Evolutionary Creation 7 (RJS)

We’ve been working through Denis O. Lamoureux’s book Evolutionary Creation: A Christian Approach to Evolution – a book that describes a way to move beyond the creation and evolutions debates. Chapter 5 of this book looks at The Bible and Science: Beyond Conflict and Concordism. Earlier this month we discussed the presence of ancient science within the text of scripture (EC 5 and EC 6). There is little doubt but that the text of scripture carries, incidental to the main theological message, an ancient understanding of cosmology, geology, and biology. But this ancient science is incidental to the message of scripture, it is not integral to the message of scripture. Nor does it impact reliability of scripture. In chapter 5 Dr. Lamoureaux reiterates these ideas and then discusses the implication for biblical interpretation

The key point according to Dr. Lamoureux is to realize that the Bible is sufficient to convey the intended theological message and that humans are proficient to receive and comprehend this message. The ancient “science,” that is the ancient Near Eastern interpretation of the material world implicit within the text of scripture, is incidental to the message of scripture. This is true whether the text is interpreted literally, figuratively, or allegorically. According to Dr. Lamoureux:

However, the fact that the Bible features an ancient science is significant. It subtly indicates that scientific information about nature is not essential for a holy life. In particular ancient origins science in the creation accounts indirectly reveals how God made the world is not foundational to the doctrine of creation. Stated bluntly, understanding origins is ultimately irrelevant to one’s walk with the Lord. (p. 158)

The early church fathers, Augustine, the medieval scholastics, the reformers, young earth creationists, progressive creationists, and Christians holding to evolutionary creation, read the same spiritual and theological message in the creation narratives in scripture. The Christian walk is determined by a life commitment that is largely independent of the specific understanding of God’s method of creation.

Which features in scripture can be considered incidental and which features are essential and integral to the message?

To what extent does the message of scripture depend on the incidental features of the way the message is conveyed?

Dr. Lamoureux brings up two important points as he discusses the role of an ancient understanding of the material world in scripture. The first is that everyone has a view that places their surroundings in context. This is an unavoidable part of our very make-up.

Men and women live in a physical world and have no choice but to have some sort of understanding of nature. Psychological health demands that people know their surroundings. History reveals that knowledge of the universe and life has been an indispensable component of the religious and philosophical beliefs of every generation. (p. 163)

Implicit understanding of the world shapes both the original text of scripture and the interpretation of the text through the ages. There was no way to produce a text free from a view of the material world and there is no way to read the text without being influenced by an understanding of the material world. We all read into the text to make sense of the words in the context of what we know about the world – from our understanding of the rising and setting of the sun to our interpretation of the word “firmament.”

The second point is that the Holy Spirit did not correct mistaken notions about the nature of the material universe when giving insight and understanding about the relationship between God, creation, and mankind. Passages that contain reference to the nature of the material universe are best understood using the idea of accommodation and by considering carefully the literary genre of the text. Not only did the Holy Spirit accommodate to the phenomenological view of the world, the ancient understanding of the material universe, “the Holy Spirit also accommodated by using the literature-of-the-day”  with literary forms and genres that were common to the original authors and audiences. Dr. Lamoureux summarizes:

In sum, the hermeneutical principles outlined in this section open the way to a relationship between the Bible and science that moves beyond conflict and concordism. Passages referring to  nature neither clash with nor correspond to modern scientific knowledge because the Holy Spirit intentionally accommodated Scripture to the cognitive level of ancient peoples. An appreciation of biblical hermeneutics leads Christians to make informed interpretative decisions in order to draw out “pure spiritual milk” from its incidental ancient vessel (1 Pet 2:2). (p. 168-169)

An Incarnational Model. Dr. Lamoureux casts his understanding of the nature of scripture using an incarnational model. As God in Jesus became fully human to reach humans while remaining fully divine, so God in his revelation uses human forms, coming down to our level, while reliably providing theological and spiritual insight. He sees the similarities as three-fold: ontological, temporal, and pedagogical.

Ontological: Jesus became human in his being. He became hungry and tired, presumably he stubbed his toe, cut himself, and caught the stomach flu. He was limited by his human nature by taking on human form. So too, scripture is human and divine – using literary forms and the “street language” of ordinary people to convey the divine message.

