A Religious Liberal Blog

This site hopefully can provide some vehicle by which I can comment, complain, and once in a while praise the state of religion in this country and around the world from a liberal protestant perspective.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Tidbits

I know the graphic is an old one but it represents what kind of science backs up creationism. You need to click on the graphic to see the image in it's fullest size.

I also wanted to plug a new blog which I'll be adding to the blog roll. It's called Reclaiming the F Word (yes, the F word is faith). Some thought provoking reflections on the church is to be found on this site. An example from her site includes this:

"How come sex is such a big deal that it has, in fact, become the ONLY deal? How come, where pastoral leaders are concerned, our denominations don't have zero tolerance for sloth? Or cynicism? Or arrogance? Or incompetence? Or cowardliness?

Or indifference in the face of injustice, nationalistic aggression, racism, and the kind of rampant consumerism that is killing the planet and creating a gap between rich and poor wide enough for whole continents to fall through?"

15 Comments:

At 8:24 AM , Blogger Jonathan said...

To say that there is no scientific support for creation just shows a level of ignorance I never would have thought you'd have reached. It's almost as crazy as saying there aren't any problems with evolution!

You actually think there is NO evidence for creation?

 
At 8:26 AM , Blogger Jonathan said...

And PS, the Bible does speak out specifically against peverse sexuality because it is the only sin where you commit against God and your body.

"All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body." -1 Cor. 6:18.

It's a cultural thing, and it's become more and more prevalent. That's why there is a lot of focus on the subject, although not nearly as much as your new found friend seems to think.

 
At 10:30 AM , Blogger Dwight said...

There is no scientific support for "creationism". When you have dinosaurs at the new creation museum with riding saddles (apparently humans rode them)? then we've gone off the deep end.

I believe in creation, ie that God created the world, but I don't believe in creationism. I think the relevant sciences give us better insights into the nature of the creation then the ICR.

I'd have to go with Aristotle, any sins that involve us doing things involves bodily actions. Even indifference to injustice is directing our body and brain (the latter being part of the body) in certain ways, creating certain habits that feed into future actions.

 
At 11:25 AM , Anonymous Michael S said...

I've gotta agree with Dwight here. All Christians are creationists to the degree that "I believe in God the Father Almighty, creator of Heaven and Earth."

But nowhere does the Christian creed involve disbelieving science.

Re: Sexual Perversion:
Yes, the bible speaks of it, but as they pointed out, it speaks about a lot of other things too- things that affect human relationships, things that Christ addressed - and those are seldom brought up, or only given lip service. Where is the church speaking out against usury? Oh, we've moved on from that. It's not a sin anymore since Calvin. o.O

 
At 12:44 PM , Blogger sushil yadav said...

Dwight,
You have written about consumerism killing the planet. In this context I want to post a part from my article which examines the impact of Speed, Overstimulation, Consumerism and Industrialization on our Minds and Environment. Please read.

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature.

The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

Subject : In a fast society slow emotions become extinct.
Subject : A thinking mind cannot feel.
Subject : Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys the planet.
Subject : Environment can never be saved as long as cities exist.

Emotion is what we experience during gaps in our thinking.

If there are no gaps there is no emotion.

Today people are thinking all the time and are mistaking thought (words/ language) for emotion.

When society switches-over from physical work (agriculture) to mental work (scientific/ industrial/ financial/ fast visuals/ fast words ) the speed of thinking keeps on accelerating and the gaps between thinking go on decreasing.

There comes a time when there are almost no gaps.

People become incapable of experiencing/ tolerating gaps.

Emotion ends.

Man becomes machine.


A society that speeds up mentally experiences every mental slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A ( travelling )society that speeds up physically experiences every physical slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A society that entertains itself daily experiences every non-entertaining moment as Depression / Anxiety.


Fast visuals/ words make slow emotions extinct.

Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys emotional circuits.

A fast (large) society cannot feel pain / remorse / empathy.

A fast (large) society will always be cruel to Animals/ Trees/ Air/ Water/ Land and to Itself.

To read the complete article please follow any of these links :
PlanetSave
FreeInfoSociety
ePhilosopher
Corrupt

sushil_yadav

 
At 4:22 PM , Blogger Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

Dwight,

John Spalding has helped us with this problem by revising a children's bible to reflect these new discoveries hailed by Ken Ham. Now we can have children's bibles with dino's in the pictures and in the stories!! It's a hoot. I've got a link to it.

