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St. Augustine and Evolution

August 20, 2009

Yes, you read that correctly. Alister Mcgrath wrote an excellant article on St. Augustine and evolution for Christianity Today back in May. It’s an excellant and though provoking read. Go here read it, and then react in the posts.

This should be an interesting discussion, no?

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41 Comments leave one →
  1. AdamK permalink
    August 20, 2009 2:15 pm

    St. Aug, being ignorant of biology, biochemistry, genetics, population statistics, natural selection, sexual selection, etc., had a more limited set of concepts than we do. The result is that he was wrong.

    No gods guide evolution; natural processes do.

    Gods, ghosts and wonder-working magicians are not needed to explain it.

  2. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 20, 2009 2:21 pm

    Interesting dismisal of his argument while missing the point of the article, Adam.

  3. August 20, 2009 3:04 pm

    Sigh. And they start out by baldly stating, as if it’s accepted fact, the hoary old canard, “Darwinism is a worldview that excludes God”. Not a great beginning. And towards the end, of course, there’s the line “Augustine would have rejected any idea of the development of the universe as a random or lawless process.” Implying, of course, that the “Darwinists” do believe that.

    I do question Augustine’s interpreting the Genesis story and every other creation reference in scripture as a harmonious whole. Is there really evidence that these various stories and references really relate to each other at all? To my eyes, the two stories in Genesis have different roots, and were both adapted to fit the circumstances, but weren’t written with each other in mind. So connecting them really makes little sense.

    Overall, I’m not that impressed. Certainly the idea that the Bible being at odds with observable reality is a problem for literalism, and Augustine does a bang-up job at trying to have his cake and eat it when Kepler’s observations began to make it clear that you can’t have a literal Bible and reality at the same time. But it’s not that different from what came later. I do look with interest at the surprisingly Deist “God is the power behind the earth creating its bounty” version of evolution, where God plays a role that doesn’t need to be active, directed, or even conscious. You could have a totally non-intelligent demiurge in those roles and not change a thing, something I’m sure Deists could get along with just fine. But you’re a long way from the fire-and-brimstone God of the OT.

    The sad fact is, reality doesn’t need the Bible. And as we understand more about reality, the more that becomes clear. Augustine, for his part, would have been a visionary at seeing it so early that it would become increasingly at odds with the observed and understood universe, defended more and more by those emotionally invested in it rather than an actual understanding of the world. I wouldn’t necessarily call him accommodationist, but reconciliation of the two (easier then than now, since a lot of discoveries had yet to be made, as Adam points out) seems to have been chief in his mind.

    Oh, and personally the whole “God created time and is therefore outside of time, thus he’s what’s before the Big Bang” always struck me as hand-waving.

  4. erp permalink
    August 20, 2009 3:23 pm

    I think the problem is that though the article describes for Christians a way of reconciling their scripture with science, the relevance to non-Christians is much less. Those with their own scriptures might use it as a guideline, but, those with no scripture? I will note that what the article is arguing is not news. People tend to remember Bishop Wilberforce but forget that a lot of Christians of that era found that evolution made good sense of the evidence. The method, natural selection, took a bit longer to be fully accepted by both Christians and non-Christians and required a few tweaks (a weak point being how advantageous traits were passed on without blending and that took genetics to explain).

  5. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 20, 2009 3:32 pm

    Kelseigh,
    You know I like you, so I hope you won’t take any of my comments here in a harsh light.

    But, I have to take serious issues with some of your comments here. I would agree that naturalists (I prefer that term over Darwinist, unlike McGrath), don’t see evolution, etc as a series of random or lawless events. But, in doing so, they think that strenthens their position. It doesn’t. It actually weakens it considerably. Because then, you start talking about laws, direction, and purpose of evolution (as Dawkisn puts it quite nicely), you get into a huge, but simple question: Why? Why isn’t it random? How can we know whether it’s random or not?

    As for the evidence of why the Genesis accounts relate, what sort of evidence would you like? Any assumptions on whether they are two or one accounts don’t really have any evidence one way or the other. So, until evidence surfaces otherwise, it’s best to take the text as a whole. I know someone will jump in the with the documentary hypothis, but like the “Q” theory, it is purely scholar construct.

