Back of contemporary approaches to the Bible are four evolutionary theories: (1) the general theory (2) the biological theory (3) the theory of the evolution of religion and (4) the theory of the literary evolution of the Bible. None of these are logically related.
Strictly speaking, the universe may have evolved without life on the planet evolving. And religion may have evolved without the books of the Bible “evolving” from simpler stories.
Logically, these different elements do not require each other. But the contemporary, educated mind wants so badly to believe in the evolution of everything that the whole package is assumed. Then anyone who raises a question about any part of it is ignored or silenced.
Among the dismissed and ostracized are those who point out that the Big Bang (the most popular element of the general theory) has to be supported by a laundry list of sub-theories, because some of the facts don’t fit.
Others note the lack of objectivity and firm scientific substantiation for what some call the macro-evolution of life.
Others, who study primitive societies and comparative religions, state that the evolution of religion toward belief in one God cannot be demonstrated from existing evidence — and that the idea faces strong counter-evidence.
Finally, the analysis of the Bible into fragmented parts is considered bogus by many capable historians, archeologists and literary scholars.
But when any of these evolutionary ideas is discussed by the media or in the schools, producers of programs and educators carefully select their authorities and follow the assumption that anyone who questions evolution — in any form — is simply out of touch.
Sticking with the issue of the Bible’s evolution, it can be noted that, early on, a number of biblical scholars either objected to the theory or, after accepting it for a while, later rejected it.
On the European side, F. Hommel (Munich) and J. Halevy (Paris) were never swayed by those who claimed they could find layers of documents in the existing Scriptures. And A. H. Sayce, well-known British Orientalist, accepted this approach for a while. Then he began to earnestly study the growing body of knowledge yielded by Near Eastern archaeology, and gained a new respect for the Bible. The same is true for one who is called the Prince of Biblical Archeology, W. F. Albright.
K. A. Kitchen of the School of Archaeology and Oriental Studies at Liverpool University insists that the structure and content of Scripture indicates their embedded place in the historical contexts they reflect. He regards the common explanations of the Bible’s literary evolution as irrelevant to Near Eastern modes of composition and in opposition to known archeological facts.
M. G. Kyle, A. J. Reeve, and numerous others, on the American side of the Atlantic — down to present times — round out a crowd of competent scholars who reject the theory of the Bible’s evolution on grounds, they say, they can defend fully.
So where did the books of the Bible come from? From the only group of ancients who believed in one, personal God.
Israel claimed that prophets were sent by this God to guide and reprove them. And they carefully maintained the documents the prophets left behind.
Many thoughtful people believe it.
By BOB GARRINGEREmail | Print