 
At 5:04 PM , Blogger Jonathan said...

Very intersting. I find it convenient that you are so eager and willing to run away from what the Bible explicitly says, and then turn to a science (evolution) that has so many problems with it.

Plus, you never gave any examples of bad creationist science.

Believe it or not, there are, in fact, lots of good reasons to believe in Creation. There are a million aspects of our universe and our planet that point to a creator, and not random processes.

Here are a few examples, just to wet your appetite:

*There are plenty of intelligent, credible scientists that agree with the premise of Creation. They have their reputation at stake, yet are more than confident in the "science" behind creationism.

*The best chance of Evolution is equivalent, according to Astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle, is quite miniscule. The chance that it would take for even ONE cell to evolve is one chance in 10 to the 40,000th power year! That is the equivalent of a tornado flying your town's junkyard and perfectly assembling a functional Boeing 747 from the parts. Impossible? I'd say so too.

*Carbon dating is a famous type that evolutions love to use. Unfortuantely, it is riddled with problems. Just like any other dating method that relies on speculation, and can never be exactly right. In fact, if you dated a towel at Wal-Mart, you'd find it to be 100 years old.

Iodine testing, on the other hand, has dated the world to be around 6-7,000 years...nearly precisely the age most creationists have assumed. But you don't hear about that testing, despite the fact that it's just as credible (if not more credible) than the 100-year-old-towel carbon dating method.

*Do you realize that our planet is in the one place in the Milky way that, according to most scientists, is the premier viewpoint of the system and the rest of the universe? How is it that we could just happen to land in that kind of a perfect positioning?

In fact, the Earth's surface provides the best view of solar eclipses in the Solar System. The Earth's surface is also the most habitable place in the Solar System. Is this coincidence just that? The conditions that make a planet habitable also make its inhabitants more likely to see solar eclipses. What an..accident?

*Never mind the fact that we are in exact positioning in our solar system for perfect life habitation, and have the right amount of planets to avoid a overwhelming amount of gravity, but also enough protection from asteroids and other intergalactic threats.

You can't ignore that kind of information. You can't ignore the science behind God's creation.

 
At 12:36 AM , Anonymous Michael S said...

Jonathan, are you even reading our replies?

"I find it convenient that you are so eager and willing to run away from what the Bible explicitly says, and then turn to a science (evolution) that has so many problems with it." and "Believe it or not, there are, in fact, lots of good reasons to believe in Creation. There are a million aspects of our universe and our planet that point to a creator, and not random processes."

No one is running away from what the bible says, and, as Dwight and I both said, we believe in a Creator. Evolution is not a "why," it is a "how." It is our best idea so far as to *how* the Creator did it. Your set of chances don't "disprove" evolution; rather do they make evolution that much more gloriously declare the handiwork of our Creator.

If your problem is that we don't believe that Genesis 1 is literal, well, look at the text itself. God worked for three days– *then* created the sun on the fourth. What is a "day" when there isn't a sun? The answer of course, is a *metaphor* because by definition, a day requires the presence of a sun and a rotation of the spheres.
This is not a "liberal" belief either: the ancient rabbis and the church fathers knew that it was metaphorical, and said so.

 
At 9:35 AM , Blogger Jonathan said...

I don't think that you have entirely thought through the process of such a belief. In fact, if you think it through, the entire concept and need for salvation is lost.

I know that this a long comment, but I would urge to please read the entirety of my reasons before you quit or respond. Just take the time to read it.

Oh and about the length of the days...

When Moses, under the inspiration of God, compiled the account of creation in Genesis 1, he used the Hebrew word yôm for 'day'. He combined yôm with numbers ('first day', 'second day', 'third day', etc.) and with the words 'evening and morning', and the first time he employed it he carefully defined the meaning of yôm (used in this way) as being one night/day cycle (Genesis 1:5). Thereafter, throughout the Bible, yôm used in this way always refers to a normal 24–hour day. There is thus a prima facie case that, when God used the word yôm in this way, He intended to convey that the days of creation were 24 hours long. There are many other Hebrews words that could have been better used to explain a longer period of time, like quedem, olam, or tamid, but yom was used specficall referring to one day

Anyways...

Romans 5:12 states very clearly that death entered the world through Adam. The world was perfect before sin. Adam would have never died if he had not sinned, because his body was perfect and untouched by sin itself.

