Two memes about the Bible

Well, it’s Friday. My work week was pretty busy, so this will be a short Friday Fun post, but I do have two new memes to share!

Bible-and-apple-meme

This is a response to one of the most pervasive and ridiculous, yet rhetorically effective, arguments from the young-earth camp, that the views of the Genesis creation accounts held by yours truly (and shared by such other compromising, second-class believers as C.S. Lewis, Billy Graham and Dietrich Bonhoeffer) are “just man’s opinion,” while their views of the same passages are “a plain reading” and “taking God at his word.”

No doubt you’ve encountered this same argument. It’s often used as an escape hatch for YEC proponents to duck out of a discussion when scripture, logic and reason get uncomfortably close to their core beliefs.

But that’s not why it needs to go away. It needs to go away because it’s patently false.

Hear this: Young-earth creationists interpret the Bible. They interpret the Bible just as muchif not more so — as any one of us Christians they call “compromisers.”

The only difference is that we don’t claim our honest, reasoned — and yet, human, and therefore, fallible — interpretations as perfect and inerrant, and on the same level as the very mind of the living God.

As this meme says, it’s impossible to avoid interpreting the Bible, unless you simply don’t read the Bible. Hey, you know — actually — that would explain a lot.

Lucas_Cranach_d.J_meme

This second one makes a similar point. One of the reasons I started this website (and especially the reason I adopted the tone and style that I have) is I became tired of YEC proponents’ arrogant, un-Christlike attempts to belittle and marginalize the views of those who don’t read the Genesis creation stories as literal history.

Consider this meme one small effort to shove them back into their place. Share in good health, and have yourselves a great weekend.

Tyler Francke is founder of God of Evolution and author of Reoriented. He can be reached at tyler@godofevolution.com.

  • D. Humeston

    It is impossible to read anything and not interpret it. That is automatic.

    • You got it, Dart. Only certain young-earthers believe they are somehow immune from this.

  • myklc

    I was going to ask how they dodge the fact that most of them are already reading translations (man’s opinions about ancient languages). Then I remembered all of the KJV-only rot about God making it perfect all over again.
    Cognitive dissonance is a powerful thing.

  • Alan S

    Nice memes! Just FYI, you have a typo in the second one (“interprets it AT as a history…”). Thankful that your blog is active again! 🙂

  • Darach Conneely

    Not sure an apple is the best illustration to use.

    • Why not? Or what do you think would be more effective?

      • Darach Conneely

        Creationists will imagine you in a serpentine role offering them this nice piece of juicy fruit to make them wise. An apple as forbidden fruit is cliché rather than scripture, but clichéd symbols carry automatic mental associations. Not sure how you would fix it, maybe the idea of chewing on God’s word, though I don’t know if that illustration is found anywhere in scripture. Or the fact Jesus interpreted the bible Luke 24:27.

        • Hmm… I hadn’t thought of that. Thanks, Darach!

  • archaeologist

    what a dumb post and that is an objective statement of fact not an insult.

    you are deliberately ignoring what Jesus taught basically because you do not want to know that you are wrong

    • Oh, that’s right, because Jesus taught about the proper interpretation of the Genesis creation accounts, especially the serpent and magic trees, all the time.

      • archaeologist

        Why would Jesus have to be redundant and reteach what God already revealed through Moses? His teaching was– ye shall know the truth and follow the HS to the truth.

        He also said, if you do not believe Moses how will you believe his words? So your memes are misleading people and taking them away from the truth

        • Why would Jesus have to be redundant and reteach what God already revealed through Moses?

          I didn’t say he would. You were the one who accused me of “ignoring what Jesus taught” with these memes, and those topics were what these memes are about.

          He also said, if you do not believe Moses how will you believe his words?

          We’ve been over this already. I “believe Moses.” I believe all of the Old Testament, for that matter, is inspired by God and entirely true.

          That doesn’t mean I have to interpret it the same way you do.

          So your memes are misleading people and taking them away from the truth

          I disagree. I think my memes are making people laugh and reinforcing the truth.

          • archaeologist

            You obviously do not believe Moses as you do not take genesis 1-10 to be historical. ‘interpretation’ does not mean you believe. it means you have altered the words to fit what you want to believe.

            why would you want people to laugh at God and his word?

          • You’re right. I do not take Genesis 1-10 to be historical, because I do not believe God intended it to be read that way. And you do not take the parables of Jesus to be historical for the same reason. So I don’t believe Moses, and you don’t believe Jesus.

            Do you see how your argument is flawed?

          • archaeologist

            you are using apples to compare oranges. parables have nothing to do with the historicity of Genesis 1-10. The two topics are totally different and it is bad justification on your part.

          • Please, for once, explain yourself, without simply asserting that you are right and I am wrong. What, exactly, makes the parables Jesus told “totally different” from the early stories in Genesis?

