Inerrancy of scripture and evolution

(Christy Hemphill) #61

The way you describe it, God was having biblical authors take dictation for him. We know that was not how Scripture came about.

How do you know the unflattering accounts don’t serve the author’s purpose and agenda? All human accounts are biased.

I didn’t claim it was a contradiction. I claimed it was a literary technique, indeed, a “reasonable explanation” of the apparent discrepancy.

I would encourage you to keep looking at the evidence.

I could explain a lot of technical linguistic reasons why we know for a fact that all human languages could not have possibly originated in Mesopotamia in 2242 B.C., but I’m pretty sure I’d be wasting my time, so I won’t bother.

If you are happy with your beliefs, have all your questions satisfactorily answered, and feel empowered to go out and love God and people, then more power to you. I don’t need you to change your mind to somehow validate my beliefs.

(RiderOnTheClouds) #62

This means that the Bible is inerrant in all that it teaches, not all that it says?

(RiderOnTheClouds) #63

I see, now I see inerrancy as more reasonable.


If you accept the YEC’s interpretation of the Bible that means the earth was created in a miracle 10,000 years ago. That is ok. God does work in miracles. However that means you have to accept that when He created the earth it was created with an appearance of a far greater age. Simple example being the Nile River. The Nile actually runs on top of canyon that is deeper than the Grand Canyon but has been filled with silt. There is simply not enough time in 10,000 years for this to happen. The question you have to ask is, “Is it in the nature of God for His creation to deceive us?”

(Christy Hemphill) #65

LOL, because I don’t. I think inerrancy is a problematic concept that forces the Bible into a box it was never intended to fit.

(Peaceful Science) #66

The doctrine is that God does not communicate errors to us in Scripture. Perceived errors are because of us, not because of God. Is that really a problematic box?

It means that there is no errors in what it intends to teach us. Errors in what it “says,” as you put it, are errors on our part in understanding what it means. And a context-free reading will be in error.

A great example, that @TedDavis recently offered, was when Jesus calls a mustard seed the smallest of all seeds. We know that mustard seeds are not, in fact, the smallest of all seeds. However, Jesus was not intending to teach us about botany, and was using turn of a phrase in a particular context to teach us, instead, about faith. Jesus, however, was not in error when he said these things. It is just common use of language.

So, therefore, when an atheist or a literalist sees this as a “problem” with the text, its just because they are misreading it entirely. In their eyes, they see an “error” in Scripture, but the error is really in how they are reading it.

(Christy Hemphill) #67

For me, yes. I’m not interested in all the gymnastics that go into explaining how such and such is a “perceived error” not a “real error.” I’m fine just affirming the Bible is true and authoritative. I don’t think any human product (and the Bible is a human product as well as a divine one) is perfect. I don’t think Jesus was perfect, I think he was sinless. Why should God’s revelation in text be held to some higher ideal than God’s revelation in a human? Humans are limited in perspective and sometimes mistaken. My concept of inspiration and incarnation can handle this fact.

(RiderOnTheClouds) #68

I think a case can be made for a historical conquest, albeit not one necessarily the same as that in the Bible. The fact that the Israelites ‘failed’ at a task given to them by God is embarrassing, and not something that would be made up. I would suggest that the invasion happened from the east, by the Shasu of YHW after the BAC however, not from Egypt.

(Evan) #69

I would encourage you to do the same, though looking at the evidence is not always the problem. The issue is often the worldview (ie. presuppositions) through which we look at the evidence.

For the record, I do not use Ussher’s chronology.

On the contrary, my life would probably be a whole lot easier and happier if I could simply accept that evolution and billions of years were compatible with the Bible, and there are many questions I have that will probably never be answered on this side of Heaven.

(Evan) #70

I would say that God created the earth “mature,” not with the appearance of age. Its just like with Adam. God did not create Adam as a baby, but as a fully function adult. If we were to look at Adam on Day 6 of creation, we might infer he was in his late teens to mid-20s based on his appearance, but he is really only a few hours old. Does this make God an deceiver? No, since He clearly revealed in His the Bible that Adam was created as an adult. God gave us a clear chronological framework in scripture with which to estimate the age of the earth, so even if the earth looks older, God is not the one deceiving us.

Another thing of note is that the earth only looks billions of years of you presuppose that the billions of years happened. If you look the evidence with different presuppositions, the billions of years disappear, and the issue of appearance of age disappears.

