Sorry Phil, long post but given that you launched into so many inquiries about me that I had to respond. It took me two and a half hours so hope some of it is good enough for your questions.
Neo, with those statements, you have placed yourself above many scholars who have and give good reasons for their opinions, and they totally disagree with your assertions. And MANY qualified scholars agree that there are good reasons to see the Genesis texts, concerning the time issue, as referring to a very long period of time. So, your Biblical, Hebrew and Greek linguistics and ancient cultural knowledge exceeds so many people who have spent their professional careers studying this issue? You have zero credibility to put yourself above so many of such levels of knowledge and training!
Oh wonderful, you are now going to appeal to authority? I can put names of eminent scientists thoroughly siding on evolution and a universe without god, page after page of it...and then accuse you of the same. Would you agree that's acceptable?
Religious scholars have always differed and will always do that. The church hasn't got a lot that they all agree on the dot. There are many attempts to understand Genesis, I can understand that I agree with the analysis, well most of it anyway. But where I think scholars could be wrong about is when they assume that such and such hidden meaning was meant by the author. That is nuts. The Bible clearly expects the story to be taken literally; otherwise it makes no sense. Languages grow with time. If the original days were ages, and that is what the Jewish authors believed, then they would have had referenced it as such in the later writings. That's what is important, but it says again and again, days. Infact, no one thought of them as ages except for the last 100 years or so. There is no authentic tradition that places days as ages before that. Oh! St. Augustine didn't believe them as days...or that's the argument put forth by some. But the truth is he thought of it as instant creation. He didn’t think days were meant as ages either.
The concept of days as ages was introduced because, without it, it made it impossible for the scriptures and science to say the same thing. When the first fossils were found of creatures gone extinct it was a problem for the creation account. Without time, the fossil record and extinct creatures were impossible to explain. The view at the time was that every creature was made after its kind and as is and that no creature could go extinct or ever had gone extinct.
The fossil record of dinosaurs and later Darwin's findings were seminal in maturing the idea of days as ages.
Neo: We agree there generally.
GENERALLY??? So there are physical things that didn't ultimately originate with God's creating? Do tell!
By generally I mean we differ on the interference of direct creation. If you use the word "ultimately" then I don't disagree.
But on that note, let me ask you, what's the purpose of a 400 billion galaxies if all God wanted to do was save one species among ten million on one little planet, in one galaxy, i.e. minus the 399.999999999 billion ones not to mention the 100 billion stars and solar systems in our own galaxy. On a planet so small that it's not even visible via naked eye if you pass Neptune in our solar system. Which is to say a lot given that Neptune is pretty close compared to, say, our closest star.
So what is going on? why create so much and then not use even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of it? waste product? what do you think?
Um, I could say that about you. Do you really believe all of Scripture is meant to be taken literally? Can you not see and understand the nuances and genres? We, today - ALL people - speak figuratively, even as we reference literal things. That has never changed. Seems you want it all to be black or white - all literal, allegorical, etc. It doesn't work like that - and you know it!
Which shows me either I miswrote or you misread me. I know the nuances and genres and thats the reason why I insist that there's no other way to read it. Oh, you are now going to appeal to speaking figuratively what happened to your argument about a God who could not allow his scriptures being handled without care or is not capable of preserving it? I ask you now if such figure of speech and confusing language was to be added, was God ok with it? Doesn't it contradict your belief? You keep changing goal posts.
When I say something like Adam and Eve could not be first humans or something of the kind that the story has some elements which are wrongly put down, you say "foul" and you give the reason as to being that God is concerned and all powerful and couldn't allow any of the such to happen to his Word. You have given the same, infact the same argument, in each of your posts to me on the topic in many threads.
But when a writer adds confusing language or words only related to their own culture and understanding and somehow so vague that they can mean many different things, which you propose they did, that's ok with God because there is nothing wrong with confusing people?
So God is okay if you add figures of speech of your own language and not ok when you add a little more. Contrary to your claim, your belief demands that either all be perfect or nothing. The bible is inerrant or it isn't. Either God is the ultimate author or he isn't. Either it's all true to a dot or it isn't. Either Jesus confirmed all of it or didn't. That's the black and white you have. So I ask you if it's like that as you say it is then God either made things clear as they are or he didn't. I know of no reason why he wouldn't. And you say he didn't but practically you have a very vast open margin for interpretation.
I don't think you realize your double standard.
The point you need to focus on, though is that we know the genres and naunces, and with good reasons, we can then understand which is which. And let me put forth here that there is nothing, and I reiterate nothing in Genesis that says it's anything else than what it says it is. There is no indication of a double meaning or hidden meaning. And there is nothing which suggests that what is written is not true or should be taken figuratively. Infact, when I say I love you with all my heart. The statement uses the figure of speech but never alludes to anything that says it's not true. The core of the statement is true besides the figure of speech.
