterday” when in fact I didn’t. That’s not a statement about a particular perspective. That’s a lie.
The point of the question is to show that you want to put the resurrection of Christ in some different category as belief in any other part of the Bible. Paul says what he says in 1 Corinthians, but he wasn’t even an eyewitness. Wouldn’t it be possible that he was wrong and God was just really intending to communicate a spiritual truth disconnected from historical reality? Isn’t it really just important that we understand the “literal” meaning of the resurrection as it would appear to people who were steeped in a mythological first century worldview, who still believed in Noah’s flood, without trying to pass the resurrection through the grid of 21st century modernism? We know virgins don’t have sons and that people don’t rise from the dead, and all of that is clearly just an adaptation of the Mithras cult anyway. So in order to make Christianity palatable to the modern believer, shouldn’t we just insist on the “religious” principle of the resurrection without insisting on the history?
Here’s the point- God is One. He never changes. If He allowed truth to be communicated in the way you’re proposing in the first millenium BC, then He could have done it in the first century AD. Moses and Paul were different people, but the same Holy Spirit inspired them both. Your doctrine of inspiration allows for religious truth to be communicated in the vehicle of falsehood, or “myth” as you prefer to call it. If that’s true of the nature of inspiration WRT Genesis, then it’s true WRT John also.
Granted, if I told you that I saw the “sun come up” of course you would understand that to not be a statement of scientific fact. Primarily because we both know that the opposite is true. But if someone who lived in ancient times told you that after the sun sets, it hurries back under the earth back to the point where it rises, and that it enters the firmamnet from its chambers through doors of heaven and returns to them at night, and that the stars chase eachother through the circuit of heaven each night, that is a different matter entirely. To an ancient person, these were not just literary devices like Isaiah’s clapping trees, but were inteneded by the human authors to be accurate descriptions of physical phenomena. However, the Holy Spirit was using them to convey timeless truth to all cultures and peoples. The same could be said for the solid firmament, the waters above the heavens, the pillars of heaven, the windows of heaven, the waters under earth, the pillars of the earth, etc… These were all part of the ancient cosmos. To read them otherwise is to impose modern scientific knowledge on the text.
The point of this is show that when it comes to Biblical descriptions of the heavens and the earth, the plain reading of the text will not always give you the scientific picture. There is usually a cultural explanation of why the Biblical descriptions are not accurrate by modern standards. This is true of the solar system, the sky, the shape of the earth, as well as the age of the earth. Remember that this entire episode started because YEC claims that the Bible teaches the age of the earth, even though there is absolutely no evidence for a 6,000 year old earth or universe.
Paul never said that our faith depends on the age of the earth, or the extend of Noah’s flood – so yes, I will put the resurrection of Christ in a different catagory. The ancient creeds never mention these silly YEC issues either.
I suppose one could believe all of that liberal stuff you mentioned based on what I have said, but they could no longer call themselves a Christian. I believe those things like the virgin birth and the death and resurrection of Jesus are foundational to the Christian faith. YEC is not. Moreover, there is ZERO evidence refute these fundamental doctrines, yet there is overwhelming evidence that the earth can’t be anywhere close to 6,000 years old. Your slippery-slope just isn’t sliding!
Our goal should never be to make Christianity palatable to the modern believer. The offense of the cross is garunteed. Our goal shoud be to ensure that God’s creation is not dishonored by our misinterpretation and misapplication of special revelation – which has been done throughout history.
As far as God using incorrect information to transmit truth, you act like this is something new. Go back and read Calvin’s commentary on Genesis 1:6 and 1:16. He flat out calls Moses “unskilful” for describing the moon as a light when it clearly borrows its light from the sun. He also points out that moses was wrong to make the “star of Saturn” smaller than the moon, which was not consistent with the astronomy of Calvin’s day. Who are you to say what God can or can’t use to communicate truth to us? The key is to understand the context of the passage in question. You seem to want some kind of easy black-and-white formula that you can apply to any text to get the true meaning. Why should hermenutics be that simple?
I’ve grown tired of saying the same things over and over, so I’m going to stop. Hermeneutics isn’t simple. But Proverbs 30:5 is. Any hermeneutics that starts with the understanding that you know better than the inspired writers of Scripture really isn’t worth spilling any more ink over.
Psalm 104:5 is also clear. So by what authority do you believe that the earth moves? Can you see it or feel it moving?