    The rest of your post is purely assertion with such statements as “Reality doesn’t need the Bible” or “the more we understand reality, the more becomes clear”. Which reality are you talking about? You make the assertion about Kepler’s observations, but no defintion of what that might mean to the bible. As McGrath makes clear, they might have made a certain way of reading the bible untendable, but not the Bible itself.

    And, this whole hand waving thing is driving me crazy. Not just you, but anyone who asserts it. A basic Biblical hermenutics class will show you that it is NOT handwaving, but well thought out steps in reading the bible critically. It amazes how close minded atheists can be on this issue. As in “it’s either this or that, but nothing else, not realizing they are falling into the same fallacy that fundie Christians fall into. They don’t realize there might be more than one choice and still make it true.

    Again, sorry Kelseigh if my tone is rough. I’m actually taking some frustrations out on you which isn’t fair.

  6. August 20, 2009 3:33 pm

    One thing that comes to me, and it’s more a general feeling than anything based on evidence, is that the ancient peoples these stories originally come from weren’t nearly so invested in their origin stories being OMG LITERALLY TRUE IN EVERY DETAIL as those who came centuries later, leading into Augustine’s time and carried on to ridiculous extremes by some of today’s fundamentalists. The trouble of course is, by the time the Bible finally got settled as a single OT/NT unit, these things were now the Wisdom of the Ancients ™ and thus inarguable. As I said above, there’s an emotional investment in what’s now become structure and tradition, but was that investment even there a thousand years before Christ, when these were mainly oral traditions, or parts of pre-existing religions? I doubt it.

    Perhaps someone with a bit more knowledge of the scholarship can tell me if I’m on the right track here or not. I do remember being told at one point that during some periods of Ancient Greece the Gods weren’t viewed as real, literal people, but that may be incorrect as well. I’d appreciate more insight.

  7. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 20, 2009 3:35 pm

    Erp,
    Excellant point. Many Christians did accept evolution, including some conservative theologians on this side of the pond. It wasn’t until the 1920’s, when things when to hell on this conversation.

  8. AdamK permalink
    August 20, 2009 3:55 pm

    “Interesting dismisal of his argument while missing the point of the article, Adam.”

    And what exactly would that point be, Jonathan? Care to dispense some of your subtle wisdom?

    Interesting dismissal of my impression while missing the point of it.

  9. August 20, 2009 4:05 pm

    No worries, I do tend to ramble a bit. It’s not meant in any mean sense, to be sure.

    I’m a bit puzzled by your “it weakens their position” argument. It suggests that the whole point of naturalism is to try to force God out of the picture, but I can’t see that’s the point at all. Dawkins would probably be happy enough if it was, but I don’t really believe that to be the case. As to “why is it not random”, the Buddhist in me asks “why do you need a why?” The laws of chemical interaction, gravity, physics, and whatnot don’t necessarily need a Prime Mover to set them up or put them in motion. Taking what we know so far as correct, there was an event we call the Big Bang. The universe that came out of that would have fallen into a set of things that simply work, otherwise, well…it wouldn’t work. There’s not really a mover behind it, intelligent or simply demiurge, required, and thus no actual purpose. Not saying there isn’t, but from what I understand of naturalism things can be just as happily explained without it, so why introduce it into the discussion in the first place?

    As to Genesis, I really don’t know if there’s evidence of different sources. It does seem like the first and second creation stories come from very different voices talking about a similar idea, but I’d be curious to find out if that’s justified or not. Augustine seems to be making an assumption that the two are “aware” of each other and are trying to fill in each others’ gaps, which seems an awful jump without more information.

    The Kepler thing comes from the article, which suggests that Augustine was operating at a time when Kepler’s observations were calling into doubt the earth being the centre of the solar system, and that’s what I’m talking about with observable reality vs. a literal reading of the Bible. Genetics make the species starting from only two individuals sound ridiculous. Geology and paleontology blow huge holes in a global flood. Astronomy and other disciplines create a strong argument against a young earth. Genetics and evolution itself questions the idea that species are immutable, and there’s a continuing degeneration from the purity of Adam & Eve (or Steve). Archeology and history call into question whether the Hebrews were enslaved by the Egyptians at all, let alone the 40 years in the desert. Biology contradicts the idea that man and nature are somehow two different things, and so on. What the article seems to suggest about Augustine is that he was perceptive enough to see that the literal reading came into conflict with observations made by Kepler, et al, and visionary enough to see it probably wouldn’t stop there. So he wanted a way to preserve that literal reading without denying reality in the process. I can see why he wanted to do that, but there’s a certain “have your cake and eat it” sense about the whole thing. If I’m reading the article wrong in that sense, I’d appreciate being corrected of course.