So given the genesis account you can say some of it is a figurative or double defined text but it can't be open to all sorts of meanings. You must see that. How poor an author would be if he did not know that what he was writing would cause mass confusion? Why not define it a little precisely? So his own audience would know what it meant. If "yom" had many meanings then it lies on the author to know when and where its to be read the correct way. How much simpler can he be when he did exactly that? "evening, morning, day" that is in fact roughly all we can read in the sentence of the six days of creation in the original genesis account. The rest of the language is added in translation because we either can't understand all of it or can't read it properly.
I understand your conviction to read the scriptures as an authority. I respect that Phil, but please understand the problems and your own double standard.
I am saying you are often throwing out the baby with the bath water (you don't like). Scripture is replete with so many references to things you deny, and uses them to illustrate points almost all Christians take as God's word. You can't just go in surgically and remove such things without also calling into doubt the theological truths which are immediately and deliberately juxtapositioned with them. But that is exactly what you are doing.
Phil, what is hard to understand? I told you already there scientific evidence, rather very strong actually that says otherwise on the point. I have to look at things which stand out to me. May be you deny the evidence and that's fine with me. We can disagree but don't misrepresent me. I didn't remove anything surgically and made sense of it. Infact, my whole position is that I can't make sense of it because I didn't do patch-work with the scriptures to make it fit my understanding. I respect them as is. I can't make sense of it in a cohesive way and that's my struggle I do struggle with it often.
What theological truth have I denied? And which authority do you refer to on your theological truths, given that many churches and denominations have their own versions of it?
I've not studied the passage with Joshua sufficiently, so I won't comment on that. But again, your assertion concerning the days is simply not backed by the views of many, many qualified scholars. And relentlessly repeating that will not change it.
I'm sorry I gave you reasons before in the past and in this post as well, it's simply dishonest to say otherwise.
And you've also not addressed the parallels with the ancient Mesopotamian and Egyptian creation myths. The precise wording is VERY close, EXCEPT WITH KEY THEOLOGICAL DIFFERENCES. And so you believe Moses was recording precise scientific understandings to a people who didn't even know the earth was round, and "floating" in space? These were pre-scientific age people. So, you've got two very real possibilities that scholars reference. And the same terminology is used elsewhere concerning days, completed sequences, etc. Um, a day requires a sun and a moon, does it not? And yet, right away, we realize something is different about this text.
My question is what did Moses believe? or to make it easier for you what's more likely that he believed? A heliocentric system or a geocentric one? I can think without blinking an eye what he likely did. What do you think?
Weighing both options either 1) he understood that the Earth revolved around the sun and lied about it or 2) he believed exactly what he wrote.
I tend to go with the latter because Moses would have had no reason to believe the former.
And so with all of these things, you throw out Genesis and Adam and Eve because of what - because you think evolution is a well-proven fact that means these accounts are not about real people or a real couple who fell into sin and needed a Savior?
I don't need to appeal to ToE as a whole to say that actually. The process of dna mapping gives strong, and I would like to use the word "concrete" actually, but the evidence is solid anyway that no two people could have started the human race.
I'd like to know, Neo, when foundational theological teachings are inherent in a passage you find to be purely fictional - what do you do? I mean, if the passage isn't TRUE, then why would you think ANY of it is? And, again, how do you decide what is Scriptural truth and what is not?
I can appreciate the point which it's making. Though I give up inerrancy right away. I am aware of that, but inerrancy isn't my issue. If it makes sense even on a miracle scale, the text is what it is, and there is no evidence to the contrary, why should I not accept it? I do accept it.
So imagine, what if we find Jesus' body tomorrow. It will be hard to be Christian anymore because there would be evidence that Christianity is potentially false. Now come back to a smaller scale, the Adam and eve first couple. The evidence is clear, can't be two people. How do I square that with scripture? I don't or can't. I can't allegorize it because the scripture shows me no merit to do so. In fact, it's my respect for the same scriptures that I don't call Adam and eve allegorical. It's clear that they aren't. And to do that is just wrong. And mind you, the evidence, on the other hand, isn't like an arbitrary science thing that two people can't produce the bio-diversity in humans. We know because of variation and mutations and NS that populations do that on a whole. That's evidence which must be refuted and not by a single line that "I don't believe it so it's false".
