Looking at the original question, and in general with questions like this, I am inclined to point you toward good information and let you decide on the basis of that rather than try say something to change your mind.
I think the main thing you have to examine is the “young earth” in the statement, as all Christians are creationists of one sort or another. You seem in your opening statement base the age of the earth on your interpretation, which means you have to examine if that interpretation is correct or not, and what problems each view has. If you are looking at the whether a young earth is a reasonable conclusion, you have to look and learn about the various dating techniques, the size of the universe and measurement of light, geology, archeology, and perhaps even genetics, though that gets into evolution, which is a secondary question at this point.
When I looked at such things, I realized that the earth and universe was ancient, and only some form of old earth creationism was possible to be compatible with a true and holy God. However, you have to look and reach whatever conclusion you wind up with yourself. Just be aware of the tendency towards confirmation bias, and avoid reading only those who agree with your leaning.
Looking at the original question, and in general with questions like this, I am inclined to point you toward good information and let you decide on the basis of that rather than try say something to change your mind.
You are right. If you take a “pre-evolution stance,” you cannot claim that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, because the Bible is not the inerrant Word of God. Jesus is the inerrant Word of God. John 1:1:smiley: Evolution is not a stance. Evolution is a fact.
The problem seems to be that Evangelicals think that the Bible must be absolutely true for Jesus to be true. The fact is that Jesus is absolutely true and the truth of Jesus confirms the facts of the Bible, not the other way around. Thus evolution cannot disprove Jesus, but actually evolution supports the fact that the universe was created through and by the Logos, Jesus Christ.
Man, you have really drunk the Kool-Aid, haven’t you?
Hi Hman! This is a great thread you’ve started.
Take it quite seriously? Absolutely. But that wouldn’t be reason to reduce it to its plain literal sense. I think it would help to look at other places where someone writes from a secluded location due to God’s supernatural inspiration. Maybe John writing Revelation on the island of Patmos by God’s guidance? How straight-forward was God’s revelation to him?
I’d argue that the rule rather than the exception when God supernaturally reveals something is that it’s going to be somewhat psychedelic. The prosaic stuff more often comes when someone writes as an eyewitness (e.g. Nehemiah) or when they’re compiling together historical accounts and testimony (e.g. I-II Kings, Luke). Even Jesus’ words seem to fit this: his favourite vehicle for truth was a good story. What if the God who inspired Genesis is the same?
There’s also another way of looking at this. Instead of finding where else a part of Scripture is revealed directly by God rather than being based on sources or eyewitnesses, you could look recursively for where within Genesis there are parts that are visions within the overall vision we’ll presume was given to Moses. There are quite a few dreams in Genesis. They aren’t blandly literal as to what they represent. In fact, the point often seems to be that they require interpretation, and that interpretation only comes through God’s Spirit.
Anyway, I think rejecting a plain-sense reading is far easier if one holds that Genesis was written by Moses through divine revelation. If, instead, it was composed from various sources pieced together by an inspired editor (or layers of such editors), I think we would have more reason to expect at least some parts to be closer to a form of ancient history.
It’s not the kool-aid… it’s the intransigence of the opposition…
My drug of choice is diet Coke or Pepsi; I’m afraid it affects my dogmaticism too. Sorry! These are good discussions.
Not real sure I follow you there, but interesting to consider. If put together in the 5th - 6th centuries BCE, as seems likely given the use of nation names that did not exist in Moses time, you feel it is more likely to be historical? I do understand your thought that an inspired vision as the origin may be more symbolic and less literal, I think. But please elaborate a bit on your thoughts for the benefit of those of us who are a little slow on the uptake.
It would seem that you need to choose between the traditions of men or the demonstrable facts of the world around us.
Dr. Francis Collins wrote a wonderful essay about evolution and other scientific discoveries that is geared towards his fellow christians. You may want to give it a read:
If it was put together from any kind of pre-existing material, whether written or oral, that may place it in a different category than a divine vision. Some parts could still derive from a vision, but the whole of Genesis would not.
From my reading of Scripture, if Genesis is entirely a divine vision revealed to Moses that does not rely on any pre-existing sources, I wouldn’t expect a straightforward historical narrative. Perhaps history told through a symbolic story that reveals God’s perspective on events. Perhaps a glimpse behind the curtain to see how supernatural actions affect earth in ways no human witness could physically perceive. This is what I see especially in parts of Daniel, Ezekiel, Job and Revelation. But in a vision I wouldn’t expect a prosaic recounting of past events (such as Ezra, Nehemiah). Of course prosaic recountings are also shaped by the writer and what they choose to focus on, but the style is still quite different.
