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Which is more reliable science or the Bible?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Plain Old Bill, Sep 28, 2005.

  1. Mercury

    Mercury New Member

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    Hmm, maybe I shouldn't have pointed that out to you. [​IMG]

    I agree. And, as TEs are found across the full spectrum of Christianity from conservative to liberal, I think the same thing is true if one allows the creation accounts to be more than eyewitness historical records.

    You mean like how God inspired many straight-forward accounts of how he tests people's thoughts and instructs them?

    "Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end, and may you establish the righteous -- you who test the hearts and kidneys, O righteous God!" (Psalm 7:9; ESV, using literal Hebrew translation from footnote)

    "I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my kidneys instruct me." (Psalm 16:7)

    "Prove me, O LORD, and try me; test my kidneys and my heart." (Psalm 26:2)

    And lest anyone say that this just happens in Psalms, or just happens when humans are speaking...

    "I the LORD search the heart and test the kidneys, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds." (Jeremiah 17:10)

    So not only did human authors speak using their understanding of the mind, but God also condescended to them when speaking about the mind. God used their language, even though it was technically, literally incorrect. So, how did these phrases which would have been taken literally by them become non-literal for us?

    Aside from the example of the kidneys, God probably also condescended when he revealed the vision of Revelation to John. I expect the same is true when Jesus revealed what heaven is like. Who's to say that God couldn't have been consistent in also doing so when he inspired humans to write about creation?
     
  2. Mercury

    Mercury New Member

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    That's my thesis too. [​IMG]

    Only in the same way that the theory of relativity and electromagnetic theory have no need for God. Science does not rely on God being the source and sustainer of all that is, including natural processes. People who do not believe in God can still be good scientists. But, of course, if there were no God, there would be no natural processes for science to examine! (Or any scientists, for that matter.) Christians who accept evolution see all natural processes including evolution as being totally dependent on God and owing their existence and nature to God. This is not incompatible with science, but it does go beyond what science alone is able to say.

    Yes, and in fact, you could pretty much leave out the "U" and instead say that those things apply to most TEs generally.

    Keep in mind that many of us started out as young-earth creationists. We were swayed from that path by following the truth as best as we can discern it. For me, that happened about five years ago, and in spite of reading quite a bit about it since then (including but not limited to forums like this), I've seen very little that I find challenging to my present perspective, and even more problems with YEC than I was aware of before.
     
  3. AntennaFarmer

    AntennaFarmer Member

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    Merc.:

    See, we have been listening....


    I said:
    "Brother UTE, however, won't be swayed from his appointed path."

    Perhaps you mistake my meaning. But that is ok. It works either way.

    It is interesting how sometime folks meet in the middle when they are going opposite directions. Though, it seems that we passed each other some time ago.

    Since there seems to be a moment of calm why don't we ask THE LORD to forgive and bless one-another. We can go back to the battle later.

    A.F.
     
  4. UTEOTW

    UTEOTW New Member

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    "I understand UTE's thesis to be - GOD created the various creatures by way of evolution. And also that both the Scriptures and the witness of nature are true. That is neither traditional creationism nor classical evolution theory.

    Although UTE's ideas aren't completely new they are not main stream. Classical evolution has no need for GOD. UTE says there is a GOD. Traditional creationism requires no evolution. UTE says there was (and is) evolution. His solution to the obvious dilemma is to say that both the Bible and nature are in harmony. But also to say that the conflict is due to our imperfect understanding. Don't you think that is a fair summary?
    "

    It is a fair summary of my position, however I think there are some things which you may be missing.

    Traditional science certainly does not have a requirement for God. Yet neither does it say that there is no God or god. God is outside of the ability of science to test. To say that evolution removes the need for God is no different than to suggest that electromagnetism removes the need for God. Is it not common to say God is light? In both cases, the creation behave according to the natural laws of the Creator to carry out His will.

