Renewing the Evangelical mind: an interview with Peter Enns

Renewing the Evangelical mind: an interview with Peter Enns

 

In what follows, I had the immense privilege to interview Peter Enns (links), who is undoubtedly the leading progressive Evangelical theologian in the whole world.

Here are the topics we touched upon, albeit not necessarily in a chronological order.

 

1) Where Peter Enns comes from and how his thoughts evolved with time

2) How is evolution currently perceived among American Evangelicals?

a) Young Earth Creationism

b) Old Earth Creationism and Concordism

c) His own approach

3) What were likely the intentions of the original authors as they wrote the text?

4) One of the very foundation of Evangelicalism is the idea that God cursed us with a sinful nature, making misdeeds deserving an eternal punishment inevitable.
Can we find this concept in the very text of Genesis?

5) If Paul thought it was the case but the authors of Genesis 2 and 3 didn’t hold this view, what should we believe as modern Christians?

6) What is inerrancy and why is it viewed as the very foundation of Christianity by so many people?

7) What about God inerrantly gathering errant texts for His own purposes, as Professor Randal Rauser thinks it’s the case?

8) Many people say that if there is only a small mistake in one obscure book of the Old Testament, we can no longer trust the resurrection. What’s Peter’s response to this?

9) Problem of divine hideness:

Why would God not have given us an inerrant text rather than leaving us stabbing in the dark?

Why did He allow so many people to mistakenly assume its inerrancy?

10) What did God REALLY do during the history of Israel? Did He reveal Himself to a real Abraham and a real Mose?

11) Given the results of modern critical scholarship, what makes the Protestant Canon so special?
What does it mean to say that the imprecatory psalms were more inspired than books of C.S. Lewis on pain and love, and writings of Martin Luther King on non-violence?

12) Currently, there is a massive exodus from young people out of Conservative Christianity?
What are the causes of this?

 

https://i0.wp.com/randalrauser.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Peter-Enns.jpg

 

For those interested by our conversation, I recommend the following resources:

 

Peter’s blog containing many insightful posts and Peter’s website full of great academic writings.

The following books are also worth looking:

The Evolution of Adam : What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say about Human Origins.
Three Views on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology).
Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament.
Telling God’s Story: A Parents’ Guide to Teaching the Bible (Telling God’s Story).
Ecclesiastes (Two Horizons Old Testament Commentary).

UPCOMING: The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It.

 

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Young earth creationism and the demise of Christianity

I have a confession to all of my readers.

I am a sadomasochist, I like to inflict pain on myself.

Consequently, I watched one of the latest video of Ken Ham about the “seduction of our kids”.

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJPESir_moI]

If I were to refute all fallacies in this single video, a whole library could not contain all books which would have to be written.

The Leitmotiv of Ken Ham’s was that “Secularists are here to capture your kids”.

He pointed out that 2/3 of all American college students lose their faith in God and showed us videos of deconversion where people have become atheists after having been confronted with the scientific evidence for evolution.

Ken Ham believes this is increasingly happening because there is not enough young earth creationism.

Tragically, quite the contrary is true. These young folks have given up their faith BECAUSE they have been indoctrinated by creationists who taught them that they ought to reject Evolution if they want to be Christians.

Now, I have two questions for my readers:

1) what is your favorite fallacy of Ken Ham?

2) do you believe that (as a species) young-earth creationism will die out and be competed out of existence?Importa

nt themes

CreationWiki, evolution and the inerrant Bible

Eine deutsche Version befindet sich hier.

For all of us who are interested in fringe groups, CreationWiki provides us with an invaluable resource.

Naturally it is pretty dubious as a scientific source, but it gives us deep insights into the mind of creationists.

BildSome selected quotes follow.

Some who dismiss the idea of a global flood do so because they say the Flood would have had to rise as high as Mount Everest, because Genesis 7:19 says the waters covered “all the high hills.” Mount Everest peaks at 29,035 feet (8850 metres), and they say there is not enough water on earth to cover such a height.[13]

This is actually a straw man argument. Creationists do not claim that the Flood covered Mount Everest to its current height (see below). Those who accept the local-flood theory have to admit that the flood must have covered Mount Ararat, because that is where the ark landed. Mount Ararat is now 17,000 feet (5182 meters) high. In the local-flood theory, it would have had the same height before as after the Flood. But waters do not form a cube 17,000 feet high, which seems to make the local-flood theory illogical. The Bible tells us what happened:

“You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. But at your rebuke the waters fled, at the sound of your thunder they took to flight; they flowed over the mountains, they went down into the valleys, to the place you assigned for them. You set a boundary they cannot cross; never again will they cover the earth.”Psalm 104:6-9

This passage tells us that mountains rose and valleys sank during the Flood. Mount Everest rose up during the Flood, so the Flood did not need to reach the height that Mount Everest is today.