You don’t like my approach, but at least I am consistent. When it comes to the version of science taught by the Bible, you pick and chose what verses to accept and which ones to reject. Perhaps you should reconsider your approach? http://www.geocentricity.com is always looking for new members who are committed to every literal jot and tittle!
What do you guys think about this? There is a lot of material on the http://www.fiexedearth.com site. In the interest of time, the following articles are good place to start:
Quote: “The main change caused by the Copernican Revolution was the acceptance of the belief that “science” had disproved the Bible. And, if the Bible could be wrong about the earth not moving, it could be wrong on other aspects of the creation, on Noah’s Flood, the Virgin Birth, Heaven…anything. Thus, the Copernican Revolution began a process of replacing the Bible with “science” as the new source of Absolute Truth. Religion, business, politics, science, art….Everything had to begin forming a new philosophical basis as “science” began to dethrone the Bible with Copernican heliocentricity.”
Quote: “God, thru His Word, teaches a non-moving and immovable earth just as surely as he teaches a six-day Creation 6000 years ago and a universal Flood some 1600 years later. All attempts to twist and even boldly reverse geocentric Scriptures by claiming that God just used a “language of appearance” are extremely reckless for the Christian devoted to the inerrancy of Scripture. After all, the same argument has been employed with near devastating effect upon the Creationist Movement by Theistic Evolutionists, has it not?”
The following references contain “Sixty-Seven Scriptural References Which Tell Us That It Is The Sun And Not The Earth That Moves.”
Quote: “One may argue that God really meant that the earth and not the sun is moving in all these Scriptures, that He just used a “language of appearance” or “phenomenological language”, or some such polysyllabic excuse for accepting what “science falsely so-called” says over what the Word of God says. Unfortunately, this hermeneutical slight-of-hand can and does make the Creation days billions of years long, the Noahic Flood just a local flood, the virgin Mary just “a young girl”, “heaven” a superstitious myth, and on and on. Moreover, this method of handling Scripture actually says that God has lied to us or is so inept with words that He couldn’t communicate a simple Truth about whether it is the earth that goes around the sun or the sun that goes around the earth.”
One final quote: “Therefore, it is time for Bible Creationists to either broaden their attack to include Copernicanism–and do so with a whoop!–or recant on their belief in Bible inerrancy on the six-day creation. A non-moving, geocentric earth is taught in the Bible just as plainly as the six-day creation. Indeed, as noted, the creation account makes it clear that there was no sun to go around until the fourth day, yet there was light and darkness, evening and morning!”
Are you guys ready to sign up?
Oh for crying out loud, GJG. At some point, do me a favor and actually read the arguments I’ve been making, or just shut up and stop posting. I’ve addressed your argument here a dozen times.
At a certain point, GJG, your guilt-by-association tactics and your refusal to deal with my answers to the same arguments you repeatedly bring up call into question your commitment to intellectual honesty, not to mention Christian charity. You’ve never answered any of my central arguments, just trying to tar me with the brush of people that I’ve repeatedly said are misapplying the doctrine. Your last several posts have been nothing other than fallacious reducto ad absurda, trying to make me look foolish by claiming I’m making the arguments of others whom I don’t agree with, when I’ve repeatedly shown the difference between their arguments and mine. Our discussion long ago ceased to be terribly useful except perhaps as a negative example of the kind of tactics that your side really ought to try harder to avoid, if they want to have any credibility in this discussion.
You really need to calm down. I AM dealing with your arguments. Your argument is that we should always believe a clear reading of Scripture over science. Well, there are 67 verses that tell us the sun moves and not the earth, and 0 passages that tell us the earth moves. Why do you believe the scientists instead? You have never answered this simple question! I HAVE answered yours repeatedly.
This is not guilt by association, this is your chance to explain how your position does not deterioriate into geocentricity. You asked me to explain how my position does not deteriorate into Bultmann et al. And I did so without accusing you of “guilt by association”. Now it is your time to explain: by what authority do you dismiss these 67 verses that cleary describe a fixed earth and moving sun/stars?
I suspect, by the tone of your previous response, that you have run out of answers. You just want to believe what you want to believe – whatever suits your fancy – with no consistent hermenutic. If I am wrong, than show me.
OK, let’s try it again.
The hermeneutic I use is the grammatico-historical method, which means I interpret the grammar of the text in question within its historical content to determine the author’s intent. When I understand the author’s intent, I believe it.
