Creationist Wisdom #322: The Preacher

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Newton Citizen of Newton County, Georgia (population 62,000). The letter is titled Bible is proof enough for the Creation account. We’ll give you a few excerpts, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and some bold font for emphasis.

Although we usually omit the writer’s name and city, we’ll make an exception here because the letter-writer is known in his community. At the end of the article it says: “Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church in Covington.” This is the church’s website. Okay, here comes the rev’s letter:

Have you noticed the ridicule being leveled at Christians who believe in the Creation account?

Yes, now that you mention it, we have noticed that. The rev continues:

I’ve seen cartoons on the funny pages making homeschoolers out to be utter fools. I’ve seen editorial cartoons drawn in such a way that it depicts people of faith as inbred morons who probably aren’t smart enough to tie their shoes, and that’s why they don’t believe in evolution.

We’ve seen that too. Let’s read on:

On a more serious note, we read about distinguished college professors who have lost their tenure and their jobs when they expressed any doubts regarding Darwinian evolution.

We’ve never heard of anyone losing tenure because of that. Michael Behe, for example, seems to be secure at Lehigh University, albeit not respected by his colleagues. The letter goes on:

In fact, as we garner more and more scientific information, we are in fact discovering more and more the implausibility of the Darwinian model, the prevailing model today being punctuated equilibrium theory rather than the gradual change of Darwin.

Where is the rev getting his scientific information — creationist websites? As for Punctuated equilibrium, there seems to be evidence that it sometimes occurs, but it’s not replacing the concept of gradual evolutionary change. Even if it did, it’s still evolution, so that wouldn’t help the creationists. Here’s more:

When it comes to this area of beginnings, I have chosen to believe the account of the person there (Adam), rather than the scientists who weren’t there, but are trying to explain what they think might have happened.

He believes Adam’s personal account? There is such a thing? Okay. Moving along:

Naturally, I know that having made that last statement that some reading this will have concluded that I’m a simpleton. I mean, we know evolution is true. We have scientific proof.

First off, the problem is we don’t have scientific proof for evolution; we have theories of evolution. Talk to the evolutionists themselves and you realize this.

There’s no “proof” of any scientific theory, but we have tons of evidence. However, the rev has Adam, so whatcha gonna do? We’ll skip over his dismissal of the Lucy fossil and the the geological column. Hey, he tells us this:

In the real world, you have complex creatures below many of the simplest creatures they are purported to have evolved from.

Yowie — he must have found the Precambrian rabbit. Another excerpt:

What we have in Genesis is the written account of the first man, Adam. Genesis 5:1 tells us that, “This is the written account of Adam.” That is, everything from Genesis 1:1 to 5:1.

How very strange. In our copy (King James version, of course), Genesis 5:1 says:

This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;

We’re confused, but we won’t press the issue. The letter-writer is a preacher and we’ve never studied theology, so we’re not qualified to debate the meaning of scripture. On with the letter:

Maybe I am a simpleton, but I prefer to believe the account of the eyewitness who was there rather than the speculations of people who were not there.

Your Curmudgeon, always a gentleman, will not be judgmental here. If the rev’s got a witness, well then, okay. But if we recall our Sunday school lessons correctly, Adam was quite the sinner. Perhaps he’s not a reliable witness. Anyway, now we come to the end:

If there is a Creator and if the record we call the Bible is true, one day I will face Him and give an account of myself. If there is not a Creator and I am wrong, I really don’t think I’ve lost anything, have I?

Classy finish. It’s Pascal’s Wager. The rev is a gambling man.

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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17 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #322: The Preacher

  1. Yes Rev, you are a simpleton. Ignoring evidence and reading crap into the bible that isn’t there simply proves it. Now sit down, shut up and stay out of the way, the rest of us are trying to have a civilization here.

  2. The letter was simply a long-winded, “Were you there?” argument. And a foolish argument at that.

    As for your statement, SC, “The letter-writer is a preacher and we’ve never studied theology, so we’re not qualified to debate the meaning of scripture.”

    I’m going to disagree with you on this. This is the door that ole Hambo opened with his strict interpretation of the Bible. According to him (but not necessarily Him), the Bible means precisely what it says. Since that’s the same argument The Preacher Man here is making, that means that anyone is qualified to debate the meaning of scripture. There’s nothing to “interpret” or “determine”. It’s right there. In black and white. Whether it makes sense or is internally consistent, or just consistent period, is completely irrelevant.
    So, have your say! Or just turn it over to Doc Bill. I’m sure Doc Bill won’t have a problem finding the “meaning of scripture”.

  3. retiredsciguy

    “He believes Adam’s personal account? There is such a thing?”

    Gee! Who knew? I wonder if the rev is confusing Adam with Moses. Isn’t he the one generally credited for writing Genesis?

    Besides, Doesn’t Genesis say all the creatures were created before Adam? Not only was Adam the first man; apparently he was also the first time traveller. Probably how he learned to write, as well.

  4. Christine Janis

    “Donald Johansson, the man who found the Lucy fossil which he declared to be the mother of all mankind, is challenged by evolutionist Richard Leaky III, who, looking at the same fossil, declared it to be the fossil of a monkey.”