(Christy Hemphill) #71

Yeah, YECs keep saying that, but my fundamental presuppositions about reality have not changed even though my perspective on what constitutes good science has. As @jammycakes likes to say, the age of the earth is determined by measuring things. My fundamental assumptions that the Bible is true, God is good, miracles happen, Jesus died for my sins to reconcile me to God, etc. don’t really come into play when you are doing measurements. Evolution makes sense because of demonstrable phylogenies and nested hierarchies as well a consistent story in the fossil record. You don’t need to presuppose a godless universe controlled by random chance to observe and make sense of those things.

Well, lots of people do come to the conclusion that the Bible and mainstream scientific consensus are compatible, so there’s hope for you if the cognitive dissonance becomes too much too bear. :slight_smile: I still love the Bible as much as ever.

The unanswered questions part is just the human condition, no mater what perspective on origins you take.

(George Brooks) #72

Which Nubian pharaoh are you referring to?

Well, first I need to retract the “Nubian” reference. My memory failed me. I knew he was from outside of the Nile Valley, and erroneously thought his origins were from the south. “Libyan” is the general term for the peoples to the West of the Nile Valley.

1Ki 14:25
In the fifth year of King Rehobo’am, Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem;

Per the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, this Shishak is identified with the historical Sheshonk or Sheshenq. I remember reading that the loss of the “n” in the Biblical rendering was not an unusual occurence.

Shishak, 952-930 BC: Sheshonk or Sheshenq I, as he is called on the monuments, the founder of the XXIInd Dynasty, was in all probability of Libyan origin. It is possible that his claim to the throne was that of the sword, but it is more likely that he acquired it by marriage with a princess of the dynasty preceding. On the death of Pasebkhanu II, the last of the kings of the XXIst Dynasty, 952 BC, Shishak ascended the throne, with an efficient army and a well-filled treasury at his command.

The wiki article says this about the events implicated in verse 1Ki 14:25:

“Shoshenq I is frequently identified with the Egyptian king Shishaq (שׁישׁק Šîšaq, transliterated),[12] referred to in the Hebrew Bible at 1 Kings 11:40, 14:25 and 2 Chronicles 12:2-9. . . . Shishaq invaded Judah, mostly the area of Benjamin, during the fifth year of the reign of king Rehoboam, taking with him most of the treasures of the temple… Shoshenq I is generally attributed with the raid on Judah: this is corroborated with a stela discovered at Megiddo. His successor, Osorkon I, lavished 373 tons of gold on silver on Egyptian temples and gods during the first four years of his reign.”
[Footnote: K.A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament, William Erdsman & Co, 2003. p. 134]

This .pdf link below, gives a nice flavor of the time period:
25-27 OCTOBER 2007; edited by G.P.F. BROEKMAN, R.J. DEMARÉE and O.E. KAPER…

Interestingly, while the Bible says the Pharaoh took away treasure from Jerusalem, this city is not specifically mentioned in any of the Libyan Pharaoh’s exploits. And certainly the “state of Judah” is not mentioned at all:

"He pursued an aggressive foreign policy in the adjacent territories of the Middle East, towards the end of his reign. This is attested, in part, by the discovery of a statue base bearing his name from the Lebanese city of Byblos, part of a monumental stela from Megiddo bearing his name, and a list of cities in the region comprising Syria, Philistia, Phoenicia, the Negev, and the Kingdom of Israel, among various topographical lists inscribed on the walls of temples of Amun at al-Hibah and Karnak. There is no mention of either an attack nor tribute from Jerusalem… "

“The fragment of a stela bearing his cartouche from Megiddo has been interpreted as a monument Shoshenq erected there to commemorate his victory. Some of these conquered cities include ancient Israelite fortresses such as Megiddo, Taanach and Shechem. . . Shoshenq’s Karnak list does not include Jerusalem—his biggest prize according to the Bible. His list focuses on places either north or south of Judah, as if he did not raid the center. . . As an addendum to his foreign policy, Shoshenq I carved a report of campaigns in Nubia and Israel, with a detailed list of conquests in Israel. This is the first military action outside Egypt formally commemorated for several centuries.”

[Footnote: de Mieroop, Marc Vab (2007). A History of Ancient Egypt. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. p. 400. ISBN 9781405160711.]

