Re: the book AND darwin?
Posted by anyman on Apr 18, 2002 at 13:08
Re: the book AND darwin? (Dogrock)
Not if you interpret the bible in the many different ways that different religious people have done. At this stage there is hardly an exact meaning since so much has changed since it was written. There is no mention of cloning or the internet, or life on other planets, unless you interpret these out of indirect references. Which is back to interpretation.
There is no mention of cloning or the internet, or life on other planets
i will give you the internet...one outa three ain’t bad :-)
cloning ...something very like cloning is mentioned early on (in the first eleven chapters of genesis :-)
genesis 2.21-22 speaks of how god caused the man to fall into a deep sleep (reminiscent of modern practice of presurgical/surgical anaesthesia...which was supposedly only recently “discovered” in the past couple of hundred years or so...in another recent post, i mentioned what are undoubtedly electric batteries from thousands of years ago...while their use is still unclear, they may well have been used as anaesthetic devices for surgery in antiquity...have our great modern scientists actually only REdiscovered the practice of anaesthesiology...either way, god claims to have used something that in function and effect is virtually indistinguishable from the function and effect of modern anaesthetics)
then he removed one of the man’s ribs...surgically (notice that he closed up the place with flesh...a post surgical procedure)
now the rib is a source of genetic material (DNA)...it is made up of human cells, each of which contains the entirety of the genetic code for the human genome...and from that he made a woman...from human biological material containing human genetic information, he claims to have made one human being from another...entirely consistent with the boundaries of genetic variability
is this precisely cloning...could be, yes and no...it could be cloning and more
in modern cloning, the resultant organism is an identical copy of the donor organism...
but in the grand design of things...modern science is contemplating going beyond the limits of identical beings...we are contemplating how we might not only replicate or duplicate the donor organism, but also how we might manipulate or modify it as well...some of this is already being done (ie genetically modified foods, etc)...but rest assured that modern scientists are hoping to discover how to marry these technologies...
maybe god already did it...~6000 years ago...and reported it in the most “peer”-reviewed journal of all time...the book (god has no peers but you get the idea :-)
it may or may not be precisely “cloning” but there is nothing in the account that conflicts with what is known or thought possible in modern science and relevant to cloning
life on other planets ...i say that we should necessarily infer from the book that there is no life on other planets...you will probably want references...i will make them available on request...you can request them here or in email...you choose ‘em
the book on many occasions implies that man is the reason for all things in the universe...it is only man that is mentioned as being in need of a saviour...and only man that will receive the gifts of god...only man that was created in the image of god, etc etc etc
does this mean that it is pointless to search for life elsewhere...NO NO NO...
and again, NO, absolutely not!...it means no such thing...i think there are some other priorities that we ought to first consider...ie feeding the hungry, clothing the inadequately clothed, shoeing the shoeless, providing warmth for the cold, preventing needless illness through immunization etc, helping the sick (with whatever ailment), and educating the uneducated...
even if there were no other reason, i think the search for life elsewhere should continue...if we continue to find nothing, it serves in some measure to support the concept (it would certainly not be in conflict with the concept) that the entire massive and majestic universe is here for us...that man is the reason for the universe...what a god, eh...what a father...that provides for us so abundantly...staggers me
but there are other reasons to continue...history has taught us over and again that there is much to be learned from research that does not accomplish its original goal...many other discoveries have been made along the way...and what a journey, eh :-)
now to interpretation (the science of hermeneutics)
someone says, “the house is red”
what does that mean…
one person, with perhaps a staid traditional tendency, thinks that it means that the house is painted red
another, with perhaps a dramatic or maybe a literary tendency, thinks it means that there is a fire in the fireplace whose red glow can be seen from the outside, or that the house is on fire, or that maybe the fire is nearly spent and the embers are emitting a “red” afterglow
still another, with perhaps a sensual or even a puritanic tendency, thinks that it means that the house is a place of prostitution
and yet another, with perhaps some political tendencies, suggests that it means that the house is one whose occupant(s) is/are communist(ic) or a house whence the communist philosophy is promoted
etc etc etc
none of those interpretations is UNreasonable...all of them are possible...
our job, as interpreters charged with rightly dividing the author’s word (ie kind of like in 2 timothy 2.15), is to arrive not at some possible interpretation or meaning, but at THE correct, right meaning/interpretation originally intended by the original author
to say that hermeneutical science is less than perfect is to overstate the obvious...but then...which of the sciences is perfect :-)
the constraints are several but the most prominent one is the human imperfection, the human lack of capacity for pure objectivity, the human tendency toward subjectivity...which might best be demonstrated with my favorite syllogism (a personal original and one that has yet to be falsified)
all people are imperfect and subjective
all scientists (including hermeneuticists) are people
thus...all scientists (including hermeneuticists) are imperfect and subjective
then there are considerations both internal and external to the document or whatever text is under consideration...it could be alice in wonderland or mary had a little lamb or a legal document or a personal letter or whatever
in the case of the sacred writ (notice the definite article; there is only one source of sacred writ, that being the book...every other so-called holy book is not in reality holy at all...all other so-called holy writings are actually profane [meaning of human origin], rendering them non-sacred) we are further constrained internally by the following statementabove all, you must understand that no prophecy of scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation...for prophecy NEVER had its ORIGIN in the will of man, but men spoke from god... (2 peter 1.20-21 --- emps mine, am)
(btw – before someone tries to suggest that this statement is limited to prophecy alone...let me remind you that prophecy is not limited to **predictive** prophecy...predictive prophecy is but a portion or genre of general prophecy...prophecy is any and every word or concept given by god and spoken or written by one of god’s true “divinely inspired” prophets, which excludes mohammed, siddhartha gautamo, and david koresh, etc...it also excludes anyone (including anyman) who might claim to prophesy in that same sense today or at anytime within the last 1800-1900 years...thus every word from genesis 1.1 to revelation 22.21, from page one to page done, or as some are fond of saying, from generation to revolution is prophecy)
at any rate, there are many other considerations: author, place of writing, date of writing, recipients/immediate or original audience, societal setting, immediate context of the specific pericope under discussion, general context of specific document, broader context of related documents, quantity/quality of documentary evidence (ie how many extant copies there are and their antiquity and how well they agree with one another), contemporary (to the author) use of idioms, contemporary (to the author) definition of words, the way the words are internally used and defined within the work itself, literary genre, overall congruence, historical details, external witnesses, hostile witnesses, archeological evidence, etc etc etc
for someone to say, “ah, that’s just YOUR interpretation” sounds real pretty but it doesn’t say diddly about the author’s originally intended interpretation...there is only one right interpretation and that should be our goal in spite of our subjective tendencies to color our interpretation
there are a number of things in the book that rub my subjective thoughts and feelings the *wrong* way, but remembering some things like: my thinking is the corrupt (imperfect) product of a corrupt world and corrupt (imperfect) teachers and other influences, and another very important concept to be found at isaiah 55.8-9 (god is just a lot smarter than us) among others usually help me to adjust my attitude
language exists for the purpose of communication...while it is often misunderstood, it is intended to and can be understood correctly
so also with the book and its intended message
it is possible for all of us to be wrong...it is also possible for someone (or someones assuming they agree) to be right...but it is NOT POSSIBLE for all or differing interpretations to be right...some interpretations are not even reasonable...others are possible, maybe even plausible, but they are still wrong...
there is only one right interpretation
hope this helps
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