To: thelovemanifesto

The post at this link is a very interesting read. It highlights one of the biggest challenges to faith; the inerrancy of Scripture.  Not wanting to overwhelm thelovemanifesto in the comments section, I decided to offer my perspective here.

https://thelovemanifesto.wordpress.com/2015/12/25/my-story-the-greatest-question-of-them-all/#comment-1189

To thelovemanifesto: please accept this as an offering of things for you to consider.  In my heart, I see you as someone who is honestly searching and evaluating and doing so in an intelligent way.  What I offer you below are things that I have only recently come across myself.  I found myself quite amazed at what I’ve learned from others who have delved more deeply than I, perceived more clearly.  Like you, I’d given some credence to evolution.  I studied geology in college and was very well versed in the geologic layers.  It seemed inevitable.  I’ve learned otherwise since.

MY RESPONSE:

If you accept the idea that the Bible is prone to human error, then you are left with a problem; whose grain of salt do you use to weight the content? That approach makes the individual the final arbiter of the Bible’s meaning…but only individually.  I would propose that the-grain-of-salt method ultimately makes God’s Word – His message – unknowable by subjecting it to as many whims and perceptions as there are people.  Interpretations can and do range from literal readings to de-deifying Christ to the status of being merely a good and wise prophet.

The pivotal question in coming to the current conclusion of the Bible not being 100% God-inspired is this: “Who determined which books would be a part of the New Testament and which ones would not?”

This begs the question, “Who is more powerful; man or God?” The obvious answer is God, since he made the universe, including man.  If this is indeed so, is it then possible, even likely, that God, in His love and concern for us, would ensure the preservation of His Word through man?  Surely He would not leave us all adrift and allow His Word to be watered down with man’s fallibility.

“I thought that these books were all written by first hand encounters with Jesus.”

That is a very good question. Attribution is not always easy. Honestly, I started putting together a list of attributions and supporting data.  I realized – fortunately before getting very far – that it would be pointless.  If we accept that God inspires and influences men to ensure His Word remains as He would have it, this becomes a non-issue.  I read both links provided.  There is no denying that there were disagreements over NT canon.  Even Peter and Paul had it out at least once.  God’s work was done in their instance, as I believe God has done in NT canon.

The post is admittedly “an over-simplification, and not 100% accurate.” Indeed, this is a topic of many dissertations, books, articles…and blogs.  There is not enough space or attention span in any one venue to entertain a full discussion.  But I must refer us all back to the original question I propose; who do you trust to execute His will and purpose, who is more powerful and capable?  Once you answer that, everything else becomes moot.

One other thing I noticed; the Old Testament is painted with the same brush as the New Testament as far as inerrancy is concerned. While no reasons are given, this may well be a matter of the superficial treatment necessary in a blog.  I would like to offer the following as support for Old Testament inerrancy.

First, evolution does not fit biblically even with liberal interpretation. If you believe that God created man and that evolution was His method, you are left with a problem; God created everything in a perfect state, and then man sinned.  Death entered the world.  The primary driver of evolution is death.  If your genes don’t cut it in the current environment, you die, making room for someone with a better package.  That means God would have used death to “create” man.  If you accept evolution, a whole lot of theology goes down the drain, including sin, the need for Jesus, etc.  And those items are the whole point of the Bible.

I would encourage visiting https://answersingenesis.org/.  There are many books available on this issue.  Ken Hamm is the founder of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum outside Cincinnati, OH.

Also while at that site, find Already Gone, a scientific research project to discover why people, especially youth, are leaving the church. The results point toward the need that the bible fills and that modern churches do not.  One of its conclusions is that Sunday School is a major contributing factor…to youth leaving, not staying!  I wholeheartedly agree, as I recall the inane tortures Sunday School!

Next, go to Amazon.com and find The Exodus Case by Dr. Lennart Moller. He researched a number of archeological finds that support a literal reading of Exodus.  If you see two DVDs suggested along with the book, I recommend those as well.

Ultimately, the Bible is the first among books. However, if we do not read widely and critically, we will not improve our understanding of both God and the world as His creation.  Why do many Christians simply spout Scripture in response to questions and issues?  My theory is that they are not literate enough where the Bible intersects the world and can’t connect the two meaningfully.  Learning as much as possibly about that intersection has become my mission.

