Presuppositions of Biblical Authority

Hello y’all, I’m Leo.

A while back I found this forum and after surfing a few threads decided to jump into the conversation. I quickly struck up a lively little debate, but school hit hard and I ran out of time to both formulate intelligent answers and devote proper time to assignments. However, I’m back again, having gotten my papers in and my grades out, and I thought I’d resurrect the topics of discussion, as I was enjoying the conversation.

So here we go.

My main point was related to the separation of “science” and “theology” as observed by those both evangelical and atheist. I say observed, because I believe there is no difference, and the two are inseparable. Let me define my terms, as are so often lacking in these playground word fights.

Theology: knowledge of God (the true God, three in one, Creator of the heavens and the earth).

Science: the word literally means knowledge. The subject is not specified, therefore, I will use science in the popular manner, to express both the sum of common human knowledge, and the methods used to collect that knowledge.

Terms I’ll use later:

Natural Selection (NS): Variation within the expressed genes of a certain pool, driven primarily by environmental circumstances. NS leads to a net loss of genetic information as variance is eliminated. Cannot be used to build genomes and only pares down what exists.

Evolution (E): A supposed gain of genetic information leading to development of completely new traits. Distinct from NS in that it leads to a net gain of genetic information, and could be used to build genomes.

Here is my statement: God designed and built all Creation according to His original perfect plan. It can be described by the orderly language of mathematics and shows evidence of His genius handiwork, though has been distorted by the Curse. If theology is the knowledge of God, and science is the knowledge of Creation, then the two are intrinsically linked, inseparable, just as any artist and his painting. As an example, if you found a painting in the woods, no reasonable person would assume it came about by chance, but instead would assume it was painted by an intelligent artist. In summary, separating science and theology is like studying the brushstrokes exclaiming, “What marvelous happenstance!” pretending that there was no artist behind the painting, then going and having tea with the artist later, yet never mentioning his painting.

Now, onto the topic of presuppositions. I made the simple claim that I presuppositionally accept the first five books of the Bible (the Pentateuch), and indeed all Biblical history as literal and accurate, fit to determine scientific views of the world and the morality by which we live. I don’t have notes on what exact objections were brought up (and I really don’t want to read back through 500+ posts…) so I will endeavor to provide some broad-stroke defenses to what I remember being asked and let you kind folks remind me of the rest.

First, is Genesis 1-11 a “mytho-history” as so many “apologists” seem to believe?

Some posts I read implied that the entire Bible was a mytho-history, not just Gen. 1-11, but for the sake of brevity I shall focus on this limited passage. Very simply, there is no reason to classify the text as “mytho-history”. The wording used is factual and historical, with no hint of the Hebrew poetry that fills Psalms, Proverbs, Job, and other songs present throughout the Old Testament, even those written by Moses. Hebrew poetry takes a very distinct form, and nowhere is it recognizable in the narrative.

Other New Testament writers, and Jesus himself also authenticate Gen. 1-11 as real history. For example, in 2 Peter 3:

“3 Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.”

This passage references the event of Noah’s Flood as literal, and compares it to the coming judgement and destruction. If Genesis were mytho-history, then is the coming judgement also mytho-history?

And Jesus in Matthew 19:

4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Here Jesus references Gen. 1-2, saying “Haven’t you read?”. If Genesis were mytho-history, why on earth would God Himself reference it as a foundation for moral teaching?

There are many more passages. Luke notes Jesus’s geneaology right back to Adam (that mythical man??) at the beginning of his book. In Luke 17, Jesus references the “days of Noah”, and everyone outside the ark being destroyed, again in reference to coming judgement. There are more references, but I digress.

Genesis 1-11 isn’t “scientifically accurate”. I put the last phrase in quotations for good reason: what man describes as scientifically accurate can change any time something new is discovered, and as such comparing the words of an infallible, all-powering, omniscient God to the miniscule knowledge of men such as us is already a logical fallacy. It’s completely irrelevant if Genesis 1-11 is accurate to what people think they know, but I’ll go farther and say it fits perfectly with what we see in the world today. If Genesis were a theory, I think its predictions have been laid out perfectly (as they would, coming from God).

