Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fundie Nuts Vs. Harry Emerson Fosdick

Steven J. said on Ray Comfort's Blog ...
(Shiver)Curtis quoted John MacArthur saying:

"The result is that over the past couple of decades, large numbers of evangelicals have shown a surprising willingness to take a completely non-evangelical approach to interpreting the early chapters of Genesis. More and more are embracing the view known as “old-earth creationism,” which blends some of the principles of biblical creationism with naturalistic and evolutionary theories, seeking to reconcile two opposing world-views. And in order to accomplish this, old-earth creationists end up explaining away rather than honestly exegeting the biblical creation account."-------Fundie Nut

Valid Response: Please note that an old Earth is not part of evolutionary theory: that the Earth was much older than 10,000 years was realized before evolutionary theory was proposed, and was not inspired by the need of evolution for large amounts of time to work with. Old-earth creationists are, after all, creationists.

The biblical creation account mentions the canopy of the sky, with "windows" in it (these are opened to let in the rain for Noah's Flood). This view of the sky as a solid artifact is repeated throughout the Old Testament, from further references to the "windows of heaven" in Malachi to Isaiah's reference to the sky being set up like a tent over the (presumably flat disk of the) Earth. John MacArthur, to be more consistent, should complain about all those ministers who explain away, rather than honestly exegete, the biblical passages that teach a geocentric, flat-earth cosmology. Or, conversely, he could take the approach of "Verandoug" and recognize that he has allowed his interpretation of the Bible to be shaped by scientific discoveries, and be less disdainful of those who carry this process further than he does, to acknowledge that the Earth is, in fact, immensely older than the human species (which is itself older than 10,000 or so years). I suppose it is too much to ask him to go so far as to allow his interpretation of Genesis 1 to be shaped by the evidence in favor of common ancestry of humans and other species, but he could make a start down the road to self-consistency and respect for evidence.

June 27, 2008 12:28 AM


Harry Emerson Fosdick long ago said:

The Real Situation

When, therefore, Mr. Bryan says, "Neither Darwin nor his supporters have been able to find a fact in the universe to support their hypothesis," it would be difficult to imagine a statement more obviously and demonstrably mistaken. The real situation is that every fact on which investigation has been able to lay its hands helps to confirm the hypothesis of evolution. There is no known fact which stands out against it. Each newly discovered fact fits into an appropriate place in it. So far as the general outlines of it are concerned, the Copernican astronomy itself is hardly established more solidly.

My reply, however, is particularly concerned with the theological aspects of Mr. Bryan's statement. There seems to be no doubt about what his position is. He proposes to take his science from the Bible. He proposes certainly, to take no science that is contradicted by the Bible. He says, "Is it not strange that a Christian will accept Darwinism as a substitute for the Bible when the Bible not only does not support Darwin's hypothesis, but directly and expressly contradicts it?" What other interpretation of such a statement is possible except this: that the Bible is for Mr. Bryan an authoritative textbook in biology--and if in biology, why not in astronomy, cosmogony, chemistry, or any other science, art, concern of man whatever? One who is acquainted with the history of theological thought gasps as he reads this. At the close of the sixteenth century a Protestant theologian set down the importance of the book of Genesis as he understood it. He said that the text of Genesis "must be received strictly"; that "it contains all knowledge, human and divine"; that "twenty-eight articles of the Augsburg Confession are to be found in it"; that "it is an arsenal of arguments against all sects and sorts of atheists, pagans, Jews, Turks, Tartars, Papists, Calvinists, Socinians, and Baptists"; that it is "the source of all science and arts, including law, medicine, philosophy, and rhetoric," "the source and essence of all histories and of all professions, trades, and works," "an exhibition of all virtues and vices," and "the origin of all consolation."

Luther and Bryan

One has supposed that the days when such wild anachronisms could pass muster as good theology were past, but Mr. Bryan is regalvanizing into life that same outmoded idea of what the Bible is, and proposes in the twentieth century that we shall use Genesis, which reflects the prescientific view of the Hebrew people centuries before Christ, as an authoritative textbook in science, beyond whose conclusions we dare not go.

Why, then, should Mr. Bryan complain because his attitude toward evolution is compared repeatedly, as he says it is, with the attitude of the theological opponents of Copernicus and Galileo? On his own statement, the parallelism is complete. Martin Luther attacked Copernicus with the same appeal which Mr. Bryan uses. He appealed to the Bible. He said: "People gave ear to an upstart astrology who strove to show that the earth revolves , not the heavens or the firmament, and the sun and the moon. Whoever wishes to appear clever must devise some new system, whic of all systems is, of course, the very best, This fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy,but sacred Scripture tells us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth."

Nor was Martin Luther wrong if the Bible is indeed an authoritative textbook in science. The denial of the Copernican astronomy with its moving earth can unquestionable be found in the Bible if one starts out to use the Bible that way--"The world also is established, that in cannot be moved" (Psalm 91:I); "Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be moved forever" (Psalm 104:5). Moreover, in those bygone days, the people who were then using Mr. Bryan's method of argument did quote these passages as proof, and Father Inchofer felt so confident that he cried, "The opinion of the earth's motion is of all heresies the most abominable, the most pernicious, the most scandalous; the immovability of the earth is thrice sacred; argument against the immortality of the soul, the existence of God, and the incarnation should be tolerated sooner that the argument to prove that the earth moves."

The Hebrew Universe

Indeed, as everybody knows who has seriously studied the Bible, that book represents in its cosmology and cosmogony the view of the physical universe which everywhere obtained in the ancient Semitic world. The earth was flat and was founded on an underlying sea (Psalm 136:6; Psalm 24:1-2; Genesis 7:11); it was stationary; the heavens, like an upturned bowl, "strong as a molten mirror" (Job 37:18; Genesis I:6-8;Isaiah 40:22; Psalm 104:2), rested on the earth beneath (Amos 9:6); Job 26:11); the sun, moon, stars moved within this firmament of special purpose to illumine man (Genesis 1:14-19); there was a sea above the sky, "the waters which were above the firmament." (Genesis 1:7; Psalm 148:4) and through "the windows of heaven" the rain came down (Genesis 7:11; Psalm 78:23); beneath the earth was mysterious Sheol where dwelt the shadowy dead (Isaiah 14:9-11); and all this had been made in six days, each of which had had a morning and an evening, a short and measurable time before (Genesis I).

Are we to understand that this is Mr. Bryan's science, that we must teach this science in our schools, that we are stopped by divine revelation from ever going beyond this science? Yet this is exactly what Mr. Bryan would force us to do if with intellectualconsistency he should carry out the implications of his appeal to the Bible against the scientific hypothesis of evolution in biology.

---Courtesy of:

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