Personally, I don’t think Genesis was written by Moses due to a divine vision. I think there were written and spoken sources from Israel’s cultural memory, creative and thoughtful editors, and God’s Spirit working through all these people and pieces to give us what God wanted us to have.
The point I wanted to make, though, is that if one does view Genesis as the result of a divine vision, it’s actually simpler to argue that we should expect symbolism and a non-literal style than under a more convoluted view of Genesis’ origin. (The problem, of course, is that Genesis as a whole doesn’t look like other divine visions. Visions don’t usually have genealogies, for instance.)
Sort of. You have to consider that in light of the fact that during the first millennium nobody had any reason to believe in an old earth. Any of us who so strongly support an old earth would have been YECs in the first millennium.
What is related but demonstrably false is the oft-made claim that a six ordinary 24-hour day view of creation was universal in the early church. Not only was it not a universal view, it is also true that the early church didn’t make a fuss about it–since the early creeds emphasize the who (God) and the what (created) but not the how or when.
It is really only with the advent of the ToE that a segment of the church started to elevate six-day creation to a cardinal doctrine.
Edit: The quote insisted on appearing to come from T_aquaticus. I did my best to fix it.
Thanks, that clarifies it for me, and I tend to agree with you.
I think you’re main hold difference is going to be over an understanding of “Biblical innerancy”. Mainly “all words being God breathed”, implies that the Bible is 100% historically and scientifically accurate according to modern categories of science and history.
If you take Genesis 1 and 2 at face value, AND you accept that definition of Biblical inspiration you have to also accept a flat earth, that plants grew before there was a sun, ((not to mention what in the world a 24 hour day was before there was a sun anyways) and are raised with some very difficult issues to explain of how the order of creation is different in Genesis 1 and 2. Generally you have to either choose to ignore reality and accept Scripture or reject Scripture and accept reality.
You seem to be operating out of the assumption that most people become evolutionary creationist, by first accepting evolution, then trying to reconcile it with Scripture. Many (including myself), arrived at the position by first coming to the conclusion that YEC(and the implied understanding of Biblical inspiration/inerrancy) was a flawed way of reading Scripture-based on studying the Ancient Near Eastern culture in which Scripture was written, then concluding that the Bible was neutral on science and the later accepting evolution after studying the science.
An analogy that has helped me is seeing parrells between Scripture and Jesus in being fully God and still fully human. Jesus was fully God while on earth, yet he was not all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-present (or all those other omni’s); Even his miracles he could do only through the Holy Spirit just like us. There’s no reason to believe he knew the earth was a sphere, rotating around the sun, nor that he knew anything about modern biology.
In the same way, Scripture was written by humans, in known-human language, and known-human literary types, and is written in a way they would understand (ie there understanding of science/history) yet it contains a divine message that is timeless and for all people in all places.
If I understand what you are saying, I disagree. Biblical inerrancy and the inspiration of scripture do not, even taken together, imply one must have a literal hermeneutic. One can (and I do) affirm both inerrancy and inspiration while still allowing the biblical writers to employ all figures and techniques of speech including metaphors, allegories, similes, hyperbole, etc. In that sense the bible only has to be scientifically accurate if it is making a definitive scientific statement. (And I can’t think of any that it does, except possibly in its first three words.) The bible can, like any other book, say “the sun rose” rather than “the earth rotated” and still be inerrant.
That’s a nicely crafted response!
So don’t be too disappointed if @HmanTheChicken shows no sign of feeling the persuasive power of your logic.
@heddle, please note that there lots of other categories of texts that are not proclamations of science - - but which should still be accurate or reliable… based on either “inerrancy” or “divine inspiration”.
I have quoted what I think is your best paragraph. And there is so much more you could add to a list of Biblical realities that don’t seem to reflect the world’s realities:
o Job has a verse about snow and hail being stored in “treasuries” or “warehouses”… presumably kept up in the Heavens where they can be best deployed;
o the Witch of Endor who can summon the soul of Samuel, who says that by the next day Saul and his son will have joined him in the underworld (this whole scenario is based on a pre-Exile metaphysics which is dramatically re-written after contact with Persian rule);
o the difference in facts that become unavoidable when comparing historical events described in Kings compared to the same events described in Chronicles;
o the difference in facts that become unavoidable when comparing historical events described in Ezra compared to the same events described in Nehemiah;
o the impossibility of Abraham fraternizing with the Philistines 800 years before the Philistines have even arrived in the Levant;
[My Personal Favorite!]
o the timeline problems created by Exodus occurring sometime after the Philistines arrived on the Levantine coast [[ Exodus 13:17 "Then it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go,
that God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near;
for God said, “Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.”]].