We also know, that according to Romans 5:22, the world was fine until sin became existent. Now, "the world groans" and waits to be "set free from it's corruption."

There was no curse on the ground, no fear in the animals, no death, and no reason to kill. God gave the plants to Adam to eat, as there was no need for any living human or animal to eat meat. It even states in Genesis 3:21 that the animal God killed was the first bloodshed.

God said after each day that what he saw was good! Everything was perfect, exactly the way that God wanted it.

However, if you believe that God used evolution to create the world, then what you have done is thrown inurmerous amounts of death, diseases, plagues, destruction, and all kinds of things that are NOT good. You have also left unexplained the concept of death, since Romans says that death entered the world through Adam.

There are plenty MORE problems with evolutionary Creation.

*If we were made in the Image of God, but evolved from single celled organisms, which form is the image of God? Are we still evolving into that form?

*If we are just more highly evolved animals, then why do we have souls? Why are we given stewardship over the other creatures and over everything in the Earth? Why are we so special? Will other monkeys become humans made in the image of God with such authority once they, to, evolve enough?

*If Adam, Eve, and the Garden of Eden are just mythological, legendary, figurative, or parabolic, it can be concluded that their offspring weren't real people either. Then, one can easily deduce that their children's children didn't exist either...and so on... and so on. Eventually, the whole book of Genesis is discredited, and ultimately, the entire Bible's historical record and geneaology, with it being determined that Jesus Himself was not an actual person.

The comparisons of Adam and Jesus would be irrelevant. If Adam was not a living, breathing, real man, the implication about the Messiah is obvious. Once again, Adam's existence is intrical to Jesus'.

*The Genesis account mentions numerous times that God created creatures "after their kind." (Genesis 1:21, 24, 25). Fish didn't evolve into reptiles and amphibians which evolved into mammalls...and on and on; not according to the Bible. It says, "God created the sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed AFTER THEIR KIND, and every winged bird AFTER ITS KIND... Let the earth bring forth living creatures AFTER THEIR KIND: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth AFTER THEIR KINDS... God made the beasts of the earth AFTER THEIR KINDS, and the cattle AFTER THEIR KIND, and everything that creeps on the ground AFTER ITS KIND."

*A deistic god could put in motion a process lilke Macro-Evolution, because the case could be made that a deistic god wouldn't really care what the result was, and wouldn't really be involved. An impersonal god could start such a process, because the logic could be presented that that this type of god didn't plan on making humans or having a relationship with them; or that, being impersonal, an impersonal god couldn't directly create personal beings. A god who was not omnipotent or omniscient could initiate natural selection, because it could be said that such a god would not be powerful or knowledgeable enough to create extremely complex life forms from the get-go, but rather only the simplest, most miniscule types. An unholy, imperfect god could utilize Evolution, because one could say that death and suffering didn't bother him/her/it. The case could be made that all of the aforementioned gods could/would be "laissez-faire," and therefore Evolution would be an acceptable tool for them.

But we serve a God Who is hands-on, holy, perfect, omnipotent, omniscient, personal, and involved.
He created the universe with a distinct purpose and plan, and the unfolding of that plan, as well as His sovereign control and intervention, continues today.

So, you cannot use evolution and Christianity together. They cannot work. That is because you have tried to fit the Bible into the concepts of the world, instead of viewing the Bible as inerrant, and working from there.

Thanks, KA

 
At 1:35 AM , Anonymous Michael S said...

Morning and evening still require a sun and rotating spheres. Otherwise it's not a day.

I have to say, I just don't see where you're coming from on most of your comments. "If Adam, Eve, and the Garden of Eden are just mythological, legendary, figurative, or parabolic, it can be concluded that their offspring weren't real people either. " for example.
Well, since Adam means "mankind", and Eve, "the living", it's hard to say "the offspring of mankind and life aren't real." But it's nonetheless easy enough to say, "however, mankind is obviously being anthropomorphized here as though one person." So we have a story about mankind, mankind's place in creation, and their relationship to their creator. It's not "just" mythological, as you dismissively put it. It's *gloriously* mythological. Mythological in the sense that it conveys truth beyond and behind "historical events."

"The comparisons of Adam and Jesus would be irrelevant." Again, I fail to see how this is a logical conclusion. You say that if Adam isn't a "living, breathing, real man," he doesn't exist. That doesn't follow. Mankind *does* exist. It is fallen. It isn't a "living breathing, real man;" it's many men over much time. We've all been turned out of the garden.

