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Creation: Believe It or Not

Sunday, May 30, 2010 | Comments (24)

First, listen to this 9-minute clip:

Launch Player  |  Download  |  Full Sermon

Here's the topic for today's discussion:

Throughout this series, John has demonstrated the inability of science to answer the key questions of origins. Scientists tacitly admit that reality when they change or adapt their evolutionary theories to fit new evidence. They call it being honest with the facts; for answering metaphysical questions, we call it a foundation of quicksand.

John continues to make the case that the Bible is the only authoritative and reliable source for answers about life—what it is, where it comes from, and where it's going. But many Christians still seem enamored with science, trusting it over the Bible. They're willing to reinterpret the Bible to fit the temporary conclusions of science rather than use a consistent, grammatical-historical interpretation of Scripture to direct their study of science.

So, here's the question for those who unduly elevate science above the Bible: at what point do you start believing the Bible? If you don't believe Genesis 1 and 2 mean what they say, when do you start applying a literal hermeneutic, and on what basis? On what grounds do you reject Genesis 1 and 2 while accepting what God tells you about the redemption and consummation?

For the comment thread, let's discuss two points of John's concern. First, why do so many Christians seem to adopt a compromising posture with regard to a literal, six-day creation? Second, what is at the heart of taking an allegorical approach to Genesis 1 and 2 while using a literal hermeneutic to interpret the rest of Genesis, and the rest of the Bible?


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#1  Posted by Darla Wormuth  |  Sunday, May 30, 2010at 6:01 AM

Q - Why do so many Christians seem to adopt a compromising posture with regard to a literal, six-day creation?

A - I believe there are two possible reasons. One they do not read their bible, and two, they are not truly saved. I know there will be those who want to argue that they are saved yet they do not believe in a 6 day creation; however, I do not know how that can be as it is by the word of God we are saved BECAUSE we believe the word of God is TRUTH.

Q - What is at the heart of taking an allegorical approach to Genesis 1 and 2 while using a literal hermeneutic to interpret the rest of Genesis, and the rest of the Bible?

A- Unbelief and a lack of faith! Picking what they want to believe and don't want to believe.

#2  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Sunday, May 30, 2010at 9:52 PM

Hi Folks: One of the things I believe is fascinating about this debate is it is based in atheism. Atheist say that they do not believe there is a God, and God did not create. Agnostics say "If there is a God, I don't know, and further no one can know". For these two groups they are essentially saying the same thing, except one says it with a question mark and the other says it with an exclamation.

What is at the heart of such statements? Some will say unbelief, and that is certainly true. But I think if we look at how this unbelief is worked out we see something else. Many of you all have heard of Jay Sekulow and the ACLJ. He spends a lot of time in court dealing with the Atheistic ACLU. One of the cases his organization has dealt with is in regard to the 10 suggestions,oops- I mean commandments. In one of the briefs the plaintiff said,(I think this quote is right), that the very Idea of the 10 commandments monument being in a particular park was offensive to him. Think about that! Just the "idea", not that he had to see it or look in its general direction. It was just the idea. He does not believe there is a God, but he has a problem with the Law of some non existent being.

I have given some thought to this and think I understand why these folks say such stuff. They do not care if God exist or not, that is not their real issue. Rather it is they they do not want God to interfere with them and their deeds. They have "dethroned" God in their minds and hearts. "We will not have this man rule over us." is their real motto. Or how could someone say "And you can not know if there is a God." As if God doesn't have the ability to make himself known to mortal man. That is in itself pretty stupid, (my opinion), and like pulling the pin on a grenade saying all the while I don't believe in it, or that we can know if it will explode. Well, you pull the pin, you'd better hold on to the handle brother. Hand grenades don't forgive fools.

All of that is to say this, when a materialist atheist tells us something, his motives are showing. And while he says that he is neutral, (at best) and antagonistic (at worst) look out for his results. I ask you, how hard is it to say, "God, I don't know if you exist or not, but if you exist please show me." It seems reasonable that one could expect an answer if one is looking. But instead we find that everything christian is faulty and no one could believe the account in Genesis one as anything but a fairytale. And that is when they know that the evidence for evolution is in many cases fiction, rather then simply bad data. Fabricated or totally inaccurate examples come out of the wood work all the time and are still used to support evolution. Just a thought.