If you heard me say 67 times that I saw the sun come up yesterday, you would not think that I was intending to communicate to you anything about the relationship of the movement of the sun or moon. I was simply describing something I observed. Passages taken from poetic genres are especially poor choices to be seen as describing the physical shape of the universe. Take this from Pink Floyd’s “Time”, from Dark Side of the Moon:
“And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again”.
Do you suppose from this that Pink Floyd is a geocentrist? No, it’s a literary device, describing the impact a particular phenomena has on the viewer’s impression of the passage of time. Passages about the solidity of the earth or the sun going round to the other side are just this sort of thing. They are obviously not intended to communicate anything about the structure of the physical universe. How many of those 67 passages are in poetic sections? You can’t even make any definitive statements about what Moses did or did not believe regarding the structure of the solar system. He simply doesn’t talk about it.
Genesis 1-11 on the other hand, has the obvious and stated intention to communicate history. You say this history didn’t happen. You say Moses simply didn’t know how the universe began. You seem to think you can deduce God’s intention in the passage separate from Moses’ intention, which is pure assertion on your part, and is not driven by anything in the text but is driven by external considerations. Therefore you violate the author’s intent in your interpretation of Scripture and therefore you violate the historic doctrine of inerrancy. You are practicing eisegesis, not exegesis, making the text conform to what you need it to say.
I appreciate the thoughful response. But here is one problem I see with your logic: everybody has known for 450 years that the earth revolves around the sun. So when you or I say, “the sun sets or rises” – it is obviously a literary device – just like Isaiah’s trees with clapping hands (since he also knew that trees don’t have literal hands). But prior to Copernicus and Galileo, it was common knowledge that the earth did not move, and the sun revolved around it. So when the Biblical writers describe these things, they are using the science that was available to them at the time of their writing.
The same can be said for the solid firmament or the waters above the heavens. These are all elements of the ancient Near-Eastern cosmos, to which Moses and the other biblical authors would have suscribed. So the g-h method, which I also endorse, can help us determine which passages of Scripture are simply expressing the science of the day, rather than teaching us modern science.
You and I both agree that none of these 67 verses were inteneded to teach us celestial mechanics. But if you were not familiar with modren astronomy, and you only looked to the Bible to answer questions about the earth’s motion, then you would have to conclude that the earth does not move. We make the same mistake when we look to the Bible to answer questions about the age of the universe. There is an answer there we ask the question, but how much of that answer is based on ANE science? The universe constructed during the 6 days of creation is obviously not the universe as we know it today, but it is the ANE cosmos. So on what basis do we accept the age of universe, but not the universe itself? That is the questions that YEC has to answer.
The best way for me answer your last paragraph is this: everything you accuse me of doing in your last paragraph is exactly what you do when you read geocentric Bible verses. You assume that they are not intended to teach science, or that they are poetic (I guess poetic = false), but nothing in the text itself leads you to that conclusion. You have properly inferred it from your external knowledge about the universe – just as I and many other Christians have done with the age of the earth.
Am I wrong?
Before you answer, you really should read all 67 geocentric verses contained here: http://www.fixedearth.com/sixty-seven%20references.htm
Hath God said?
Your statements about what Moses did or did not know about the universe is just assertion on your part. You must know that many civilizations and cultures believed that the earth went around the sun before Copernicus. There are hints of it in Vedic texts in the 9th century BC. You also assume that the OT draws from ANE mythology, when the possibility that ANE mythology is simply a perverted account of the truth doesn’t enter your radar. Your whole view is based on assumption upon assumption. You use ANE mythology to interpret the OT, when you should do the opposite.
Poetry <> false. Poetry = full of figures of speech. It’s purely a matter of discerning the intent of the text. It’s one thing to use our knowledge of the external universe to come to a different understanding of a text in a way that does not contradict the author’s intention. It’s something else entirely to just say the author was wrong, and we know better.
It’s also one thing to look to the Bible to tell us something that the Bible never purports to tell us – ie the details of astronomy. It’s something totally other to say we should not look to the Bible to tell us something the Bible does purport to tell us- ie the age of the universe. It’s like saying, since the Bible’s not an accurate source of information about nuclear physics, it also has nothing to say about family life. The Bible spends 11 chapters talking about the origins of the universe, and you think it’s wrong. This is what it comes down to. The Bible never spends any time anywhere actually explaining the structure of the solar system. It does spend quite a bit of time talking about the age of the universe.