Shoshenq I’s report of conquests is the only surviving late Iron Age text concerning Canaan.
[Footnote: Finkelstein, Israel (2006). “The Last Labayu: King Saul and the Expansion of the First North Israelite Territorial Entity”. In Amit, Yairah; Ben Zvi, Ehud; Finkelstein, Israel; et al. Essays on Ancient Israel in Its Near Eastern Context: A Tribute to Nadav Naʼaman. Eisenbrauns. p. 171. ISBN 9781575061283. Retrieved 2017-04-05.]

You ask what evidence that I have for Solomon/Shlomo being mythical, and if so, who built the first temple?

Now isn’t that an interesting way of asking a question, @EvD97? Any major settlement in the Iron Age had temples. You don’t find it a little interesting that in a city anciently called Ur-SHLM, that suddenly there is a
man named “SHLM” who is said to build a temple in a city that we know existed as early as the Amarna period?

SHLM was the name of deity. I’m not going to say SHLM built the temple, because who can say whether the temple in existence when Shoshenk passed by was Solomon’s, SHLM’s or maybe some pro-Egyptian cult.

I once received an impassioned plea from a Bible enthusiast that there was proof of Exodus because an Egyptian chariot wheel had been found at the bottom of the Red Sea! Pretty convincing, yes!? Far be it form me to blow up the dreams of the enthusiast by pointing out that chariot wheels could very well have been in the cargo of hundreds of Egyptian ships through the ages.

As for your question about my speculations regarding David, I probably shouldn’t have digressed at all in that direction. But I did so because once you have the Biblical timeline disrupted by facts, it starts to open up all sorts of possibilities for other interpretations.

David’s story line in the books of Samuel are most intriguing. If you re-read those chapters, we encounter all sorts of novelties:

  1. For at least 40 years before SHLM’s temple is built, the recovered Ark of the Covenant is in the territory of Judah … but apparently not kept in its traditional Tabernacle. The Tabernacle for that period is elsewhere. Isn’t that odd?

  2. And when the Ark is sent out of the Philistine cities, nobody seems to have a clue how to handle it. In the short time it was absent, Levites, and other VIP’s seem to be at a loss as to where it should go and what to do. To me, this strikes me as the genuine introduction of the Ark’s presence amidst the Jewish clans.

  3. This makes me even the more suspicious of the next chapters which focus on Solomon, which seems to be more of a “place holder” for a king the scribes wish they knew anything about. “What do you have on the man, asks one. Nothing, replies the other. Let’s just name him after the city, and make it up as we go along?
    Okay, says the other. That will work for now.”

But, I confess, this is pure speculation on my part… except the reality of how the scribes describe the Ark early in David’s career in Jerusalem. It would be the questions that latter-day readers would ask about the Ark that quite conceivably leads to the writing of a back-story … something inspiring about this Ark:

Joshua and Deuteronomy and probably even Exodus.

Odd References to the Ark during the Life of David:

1Sa 6:1
The ark of the LORD was in the country of the Philistines seven months.

1Sa 6:15
And the Levites took down the ark of the LORD and the box that was beside it, in which were the golden figures, and set them upon the great stone…

1Sa 6:19
And [Yahweh] slew some of the men of Beth-she’mesh, because they looked into the ark of the LORD; he slew seventy men of them, and the people mourned because the LORD had made a great slaughter among the people.

1Sa 6:21
So they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kir’iath-je’arim, saying, “The Philistines have [sent an] the ark. . . Come down and take it up to you.”

1Sa 7:1-2
And the men of Kir’iath-je’arim came and took up the ark of the LORD, and brought it to the house of Abin’adab on the hill; and they consecrated his son, Elea’zar, to have charge of the ark of the LORD. From the day that the ark was lodged at Kir’iath-je’arim, a long time passed, some twenty years, and all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD. [no mention of the tabernacle, apparently lost after only 7 months].

2Sa 6:2-4
And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Ba’ale-judah, to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the LORD of hosts who sits enthroned on the cherubim. And they carried the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abin’adab which was on the hill; and Uzzah and Ahi’o, the sons of Abin’adab, were driving the new cart with the ark of God; and Ahi’o went before the ark.

2Sa 6:6-7, 9-10
And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there because he put forth his hand to the ark; and he died there beside the ark of God. . . . And David was afraid of the LORD that day; and he said, “[Why should] the ark of the LORD come to me?” So David was not willing to take the ark of the LORD into the city of David; but David took it aside to the house of O’bed-e’dom the Gittite."

