The Problems with Bill_II's Idiosyncratic View

Agreed, but does one of these methods, in and of itself and all other things being equal, produce more reliable results? In other words, are you saying that those who read “God’s book of nature” are less susceptible to human frailty than those who read “God’s book called the Bible”?

@Mike_Gantt:

I think you say this because you reject the notion that Evolution is a “scientific discovery”.

And you must, of necessity, reject the Geological evidence of the age of the Earth as more than 4 billion years.

So your methodology seems rather suspect to anyone who takes for granted that Geology, at the very least, is not controversial.

They did when I was in school. And I hated one and loved the other.

That’s not theology; it’s cosmology.

I do not reject evolution as a scientific discovery.

Not “of necessity.” The whole reason I came to BioLogos was to see if I could find a biblical interpretation that would allow me to accept, among other things, prevailing geological views of the age of the earth.

Let me try this again. If history (i.e. your interpretation of the Bible) is real, it will leave evidence. This means it can be falsified in the same way as a hypothesis in science. Particular fields of relevance to your view of history in Genesis:

  • Geology
  • Stratiagraphy
  • Cosmology
  • Paleontology
  • Archaelogy
  • And More!

Particular historical claims in Genesis that find zero support by other forms of knowing that you generally ignore:

  • A Global flood
  • A 6,000 year old universe/cosmos
  • All the fossils buried in this global flood
  • A bottleneck in the human population 4,000 some years ago

Bologna. Theology is the interpretation of Scripture. Some Scriptures had to be reinterpreted, affecting theology. You just casually wipe away centuries of Christians wrestling with the Scriptures. Like…

  • The fixed cosmos wasn’t fixed. The finished cosmos wasn’t finished
  • Dinosaurs were worked into the text and explained
  • The earth was flat
  • There was a global flood (there wasn’t)
  • Genetic evidence and the past 150 years of evolution challenging certain historical interpretations of Genesis

You are even doing this on the forums… or at least giving the idea you are open to reconsidering your interpretation/theology due to real evidence, some of which comes from science.

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I want to return to this because it is a focus we share, though we are coming at it from different directions. Though I have not mentioned it to this point in my participation at BioLogos, it is the children of whom you speak that are at the heart of my willingness to consider this issue with fresh eyes.

I am 65. I can probably live the rest of my life in peace without resolving this issue. Same for my children, who have all been grown for many years and have made their own decisions about these things. It is my grandchildren who are my primary focus when I think about this issue. There are two things I don’t want for them:

  • I don’t want them thinking Grandpa believes in a young earth if God made an old one.
  • I don’t want them thinking Grandpa believes in an old earth if God made a young one.

Yes, my conscience is driving my participation here - but not for my own sake. Rather, it’s for their sake. If they believe in a young earth when God made an old one, they will struggle and be persecuted for no good reason. I would be pained but honored if my grandchildren suffered for the truth, but I would be pained without the comfort of honor if they suffered for a falsehood.

So, yes, I have deep emotion about the matter. And I am mindful of 2 Samuel 23:13-17. I asked you if the YEC’s gave any of you any pause. They do give me pause, and I cannot dismiss them as categorically as you do. Here’s why: If the YEC’s are wrong, I believe God will regard them as David regarded the three mighty men in this episode. I also believe if the OEC’s are wrong, that the same sentiment will apply. But in both cases, God’s sentiment will be to the degree that the position taken by an individual was taken truly in the fear of God and not the fear of man.

Some of you are sounding as strident as Ken Ham, and it is not becoming to your point of view - just as his stridency is not becoming to his point of view. I am willing to learn from you, but some of you are making that difficult.

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Maybe with respect to what people claim are the historical claims. I’m not as convinced that everything people say the Bible clearly claims is actually the intended message. Part of this is because for my job I document indigenous folk tales and fables and often, even when I can transcribe and identify every word and grammatical form, the message or moral of the story is still lost on me. I need a cultural insider to make very explicit all the information I fail to infer on my own because my frame of reference is so different from theirs.

I am more confident that the calculations of the decay rate of uranium 238 lead to straightforward, reliable, cross-checkable information. It is not the same kind of information you get from biblical interpretation.

I think the important truth claims of Genesis 1-11 are theological ones, not historical ones. I count Genesis 1-11 as an important part of Christian history in the sense of contributing to an essential part of
the metanarrative that makes sense of our existence and God’s plan for redemption. So, Genesis 1-11 gives us a true story. But I don’t think it has to be purely factual or objectively historical to be true. Embellished and mythologized and creatively appropriated material can tell true stories too. I understand that might break some people’s brains, but I am pretty comfortable with it, and it is actually not considered that crazy a viewpoint in other cultures.

When it comes to finding propositions about the natural world that can be reliably determined to be true or false, I would go with science. When it comes to propositions about God and how he interacts with the natural world and propositions about the spiritual dimension of reality, I trust God’s revelation. I think the “reliability” of a biblical interpretation is fundamentally harder to establish than the reliability of certain scientific facts. It is not straightforward because you have interplay between culture, language, distance in time from the original message, and the whole idea of what it means for God to inspire human words and stories with timeless truth. Yes, of course humans are limited in their observations of the world, but math works differently than language. Answers that can be calculated are fundamentally different than answers that must be to some extent spiritually discerned. The two “books” are written in different languages and require totally different approaches to “read.”