The geocentricity movement also assuses heliocentricity of being based on assumptions. That must be a common YEC tactic to slander anything that you don’t like.
MP: “It’s one thing to use our knowledge of the external universe to come to a different understanding of a text in a way that does not contradict the author’s intention. It’s something else entirely to just say the author was wrong, and we know better.”
I never say that the author was wrong. In fact, they are always right given the science that was available to them. They are only wrong when YECs take them out of context.
MP: “It’s also one thing to look to the Bible to tell us something that the Bible never purports to tell us – ie the details of astronomy.”
The Bible talks about astronomy more than any other science. Calvin talks more about astronomy in his commentary on Genesis than any other science. You only ignore these teachings because of your extra-biblical knowledge about the universe.
MP: “It’s something totally other to say we should not look to the Bible to tell us something the Bible does purport to tell us- ie the age of the universe.”
Nowhere does the Bible puport to tell us the age of the universe. You reject the well supported claims of geocentricity but accept the less supported claim of the age of the earth? On what basis?
MP: “The Bible spends 11 chapters talking about the origins of the universe, and you think it’s wrong. This is what it comes down to. The Bible never spends any time anywhere actually explaining the structure of the solar system. It does spend quite a bit of time talking about the age of the universe.”
You’ve got it backwards. There are 67 verses that talk about the motion of the heavenly bodies. Only a handful that talk about the age of the earth, and every theologian calculates a different age. Luther had one, Usher had one, the Jews had one. Same Bible, different ages. So obviously this is not very clear. Yet every religion believed in geocentricity until Copernicus and Galileo. This is very clear. Your statements don’t add up.
When you told me about Bultmann, I spent a considerable amount time researching his opinions in order to understand how my ideas might be interpreted. Have you spent any time on http://www.fixedearth.com? I even gave you some referneces to help you. It would help you to figure out your position more consistently if you invested a little more time here.
Simply- Do you think Moses actually knew how the universe came into being?
Of course not – but neither do we actually know all of the technical details of how the universe came into being. All we have are ideas, based on 21st century science and technology. Likewise it is safe to assume that Moses, having been educated in the best Schools of Egypt, had ideas based on the ancient science of simple observation. And so he relates these things to us.
I do not think that God gave Moses special knowledge about the technical details of creation that was ahead of his time. Primarily because that was the purpose of the narrative. Now, before you slam me for saying this, consider this scneario: During Calvin’s day, there were two astronomical controversies that commanded his attention.
The astronomers had proven with a high degree of certainty that:
1.) Saturn was greater in size than the Moon.
2.) The moon did not produce its own light, but merely reflected the light of the sun.
The were controversies in the Church becasue Moses only makes two great lights, the sun and the moon. The stars [Saturn] were given a much lower status. And the same word for light is used to described both the moon and the sun. Here is how Calvin dealt with these with my commentary inserted (sorry for the length of the citation):
“I have said, that Moses does not here subtilely descant, as a philosopher [philosopher = scientist in Calvin’s day], on the secrets of nature, as may be seen in these words. First, he assigns a place in the expanse of heaven to the 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 [this assertion was based on the Ptolemaic theory – which was the generally accepted cosmology of Calvin’s day, but was overturned shortly after Calvin’s death by Galileo]. Moses makes two great luminaries; but astronomers prove, by conclusive reasons that the star of Saturn, which on account of its great distance, appears the least of all [Neptune, Uranus and Pluto had not yet been discovered], is greater than the moon. Here lies the difference; Moses wrote in a popular style things which without instruction, all ordinary persons, endued with common sense, are able to understand; but astronomers investigate with great labor whatever the sagacity of the human mind can comprehend. Nevertheless, this study is not to be reprobated, nor this science to be condemned, because some frantic persons are wont boldly to reject whatever is unknown to them. For astronomy is not only pleasant, but also very useful to be known: it cannot be denied that this art unfolds the admirable wisdom of God [unless one teaches that earth moves, then they are “possesed by the devil!”]. Wherefore, as ingenious men are to be honored who have expended useful labor on this subject, so they who have leisure and capacity ought not to neglect this kind of exercise. Nor did Moses truly wish to withdraw us from this pursuit in omitting such things as are peculiar to the 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. Had he spoken of things generally unknown, the uneducated might have pleaded in excuse that such subjects were beyond their capacity. Lastly since the Spirit of God here opens a common school for all, it is not surprising that he should chiefly choose those subjects which would be intelligible to all. [here is my favorite part] If the astronomer inquires respecting the actual dimensions of the stars, he will find the moon to be less than Saturn; but this is something abstruse, for to the sight it appears differently. Moses, therefore, rather adapts his discourse to common usage [Moses dumbs it down for us]. For since the Lord stretches forth, as it were, his hand to us in causing us to enjoy the brightness of the sun and moon, how great would be our ingratitude were we to close our eyes against our own experience? There is therefore no reason why janglers should deride the unskilfulness of Moses in making the moon the second luminary; for he does not call us up into heaven, he only proposes things which lie open before our eyes [so why should we mine the Bible for scientific truth if Moses has dumbed it down for us?]. Let the astronomers possess their more exalted knowledge [is astronomy more exalted than Scripture?]; but, in the meantime, they who perceive by the moon the splendor of night, are convicted by its use of perverse ingratitude unless they acknowledge the beneficence of God.”