#3  Posted by Greg Lynn  |  Sunday, May 30, 2010at 10:12 PM

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#4  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Monday, May 31, 2010at 7:18 AM

"why do so many Christians seem to adopt a compromising posture with regard to a literal, six-day creation?"

Churches, especially sunday school classes, have taught a generation of folks to view the miraculous stories of the bible such as the account of creation, the great world wide flood and Noah's ark, Jonah and the whale, Jesus' virgin birth, Jesus walking on the water, etc, etc. as mere cartoons...good children's stories but not reality.

A duration of teaching in this manner from childhood onward has led this generation to the point that they now view the bible as a good book but not an inspired book. They see it as containing information about God but they don't really believe it is factual and true in terms of issues such as the evolution debate...how sad that pulpits across America have promoted twisted ideologies in the name of pragmatism in order to keep the goats and wolves happy...all the while the sheep starve to death.

Jesus said these words regarding such teachers/leaders (John chapter 10):

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep.

John Calvin wrote these profound words that should challenge each pastor, teacher, deacon, elder, lay person, new Christian, aged Christian...everyone who names the name of Jesus as Lord:

“Let the pastors boldly dare all things by the word of God… Let them constrain all the power, glory, and excellence of the world to give place to and to obey the divine majesty of this word. Let them enjoin everyone by it, from the highest to the lowest. Let them edify the body of Christ. Let them devastate Satan’s reign. Let them pasture the sheep, kill the wolves, instruct and exhort the rebellious. Let them bind and loose thunder and lightning, if necessary, but let them do all according to the word of God.”

It is way past time for churches, pastors, and teachers to stop playing pragmatic games with God's divine Word and set about the task of re-establishing the bible as completely factual and fully truth...otherwise these debates will just continue to grow in scope.

#5  Posted by Shirley Ramirez  |  Monday, May 31, 2010at 8:17 AM

It does not get much simpler than this! People always want to complicate the issue of creation when is written right there in black and white! I love your explanation.

God Bless! :)

-Shirley

#6  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Monday, May 31, 2010at 10:22 AM

Hi Folks: It is still morning here in sunny Tennessee, (notice that this state name is made out of only four(4) letters, repeated is their proper sequence it is a state name, if you only use part of the letters you get the word "tens", that is a word but not a state name). This is kinda like what happens when we go to the Word of God and try to make things fit that are not in their proper order or we take out parts of the Word and set it aside. We do not come up with the same message.

For those who hold to "Theistic Evolution" I think I understand the issue. It is an illusion which has been perpetrated or foisted on modern science by "Religious Atheism". Atheist start with "No God" and go from there. In order to fight off any religious belief they must have their own Anti-theology. Evolution is their key doctrine for science. What has happened in universities and colleges is academic "Inquisition". Since there is "No God", evolution must be true, therefore anyone who does any academic research must come out with results that demonstrate that evolution is true, or they are not scientist, only religionist trying to push God on everyone. Those who work in the fields of science most affected by evolutionary "doctrine" are under the assumption that the findings they study are true and unadulterated. Assumptions such as the age of the earth, the process of time + chance, and the ascent of man,(apart from the creative hand of God), are career enders for those who have not bought into the "gospel" of evolution. I remember an article which points out this issue in the early part of 2007 (I believe). A theistic evolutionist was doing research on some old T-Rex bones. She found what I suppose was un fossilized tissue, the next months issue had a letters to the editor comment saying that this Doctor should loose her research grant for trying to bring her religious beliefs into her research. I reread the article and was amazed to find no mention of God or the bible there. Only the conclusion of research. If such a small thing like this scars Atheistic "mind sets", just think what they would do to someone who would challenge any tenant of the Evolutionary faith. The pressure must be enormous.

A second factor assumes that one who is "intelligent" will see reason. We want to believe the bible and we want to believe our "science", the only way this can be reconciled is through "accommodation". This is the Idea that ancient man could not understand the complexities of creation because of inferior scientific resources(at best) or because they had not "ascended" enough to understand complex issues, "I mean after all they were only savages, cave men running around camp fires thinking that some "god" must be appeased,and sacrificing blood and all that rot, how could they know what we now know ?" Therefore God had to tell them a "story" they could understand, in a way they could understand. "Modern minds are much more astute, we have the scientific method, and know evolution as the means used to bring the world into being as we know it ". What is forgotten is that this belief assumes that God does not have the ability to teach his children the difference. The tacit assumption is that if you tell man that the creation took place over millions of years, he would not be able to believe it. That God used long periods of time instead of six days, (the former would be easier for anyone to believe, and a tired God would fit in the pantheon of gods man has created for himself.)