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What exactly do you mean by “the way things were”? Could you please elaborate.

Perhaps Jesus didn’t refer to this premeditation because it was naturally assumed by his audience. Is it unreasonable to assume his audience would be aware of God’s divine plan?

And the verse refers to “in the beginning” so which beginning is it referring to?
Beginning of God’s planning - My personal choice as I understand marriage to have been planned from before time began.
Beginning of God’s creation
Beginning of earth
Beginning of animal creation
Beginning of mankind’s creation

I know. And I have been trying to work through my memory to figure out when I first heard of it and have come up empty so far. I won’t bore you with stories of my sheltered youth.

Only if you believe it is only one or the other, hence dichotomy. What would you call it when you say that both assumptions are accepted? They are not mutually exclusive. Geologists use the evidence they find to determine which process was involved. Hard to believe but they do refer to some findings as being the result of a catastrophic process.

I can dig up the post where I did, but for starters God’s creation of the heavens and earth is a historical fact. God’s creation of humans is a historical fact. etc, etc. Perhaps using your standards you wouldn’t agree, but using my standards (which are all that matter to me) I would beg to differ.

I understand, but I am more mindful of Job 42:7, “After the Lord had spoken these words to Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.”

Then you are here for the right reasons. The main thing, as Paul instructed us, is not to erect stumbling blocks in the path of others, including our own children and grandchildren. The problem is that too many YEC parents are forcing their children into an all-or-nothing choice between the Bible and a mountain of scientific evidence. Even if you ultimately decide that you cannot accept a figurative interpretation of Genesis, you already have learned enough to sketch out some alternative interpretations to your grandchildren when they are old enough to understand.

Much more to say, but short of time. Hang in there, brother!

@Mike_Gantt

Based on your last 2 postings:

A] If you do not reject evolution, then based on your prior statement, Evolution “… requires no adjustment in theology.”

B] If you fail to find a biblical interpretation that allows you to accept the “… prevailing geological views of the age of the Earth” . . . then Geological findings on age of the Earth would be a scientific discovery that does (?) require an adjustment in theology."

Based on how you answer these 2 questions, I can figure out what you are trying to say…

Granted, this isn’t a theological issue of central importance, but I spent close to half of my life as YEC, and my theology of the creation process has (dare I say it…) evolved over the last couple of decades.

If I might ask, what is the strongest scientific evidence you have seen that points to a young earth? Notice I am asking for evidence not someone’s explanation of why the earth is young.

How do I square “zero support” with the fact that there are credentialed scientists who are YEC’s - unless you’re saying that profession of belief in YEC ipso facto disqualifies one from being a scientist?

I thought that was hermeneutics.

I agree, but I find the same phenomena with respect to the scientific community that you and I both see in the Bible community. For example, and to choose a subject outside our focus here, I am perplexed whenever the subject of global warming arises. It appears to me as a layman that the majority of scientsts agree that it’s a problem that we need to address and solve pronto, yet there is a small minority - large enough and respectable enough that I can’t ignore their existence - who think otherwise. What’s a layman to do?

Jesus didn’t refer to this premeditation because it was not relevant to His argument. The Pharisees had gotten Jesus to declare His opposition to divorce (Matt 19:3-6), so they confronted him with Moses’ commandment to grant a certificate for divorce (Deut 24:1-4). They thought they had Him, but He responded by pointing out that Moses’ Deuteronomic commandment was a deviation from his Genesis created order (“from the beginning it has not been this way” - Matt 19:8) - thus demonstrating that divorce was a departure from the commandment inherent in divine natural order. Jesus’ argument does not hang on God’s premeditation; it hangs on the created order being as Gen 1-2 describes it.

It refers to “the beginning” described in the passage to which Jesus was referring - Gen 1-2. After all, its very first words are “In the beginning” and would have been recognized by everyone present.

I still don’t get the relevance of any dichotomy to my question. So again I ask, are not uniformitarianism individually, catastrophism individually, and uniformitarianism and catastrophism collectively assumptions about the past?

Moses’ stipulation for the legitmacy of a prophet (Deut 18:21-22) with regard to prophecy was so strict, I cannot conceive that a true prophet was allowed to be sloppy about history. After all, which is harder for a human being to do: be correct about what’s going to happen in the future or be correct about what’s happened in the past? Therefore, if prophets are expected to get prophecy right, why are you saying it’s wrong to expect them to get history right? Moreover, we have the admonition of Jesus that it’s disappointing to Him when we are “slow to believe in all that the prophets have spoken” (Luke 24:25). I find it hard to ignore the first three-letter word in that sentence.

I welcome the additional passage to consider but I see no reason to give it greater weight.

You are speaking from the perspective of YEC being wrong and OEC being right. At this point, I have to think from the perspective that either could be wrong…so I am mindful of the pitfalls for children in either direction. God grant that my time in this valley of decision not be protracted.

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As I’ve said, I see the age of the earth as a matter of cosmology, not theology. I can see that others here define theology more broadly than I do, but you have to remember my definitions if you’re trying to parse my words.

What is the biblical interpretation of Gen 1-2 that has enabled you to relinquish YEC and embrace OEC?

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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