Temporal: Jesus entered into history at a particular defined point in history – some of the things he said and did were determined by that context of time and place. The message and the import of his action in life, death, and resurrection, transcend time and place; the incidental details do not.

Like Jesus’ temporality, the Bible both transcends and is bound within history. Scripture offers timeless truths written in various ancient historical eras. The actual periods when the Holy Spirit inspired the sacred writers are incidental to the inerrant and infallible Message of Faith. In other words there is nothing inherently special about any specific point in the past. … Evidence for this fact is seen in the lives of men and women changed by the Gospel in every generation. (p. 171)

Pedagogical: The teaching style used by Jesus was designed to proclaim the coming kingdom of God in a comprehensible fashion. He used stories and images from everyday life. Likewise scripture uses images familiar to the audience through the ages – it does not embed “perfect” understanding of the material world in the text because this would have been – and would still be today – pedagogically inappropriate. Quantum physics, modern astronomy, and human genetics reveal the creative work of God as we learn and grow, standing on the shoulders of those who came before – but they are not necessary to understand the the creative power of God or his relationship with his creation.

Dr. Lamoureux summarizes the view presented in this chapter as shown in the diagram below:

What do you think?

Should we expect concordance between our modern scientific understanding of the material world and the view implicit in scripture?

Does the incarnational model lend insight to the nature of scripture as the inspired Word of God?

It you wish to contact me directly you may do so at rjs4mail[at]att.net

If interested you can subscribe to a full text feed of my posts at Musings on Science and Theology.

For those who find the full book (400+ pages) somewhat daunting Dr. Lamoureux has condensed the book into a more accessible version, I Love Jesus & I Accept Evolution. He also provides audio and slide summaries of each chapter of Evolutionary Creation online.

  • Tim

    One can certainly assert that the ancient cosmology implicit (and I would argue explicit as well) in the text is “incidental” to the text and does not impact the text’s “reliability.” Certainly one could make the case for that, even perhaps extending that further to other erroneous scientific concepts in the Bible, such as the notion that the woman’s womb is merely a vessel that incubates a man’s “seed.”

    So, no all this is incidental.

    But is the OT really reliable? I mean, you could dogmatically assert that it is reliable, as it is Holy Scripture after all. So the logic could work like this: Holy Scripture is the word of God -> God wouldn’t convey his word in fundamentally unreliable terms -> Therefore Holy Scripture is at least adequately reliable. Who can argue with logic like that ;)

    But going beyond “scientific” understanding in the OT, you see a number or theological and even historical “accommodations” to erroneous human understanding as well.

    In Deuteronomy (32:8): You have good deal of theological “accommodation” in a reference to 70 (this is the number derived from Genesis 10) nations numbered after the “sons of El.” What is interesting here is that the Canaanite deity, also named El, had 70 sons with his consort Asherat. The NIV still buries the textual correction, derived from older manuscript data from the Dead Sea Scrolls, in the footnotes, but must modern translations have updated their text to reflect the change from “sons of Israel” to “sons of El.” Most scholars now understand this passage as reflecting Israel’s polytheistic heritage, where Yahweh was initially seen as the “chief God”, presiding over a “heavenly court” of lesser deities, to what later became Hebrew monotheism, where Yahweh is the “only God.”

    In Joshua: You have the theological accommodation of “herem.” A rather disgusting notion appropriated from the ancient Levant that saw setting aside one’s defeated enemy as a sacred, consecrated sacrifice to one’s deity. The “sacrifice” was of course carried out by total (and I mean total) destruction of the enemy. Every man, woman, and child (and often livestock as well). The genocidal equivalent of offering a sacrifice on the altar.

    Also in Joshua: You have accommodation to the literary form of historical propaganda. We know from archeological finds in the region that certain cities, most famously Jericho, weren’t actually destroyed by the Israelites (Jericho was already destroyed by the time the Israelites took over the region – as confirmed by 3 independent dating methods that all converge on the date of a final destruction layer of 1550 BC). Of course one could say, “well, this doesn’t in any way make the OT unreliable, as historical propaganda is a viable literary form.” But the ONLY reason we know that Joshua is propaganda is due to archeological finds that demonstrate that it is unlikely to represent accurate history.