    I may have let my rhetoric get away from me, but when I’m talking reality vs. Bible here I’m talking about a literal Bible reading, a la fundamentalists like our friend Honest Tom. I don’t have any problem with an allegorical reading, and I honestly think it reads better that way anyhow. I do believe there is value to be found (although more in the NT than the OT), so tossing the whole thing is ridiculous.

    As to the hand-waving, I’ll just plain withdraw it. It’s more a feeling that “this really doesn’t sound right” than something arrived at through study. I’m not particularly tied to it.

  10. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 20, 2009 4:12 pm

    Adam,
    ha! You made me laugh. In a good way. I doubt that any of my wisdom could be considered subtle. πŸ™‚

    The main point of his argument is that Christians need to stop going nuts about the evolution thing. I have had the advantage of reading McGrath’s other stuff, so that’s my fault for not point it out.

  11. erp permalink
    August 20, 2009 4:40 pm

    Actually there seem to be several related items that might or might not be accepted.

    1. Evolution – did living things over the generations change such that new species arose (e.g., that chimps and humans have a common ancestor, that we humans and the apples we eat have a common ancestor).

    2. Natural Selection – that this happens because of random variation that is heritable and, if it improves the chances of being passed on, is selected for. The variation is random (but bound by physical laws), the selection is not random.

    And outside of science but sometimes impinging

    3. Are humans different in some huge way from all other living things? Arguments about souls, original sin, image of God, the Fall, Salvation. Was there an original couple?

    Back in scholarship.

    4. What parts of the Bible are historically accurate, possibly accurate, myth? What is the history of the Bible and how do we test the various hypotheses?

    Note the historicity of the Bible is separate from whether one can derive meaning from it. From a Christian point of view are the parables of Jesus less valuable because they didn’t really happen? Cannot the same view be taken of the stories in Genesis or Exodus (or for that matter Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings…)?

  12. Chris permalink
    August 20, 2009 4:53 pm

    @Kelseigh:
    Kepler and Augustine are seperated by more than 1000 years, so it is indeed visionary πŸ™‚ As far as i understand, he devised all his philosophy in a time without major scientific advances (or what we consider as such today).

    @Jonathan:

    Just a quick reply to the ‘Why?’: Because it works! πŸ™‚ Even if random mutations are the source of evolution, the process of evolution is not random:
    A mutation occurs (randomly) and three posibilities are available:
    a) It has no real effect
    b) it is harmful (dies earlier, needs more food, is sleepier whatever :-)) and the organism has a harder time reproducing than the concurrence thus the mutation is culled out
    c) it is useful and the organism reproduces more than others and thus the mutation is spread.

    What mutation is “good” or “bad” depends on a lot of variables including surrounding, predators, the mating behaviour of the own species…. But it is as simple as that: Keep what works and discard what does not.

    The purpose of evolution (i have rarely heard it) is really just the very human notion of assigning agents to all and everything. When i say that a hydrophillic surface likes water and wants to maximize its contact with it, that is only to simplify the understanding of the processes. Or when i say an system strives to maximize its entropy, again i do not really mean that there is an agent. (in case you did not notice i am a physicist, sorry :-))

    I might have drifted OT a bit, but my point is: You can speak of a purpose of a process without needing an agent behind that. purpose might just mean ‘direction in which the system is pushed by the driving forces’.

    Gotta go now. I liked the article, was fun reading (even though i find it a bit overstretched).Thanks!
    Cheers,
    Chris

  13. August 20, 2009 4:54 pm

    erp:

    During the brief period where I was studying with the Buddhists in Halifax, #3 was an important point. The general argument goes that as you look at the world, there is what you can see outside yourself, and there is yourself. This generates the concept of “me”. And the “me” is separate from all that is “not me”. So immediately you have an artificial, if understandable, separation between the two. So carry that on to “me” being identified closely with those that are similar, i.e. other humans. Now you have an extended “me” that is stills separate from that which is not similar. As construct builds on construct, you codify a separation between humans (extended “me”) and nature (everything that’s not “me”), and of course there’s the ego side telling you that what’s on your side is better than what’s on the other side in some way. The feeling is that this whole set of constructs is a disadvantage in reality, and actually prevents people from simply seeing the world as it is and reacting directly to it. Putting up filters to maintain the “me” illusion slows down and often distorts information coming in from the world as it is. Outside of this construct, there is no real reason to believe humans are any different from the rest of nature, and breaking it down is part of the point behind the version of Buddhism that I was learning. However, it is one reason why the reincarnation part doesn’t necessarily ring true for me, although of course I can’t say for sure that it isn’t. In the end, it’s unimportant, since I still have to live the life I’m living right now.