Allowing the bible to speak for itself is the only real method that works. (Just a thought.)

#7  Posted by Jack Wellman  |  Monday, May 31, 2010at 11:56 AM

Thank you Doctor MacArthur. I am a Christian Apologetics writer & author of 3 books & this is my passion. I am a monthly contributor too and I thank you for this wonderful resource and I thank God FOR you. God bless you and your ministry.

#9  Posted by Peter Heffner  |  Monday, May 31, 2010at 7:18 PM

I seem to be the first commenting. But since "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread" and I am a fool, then...

First, why do so many Christians seem to adopt a compromising posture with regard to a literal, six-day creation?

For so many it seems that they take the conclusions of Science first and the Bible second, so the Bible must be read against the standard of man's Science. This runs contrary to starting with the Bible, with letting the Creator speak to us first. If I want to be "neutral," to decide for myself, then I have already plugged my ears.

Those who say that "day" in Gen 1 means "timespan" as in 2:4 and not "earth's rotational period" also commonly claim Noah's flood was not global or that there were cavemen before Adam -- although the flood covered all the mountains of the world fifteen cubits deep (Gen 7) and that man was created in God's image straight from the dust.

Second, what is at the heart of taking an allegorical approach to Genesis 1 and 2 while using a literal hermeneutic to interpret the rest of Genesis, and the rest of the Bible?

Same as above; it means you don't trust the Bible enough to be consistent in your approach to it. The consequence is, as noted in the sermon, that if God is not the Creator then maybe he is not the Redeemer.

Evolution means:

Everything comes from nothing;

Chaos naturally leads to order;

And the Scientist seeks hard physical laws to prove it all random.

#10  Posted by Michial Brown  |  Monday, May 31, 2010at 9:47 PM

I think a couple of reasons "saved" christians tap dance around this is:

1-too much of a desire to be admired by the intellectual crowd(whether believers or not).

2-allowing their intellectual limitations determine a more plausible interpretation.

Now the "saved" will say they never tap dance around the passage to not take it literally as the word of God, but they will argue they are interpreting it after the literal sense God meant it to be taken in the first place. They do the same with apocalyptic books of the bible.

In a sense these brothers need to humble themselves before the word of God and receive it as it is. I have been in intellectual circles where intellectual "ism" crept in and the ivory towers of their good and necessary logic and inference ascended above the text. They seemed biblical to their elite bible interpreting fellows, and respectable by the unbelieving science community as well.

This has serious ramifications. If both the Genesis and the Last Things, the beginning and the end are seen by the trained and intellectual christians as figurative and symbolic, who is to say the middle of the book, and the gospel itself is not either? That is next, I guarantee it.

#11  Posted by Hornspiel N'texas  |  Tuesday, June 01, 2010at 11:41 AM

Why do so many Christians seem to adopt a compromising posture with regard to a literal, six-day creation?

By compromising posture I assume you mean any thing short of affirming only a literal interpretation is biblical.

For those that are wishy washy:

a) They dont know enough about science to commit to a definite positon.

b) They are not sure enough about their theology to commit to a definite positon.

c) They actually feel this is a nonessential

For any one to take a principled stand on any of the current views: (Young Earth, Old Earth, ID, TE)they must have definite views on science and theology and think their view fits better with the facts and God's revelation in the Bible.

I do not think we need to call those who differ from our view compromisers. After all, don't biologists and astronomers need the Gospel too? Since the world looks old to a scientist, why not let them work and believe as well? "If you confesss with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved." I do not see there how a particular view on Genesis is essential to salvation.

#12  Posted by John Adams  |  Tuesday, June 01, 2010at 11:50 AM

Interesting post at Biologos - http://biologos.org/blog/evidences-for-evolution-part-1-an-ancient-earth/#comments

#15829

"The blog posts at the “John MacArthur in his current series on Genesis” link above are predictably quite different from this one. I would be interested in seeing interaction between key bloggers on both sites. Is there any meeting place?"

I wonder if this can be made to happen. At the moment there is no dialogue at all and if that continues nothing will ever be resolved.

