Ken Ham’s biblical exegesis is just as sound as his science

Let me step back and explain where I'm coming from with today's odd burst of posts. I've been butting heads with young-earth creationists for most of my life.This goes back more than 30 years, to the middle-school "science" classes wherein I was first, unsuccessfully, indoctrinated in "scientific creationism." We studied "the controversy" -- but in our case that meant learning about the "gap theory" and the "day-age theory." These were treated as the primary alternative views, as though … [Read more...]

Genre matters: The Bible and the Dewey Decimal system

The Bible is a book.It's a bunch of books, actually, a bunch of different books written at different times by different people for different purposes. A bunch of different books in different genres.The Dewey Decimal system acknowledges this, offering a classification for the Bible as a whole (220) and for a (somewhat inadequate) series of sub-categories, numbered 221-229.But if you didn't know that the books of the Bible were the books of the Bible, the Dewey Decimal system would … [Read more...]

Second verse, same as the first …

This is no laughing matter.Your problem is a lack of faith. We are commanded to love the Lord our God with all our minds. That means we must submit all of our intellect and accept the authority of the text.You've got it backwards. All that book learning has convinced you that your intellect should be applied to the text, when really it's the other way around. And that is why you refuse to accept what the text plainly teaches: gorillas can talk.It's right there, plain as day. You … [Read more...]

A hermeneutic walks into a bar …

The story is just stupid, OK?First off, gorillas can't talk. Duh. So, like, what? You actually believe in talking gorillas? That makes you a moron. You and everybody else who tells this story. And everybody who listens to it. You're all morons.Plus, do you realize how terrifying this would be? How dangerous? A gorilla could kill a room full of people by accident. Here you've got a huge, frightened, confused animal thrust into a strange situation it couldn't possibly comprehend. It's … [Read more...]

Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection

Russell Crowe as Noah, Earl of Locksley

I've mentioned before that I love the story of Rainbow Crow, the beautiful Lenape tale of how the crow got its black feathers and hoarse, croaking caw. It's a terrific story.But I do not want to see "Rainbow Crow: The Movie." The story is perfect as it is -- as a story that can be told in less than five minutes, 10 if you really milk it. It shouldn't be turned into a 90-minute movie or into a three-hour epic because it is not a 90-minute story or a three-hour epic. Trying to turn it into one … [Read more...]

‘Making the text say things that it never meant’

One of my pet-peeve misconceptions is the notion that an illiterately literal reading of Genesis 1-11 is somehow an expression of "conservative" theology.It isn't.Of course this "literal" belief in the six-day creation of a young earth isn't liberal theology either. It's just bad theology. Not orthodox, not conservative or liberal, just wrong -- just a weirdly misleading way to read this text.Bad theology and wrong theology shouldn't be blithely equated with conservative theology. … [Read more...]

The righteous man and the wicked city: ‘Abraham Pleads for Sodom’

The New International Version of the Bible adds these little section headings at the start of each chapter or pericope. At the start of Genesis 19, for example, it adds the heading "Sodom and Gomorrah Destroyed."That's a familiar story, even for people who haven't read the Bible. The names of those cities endure as the proverbial superlatives of wickedness and the worst examples of whatever it is anyone wants to condemn.But I want to talk about the story before that one, the story at the … [Read more...]

A request re: Tubal-cain, the Iron Age and transparent aluminum

So the other day I tripped over Tubal-cain and wound up wishing I'd paid more attention in my biblical studies classes and/or done more of the reading for my history classes.Let me explain where this is going, then ask for your help in pointing me toward where I might learn more to sort this out.The story of Tubal-cain is a bit obscure. It's a one-liner tucked in amongst the "begats" of Genesis 4. The biblical begats -- long genealogical lists -- don't make for compelling reading, and … [Read more...]