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I Don’t Believe a Snake Talked but I Do Believe Aliens Seeded Our Planet

I spend a lot of my time reading books that are very difficult to read. In my library I have dozens of books from atheistic authors, most of them former Christians who left the faith. Their leaving is tagged with a variety of reasons, but they primarily have to do with some sort of “awakening” from the “intellectual slumber” as they describe it.

I also spend much time going through atheistic websites and blogs, reading people’s thoughts. I rarely interact. I simply go there to learn.

What I see is a lot of bitterness and anger. This evidences itself in much ridicule. I find the ridicule very interesting and typical of the way people think when they get into this box. (Yes, for the most part, it is a box.) They are upset because, according to them, they spent much of their life believing a lie parallel to that of Santa Clause. Now they have been set free from irrationality and now have the freedom to think (that is why they refer to themselves as “free thinkers”). They seek to help others to become free thinkers.

The other day I read a thread on one of these atheistic/Christian recovery websites which had about sixty or seventy posts which simply poked fun at Christian beliefs. Topping the list was the creation of Eve from the rib of Adam, a snake talking, Jonah’s adventure in the belly of a whale, Balaam’s donkey speaking, and the whole story of special creation.

After continuing this mockery for quite some time one atheist made an astonishingly wise and unexpected observation which turned the conversation in a very interesting way. It is this turn that caused me to write this short blog.

He said (paraphrase): “Guys, I certainly concur that God is not real and that the stories of the Bible are mythology. I also concur that Christians are naive to believe in such nonsense. But I do often ask myself where did everything come from? What started it all? How is it that we are all here?”

Bypassing the simplicity of the question dealing with ultimate ontological origins (i.e. the origin of the “stuff” of the universe), the commentators acknowledge the difficulty of the question and went straight to a discussion of human origins.

However, they were first quick to point out that the difficulty of the question does not justify or legitimize the insertion of an “ultimate creator” which explains all things (often referred to as the “God of the Gaps” approach).

“What is your best guess then?” the other asked.

At this point people became more timid and reserved. It almost seemed to quiet the bashing party down. Yet there were some brave souls who took a shot. Can you hear throats clearing on a blog? Well you could here as they prepared to respond.

What was their answer to the origin of all things? What was their non-naive, rational, scientific, this-does-not-look-anything-like-Santa-and-you-can-teach-your-children answer? Aliens. Yes, aliens seeded our planet five million years ago.

Let us just set aside the fact that this does not solve anything since we have to answer where the aliens came from. Let us also set aside the presumption that these people may not be atheists but alien worshipers (alitheists?). Let us also not refer to this as the “Alien of the Gaps” answer (at least not right now).  There is something more fundamental that I would like to ask:

Is the belief that aliens seeded our planet five billion years ago more rational, scientific, and believable than the answer that a self-existent God created all that there out of nothing (ex nihilo)?

Folks, I am not making this up. The idea that aliens seeded the earth is becoming a valid option among atheists and free-thinkers. It is also starting to find its way into Hollywood.

Not only was this option perfectly acceptable to all the atheists on this blog (remember, the ones who were making fun of the story of Adam and Eve), but Richard Dawkins has publicly stated that believes that Alien implantation is an “intriguing possibility.”

Listen to this. I just finished the last episode of Battlestar Galactica (sniff, sniff). This series was filled with the God question which it never really answered. Except . . . that at the very end, the voyagers of the Battlestar fleet made earth their new home (their home planet that was destroyed). These voyagers are shown to be the explanation of where the human race came from—an implantation of the union between robotic Cylons and humans who were both alien.

Another interesting example was the new Nicolas Cage movie, Knowing, that was released this weekend. (Warning: Spoiler). Filled with much suspense, we find out in the end that aliens saved humanity by seeding another planet with a male and a female human (not to mention the animals).

My question for you is this: Can one legitimately belittle any detail of the biblical creation story on the grounds of intellectual integrity and replace it with a belief that aliens seeded our planet and remain in good standing rationally? How much worse is a snake talking than a creature from another planet talking?

How does “I don’t believe that a snake talked but I do believe that aliens seeded our planet sit with you?”