            When God came in the flesh, his favorite teaching tool was to use fictional stories to convey deeper theological and moral truths. Why is it so completely out of the question that God might have done something similar when he was telling about complex events like the creation of the world and the fall of man?

          • archaeologist

            I have mentioned this before to you. The BIBLE clearly states when Jesus is speaking in a parable. NO SUCH description is given for Genesis 1-10. Those chapters are written as historical events.

            You would have to prove that they were fictional before stating that. There is nothing complex about creation. God spoke and it was.

            The ancients were not as dumb and ignorant as many moderns want them to be and they could grasp the simplicity of Genesis 1-10

          • The BIBLE clearly states when Jesus is speaking in a parable.

            Not even remotely true. Actually, the text almost never identifies Jesus’ parables as parables. They just begin with something like, “Jesus taught them, saying…” or “Jesus answered them and said…” The only explicit reference to the stories being parables are usually in the section headings, which were added afterward.

            NO SUCH description is given for Genesis 1-10.

            Which is precisely the case for almost all of Christ’s parables. Pop quiz: Where does Jesus explicitly say the parable of the good samaritan is a parable? Chapter and verse, please. What about the prodigal son? The talents? The ten virgins? I could go on all day.

            You would have to prove that they were fictional before stating that.

            I think the burden of proof is on the person who claims, for the first and only time in history, a non-human animal spoke and reasoned on its own.

            There is nothing complex about creation. God spoke and it was.

            You minimize God’s work in his glorious creation by claiming it’s simple.

            The ancients were not as dumb and ignorant as many moderns want them to be and they could grasp the simplicity of Genesis 1-10

            I don’t think the ancients were dumb at all. They understood myths, and the purposes of them. It is you who does not.

          • archaeologist

            you need to double check before calling someone a liar–
            https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=parables&qs_version=NASB

            the burden of proof is upon you for you call them fiction without proof.

            not at all. God said it was simple. he did not say use science to find the evidence he said to use faith.

            genesis 1-120 is not myth. you do not understand any truth at all.

          • you need to double check before calling someone a liar–
            https://www.biblegateway.com/q

            Yeah, that’s great, man, but I don’t remember arguing that the word “parables” never appears in the Bible.

            What I said was that most of Christ’s parables are not explicitly labeled as such within the original text, and I gave you a few well-known examples.

            This was in response to your claim that “The BIBLE clearly states when Jesus is speaking in a parable,” which is patently false, in most cases.

            All you’ve done is further bolster one of my points, which was that parables were Jesus’ favorite and most frequently used teaching tools, which certainly makes it possible that God would have similarly used symbolic stories elsewhere inin scripture to convey complex theological truths.

            the burden of proof is upon you for you call them fiction without proof.

            I say again, an animal talking on its own and reasoning like a human is a pretty strong indication that the story should be interpreted like, well, like any other story in which that happened.

            not at all. God said it was simple. he did not say use science to find the evidence he said to use faith.

            Sure, pal. Why don’t you read the last few chapters of Job and tell me God thinks his creation is simple and easily understood.

            genesis 1-120 is not myth. you do not understand any truth at all.

            Gee, maybe I am confused because apparently Genesis is about 70 chapters longer than I thought.

          • archaeologist

            read your words again.

            How do you know if the stories are not true? What evidence do you have? Again, There is no instruction that Gen. 1-10 is symbolic Why would God use symbolism when he wants his creation to know what he did?

            Why would anyone worship him if he did not tell them the truth?

            no, it does not indicate nay such thing. it tells us that evil can do many things and we should be prepared.

            His creation is very easy to understand.

          • read your words again.

            I did. What I said is clear: Almost all of Christ’s parables are not explicitly described as parables within the text. Your claim to the contrary, which is a misrepresentation of scripture, remains false.

            How do you know if the stories are not true?

            I never said they aren’t true. In fact, I have consistently and repeatedly said the opposite.

            Your rigid and absurd insistence that literal=”true” and non-literal=”false” makes a mockery out of Christ’s many teachings through non-literal parables and the Old Testament’s many teachings in Psalms, Job, Proverbs and the books of the prophets through non-literal symbolism and metaphor.

            There is no instruction that Gen. 1-10 is symbolic

            There is no instruction that Psalm 18 is symbolic when it describes God as a rock and a fortress. For that matter, there is no instruction that Genesis 1-10 is history.

            We are not mindlessly bound to whatever labels may or may not appear on certain Bible passages. We rely on contextual clues and the Holy Spirit for guidance. And in this case, the textual evidence is very strong that it was not meant to be read literally. See, for example, my 10 questions that you — for the most part — failed to provide valid answers for.

            Why would God use symbolism when he wants his creation to know what he did?