Isn’t Genesis full of “mythical elements”, like talking snakes and trees with magic fruit and such?

I separated my answer from the question for emphasis: Who decides what’s mythical and what’s factual? The omniscient all-powerful God, or fallible, sinful men, deceived by naught but convincing words, limited by a thousand factors from seeing truth? The answer should be clear.

The movement of the tectonic plates during the Genesis flood would create/require an impossible amount of heat in/from the earth, enough to boil away everything that makes the planet hospitable.

First, I’ll note that the asker assumed heat within the earth’s core was caused by radioactive decay and made an additional statement based upon that, but that theory is not proven in any way, so I will ignore speculation for now. There are two very simple answers here: the first is that God simply did it (His purpose was to destroy every trace of an old world, and He can use whatever mechanism He likes to accomplish His purposes), and the second, after studying available literature, is known as the hydroplate theory, with which some of you may be familiar. The basic idea is that the tectonic plates “float” on a layer of SCW, aiding both the flood waters’ rise and the movement of the plates. There are some pieces of corroborating evidence (black smokers), but this has yet to be proven, and remains a theory. I’ll refrain from quoting papers and lectures as of yet.

Those were the main objections I remember, but let me know if I missed any big ones.

Moving on, we come to, in my opinion, the crux of the matter. There are plenty of reasons to deny the idea of evolution (as distinct from natural selection) in the context of modern science, but beyond that there is one large, glaring, destructive moral issue about accepting evolution. As follows:

If evolution is true, as generally thought of, then God must’ve called death and suffering very good. To go further, there is evidence in the fossil record of death, cancer, arthritis, thorns, and other things that the Bible says are results of the Curse and not part of the natural order. Evolution requires that this record of death and suffering come before human existence, yet God calls creation “very good” after he creates human kind. See the issue?

Going further, the idea of evolution is incompatible with substitutionary atonement. Note that someone can still believe in substitutionary atonement and evolution, and they are redeemed for that belief, it’s just inconsistent, and deviating from their view of the Gospel on account of evolution is indeed heresy.

To go even further, evolution is incompatible with substitutionary atonement because it assumes sin and death before man, undermining the account of original sin, undermining the very purpose for a savior in the first place. If death and sin were called very good by God, then why would we need saving from it? If someone chooses to accept both evolutionary foundations and substitutionary atonement then they may as well believe that we will all be “saved” to an eternity of pain and death. This view is totally inconsistent, which does preclude people from holding it.

In summary, I believe the historical books of the Bible are completely literal, pointing to a Christ who was sent to pay for the sins of all mankind, originated in Genesis, payed for in the Gospels, and will be erased in the coming consummation, along with death and suffering. Without the foundation of a literal Genesis salvation makes no sense, and there is no purpose in life, for if we are saved at all it may be to a “very good” heaven of death and cancer.

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I suspect an answer along the lines of John Hick’s soul-building might be in order with the idea that this is not the only existence for us. We are being prepared for a much longer one and having a world with real loss, pain and suffering might actually be the best possible world for ue in this part of our journey. Not something you tell a parent who just lost their child to cancer to comfort them but if humans lived in a magic garden petting lions all day, it seems they would not face challenges or grow very much.

You are correct though. In an evolutionary paradigm, God is responsible directly for cancer, death and natural evils— assuming they can’t be attributed to free will choices of spiritual beings (e.g. demons).

It’s easy to point fingers at evolution but have you ever looked at the absurdity of your own position? Child cancer wards exist because a woman named Life who did not know good or evil, with basically the mentality of a child, was tricked by a talking snake into eating a magic knowledge fruit in a fairy tale-like garden that also had a tree of immortality. See the issue?

Perseverance and trials build character for the next stage of our journey or God unjustly punishing everyone because a primitive coupe ate some forbidden fruit? Pick your poison. Welcome to the problem of evil. It’s tough for everyone.