    So, what about Moses? Are the accounts of him leading the Hebrew people out of Egypt historical propaganda/myth as well? We see certainly see no archeological evidence to support its historicity. But we do see some ANE source material that could have inspired some of the stories of Moses. Perhaps one could argue that the Moses story really did happen, that “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” But “reliable” is not the first word that comes to mind when I think of the Moses story. It could very well be very, very unreliable as a historical matter at least.

    And what of theological reliability? The insanely wrathful actions against the Egyptian people. So much needless suffering just because God wanted to demonstrate his sovereignty and might? Particularly killing the firstborn not just of Pharaoh (you could perhaps say he had it coming), but of every last Egyptian mother and father? Is this act, even if not historical (and I don’t believe that it is historical), still theologically “reliable.” I think a strong case could be made that it is not.

    So, sure scientific claims either explicitly or implicitly present in the text are “incidental” to the message of the OT. Sure, I agree with that assertion. But many of the theological and historical/literary accommodations, some of which I provided examples of above, are not incidental by any means.

  • rjs

    Tim,

    There are many questions we could address, they are important, and they include the passover story told in Exodus and the conquest of Canaan. But this is not a post on these kinds of theological issues regarding the nature of God and ANE history.

    I think it is important to pull the issues apart and look at topics independently. Otherwise we become smothered in the effort to think things through. So – can we stick to topic?

  • Tim

    RJS (2),

    I really don’t want to go off topic here. Maybe you could help me work through where I went wrong, if I did in fact, or perhaps resolve a miscommunication if this is actually on point.

    The crux of your post was on how to interpret the scientific accommodation in the OT. You seem to be compartmentalizing out scientific accommodation as incidental, but otherwise holding that the OT is reliable and such incidental accommodation in no way threatens that.

    Where I am coming from, and what I tried to argue for in my comment above, is that accommodation is often very non-incidental in the OT. The fact that scientific accommodation specifically is incidental just has to do with the idea that the Bible is not interested in conveying a scientific message, but rather a historical and theological one. My point is that accommodation is better understood as a whole – theological, historical, literary, scientific, etc. – rather than compartmentalizing it out into “scientific accommodation” as “incidental”, as if that were some special case.

    My argument is that the “humanness” of scripture, with all its fallibility across all spectrums of “human” knowledge permeate the Old Testament. Focusing selectively on the incidental nature of scientific accommodations just seems to miss what is really going on.

    Does this address any reservation you had about my post? Is this on-topic? If not, could you let me know where I veered off?

  • Tim

    …in other words RJS, (#1) was supposed to address the bolded question:

    “Which features in scripture can be considered incidental and which features are essential and integral to the message?”

    You had laid out scientific and literary accommodation, with a focus on scientific accommodation as “incidental.” The implication in your post was that the theological message was non-incidental and reliable. I attempted to take this point to task in argue that a dichotomy between incidental and unreliable, and non-incidental and reliable was a false one, and that even some of the non-incidental theological message of the Bible (as well as some central historical claims) show signs of “accommodation” that render them very much unreliable.

    So, as this responded to a very central, bolded question, it seemed at the time to be on point.

  • SamB

    Tim @3 – The questions you raise are very important to me too and really are more so the ones I stuggle with than the ones raised in these posts. However, I think these posts are meant to be specifically about the Bible and science. Perhaps related issues will be addressed again in other posts.

  • Tim

    SamB,

    OK, if that is the case, then I think we should strike the bolded question

    “Which features in scripture can be considered incidental and which features are essential and integral to the message?”

    off the list of what can be addressed in this post. Is this the case RJS?

  • Tim

    …and arguably strike this one off the list as well, if the discussion is to be so narrowly confined to only scientific matters as it relates to the Biblical text:

    “Does the incarnational model lend insight to the nature of scripture as the inspired Word of God?”

  • SamB

    I do not think we should expect concordance between our modern scientific understanding of the materal world and the view implicit in scripture. I do not think Father would give us a book like that because of our very strong tendency to create idols of all sorts to avoid relating to Him through His Spirit and His Son. I do think the incarnational model can lend insight to what God has given us in the Bible. It is the best model I have heard described and has helped me to embrace again the Bible and to really wrestle with it. It has become something alive to me where I can listen for the voice of The Lover. I think it helps us avoid treating the Bible as an answer book that we need to dig into a little deeper and work a little harder to find the answers, delaying what Jesus says is most important: to go out and begin the hard work of loving God with all we are and have by following Jesus and loving others, caring for them as we care for ourselves.