Egyptian documents and archaeological digs confirms that the Philistines were not in place until approximately 1200 BCE, and had become the dominant military presence in Palestine by 1130 BCE.
No doubt I am forgetting some other choice examples… and will gladly be reminded of what I have forgotten by any of the readers.
MULTIPLE VERSIONS OF EXODUS TEXT ON PHILISTINES
“And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt…”
Then it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, “Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.”
When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, “If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.”
When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.”
When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. For God said, “Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt.”
When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them along the road to the land of the Philistines, even though it was nearby; for God said, “The people will change their minds and return to Egypt if they face war.”
Now when Pharaoh had let the people go, God did not lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines, even though it was near; for God said, “The people might change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.”
When Pharaoh released the people, God did not lead them by the way to the land of the Philistines, although that was nearby, for God said, “Lest the people change their minds and return to Egypt when they experience war.”
When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, “Lest the people repent when they see war, and return to Egypt.”
And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not by the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt:
And it cometh to pass in Pharaoh’s sending the people away, that God hath not led them the way of the land of the Philistines, for it is near; for God said, ‘Lest the people repent in their seeing war, and have turned back towards Egypt;’
And it came to pass, when Pharaoh let the people go, that God did not lead them the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, That the people may not repent when they see conflict, and return to Egypt.
And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near, for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt.
It happened, when Par`oh had let the people go, that God didn’t lead them by the way of the land of the Pelishtim, although that was near; for God said, “Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and they return to Mitzrayim;”
igitur cum emisisset Pharao populum non eos duxit Dominus per viam terrae Philisthim quae vicina est reputans ne forte paeniteret eum si vidisset adversum se bella consurgere et reverteretur in Aegyptum
וַיְהִ֗י בְּשַׁלַּ֣ח פַּרְעֹה֮ אֶת־הָעָם֒ וְלֹא־נָחָ֣ם אֱלֹהִ֗ים דֶּ֚רֶךְ אֶ֣רֶץ פְּלִשְׁתִּ֔ים כִּ֥י קָרֹ֖וב ה֑וּא כִּ֣י אָמַ֣ר אֱלֹהִ֗ים פֶּֽן־יִנָּחֵ֥ם הָעָ֛ם בִּרְאֹתָ֥ם מִלְחָמָ֖ה וְשָׁ֥בוּ מִצְרָֽיְמָה׃
ὡς δὲ ἐξαπέστειλεν Φαραω τὸν λαόν οὐχ ὡδήγησεν αὐτοὺς ὁ θεὸς ὁδὸν γῆς Φυλιστιιμ ὅτι ἐγγὺς ἦν εἶπεν γὰρ ὁ θεός μήποτε μεταμελήσῃ τῷ λαῷ ἰδόντι πόλεμον καὶ ἀποστρέψῃ εἰς Αἴγυπτον
Many evengalicals explicitally state in there statements of faith that they also extend the Bible to accuracies of Historic and Scientific details.
So yes I would agree the Bible doesn’t directly make many if any scientific statements.
However, what do you do when the authors scientific worldview is subtly comunicated. For example, the raqia in Genesis 1, Job 38-41, god looking down at the disk of the earth in Isaiha. All these clearly communicate the author believed the earth was flat. He’s not useing methaphor, alagory or similaly, but at the same time neither is his point to teach science. How do you define innerancy here?
Furthermore the way ancient writers wrote history is much different than us. We are very concerned with accuracy of details above “what you should learn” from the history. Ancient writers had no problem mixing myth, legend, or slightly modifying actual historical events to better communicate their point. Furthermore many of the “historical” books in the Bible directly quote their sources and we written well after the events happened. They only knew of the events because of passed down historical writings and oral tradition.
If it can be demonstrated that there wasn’t actually a global flood, or if it can be demonstrated that any historic detail in the book of Genesis, Kings, Chronicles or Judges is not 100% accurate, does that mean that the Bible is no longer inspired? To many evangelicals the answer to this is yes.
And I would agree. However I would add that the set of testable historic statements made by the bible has many elements, while the set of scientific statements–statements that were actually intended to relate definitive scientific facts rather than just describing appearances, is either the null set or close to it.
I disagree, even though I accept that the likelihood that the writers thought the earth was flat. I disagree that they clearly communicated that belief, even given that in their minds they might have thought they were communicating that belief. The inspiration part, I would speculate, prevented them from going too far and stating their belief as scientific fact. It constrained them to speak only of appearances. Put differently: I could have written the same words. I have no trouble whatsoever describing the moon as a disk, or a circle, even though I know it is a sphere. Now if I teach my students in a physics class that the moon is a disk–that’s a serious problem.