"That is because you have tried to fit the Bible into the concepts of the world, instead of viewing the Bible as inerrant, and working from there."
Again, this just doesn't follow. It's quite a leap to go from saying the bible is "inspired by God", which is the historic Christian view, to saying that it's "factually inerrant", which is not only *not* the Christian view, it's completely ridiculous. We all know that the mustard seed is *not* the smallest, and that pi doesn't equal a flat 3. There are places where the bible contradicts itself- so which is inerrant? This isn't a "modernist dismissal"; the ancient rabbis and the church fathers knew it was inconsistant. And so they didn't read it looking for innerrant facts, they read it looking for spiritual truth. That's what's to be found there. "Here is Wisdom; here is the Royal Law: These are the Lively Oracles of God!"

 
At 8:55 AM , Blogger Jonathan said...

"Morning and evening still require a sun and rotating spheres. Otherwise it's not a day."

We know today that all it takes to have a day-night cycle is a rotating Earth and light coming from one direction. The Bible tells us clearly that God created light on the first day, as well as the Earth. Thus we can deduce that the Earth was already rotating in space relative to this created light.

In Genesis, God even defines a day and a night in terms of light or its absence. God can, of course, create light without a secondary source. We are told that in the new heavens and Earth there will be no need for sun or moon (Rev 21:23).

"I have to say, I just don't see where you're coming from on most of your comments. 'If Adam, Eve, and the Garden of Eden are just mythological, legendary, figurative, or parabolic, it can be concluded that their offspring weren't real people either.' for example.

Well, since Adam means "mankind", and Eve, "the living", it's hard to say "the offspring of mankind and life aren't real."


Somewhere, somehow, human life began through 2 human beings. For whatever the reasons, you do not want that to be Adam and Eve. You want to just skip past that part until there are lots of people on the planet, and that is rather erroneous.

Never mind the fact that Adam and Eve are explicitly described in human terms.
-Eve was created from Adam's rib.
-she was considered beautiful.
-Adam was alone and needed a companion.
-Adam referred to her as "flesh of my flesh."
-God's ruling on marriage was ordained and created through their relationship.
-They were specifically created in God's image.

The descriptions you try and make up for Adam and Eve are incorrect, or at least unverifiable. Those are loose definitions created and interpreted by yourself.

If people looked to the Bible as correct initially, and then found the problems with the world around it, these problems wouldn't be an issue. An honest look at what Genesis says makes sense with my statements. But you cannot accept the fact that Creation actually happened.

What else is figurative in the Bible? What other 'problems' will you just whisk away as figurative whenever you are approach. Soon, our culture will see the Bible become one big meaningless metaphor.

You are putting yourself in a position of authority that makes you the final say in any Bible difficulty, rather than trusting to the word of God.

"Mankind *does* exist. It is fallen. It isn't a "living breathing, real man;" it's many men over much time. We've all been turned out of the garden."

This all goes back to sin and evolution. Again, when did mankind fall? How could creation have been considered good and perfect if it was full of dead animals, diseases, plagues, and all the other terrible things required for millions of years of evolution.

Jesus referred to Adam specifically as a person. He spoke on Adam and Eve in reference to adultery in Matthew 19:4-5. This would have been an irrelavant example if the Jewish people believed they weren't real people, and it would just be a silly illustration. But going back to the first marriage gave real punch to what Jesus was saying, and it also backed up Genesis.

Again, if you accept evolution, then you have to contradict the entire salvation message.

"It's quite a leap to go from saying the bible is "inspired by God", which is the historic Christian view, to saying that it's "factually inerrant", which is not only *not* the Christian view, it's completely ridiculous."

First off, that isn't the old time Christian view. That is what we are taught in the Bible.

1 Timothy 3:16 clearly states the Bible is inspired, or God breathed. God cannot err, and therefore the very words of God would not be incorrect. It's also important that the Bible claims to be inerrant.

Deut. 13:1 - 5 and 18:20 - 22 Israel is given criteria for distinguishing God's message and messenger from false prophecies and prophets. One mark of a divine message is total and absolute truthfulness.

A good comparison could be made between the prophet and the Bible. The prophet's word was usually oral, although it might be recorded and included in a book; the writers of Scripture communicated God's word in written form. Both were instruments of divine communication, and in both cases the human element was an essential ingredient.

