In this opening excerpt from Gregg Davidson’s new book, he introduces how it can help Christians in crisis put the pieces of their fractured faith back together, addressing both the causes and the cure.
Loved the excerpt, @davidson. We’re certainly pulling in the same direction. Great quote: “Rather, where multiple interpretations could be true for a particular passage, new insights may simply serve to dust away never-intended meanings that cloud our view, allowing the true message, one that was there all along, to shine more brightly.”
I have a bone to pick, though. What’s up with the hat in your bio pic? Let the bald flag fly, brother! haha
I can’t believe you just outed a hatted scalp. People have to decide for themselves when they’re ready to show more skin.
y’all are killing me.
Well, there is this promo pic for the book:
Poor Dr. Davidson. Bet he never expected to discuss this subject in connection with his book.
Ok, he’s out alright. No doubt about that.
Let this be a lesson to all that pictures uploaded to the web … never go away!
This thread is hilarious. Never would have guessed my book or excerpts would spawn such rich dialogue!
Gregg and I have a hair averaging agreement in place, FWIW. It’s kind of like carbon offsets.
Hey - we domed fellas are doing are fair share. Shiny tops reflect more solar radiation back up into space. All the hairy people are busy absorbing more radiation. I should be able to sell those carbon credits to somebody else, right?
That’s a good one. I always resort to my dad’s line: Grass doesn’t grow on a busy street!
I’ve only seen the hat picture until today. Just think how many famous bald men women swoon over. Embrace it!
Anyway, I’m about 2/3 through the book and am really enjoying it. So much has spoken to my experience, including the first chapter (except I was in my 40’s, not a college student). I really like how the section on conflict walks you through the Bible, the science, and then a synthesis of the two for each topic, along with potential objections and how to answer those.
I think eventually I’ll have to cut my hair short again (as I used to wear it when I was in my 20s). It no longer grows to the length it did, and its maximum length is slowly eroding over time. My kids are horrified at the prospect, since they have only known me with long hair.
From the article referenced in the opening post:
My conviction is not only that modern science fails to contradict an accurate understanding of the Bible, but that the simplicity and elegance with which God’s natural revelation illustrates his special revelation is breathtaking. My hope is that this book will not end with the last word of the final chapter, but that Doug will finish the opening story with a more edifying visit to Riley
I hope like crazy that the author of that book actually presents a concordistic view. Merely saying that the scripture isn’t meant to be saying anything about science or earth history means that we have a God who doesn’t seem to know what happened at creation. He is a clueless God in my opinion. I have given a way to read Genesis 1 in a way that is literal and actually matches science. I presented it here and on my blog. Both liberals and YECs make the Bible false and divorced from the reality of our world.
I’m not sure why “not telling us everything” would equate to “not knowing everything” on God’s part. My parents knew all kinds of things that they elected to not share with me when I was a kid, and I do the same for my own kids. How much more would the creator of the universe have this prerogative…
Especially when our conceptual systems are pretty much limited by our own embodied human experiences and we can understand only by relating to what we know.
Laura, there is a difference between your analogy and the Bible that is missed. When your parents didn’t tell you something, they were silent on the topic–like my parents, and grandparents were silent on my grandfather’s half brother who was the mob boss of Peoria, Illinois. I didn’t know of his existence until I was 33 and my grandmother was going a bit daft and she just mentioned Uncle Charlie, whom not even my dad nor his sisters knew anything about. Here is the difference. They didn’t tell me a story about a mythical Uncle Ralph who was a preacher in lieu of telling me about Charlie Morton. They were utterly silent on this topic.
We say the Bible is the Word of God. But it contains an account of creation, the Fall, the Flood and maybe the Exodus that many say is false historically. Most of these go on to claim that the Bible was not meant to teach us anything about Nature or Historical Reality. So, unlike your and my silent parents and grandparents, the Word of God is not silent on creation, the Fall, Flood and Exodus at all. This leaves us a problem. Why does the Word of God babble such nonsense and write it up as if it is history? Even if you claim Gen 1 is poetry, Gen 2-11 certainly isn’t written as if it is a poem; and poems are not required to avoid saying anything about reality in any event. Merely saying it is poetry doesn’t really answer the question of whether it is real or not.
So now, if the first 5 books of God’s Word have so much falsehood and isn’t to be trusted, the anyone with an ounce of curiosity will ask the question: Is the New Testament, also part of the Word of God, filled with babbling nonsense as well???
If one can’t trust this book we say is God’s word to tell us true things, then is it a myth that Jesus cured the blind man’s sight? Is it a myth that Lazarus was resurrected? I mean taking a few fish and feeding 5000 is certainly unbelievable and likely to be nonsense. I have never seen anyone turn water into wine by giving directions like Jesus gave–Jesus’ recipe for fine wine doesn’t work for me when I try it.