Exactly the reason humans have free will in the first place, when God could’ve simply created us without any choice in the matter.

I don’t see an issue–sin is separation from God, caused by our actions. Child cancer wards exist as a consequence of a cursed world (separated from God, the source of good and right). Separation from God did not begin in the garden, only human separation. God is also eternal–He views all of history as simply a line on the table in front of Him–as Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”. Everyone made the choice to separate themselves from God, including myself. We are condemned by our own sins and not the sins of our parents (to paraphrase Jesus). Cancer and death are consequences of that, just results of our actions; a degrading degenerate world.

In conclusion, the entire point of the Old Testament and the Law of Moses is that the punishment is just: humanity deserves death, because we’ve willingly separated ourselves from God, hence the requirement for a substitutional payment. As is the purpose of Galatians 3:

19Why the Law then? It was added on account of the [aa]violations, having been ordered through angels at the hand of a [ab]mediator, until the Seed would come to whom the promise had been made. 20Now a mediator is not [ac]for one party only; but God is only one. 21Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? [ad]Far from it! For if a law had been giventhat was able to impart life, then righteousness [ae]would indeed have been [af]based on law. 22But the Scripture has confined [ag]everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

23 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the Law, being confined for the faith that was destined to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our guardian to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.

According to the Bible there is no next stage of our journey, only our final destination, I’m curious where you come by that idea. The Bible describes heaven in Revelation 21 like this:

4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

27 Nothing evil will be allowed to enter, nor anyone who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty—but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

The full chapter is worth a read, but I’ll leave it at those two verses.

Welcome back! You put a lot of topics out there and hit most of AIGs talking points, but think it would be good to look beyond seeing the interpretation of Genesis in a black and white literal vs mythic view. There is a lot of nuance in interpretation, and I would suggest reading Walton’s book on Faithful Interpretation (exact title fails me but will get you to it. My take away from it is that the original author used his experience and viewpoint to communicate theological truths, and it is an error to read modern science or modern history principles into it, even when talking about historical events, as that is not what is being affirmed.


The question, from my perspective, is what would lead to a mythical interpretation of Genesis in the first place, as opposed to a simple reading of the text. I believe that other Scriptures, and Jesus himself, treated Genesis as literal in the verses I quoted above.

Let me know the title of that book whenever you find it! I’ll be sure to take a look.

No, the word used to literally mean that a long time ago. That’s not what it means today.

That’s not at all a good definition; to the extent that it has a clear meaning, it’s wrong. NS is the tendency for heritable variants within a population to be passed on more frequently if increase the organism’s probability of surviving and reproducing. Genetic variants are constantly appearing and disappearing in a population; in a constant-sized population, the number stays roughly constant over time. NS is just a bias, usually small, in which variants persist and which are lost.

If by ‘information’ all you mean is the number of variants in the population, NS usually decreases but can also increase information. On the other hand, if you mean by information something that has functional information, NS is a highly effective way of transferring information about the environment into the genomes of organisms in the population. If you expose a population of malaria parasites to an antimalarial drug, natural selection will eventually (and sometimes quite quickly) transfer information about that environmental change into the genomes of the parasite population. Without NS, the mutations that confer the resistance would have occurred and then almost certainly been lost again.

Evolution is the change over time in genetic characteristics of a population, usually conceptualized in terms of the frequency of different genetic variants. It can involve gain, loss, or stasis in the amount of information present (whatever definition of ‘information’ you happen to be using at the time).

Where did you get the idea that one has to believe in substitutionary atonement to be redeemed or that, say, belief in one of the other historical Christian theories of the atonement was heretical?

You were talking, correctly, about death and suffering existing before man. How did ‘sin’ get into the mix? And what does the origin of sin have to do with the need for atonement, substitutionary or not?


I think that is really the wrong question. The question we have to ask ourselves is what was the writer trying to communicate, using the words and presuppositions that he had to work with from his cultural and temporal perspective. It was assumed by all in the culture that a great flood had occurred, and now what did the Holy Spirit inspire the writer to communicate within that narrative. Or it was assumed the god’s were responsible for material creation, but what is different about the story of Israel’s God that communicates theologic truth? It is not easy, and if anyone says it is, that is a warning sign.