In summary, Moses may have known more about the universe than what was written – but not much more. Primarly because the Holy Sprit, speaking through Moses, made use of common knowledge (ancient Near-Eastern ignorance) so that the technical details of creation would not distract from the more pressing spiritual concers. So if Moses writes to unleaned on matters of astronomy, what busisness do we have using Scripture as a science textbook?
But what Moses knew is is of no consequence to us because according to Calvin He “had no intention to teach astronomy.” I submit that neither did he intend to teach geology, biology, or the age of the earth. Again, if he is writing to the ignorant, then what use are his writings on matters of science – to which we have “more exalted” ways of investigating these matters?
I know that was a long answer, but that was a loaded question that you asked.
Perhaps we should make this a little simpler. Do you believe that Moses believed there was a man named Enos who lived for nine hundred and twelve years?
Of course Moses believed it. He wrote Gen 5:11 “Altogether, Enosh lived 905 years, and then he died.”
What literary genre would you consider this verse to be? Poetry? Allegory? Mythology? Legend? Journalism? Historical narrative?
Remember that Moses writes almost 2500 years after Seth and Enosh would have lived. These details of who was born when and how long they lived were passed down by a combination of oral tradition and other writing for 2500 years before Moses is prompted by the HS to write them. And what was the point that these passages were intended to make? To help YECs calculate the age of the earth? Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that everybody who uses this data to determine the age of the earth gets a different number. Does the geneaology begin with the phrase, “and herein lies the data that one can use calculate the age of the earth”? We ask the same question of the geocentricity: are any of those verses preceeded by the phrase, “now here is how the heavenly bodies move.” I think that both YECs and geocentricists make extra-biblical assumptions about the text.
Luke 3 makes it clear that the purpose of this data is to show the line of Christ to Adam. The details of who live when and exactly how long are immaterial. Even the different biblical geneaologies are conflicting. So tehcnical percision was obviously not God’s purpose here.
Establishing the line of Chris is the only purpose authorized by the Bible – as evidenced by Luke 3. It is a stretch to apply this to scientific questions – such as the material age of the earth. Just as it is a stretch to apply the Psalms to qeustions of celestial mechanics. There is an answer there if you ask the question, but is the question valid? Is that what the text is claiming to teach?
I think you’re missing my point. I’m not talking about what the purpose of God telling us about Enos was. I’m going to your doctrine of Scripture.
So. Moses believed there was a man named Enos who lived 912 years. There was not, however a man named Enos who lived 912 years, or anything close to that. Moses intended to communicate to us that a man named Enos lived 912 years, when that is actually not a fact.
Therefore, Moses recorded something, that according to his own intention in recording it, was not in fact true at all. I’m not talking about God’s intention here. I’m talking about Moses’ intention.
Is this your contention?
I apologize for that, I was trying to anticipate your line of reasoning and got ahead of you.
My contention is this: As to the technical details of science and history, Moses wrote according to the knowledge that was available to him. And at the time of his writing, there were many traditions. There were creation traditions, there were geneaological traditions, there were cosmological traditions, etc… In matters of science and history, I don’t expect Moses, the man, to have had any special knowledge that was not common available at the time of his writing. So everything he tells us is obviously packaged in Ancient Near-Eastern packaging.