Now I don't find evidence against other things in the scripture and I don't have a problem with it. But like I said if Jesus' body is found, we might as well wrap the whole thing. You tell me in face of evidence how do you handle things? What if tomorrow I find that my son isn't my son, but someone else's because a DNA test shows it how do I square that with my belief that this child is my son whom I loved for years as my own? Evidence says otherwise. You must see that it is better to accept the truth than beat around it for sentimental reasons.
And please also address how we have not ONE recorded passage that any prophet, Apostle, or Jesus cast doubt upon ANY passage of the OT! What was in that first century OT is not in doubt. Are you going to tell me that all of these things you say are not true, that are in so many passages, and yet we have not of God's messengers saying even one word about this? It's a big deal to YOU, to me, to all Christians, to people who have many doubts about the Bible, and yet the very people who were God's prophets, who walked and talked with Jesus, have not a word of caution or direction on this matter???!!
Exactly, because they all believed the same thing. That Adam and Eve were first humans and beget all mankind, the original couple etc. And the same way they all meant days as days and not ages. That is why no one ever clarified it either in later passages that the Genesis days are not days but ages, because no one really believed they were ages.
They are intertwined with many other key theological truths and teachings. So, do you throw those out as well?
Please be specific on the theological truths so I can discuss with you in detail and explain my position.
Do you really think God has put us in such a position of uncertainty?
I think spiritually doubt is our natural state. I mean that's why you have to have faith. It's opposite of doubt and hard to have when you are in doubt. It naturally means to believe things not yet seen. So we are naturally in doubt and must have faith in God to overcome it. The natural state then is, of doubt. Plus we are called to test things, to have doubt, so it's not entirely a bad thing either.
But if we're talking about scriptures you have no choice but to really blame your authors, instead of God, authors who, as you say it, took the liberty of inserting hidden and double meanings, figures of speech etc and didn't clarify things. I mean that's what's causing confusion in the first place and is a key item of your belief on days being ages etc.
When I say there's no way of reading Genesis otherwise, I am infact, not confusing anyone. I know my view on reading scripture and I have reasons for doing so. On the contrary, you keep talking about different scholars, interpretations, double meaning words, the possibilities of many scenarios. Who is causing confusion?
Many meanings cause confusion. A single meaning doesn't confuse at all. And if you believe your own argument then you should see why the account must be read one way. Why would God have it in so many ways? It's just like you said why would God cause confusion or uncertainty?
And so much of your doubts appear due to your unshakable faith in evolution and concern that the "days" of Genesis could not have been meant as long period of time.
Sorry, again, you're misrepresenting me. I stated it's solid evidence and good hermeneutics with proper reasons and merit. Not faith in evolution and days etc.
What if you wrong?
I could be wrong, no doubt about it, but at least I am honest and consistent in my query and research. I hold myself to this standard. If you are going to be wrong, be wrong with proper, honest reasons. It's still better than being wrong for the wrong reasons, which I think you are.
I think it is exceptionally foolish to cast aside Scripture because you THINK your scientific understandings negate any possible interpretations accept the only ones you want to allow - this, despite a multitude of Bible scholars who vehemently disagree with you.
I think it's foolisher, if you can pardon the expression, to not hold evidence in regard when you have it. Evidence is not someone's "understanding" or "thinking" Phil, when a killer leaves his finger-prints or DNA in blood on a crime scene, it not just forensic persons' understanding or thinking that the DNA belongs to that one person. It can be examined. The whole point of evidence is that it needs no one to stand in its corner. It is self-evident when examined. The same way we have evidence and it is evidence which is still to be refuted. You need to get your terms right.
A) You are unqualified in comparison,
I am not sure what would make someone qualified in your eyes...and not that I advertise it but I do have a doctorate in theology. But to be honest, degrees are only good if you have good reasons for your arguments otherwise as the saying goes, even educated people can spew nonsense and in my view do it many times. If I could I would ask a lot of your scholars their reasons and merits and explain mine and see how they make sense. Nothing wrong with that in my view. I am open to be convinced, show me good evidence or merit or reason and I will certainly weigh it in.
science cannot disprove Scripture - although you appear to think it does.
It did with the Adam-Eve story. Sorry, it is what it is.
Does it seem rational, knowing that either of those things can be a problem, for the reaction to this to be just DISMISS THE SCRIPTURE, as if it can't possibly be true? That is REALLY dangerous!
The only real danger is to not test things when they are so self-evident to you. My current position is really struggling on some of the creation account as I am still trying to think if there's a way that these opposites could make sense. I have failed so far because I don't think patchworking the scriptures has merit or a good hermeneutic to fit my preferred view.
You find it dangerous, I find it honest. On that note, I do remember fondly the time when just like you I used to say, even on this forum, many times, that science can't disapprove scripture.