    I can see similar arguments being put forward for the existence of a soul, the “special” nature of humans, dominion over the earth, and so forth.

  14. Chris permalink
    August 20, 2009 4:54 pm

    DAMN YOU erp for making my point clearer and earlier that me!

  15. August 20, 2009 4:58 pm

    Ah, okay. I see where I went wrong. It was Copernicus the article mentioned, not Kepler. Somehow I substituted names, sorry about that.

  16. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 20, 2009 5:03 pm

    Erp,
    Well written post and putting the issues into clear focus. Thanks!

  17. erp permalink
    August 20, 2009 6:02 pm

    Kelseigh,

    Copernicus is well after Augustine also.

    Augustine was apparently dealing with some flat-earther Christians (that the earth was spherical was well accepted by the educated at that time). People who lived before Augustine like Aristotle, Archimedes, Galen, and Ptolemy didn’t do what we might call full-fledged science but they were scientists (science unlike Athena did not come full grown into the world) and had expanded what was known. Part of the problem is that their followers often treated their words as canon and not as something to be tested. In Augustine’s time the schools at Alexandria and Athens still existed (though under pressure, sometimes fatal pressure such as for Hypatia).

    I did find it odd that the article didn’t quote Augustine’s best known statement on this

    Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. …[I suggest googling and reading the rest]

  18. Ms. Crazy Pants permalink
    August 20, 2009 6:03 pm

    (please pardon my ramble….I”m a bit all over the place)

    The way I see it is not so much as an article to convince atheists that there can be a god and evolution as helping those who are believers reconcile the two ideas. I think at the time Augustine was talking, believing in a god was naturally assumed and one didn’t think science could pull a person away. In my case, it wasn’t science that made me an atheist, so that might influence how I see it. Either way, I can certainly appreciate what Augustine was going for and that he was doing some serious thinking on it.

    “But he does help us see that the real issue here is not the authority of the Bible, but its right interpretation. ”
    —That is the biggest part I picked up out of this. The problem is that all religions allow for someone with the intelligence of an earthworm to make their own interpretation, write materials to lead others, create their own offshoot groups, and do some really awful things based on the support of their terrible interpretation.

    Assuming the bible was divinely inspired, there isn’t a single human being that ever existed or ever will exist that was qualified to right it down. In order to assume any human was qualified, then you leave the door wide open for lots of people to say they are/were qualified and to announce that their interpretation is the correctly inspired one over the others. There is no way for anyone to test for divine inspiration, therefore, I could announce that the bible distinctly says to kill all inhabitants of Greenland, because God said they can’t live there, then do lots of hoop-jumping to show the bible said that, and if my argument is convincing enough, I can get the support of a bunch of people to run off and destroy Greenland for me.

    Anyway, I see no problem with those who are trying to reconcile it as long as they aren’t going into the realm of lies and self-promotion. To get in front of people and pull such stuff takes an ego equal to that of Christianity’s satan. (That comment is specifically for Ham). I’m counting self promotion as including the forcing belief onto others. There’s been a lot of twisted arguments presented around the US by people trying to force it into the public schools. I would say the same for all religions, and, in fact, I really would prefer if public teachers would just tell children, when they ask questions that have any relation to religion or lack thereof, to talk to their parents. If a parent can’t be bothered to teach their children their religion, that’s their own problem.

    As far as my own opinion, I think it would work better if it was declared that one doesn’t know how their god did it exactly and stop trying to dig into the particulars of that side of the argument and instead focus on just the evidence. Do we really have to work god into evolution? I can see the two standing separately without each other.

