Every Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!
Scripture Reports Things that Didn’t Happen?
I finished reading Four Views on The Historical Adam recently, and it gave me a lot of food for thought. The only view which categorically denied the existence of an historical Adam was written by Denis Lamoureux. Regarding the reports of the natural world found in the Bible, he wrote:
God’s very words… in the [Bible] do not align with the physical reality in the Book of [Nature]. To state the problem more incisively, Holy Scripture makes statements about how God created the heavens that in fact never happened. (54, cited below)
I think it is pretty clear this is a highly contentious claim. Interested readers should read the book to get the full context, but basically Lamoureux was saying that some aspects of the physical world found recorded in Scripture do not line up with reality. What did he do with this statement? Immediately after this text, Lamoureux wrote:
So, to ask the question once more, “Did God lie in the Bible?” Again, my answer is “No! The Lord accommodated in the Bible.” (54)
In other words, his answer was that God accommodated to the scientific beliefs of the people in their time in order to convey spiritual truths.
It seems to me that this way out is questionable, and each of the other authors commented on it. Three quick issues I have are that the reading of the various texts Lamoureux cites do not support his claim; that the notion that God intentionally brought about recording of falsehoods in God’s Word requires a stronger answer than accommodation; and that although accommodation is a valid category, the linking of theological truths to specific claims about natural history makes the reading of accommodation in regards to Adam problematic.
What are your thoughts? Do you think there is accommodation in the Bible? Is accommodation a strong enough answer for the claim that God may have allowed false statements recorded in God’s Word? Are there other alternatives you prefer?
Denis Lamoureux, “No Historical Adam: Evolutionary Creation View” in Four Views on The Historical Adam eds. Matthew Barrett and Ardel Caneday (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2013).