Please accept this in the spirit of Christian love and sharing.  If  I have come across any other way, I ask your forgiveness.

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2 thoughts on “To: thelovemanifesto

  1. In response to your first paragraph: All book are prone to human error. We analyze everything we read and judge it against what we know of reality. The greater the claims the less likely we are to believe them. The Bible makes some pretty fantastical claims which require great evidence outside of the Bible to be backed up. At least if we hold it to the same standard we would hold any other piece of writing.

    In the following paragraphs you jump to a conclusion or presupposition which can only be found in the Bible itself. So you are supporting your claims of the Bible by an presupposition which itself is found in the Bible. The only way we know there is a God who is all powerful and wants to communicate his word to us is through the Bible. the way we know the Bible is true is because there is an all powerful God who wants to communicate His Word to us. Do you see the circular reasoning here?

    Most Christians who except science (evolution), and there are many of them, would say the Genesis was an allegory of man’s fall from God’s grace. This makes way more sense as the stories in genesis tend to be quite ridiculous and incredulous. The flood for example. Completely impossible for all those animals to fit in the ark. And even if they did, the 8 people on the ark would have to shovel manure 24 hours a day to keep from dying from the methane gas released into the air. There is no geological evidence of a world wide flood either. In fact there is not even enough water to cover all the mountains if there was a flood.

    Ken Ham is not a scientist and has never published a single peer reviewed scholarly journal. Ever. He is often thought to hurt the cause of Christianity and intelligent design more than help it by many Christians I know, even ones that would agree with you on anyone else. I would suggest for the sake of your own arguments and cause, find a better source.

    I appreciate your comments and well thought out response. However, I think there is a lot lacking in your logic. If you simply say, “I don’t have all the evidence to support my beliefs, but I have faith there is a God and that’s what I am going to base my life on” than I respect you and your beliefs and I think that is the most honest answer you can come to. I know many Christians who say just that and I appreciate their candid honesty.

    • Thank you for your reply! I think we can have a meaningful dialogue here.

      In response to your question, “Who decides the canon?” I asked whether God or man is more powerful to set the canon. You have left this question unanswered.

      I understand your argument that I use circular reasoning. However, that pre-supposes that I have absolutely nothing else contributing to my conclusion, which would be incorrect. Recall that I said I had accepted at least some form of evolution until I started discovering other material, Ken Ham included. It is a combination of his writings and others set against my own study of geology that convinced me that Genesis is literally true. My final exam for historical geology was to name all of the geologic periods in order, describe the dominant flora and fauna of each, and draw a map of the water/land distributions over North America. I aced that exam, so my knowledge is above average in this area.

      As to the Flood, I’ve realized that the geologic layers correspond to different stages of the Flood, both rising and falling. If you read Genesis carefully, you’ll see that from the door on the ark closing to its opening, over a year elapsed. That’s a lot of time for water to make significant changes to topography and set down layers from both the flooding and draining.

      I understand your interpretation that I’m using circular reasoning; it can appear that way. Hopefully, this dialogue between us will help us both I believe. For now, let me assure you that there are other influences on my faith in addition to the Bible.

      I’m afraid I may be misinterpreting your paragraph on circular reasoning. It almost sounds to me as though you don’t necessarily believe in God as shown in the Bible. Again, due to the brevity of our mutual entries, we both may not express our thinking as clearly as intended. This is why I am enthusiastic about a continued dialogue with you. We all search!

      On your third paragraph regarding the Flood as being implausible at best; I’ll mash together a couple items to make an answer.

      First, Ken Ham’s credentials. Mr. Ham may not have published a peer reviewed paper, but I don’t accept that as being the sole criteria for whether someone is knowledgeable and capable in science. He earned a Bachelor of Applied Science, with an emphasis in Environmental Biology, at Queensland Institute of Technology, and a diploma in Education from the University of Queensland. He taught high school biology in Queensland.

      A major influence on Ham was the book was The Genesis Flood by John Clement Whitcomb, Jr. and Henry M. Morris. Whitcomb graduated from Princeton University, having studied historical geology and paleontology. He graduated with honors in ancient and European history.