The writers of scripture held to any number of scientific errors. We can stipulate that they believed the earth was young, and we can (arguendo) assume they believed the earth was flat. We can also be virtually certain that they believed in a small, geocentric cosmology . That has no direct bearing on the inerrancy and/or inspiration of scripture given that they never wrote, definitively, that the earth was only thousands of years old, the earth was flat, or that the earth was the center of the solar system. Everything they wrote, regardless of what they believed, can be attributed to normal non-scientific speech describing appearances. Today we speak of the four corners of the earth, the sun rising and setting, and the disk of the moon (or the disk of the earth as viewed from space) and describe Kansas as flat, even though it’s curved. None of this is a scientific error today because they describe appearances, not scientific reality. The same holds for the bible.
Had the writers been inspired to make a scientific statement about, say, geocentricism–then that would have precluded inerrancy and probably inspiration. But, thankfully, they made no such statements. In my opinion anyway.
No to the global flood because there is clearly (I think) a viable interpretation of the flood that does not demand it to be global. Regarding the historical statements of the bible, if any are demonstrably false then inerrancy and inspiration are dead. However, that is not the same things as saying that you can find some problems that currently lack an adequate explanation. It is subjective. I can tolerate a certain number of “problems” that I can’t resolve if that number is small, because I can cling to the belief that, given time, they can be resolved. I can accept, perhaps with a false hope, that there are a limited number of “apparent” problems. However if the number is too big, if it reaches a critical mass, then I would abandon inerrancy and inspiration.
How about these ones:
Genesis 1 describes God separating the waters above from the waters below.
Psalms 148 calls for the “waters above” to praise God.
Job 37:4 states that God spread out the sky last a cast metal mirror
Revelation 4:6, and exodus 24:10, describe God sitting on top of the sea of glass and this is also reflected in the design of the tabernacle.
All these verses clearly reflect the ANE view that the sky was a solid dome holding back a heavenly ocean and that the thrown of God was on top of the heavenly ocean.
Also many in this thread have already pointing out many of the anachronisms in Genesis and contradictory details in Kings/Chronicles.
I wouldn’t try to dissuade you. Follow the evidence where it leads.
I also find much of interest at Evolution News although they are not YEC.
If I can help in any way you can contact me either in this forum or by PM.
If you want to be a YEC, no problem as long as you get Jesus right.
However, it is clear that God is the beginning and the end, the alpha and omega. He is eternal. So what do you think a day is to God? So God created the universe and all in it in 6 days, but in God days because man wasn’t created until the 6th day. Interestingly enough science also teaches us that time is relative. In God’s time it is indeed possible that 6, 24 hour days to God would appear to be billions of days to a human living today looking back at the geological record and other scientific evidence. So I guess I could be called a YEC as by God’s time it is young, but still accepting scientific discovery in the process. I am amazed at how concepts such as quantum physics (electron double slit experiment) prove how observation creates reality. Bizarre, but not if you include God in your science as the great observer. Let there be light!
Peace be with you.
They do not, and they certainly do not “clearly” do so. And you appear to have missed my point. For the sake of argument let us assume that every biblical writer had the view of the cosmos as you described. It is completely irrelevant. It is also completely irrelevant whether they thought they were expressing this as scientific fact. What is relevant (to one who affirms inerrancy and inspiration) is whether or not what they were inspired to write amounts to a definitive statement on cosmology. I claim it does not.
In the very same manner we can imagine that no biblical writer had a 100% accurate theology. Yet the Holy Spirit, as the arbiter of inspired scripture, prevented them from penning theological error.
This is even more obvious in the Prophets, of whom we are told explicitly (in 2 Peter) they they didn’t understand their own prophecy.
Inspiration does not mean dictation-- nor does it mean that the writers understood everything they wrote–it means some convolution of the writer’s knowledge, experience, style, and the supernatural guidance of the Spirit, in which their words were augmented at times to express nuances beyond their knowledge and restrained at times to prevent their personal errors from being presented as truth.
That said, no, I’m not going to get sucked into a variant of the Gish Gallup. I played that game in various forums and blogs for 20 years. It is pointless, primarily because there will be two different standards (and that’s assuming both people are actually arguing in good faith, which is the exception.) The person challenging will seek a refutation of the alleged problem at the level of a counter-proof. While from my perspective all I need to preserve my affirmation of inerrancy and inspiration is a sort of reasonable doubt or plausible deniability that satisfies me. I don’t need to prove that my counter-exegesis is correct.