    And while the scientists while doing their field work and their laboratory experiements are unable to invoke God as an explanation, a 1991 Gallup poll found that about 40% of scientists in the US are described as theistic evolutionists. So my personal opinions are not far from the personal opinions of many scientists. The same poll found 39% of the general population to have the same opinion, so it is not that scientists differ much from everyone else in that regard.

    There is a bit more to my "thesis" that you may not have been around enough to have heard me say. In my opinion, there is no where in the history of the universe till now where it seems that it is not possible for a naturalistic mechanism to account for what's here. From inflation to galaxy formation to the formation of our solar system and planet to the development and diversification of life, the basics seem believable. There are no gaps for a God of the Gaps to be injected. But I also qualify that this way. Humans are a particular outcome and the outcome that God obviously desired when He set all of this in motion. So while the overall process was set up so perfect by God that it simply works, I think that the particular result of us required periodic intervention to steer the results. So I see a perfectly created system that works but I also see a specific result that I think must have been the result of Divine intervention and guidance at key junctures.

    "I would not call UTE "an intelligent layman." His learning and understanding (of his particular subjects) is obviously far beyond that level."

    Thanks, but I would characterize it as no more than an intelligent layman myself. I think the key part of this is that I am a big geek who just naturally soaks this kind of stuff up when exposed. It is osmosis. And the interests in geeky things run far beyond what we talk about here. I have all sorts of interesting (to me) things floating about in my head.

    "Brother UTE, however, won't be swayed from his appointed path."

    I have already been swayed once and you might be surprised at how open I would be to being swayed back. But I think you are correct in suggesting that it is unlikely.

    "It is interesting how sometime folks meet in the middle when they are going opposite directions. Though, it seems that we passed each other some time ago.

    Since there seems to be a moment of calm why don't we ask THE LORD to forgive and bless one-another. We can go back to the battle later.
    "

    I agree.

    I much prefer to Q&A than "battle." But, with such strong opinions, you normally get the latter. This is not the only topic around here in which strong opinions can lead fellow believers to be a bit, uh, agressive with one another. We should all try and keep in the back of our minds that we are on the same side ultimately.
     
  5. Marcia

    Marcia Active Member

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    Hmm, maybe I shouldn't have pointed that out to you. [​IMG]
    </font>[/QUOTE]Too late! :D I was wondering why you were helping me out there. But it was nice of you. [​IMG]

    What makes you think they took it literally? It meant the "inner man" or how we understand "mind." It's no different than when we say we should believe in our "heart" or love "from the heart" today. We know that is not literal.

    Just hypothetically, let's say God suddenly spoke today, Oct. 14, to all those on the BB in the US, and said he wanted us to get his word into our hearts. Well, we know that God's word does not literally get into our literal heart - we take it for what it means by the metaphor. If we translated that to another language, "heart" would likely become another word in other languages.
     
  6. Mercury

    Mercury New Member

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    I think consistency of interpretation is important. I think if you grapple with the same kind of consistency with the serpent and especially the serpent's curse in Genesis 3:15, you'll be more open to a symbolic view of the account. What happened to the serpent and its seed isn't just talking about literal snakes. The account is pregnant with deeper meaning.

    We know that is not literal because we know what the brain is for. As you've agreed, they did not. This is why it was different for them. For us it is a figure of speech; for them it was consistent with what they believed.

    The difference is that God spoke to people who literally did believe that they thought with their heart and kidneys, and he still spoke to them using that imagery. That was not a problem in conveying his message. God didn't need to correct the Hebrew's biological knowledge of which organ is responsible for thought in order to tell them that he knows their thoughts.
     
  7. Marcia

    Marcia Active Member

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    Mercury, I think the serpent was Satan or used by Satan. The curse on the serpent was apparently because it was used to tempt man, and it's "offspring" in the form of poisonous snakes did become deadly enemies of man (though I realize not all snakes are poisonous).

    This view is not unusual:
    Some might say that this was literal (serpents v. man) as well as being the protoevangelim, although NET commentators seem to disagree in their extended note on 3.15
    So the serpents could be seen as resulting in enmity between man and sepent as well as representing the protoevanglium (for some). This in no way means we cannot read Gen. literally.
     
