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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Meteorology--Another look

Yesterday morning, as I normally do, I joined a few men at our church for a weekly prayer time. And we prayed about the recent spate of violent wind storms on the eastern seaboard of the United States. We prayed for the victims. We prayed for our country. We also prayed--actually, I led in this prayer--that if this is God's judgment upon us for any of our country's numerous sins, from our prideful pursuit of financial and material wealth at all costs, including the poisoning of our environment, to our willfulness and ignorance of [as in, willfully ignoring] God, to . . . well, any of dozens of sins that could be chalked up against us . . . we prayed for God's mercy.

And even if these are not God's judgments upon us, still: we prayed for mercy.

As we prayed these things, I got thinking of what I wrote a few days ago about meteorology. I wrote at that time:
When the Bible speaks of the storehouses for rain and snow and wind and the windows of heaven and so forth (Genesis 7:11; 8:2; Job 38:22; etc.) . . . and when it tells us how God controls these storehouses and windows (Job 38:22; Jeremiah 10:13; and so forth), is it not touching on matters pertaining to nature (as well as, on occasion, history)? And assuming this is the case, then when meteorologists speak of high- and low-pressure systems and evaporation and transpiration and sublimation and precipitation, are they not attempting to "disprove the teaching of Scripture or (to have their extrabiblical views) hold priority over" Scripture? If someone wants to say that this is surely not the case, then I would like that person to explain, on Scriptural grounds alone, how and why he or she is right and I am wrong!
And as I thought once more about what I had written, I got thinking that I should come back and say a bit more about this matter of meteorology and science and Scripture.

Friday, April 29, 2011

The impact of an evolutionary view on our doctrine of Scripture

I found this morning that Steve Douglas had anticipated much of what I spent four days researching for my post last night.

I encourage you to read Steve's The trouble with intramural accommodationism.
I observe people try to sell other believers on evolutionary theory without openly acknowledging the ways in which their own rejection of the idea of a single pair of progenitors has resulted in an often subtle yet usually profound modification of how they understand the Bible to work. I, too, have been tempted [to posit] a (purely hypothetical) scenario in which accepting that early Genesis was unhistorical does not result in a revised or nuanced bibliology[. I]f not outright dishonest, I feel that this approach is . . . misleading, perhaps even disingenuous, and a setup for problems later.
Yes! Agreed! Which is why

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Why are certain questions forbidden? --Part 2--The authority of Scripture, Part II

This post is exceptionally way too long and convoluted. But I want to post it anyway. I have spent too much time on this relatively small portion of my larger project.

So, recognizing my verbosity, please let me summarize, here, up front, what I attempt to cover and attempt to say. Then dig in!

  1. I believe that young-earth creationists "have it right" when they fear that old-earth creationist viewpoints tend to wreak havoc with many traditional statements of faith concerning the authority of Scripture. An old-earth view does not permit followers to look at Scripture in quite the same way they did if they read (or when they read) the Scriptures from a young-earth perspective.
  2. Young-earth creationists are nothing if they are not passionate to uphold the authority of Scripture!
  3. Evangelical old-earth creationists, too, are passionate to uphold the authority of Scripture. But they find faults in the old formulas. They are convinced that the formulas need some adjustment. Or (depending on the specific statement of faith under discussion) they sense that certain interpretations of the confessional standards may need to change. (Not in all cases. But some.)
  4. While young-earthers "man the heights" with their staunch defense of even the narrowest confessional standards when it comes to the authority of Scripture, they fail to realize--or, perhaps, they realize but are unwilling to acknowledge--that they apply their vaunted standards unevenly or inconsistently. So, ultimately, the standards become no standards at all. Not really.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Past tense/present tense

I had a great conversation with one of my coworkers Friday afternoon, just minutes after I made my last post.

"I noticed how you wrote everything in the past tense," he said. "And it bothered me. I kept wondering when the 'other shoe' would drop."

I laughed. "I don't know that I permitted one shoe to drop!"

But I knew what he was talking about. I had felt the same even as I wrote the post. I was concerned how people might interpret my use of the past tense: "I was taught," "I said," "I dared," "I learned," "I knew," "I was committed," "I believed," "I . . . confessed," "I was convinced," "I planned," and so forth. -- "What about today? What are you thinking and feeling and believing today?"