However, the doctrine of biblical inspiration tells us that God’s intentions override the intentions of the human authors. So despite the ANE cultural packaging, God’s transcendent truth is able to be plainly understood by all. If we assume that God’s intentions were to teach us celestial mechanics, or the age of the earth, then we have to assume that God knows less about the universe than we do because these issues can be easily solve with 21st century science and technology. But this would be blasphemy! So we instead conclude that despite the geocentric packaging of Moses’ portrait of creation, that was not GOD’s intent. The same can be said for the age of the earth or the waters above the heavens, etc…
Let’s break down what you said, but instead of using your example of Enosh, I’m going to replace it with another Hebrew tradition using [brackets]:
“Moses believed [the sun moved around the earth (as did all ancient people)]. The [sun does] not, however [move around the earth], or anything close to that. Moses intended to communicate to us that [the sun moved around the earth (he mentioned it 15 times)], when that is actually not a fact.”
Here is one more example of an ANE tradition since you are probably getting tired of geocentricity:
“Moses believed there was a [solid firmament holding back the waters above the heavens]. There was not, however [a solid firmament holding back the upper waters], or anything close to that. Moses intended to communicate to us that [the firmament was a solid dome separating the waters above the earth from the waters below the earth], when that is actually not a fact.”
Again, while Moses may have intended these to be accurrate literal descriptions of the cosmos by ancient standards of the unlearned (to quote Calvin), God’s intentions overrule the intentions of Moses. Therefore, (again to quote Calvin) God did not intend to teach scientific priciples here. He simply accommodated ancient man’s ignorance on these matters so that the material details of Scripture would not destract the Hebrew people from the transcendent message.
You badly misunderstand Calvin, and you badly misunderstand the doctrine of inspiration. God does not override the author’s intent. He shapes and uses it, guiding them so that their words are perfectly true and accurate according to their original intent.
As I’ve said many times before, you wouldn’t accuse Pink Floyd of lying or being mistaken because they said that the sun “races around to come up behind you again”. That’s poetry, it’s a figure of speech. All ancient people did not believe in geocentricity- some definitely believed in heliocentricity including the ancient Greeks, Indians and Babylonians. It’s pure assertion on your part that Moses was ignorant of this.
And as I’ve said, Moses talked to God face to face. That he was ignorant of the very subject he was writing about is just your assertion, without support from any source other than your need for it to be so.
Your understanding of inerrancy is badly flawed, and not orthodox. You also misunderstand Calvin. His point is the same as mine, that we understand the content of the Scripture according to the intent of the author. Moses’ intention was not to provide exact details about the solar system, and therefore we can’t take his words to provide that to us. But according to your own words, his intent was to tell us that a man named Enos lived 912 years, but he was wrong. This destroys the doctrine of inerrancy. Stop comparing apples to oranges- the matter of author’s intent is the crucial difference between your understanding of Genesis 5 (which is contrary to the author’s intent) and my understanding of Psalm 104:5 (which is not contrary to the author’s intent).
Again this is the crucial difference: Did David intend to teach us about astronomy in Psalm 104:5? No, by your own admission. Did Moses intend to teach us about history in Genesis 5? Yes, by your admission. That’s the difference.
You’ve said before that you’re Reformed- what creed do you subscribe to? You say you believe in inerrancy- I’d like to understand how you define this term.
And just because I haven’t commented on these sites you keep bringing up doesn’t mean I haven’t looked at them. I’ve told you over and over why I think their conclusions are irrelevant to the issue at hand. Author’s intent is the whole thing. If inspiration works apart from the human author’s intent, then Scripture can mean whatever we want it to mean, and this is the link between your views and Bultmann’s.
If I have so badly misunderstood Calvin, then why don’t you explain to me his commentary on Gen 1:16?
As to inspiration, I used the word “override”. Your words “shapes and uses” work just as well. I don’t see a big difference here.
I’ve answered you many times before, you can’t compare Pink Floyd’s phenomenological use of solar terms to the Bible’s use of them. We know better, ancient people did not. When they used that language, it was because that is what they thought – period.
“All ancient people did not believe in geocentricity- some definitely believed in heliocentricity including the ancient Greeks, Indians and Babylonians.”