    Kelseigh:
    Every religion I’ve ever studied appears to have the concept that it is through transcending the self that one becomes enlightened. It’s a wonderful thing that only a very small subset of people have ever successfully done, though many more will claim they have. As soon as one claims that a voice in their head says they should do something, then they have just listened to their inner self, but some seem to interpret that as god. Anyway, I’m just agreeing with you. Wonderfully put. πŸ™‚ (Granted, I will admit I completely suck at the practice of such things.)

  19. August 20, 2009 6:27 pm

    Okay, I’ll cheerfully amit my error in conflating Augustine’s era with Copernicus and/or Kepler, based on a misreading of part of the article. However, I’m still sticking with Augustine trying to preserve a reading of the bible but still accept the observations of the world around him. And yes, visionary in the sense that he could see that other things that challenge the reading were likely to come along, and it would be best to be ready for them.

  20. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 20, 2009 7:54 pm

    Welcome Mr. Crazy pants. Nice name.

  21. Eric Worringer permalink
    August 20, 2009 7:57 pm

    Hey Kelseigh, as apparently the preeminent biblical scholar on this website (I am dying of laughter at myself as I write this), I am going to helpfully respond to you on the multiple authorship of Genesis. In fact, the belief of many scholars, Christian included is that it comes from 4 authors, the Elohist (user of Elohim as name for God), the Yahwist (user of YHWH for God), the Priestly source, and the Deuteronomist. The Yahwist (from the southern kingdom) and Elohist (northern kingdom) are most likely responsible for the creation stories that differ in reading but in reality convey the same message, the special place in creation for Humans (imago dei, eden), primacy of God, etc…

  22. Eric Worringer permalink
    August 20, 2009 7:58 pm

    and yes, i am prepared to respond to the “Moses wrote the whole thing, if it didn’t, it all falls apart” argument.

  23. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 20, 2009 8:10 pm

    Umm, Mr Eric, who is the chief abbot of this blog? πŸ™‚

  24. August 20, 2009 8:11 pm

    Eric:

    That’s definitely interesting stuff. After writing the above I looked up Wikipedia, and it did generally agree with what you mention there. Although it did refer to the idea that the creation stories both likely came from Babylonian literature rather than oral traditions, which struck me as interesting. I found a few websites that point to similarities between the first story and the latter part of the Tiamat/Marduk legend, and the Eden story with a different legend also from Babylon.

    I wonder, how mainstream is the Babylonian origin for those two stories (as distinct from the rest) in modern scholarship. Is it accepted or a fringe idea, it’s sort of hard to tell just going by websites.

    I butted heads with Honest Tom about the whole Moses issue, although not by name. I mentioned about the dates that Leviticus is generally attributed to and he reacted as if he’d never heard anything of the sort and questioned if the sites I got it from were insane. Apparently he cleaves to the 1300-1500 BC range and doesn’t even recognize any other dates exist.

  25. August 20, 2009 8:11 pm

    I’ve always been a fan of Abbot Costello…

  26. Eric Worringer permalink
    August 20, 2009 8:21 pm

    Yeah, it is common to associate the creation stories with Near East Ancient Lit. I am not completely opposed to this, on the grounds of the fact that truth can be conveyed in a nature that is not non-fiction yeah? For instance, the Genesis 1 creation story takes the babylonian story, gives it a definitive timeline, and most importantly proclaims One God, in this case YHWH, I think for most Christians we miss this importance, it is a proclamation of monotheism, and the God that is revealed in Scripture is one who is not constrained by non-fiction stories, biographies, etc… in fact, it is fairly common in scripture for authors to take images from the society they are writing to portray a radically new message. (see the atonement (lamb that was slain), Luke’s use of Jesus as great physician, John’s use in greek philosophy etc. All attempt to portray a great truth that would be obvious to the folks they were writing to, which didn’t happen to be us. Amazingly, I believe that God can use these cultural specific writings to reveal to us the same truth, but that is for another day.

  27. August 20, 2009 8:48 pm

    So if I follow, the lesson in that case isn’t some sort of documentary explanation of how life and the world came to be, but rather a statement of monotheism. Plus the usual mythical lessons of “why do people die”, “why do people suffer”, “why are there two sexes” and so forth. This would mean that the simplistic literalist reading of “God created two people and they’re the ancestors of all humanity” utterly misses the point by being far too superficial.

    Am I following here?

  28. Eric Worringer permalink
    August 20, 2009 8:50 pm

    yup.

  29. August 20, 2009 8:55 pm

    Neurons are firing correctly, sir!