And now that I am back home and off the phone, the book is this one, and a pretty good summary review of it:


I defined my use of the terms for exactly this reason; the purpose was not to attain a “perfect standard” of definition, as different people will define things differently, but to share with everyone present what I mean when I use those terms.

I got it from the Bible, which states in more verses than I’ll quote here, that Jesus died for our sins, “for the son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, to give his life as a ransom for many”. I recently wrote about the topic, so I’ll share that here:

" 1 Timothy 2:6. Explain the statement that Christ Jesus gave Himself as “a ransom for all”.

Tying into the above question, the statement “a ransom for all” is based upon Christ’s saving work, which is sufficient to cover every sin. It is a ransom, or the price of redemption, because we have separated ourselves from God through disobedience. This infinite chasm could only be bridged by an infinite sacrifice, necessitating that God himself be the payment to bridge the divide. The entirety of humanity’s guilt was transferred to Christ, and when He died He experienced the consequence of sin, though He could not sin Himself. Jesus experienced total, infinite separation from God in order to build the bridge. explains the passage simply. “Jesus personally explained His role using this concept, saying ‘… the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’ ( Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45).”

It is interesting to note the difference in wording here. Jesus uses the phrase anti polys, instead of pas, used by Paul. Polys means, as translated, many, but not all. This gives the interesting implication that not everyone can or will be saved, but is qualified by the word anti, which though translated “for” means “in place of”. In contrast, Paul uses the Greek word pas, translated “all” by most formal equivalent translations. There are dynamic translations that add the word “people”, but the text itself does not specifically indicate that Paul is talking about humanity here (though pas may in some contexts be translated “everyone”). Therefore, the verse could be interpreted as denoting not just “Christ saving humanity”, but specifically as Christ’s work in paying for all sin ever committed. Pas may also be translated as “the whole” or “everything”.

This subtle contrast gives new depth to Paul’s statements. Jesus stated that his payment would redeem many, and Paul makes the point that Jesus’s death covers all sin. Not everyone will accept the sacrifice, but payment has already been made for everyone, allowing for the “free gift” of salvation and paving the way for the Christian life.

As David on aptly puts it, “Likewise in John 3:16 God gives his son that whoever believes in him shall have eternal life. That is this eternal life is available to everyone who believes in Jesus. The thing to remember is that while this offer may be universal, not everyone is willing to accept it.”. "

On the topic of other theories of atonement being heresy, I would ask for their Scriptural justification. The methods of atonement are mutually exclusive, and if one is true the others cannot be, so therefore one must be true and the others heresy. I believe that Scripture simply teaches substitutional atonement

Sin is separation from God, death and suffering are the results of sin. Restoration of our original relationship with God in the consummation removes those effects (as in Revelation 21, which I quote above). The origin of sin has to do with atonement because if God created humanity separated from Himself then there is nothing to reconcile:

“16 Therefore from now on we recognize no one by the flesh; even though we have known Christ by the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. 17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, this person is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their wrongdoings against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”

I did not get into the book, but I did read the summary, and I agree completely. I formulate my hermeneutic using the historical, grammatical, and contextual framework.

Exactly. From my reading of the text (written by Moses for us but to the Israelites to give them the beginning of the story of salvation, Gen. 3:15), the meaning is not “easy”, but it is simple. A child can understand God’s truth.

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You defined your terms in pretty idiosyncratic ways that don’t represent how most English speakers use those words.

Theology is the study of God, not knowledge of God, which would be truth. We shouldn’t confuse epistemology and an academic disicipline that employs a particular epistemology, namely experience of the divine.

Science, as it is used today is an agreed upon process for obtaining knowledge about the natural world. Again by confusing epistemology with an academic discipline that employs a particular epistemology, namely empirical observation, logic, and mathematical reasoning, you are going to get into trouble with your arguments.