#13  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Tuesday, June 01, 2010at 1:25 PM

Thanks for the heads up on that article, John. I've added some comments over there to stir up the hornet's nest.

#14  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Tuesday, June 01, 2010at 11:33 PM

Hi Folks: Glad to See John and Gabriel back. thought you guys might have had enough of the "preaching". John A I looked at the site you suggested, not sure if you can make some of the assumptions which have been made there. There have always been issues with radiometric dating methods used in science, one of which is the uniformatarian mentality which pervades this science. Bolton Davidheiser's works and A.E. Wilder-Smith's works go along way in answering a lot of these issues. There is also a new book on radiometric dating that has been published by ICR you should look at. Just a thought.

#15  Posted by Douglas Grogg  |  Tuesday, June 01, 2010at 11:43 PM

#11 Hornspiel N'texas, you stated “I do not think we need to call those who differ from our view compromisers. After all, don't biologists and astronomers need the Gospel too? Since the world looks old to a scientist, why not let them work and believe as well? "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved." I do not see there how a particular view on Genesis is essential to salvation.”

There are many “professing Christians” who assume that to confess Christ is to merely make some sort of public confession of faith in Christ that He is Lord. This is a grievous error on several counts. First and foremost, Christ Himself warned the multitudes that were following Him, “Not everyone who says to Me “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.” “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name…etc.’” They emphatically “confessed” that He was Lord but Christ denied ever knowing them (See Matthew 7:21-23). The Greek word rendered “confess” literally means “to say the same thing”. Those who reject Genesis 1 are not “confessing” (saying the same thing as) Christ they are in fact rejecting the testimony of Christ, the Father and the Holy Spirit.

“There is a way which seems right to a man but the way thereof is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12). We dare not lean on our own understanding but we must acknowledge the Lord in all of our ways. He alone is wise. You correctly point out that biologists and astronomers need the gospel but easy believism is not the gospel and it does not save anyone. The children of Israel were not allowed to enter the Promised Land. They were a stubborn and rebellious people but it was not for these reasons that God rejected them. He rejected them for their unbelief (Hebrews 3:19 see also Romans 11:20). Unbelief damns souls to Hell. We dare not pick and choose what part of God’s testimony we believe, to do so is to call God a liar which is the most damnable aspect of the sin of unbelief.

Dr. John C. Whitcomb’s name has been referred to in earlier weeks in these discussions. Perhaps others are unaware that he was convinced that none of the arguments discussed on this site can save anyone in the creation/evolution debate. He put absolutely no confidence in any wisdom of his own and he made it clear that only the living and abiding Word of God has the power to save anyone! Only the Word of God faithfully and unashamedly proclaimed and brought to bear on the conscience of the sinner can bring them to see their need of a savior to save them from their sin. Christ, whose name is faithful and true, save sinners who flee to Him for mercy. He saves to the uttermost. He saves even the worst of sinners. He has saved even His Unworthy Slave

#16  Posted by Hornspiel N'texas  |  Wednesday, June 02, 2010at 11:28 AM

Douglas

“Not everyone who says to Me “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven;

Agreed. However how can you be so sure that “Those who reject Genesis 1” are in that category. I seems quite a stretch from “confessing Him as Lord” to needing to agree a)that your interpretation of what the Scriptures mean accurately reflects how Jesus interpreted them, and

b) interpreting Scripture exactly the way Jesus did, even on peripheral issues like this, is essential for salvation.

#17  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Wednesday, June 02, 2010at 11:36 AM

HS writes,

a)that your interpretation of what the Scriptures mean accurately reflects how Jesus interpreted them, and

b) interpreting Scripture exactly the way Jesus did, even on peripheral issues like this, is essential for salvation.

Are you suggesting that Jesus interpreted Genesis in the manner that is consistent with how theistic evolutionists interpret Genesis? Which means if He did, and if you read several of the comments left here by theistic evolutionists over the last month or more this series has been running, would mean that Jesus believed a lot of troubling theological doctrines. The most notable being that Adam was not a specific individual who plunged all of his progeny into sin.

Just looking for so clarification.

#18  Posted by Hornspiel N'texas  |  Wednesday, June 02, 2010at 2:21 PM

No I am saying that Jesus may not have, and probably did not, interpret Scripture exactly the way you do.