85 Responses to “I Don’t Believe a Snake Talked but I Do Believe Aliens Seeded Our Planet”

  1. The flip-side also seems to work:

    “Can one legitimately belittle any detail of the [aliens-seeded-our-planet] story on the grounds of intellectual integrity and replace it with a belief [in the biblical creation story] and remain in good standing rationally? How much worse is [a creature from another planet talking] than [a snake talking]?

  2. “How does “I don’t believe that a snake talked but I do believe that aliens seeded our planet sit with you?”

    It sits as totally irrational and intellectually dishonest to make such an assertion.

  3. Truth Unites... and Divides March 23, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    “How does “I don’t believe that a snake talked but I do believe that aliens seeded our planet sit with you?”

    One good, hearty laugh deserves another.

  4. Panspermia and exogenesis seem more scientifically credible because you can use big words to talk about them, and guys like Carl Sagan gave their lives to efforts like SETI. Extraterrestrial life is beyond our common experience, but talking snakes and donkeys are the things of fables and objects of common human experience, so I can see why the intelligentsia mock them.

  5. Wow another BSG fan!!! One of the best series that was on television. I will join you in the “sniff, sniff”. I certainly found the ending interesting, especially considering the whole “God’s plan” thing. Very weird because everything I’ve read says that Ron Moore is an atheist (though I believe the creator of the original BSG was Mormon).

    As to aliens seeding our world I think the biggest problem is the one you mentioned – where did the aliens come from??? I mean the whole philosophy of naturalism is based on the idea that all that is can be explained by natural causes. Believing the theory that aliens seeded Earth may explain (naturally) how life came to be on Earth, but it doesn’t explain how life came to be on the planet the aliens came from. To believe this theory is not to eliminate the problem of explaining how things came to be, it just pushes it back a few billion years.

  6. No Dennis, it’s because true Legitimate Science involves an initial step in examining a theory, prior to any examination of evidence & testing:

    1.) Philosophically classify the theory into “natural” or “supernatural”.
    2.) If “supernatural”, stop here. Don’t bother examining evidence.

  7. Michael, what can we do to make them change their mind? We need a spin off or something…but I can’t make it without Adama.

  8. Jugulum, My point is its easier to believe stuff totally outside our common experience (aliens) than something in our experience which is out of the ordinary (talking snakes). Everyone knows snakes don’t talk because we have lots of snakes laying around and none of them are fluent in human language. That is why talking snakes are unbelievable, but since relatively few (credible) people claim to have seen aliens, it is easier to beg the question by claiming aliens know about origins, if only we could find an alien to ask about it.

    Aside: Science as been RE-defined as being naturalistic. The materialist bias to science has only taken hold since Darwin.

  9. Dennis,

    I got it. I wasn’t actually disagreeing, just faux-rationalizing like a faux-skeptic. :)

  10. Has anyone here ever researched the Nephilim mentioned in Genesis 6?
    NIV Gen 6:4 “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days–and afterwards–when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heros of old, men of renown.”
    These atheist have to put there beliefs for the beginning of life somewhere and this whole alien hypothesis is not something that a bunch of atheist fabricated. We need to remember who our enemy is and that he is very crafty and is now getting desperate as the times draw nearer to the end.
    The Bible says the these “Nephilim” were here in “those days– and afterwards.” What if the Nephilim are Satan’s tool to deceive people into thinking aliens were here first? Like 1 Pe 5:8 says “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” There is no doubt that Satan is going to do everything within his power to mislead and deceive as many people as possible before he is defeated by God. 2Th 2:9 “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders.”

  11. CMP,
    Nice picture of a grey….lol.

    The Bible says a donkey talked as well…and get this…I had a cockatiel that talked to me. Now if someone has never heard a bird talk would they believe it? We may have not seen this particular snake but it does not mean it does talk.

    Alien seeding theology is nothing new, I heard people say it a long time ago, and I have met people who claim to have been actual half-alien half human. There are a lot of pagan and new age religions who do believe this. So if atheists are falling for it means they are not really atheists. They are just anti-Judeo-Christian.

    And the alien seeding idea in Hollywood is as old as science-fiction itself. I will tell you this, Hollywood and the theater in general is acting in an agenda to undercut Christian morals. I am a playwright and have belonged to forums with other professional playwrights and actors. They believe they must be deviant and must present you with deviance because to them it is a sacred duty to challenge the moral ideologies. They make statements like “we got to shock them to make them listen”. When you watch a play, movie or television show, it is those screenwriters own personal idealisms that are written in.