These are the questions I pondered for 12-15 years during my crisis of faith. I couldn’t believe what modern conservative Christians wrote in books about geology or biology. However, I didn’t see any reason to join your side of the issue by simply declaring that it is ok to believe something that has no relationship to this world, even though it looks like it is claiming a relationship to this world, i.e. true history.
Are the miracles of Jesus true history? If not, go be an atheist–at least they are honest and consistent with their assessment of the Bible. If early Genesis isn’t history, it raises all sorts of problems for me. A God who doesn’t have the power to get His true message put out in a book written by puny mortals, isn’t much of a god in my opinion. He is impotent. If He can’t get his true message across in Genesis, then how can we be sure the true message is received anywhere in Scripture??? If God can’t control human behavior sufficiently to have them write the truth, then we can’t be sure St. Paul told us anything reliable? He just might have been a huckster sitting in his mother’s house writing a philosophy about life and telling storied about adventures with shipwrecks he never experienced.
edits for typos and bad grammar–not that there aren’t more of them in the above
I agree with you partly. I agree that our conceptual systems are limited by our human abilities, but not experiences. Our conceptual systems have evolved to discriminate between reality and nonreality. Out on the plains of Africa, we had to determine if eating this will kill us or not–plants have loads of toxins. If reality is, this plant killed uncle Joe, then best not to eat it. It is best not to get near certain snakes because that killed my friend Sam. Our brains evolved to distinguish between reality and false belief. No matter how much I believe that a fall from a tall palm tree won’t hurt me, in REALITY it will terribly hurt me.
Thus when God communicates with humans, knowing our innate abilities, and tells us a story that isn’t real about an event that IS real (creation), then if he is God, he should know that eventually we would figure out that he didn’t tell the truth. Again, to head off an objection, if God is powerless to control the message written in the Bible, or authorizes falsehoods to be written in the Bible, then like a perjurer in a court case, such behavior casts doubt on the entire testimony. And like in a court case, we should throw it all out. because we humans are limited and can’t tell which parts are true and which parts are false. This is why it is so damaging if what we can verify is false, but we believe the parts we can’t verify. How do we know the unverifiable parts of the Bible are true if everything verifiable is determined to be false? Can we trust the claim that God counts faith as righteousness if much of the verifiable history and science are false?
I have no doubt you won’t really ponder this question very long because that has been my experience. If this problem of what do we trust in the bible if everything we can verify is false doesn’t bother you, it should. Logic demands it. Upon what basis do we say it is true that ‘we are saved through faith’ when the book telling us that is so full of error???
@gbob, it does bother me when essentially someone says, "If you don’t agree with my take on things, then you can go to (eternal conscious torment.). I don’t think you mean that, but your words could be interpreted as such. If you treat the Bible, especially early Genesis, as history as we know it, and as presenting facts about physical science as we know it, it is going to be frustrating. And you are right, it leads to a crisis of faith for many, and often outright rejection of the Bible and the gospel of Jesus Christ. For that reason, I think it important that we look for meaning in the text rather than intellectual knowledge of physical facts.That meaning should transcend the understanding the original audience and writers had of physical reality, and it should transcend our knowledge of physical reality. In Genesis 1, did an omnipowerful God need 6 full days to create the universe? Did it wear him out so much he had to take a day off? Since morning and evening constantly happen on the globe, what was the reference point for an omnipresent God in determining a day?
If you are good with your understanding of God’s meaning to you on those verses, that is great. But be aware that many are not so good with it, and seek understanding in integrating it all in a coherent faith.
To clarify, I wasn’t saying you have to personally experience something in order to understand it. Just that it has to hook into an experience. You can’t understand snakes or mushrooms kill unless you have concepts of snakes, mushrooms, and death. And those concepts are gained via embodied experience of some kind. So what we understand about God and spiritual realities is always hooked into human experience via metaphor in some way. God is a parent and a ruler and an artist. Atonement is a ransom and a sacrifice and an overriding of a guilty ruling. Surely there are aspects of God’s activity that are inaccessible to our human metaphors that hook into and extend from our human experience, and therefore incomprehensible to us.
Sorry, but distinguishing between literal and figurative meaning is not the same thing as distinguishing between reality and irreality. Figurative meaning often, I’d even say usually, describes reality. It is a common thing I see to conflate literal meaning with fact/truth and figurative meaning with fiction/falsehood, but that is just wrongheaded.
No, they say it is figurative. Different assessment.
Here is a historical account of me right now.
“I’m starving! When will that soup be ready?”
This is a true statement, that every English speaker will understand to mean I am looking forward to eating and no English speaker will declare false and unhistorical because I am not actually dying of malnutrition. Our brains process figurative meaning to describe reality all the time.