This isn’t the definition of natural selection. And it is not true that natural selection can only lead to loss of genetic information, because natural selection is at play when novel mutations lead to fitness and become more prevalent in the gene pool and when a population interbreeds with a closely related but previously geopgraphically isolated population it did not formerly breed with.

Natural selection is when organisms better adapted to their environment are “selected” by nature for survival and pass on their beneficial traits to their offspring. Natural selection acts on genetic variation within the population, but it doesn’t “pare down what exists.” Selective pressures cause beneficial alleles to become more prevalent, whereas less beneficial alleles become rare or are lost altogether, but during this time beneficial alleles will keep arising.

This is not the definition of evolution either. Complex organisms are not the result of “more” genetic information. Some ferns have over 1200 chromosomes, compared to humans who only have 23.

Do you think math is sufficient for describing creation or just capable of describing some aspects?

Your “then” statement is just an assertion, not a conclusion. It doesn’t follow from your givens.

But why would we assume this? Because we are encultured humans with lived experience with artists and paintings. The only way to recognize God as creator when looking at creation is based on lived experience with God. It’s not a logical deduction based on empirical evidence. It’s fine to base knowledge on experience, but we should be clear about what epistemological tool we are using to arrive at our knowledge. We aren’t using empirical knowledge and logic or the process of science to arrive at the conclusion “Creation was designed by God.” We are using knowledge from divine revelation and personal relationship with God that allows us to recognize his character and work in creation.

I have two MAs in linguistics and work in Bible translation. This is not a statement that anyone can back up with Hebrew studies, or linguistics, or Bible scholarship. It’s just an assertion you read somewhere. You can’t talk about “the wording” of a text as long and complex as Genesis 1-11 as if it can be neatly placed in a single interpretive box. If you think you can, you really need to do more reading on the topic until you understand how little you understand about interpreting texts.

Making an allusion to something doesn’t authenticate something as real history, it just acknowledges that the audience shared common knowledge and could draw inferences from the allusion. I could say “that politician thinks he’s Robin Hood. He’s all about wealth redistribution.” People familiar with British literature who shared my culture would understand my allusion. But you would have no idea if I believed the legends of Robin Hood were historical or myth or stories based loosely on someone who existed but fictionalized. An allusion to Adam and Eve doesn’t make them historical, it just points to the fact that the account was common knowledge and could be used to make other rhetorical points, which is what the NT authors do.

When God looked at creation he said it was good, stative verb a in Hebrew which means good, beautiful, fair, or pleasant to behold.

This is just silly. Evolution by natural selectin doesn’t speak to humanity’s need for a savior or the spiritual breech between God and humanity. People need a savior because their relationship with God is broken by sin, not because their DNA was acquired in one way not another way or because they are mortal. The point of salvation is not to save people from death, it’s to reunite people with God. Everyone dies. Humans have always been mortal. But the hope of the resurrection is that people can be raised to a new life with God in a new creation, something that is only possible if the broken relationship with God is restored and creation is brought into the fulfillment God has always intended for it.


This is it in a nutshell. At least the ECs own up that the problem of evil is problematic and don’t point with a straight face to impossible Disney-esque stories that supposedly tie it all up neatly with a bow.


Thanks for the detailed reply, I appreciate the effort spent in providing a cogent response.

I’m a human. I’m idiosyncratic by nature. I’m also not a theologian or a linguist. I define my terms so that others know what I mean when I type a term that may have differing meanings. My definitions represent my usage and are not an attempt at standardizing how everyone may choose to use a certain word. Therefore, they may be idiosyncratic.

For example, I would call the study of God Himself (the Godhead), theology proper, as I have been taught. The phrase “someone’s theology”, for example, does not refer to someone’s study of God but their knowledge of God. I would call this a common, ordinary usage.

How might I get in trouble with my arguments? I’m defining exactly what I mean.

That depends on the definition of creation. For example, trying to describe angels with mathematics is useless (can’t measure one), yet they are a part of the creation (though some might call them spiritual beings and separate from the physical creation). It also depends on what our knowledge of mathematics is. The observable, measurable universe can and may be described by mathematics.