"Where are you going, John?" he asked. "If you are heading toward faith, I need to hear that. If you are heading toward shipwreck of your faith, I want to hear that, too, because, frankly, I don't want to listen to it.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Why are certain questions forbidden? --Part 1--The authority of Scripture

Several posts back, I said that "next time (Lord willing)," I would talk about two forbidden questions. I even named them.

But I didn't talk about them the next time, nor even the time after that. And I realize that, even today, I am unable, yet, to address the questions themselves, because there are more fundamental issues I have to work through.

One of the key issues: Why are the questions even forbidden? And who is doing the forbidding?

Truth: I have been partially at fault, myself, for forbidding myself to ask them. And the reason I have forbidden myself to ask them is because of some very fundamental doctrine, teaching, beliefs that I have held from my very earliest childhood.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Is truth knowable?

Anne Elliott graciously sought to call me out on some of the things I wrote on Wednesday. Not only did she write a brief comment on my post, but she wrote a full-blown post on her own blog.

I really appreciate her taking the time. It provided me a wonderful opportunity to better understand some of the things that have disturbed her (and many of her readers, I'm sure!), and it spurred me to dig deeper and seek to speak more clearly about issues I've been groping toward for too long.

Exegesis and science

I just realized that my post yesterday failed to acknowledge or make good use of a comment Dr. Danny Faulkner of Answers in Genesis made that is very much in line with what I quoted from Dr. Menninga.

While criticizing some things Hugh Ross says, Faulkner writes:
Ross argues as follows. There are two books: the book of nature and the Bible. God is the author of both, so both must agree. So far this seems reasonable.

Then Ross subtly equates science [with] nature, from which one could infer that science and the Bible should be equated in authority.

A discovery

I've been digging through some old posts on my personal blog.

Strange: I have known my mind has been in a major fog for the last couple of years. (I have had a number of theories as to why that is so. Dealing with rheumatoid arthritis has, I'm sure, had a lot to do with it. Cleaning up from close to 18 years of virtually non-stop, 6-days-a-week, 12- to 14-hours-a-day work on Sonlight Curriculum may have had something to do with that as well. When I resigned from Sonlight on April 1, 2008, I was truly "fried.") But still. I have been truly surprised to discover how many of the issues I want to deal with here I've already dealt with "over there" on my personal blog. I read the posts I wrote and I recognize that they are things I wrote, but I have absolutely no recollection of their content until I [re]read them.

Because I intend to push further into the issues, and because what I'm dealing with here is far more narrowly focused than what I want to do on my personal blog, I hope you will forgive me if and as I copy material from there to here. If you happen to have followed me over the years "over there," please understand what I'm doing. And forgive me for not acknowledging if or when I copy, and possibly modify as I copy, what I've written "over there."

I'm thinking I will probably serve the majority of my audience here best if I simply post and make no mention of the prior appearance of some or all of the material.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

God or science? God or man?

I posted yesterday about Kathy Bryson's comment that (if I understood her correctly) she doesn't believe the Bible needs to be interpreted.

Now, maybe she meant, instead, to say something more along the lines of what TomH, who wrote a day after her, said: "It seems to me that the ongoing controversy is whether we should believe God, who is omniscient, or Science."

And Tom, I think, has plunked himself down right in the middle of the issue I attempted to address in my post on Science, theology, the Bible and rocks, where

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Understanding the Bible: Can we just read it? Or do we need to interpret it?

I thought my comments about the distinction between the Bible itself and theology would be rather self-evident. But I guess not.

I posted a comment that echoed these thoughts on a blog post that expressed disapproval of Dr. Jay Wile's defense of Dr. Peter Enns against what Wile sees as an unfair attack by Ken Ham.

Anne Elliott wrote,
I’ve been watching with great interest some interaction online between Ken Ham (Answers in Genesis), Jay Wile ([author of] Apologia’s high school science curriculum), and Peter Enns (the author of Peace Hill Press/Well-Trained Mind’s “Bible” curriculum):
Based on some further comments by readers, I responded,