  • rjs

    Tim,

    All my access today is via phone, so comments will be short. Basically, I think the questions of scientific, historical, and theological concodance in scripture are sufficiently different that it is best to consider them separately.

    Clearly the approach Lamoureux takes to scripture can be applied to the other questions as well, but the answers are not always the same.

  • Tim

    OK RJS, I will refrain from discussing outside of those bounds. As a result, however, I do believe that I will now not be able to offer any, or at least as, meaningful answers to your questions:

    “Which features in scripture can be considered incidental and which features are essential and integral to the message?”

    &

    “Does the incarnational model lend insight to the nature of scripture as the inspired Word of God?”

  • angusj

    “So too, scripture is human and divine – using literary forms and the “street language” of ordinary people to convey the divine message.”

    I hope the quote above was simply a clumsy attempt to affirm the belief that scripture is divinely inspired. Otherwise I have serious concerns about describing scripture as divine. Scripture is temporal unlike our trinitarian Godhead so I see all sorts of problems arising once we start ascribing divinity to scripture.

  • Tim

    Angusj (11),

    You know, I also objected to that quote immediately after reading it. The idea that “street language” captures the level of accommodation in scripture is, to me, a somewhat laughable assertion. You used the word clumsy. Perhaps that is a better descriptor. But in any event, outside the confines of science, we are prohibited from discussing the nature of inspiration of scripture.

    Essentially, RJS’s point is that science, as either implicitly or explicitly represented in the Biblical text, is of course unreliable in terms of conveying factual truth, but that it is incidental to the message so those specific passages are not problematic. The flipside of that, what the non-incidental theological and historical message of scripture might look like in terms of reliability and inspiration is, apparently, off-limits.

    Or put another way, RJS is saying that the science of scripture is unreliable and incidental, but as to the rest of scripture we can’t say anything one way or the other as to reliability or inspiration on this thread.

  • rjs

    Angusj,

    Far from a “clumsy” attempt, the quote you include explains the intent. Common human forms convey a divine message.

  • AHH

    Perhaps returning closer to the topic of the post …

    I think the “incarnational model” as shown in the drawing is helpful, and in some sense should be obviously right to all but the most fundamentalist views of Scripture.
    HOWEVER, I think in employing such a model there are caveats we need to keep in mind. I can think of two:

    1) We should not pretend that the division between the transcendent meaning and the incidentals will always be neat and clean and easy to demarcate. I fully agree with Lamoureux that, for example, the firmament and other ancient cosmology in Genesis 1 is in the incidental category. But while I would lean toward his position that the figures of Adam & Eve are incidental, other thoughtful Christians like Denis Alexander disagree with that classification. So that’s an example where the separation into these two categories is not so easy.

    2) We should recognize that even the infallible messages in the top category of the diagram were expressed in a human context and are being read by us in our own situations. So we can’t think that if we just do a good enough job of separating out the incidentals we can extract THE SYSTEM of timeless truth and no longer need to listen to Scripture as it speaks freshly into each day’s situation. Probably Denis isn’t suggesting treating Scripture as just a source to mine for timeless truths, but that seems to be the approach of enough Enlightenment-driven systematic theology that we need to beware of it.

  • http://www.ualberta.ca/~dlamoure Denis O. Lamoureux

    Tim,
    I appreciate your post and concerns, but plse remember the context of my book: it’s an origins debate book. My focus is simply to challenge scientific and historical concordism in Gen 1-11. That’s it. Period. And it seems by what you have written, we agree.

    Dealing with Gen 12+ opens an entirely new set of issues, questions, and hermeneutical strategies.

    Best,
    Denis

  • Tim

    Dennis (15),

    I get that, but what you are selling to Christians with a highly literalistic or fundamentalist hermeneutic isn’t confined to origins.

    I mean, let’s be honest here. One very central reason so many fundamentalist Evangelicals care about whether or not the origins accounts in Genesis are to be understood as factual relate to their strict inerrantist (thinking Chicago Statement here) hermeneutic.

    So you offer to these fundamentalist Evangelicals, or otherwise highly Biblicist Evangelicals, the message-incident principle. You hold it out as an exegetical tool that can be employed such that the incidental particulars we know to run afoul of modern scientific understanding in the origins accounts can be recognized as the ancient, limited/fallible understanding that they were, rather than being forced into some kind of scientific concordance or otherwise placed at odds with the best of what modern science has to offer.