  8. Mercury

    Mercury New Member

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    If that's true, it's strange that God didn't see through this deception by Satan and punished the serpent instead of Satan. If Satan only took the form of a serpent, then how were literal serpents in any way deserving of punishment? If Satan posessed a serpent, then why doesn't the account mention this important detail, and why doesn't the serpent pass the buck to Satan the way Adam and Eve do? Even if the serpent was no longer able to speak to defend itself, why didn't God see the actual cause and judge Satan as well?

    I think the account makes more sense if the serpent represents Satan, just as Satan is called a serpent in Revelation 12:9. What God does to the serpent in the story represents God's judgment on Satan.

    No it doesn't. It does show that there may be a more important message here than something about literal snakes. ;)

    Anyway, have a good trip Marcia and I hope you're feeling better.
     
  9. Marcia

    Marcia Active Member

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    I still don't see how God using "kidneys" for "mind" means that Gen. is not literal. And I am not sure we know that the OT people really thought their mind was in their kidneys. Even if they did, God using that term does not mean he would tell a story like the creation story as he did while really meaning something else.

    God could have said he created the world and after many ages, man was formed. Or God started an explosion and then the earth came about and then animals and then people. Or God created the world and after many ages, man was created (or came about). But God specifically said what He said and reiterated the 7 days in Exodus in giving the 10 commandments.

    I think this is where I get off because I'm leaving town tomorrow for several days and have a big project when I come back. I might post on a few more threads, and then that's it for a bit. Thanks for the good discussion. Very thought provoking. [​IMG]
     
  10. Mercury

    Mercury New Member

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    Yes, and God could have said he would judge the thoughts in people's heads, without being specific about the brain. However, God didn't do that.

    And really, why would God do that? After all, he gave humans the ability to eventually figure out things like that themselves. Why short-circuit our discovery of his creation? To me, it would be like telling a friend the ending to The Sixth Sense before they went to see it. ;)

    I think the reiteration in Exodus shows the reason for the seven-day account in Genesis. God's unfathomable creative work was revealed in a framework of seven days in order to set the template for the work week and Sabbath. This is similar to how God institutes other ordinances that have symbolic meaning, such as the Lord's supper that represents Jesus' body broken for us, and baptism that represents salvation. Symbols and ordinances are frequently equated with what they represent in Scripture, but this does not mean they are not symbols.
     
  11. Marcia

    Marcia Active Member

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    Well, I'm still around.

    It could be a template and be literal, at the same time. The account of creation is the first account of what God has done and is very much a foundation, as I see it, for the rest of scripture. So God created in 6 days, then the Sabbath comes, and God did that to set up the template for the work week and Sabbath, as well as to show us Jesus is our "7th day rest" in Hebrews.

    Since God used details in the recurring phrase, "and there was evening, and there was morning" to mark each day, it seems to indicate a real literal day (despite the sun being created on the 4th day -- which I think we discussed on other threads).

    It seems to me that templates and symbols don't mean anything if they themselves rest on symbols. Symbols usually spring from or indicate something literal.
     
  12. Mercury

    Mercury New Member

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    And similarly, would you say that the recurring phrase "The ___ angel poured out his bowl" in Revelation 16 would indicate that God's wrath came out of real literal bowls?

    Indeed, and both God's creation and God's rest are very real. They just aren't merely a six-day work week and a Sabbath rest, the same way Jesus' body broken for us isn't merely a piece of bread.
     
  13. JWI

    JWI New Member

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    Mercury

    The problem with your argument is that God did not use any symbols in Genesis 1. God simply describes his work day by day. This is normal speech. This is no different than saying I had chili on Monday and spagetti on Tuesday.

    Now, if God had said he poured out his bowl and the world was created, then you would have a valid argument.

    When Jesus said he was the bread of life, of course that must be a symbol. But if Jesus said, I go up to Jerusalem, there is no symbol.

    Your argument is not valid.
     
