bible studies discussion

This is to discuss further the supposed “conflict” between the Bible and Modern Science. We have discussed at length the various views presented that keep this “conflict” going, chief among them being the debate between Evolution (often oversimplified) and Creationism (a “literal” interpretation of Genesis chapters 1-11 held by some Christian traditions). While we have more subjects to cover, the issue of Science and Scripture still remains a major “stumbling block” for some.

I have argued that a responsible interpretation of Genesis not only allows for a mythological understanding (think parables of Jesus), but requires it based on the ancient Near East context and comparisons to other mythologies of their neighbors (e.g. Johnston’s article about Egyptian creation myths). This is not somehow a concession to evolutionary science, but instead what appears reverential hermeneutics in attempts for “rightly dividing the Word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15).

Nevertheless, some final discussions on the matter seem in order. To make sure you’ve heard what can be shared on both sides (at the popular level), I’ve placed on the “Course content” page a famous Evolution/Creationism debate that was took place between popular science spokesman Bill Bye and Creationism proponent Kan Ham. Watch it and consider the arguments. Notice that Ham starts with a distinct view of Biblical interpretation, though without being a Bible scholar, and assumes that the science should fit it. He never accounts for the various interpretations of Genesis that Biblical scholarship has developed, all of which are from reverent scholars of faith, who do not hold his “literalist” interpretation of Genesis 1-11.

Also. Watch my video comments on “Materialism” in the “video lectures” folder. Ken Ham appears to have only two categories: atheistic evolutionists and Biblical Creationists. What about those Christians that don’t ask science questions from Moses? Does he even think they exist? Can someone be a methodological materialist without subscribing to philosophical materialism? Ken Ham doesn’t seem to think so.

Here are some questions to start your discussion with each other:

1. Leaving personal beliefs aside, who do you think made the better presentation in the Bill Bye/Kan Ham debate? Give examples.

2. Considering the “two books of God” presentation in the Mitchell book (that you answered about in the exam also), what is your favorite interpretative model for reconciling these non-overlapping magisteria? Gap theory? Day-age? Johnston’s comparison analysis? Why?

3. I have argued for a mythological/theological interpretation of Genesis 1-11 because that’s its most likely function as literature. Do you find that a reverential treatment of sacred text? Or must all Scriptures be taken as factual to be accepted as “true?” Explain your position.

4. If the “conflict” between the Bible and Modern Science is unnecessary, as I have argued, then why does it persist? Who benefits from keeping it going? Why does reasonable, calm dialogue about it seem so rare?

Guidelines: AVOID statements like “I feel” or “I believe.” Back up your assertions. Site evidence. Explain why you favor a model or interpretation. Honor your classmates with decent argumentation.

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