Romans 1:18-23 “18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, being understood by what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their reasonings, and their senseless hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and they exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible mankind, of birds, four-footed animals, and crawling creatures.”

“This is not a statement that anyone can back up with Hebrew studies, or linguistics, or Bible scholarship. It’s just an assertion you read somewhere.”

Are you making an assertion in this statement?

I’ll go into more detail below…

Robinhood is not taught as a foundation for an entire worldview, at least not in my school. :wink: But, in all seriousness, notice the historical and textual context: Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees (in several of my examples) about the Law of Moses (Pentateuch), which wasn’t a collection of random fairytales to the Jews, but their law for life, given and ordained by God. If Robinhood were ordained by God as truth for our people, containing over 600 rules for how to live, maybe I’d have a different opinion of him.

Additionally, note the text: “Have you not read…” speaking on a moral issue that the Pharisees were attempting to trap Him in. The God who created everything using fairytales to not simply illustrate but back up a demonstration of moral truth seems somewhat out-of-character. Jesus uses plenty of illustrations (parables), but does not mention Genesis anywhere in them.


Let me break this down.

“This is just silly. Evolution by natural selectin doesn’t speak to humanity’s need for a savior or the spiritual breech between God and humanity. People need a savior because their relationship with God is broken by sin, not because their DNA was acquired in one way not another way or because they are mortal.”

I agree, I didn’t state anything to the contrary. In fact, I specifically separated belief in evolution from trust in our Savior:

“The point of salvation is not to save people from death, it’s to reunite people with God. Everyone dies. Humans have always been mortal. But the hope of the resurrection is that people can be raised to a new life with God in a new creation, something that is only possible if the broken relationship with God is restored and creation is brought into the fulfillment God has always intended for it.”

So then, if physical death and cancer and suffering existed before sin while man had perfect intimacy with God, shall they not exist for eternity when man is restored to perfect intimacy with God? Why would God abolish these things in eternity if they are very good?

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so… Eve is the mother of all living things then… giving birth to cows, beetles, and trees. …or maybe you don’t take that part literally.

and… you don’t believe the snake is the angel lucifer but a talking snake right out of Walt Disney’s “Robin Hood, then?” …or maybe you accept it when Revelation claims this ancient serpent is not literally a talking snake but the angel who was cast out of heaven, the one we call the devil.

And when the God says Adam and Eve will die on the day they eat of the fruit, then He lied and the snake told the truth when it said they would not die. Is that your literal Bible? That God is a liar and the snake the teller of truth?

I think the truth is that you are pretending to take things literally only when it is convenient for you and this is really about lording it over others with imagined authority which you do not have. You do not speak for God, not about how He created nor about what He means in the Bible. I frankly think that when Jesus speaks in Matthew 13 of those who do not want to see, hear, or understand the truth, he was speaking of people like you.

The problem when you use an idiosyncratic defintion of something like natural selection (or in this case, a wrong definition, because it’s a term that has a meaning, you don’t just get to pick a different one, it’s science) is that you can’t really have a discussion with people unless they grant your definitions. Which I don’t. I’m not going to accept any of your conclusions, because I dispute your givens. I would assume most of the people here, who understand what these terms mean and that they don’t mean what you have defined them to mean will feel similarly.

Theology normally means the study of God, yes. But “someone’s theology” is not simply their knowledge of God, which could be a jumbled bunch of experiences they haven’t sorted out. “Someone’s theology” implies propositional claims about God or doctrines or conclusions. It is as you say the result of study and attempts to explain things, not just a sum total of impressions or experiences that could count as knowledge. Theologies are organized bodies of knowledge that make truth claims.

Making a good argument is more than just defining your terms. It’s establishing givens that people accept. Your definitionsa are your givens. If you define your terms in ways that no one else accepts, you haven’t established your givens and your conclusions won’t matter to anyone. Conclusions only follow from premises people accept as true. This is how logic works.

