Scientific concordism is the default evangelical biblical interpretation that ASSUMES God revealed modern scientific concerns and scientific facts about our world along with revealed inerrant message of faith. But, “Is scientific concordism really a feature of the Bible?”, as theologian AND scientist Dr. Denis O. Lamoureux asks?
Genesis 1:6 ¶ And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. (ESV)
This is the question to ask when viewing the “Bible and Ancient Science” talks by Denis O. Lamoureux DDS PhD PhD on his Web Lectures page and his other resources:
“Is scientific concordism really a feature of the Bible?”
That is, did God’s revelation of inerrant messages of faith in the Bible include revelation of modern scientific facts and concepts thousands of years before being discovered with modern scientific instruments?
If Augustine, Luther and Calvin (quotes below) believed in an ancient phenomenologically-based ancient concept of a solid firmament in which the sun, moon and stars were fixed separating the waters (sea) above from the waters below, then how much more did Paul and the author(s) of Genesis?!?
St. Augustine (“Literal Meaning of Genesis”, 415 AD):
“They must certainly bear in mind that the term “firmament” does not compel us to imagine a stationary heaven: we may understand this name as give to indicate not that it is motionless but that it is solid and that it constitutes a impassible boundary between the waters above and the waters below.”
Martin Luther’s (1483-1546 AD) geocentric world included a firmament (“Lectures on Genesis”, 1536 AD).
“Scripture simply says that the moon, the sun and the stars were placed in the firmament of the Heaven [below and above which, that is the firmament, are the waters]. The bodies of the stars, like that of the sun, are round and they are fastened to the firmament like globes of fire”. Note that the brackets were included in the original text, not added.
John Calvin (1509-1564 AD) in “Commentary on Genesis, 1536 AD)”,
“We indeed are not ignorant that the circuit of the heavens is finite and the earth, like a little globe, is placed in the center. The prime mobile, that is the firmament, rolls all the celestial spheres along with it.”
Quotes above were transcribed from Lamoureux’s Hermeneutical Principle 16 that is part of Lamoureux’s online college course (free to view). For the image evidence at right in context see slide 7 at http://bit.ly/12MITE9 . NOTE: If you can’t view his Flash lectures on iPhone/iPad, there is an app for that — Photon Flash Player works well for me.
I think what Denis presents constitutes SOLID evidence (pun intended), even proof, that scientific concordism, the default hermeneutic for thousands of years and reason for so much science/faith confusion, is a hermeneutical ERROR! Scientific concordism is clearly NOT a feature of the Bible.
So, what do we do with that? “Did God lie in the Bible?”, as Dr. Lamoureux asks and teaches us so well — NO!, the Holy Spirit simply accommodated to the INCIDENTAL ancient “science” of the day to most effectively communicate to that ancient people inerrant messages of faith. Why would God introduce modern scientific concerns to an ancient audience for which they would have no categories?
Therefore, “Separate, don’t conflate” the INCIDENTAL ancient science from the inerrant messages of faith (Lamoureux).
Once you get it, it’s Occam’s razor simple/elegant!
Yes, that approach, which has great explanatory power, especially given how I have to see the scientific data, also raises a new questions. There are trade-offs. Denis addresses these in his course and Web Lectures mentioned above. I find his view to be the best answer and a very satisfying one at that. I’m but an armchair theologian. Denis has the scientific and theological credentials to the PhD level. See these described at the end of this post. And that’s why I’m trying to get the word out.