    AKA I don’t know much about evolutionary biology, but if I just make it up as I go along, perhaps nobody will notice

  5. Genesis 5:1 actually says “zeh sefer tolidot adam,” which really translates to “This is the book of the births of Adam.” “Generations” would be “dorot.”

    Not to pick nits… 😉

  6. Ceteris Paribus

    @Mel Famie: Not to put too fine a point on it, but apparently the numbered chapter and verse notation now found in the Hebrew bible didn’t even exist until that numbering system was forcibly applied by Christian clerics during the Spanish Inquisition 600 years ago. Verily, “Nooo body expects the Spanish Inquisition.”

    But I’m still impressed by the fact that Moses, the author of Genesis, also provided the details of his own death in one of his later works of fiction, Deuteronomy.

    Deuteronomy 34:7: “Moses was a hundred and twenty years old at his death. His eye had not grown dim, and his vital strength had not fled.”

  7. On Genesis 5:1 – as near as I can tell, this nonsensical interpretation comes originally from Henry Morris’ Defender’s Study Bible. Saying that creationists are following the bible really gives them too much credit.

  8. retiredsciguy

    CP: “But I’m still impressed by the fact that Moses, the author of Genesis, also provided the details of his own death in one of his later works of fiction, Deuteronomy.”

    He had a ghost writer.

  9. Mel Famie

    Yes, but it’s quite easy to find the line that they were referring to. Imagine, King James being inaccurate!

    I’ll be a good boy and not bring up the question of “almah” versus “b’tulah.”

  10. I know, I know, this is science and not theology, but really? Some translations say “This is the written account of Adam…” but it doesn’t mean Adam wrote it down! It means it’s a written account about Adam and his generations. Good grief! And he claims to be a preacher? His Biblical Exegesis is on a par with his knowledge of science.

  11. Mel Famie

    Those translation are wrong, plain and simple. Nothing resembling the word “written” appears in the original. Unless “writing” and “birthing” are synonymous. Seriously, their linguistics are as poor as their biology.

    (“writing” is “k’tivah” with “k’tivim” as the plural)

  12. eyeonicr says: “On Genesis 5:1 – as near as I can tell, this nonsensical interpretation comes originally from Henry Morris’ Defender’s Study Bible”

    Tracing this stuff back to the source is like finding Patient Zero when investigating the spread of a disease. Or it’s like finding the origin of a harmful mutation — but where the offspring has chosen his defective ancestor.

  13. Regarding the authorship of the last chapter of Deuteronomy:
    There is an old tradition which says that the last chapter was written by Joshua, acting as secretary for Moses.
    What I find interesting about this is that it shows that people are willing to change their view of the Bible because of mere human reasoning. In this case, that they find it difficult to believe that Moses could have written about his own death, burial, and later reputation. Even though Moses could have received divine inspiration about these matters.
    Just as there are few who resist the findings of modern science about the Earth being a planet of the Solar System, despite the clear statements of the Bible about the motion of the Sun around a fixed Earth.

  14. The pastor depends on a dubious theory sometimes floating around in fundamentalists exegesis: that the Hebrew word toledoth should refer to some kind of written historical account provided by a specific individual.

    The word seems to mean literally “begettings”. Sometimes it can refer to an origin story of sorts, as in the introduction to the second (originally independent) creation story in Genesis: “These are the toledoth [here = origins] of the heavens and the earth at their creation” (Gen 2:4) But normally, when the reference is to the toledoth of a person, the word introduces a list of that individual’s descendants.

    Genesis 5:1, “this is the record of the toledoth of Adam”, is by the above-quoted pastor interpreted as a phrase marking the conclusion of Adam’s personal contribution to the Bible text! Actually it is the introduction to a list of his descendants, as the rest of chapter 5 shows.

    Genesis 6:4, “these are the toledoth of Noah”, can hardly be a phrase concluding his personal written contribution to the Bible. This is from the INTRODUCTION to the story of Noah, followed by a list of his sons and then the whole story of the building of the ark and the deluge.

    I wonder what the pastor makes of Genesis 36:1: “And these are the toledoth of Esau.” Is this the end of a text block written by Esau? If so, parts of Genesis are written by a man Yahweh later declared that he hated (Malachi 1:3, also quoted by Paul in Romans 9:13).

    The phrase in Genesis 36:1 simply introduces a list of Esau’s descendants, duly listed in the following verses.

    The curious idea that toledoth should refer to a written account provided by the person named can be safely placed on the huge scrapheap of fundamentalist fantasies. It is a product of the fierce desire to see the Bible text as “eyewitness accounts” written by the people involved — even stories from hoary antediluvian antiquity!

  15. Ceteris Paribus

    Mel Famie says: ’ll be a good boy and not bring up the question of “almah” versus “b’tulah.”

    Jeepers and jumping Jehosaphat, Mel, I didn’t mean to offend. I’m completely ecumenical when it comes to the subject of theology.

    Besides, I truly envy the scholarly ability of those who are trained to read both forward and backward. I wouldn’t be able to read Hebrew even if I held the text up to a mirror.

  16. Mel Famie

    Where did you get the idea that you offended? Trust me, you didn’t. The issue I brought up is sure to offend many literalistic Christians, though, since it sort of kicks the props out from under the virgin birth stuff.

  17. Oh,yes. Adam was right there and watched God create him. Then he told God he wanted a woman… uh huh… and God made him one… God was a nice kid.