            Who said he wants us to know exactly what he did or how he did it. Seriously, bro, read Job. Start with chapter 38. It will help you tremendously.

            Why would anyone worship him if he did not tell them the truth?

            This again. I can’t wait to see you rebuked at the Second Coming for calling Jesus a liar because he taught through non-literal stories.

            no, it does not indicate nay such thing. it tells us that evil can do many things and we should be prepared.

            His creation is very easy to understand.

            K, you are just saying the same stuff over and over again, without even attempting to respond to my points, so I’m going to do the same thing I did before: You get one more comment then that’s it for this thread. Move on, friend.

          • archaeologist

            i was going to supply a point by point response to you but i realized midway that I am merely wasting my time. You are deceived, and have accepted deception.

            to answer your arguments is a waste of time as you will say they are not answered even though they were. case in point your stupid 10 questions.

            and yes they were stupid for the most part. you are changing God’s word to fit your desires to do science over using faith and until you make the correction there is nothing more to tell you.

          • Hmm… Kind of wasted your last comment, didn’t you? Bold strategy.

            i was going to supply a point by point response to you but i realized midway that I am merely wasting my time.

            Because you realized you weren’t doing anything but repeating the same weak, already refuted arguments over and over again?

            You are deceived, and have accepted deception.

            Oh. Well thank goodness I have brothers in Christ like you to gentlygently and lovingly nudge me back into the light.

            to answer your arguments is a waste of time as you will say they are not answered even though they were.

            If an argument is answered, I admit that it’s answered. If it’s not a valid answer, I recognize that and point out how it’s not valid. If it is answered, but I feel it still has weaknesses, or demonstrates weaknesses in the underlying worldview, I respond as such.

            That’s how these discussions work. You just couldn’t keep up, because you believe everything can be addressed with some component of your shallow, childishly simplistic theological construct.

            When someone offers scripture or a valid, logical argument that doesn’t comport with your presupposed construct, you can’t adapt and you can’t cope.

            case in point your stupid 10 questions.

            I’ll say it again, when and if you actually address the questions and issues that are presented, I’ll admit that you’ve answered them.

            and yes they were stupid for the most part.

            Sorry, but if you really thought that, you would have not put as much time and energy as you did into trying to respond to them.

            You know what I do when I see stupid things on the Internet? I ignore them.

            you are changing God’s word to fit your desires to do science over using faith

            No, I’m not.

            until you make the correction there is nothing more to tell you.

            So you’re done commenting here? I’ll believe it when I see it.

          • halflife2401

            Hey, buddy, why are you judging people on their interpretation of the bible? Doesn’t the bible tell you not to judge or condemn others?

          • archaeologist

            #1. i am not your buddy

            #2. I am not judging. you misunderstand, misuse and misapply that term. people are allowed to say someone is right or wrong in using a text from scripture as long as they are correct in their understanding and led by the HS to make the correction

            #3 you seem to want a freedom to use scripture in a manner that God has not allowed

          • Mortification240

            God hasn’t allowed it? Hmm… He hasn’t exactly struck anyone down that believes in evolution… So you’re wrong.

          • It does say that, many, many times. Don’t worry too much about our friend “Dr.” David Tee (archaeologist). He’s a little testy because the last time he participated in a discussion here it came out that his “doctorate” was something he awarded to himself one day because he felt like he really deserved it.

  • Chris Mason

    Do they really not see that reading it literally is still an interpretation? I’m surprised that even a creationist would deny that.

    • Oh, yes. I hear this all. The. Time. They say my view is an interpretation, and their view is just them reading it, with no interpretation whatsoever.

      • Chris Mason

        Ugh. That’s annoying.

  • Leo Noble

    Tyler,

    I’ve recently read a few of your articles of a young earth debate….while I am surely no expert, I implore you to look into material from Dr. Chuck Missler. I’ve recently been listening to his podcasts and other teachings, God has given him so much insight. His background is in physics, mathematics and engineering. Here’s a link:

    http://podcast.khouse.org/resources/podcasts/k-rations?page=1

    There are 2 Genesis podcasts I’m referring to specifically, session 1 and 2. I definitely don’t want to accuse of not doing your research, but I want to encourage to research even more. He mentions that one way sure fire to not finding the truth is condemnation before investigation.
    I know that many, if not most, Christians are guilty of this in a sense. They know what they believe but not why, thus cannot answer many of the questions doubters have. But listening to and reading Dr. Missler’s material has really opened my mind to how truly amazing God really is and how he functions completely outside of our time domain. Once you understand that concept things really start to click.
    Also if you have time listen to his study on Angels.
    God Bless,
    And may you continue seeking.

    • Thanks for the comment and the suggestion, Leo. I’ll try and check out the podcasts you’ve recommended.