Sunday, May 27, 2007


I have to concede that Cervantes has a point about Lamech’s story being a bit bizarre to us. The Oxford Annotated RSV indicates that verse 23-24 is, “an ancient song, probably once sung in praise of Lamech, is here quoted to illustrate the development of wickedness from murder to measureless blood revenge.” In other words, he’s not a hero. So if you were engaging in exegesis you might use this passage to ponder how concommitant with the release of sin on the world the inevitable development and preponderance of human inflicted evil, violence, and tragedy caused ancient people to wonder WTF just as we do today.

I really just don’t have anything else to say about that passage. It’s a fragment of an almost forgotten character—who turns out to be the father of Noah.

And Cervantes also makes a subtle but valid point about Alan Keyes statement and our obvious evolving standards of decency. We no longer accept polygamy, or slavery as valid or moral lifestyles. You can use proof texting to argue against homosexuality, but you can also use it to argue in favor of some very nasty social institutions of the past. But if you're keeping your mind open to the considerations of contextual criticism, as I do, you would merely note that the Bible was reflecting the cultural norms of it's time.

It's true some Christians fear calling into question the inerrancy of the Bible. They are so spiritually immature that it would seriously erode their faith if anyone chipped away at the idea that God was not THE AUTHOR of Sacred Scripture and it was not taken to be totally, including historically, accurate.

In the other camp are Christians who see in the historical-critical method hope for making progress on our historical understanding of the Bible. They do not see this as a threat to faith but as a natural outcome of intellectual curiosity and a search for the truth.

I think you can't change the minds of the former. All you can do is try to take power away from them.

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