  12. Truth Unites... and Divides March 23, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    How does “I don’t believe that a snake talked but I do believe that aliens seeded our planet sit with you?”

    This blog is about helping (some) Christians in “reclaiming the mind”.

    If you believe in the Virgin Birth and the Literal Resurrection of Jesus Christ, then why would a “talking snake” bother you?

  13. Michael, it sounds as if you find that most atheists start out with a belief in God…. but then abandon it…. (maybe because they are mad about something bad which has happened in their life ?). Since Romans says that man suppresses the truth, I’ve often wondered if most atheists would admit to having, at least for a time, a belief in God. Is that what you find? Why the anger….. do you think?

    As far as aliens go…. definitely silly…. but it allows for another answer which frees one of submission to a higher authority. Your question is valid. You should stealthily throw some key questions into that blog discussion. Enter the fray.

  14. BSG ???? You gotta be kiddin’ me…. amateurs ;-)

    How about one of the best film openings EVER…. “2001: A Space Odyssey anyone” ?? If you’re unfamiliar, you can find it quite easily on youtube… may be a bit shocking to some though. Search for “Dawn of Man” on youtube.

    All kidding aside and SF banter notwithstanding, it’s a topic that’s been around since the book of the aforementioned movie was written in 1968. If not longer.

    And I’ve personally struggled with it during a certain period in my life. To be completely honest, I still on occasion wonder. It’s difficult to explain pyramids, mayan periods, etc and the “alien seeding” concept is an easy way out. We can’t explain all the things we see on this earth. Whether the creation was literal as depicted in Genesis or not, (ooops…. am I now going to be labeled forever as a heretic ???) is besides the point that exogenesis or panspermia don’t offer a solution at all either.

    Dennis pointed out the words to describe the phenomenon, we should understand them, not deride them as laughable. We should try to find a Christian way to explain lovingly that neither one explains the “origin of species”. And then engage with those that adhere to it.

    Over many years I’ve come to the conclusion that only God’s creation ex nihilo provides an answer… and it’s visible all around.

    All the rest (6 literal days, here or elsewhere, Mayans, pyramids, Nazca lines, Wandjina aboriginal myths in Australia, Japanese dogu, ….) inconsequential chatter. But I for one would like to see more Christians being able to engage in discussions around them. We tend to sweep them under the rug and are unable to engage with the culture around us. I personally think we’re not doing ourselves a service in that matter.

    PS: CMP, Let me know the producers like your solution to the Adama problem, when you find it. I’ll definitely watch if they do ;-)

    In Him
    Mick

  15. Oh and as a side note .. for those interested..

    Voyager 1 is currently the fastest man-made vehicle that is travelling interstellar @ 38,600 Mph. It’ll take it roughly 17,400 years to cover what light travels in a year. Considering the closest star to our sun is roughly 4.7 lightyears away, it’ll take Voyager 1 close to 80,000 years to get there. And there’s no other planet close to Alpha Centauri C. So where did the aliens come from ???

    I had to re-do the math since I hadn’t done it in quite a while, but I believe I’m correct. I’ll double check and let you know if I made an error.

    Cheers !

    Mick

  16. Michael, one ward: warp. No two: warp drive.

  17. BSG was fine, but nothing compared to Babylon 5

  18. CMP.. lol.. “But I’m givin’ her all she’s got capt’n” !! (Can’t type in a scottish accent though) even then.. it would take a while ;-)

  19. Alien seeding of life may be an interesting discussion point, but it is not a dogmatic belief of most non-theists. We don’t have to pick between talking snakes and aliens.

    Listen to Dawkins’ words in the Expelled clip linked above: “Nobody knows how [life] got started.” “We don’t know.” “No one has any idea how it started” His comments about aliens was not to propound a dogmatic belief but were a discussion in response to questioning by Stein.

    I see a fundamental difference between the non-theist and Christian positions:

    Dawkins first and foremost says “We don’t know.” Anything beyond this is supposition. Maybe its aliens, maybe natural causes not yet understood (like lightning 1000 years ago) maybe its God? But really, our current understanding falls far short of certainty on this question.
    We don’t know.

