I’m sorry I’ve been gone so long. After I got healthy, I had priorities higher than this blog. Only so many things can be done laying in a hospital bed. Blogging is one of them, so I did a lot of it. Now that I’m healthy, playing catch up on work and home issues is going to be the priority for a few months.
Nonetheless, I am a writer that compulsively writes, so you will see me here and there. You will see me even more if you friend me on Facebook.
I have a web site on evolution that I don’t intend to maintain anymore, but it gets a couple hundred visitors a day, so I get lots of emails. Today I got two emails from one person. You’ll be able to figure out what he wrote by reading my response, which I want to post here for all to read.
My Response on Evolution and Bible Interpretation
Thank you for writing me. I appreciate your passion on the subject. Really, though, the line I appreciated most was “Please let me know if this helps.”
It didn’t. Let me explain.
Among the types of Christians I fellowship with–diligent, devoted disciples–it is shocking to find out I believe in evolution. Many have no idea there are Christians who accept evolution as true.
When I found out about the battle between science and fundamentalist Christians, I began studying. It took me about two months to see enough to realize that in the evolution vs. young-earth creation battle, science was going to win. It took me another two months to work up the courage to tell anyone that I had researched enough to feel forced to agree with the evidence.
I started with my wife and my best friend. (My wife is my best friend, but I’m talking about two people in this case.) My wife almost got sick. My friend was stunned and to this day does not agree with me.
Hundreds of people–literally–have tried to explain why I must be wrong. Actually, they have tried to explain why science must be wrong. The problem is, science is not wrong. The evidence is so overwhelming that the unbiased examiner has to give in.
It has been 22 years now since I “came out.” I have heard every biblical argument there is why I should disbelieve or disregard the science on evolution. Nothing you said is new to me. What I have not heard in person, I have read on the CRI and AiG web sites.
So let me ask you a couple questions about your email. Why should I stick to the KVJ of Job 37:8? Do you not realize that “molten” looking glass is a reference to molten metal? Do you think we should use translations that we like more than translations that are accurate? The fact is, Job thought the sky was as hard as a molten-metal mirror. We can’t get around that.
You can say that Job is an epic poem, which it is, so that what he says about the sky does not need to be taken as scientific. The problem is that those who deny evolution have a double-standard. If Isaiah mentions the earth hung on nothing or calls the earth a sphere, then this proves to young earthers that the Bible is scientifically accurate. However, if the Bible says that the sky is set on pillars, which it does in 1 Samuel 2:8, we should ignore that. Any reason to discount 1 Samuel 2:8 is acceptable to young earthers. I have heard 3 or 4 different ones.
You ask about believing the words of the Bible, but honestly, I think I believe them more than you do. You can’t explain, because it is impossible to explain, how there can be water above the firmament. Young earthers have several explanations for the “waters above” in Genesis 1, but none of them take into account that the sun, moon, and stars are in the firmament. Thus, the “waters above” have to be above the stars if Genesis 1 is historically and scientifically accurate. So is it saying that the water surrounds the whole universe? That’s the only way it could be “above” the sun, moon, and stars.
No one explains Genesis 1:7 because they are happy simply ignoring the statement that the sun, moon, and stars are part of the firmament.
I’m never content to do that. I believe Genesis 1-3 are poetic and allegoric. Those chapters have lessons, inspired by God, for us, but young earthers ignore and miss those messages because they are busy trying to turn the seven days and the story of the garden into a history lesson. In this way, you are missing what God has to say to you in Genesis.
I and my family believe that God created everything. We honor him as the Creator. We are not missing the lesson the young earthers want us to get from Genesis. We believe it as wholeheartedly as the most diligent fundamentalist. You, however, are missing some amazing figurative lessons from those chapters because you are looking at what modern, technical, left-brained, imaginatively deficient westerners want you to look at. The Hebrews, including Moses, were not westerners. They were oriental in mindset. They loved the mystery and mystical-ness of God, and they did not need nor would they have wanted the logical, precise interpretations of Americans and other westerners. (Ask the Eastern Orthodox churches about this. There are many branches of Orthodox, and they would all agree with me on this. They consider the western mindset a real theological hindrance to knowing God.)
You make a terrible mistake thinking that I am ignoring God’s Word and words. In fact, I have devoured all the history of Christian interpretation I could, especially the earliest and most highly regarded teachers from the second and third centuries. I did not do this apart from the Bible. I devoured the Bible, too. My friends have used me as a concordance for thirty years.
It is you, with your very limited interpretation of the Scriptures, that might want to worry about disregarding God’s Word. You are approaching it from a mindset that belongs a little bit to the last 500 years and mostly to the last 150 years. Your approach has only been used in Europe and the descendants of Europeans while the Gospel has been all over the eastern world as well as the western since the first century. In the early centuries, both west and east would have been on my side, not yours.
I will ask you the same thing you asked me. Did this help?