Keller: “Noah’s flood … was a regional flood”

One of the hot debates over how to interpret Genesis is what to make of Noah’s flood. Is it myth or history? Was is worldwide or local? Here is Tim Keller’s answer:

In order to be true to my own principle, I won’t bother you with information about the different views of the flood. Let me just lay out my own assumptions. I believe Noah’s flood happened, but that it was a regional flood, not a world-wide flood. On the one hand, those who insist on it being a world-wide flood seem to ignore too much the scientific evidence that there was no such thing. On the other hand, those who insist that it was a legend seem to ignore too much the trustworthiness of the Scripture. After Genesis 1, the rest of Genesis reads like historical narrative. If, it is asked, ‘what of the Biblical assertions that the flood covered every mountain over the whole earth (Gen.7:19,21), we should remember that the Bible often speaks of the ‘known world’ as the ‘whole world’ — compare Gen. 41:56,57; Acts 2:5,9-11; Col.1:23. (Tim Keller, Genesis: What Were We Put in the World to Do? [New York: Redeemer Presbyterian Church, 2006],81)

It is interesting to compare his answer to what Peter Enns wrote over at BioLogos:

However, a balanced interpretation of Scripture does not force the reader to believe that the Flood was a worldwide phenomenon. The scientific and historical evidence summarized below supports the idea that the flood was indeed catastrophic, but that it was local, recent and limited in scope.

Dr. Peter Enns and BioLogos: Going Separate Ways

I learned late last week that Dr. Peter Enns is not part of BioLogos anymore. On his blog, Dr. Enns had this to say:

My contract was not renewed in September. They are moving in a more conservative direction, i.e., keeping Southern Baptists and other literalists on board.

His departure from the BioLogos Foundation follows that of Dr. Karl Giberson who left earlier this year. Dr. Giberson wrote an article in April entitled, “My Take: Jesus would believe in evolution and so should you.”

I’m not sure what to think about Dr. Enns’ departure from BioLogos. His articles affirming macro-evolution, denying the Biblical flood, and redefining the historical Adam are still available on their website. Daniel Wells has some interesting thoughts here on Dr. Enns and BioLogos.

What do you think?

What About Adam?

There has been a good deal of debate in the last 100 years over how to understand the first few chapters of Genesis. One of the important issues to consider when thinking about which view you are most comfortable with is what effect each view has on other parts of the Bible. A traditional view of creation (6 days, no macroevolution, special creation of Adam, etc.) has no difficulty reconciling the Adam of Genesis with the Adam of Romans. However, one of the issues with trying to reconcile macroevolution with the Bible is what to do about Adam. Was he an historical figure specially created by God? Was he a hominid or group of hominids chosen by God to be in His image? Is he merely symbolic? Does it matter?

Actually it matters a great deal. When you consider the parallels that Scripture draws between Adam and Christ, how you view Adam can have a very significant impact on your theology and your view of the trustworthiness of the Bible. A couple of authors have written recently on the historicity of Adam and the challenges to the traditional view of Adam that come because of modern evolutionary theory.

One of these authors, Dr. Peter Enns, recently spoke at a conference on the historicity of Adam hosted by Metro New York Presbytery. An elder who is a member of MNY wrote a review of the symposium here. Dr. Enns also wrote up a summary of the talk he gave on his own blog. He briefly summarizes the challenge of trying to synthesize evolutionary theory and evangelical Christianity:

Evolution can either be accepted (in some form) or wholly rejected. If rejected, one has no problem with an historical Adam as first man, but then one has to find ways to neutralize the scientific data, which is attempted in various (but unconvincing) ways. (Google Al Mohler, Ken Ham, and Hugh Ross.)

No need to get into that here. This group of pastors was already (largely) aware that evolution cannot be dismissed, and so we proceded to other things.

If one accepts evolution, the first thing to note is that one has left the biblical worldview. I think this is an obvious point, but needs to be stated clearly. As soon as evolution is accepted, the invariably result is some clear movement away from what the Bible says about Adam.

Hence, if one wishes to bring Adam and evolution into conversation, one is left with the theological burden and responsibility of bringing them together somehow in a manner does justice to both.

He goes on to say that there are two choices: Adam is historical or he’s not. If Adam is historical, then there are two options: Continue reading

What is the BioLogos Foundation?

When I was reading Peter Enns’ books and the related articles in preparation for writing my review of his Bible curriculum, I ran across several mentions of the BioLogos Foundation. After doing some additional research, I discovered that Dr. Enns is listed as a “missionary” for his work with the BioLogos Forum. This made me curious about what exactly BioLogos is, so I did some more research. Here is what I learned.

According to their website:

The BioLogos Foundation is a group of Christians, many of whom are professional scientists, biblical scholars, philosophers, theologians, pastors, and educators, who are concerned about the long history of disharmony between the findings of science and large sectors of the Christian faith. We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. We also believe that evolution, properly understood, best describes God’s work of creation. Founded by Dr. Francis Collins, BioLogos addresses the escalating culture war between science and faith, promoting dialog and exploring the harmony between the two. We are committed to helping the church – and students, in particular – develop worldviews that embrace both of these complex belief structures, and that allow science and faith to co-exist peacefully. Continue reading

A Review of Peter Enns’ Bible Curriculum

If you aren’t a homeschooling family, you may not be aware of the debate raging over a new Bible curriculum by Dr. Peter Enns. Here is a brief summary of the issues.

Dr. Peter Enns, formerly of Westminster Theological Seminary, has written a curriculum, Telling God’s Story, to help parents teach their children about the Bible. As part of the release of Telling God’s Story, Dr. Enns has been speaking at some of the homeschool conventions held around the country. At one convention, Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis expressed his concern about Dr. Enns “compromising” views, especially as it relates to Genesis, an historical Adam, and an historical Fall. One convention decided to uninvite Ken Ham because they didn’t like the “divisive spirit” of his comments about Dr. Enns. Concern was raised within the homeschooling community over Dr. Enns connection with BioLogos, a foundation that promotes evolution. Further concern was raised over the fact that the publisher, Olive Branch Books, is part of Peace Hill Press which is directed by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise. Susan Wise Bauer is well-known and well-respected within the homeschooling community for her history series, The Story of the World, and book, The Well-Trained Mind. Olive Branch Books has released a statement in which it begs parents to read the curriculum for themselves instead of relying on secondhand accounts.

So, that is what I’ve done. I received my copy of the parents’ guide to Telling God’s Story, and I have now finished reading it. I also read Dr. Enns’ book, Inspiration and Incarnation, to help me understand his views.
Continue reading