    However, my point is that these same fundamentalist or highly Biblicist Evangelicals will find that this exegetical tool, the message-incident principle, will fail to protect a traditional understanding of the remainder of the theological and historical non-incidental messages of the Bible. I gave examples of where I think this approach runs out of steam in my post #1. How does one apply the message-incident principle there? To this you say, “it’s an origins debate book.” Yes, that’s fine and good. But the audience you’re trying to convince wants, no, they feel they NEED assurance that should they acknowledge fallibility in the origins account, that they can hold on to the more relevant, important “message” accounts of Scripture as reliable.

    This is an assurance that you cannot give them, not if the points I made in #1 hold, and as such, perhaps you are selling them a faulty bag of goods – an exegetical tool that won’t really protect them from sliding down that slippery slope into theological liberalism (and maybe worse) that they seem to fear so direly.

  • angusj

    rjs (13),
    thanks for the clarification of intent. I wasn’t sure if you were paraphrasing Lamoureux or quoting him. Anyhow, in hindsight my use of ‘clumsy’ wasn’t helpful either.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    I hope this is not too far off topic, but for the past few days I have been thinking about the implications of the idea that the man provides a seed that, presumably, is able to create life on its own. That the woman in this ancient view is more of a garden in which the seed is allowed to germinate and grow. Is this the scientific context of Gen?

    So when Adam could not find a suitable helper, is that a euphamism for not finding a good place to grow his seed?

    I am not sure of the implications, but it brings quite a different worldview for me.

  • http://www.ualberta.ca/~dlamoure Denis O. Lamoureux

    #16 Tim.
    It seems that the only way that Tim can communicate is to use irritating rhetoric:

    ” . . . what you are selling to Christians . . .”

    “I mean, let’s be honest here.”
    [Comment: Are you saying that I am dishonest, Tim?]

    “. . . perhaps you are selling them a faulty bag of goods . . .”

    Tim:
    Are you actually reading my book, or are you simply reacting to RSJ’s summaries of my work? It strikes me that the latter is the case.

    Denis

  • Tim

    Denis (19),

    I am reacting to RJS’s summary of your work. If I read every book discussed on Jesus Creed, that would become a full-time job :) So I admit that I am relying on an accurate summary from RJS, and I of course understand that there is content in your book of which I am currently unaware that might change the nature of this discourse. I will rely on you to introduce the relevant content if you choose to.

    Concerning “rhetoric”, I was using “let’s be honest” simply as an expression. I was by no means implying that you were being intentionally dishonest. Again, just an expression to highlight the point I was making and express candor. I think you are reading into what I wrote, and your reaction, to me, seems a little hyperbolic. Perhaps some “grace” on you part might aid the conversation instead of jumping to accusations.

  • http://www.ualberta.ca/~dlamoure Denis O. Lamoureux

    #20 Tim.

    Dear Tim,
    Thanks for your candor. I was thoroughly mindful of the problem of extending the proposed hermeneutic of Gen 1-11 outside this context.

    So, here is what I wrote in Chapter 1 p. 15.

    Historical concordism asserts that Scripture is a reliable record of a period in human history. First and foremost, the Bible offers a trustworthy account of the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It is also a history of the nation of Israel and her interaction with neighboring countries, and it documents the activities of the early Church. For many Christians, historical concordism extends to the first chapters of the book of Genesis and the origin of humanity beginning from a single pair of individuals—Adam and Eve. To be sure, the academic discipline of biblical archaeology confirms the historical dependability of many events recorded in Scripture. For example, there exists a remarkable correspondence between the Old Testament and the archaeological record of nations, kings, battles, etc. in the ancient Near East. Archaeology is also in accord with the New Testament. Notably, the historical reality of a man named Jesus in first-century Palestine stands firmly established, as does the existence of the fledgling early Church that He inspired.

