Puritan Board Sophomore
Liberal explainings-away of Christ's miracles don't rely upon linguistically valid exegesis. I'm not aware of any language, much less Koine Greek, where the expressions used to explain biblical miracles - turning water to wine, casting out demons, raising the dead, etc - are commonly used to express non-miraculous phenomena. Therefore, liberals, in denying miracles, consistently deny the natural, linguistically valid reading of the text.I think he was getting at the difference between accommodating to truth versus accommodating to error.
Joshua 10:12-13 Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed,....
The text seems to indicate that everyone involved thought that the sun was actually moving and that it actually stood still in response to Joshua's command.
It's one thing to accommodate to people's perceptions in a way that upholds the truth. It's another to mislead people into thinking one thing happened when it didn't really happen at all. (Before Copernicus, would people have read heliocentricity into the text?).
As Rev. Winzer put it in comment #48 of the first thread linked above,
I accept the Calvinian, not the Cartesian, teaching of accommodation. I suggest participants in this thread do some reading on this subject in order to discover the difference. Your advocacy of Cartesian accommodation equally justifies liberal explanations of Bible miracles.
However, plenty of societies, whether geocentric or helio-centric in their outlook, speak about the relative movement of the sun in relative terms - the sun rises, the sun sets, etc. In fact, I'm not aware of any language that does not speak that way. So this consistutes a fundamental difference between the exegetical approach of the orthodox heliocentrists on the one hand, and liberals on the other.
Moreover, plenty of orthodox folks have noted that, in the Scriptures, God accommodates human modes of expression. For many topics, this is necessarily the case - for example, when we speak of the nature of God, our statements are true analogically, since God is by nature incomprehensible. This was the teaching of Aquinas and all the reformers.
Augustine, in his commentary on Genesis 1, speaks often about God's accommodation to human modes of speech.
"[The Manichaeans] look at the shape of our body and ask so infelicitously whether God has a nose and teeth and a beard and also inner organs and the other things we need. However, it is ridiculous, even wicked, to believe that there are such things in God, and so they deny that man was made to the image and likeness of God. We answer them that the Scriptures generally mention these members in presenting God to an audience of the little ones, and this is true, not only of the books of the Old Testament, but also of the New Testament.... Let them know, nonetheless, that the spiritual believers in the Catholic teaching do not believe that God is limited by a bodily shape."
Could God be accused of misleading those by his manner of speech who thought that he, like men, had a physical body? After all, the pagans worshipped as gods images of men, and fish, and birds, and other created things. But, of course, that would be a baseless accusation, because the fault would be in the hearers who were blinded to the truth, not in God who had spoken.