Jesus also teaches the inerrancy of the Bible. The two most commonly cited passages are Matt. 5:17 - 20 and John 10: 34 - 35. Both record the words of Jesus. In the former Jesus said that heaven and earth will pass away before the smallest detail of the law fails to be fulfilled. The law's authority rests on the fact that every minute detail will be fulfilled. In John 10:34 - 35 Jesus says that Scripture cannot be broken and so is absolutely binding. While it is true that both passages emphasize the Bible's authority, this authority can only be justified by or grounded in inerrancy. Something that contains errors cannot be absolutely authoritative.

Scripture even uses Scripture in a way that supports its inerrancy. If the Bible's inerrancy does not extend to every detail, these arguments lose their force. The use of any word may be a matter of whim and may even be an error.

A careful study of the way in which the OT is used in the NT, however, demonstrates that the NT writers quoted the OT not cavalierly but quite carefully.

Essentially, the Bible has never been proven WRONG. If we take it as fact until proven otherwise, then we are looking at the Bible in the correct manner.

As for your (excuse my critical view) pitiful examples, they are easily refuted.

Jesus was not comparing the mustard seed to all other seeds in the world, but to seeds that a local, Palestinian farmer might have "sowed in his field," i.e., a key qualifying phrase in verse 31. And it's absolutely true that the black mustard seed (Brassica nigra = Sinapis nigra) was the smallest seed ever sown by a first-century farmer in that part of the world.

It's also true, as many modern-day encyclopedias will tell you, that the black mustard seed in Israel will typically grow to heights of 3.7 meters, or twelve (12) feet), plenty large enough to hold a bird nest (in case, you know, there was any confusion there).

It's important to remember that the Bible often uses everyday terminology in order to communicate simple truth. Even today, we might refer to a "sunset" when, technically, scientifically, we know that the sun never actually 'sets,' i.e., it's the earth that revolves.

As for the pi issue, it is also overly used. The 1 Kings 7:23-26 verse is describing a fairly large bowl about 8 feet 4 inches tall sitting on top of some other fairly large items. The bowl is described initially by 3 measurements, 2 of which at first glance seem to be redundant. A 4th dimension is also given a couple of verses later and this one people often ignore while instead only focusing on 2 of the 4 given dimensions.

When we see the bible give a "compassed it round about" (circumference) value of 30 and "from the one brim to the other" (diameter) value of 10, it keys them to think, "the bible says 'pi' = 30/10 or 3.0, therefore the bible is saying the Hebrews were very inaccurate as
they'd have to have missed another 1.4 cubits in the circumference.".

Unfortunately, the Bible never actually claimed that about pi.

The bible claims that there is an ADDED brim that is a "hand width" thick that was added onto the cast metal bowl. That brim is WIDER than the original bowl.

So let's review the data the bible gives about that bowl:

1. Diameter of the brim to brim edges (10 cubits)
2. Height of the bowl (5 cubits)
3. Circumference of the body of the bowl (30 cubits).
4. Thickness of the brim (one hand width, about 4.5").

(Side Note: if you didn't know a cubit is the length from your elbow to your middle finer's full length...anywhere from 18" to 22" in length)

Here's where the math get's interesting.

1 Kings 7:23 -
And he made a molten sea

(A "molten sea" is a cast metal bowl filled with water)

(1) ten cubits from the one brim to the other:
(2) height was five cubits: and a line of
(3) thirty cubits did compass it round about.
(24) And under the brim of it round about there were knops compassing it, ten in a cubit, compassing the sea round about: the knops were cast in two rows, when it was cast...
(4) And it was an hand breadth thick, and the brim thereof was wrought like the brim of a cup...

Notice that #2 and #3 are said right after the brim to brim value (#1). If you assume that #3 is the circumference value for the brim, then you also have to assume that
#2 says the brim is 5 cubits high. But as you see in #4, it's saying the brim is shaped like the brim of a cup.

Hence, #2 and #3 can't be about the brim since it would say that the brim is 5 cubits tall, hence shaped like a cylinder... so the values for #2 and #3 have to be
a continuance of the discussion about the bowl body, not
about the brim.

The brim was only briefly entioned in #1 as being an attribute of the bowl, not that the brim would be
30 in circumference or 5 tall... the bowl body was.

Further confirmation is that the brim is said to have knops placed UNDER it, the handwidth thick brim allowing room for the knops.

The 30 cubit value for the inner bowl body circumference, that would be measured while making the inner mold used to cast the metal bowl.