There are interpretations of Adam as a specific individual that are consistent with TE, even with there being a literal garden. These may not be the most common interpretations among TEists but they exist.

However the reason I believed in Adam and Eve and the fall, prior to believing in Christ, is because their story explained way the world is and my own experience.

Thirty years later nothing has changed except that I no longer need to believe that they must have been literal people. They may have been, but the truth of the story is no longer dependent on their historicity.

Note that Jesus when he talked about Genesis, it was always to illustrate a theological truth, such as the covenant of marriage. The natural history implied has no impact on the truths that are taught, because that is not the focus of the text. Jesus never used it as a scientific text, nether should we.

#19  Posted by Hornspiel N'texas  |  Wednesday, June 02, 2010at 2:26 PM

Clarification Jesus never used it as a scientific text, nether should we.

Jesus never used it as a scientific text, therefore we are not required to interpret it as a scientific text to remain faithful to Jesus or be theologically orthodox.

#20  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, June 02, 2010at 2:32 PM

Who said anything about interpreting as a scientific text? We have claimed that Genesis clearly portrays creation as a series of miracles, not a scientific endeavor.

Jesus, and all other biblical authors, assumed the truth of Genesis in making their points. Otherwise they may as well have used some fairytale to make their point. The authority and validity of their theological teaching is rooted in historical events.

What you are advocating Jesus did is what so many ear ticklers (who call themselves pastors) do in using the Bible like a nice book of myths that help them teach what they deem to be good morals.

You are correct that some TE believe in a historical Adam, but that is an arbitrary belief (and explained in the "Genesis and Naturalism: Cognitive Dissonance" post).

#21  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, June 02, 2010at 2:32 PM

Arbitrary is the wrong word. It should be "inconsistent".

#22  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Wednesday, June 02, 2010at 8:58 PM

Hornspiel N’texas: Please apply your critical thinking skills to the following:

Both a “literal” Adam & Eve (DNA father & mother of ALL mankind) and a “NONliteral” Adam & Eve (“just the first people” or “concept” of the first people) cannot be true. They are mutually exclusive. Therefore, only one can be true.

Next, the question is, “Does it really matter which ONE is true?”

(In other words, “Is it eternally significant?”)

Seeing as satan loves to question God & create doubt in mankind…

1) It is not only likely but extremely probable that satan is behind the false concept. *Which is the false concept? Is it eternally significant to believe satan over God? (Eve did?)

If we take a laissez-faire attitude with regard to which concept is true….

2) That says it is NOT IMPORTANT to US which is true. OUR opinion is that the truth is insignificant. *Remember: God is Truth: Are we saying God is insignificant? God’s word is NOT true? Or that God’s word is insignificant?

This carefree attitude of only taking parts of the Bible literally, or that only parts are eternally significant (for salvation) is saying that GOD IS NOT LORD, WE ARE, (we decide which parts are essential to salvation). If God is Lord, and we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, & being, then we DESIRE TO KNOW HIM! To know all about Him! To understand Him! To want to be with Him! He has given us relationships here on earth to demonstrate family connections, familial love & devotion, lifelong commitment, sacrificial love,… He demonstrates this to us in His plan of salvation which required the sacrifice of His only Son, and in His word, which He inspired & provided & ensured for our benefit to draw us near to Him & to KNOW HIM! If we disregard ANY of it, then we essentially prove our love is not complete for Him, & therefore not necessarily a “Saved” relationship with Him! This is the caution & warning of all false teaching & doctrines. This is also the call for 100% commitment to Him! To give Him less is not to give Him all, which is what He requires of us. IT IS ETERNALLY SIGNIFICANT & I believe worthy of our endeavors to KNOW Him & to KNOW His truth. Can someone who doesn’t believe in a literal Genesis 1 – 3 actually be saved? Well, how would I know? I am not God! I am not the Judge! But He gave me a mind & His word & I should do all in my ability to discover the truth while I have the opportunity & I don’t want to be wrong or misguided or fall short of the truth…Do YOU? Are you willing to take that chance with your eternal soul? Of course salvation doesn’t rest upon us passing a knowledge or understanding test at 100% to enter God’s eternal kingdom, but our commitment to Him is to be 100% - & why shouldn’t it be? He gave us His Son! Jesus gave His life for us? Is it so much for Him to ask us to give our lives to Him? Jesus said, “And whoever does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Mt 10:38b-39. Can we “get something wrong” or be misled & still have salvation? YOU answer that! That is the $1,000,000.00 question! But if you want to get that answer right, where would you go to find the truth? GOD’S WORD! If God had been vague in His description of creation, there might be justification for the various concepts of beginnings, but He WASN’T vague! He spelled it all out for us in great detail! Why try to change what God said? (Is it to compromise with modern science? Ask yourself WHY?)

