synthetic answers mar the Bible’s reputation

Three thoughts from my first class (OT/NT Theology of Missions). You can respond to any of them.   The last one, in particular, is my final thesis for my paper. I am comparing the Hebrew, Septuagint and Vulgate texts of Gen. 2-3. Any sources you are familiar with on this subject that would make this a better paper is welcome (I will give credit).

The Bible offers postmoderns, as it has past generations, a cogent and warmly genuine explanation, couched in human history, of the origins of evil and death, as well as rules for their limits and means to surmount.

We must be careful to not give a synthetic answer to the problems of Christianity and culture for the postmodern, i.e., take the good ideas from the spiritual culture around us, which is pagan, or use Greek categories and criteria, and fuse together as far as possible with Christianity.

Misinterpretations of the actual message of the Bible have marred its reputation to the extent that it is categorically dismissed, if considered at all, by most people today as offering any consolation to or substantive remediation of life’s problems.

About dbporter

Dan Porter, living in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Married to Bonnie, an artist. We have three grown sons, all married to wonderful women, and in turn have eight children.
This entry was posted in Assumptions, Bible. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to synthetic answers mar the Bible’s reputation

  1. Earl says:

    Hi Dan,

    I don’t know if this is exactly what you’re looking for, but the October issue of Scientific American has an intesting column, call Skeptic. This month, Michael Shermer wrote an editorial opinion Why Christians and conservatives should accept evolution. That could be one direction of a synthetic answer to the problems of Christianity and culture. The October issue also has book reviews of various scientists blending science and religion.

    The view that Shermer presents of Christianity is that it has as its goals the awe of God and good ethics. Evolution, Shermer argues, explains original sin through the conflict of evolution. Good ethics is explained by the need of family groups to survive. This view of Christianity misses the central point of Christ bearing our sin in a substitutionary way on the cross.

  2. jared says:


    What would be an example of “taking the good ideas from the spiritual culture around us” and fusing them “together as far as possible with Christianity”? More to the point, what is wrong about absorbing “good ideas” into one’s noetic framework regardless of its origin? If we take a Schafferian view of truth, then shouldn’t we expect to find insight from all walks of life?

  3. Earl says:


    Here is a conference that has audio and text of the seminars. It is The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World It features: David Wells, Don Carson, Tim Keller, Mark Driscoll, Voddie Baucham, and John Piper.

  4. DanVPorter says:

    Jared, Good question!

    First of all, I apologize for the tardy response! You may have completely forgotten you wrote it by now! I only recently “discovered” how to log in to my blog and saw your comment.

    Brief response:
    de Zengotita describes postmodernism as “blobby,” an osmotic process that includes all options and fuses them into a kind of “pudding” of oneness, having things both ways, mixing categories, blurring lines, it is about “having it both ways. Or more” (Mediated 2008, 61).

    This macro contemporary example illustrates what is risky and wrong with an epistemological stance that practices absorbing good ideas regardless of origin. Because, generally, there exist two ways of thinking based on two sets of assumptions: scriptural and natural. Both exhibit both-and, or inclusive language and either/or language, but with great differences.

    Greek (Either/Or): only one reality/truth allowed. One OR the other, black OR white, right OR wrong. Attitude: right for me, wrong for you
    Greek (Both-And): all truth is God’s truth; spin. Attitude: wrong, except when useful to me
    Hebrew-biblical (Either/Or): Choice between real alternatives, multiple choices, right AND wrong co-exist
    Hebrew-biblical (Both-And): Two ‘realities’ in tandem (Creator AND creation); ‘multi-perspectival’ (not equal to pluralism)

    I can fill in the blanks with a somewhat longer response. But maybe this is sufficient to further the conversation.

Leave a Reply