Let's see how accurate they got "pi" using my "handwidth"
in the calculation and 20"/cubit.

Brim to brim diameter = 10 cubits
= 10"
*20"/cubit
= 200"

Bowl body circ = 30 cubits
= 30 cubits
* 20"/cubit
= 600"

Brim thickness as a = 4.5"
"handwidth"

To find the bowl body diameter, just subtract the two brim
thicknesses from the brim to brim diameter:

Bowl body diameter = 10 cubits - (2 * 4.5")
= (10 cubits
(20"/cubit)
- 9"
= 200" - 9"
= 191"

Now let's see what the Hebrews had for a value for "pi"
using the bowl body circumference and bowl body diameter:

pi = circ / dia
= 600" / 191"
= 3.14136

The actual value of pi goes on for forever, but basically
you can use 3.14159 for most math problems. The error
in the Hebrew "value of pi" becomes:

3.14136 - 3.14159 = - 0.0073 %

This result is based on an estimated average value for
the "cubit". And given the wide variation expected, look at what the typical error expected would be for
the bible "pi". To do so, I'll now also use my own "cubit"
in the calculations:

My "cubit" = 19.25"
My "handwidth" = 4.5"

pi = circ / dia
= 30*19.25"/(10*19.25"-2*4.5")
= 577.5"/183.5"
= 3.1471

3.1471 - 3.14159 = + 0.175 %

That's reasonably close and it's using actual known values for one person's "cubit" and "handwidth".

The bible is actually right and does NOT say pi=3.0, but instead
shows FOUR different dimensions used to build a commonly
shaped bowl.

My point in all of this is that you too quickly jump to terrible conclusions, when in actuality the Bible is the most reliable writing in the history of humankind.

Think about it.

 
At 9:47 PM , Blogger Elizabeth said...

Jonathan: If you're legitimately interested in reading refutations of all of your misconceptions about the science of biology, I would suggest you work your way through the archive at Talk Origins.

Start with Five Major Misconceptions about Evolution and then maybe follow up with the Age of the Earth FAQ and the Transitional Fossils FAQ.

There is no need for Dwight to spend hours addressing your points (which is outside his expertise, anyway), when such a well-done website exists.

 
At 11:44 AM , Blogger Jonathan said...

Those are old comments and easily refutable. I have had those points made to me by old professors at classes ranging from Philosophy to Critical Thinking. Nothing new, and nothing persuading. They are, however, good at avoiding the question.

If Dwight doesn't know that much about the topic, then maybe he shouldn't make a radical claim such as creation having no scientific evidence.

 
At 11:04 AM , Blogger Dwight said...

Jonathan

I think it's possible to trust the weight of the Christian tradition and the scientific community as well as even a significant portion of creationists, none who believe that the earth was created in a literal 7 day creation.

I also trust that the ancients knew myth when they saw it and wrote it. Genesis speaks of talking animals and 900 year old people, it speaks of the first city and the first rainbow. It speaks of ancient legends (the nephilim) and the origin of a nation. Like reading Virgil and Homer, they become the stockpile of stories that we use to make sense of the world and therefore they act as true myth.

I know that we've been shaped by the enlightenment so the idea of true myth won't work for many. But the idea of Jesus referring to the story of Adam and the people responding to this doesn't lead me to believe that therefore they must have thought of it in literal terms. Any more then Socrates referring to Zeus must be doing likewise.

I have a book recommendation for you: Beyond Tragedy by Reinhold Niebuhr. It's short. It's also online. And it relates to the power of the creation story and the fall story. A power which is gone the moment you make it literal. Because instead of a powerful account of how humans act in the world, you have some "fact" which is easily falsifiable and therefore dismissed. And that's a shame. Because we could learn a thing or two from Genesis that people miss because they think it stands or fall on whether it's literal or not. And to me it misses the point of it all together.

There's a way to see the Bible as invaluable, not infallible, in presenting to us an image of human life which has more potency than any number of volumes of literal works.

 
At 11:09 AM , Blogger Dwight said...

I'm reminded of the story of Peter, who understood the scriptural prohibitions of eating unclean food. God kept sending visions to Peter to have him eat unclean food. He ignored them in favor of scripture. It took a while for God to be able to get through to Peter that a new thing was a foot. Scripture's function is important, is useful, but it cannot be mistaken for the God who it points to. It has authority but nothing has ultimate authority apart from God.

 

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