Your prooftext describes people who “knew God.” That’s my point. You don’t know God just by observing creation and inferring things about God, you know God because God interacts with his creation and reveals himself to people. God makes himself evident to people. This is uncontroversial Christian doctrine. God is a Person and God is self-revelatory and our knowledge of God is based on God’s initiative and self-revelation, even in the area of natural theology.

Yes. I work on Hebrew exegetical resources for Bible translators. This is an area I am professionally competent to speak to and I’m telling you that the assertion “the wording used [in Genesis 1-11] is factual and historical” is wrong. It’s not at all correct. It’s a baseless assertion you could not possibly back up with actual exegesis or Bible scholarship.

It’s clear you have been taugbt some things growing up that you think are solid. But do yourself a favor and realize that you are talking to some people who are professional scientists and Bible scholars and we know some things.

No one said it was, the claim was you can’t tell what Jesus or Paul believed about the historicity of a figure they alluded to just from the fact that they alluded to said figure. Maybe I believe the legend of Robin Hood is 100% historical fact. You don’t know, all you know is I made an allusion. That was my point, not that the Bible and the tales of Sherwood forest are at all the same. Deciding that Jesus would only make an allusion to an OT account he believed was historical fact is a belief people impose on the Bible, it isn’t something obvious from the text itself. Jesus probably did conceive of Adam and Eve as real people who started humanity, as did Paul. That was the common conception of the time. That in itself doesn’t prove Adam and Eve were historical individuals or that they were the literal first parents of all humanity.

I went to an Evangelical college and Adam and Eve wasn’t the foundation of the worldview. Jesus Christ is the foundation of the Christian faith, not Adam and Eve.

Is that really how you see the Bible? A rule book?

No Christians here are asserting that “God created everything using fairytales.” I don’t even know what that means. I would assert that God communicated truth about himself and humanity and creation using the origin story genres of the ancient Near East so people could understand them and respond in love, which is the whole point of God’s revelation in the first place.The point is not to give people a list of historical and scientific facts and rules.

Atonement has to do with sin. Evolution doesn’t have to do with sin. So the idea that evolution somehow negates the need for a subsitutionary atonement is silly because nothing in the theory is explaining how humanity became separated from God and spiritually in need of reconciliation, nor can anything in science broach those topics.

God’s own revelation says that death will be done away with, so that’s what we base the assertion on, not logical inferences. The Eschaton involves God actively doing something new, making a new creation, uniting heaven and earth, resurrecting his children to eternal life. It’s not a restoration of Eden and nothing in the Bible says it is. It’s God doing a new thing. It’s a holy city, not a garden. It’s every tongue, tribe, and nation, not a couple. It’s Jesus, the still incarnated perfect human reigning as exalted, risen Lord as God’s perfect image, not two humans trying and failing to be faithful image bearers.

God said creation is very good, he didn’t say death is very good. Death is the last enemy to be destroyed. But the reason death is an enemy is because without redemption and resurrection to new life in God’s New Creation, death means permanent separation from God. That’s the sting of death, not the physical reality of biological life ending. Biological life ending is just part of the natural cycle that keeps life flourishing. Death is needed to sustain new life. Death is good in this sense. It’s part of an ordered cycle of goodness that keeps nature healthy and thriving and reproducing according to their kind and filling the earth. There is no life without the nitrogen cycle, which I believe God designed, and the nitrogen cycle requires death and decay.

So here’s a question. Jesus cooked fish on the beach for his disciples, post-resurrection. Maybe he had some too. I hope eating is part of the New Creation. We are promised a wedding supper, though maybe that’s all just figurative. In any case, cooking fish for food is predation and that’s perfect risen Jesus doing it.


Because the worldview of the people back then was not the scientific materialism of the modern world and saw different ways of speaking truth, and because this truth was affirmed by God Himself.
The opening Creation account manages to fit two literary genres at once while bearing three different messages, all of which are weakened or lost if it is read as history. For example, without knowing that the order of events is the same as that in the (older) Egyptian creation story, a major point is lost.

But that’s not the choice: the actual choice is between opinions of “fallible, sinful men”. And the choice there must be based on who is being honest and dealing with the text honestly – which is not YEC.