2Sa 6:11-12
And the ark of the LORD remained in the house of O’bed-e’dom the Gittite three months; and the LORD blessed O’bed-e’dom and all his household. And it was told King David, “The LORD has blessed the household of O’bed-e’dom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.” So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of O’bed-e’dom to the city of David with rejoicing…"

2Sa 6:17
And they brought in the ark of the LORD, and set it in its place, inside the tent which David had pitched for it; and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.

2Sa 7:2
. . . the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent.” [< Nothing about the tent being built under the eyes of Moses…]


So you can tell me where in Genesis or anywhere else it says that God created the earth mature.

You have the misapplication of genealogy to guess at the age of the earth.

Standard YEC dodge. Where are the presuppositions involved in measuring the depth of the Nile River canyon which was cut through sedimentary rock laid down supposedly during the flood. To cut the canyon the Mediterranean Sea has to have dried up (for which there is plenty of other evidence) as water only runs down hill. After cutting the canyon the Mediterranean Sea has to return to normal levels and then the river has to fill the canyon with silt. All between the flood and now. With no record of the lack of a Mediterranean Sea in the Bible. Sorry but I have yet to see a YEC explain this.

(James McKay) #74

Sorry but that’s not true.

If you look at the evidence with young earth presuppositions, the billions of years are still very much there. You have to introduce absurdities and contortions about accelerated nuclear decay on a scale that would have melted the Earth to get round it – and then introduce even more contortions to explain where all the heat went.

(James McKay) #75

It’s good that you ended this paragraph with that last sentence, Christy, as it’s an important point to emphasise. It’s often said that science doesn’t consider the possibility of miracles, but that’s a statement that’s all too easily misunderstood. It’s far too easy to make the leap from “science doesn’t consider the possibility of miracles” to “science rejects the possibility of miracles,” and that is something that I go to great pains to avoid.

For this reason, I tend to emphasise that measurement has nothing whatsoever to do with the rejection of miracles, and that it doesn’t take an “atheistic worldview” or any other kind of presuppositions like that to see that you can’t squeeze 4.5 billion years’ worth of evidence into just six thousand without descending into absurdity.

(Lynn Munter) #76

Yes. This.

Let’s take a step back and run a little thought experiment. Say we had never heard of this whole debate. Should it be possible for an unbiased observer to determine based on close examination whether the earth was thousands of years old, with all creatures present from the start and a worldwide flood, or billions of years with a gradual progression of species? I imagine any ten-year-old could come up with a handful of methods, some more reasonable than others.

We’ve had a lot of very smart people looking at this question literally for centuries. What does it say when one side is reduced to arguing, “well, we can’t actually tell objectively, really it’s all about the presuppositions you came in with?”

That should be a huge red flag. Yes, everybody has a lot of presuppositions. But YECs didn’t used to argue this. They used to think there was enough wiggle room in the evidence for their case. But the landslide of evidence just keeps getting heavier for evolution.

If you think about it, it’s really a tacit admission that their “evidence” is all just based on presuppositions, so they assume the other side’s must be, too. Now that’s a dangerous assumption to make.

(Laura) #77

Definitely. And that’s what makes it pseudoscience. When you come to the evidence with the idea that the universe cannot be anything other than 6,000 years old, then you’re going to ignore/hand-wave away an awful lot of evidence. I imagine most scientists don’t give a flying fig how old the universe ends up being, just so long as their tools and measurements are accurate.

(George Brooks) #78

@jammycakes, you have just given me my Second Point of Entry for disturbing the “automated reset” system of the YEC worldview!

The fossil record is not compatible with the flood, and the Earth is demonstrably older than 6000 years.


Pretty sure those who are not inerrantists (is that a word?) are not attributing errors to God.

And your second sentence is a false dichotomy (if it is meant to be a dichotomy). Any errors would not be from God, nor necessarily from the reader.

(Peaceful Science) #80

Depends on the person. Those that do affirm that doctrine, and are not imputing errors on God, they are affirming the doctrine of inerrancy, at least in part. It begs the question about their allergy to the word “inerrancy.” I infer its because “inerrancy” has been used in an exclusionary and hurtful way, and it is often presented in an absurd way too.

For those reasons, its understandable that many people who affirm inerrancy would chose not to use the word, though it does create a lot of confusion. People like this is are common in BioLogos, and the insistence on being against “inerrancy” creates avoidable conflict.

It’s not a dichotomy.