    So in that case, reconciling Genesis 1 and 2 are, essentially, pointless. Since you don’t need to reconcile the timelines to take the allegorical messages of one god, various lessons, etc., and doing so means you’re focusing on the text rather than what the authors were actually writing about. Which of course is a slap in the face to the hardcore biblical literalists such as Ken Ham and so forth, which I can support. And if Jonathan’s view agrees with that at all, then I can see how he maintains a fundamental belief in what the stories say while accepting scientific evidence of long time frames, evolution, etc.

    So what about the other serious bone of contention, the Great Flood? Any insights you can provide? Or would that be better as a blog entry all it’s own? I can certainly see a review of the scholarship on the Creation stories as a full entry rather than just a few brief comments.

  30. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 20, 2009 10:32 pm

    Well, pointless isn’t exactly the word, more as in, let the text stand as is and enjoy the different angles. Same concept.

    And I think that you can still focus on what the writer’s are writing about in Genesis. The purpose of the text is to 1)Tell Everyone that God created the World (no concern with how) 2)a polemic, as Eric finely pointed out, against the gods of the Eastern Med. World, 3) to remember who this is written for, this means, setting up the Jewish work week: Six days you shall work, and on the seventh rest.

    So, with those modifications, you can see why I maintain belief in the texts, because I’m going back to what they are actually meant to convey, not what’s pressed on them by 150 year old system of theology. And that, is hermaneutics.

    Ah, the flood, that’s a whole topic in of itself.

  31. Johann permalink
    August 20, 2009 11:12 pm

    “I’m going back to what they are actually meant to convey”

    I have an issue with that, actually. While it makes good storytelling sense to set something up this way if you’re trying to establish it as a tradition – or to include a hook to something already established in the story to make it easier to relate to – there would’ve been no way given the knowledge of the world at the time to establish that an allegorical reading is preferable to a literal one.

    We don’t, to the best of my knowledge, have any accounts of early Jews sitting around nodding sagely about how this whole thing with dirt and ribs and snakes and fruits is all metamphorical-like, what with the Greeks and their story of how Aphrodite was born out of Uranus’s junk when it was chopped off and tossed into the ocean, I mean have you ever seen a naked woman coming out of the ocean, no, not your wife, Moishe, we all know about her.

    …do we? πŸ˜‰ *is just an amateur, not a Biblical/Talmudic scholar* Absent some evidence one way or another, it seems pointless to argue about how it was perceived at that time.

  32. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 20, 2009 11:44 pm

    Actually, Jews did sit around and do just that. Jewish tradition has a loooonngggg history of arguing and talking about scripture. The Dead Sea Scrolls tell us they were doing this, at the very least, as early as the 3rd cent bc. And there are indications it went on long before that. The Greeks never did, really, it was mostly based in philsophical speculation.

  33. Johann permalink
    August 20, 2009 11:59 pm

    Okay, I’m intrigued. πŸ˜€ I mean, I know about the Jewish tradition of scholarship and debate, but what do we have specifically on their contemporary take on Genesis?

  34. August 21, 2009 12:08 am

    1)Tell Everyone that God created the World (no concern with how)

    So is this what people mean when they talk about genre in interpreting the books of the Bible? i.e., the actual story is more a template than anything, and recognized by the writers as more a vehicle for the point they’re making rather than a point unto itself.

  35. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 21, 2009 12:20 am

    I think that’s about right Kelseigh.

  36. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 21, 2009 12:21 am

    Hmmm, that’s a great question. I’m not entirely sure. Anyone want to chime in here?

  37. August 21, 2009 12:40 am

    Cool, I’ve learned several things today.

  38. Ms. Crazy Pants permalink
    August 21, 2009 12:42 am

    Welcome Mr. Crazy pants. Nice name.

    Ms.

    Oh, and actually, that came out of someone else’s insult to someone, but I liked it too much. πŸ™‚ No actual relation to the REAL Mr. Crazy Pants.

  39. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 21, 2009 12:51 am

    Ah, bowing to you, Ms. Crazy Pants, my mistake.

  40. Matheus permalink
    August 21, 2009 3:09 am

    Jonathan I’d like you to create a topic on hermeneutics sometime so we can have a discussion. Looking forward to it.

  41. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 21, 2009 7:03 am

    Excellant Idea, Matheus. Expect to see this in the near future.

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