  14. Mercury

    Mercury New Member

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    The problem with your argument is that God did not use any symbols in Revelation 16. God is simply describing his wrath bowl by bowl. This is normal speech. This is no different than saying I have a bowl of fruit and a bowl of soup. God doesn't say, "These bowl symbolize my wrath" or "These bowls aren't literal". Everywhere bowls are spoken of as being poured out, they are literal.

    (Of course, the above is not really what I believe. Symbolism is more complicated than that.)

    You've said "must be" in one case and "there is no symbol" in another but you haven't indicated how you make this distinction (I do agree with the distinction you've made, though). Nor have you indicated how you discern which of these categories the days of Genesis and the bowls of Revelation fall into.
     
  15. JWI

    JWI New Member

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    "The problem with your argument is that God did not use any symbols in Revelation 16. God is simply describing his wrath bowl by bowl. This is normal speech. This is no different than saying I have a bowl of fruit and a bowl of soup."

    Come on, try going to a restaurant and saying, "I'll have a bowl of wrath, please."

    Wrath is an emotion. You cannot put emotion into a bowl or cup or glass. So this must be symbolic.

    And Jesus was a real physical man, therefore he could not be a loaf of bread, so this too is a symbol.

    But a literal man can go up to Jerusalem, so this is not a symbol.

    This is a silly argument. You know this is true as well as I do.
     
  16. Mercury

    Mercury New Member

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    Yeah, that'd be as difficult as having a day (or three) without the sun. ;)

    Of course, for God nothing is impossible. He can make days without the sun as easily as he can put his wrath in literal bowls. [​IMG]

    Of course I think that the bowls of God's wrath in Revelation 16 are symbolic. It's as plain as the symbolic days of God's creation in Genesis 1.
     
  17. JWI

    JWI New Member

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    Mercury

    We do not know the source of the light that caused the morning and evening before the sun was created. Perhaps the Lord himself was the light.

    Act 22:6 And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me.

    Act 22:7 And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?

    Act 22:8 And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.

    Act 22:9 And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.

    Act 22:10 And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.

    Act 22:11 And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus.

    If the light was from a single direction, and the earth was rotating, you could have a morning and an evening.

    This does not contradict science at all. I have a flashlight in my home. I can produce light without the sun.
     
  18. Mercury

    Mercury New Member

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    Let's try another approach and see if you're willing to be consistent with your reasoning. The knowledge of good and evil is a concept, not a vitamin or something that can be put into a fruit on a tree. So, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil must be symbolic, right?

    Also, trees don't give life. Trees can provide food which sustains life, but they don't make someone live forever. There is no elixir for eternal life that you can put into a tree -- eternal life comes from God, not trees. So, the tree of life must be symbolic too, right?

    Also, serpents don't speak, not even if they're subtle. Aside from mimicry like parrots, you cannot make an animal carry on an intelligible conversation with a person, and Genesis 3:1 does not state that any miracle occurred to make the serpent speak (unlike Balaam's donkey, for instance). So, the serpent must be symbolic as well, right?
     
  19. Mercury

    Mercury New Member

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    If the Lord himself was the light, why was he not sufficient and in need of being replaced three days later? God didn't take a few tries to make other things, so why did it take two tries to make a proper light source, even after the first light had been declared "good"? I wouldn't want to go down that path if I were you. For one thing, it blurs the distinction between Creator and creation.
     
  20. JWI

    JWI New Member

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    Mercury

    We certainly get medicines that heal disease from plants. Perhaps there is a substance than can reverse aging, death and disease.

    Rev 22:2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, [was there] the tree of life, which bare twelve [manner of] fruits, [and] yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree [were] for the healing of the nations.

    According to God's word, there is such a tree.

    Good enough for me.

    Look, don't ask me why God said, "Let there be light" and provided a morning and evening for three days before the sun, moon, and stars were created.

    God is no fool. Do you not think he understood this would be controversial to man?

    God tells the truth whether it seems reasonable to man or not.
     
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