      Morris graduated from Rice University with a degree in civil engineering, which doesn’t sound pertinent on the face of it. However, my wife took civil engineering, and I know that hydrology is one of the main disciplines within it. Why? If you’re engineering a city, you’d best know how to keep it drained. Indeed, Morris served as an hydraulic engineer working with the International Boundary and Water Commission (an international body created by the United States and Mexico to apply the rules for determining the location of their international boundary when meandering rivers transferred tracts of land from one bank to the other). This gives him the chops to discuss The Flood.

      Altogether, Ken Ham’s credentials and those of his major influences are quite respectable, with or without peer-reviewed papers.

      So, back to the ark. Thanks to cartoons of the ark with giraffe heads sticking out the top and hippos on deck, I know I’ve always assumed ADULT animals populated the ark. To Ham’s point, who says they were adults, took up a lot room, and filled it with poo? They could just as well be infants or juveniles and not require nearly the space or resources of adults.

      Your observation about not enough water, etc. makes an assumption not warranted by the reading of the Biblical account. Namely, you seem to assume that Mt. Everest, for example, stood as tall then as now. Ditto the ocean depths. Genesis tells us the waters both fell from the sky and burst forth from the earth. Earth’s entire crust was reshaped by surging water and, for lack of a better word, earthquakes.

      I do have other sources. One is The Exodus Case by Dr. Lennart Moller, which I mentioned in my initial post. It offers an analysis of archeological finds that support a literal interpretation of Exodus. Dr. Moller, PhD, is a world-renowned research biologist at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm where he is also on faculty as a professor. He earlier studied marine biology, limnology, and chemistry at the universities of Stockholm and Uppsala. He lectures around the world, has edited and authored several books, which have been translated into seven languages, is an amateur archeologist (amateur might be an understatement considering his credentials), and is chairman of the board for the Lennart Nilsson International Prize for scientific photography.

      I would encourage you to read some of my past posts to help expound on both the creation/evolution debate, the state of science in general, and a review of the Ken Ham/Bill Bye debate. I studied logic and debate in college and feel versed enough to provide an analysis.

      Evolution and the Geologic Record – 5/8/2014 A better description than I’ve provided you so far. https://jeffreyhking.wordpress.com/2014/05/03/evolution-and-the-geologic-record/

      Dinosaurs – 5/18/2015 Man lived alongside them, despite what evolutionists say. This discusses evidence for that. Also, I recently saw a science show on cable where fossilized footprints of a human and dinosaur occurred alongside each other, negating the supposed time line separating them. https://jeffreyhking.wordpress.com/2015/05/18/dinosaurs/

      The Big Bang Theory – 9/28/2014 Theory vs. fact. Also a very useful example I learned in college; the Piltdown Man hoax. There were peer-reviewed papers and many people who earned their doctorate on it. And it was all a hoax. https://jeffreyhking.wordpress.com/2014/09/28/the-big-bang-theory/
      Which brings us to…

      Down the (Black) Rabbit Hole – 10/1/2014 A theoretical physicist solved an anomaly in the equation describing black holes; something physicists had been unable to do for 5o years until she did it last year. The problem? It clearly shows that black holes can’t exist. That means no Big Bang, etc. Where is the coverage of this news flash? The same place that at least a few of the Piltdown PhD’s put the hoax story…the round file. And she’s not a Christian. She was surprised by her discovery. https://jeffreyhking.wordpress.com/2014/10/01/down-the-black-rabbit-hole/

      Bill Nye Vs Ken Ham Debate – 10/19/2014 Nye used a number of dishonest debate tactics or would simply ignore Ham’s information. He would simply not engage. https://jeffreyhking.wordpress.com/2014/10/19/bill-nye-vs-ken-ham-debate/

      Finally, from your last paragraph: “If you simply say, ‘I don’t have all the evidence to support my beliefs, but I have faith there is a God and that’s what I am going to base my life on’ than I respect you and your beliefs and I think that is the most honest answer you can come to. I know many Christians who say just that and I appreciate their candid honesty.”

      It sounds as if you are saying I’m not being honest and may not even respect what I’m trying to convey. I hope I am mistaken. Hopefully, you will see in what I’ve written here and in posts linked that I have a great deal of scientific backing for my beliefs from experts both Christian and secular; not just blind faith. Why? Because St. Peter tells us to “…sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;

      Thank you for your own considered response. I hope our dialogue can continue.

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