July 4th, 2012
Word of the Week: Interrogatio
Definition: A mode of inquiry in which questions yield results that are entirely new, giving rise to knowledge that cannot be derived by an inferential process from what was already known.
More about the term: Lorenzo Valla (1406-1457) developed the interrogative (interrogatio) rather than the problematic (quaestio) form of inquiry. This method was similar to the works of Stoic lawyers and educators like Cicero and Quintilian; that is, questioning witnesses, investigating documents and states of affairs without any prior conception of what the truth might be. Valla transitioned from not only using this method for historical knowledge but also applied it as “logic for scientific discovery.”
Valla’s logic for scientific discovery was the art of finding out things rather than merely the art of drawing distinctions and connecting them together. He called for an active inquiry (activa inquisitio). John Calvin (1509-1564) applied this method to the interpretation of Scripture and thus became the father of modern biblical exegesis and interpretation. Francis Bacon (1561-1626) applied it to the interpretation of the books of nature, as well as to the books of God, and became the father of modern empirical science.
read more »
March 29th, 2012
I’ve decided to keep all my posts and responses to Norman Geisler in one location for ease of access and reference.
My Support and Endorsement of Mike Licona
It has been a long time coming but I wanted to publicly support Dr. Mike Licona amidst recent accusations of him denying inerrancy over Matthew 27.51-54 (the resurrection of the saints at the time of the crucifixion) in his most recent book The Resurrection of Jesus: A Historiographical Approach. Licona takes the position that this passage is apocalyptic imagery and is not literal. To be clear from the beginning, Licona has not denied inerrancy. He has been quite clear about that (even though he lost his job as the Apologetics Coordinator with the North American Mission Board over this… unfortunate). Dr. Al Mohler is the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and has openly condemned Licona for his position…
read more »
March 2nd, 2012
Tattoos, beards, and consuming blood is mentioned in the Bible in Leviticus 19.26-28. These verses prohibit tattoos, trimming the edges of one’s beard, and consuming blood. Christians often find themselves puzzled as to what we should do with these types of verses. Are we allowed to have tattoos today? Well, that’s important for me since I’m covered in tattoos. Are we allowed to trim the edges of our beards? Should we let them grow out? Have you ever had a medium-rare steak with just a little bit of blood in it? I’ve provided an exegesis of this passage of Scripture in hopes to help others understand how we should understand this passage and provide insight as to how the Old Testament Law applies to us today.
Leviticus is the sequel to Exodus. At the heart of Exodus is the Sinai Covenant, though it is rarely mentioned in Leviticus. Leviticus explains how covenant worship should be conducted (chs. 1-17), how the covenant people should behave (18-25), and then closes with a section of blessings and curses, entirely appropriate to a covenant document (26). The book enshrines the laws by which the religious and civil organization of the primitive theocracy in Canaan was to be regulated.  Leviticus is given in a treaty format consisting of naming the suzerain, giving a historical prologue explaining the background of the treaty, stipulations, a document clause (covenant context), blessings and curses, and the divine witness[es].
read more »
February 1st, 2012
The young earth creationist interpretation is internally inconsistent; it just doesn’t make sense. Both earth and life exist before the sun, moon, and stars. This leaves a person to wonder where heat, light, gravity, and earth’s rotation and orbital features came from prior to the fourth creation day. Let’s look at the sixth day. How in the world did Adam do so much? Here’s a list of the events of day six:
- God creates the various living creatures along with wild animals and animals that become domesticated [nephesh/soulish creatures] (Genesis 1:24-25).
- God creates Adam in the divine image (Genesis 1:26-27; 2:7).
- God gives Adam a mandate of dominion over creation (Genesis 1:28).
- God makes the plants available as a food source for man (Genesis 1:29-30).
- God plants a garden and puts the man in it (Genesis 2:8).
- God gives Adam instruction concerning obedience to God’s specific commands (Genesis 2:9, 16-17).
- God commissions Adam to cultivate the garden (Genesis 2:15).
- God commissions Adam to name or classify the animals (Genesis 2:19-20).
- God declares Adam’s need for a suitable helper (Gen. 2:18, 20).
- God induces sleep and performs surgery on Adam (Genesis 2:21).
- God creates Eve (Genesis 2:22).
- God ordains that Adam and Eve enter into a divinely constituted marriage relationship (Genesis 2:23-25).
read more »
February 1st, 2012
To answer the question, “Is it surprising that scientific evidence supports a young earth perspective?” I would respond saying that I would almost consider this a loaded question. I don’t think I can find no evidence for a young earth; however, I find the record of nature to support the proposition that the universe is old (billions of years) by overwhelming evidence. There is hardly any evidence for a young earth, if indeed there is any at all.
Before getting to the geologic record of nature one needs to address the cosmological record of nature (the earth cannot be older than the universe). I initially gained my interest in cosmology (and I must say I really enjoy discussing cosmology) was the Kalam cosmological argument, which is an apologetic argument for a beginning of the universe. I’ll put aside the mathematical and philosophical arguments for a beginning of the universe for that would be off topic and I’ll stick with the scientific evidence. If one were to analyze an extrapolation of space and time then that initial singularity for the universe would take us back 13.73 GYA (giga, billion years ago). There are many models of the universe such as the steady state, oscillating, quantum fluctuation, and other string theory models that coincide with former. The most prominent model with the most philosophical, mathematical, and scientific evidence is the standard model (due to cosmic inflation, the big bang). Prominent cosmologist Paul Davies comments,
read more »
December 29th, 2011
Norman Geisler has recently released a new addition to his “Licona Letters” condemning Mike Licona. Geisler is very emphatic that there be a differentiation between inerrancy and interpretation. Under this Geislerian understanding of inerrancy, interpretation and inerrancy simply have a formal distinction but are essentially conflated.
[Such] a disjunction of interpretation from inerrancy as Licona makes is contrary to the nature of truth itself…. So, a formal distinction between interpretation and inerrancy does not mean there is an actual separation of the two.
Additionally, Geisler argues contra Licona that the grammatico-historical hermeneutic is neutral. Geisler argues:
[The grammatico-historical] method does not approach the Bible with a historically neutral stance. After all, it is not called the “literal” method for nothing. It assumes there is a sensus literalis (literal sense) to Scripture. In short, it assumes that a text should be taken literally unless there are good grounds in the text and/or in the context to take it otherwise. As a matter of fact, we cannot even know a non-literal (e.g., allegorical or poetic) sense unless we know what is literally true. So, when Jesus said, “I am the vine” this should not be taken literally because we know what a literal vine is, and we know that Jesus is not one. Further, the literal [grammatico-historical] method does not reject the use of figures of speech or even symbolic language. It only insists that the symbols have a literal referent. For example, John speaks of literal angels as “stars” (Rev. 1:20) and a literal Satan as a “red dragon” (Rev. 12:3). However, the literal [grammatico-historical] method does not allow one to take a literal historical persons (like Adam) or events (like a resurrection) as not literal history.
read more »