Only to those who don’t understand what a scientific theory is. At best the hydroplate notion is wild conjecture because it ignores numerous natural laws and totally avoids the rigorous mathematical treatment that even a decent hypothesis should offer.

No, it isn’t because no, it doesn’t.
Though it should be noted that even Genesis shows that there was sin before man – it’s in Genesis 3, unless you want to maintain that God sent the serpent.

Under which worldview? The worldview you have relied on in your post is one called scientific materialism, which is the source of the idea that to convey truth a piece of writing has to be scientifically and historically correct. If you tried to tell that to the ancient folks at the time of the Exodus they’d think you were foolish because you didn’t understand what (to them) was obviously how to tell truth.

This is the error of putting the foundation in the wrong place: all of Genesis could be mythologized and it wouldn’t affect the Gospel in the least.
Why? Because the foundation of all the scriptures is the Incarnation of Christ. We don’t believe in the Incarnation because of anything Genesis says, we believe in it because it has the ring of truth. Our faith rests not on a logical progression from Creation and Fall but on a living Savior.
We don’t need Genesis to tell us that we need a Savior; anyone who is honest about the human condition from looking at the world knows that: we know we are broken because we experience it and we know we fail our own standards, let alone those of the Creator who made us. As the old confession goes, “We have left undone those things that we ought to have done; and we have done those things that we ought not to have done”.


Nope. The entire point of the Old Testament is that we need a Savior.

Reading it:

  • in the original language
  • in the context of the ancient near east
  • knowing the literary genres

In studying ancient literature I had several “Aha!” moments; the first was at a seminar where the presenter was describing a type of ancient near eastern literature and it struck me that he was describing Genesis 1 – a type of literature he called “royal chronicle”. The second was finding that the order of events in that first Creation account follows the order from the Egyptian creation story. The third was learning that the structure of the account fits an ancient near eastern temple inauguration.

Neither the first nor the last has any requirement of being historically correct either in detail or order, and the second is extremely odd unless you think the Egyptians had it almost right (though interestingly, in the first and third the details may be taken literally for the purpose of expounding the main point).

False dichotomy – and one that indicates that you haven’t actually investigated the subject. There are at least four different literary genres in Genesis 1 - 11, and none of them qualifies as “fairy tale”.

If your parents give you a train ticket, do you go ahead and walk anyway?


Wow…when i first started reading this post, i thought YEC was going to cop a hammering…in the end, im lost for words.
You have summed up tue dilemma well…better than i ever could in a single post.

The only addition i would/could make…

a theistic evolutionary world veiw simply must accept they cannot adequitely answer the question of the physical death of Christ?

If death and suffering were already in this world, and if genesis creation and the consequences of the fall of man (the wages of sin is death -Romans 6.23) are merely allegories…

What is the point of Christ dying physically on the cross? What is the point of a physical salvation? What is the point of a physical sscond coming?

These are meaningless unless the Old Testament Sanctuary Service was a demonstration of exactly how “He will save His people from their sins”.

This means the 10 commandments, God eternal law of love, are as relevant today as they always have been. And the 4th commandment specifically says…for in 6 days the lord created the heavens and the earth. He rested on the seventh day. Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy.

The patience of the saints…“here are those who keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus”

I havent yet read the other replies…im on my mobile phone, however, im betting that hell will break loose.

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Phil the falsehood of your statement above is the claim yec readers are making these interpretations.

The O.P has posted numerous cross references that all support his statement. These related texts make the bible interpretation self revealing. The fact you refuse to acknowledge that is entirely the problem with your theology. Ones theology is unsound when its not well supported with bible themes and cross links.

The reality is that nuanced is what happens when indivudals pluck texts out of context, do not support them appropriately, then they insert meanings into them that are never what the original writer intended.

Id suggest you go back and base your theology around the 4th commandment. We know that is truth, we know it pre dates sinai, we know Christ kept the Sabbath and taught others how to keep it, and we therefore know it is crystal clear.