Friday, July 15, 2011

Adrian Miller, Part 2

In Part 1, I provided some references from the Tanakh, or “Old Testament” that taught that the physical creation is a ‘revelation’ of God’s nature. For example, it was taught that the revelation of the Earth was “emet” or “certain and dependable” (Psalm 85). The Book of Job assures us that; the animals, the birds of the air, the earth, and the fish of the sea, can all inform us of God’s creative acts, and nature (Job 12:7-8).

But for Part 2, I want to focus on Part 2 of the Bible. And the first question is does the New Testament also regard the physical universe as a revelation of God’s nature? The obvious text is from Paul;
Romans 1:
20. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
21. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22. Professing to be wise, they became fools,
23. and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

Obviously, verse 20 demands that Christians acknowledge the physical revelation; the same stones and bones, birds and fishes commended by Job, and the Psalms. Of particular note in the context of the anti-science program of creationism is verse 22. This fragment of the whole thought is very popular with creationists celebrating their abject ignorance of science and congratulating themselves for being unwise, but not fools. I have had exchanges with followers of YEC preachers like Ken Ham, or Kent Hovind who insisted that the “wise” who became “fools” was a prophetic text referring to ‘evilutionists.’ The "wise" in verse 22 referred to astrologers in particular, and verse 23 is reference to the deification of Roman emperors, and worship of Egyptian gods; e.g. Anubis with his jackal head, Horus with a hawk’s head, Sobek the crocodile, or Tawaret an amalgam of the head of a hippopotamus, arms and legs of a lion, the back and tail of a crocodile, and the breasts and stomach of a pregnant woman.

Here is a partial list of scriptures which assert the dual revelations of nature and scripture; Job 10:8-14, Job 12:7-8, Job 34:14-15, Job 38-41, Psalm 8, Psalm 19:1-6, Psalm 50:6, Psalm 97:6, Psalm 98:2-3, Psalm 104, Psalm 139, Ecclesiastes 3:11, Habakkuk 3:3, Proverbs 8:22-31, Acts 17:24-31, Romans 1:20-23, Romans 2:14-15, Colossians 1:23.

But, the New Testament, particularly in the writing of Paul (or his followers), goes well beyond merely attesting to the physical revelation. Regarding the ancient, and perhaps confused biblical traditions, Paul advised Titus, "But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Torah, for they are unprofitable and worthless. (Titus 3: 9).”

The young earth creation sect is wholly reliant on the tolodot or “generations” listed in various locations throughout the biblical texts for their "age of the Earth" computations. You cannot even get past Genesis 11 without some serious confusions, and textural contradictions. The Apostle Paul is entirely correct to advise against giving them any attention; they are “unprofitable and worthless." Paul’s advice is not limited to Titus, as this is a common refrain in his writing (or those of his followers). For example, Romans 7:6 “But now we are delivered from the Torah, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” And, even stronger, 2 Corinthans 3:6 "He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant--not of the letter (Torah) but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." The YEC cult instead demands we deny the obvious truth (emet) of astronomy, geology, paleontology, anthropology and biology in favor of “fables and endless genealogies (1 Timothy 1:4).”

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