Monday, October 20, 2014

The Bible, Geocentrism, and Theistic Evolution

How does the theistic evolutionist (TE) believe in both the Bible and evolution – an ostensibly impossible marriage? The TE has a very easy solution. He claims that the two are not in competition because evolution is only concerned about the physical world and the Bible is all about the spiritual. How then does the TE treat the many verses where the Bible does address history and God’s physical creation? The TE claims that these verses that seem to be addressed to history and science really aren’t. Instead, they are teaching a strictly inerrant spiritual message, even while they are making use of errant history and science material.

How does the TE prove this dismissive and diminished understanding of the Bible? He claims that the Bible reflects an ancient and errant understanding of science typical of the ancient Near East and cites the example of egocentricity – the belief that the Earth is in the center of our world and everything revolves around the Earth, even the sun. Here are the strongest three verses they cite:

  • On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel: "O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon." So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. (Joshua 10:12-13)

  • It [the sun] rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat. (Psalm 19:6)

  • The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose. (Ecclesiastes 1:5) (These are all cited from RationalWiki)

These three verses seem to indicate that the Bible is erroneously teaching that the sun revolves the Earth. However, is this what the Bible is teaching, or is the Bible merely using the common language of the people – phenomenal language, the language of appearances – in order to be understood?

Even though we know better scientifically, this is the very language that we use! We know that the sun doesn’t rise, but we say this anyway in order to be understood. Even the weather experts will say, “The sun will rise at 6 AM today.” This doesn’t mean that they are scientifically ignorant and are teaching geocentrism. Rather, they want to be understood and therefore use the language of appearances.

If they used technical, scientific language, no one would understand what they are talking about! Just try to express “The sun will rise at 6 AM” in scientific language, and you will see the problems that this entails.

In light of this, it requires an unwarranted interpretive leap to claim that the Bible teaches geocentrism. Why then does the TE make this leap? Because the TE has a vested interest in promoting Darwin, even where it disparages the Bible!

No comments:

Post a Comment