There is enough water on earth for a global flood. If the earth was smoothed out, the water in the oceans would cover it to a depth of about 8,813 feet (2.6 kilometres). This does not include the water in rivers, lakes, glaciers, and other sources. They would add about another 2–3 thousand feet (600-900 metres). In reality, the Flood would only need to be a little over 7,000 feet (2.1 kilometres) deep.

So the real question is whether it is possible for Mount Everest to have risen to its current height fast enough to fit a time-scale consistent with the Flood. The earthquake that caused the Indonesian tsunami of December 26, 2004 caused an uplift of at least 20 feet (six metres) in a few minutes, which is a speed of about 240 feet per hour (84 metres per hour). At that rate Mount Everest could have reached its current height in about five days. Forces observed in earthquakes are sufficient, if extended long enough, to quickly raise the highest mountain to its current height in just a few days.

The result is that, based on the amount of water on earth, and observed tectonic forces, there was the potential to quickly raise mountains. So the global Flood of the Bible is theoretically possible. You can see a seafloor study that traces culprits behind Indian Ocean tsunami[14] for further explanation.”

“Could a just God destroy innocent life?

This objection refers to the many living things that were destroyed in the Flood. Why destroy the innocent animals? This is answered with an examination of the context. Mortal life, including plants and animals, since the Fall of Adam and Eve, is subject to death. Withholding a global flood would not have saved any animal or plant from death. The justice of God provided a way for many species to be saved on the Ark. God waited as long as his justice would allow, before causing a Flood that would shorten the life spans of individual creatures but would not destroy species: Life would return and the earth would be repopulated.”

(Wow, and it is evolutionists who are nihilists denying any value to life???)

Homo erectus is the species name assigned to human fossils that evolutionists claim are transitional forms between australopithecines (apes) and both Neanderthals and modern humans. To date, more than 280 fossil individuals have been found that are identified with this group.[1] The species name means “erect or upright man” and was the name first put forth by Ernst Mayr to unify the classification of Asian fossils.

Creationists generally agree that all supposed ape-men fossils are, in fact, either ape or fully human. Species names within the taxonomic genus homo are viewed as fabricated classes invented to support evolutionary theory, and should be regarded as mere instruments of propaganda. The majority of Homo erectus fossils represent the populations of humans that lived following the global flood and the Tower of Babel, and should be considered true Homo sapiens.[2]”

The extensive timeframe of Homo erectus fossils overlaps other hominids so extensively that it should void any attempt to claim an evolutionary sequence. For example, Homo erectus is almost universally held to have evolved from Homo habilis despite the fact that their fossils appear at roughly the same time (the oldest H. erectus fossil is dated at 1.95 mya and the oldest H. habilis fossil dated at just over 2.0 mya). Furthermore, they continued to coexists throughout the entire 500,000 year span when Homo habilis is said to have lived.[11] Such inconsistencies between the theory of evolution and the fossil evidence are often concealed. Marvin Lubenow warns in his book, Bones of Contention, about the way that evolutionists present the relationship between Homo habilis and Homo erectus..

Terms like Homo erectus and Homo habilis are convenient terms to use in reference to groups of fossil material. But it is obvious that when evolutionists give dates for Homo erectus that do not fit the fossil material, or when they say that Homo habilis evolved into Homo erectus, contrary to what the fossil material shows, they are using those terms in a manipulative manner without regard for the fossil material in those categories. It is not unusual in evolutionary charts to show Homo habilis somewhat below Homo erectus, implying that Homo habilis is earlier in time.[12]

Furthermore, H. erectus is shown to have lived alongside what are known as “early Homo sapiens” during their entire 700,000 year existence, and alongside Neanderthals throughout the 800,000 years of their history. And lastly, Homo erectus individuals have lived side by side with anatomically modern humans for 2 million years (according to evolutionary chronology).[13]”

I think that I am much more depressed than angry after having read that.

Creationists (especially those believing in a young earth) are one of the main reasons why people give up their Christian faith and become atheists.

I think that Richard Dawkins in all this glory could never be as successful as they are in that respect.

Losing faith, apostasy, atheism, bad apologetics

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