    The Christian first and foremost says “We do know.” It was not aliens. It was not natural abiogenesis. It was God. We know this. We have a book that says this. We sometimes feel this is very true in our hearts.
    We can’t be wrong.

  20. Can it fairly be said that Atheism is not an intellectual matter; it’s a matter of morality. (Romans 1:22, Psalm 14:1 ) It is a human resentment of the reality that there is a God and he is gong to judge me and you. Atheism is simply a project to get out from under God’s authority.

    It can be observed that the bible says God speaks to us through two revelations – creation and conscience. When we respond to God, “I want to know You, I need to know You”; God gives more light. It says all men have some light. Light obeyed increases light. God gives us truth; when we believe that truth, God gives us more truth. Ex. – Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-39); Cornelius (Acts 10).

    Has there ever been a time when we have had more “scientific” evidence (light) that points to a creator and designer of man and all that is the universe? When they see a fine watch they say it has a watch maker, when they see a tall building they know it has a designer, but when they see God’s creation they say it evolved without a deisgner or by chance. So, atheisism is not a matter of intellectualism it is a matter of morality. An antheist is a person who the idea of God makes him uncomfortable. If he can get rid of this idea of God he can get rid of his uncomfortable feeling.

    Atheists have no starting point so the notion of aliens is just defering the question of a starting point through the imagination of little fearful men and women who have no proof, no evidence. They primarily use intellectual intimidation and they particularlily use it in our schools on young un-discipled minds.
    Could it be the reason such non believers don’t have an answer to the origins of life or the universe is because they refuse to live up to the light that God has already given us. Why should God show them more until they obey what we already have been shown and now know? I believe God will hold accountable more so those who have heard the gospel and refused the truth than those who have not heard it. In thier conscious, so called athiest know this too.

    Perhaps if they wanted to understand the part of the Bible they don’t understand, like “In the beginning God”” they should begin to obey the part they do understand – morality and obedience for example, but they don’t want to believe, they do not want to obey and as a result they only have the “universal acid” of Darwinism and the unsubstantiated belief that its all just a cosmic accident or man is an alien plant as arguments. (sorry for the length)

  21. Another quote-mining of Dawkins can produce: “A serious case could be made for a deistic God.” And yet once you look at it in context, you see that he is still very much an atheist. This provides a good baseline for just how pathetically weak of an endorsement “an intriguing possibility” is. When I first watched the Matrix I thought the possibility that I’m plugged into a virtual reality machine was intriguing. I still do, but I still won’t take this intriguing possibility seriously until someone gives me a red pill.

  22. Well, one could actually investigate if life was brought to earth by aliens. There are a number of things that could actually prove this. We could find remnants of early DNA on Mars or on a meteorite or some other extra terrestrial source. These are big ifs, but they are within the realm of possibility. And few atheists actually claim that this is the exclusive explanation of life on this planet. It would require substantial proof.

    Proving that God created everything is unprovable. Most “proofs” are simply conjecture and rely on authority, not proof. And many people who claim that God created everything are quite confident that its true and no amount of evidence to the contrary would ever convince them otherwise. And if a god created everything, there is even less proof that its the god of the Bible, since this god doesn’t seem to edit its inspired passages for accuracy and rational consistency. This god also seems to have the maturity of a 5 year child when it comes to people who cross him, throwing tantrums, sending floods, burning people alive for all eternity, and seemingly craving attention all the time from his followers in the form of animal sacrifices, prayers, praise, and financial contributions.

    While I don’t think we have enough evidence to even suppose aliens started life on this planet, this is far more rational than talking snakes, virgin births, and the sun stopping in the sky.

  23. Curt Maybe its aliens, maybe natural causes not yet understood (like lightning 1000 years ago) maybe its God? But really, our current understanding falls far short of certainty on this question. We don’t know.

    The Christian first and foremost says “We do know.” It was not aliens. It was not natural abiogenesis….

    The strength of conviction is of minimal consequence. You can’t mock someone for a bizarre belief when you also have bizarre beliefs based on the argument that you hold your bizarre beliefs with less conviction.

  24. OK…maybe it’s Satan’s demons posing as these aliens. Like I said, We can’t forget that Satan is going to do everything possible to disprove God’s creation. Gen 6:4.