In the very least, this carefree attitude demonstrates a person’s real lack of love & commitment to God & HIS truth, (Not our definition of truth!)

And when we compromise Genesis with OEC, who are we compromising with?

“…what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God…” 2 Cor 6:14b-16a. God does not compromise the truth, why should we?

#23  Posted by Mike Sexton  |  Friday, June 04, 2010at 9:01 AM

When it was proposed on the blog that they were going to begin a study on just this topic, I was hesitant. At the time, I was unclear about what EXACTLY I believed with regards to the issue. At the time, I leaned a little more towards a model similar (but by no means the same) to that held by Old Earth Creationists and believers of Theistic Evolution. At least in my understanding (or lack thereof) I allowed room for the possibility of these things to be both true and not necessary for salvation. But, being a quasi-rationalist, I stopped commenting and started listening to find out if I could "know" what I believed to be true on creation and whether or not is was necessary.

Between what I've read/heard on the blog and from discussions on Wretched Radio, I have since come to accept the fact that here, as with all, scripture is clear. There were words and concepts to describe longer periods of time, and yet what Scripture says explicitly was chosen. Had Moses intended a longer period of time to be communicated (had the Holy Spirit intended this, understanding that it would clear up this present confusion), I believe the language would have been different than what we have. It says 6 days. It defines the length of days as bounded by evening and morning. Even by historical/cultural understandings of when evening and morning begin and end, it still falls within the boundaries of a 24 hour day. To believe that God cannot accomplish all of creation within 6, 24 hour days is to limit Him and to cast suspicion on the rest of the miraculous works of Scripture. The only rational course for me to apply rationality to a sovereign, infinite God is to assume that misunderstandings and non-logic is my flaw...not His. If I accept that He communicates through His Word, that it is perfect, and that He is not the author of confusion, then I must accept His Word literally until His Word tells me to do otherwise. If I cannot trust His Word to clearly convey how He created all things, how can I begin to trust it to be clear on how He saves the elect and relates to all things? I would have no assurance in my salvation if words were so fluid in their meaning.

With regards to the posed questions:

First, why do so many Christians seem to adopt a compromising posture with regard to a literal, six-day creation?

I have no doubt that the embarrassment, lack of faith and ignorance that have been suggested by others is true, but I believe in many (most?) cases that well-intentioned believers are simply afraid of alienating the people they feel compelled to evangelize. We're taught to love others and make disciples and we (even some of us 5-point, reformed types) are often afraid of "messing it up and damning someone to hell." This in no way vindicates the error, but I would hope that it would cause us who now know better to temper our judgment and correction with mercy and grace. It's just too easy sometimes to scream "heretic" and start piling up the sticks for the pyre, as it were.

Second, what is at the heart of taking an allegorical approach to Genesis 1 and 2 while using a literal hermeneutic to interpret the rest of Genesis, and the rest of the Bible?

For the most part...see the answer to the first question. However, I would say that most of the people I have known who seriously apply allegory to the creation, also apply that same hermeneutic to the rest of scripture. Typically because they want to try to retain an element of control over God and over their world. If it is not ignorance, then it is rebellion.

As always...sorry for the novella, but hey...I've held my tongue for a couple of months now! :p

#24  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Friday, June 04, 2010at 11:06 AM

Mike:

Thanks for those encouraging words. Hearing of people like you makes what we do on this blog all the more enjoyable. I'm thankful you found the discussions here (and the other places you listed) to be both helpful and challenging. Most of all, I'm thankful you found them to be biblical!

We're aware of the many people like you who may be "holding their tongue," but nevertheless thinking deeply on these issues as Scripture is brought to bear on their views of creation.

Press on brother.

-Tommy

#25  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Friday, June 04, 2010at 7:53 PM

Mike,

I "ditto" Tommy & want to thank you for your testimony! What a blessing! I'm praying there are more like you reading & deeply contemplating these issues. It's always wonderful to see God at work! Amen?! :) God bless you!