Today we have a new addition to our series about Self-Published Geniuses. This is where we bring you news of authors with a vanity press book in which the author claims to have made paradigm-shattering discoveries, and announces his work by hiring a press release service.
The title of today’s press release — they all have huge titles — is Mark Glaab’s Newly Released “Can We Believe Genesis in an Age of Science?” is a Compelling Argument for the Infallibility of Biblical Truth, and it was written by PR.com — a classy name. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:
“Can We Believe Genesis in an Age of Science?”: an articulate examination of the Book of Genesis. “Can We Believe Genesis in an Age of Science?” is the creation of published author, Mark Glaab, who is the pastor of Faith Alive Family Church in London, Ontario, Canada [Ooooooooooooh! A preacher!], where he serves with his wife, Anita. In the past, Mark has also written computer curricula along with software self-help books.
Very impressive! Then the press release says:
Glaab shares, “According to many Christian leaders, early Genesis is a myth or allegory. [Gasp!] Therefore, Adam and Eve never lived, Eve was never tempted, and Adam never sinned. There was no creation week, so God did not make the earth, the stars, the birds, fish, or the animals. This has become the default position of many Christian teachers, ministries, and campuses. This is not just mainline churches, but evangelicals have joined the ranks of doubters in creation.”
That’s absolutely horrible! Glaab tells us:
“This is a reaction to the claims of Christians who work in the sciences [Egad!], claiming that evolution is now an established fact. As a result, creation week is put in the category of myth or allegory, not history. New interpretations of Genesis abound.”
Sounds horrible, doesn’t it? Glaab continues:
“There is just one problem. This may be how people interpret Scripture, but it is not how Scripture interprets Scripture. [What?] Scripture treats Genesis as history. If you are wondering whether Genesis can be interpreted as true history, the struggle is over. Jesus is not just the cornerstone of the church. He is the cornerstone of creation.”
Impressive, isn’t it? Let’s read on:
Published by Christian Faith Publishing [Ding, ding!], Mark Glaab’s new book challenges the complacency of scientific certainty and promotes biblical truth.
We’ve seen that publisher’s name several times before. Here’s their website: Christian Faith Publishing. It leaves no doubt — they’re a vanity publisher. They even let authors pay their fees on a monthly installment plan. With that, and the press release, we know the book qualifies for our collection. Let’s read on:
Glaab shares in hope of promoting a return to the formerly standard use of teaching biblical truths as detailed in scripture versus the modern approach of accepting Genesis as allegory.
So we looked for the book at Amazon — and we found it!
Wowie — it has 332 pages and costs only $19.95 in paperback. What a deal! And yes, Amazon has a “Look inside” feature. Hey — there aren’t any ratings yet. You can be the first!
Okay, dear reader, we’ve given you all the information we can find, and it looks great. Go ahead and buy the thing — and tell ’em the Curmudgeon sent ya!
Copyright © 2023. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.
I used to think religion was a drawback to the progress of mankind and, like Santa, would eventually fade into the background. Now, I realise it helps keep nutters together in one place for observation. Or in many places. So it has its value. Just like Santa.
“but it is not how Scripture interprets Scripture.”
He didn’t get the memo that it’s because nobody could handle the truth yet, and that it’s not a science textbook. Any time something isn’t a textbook of something it is allowed to be 100% wrong about what they are not a textbook of. Later, Jesus divinely inspired Darwin to write about evolution when we were ready to handle the truth, and that is why I consider Darwin to be the new part of the New Testament canon.
“Scripture treats Genesis as history”.
Notice that the Rev Glaab does not cite the passage where scripture does that. That’s because he can’t. There is no such passage. Nowhere does any canonical scripture say that Genesis is historical fact.
Sure, there are places where the Genesis stories are invoked as illustrations of some moral or behavioral point. Jesus Himself referred to the creation of man and woman, and to the Flood, in that way. Paul spoke of the story that woman was created second and from the man as justifying his instructions on how women were to behave. It doesn’t actually justify them, of course, and Paul was drawing a false inference, but that’s beside the point.
The point is, all such references were to the Genesis tales as moral precepts, not as history. Jesus referred to his own parable of the Good Samaritan in exactly the same terms. He asked, Who was the true neighbour?, just as if the story were historical fact.
So the Rev is making statements that he can’t justify. He is, in fact, telling lies.