  25. The most difficult thing for atheists to explain is the beginning of the universe. The universe had a beginning and there is no non-theistic explanation for that. Theism however, provides a rational explanation for that beginning. Then, once one grants a powerful God, then all sorts of other things become possible, such as other non-human beings. Talking animals are inconsequential, because an explanation for having a perception of an animal talking does not require that the animals vocal cords and mouth formed the sounds of human speech.

    regards,
    John

  26. Steve in Toronto March 24, 2009 at 8:47 am

    I don’t know what bother me more about this post. The highlighting and literalizing of one of the more obviously mythic aspects of the creation narrative (I guess we should be thankful that you didn’t assert that snakes once walked on two legs as I had be taught in Sunday school) or the superficial treatment of one of the more speculative corners of evolutionary naturalism. All this post did was creating a good deal more heat than light. Speaking only for myself I find the concept of Aliens seeding the earth quite a bit more plausible than talking snakes (however neither concept is partially convincing). I thank God that he has given me the faith to believe in Christ’s resurrection and wish that Christians would stop putting stumbling block in the path of reflective non believers. Next you will be telling us that rainbows did not exist before “God put his bow in the sky as a sign of his covenant with Noah”

    Peace

    Steve in Toronto

  27. Steve, the point is not that all Christians must believe that snakes walked and talked (which is perfectly reasonable to believe if you believe that a man rose, sea parted, and donkey talked), but the mocking of someone concerning this who believes that we came from ET.

    Maybe this ET talked and walked and looked like a snake? Would the Biblical narrative be more real then. Sadly, I suppose it would to many.

  28. Steve in Toronto March 24, 2009 at 10:14 am

    I am sorry Michael I know your post was more nuanced. I was reacting more to the tone of some of the commenter’s. I grew up in a godly Christian home and for good parts of the last 20 years I have felt as if my faith was hanging by a thread. I pity someone who comes to our faith cold. I am convinced that the issues that are raised by this post are distractions. We need to keep the focus on the person and work of Christ. We also need to have a thoughtful discussion of what Genre the creation narratives are actually written in. I recently read Gilgamesh and frankly it has a lot more in common with the first few chapters of Genesis than most Christians are willing to admit. No one expects a seven headed dragon to turn up at the end of days why are we all so fixated on a what seems to be such obvious mythic images (God forming man from dust, Eve from a rib, a tree of good and evil ect.). It’s frightening to me to see how much of orthodox theology seems to hanging on wooden literal readings of these texts. On the other hand it’s exciting to think what insights could be waiting for Orthodox Christian scholars who are willing to grapple with these texts in the light of what we have learn looking at modern science and ancient Middle Eastern literature.

    God Bless

    Steve

  29. Truth Unites... and Divides March 24, 2009 at 10:20 am

    I’ve seen what higher criticism has done to the Resurrection.

    Thanks, but no thanks.

  30. Steve in Toronto March 24, 2009 at 10:33 am

    Christ was raised from the dead no mater what a few flaky liberal scholars say on the other hand I don’t see why it follows that we should read the first few chapters of geneses as if it was yesterdays newspaper

  31. Only a “few flaky liberal scholars” challenge the resurrection story. Is that right?

  32. Steve in Toronto,

    Thanks for the comments. I am perhaps one who came to “our faith cold”. Or at least quite lukewarm. And from an RC background nonetheless. Or even worse ! A European RC background ;-)

    “I am convinced that the issues that are raised by this post are distractions. We need to keep the focus on the person and work of Christ.”

    The question I grappled with for years is “WHAT Christ ?” What work ? What’s important ? I can believe in the historical Christ, as a good teacher of morals, a “communist avant la lettre” who showed us to share with everyone, etc.. But it leaves you short.

    The fact that there IS a creator, that there is ONE God, that He is theistic in nature and that Christ is the only begotten Son, is quite important to our faith. And that means Genesis is part of it. Including the original sin piece (which no-one likes these days).

    I do agree however that we very much get distracted with discussions amongst Christians on whether the Genesis account is literal or not. It detracts somewhat from the core.

    In Him

  33. Okay, Michael, if you are going to throw out this mockery of a thread of atheist alienists, you have to include a link so that we can all judge the context of the discussion. To do otherwise is not intellectually honest.