You are absolutely wrong here. The greeks believed in Ptolemaic theory (geocentric), the Babylonians believed that the earth was a flat disk floating on a watery abyss covered by a domed firmament from which the heavenly bodies were fastened. The Indians portrayed the earth as a flat disk riding on the back of a turtle who is standing on an elephant. Check your sources a little better before making such claims. In fairness, there was one greek philosopher named Aristarchus that proposed heliocentricy around the time that Erastithones (sp?) discovered that the earth was spherical, but his ideas were rejected and the ideas of Ptolemy were adopted by the Greeks instead. When Moses spoke about the motion of the sun, the stars, the solid sky, the waters above the heavens – for all he knew he was being accurate. THAT IS THE DIFFERENCE! God obviously knew otherwise, becuase God knows everything – ergo accurate scientific descriptions was not His concern. So why do you worry about it?
Explain to me how Moses meeting with God face to face makes him an expert on pysical science? This meeting was obviously not to talk about the material details of creation. If so then you would think God would have corrected the faulty ANE cosmology. Think of all the divisive issues that could have been settled at the foot Mt. Sinai! Right then and there, God could have given the earth a spherical shape, put it in motion around the sun, removed the solid firmanet and the waters above, explained that the planets were not really stars, that they were actually much larger than the moon, that the moon was not really a light, that the rain was not caused by tiny windows in the solid firmament through which the waters above were released, etc… Yet the universe that Moses describes in Genesis 1 repeats the same physical errors of both the Egyptian and Mesopotamian cosmogonies. The rest of the Old Testament follows suit. Read the Enuma Elish (Babylonian) or the Hermopolitan (Upper Egyptian) creation mythologies for yourself. Do you think that the Bible describes these cosmogonies, which pre-date the Hebrews by hundreds of years, by coincidence? Giving accurate details about the physical universe was OBVIOUSLY not God’s intent, despite Moses using this language. To conclude otherwise is to make God a liar, which is exactly what YEC and geocentricity does.
I know what you’re thinking right now. You think that I am assuming to know what God’s intent is. That is a valid concern, but if God knows everything about the unverse, and fails to tell Moses, and then allows Moses to repeat the physical inaccuracies of the Egyptian and Babylonian cosmos, then it is only reasonable to assume that physical science was not Gods intent. So what was God’s intent? Again, no assumptions are necessay. Look at the text itself. The only differences between the Hebrew creation story and the pagan mythologies are THEOLOGICAL – which are infinitely more significant that scientific issues! These would have been major revelations to the Hebrews who had just spent almost 500 years in Egyptian captivity after being exiled from Mesopotamia. Moses removes the gross polytheism from the pagan cosmogonies and establishes Yaweh as the one true God who created all things visible and invisible. That is THE intent of Genesis – not physical science! And none of this is based on assumption, but is revealed by understanding the context in which Moses writes Genesis.
We will probably always disagree on this. You seem to be willing to let go of the Biblical cosmos, but not the details of its creation. I find this terribly inconsistent.
I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that your questioning of my faith is just out of curiousity, so I will attach no malice to your inquiry and give you an honest answer. I suscribe to the ancient creeds (Nicene, Apostles). Being Presbyterian I hold to most of the Westminster Confession, but take exception on a few minor points (Sabboth observance and 6-day creation). I agree with the Chicago Statement’s definition of Biblical inerrancy:
“We affirm that canonical Scripture should always be interpreted on the basis that it is infallible and inerrant. However, in determining what the God-taught writer is asserting in each passage, we must pay the most careful attention to its claims and character as a human production. In inspiration, God utilized the culture and conventions of his penman’s milieu, a milieu that God controls in His sovereign providence; it is misinterpretation to imagine otherwise.”
“So history must be treated as history, poetry as poetry, hyperbole and metaphor as hyperbole and metaphor, generalization and approximation as what they are, and so forth. Differences between literary conventions in Bible times and in ours must also be observed: Since, for instance, nonchronological narration and imprecise citation were conventional and acceptable and violated no expectations in those days, we must not regard these things as faults when we find them in Bible writers. When total precision of a particular kind was not expected nor aimed at, it is no error not to have achieved it. Scripture is inerrant, not in the sense of being absolutely precise by modern standards, but in the sense of making good its claims and achieving that measure of focused truth at which its authors aimed.”
So to say that certain passages of Scripture are “nonchronological” or “imprecise” is not contrary to inerrancy. Yet you would use nonchronologial and impercise data to determine the age of the earth?
And finally, you said this: “If inspiration works apart from the human author’s intent, then Scripture can mean whatever we want it to mean, and this is the link between your views and Bultmann’s.”
