Saturday, September 24, 2016

Myth, Allegory, Metaphor

Tim Challies has a few relevant queries about the way theistic evolutionists allow their scientific opinions to trump scripture:

1. If the description of the creation of the world is either just a vague metaphor for what actually happened or perhaps some kind of allegory, where do we determine that historical narrative actually begins?

My comments: The can of worms we open when we allegorize the creation narrative is quite a bit bigger than we may think.

The theistic evolutionists I’ve seen put their views on record wouldn’t draw a hard line at the end of Genesis 2 with the completion of creation (or at the end of Genesis 3 with sin entering the world) and announce, “The historical narrative starts here” even if they had logical and textual reasons to make such a distinction. Having committed themselves to the principle of “science over scripture”, they are just as likely to include in their “iffy” category Noah’s ark, the Tower of Babel and whatever portions of Israel’s history don’t jibe with the most recent archaeological discoveries because ... “science”.

In fact, if at any point they come across new data that seems to contradict scripture, they seem uniformly willing to discard the Bible rather than examine the data more closely. As Michael Gungor puts it, “you can still love God and love people and read those early Genesis stories as myth”.

Further, where Challies frames the issue as “science trumping scripture”, I would point out that it’s not genuine, observational science the theistic evolutionist defers to, but rather current quasi-scientific historical theorizing, which is a different thing entirely. The list of ways in which scientists have been wrong over the years is lengthy; the list of ways in which the scientific method has become politicized and riddled with outright fraud is even longer; and the much-lauded process of peer-review in which many place their confidence often turns out to be not much more than glorified proofreading.

The notion that Christians must concede whatever today’s scientists postulate in order to remain relevant is based more on fear than fact, and ascribes a gravity and finality to a comparatively small set of assertions about origins that they don’t deserve and haven’t yet earned.

2. If we hold to evolution we have no way of knowing if, how or why Adam is our federal head. Was he perhaps the first person who was truly a sentient being? Was he the first person to whom the moral law was given? Did God somehow intervene in his life to give him something that made him human while the rest of the species went on as animals?

My comments: Challies’ question is a good one. But again, unwillingness to defend Genesis often goes hand in hand with a reluctance to defend other parts of scripture, including the New Testament. People who think Paul’s instructions to the Corinthians are to be interpreted culturally do not seem the least bit persuaded by the arguments Paul makes from the creation order and from Genesis 3. An allegorical interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis makes such things even easier to dismiss.

If a Christian is untroubled by the teaching that his Saviour wrongly believed in the existence of mythical people like Noah, why would he be concerned about whether the doctrine of Adam’s federal headship can survive an allegorical Genesis?

3. How did sin and death come into the world?

My comments: Paul says, “Sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin”. All theistic evolutionists are compelled to deny something about this verse, whether it is by arguing that sin did not actually come into the world through one individual, or by arguing that death existed prior to Adam (assuming he existed at all).

But more importantly, this restatement of what is taught in Genesis 3 provides the foundation for what follows in Romans:
“But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.”
That’s pretty significant to your salvation and mine. If “many” did not actually die “through one man’s trespass” but through some other unstated mechanism, how can we be confident the “free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many”? For the theistic evolutionist, truth and error (sorry, “allegory”) exist in scripture not just in the first few chapters but side-by-side all the way through.

A literal interpretation of Genesis 3 and salvation theology are inextricably bound together in the New Testament. You may try to tease them apart if you wish.

I don’t.

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