Alibris Secondhand Books Standard

Monday, October 12, 2009

on challenges to creationism

Michael Spencer has travelled a road many of us have travelled. He grew up accepting young earth creationism and hearing horror stories about evolution. Then he went to college:

My views on the relationship of scripture and science were more affected by my college Bible classes than my science classes. I learned that scripture must be rightly interpreted. It must be understood within its world, and interpreted rightly in mine. If I came away with any suspicions that the young earth creationists might be wrong, it came from my developing an appreciation for Biblical interpretation, not from the Biology lab. Secular science didn’t turn my head. I learned that the people waving the Bible around weren’t necessarily treating it with the respect it deserved.

Seminary only increased the divide:

My Bible instructors taught me to respect the Biblical text by not imposing my interpretations and favorite hobby horses on the scriptures. What became clearer to me over my seminary career was that many of my evangelical and fundamentalist brethren were not willing to let the scriptures be what they were or to let them speak their own language.

And what is the language of Genesis? Not the language of scientific hypothesis:

Does it match up with scientific evidence? Who cares? Here I differ with Hugh Ross and the CRI writers. I do not believe science, history or archaeology of any kind establishes the truthfulness of the scripture in any way.

In my view, both the scientific establishment’s claims to debunk Genesis and the creationists claims to have established Genesis by way of relating the text to science are worthless. Utterly and completely worthless and I will freely admit to being bored the more I hear about it.

Spencer asks:

Does the Bible need to be authorized by scientists or current events to be true? What view of inspiration is it that puts the Bible on trial before the current scientific and historical models? Has anyone noticed what this obsession with literality does to the Bible itself?

Part of the problem, I think, is that we live in a vastly different world from that of the Bible writers. Modern science has become such an integral part of our everyday lives that it is hard to imagine a culture that wasn't concerned about how well the biblical text fit with astronomical observations and fossil excavations. But if we are even going to attempt to understand what these stories meant to their first hearers, we need to separate ourselves from our own cultural prejudices. It won't be an easy task, but we'll never understand the Bible if we don't.

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At 10/14/2009 6:56 PM, Blogger philobyte said...

A problem that non biblically oriented people see, is why pay particular attention to one ancient book, and totally disregard all others.

what about Norse mythological sagas, which are probably younger than the bible stories...

They've got elves, trolls, and Giants. Before you complain that such beasts have no place in a respectable work, please explain Goliath.

A number of these works have historical corroborations, which makes them at least as compelling as the bible. Why aren't we worrying about what is on Thor's mind?


Mithras might have a lot to tell us, as perhaps might the Baghavad Gita, or the rites of Sol Invictus (you know the guy who gave us the original Christmas?)

If we consult all the literature, compare all the beliefs of the ancients, there is nothing that makes the Christian works stand apart or uniquely compelling.

At 10/14/2009 8:17 PM, Blogger BruceA said...

Philobyte -

…there is nothing that makes the Christian works stand apart or uniquely compelling.

Except to Christians.


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