Marty, thank you for your feedback on our article, Is Genesis Real History?. I confess I’m taken aback by the strong negativity you express, but I’m nevertheless glad (truly!) to know how this article, and BioLogos itself, comes across to you.
You asked about the intended audience for the piece. All of the Common Questions are aimed at a general audience - they are meant to be accessible to a non-scientist / non-theologian, but should be nuanced enough to more or less appease the scholars among us (though obviously the brevity makes that challenging, and it’s anyway impossible to appease everyone!). In most of the biblical interpretation articles, we’re writing in response to the kinds of questions raised by conservative Protestant Christians. They will span the spectrum on origins. So yes, we had hoped this article would help YECs and OECs as well as help Evolutionary Creationists better understand the BioLogos approach to Scripture. The terms “plain facts” and “plain sense” were used because they seem better than “literal,” since “literal” means something different in a hermeneutical context than how we use it in everyday language. And yes, we were trying to communicate using words that people familiar with YEC rhetoric will understand.
You said, “I’m not sure who puts this stuff together.” In this case, I was the lead editor, but I worked closely with three noted biblical scholars (Tremper Longman @tremperlongman, Richard Middleton @JRM, and John Walton @JohnWalton). At least 3 BioLogos staff members besides myself were involved. This particular article took several months to bring to completion.
As for your point #1, many YECs will reject BioLogos a priori, without actually reading any of what we have published. They will do so because they believe Genesis 1 cannot be understood in any other sense than referring to 6 24-hr days. I would actually agree with them that there is no hope for anyone who puts man’s word above God’s word! But that is not what we are doing. I believe we are trying to take seriously all of God’s revelation to us.
As for your point #2., you quoted part of the bolded statement earlier in your comment, but the first bolded sentence is important for context. Here they are together.
We believe Genesis is a true account that, like other ancient narratives, uses vivid imagery to describe past events. It is silent on the scientific questions we might wish it to answer.
We do believe Genesis is talking about past events, and that it is in this sense true history. Maybe you don’t wish the Bible would answer scientific questions, but I do! I would so love to have a more accurate picture of reality. Right now we see through a glass so darkly! It would be fascinating and clear up so much conflict if God had decided to speak more clearly about the age of the earth and the extent to which he used regular processes like natural selection to create the diversity of life and about genetic inheritance and the nature of the soul and where exactly Jesus’ glorified body went when he ascended and so on. But he didn’t, and that’s ok. God’s word is still true and it’s what he in his divine wisdom wanted us to know. It is perfectly suited to its purpose, which is to reveal Himself to us and make us wise unto salvation.
You wrote, “Biologos treats Genesis in a black and white way around what we now know from science, that it must be completely silent on events that modern science has described to us.” This is certainly not how we view what we do. There are many areas of science that are not black and white and we try to indicate where there are competing hypotheses. But this is a question about the Bible, not science, and we have three respected Bible scholars telling us that Genesis doesn’t talk about science.
The thing I find most difficult in your comment is your assessment that we are lacking in humility and showing “scholarly superiority.” Ouch. Probably there is some truth in that, and I will pray for conviction about particular instances of this in my own heart. If there are particular phrases that you found especially irksome in the article, please send me a private message.
I don’t consider myself superior (intellectually or spiritually) to people who don’t share my perspective, but I DO trust that calling upon the expertise of Bible scholars leads to an infinitely more reliable article than I, as a cell biologist, could produce on my own. I’m so grateful for the wisdom and training of those who have spent their professional lives trying to understand the languages and cultures of Bible times. I know many feel this is “elitist” but to me this is a recognition that the Body has many parts. Of course all of us non-Bible scholars can still read the Bible profitably on our own, but our understanding is increased when we consult a commentary, study notes, talk to a pastor, etc.
Marty, again thank you for pointing out where you see areas of weakness. We don’t want to be stuck in an echo chamber and need people like you to help us understand when we’re not communicating as well as we might.