This is not true. Even in my view, Scripture can only mean what it says – if understood in the original context. Those truths which trancend human culture and hisotrical context, such as God’s prohibition on homosexuality for instance, are not subject to this analysis. But science, which changes from generation to generation based on discovery, is subject to this analysis. This puts an inherent barrier between me and Bultmann.
There is no such barrier between YEC and geocentricity. At least not that you have demonstrated. Your use of Pink Floyd lyrics falls short of this, since Pink Floyd – and every other modern person – already knows geocentricity is false. You have not demonstrated how the 67 references to geocentricity were not the Bibical authors’ intent, given that geocentricity was common knowledge in the ancient world. If your doctrine of inspiration can not distinguish between God’s intent and the human author’s intent, then I don’t know how you ignore these 67 verses. Perhaps there are others lurking who can do this?
I doubt anyone’s reading this now but you and I. They have probably all gotten sick of the same things being said over and over.
From WCF, Chapter I, sect. IX:
IX. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself: and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.
The plain meaning of Genesis 1-11 is history. Every other reference to it in every other place in Scripture is as history. Every other Biblical author who mentions any piece of these texts, including David, the prophets, Paul, Peter and Jesus Himself assume that they are history. They are therefore to be believed as history. This is your only choice, GJG, and this is the last time I’m going to say it. You can either believe the Bible or not. Can you cite a single verse in Scripture that would support your “mythological” reading of these chapters? I’ve cited a whole bunch of them in favor of a historical reading.
I explained Calvin’s comment in the last post. He’s saying the same thing I am- that we look to the author’s intent and limit ourselves to that. So if Moses intended to write history then we believe history. He did not intend to write astronomy so we don’t worry about that.
Everything I’ve written before stands. If you’ve got further comment, just make up an imaginary “me” and imagine how I would react- it will probably be pretty accurate. If on the off-chance you’ve got something new to say instead of just trotting out the same old quotes from sites I’ve already refuted and authors I’ve already dealt with perhaps I’ll respond. But I’m not promising anything.
“Overriding the intent of the author” and “shaping and using the intent of the author” are two completely different things. The one says that the author’s intent in the text doesn’t matter and can’t be trusted. The other says that the author’s intent is the reliable guide to the meaning of the text. You deny that the author’s intent can be trusted. Therefore you deny the historic definition of inerrancy and inspiration.
You can continue to call black white and up down all day long. But when it comes right down to it, you just don’t want to subject your opinions to the plain teaching of Scripture. You’d rather take your sinful mind’s interpretation of faulty and uncertain data over the clear teaching of Scripture. You’re in rebellion against the word of God. You think you know better than a man who talked to God Himself. You don’t have any idea of the subject of the conversation between God and Moses, except what we see in Scripture, and what we see in Scripture is that there was a man named Enos who lived 912 years. Have faith or not. Live or die. Your call. But I’ve said everything I know to say. You’re right. I’ve run out of answers. My calling your faith into question is not an accident. You’re a man who trusts the opinions of your own sinful mind more than the plain word of God and this is the heart of rebellion.
“Can you cite a single verse in Scripture that would support your “mythological” reading of these chapters?”
The genre of a text is descerned by the text itself. You will never a verse preceeded by the phrase, “this is poetry” or “this is allegory” but yet we these literary forms used often. The same can be said of mythology – especially when we are talking about oral Hebrew traditions that were handed down for thousands of years before Moses. The internal consistencies alone are enough to preclude accurate historical or scientific readings. Cleraly this was not Gods’ point in giving us this. But again, we are going over old ground here.
I assume that since is your blog, you do not have to answer my question, even though I have tried to answer yours. You have never demonstrated that a logical barrier exists between YEC and geocentricity. And I don’t expect you to do it now either.
So before I sign off, let me just say that it has been a pleasure. I hope you were edified as I was. Despite the heated nature of the dialoge and the gravity of the topics discussed, I’m confident that we will meet in heaven – where we will both discover just how far off the mark we really were. Oh well. I must move on to other things. Take care, Matt.
Okay, I do not know how long it has been, but GJG, it sounds like you doubt a lot of things. Anyway, I wanted to direct you to http://www.teampyro.blogspot.com, One of the guys just wrote about Gods word, and it is pretty interesting, ecspecially the part about Jonah. I know you and Matt have been talking about Science and the bible, but this can be put in that “general” context, I think. Anyway, you should check it out.