    For the record, I don’t know ANY atheists who believe that life on earth came from outer space and I would justly ridicule them properly for an “alien of the Gaps” argument. That said, atheists do spend an inordinate amount of free time making fun of Christian beliefs. Many of us are stuck to one degree or another, by our Christian upbringing. Often I consider myself an ex-Christian rather than as an atheist plain and simple – can’t just ditch where I come from.

    I second what Curt said: the responsible response to origins questions is “I Don’t Know”. This is the power of procedural naturalism, the power to leave questions open for further consideration. Whatever reasons Christians have for believing in God, I don’t think their position in claiming certainty for their origin beliefs is very strong.

  34. Truth Unites... and Divides March 24, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Steve in Toronto, do you believe in a literal Adam and Eve as written in the Book of Genesis?

  35. Steve in Toronto March 24, 2009 at 11:07 am

    The entire “Jesus Project” was founded on what seems to me to be to be two fatally flawed premises firstly the presumption of naturalism (we have never seen a dead man rise from the dead there for dead people don’t rise from the dead) and secondly the belief that “Scientific” techniques of literary analysis would yield any thing other than a exact mirror image of the prejudices of the critic when unleashed on the small amount of 2000 thousand year old documents that are available for analysis (since we know that dead people don’t rise from the dead any documents that calm that they do can be discarded as obviously unreliable). The belief that this analysis would yield any thing other than then the hyper skeptical results they did is flakey. Sadly your right more than a “few” scholars do defend this extremely flawed project but there numbers are dwindling. The “third quest for the historical Jesus” seems quite a bit more promising.

  36. Becoming comfortable with “I Don’t Know” as an answer to big questions was one of the most enlightening aspects of my becoming a ex-xtian. As a believer I had to believe and defend tenants of the faith that I couldn’t honestly say I knew to be true and which appeared incompatable with a great growing body of knowledge.

    Accepting the “I Don’t Know” puts one on the offensive in the search for truth.

  37. Steve in Toronto March 24, 2009 at 11:29 am

    Re:Truth Unites… and Divides
    I can’t say with absolute certainly yes or no but if I had to take a position I would say no. But I am very concerned that a lot of Paul’s thinking seems to be dependent on a literal Adam. So at present I am suspending judgment and trying to expose myself to theologians that are exploring alternate readings of Paul (NT Wright and Karl Bath). I don’t think that believing in a literal Adam is irrational but I am not convinced that the is the point that the author(s) of the creation narratives was actually trying to make. If I had the time or the talent I would take six years off work learn Greek and Hebrew immerses my self in original source. Sadly at least for now I am forced to rely on expert opinion and when I hear a serous Christian scholar saying that they believe in doctrine “six day creation” I have a hard time taking them seriously. I am still struggling with these issues but my trajedtery over the last 30 years has been fairly constant.

    God Bless

    Steve in Toronto

  38. Truth Unites... and Divides March 24, 2009 at 11:44 am

    “Steve in Toronto, do you believe in a literal Adam and Eve as written in the Book of Genesis?”

    Steve: “…but if I had to take a position I would say no.”

    I suspected that would be the case. It’s polite to ask for confirmation.

    “But I am very concerned that a lot of Paul’s thinking seems to be dependent on a literal Adam.”

    Exactly. And if the Apostle Paul believed and taught a literal Adam, and if the early New Testament Church believed in a literal Adam, and if the Early Church Fathers believed in a literal Adam, what does that tell you?

    “So at present I am suspending judgment and trying to expose myself to theologians that are exploring alternate readings of Paul (NT Wright and Karl Bath).”

    Please round out your readings with scholar-theologians who rebut NT Wright and Karl Barth.

    Grace and peace.

