Saturday, 24 January 2009

Theistic evolution and hermeneutics

Glen here.

Last Saturday I was surrounded by Anglican curates on post-ordination training. We discussed how to read the bible. It was decided by a good majority of them that God did not desire the total destruction of the nations in the land (Deuteronomy 7:1-6). God is not into ethnic cleansing you see. Primitive cultures might be. The Israelites committed the atrocities and wrote about it after the fact (much much later apparently). And they claimed divine justification for it. But God didn't actually tell them to destroy the nations.

Anyway, sounded to me quite similar to how even evangelicals read Genesis 1.

"Yeah, we know what it says. But that's not how it happened. Now we know better, we can read back into it what really happened. It was actually very much like what the wisdom of today would tell us."

Well that was the link I drew.
Maybe you draw a different one...


Anonymous said...

"It was actually very much like what the wisdom of today would tell us"... seems to me like a good summary. A mind that seeks to replace its thoughts with biblical truth would rather prefer to go two chapters further instead:

"Do not say in your heart, after the LORD your God has thrust them out before you, 'It is because of my righteousness that the LORD has brought me in to possess this land.' whereas it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out before you." Dt 9:4

no ethnic cleansing but judgement for those who dearly loved their sin and refused to repent. To say that God would never do that is to totally miss his awesome holiness. Does that make sense?

yemsee said...

yup definitely agree with you
the issue is always the authority of Scripture - not even just how you read it, but how much you are prepared to put it into practise

Glen said...

Hi Matthias,
Sorry not to get back - been away for a bit. Yes indeed - and Deut 7 itself makes the same points.

Their real problem was precisely with the holiness of God.

I took them to Matthew 11:20-25 and said Jesus says explicitly that Sodom was overthrown for its sin *and* that this was just a picture of an almighty judgement coming upon the whole earth.

They just said - 'that's your interpretation. You're bringing a very modernist mindset to the Hebrew Scriptures.'

As though Moses was totally into Derrida!

Anyway, must stop ranting. Yes the real issue seemed to be that they didn't believe in the wrath of God.

Glen said...


Deuteronomy 4:1 "And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the rules that I am teaching you, AND DO THEM, that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you."