What annoys me most about these purblind idiots is how willing they are to pervert the text, and one reason why it annoys me is that they blunt and deform its moral weight by doing so.
Genesis has great truths in its metaphors. All humans are commonly descended. We’re all cousins. All humans fall short of ideal conduct – we do whatever feels good, even if it is to our long-term detriment – and we try to shift the blame for it. Our ancestors did once wander in a wilderness that provided all their needs, but now we must work to eat. Man and woman really are “one flesh”, of the same status, the same rights, the same responsibilities.
But extending metaphor beyond its immediate terms has lamentable results. It always leads to disastrous misinterpretations. Insisting on literality without justification is perhaps the worst possible extension.
Even so, the main reason why it gets under my skin is because it’s false. Scripture does not treat Genesis as history, but as what it is: allegory, parable and metaphor. It’s the Rev Glaab who treats it falsely.
Agreed. I hesitate because I haven’t read the book, so this is just about a reaction to the impression that is given by the statement that the Bible treats the Bible as history. One text which seems difficult is 1 Corinthians 9:9 which cites the law of Moses as ordering that one not muzzle working oxen: “Doth God take care for oxen?”
Just sayin but it’s possible one Bible person thought one thing about Genesis and another Bible person thought another thing about Genesis. Just because theology treats the Bible as one monolithic concordant unit where one Bible person can’t contradict the other Bible person doesn’t make it so.
Of course, theologically speaking, if one more theologically inclined were to find something they like, they can ignore things that contradict it and claim their thing is the entire Bible thing. In fact, Christianity would die out if it were not able to “have it your way” like Burger King. It’s a matter of theological survival.
richard, Of course. In reality, I can guarantee you that some, at least, of the Biblical writers or characters thought that Genesis was literal history. If, that is, they owned the concept of “literal history” at all. Ancient cultures were often a bit iffy that way.
I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s a good example. Alfred the Great, the first genuine King of (most of) England, directed the monks of Winchester Cathedral to compile from earlier records a history of his people, the Anglo-Saxons. This became the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. The monks began by setting out the King’s own ancestry. They went back fourteen generations, and traced his descent from Wotan. You know, Wotan, the god.
Now, these were pious Christian monks. They didn’t believe in any pagan gods. They knew that this statement was wrong, in one sense. What they were saying was that the King – who was, in some mystical sense, his people – had arisen from ancient, mythic, even pagan origins, and that was who he was and who they were. And they were right.
Same for the writers of the Bible, most likely. To them, the origin stories of their people were real in the same mystical sense. They lived in a world where very few things were empirically explicable. Everything had a magical cause, and it wasn’t far away. But literally? What is this word “literal”?
The point is, there is no place in the Bible where someone says, “The Genesis stories are real history. This is what actually happened.” And certainly nobody ever says, “You have to believe those stories, or it’s the Lake of Fire for you.”
Now, me, I put this down to the effect described above. They didn’t actually own the concept of literality, so they didn’t insist on it, the way zoobs like the Rev Glaab do. But see, why they didn’t insist on it is irrelevant. The fact is, they didn’t. Literal acceptance is not required by the scripture itself, so the Rev Glaab and his ilk are actually adding to scripture by doing so.
Sure, you can say, as we all say, that the reason we don’t accept the six day creation 6000 years ago story is because all the evidence – like, ALL THE EVIDENCE – is totally against it. And that’s right. But the Rev and his goons wouldn’t know evidence from Eva’s dentures. They just look at you funny.
So it amuses me – unworthy, I know – to point out how they’re in flagrant violation of their own principles. And it’s even possible that it might cause them to think about it. Not likely, I admit, because they mostly last had a thought in the fifth grade, but worth a go.
I recommend this book
The Bible As It Was
James L Kugel
Belknap Press/Harvard U Press 1999
It gives examples from the culture of the Ancient Far East of the few centuries spanning the BC/AD divide – the culture in which the Bible was completed – showing how the people of that time and place treated the text of the Bible.
A comment about the famous proof-text, 2 Timothy 3:16-17
All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, and for training in righteousness;
so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.
This does *not* say that scripture is historically correct, *nor* that it is true in the sense of correspondence with reality; *rather* that it is *useful* for certain tasks, *pragmatic*, for *good work*.
(There is also a possible translation which goes “every scripture which is inspired by God …”. If so, my suggestion about pragmatism still stands.)
My computer made a bad mistake. The Bible says: reproof
Please, please correct this.