  39. Steve in Toronto March 24, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Re: Truth Unites… and Divides I had never hear of Karl Barth before I read Cornelius Van Til (actually it was probably Shaffer but you get the idea) and the fact that I frequent this Blog is evidence that I have not cut my self off more conventional orthodox theology (right now I am reading Robertson’s Christ and the Covenants” and Beale’s “The Temple and the Church’s Mission” is next in line but I confess that I now longer think that I will ever again be able to embarrass any theological system with the enthusiasm that I embraced reformed theology 15 years ago. As it stands right now the reformed critics of Wight and Barth have convinced me that they are not “confessional” not that they are not “Biblical”. I am intrigue by a lot of the Anglican stuff I have read recently (mostly Rowan Williams and NT Wright). The sad fact is that the more I study these issues the more I am becoming convinced that I will never have certain answers to these questions this side of the kingdom. I don’t understand how Confessional Christians can defend there doctoral with such conviction.

    Peace

  40. Steve in Toronto March 24, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Re: Truth Unites… and Divides (and anyone else)

    Your prayer are always welome

    God Bless

  41. Truth Unites... and Divides March 24, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    Steve in Toronto,

    Why don’t you read this book by Beale instead, and put it at the top of your reading list?

    “I am intrigue by a lot of the Anglican stuff I have read recently (mostly Rowan Williams and NT Wright).”

    I’m sorry to hear that.

    P.S. You’ve used the word “certain” several times in your comments. How do you define this term? I suspect that a fuzzy understanding of this term is tripping you up.

  42. Steve in Toronto March 24, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Re:The Erosion of Inerrancy in Evangelicalism
    I will probably get around to it (I heard him interview about it on both the Issues ect and the Reformed Forum) but I think I have reached the point regarding inerrancy that I reached regarding six day creationism 25 years ago. The more I read (both pro and con) the less I was convinced of the conventional orthodox position and what’s worse central elements of my faith were beginning to feel shaky. Learning about how the metaphorical language of the ancient Hebrews reflected their view of the world as God’s temple seems infinitly more edifying that diving back into the “Bible Wars”

    Re: Anglican stuff sorry if I wasn’t an Anglican I would probably be a Lutheran (ELC not LCMS) or maybe PCUSA would you like that better? By the way CS Lewis was an Anglican what wrong with him? (Yes I know you have a long list starting with purgatory)

    Re: Certainty I am not certain what it means to be certain (does that make me hopelessly post modern)

  43. If you think that’s silly what about the naturalistic responses to the big bang and the fine-tuning. The universe popped into into being out of nothing – that’s explains the big bang. And there are an infinite number of unobservable universes that aren’t fine-tuned – that explains our fine-tuned universe.

    I am not kidding.

    Wintery Knight

  44. Steve in Toronto wrote:
    >when I hear a ser[i]ous Christian scholar[s] saying that
    >they believe in [the] doctrine [of a] “six day creation” I
    >have a hard time taking them seriously.

    I could care less what the scholars say. What does the text mean is what matters to me. The author of Genesis did intend to teach a particular duration for Creation Week, and that duration is best described by the simple unambiguous modern phrase, “144 hours.” Any denial of this conclusion is either illogical or inconsistent with the evidence.

    For details, go here: http://www.ittybittycomputers.com/Essays/Falsifiability.htm

  45. Steve in Toronto,

    I understand what you are saying. I’m in the same boat. I’m not sure how to approach the opening chapters of Genesis just yet, but I do know for a fact that a modern, wooden, strictly literal interpretation is out of the question.

    If you are interesting in this subject more, John H. Walton has written several good books on it, namely a commentary on Genesis and another on reading the Old Testament within the context of Ancient Near Eastern literature. I know it may ruffle the feathers of some, but Peter Enns’ book, Inspiration and Incarnation (of which Beale’s Inerrancy book is a response to) has a good chapter on this topic too (Chapter 2).

    Given the science of the day, its not very easy for the thinking person to wrestle with the more popular interpretations of Genesis in a manner that satisfies traditional orthodoxy, but thats to be expected and also not new. The church once had to deal with the new science of the day, namely heliocentrism, and redo a lot of its theology that was based off of the old way of thinking about the universe. We’ll eventually have to do the same with Paul’s treatment of Adam in his letters.

    Some may not like this and may think that science is trumping the Bible, but they are just misguided. Science is only trumping their interpretation, and though they act like it, their interpretations are not inspired.

    I’m not a theologian (yet!), so its not my job to figure this stuff out. All I have is the knowledge science brings to the table and what I know from reading scholarly writings on the Ancient Near East. We’ll eventually work these theological problems out and come to a reasonable understanding of them given enough time. Although I haven’t read it, I think Denis O. Lamoureux’s book, Evolutionary Creation: A Christian Approach to Evolution, attempts to do this.