    This is what I wrote in Chapter 6: Historicity of Gen 1-11. pp. 177-178
    It has long been acknowledged that Scripture describes actual historical events. The scientific discipline of biblical archaeology explores the history of ancient Palestine and the surrounding regions. Evidence collected from sites in the Middle East confirms the existence of many customs, places, and peoples referred to in the Bible. To mention a few examples, the Old Testament record is consistent with archaeological data regarding religious practices (stone altars, blood sacrifices, holy mounts), nomadic life (tenting, herding, hospitality), cities (Rameses, Babylon, Jerusalem), nations (Egyptians, Assyrians, Canaanites), and kings (Sennacherib, Nebuchadnezzar, David). The New Testament also presents accurate history of first-century Palestine in regards to the Jewish religion (Pharisees, temples, sacrifices) and the Roman occupation (Pontius Pilate, centurions, crucifixion). And solid evidence supports the historical reality of a man named “Jesus of Nazareth” and the beginning of the Church.
    However, some Christians do not accept the historicity of Gen 1–11. In other words, they reject historical concordism in the opening chapters of Scripture. This minority of believers, including evolutionary creationists, claim that actual history begins roughly around Gen 12 and God’s calling of Abraham to the promised land.(Endnote 2) They argue that similar to the way the Bible features an ancient science, Gen 1–11 presents an ancient understanding of history. As a result, no correspondence exists between actual human events in the past and those recorded in the first chapters of Scripture. Notably, these born-again believers do not accept the historical reality of Adam and Eve.

    Endnote 2: For scholarly works defending the historicity of Gen 12–50, see Kenneth A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003); Iain W. Provan, V. Philips Long and Tremper Longman III, A Biblical History of Israel (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003).

    And finally, this in Chapter 10: Conclusion. Pp. 373-374
    A question that Christians always raise about my hermeneutical approach to Gen 1–11 is where do I draw the line? Or asked more directly, if Adam is not historical, then is this also the case with Jesus and His crucifixion and resurrection? The answer lies in the foundational interpretive principle of literary genre. The early chapters of Scripture and the Gospels are completely different types of literature. So, no, the interpretive method I present in this book is not applicable to the New Testament and the record of the Lord’s ministry. Genesis 1–11 is built on recycled ancient Near Eastern motifs that are ultimately a retrojection into the distant past of an ancient phenomenological perspective of the world. In sharp contrast, the New Testament is based on the testimony of people who actually encountered Jesus. Some eyewitnesses wrote down their experiences, like the apostle John in the opening of his first letter.

    That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of Life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:1–3)

    In fact, there is a modern historiographical tone at the beginning of the gospel of Luke, as the inspired doctor outlines his method. Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who were eyewitnesses and servants of the Word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly
    account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know with certainty of the things you have been taught. (Luke 1:1–4)

    Luke’s authorial intention is clearly historiographical. His purpose is “to write an orderly account” of the events surrounding the ministry of Jesus in order that it “may be known with certainty.” Luke is not composing a fable, an allegory, or some fictitious story. His method is a “careful investigation” of “handed down” sources, which include those of “eyewitnesses.” And most importantly, Luke interprets history as being “fulfilled” in his
    day by the Incarnation.

    So Tim, these three passages make it clear that the hermeneutic I proposed in the book is limited for Gen 1-11.

    Denis

  • Tim

    Denis,

    First I want to thank you for taking the time to dig through your book and post content relevant to our discussion.

    Having said that, the impression I get is something like:

    “Well, we know the OT is historically accurate as archeological evidence confirms many of the events, customs, and practices recorded there. And we know the NT is historically accurate as it is based off of eyewitness testimony. So the real problem with accuracy seems to be in Genesis 1-11, where we are dealing with totally different literary forms, and I recommend the message-incident framework for dealing with the fallible “scientific” accommodation that resides there.”

    So, you are correct in that my initial perception of the wider applicability of the message-incident problem is wrong. However, it appears that the same net effect remains, in that you still appear to be offering assurances to fundamentalist/biblicist Evangelicals that the problem of acknowledging “accommodation” in these Genesis 1-11 accounts is limited in terms of its fallout, as the rest of the OT & NT is just so great in terms of reliability.

    To me, this, particularly with respect to OT historical accounts pre-1000 BC, seems to fail to acknowledge the very serious challenges modern archeology and historical critical research have posed to the Biblical text. Again, I think my initial impression that fundamentalist/biblicist Evangelicals are being given a false security blanket remains. The means of delivering that blanket of course differ.

    But again, given that I haven’t read your book I could be wrong – and so I look forward to your response.


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