    You may enjoy a blog called Beyond the Firmament. Google the name and it should be the first result. The post for March 11th, called Through Ancient Eyes, is the last of a 16-part video series the author has made concerning Science and Christian Education. I think you will enjoy it very much, as it deals with the question of how an ancient Israelite would have understood the creation account.

    The Video section on the site is also a wonderful resource on this topic, if you want to learn more about it yourself or show them to others who have the same concerns you do. Some of the videos, like the Christianity & Biology ones, may prove especially sobering to six-day creationists because the science and facts of evolution are plainly provided and explained by a competent, Christian biologist.

    I hope some of these can help!

    Greg

  46. Truth Unites... and Divides March 24, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    Greg: “I’m not sure how to approach the opening chapters of Genesis just yet, but I do know for a fact that a modern, wooden, strictly literal interpretation is out of the question.”

    Do you think that the Apostle Paul inspired by God was making a “modern, wooden, strictly literal interpretation” when he wrote and taught about a literal Adam that was written about in the Book of Genesis?

  47. Michael J. Phillips March 24, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    This is quite the interesting discussion. Quoting Dawkins from “Expelled” brings about a good laugh. He stated that there is no way a god designed the world. It is more plausible for aliens to have seeded the earth than for a god to have designed it. How is it scientific to exclude a possibility because of presuppositions?

    I would recommend “The Privileged Planet” by Gonzales and “A Meaningful World” by Witt and Wicker. They make a pretty strong argument for there being no possibility for life in any other galaxies much less any remote planets. If this is verified by science as we move forward, how does this alter this present conversation?

    Just some questions is had,

    MJP

  48. Truth,

    “Do you think that the Apostle Paul inspired by God was making a “modern, wooden, strictly literal interpretation” when he wrote and taught about a literal Adam that was written about in the Book of Genesis?”

    I don’t know as I’m not a New Testament theologian. I think there is room in our interpretation though, don’t you?

    As to the literalness of Adam, I’m open to suggestions. If the opening chapters of Genesis fit ancient literary methods other than strict history, would you be willing to reconsider your current position?

    I know two things as of right now:

    1. Ancient Near Eastern literature and culture sheds much needed light on the Old Testament, particularly Genesis. The goal is to understand it as the ancients did then, not as we do today. Doing so disconnects the account from needing to adhere to our modern sensibilities regarding the physical origins of the universe. By understanding it as Ancient Near Eastern literature according to its own conventions, I do not in the least try to reconcile the creation account and flood with modern science. Doing so undermines Biblical authority by attempting to make it fit a mold it was not made to fit in. Nor do I try to force modern science to conform to Genesis, regardless of the interpretation one adheres to. They are free to be as they are.

    2. There is strong evidence for evolution and an old universe. There is no evidence for a recent creation and special creation of life, and in fact, there is evidence against it. Six-day creationism and special creation models make testable predictions. These predictions, when tested, have not produced any helpful evidence for the model.

    That’s where I know I stand. As to how Paul dealt with Adam, I think, as I mentioned, there is room available for other interpretations.

    All I know now is that my previously held position of six-day creationism is not supported by the scriptural and scientific evidence.

  49. Truth Unites... and Divides March 24, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    Greg: “Do you think that the Apostle Paul inspired by God was making a “modern, wooden, strictly literal interpretation” when he wrote and taught about a literal Adam that was written about in the Book of Genesis?”

    I don’t know as I’m not a New Testament theologian. I think there is room in our interpretation though, don’t you?

    As to the literalness of Adam, I’m open to suggestions.”

    Good. Then I suggest that you follow your own suggestion. You wrote, “The goal is to understand it as the ancients did then, not as we do today.”

    Then let’s regard the Apostle Paul as both ancient and the divinely inspired author of his epistles. Did he understand Adam to be a literal person in the Book of Genesis? Would his understanding as an ancient be a “modern, wooden, strictly literal interpretation” of Genesis as you put it?

  50. The work of Arthur C Clark, who worked with the alien thesis a lot in his works of fiction, and a long time ago already, and was considered an authority within the world of science, of course also needs some mention when we discuss this.

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