Thoughts from the Notre Dame conference, “My Ways Are Not Your Ways”
September 29, 2009 — 8:00

Author: Robert Gressis  Category: Religion and Life Religious Belief  Comments: 28

From September 10-12, Notre Dame held a conference called “My Ways Are not Your Ways: The Character of the God of the Hebrew Bible”. The focus of the conference was on the”hard passages” from the Bible, particularly from the Old Testament: instances where God seems to command genocide, rape, child sacrifice, and other such things. I can’t remember a conference that I was more excited to see. And it didn’t disappoint–it may have been the most rewarding conference I’ve attended.
Originally, I thought I would live-blog the conference, but because I fell under the impression both that the presentations, along with their responses, would be collected into a book, and that videos of at least the Q&A sessions would eventually be posted to the website (don’t quote me on that, though), I decided I would instead post something more impressionistic.


Before giving my own impressions, though, I think it helpful to describe what problem the hard passages from the OT (and, arguably, the NT) are supposed to pose; after all, why worry about these passages if you have a defense against or a theodicy for the problem of evil? What is left to explain once you give God’s reasons for creating a world that contains so much human and animal suffering?
I think there are two issues with regard to (what I’ll unimaginatively and inelegantly call) the “Hard Passages Problem”: first, in the hard passages, God doesn’t just permit evil or create a world that contains evil, it seems He commands it directly. Not only may these passages give one the impression that God is a moral monster, it also leads one to worry that God’s servants–those who carry out genocide, rapes, etc.–have no moral bearings. This leads to the second problem: what relevance do the hard passages have for us today? Or, to put it another way: would a religious theist of today–would any of us Christian philosophers–ever carry out what appeared to be a hideous command? If so, what does this say about our morality? If not, what does this say about our reverence for the inspiration of the Bible? Finally, to make this second challenge even more pointed: wouldn’t any religious philosopher who today saw someone preparing to sacrifice his son to God think that person insane, and a danger to society?
One of the things I learned about this problem is, first of all, how creative were some of the Christian responses to it. I was particularly impressed by those of Peter van Inwagen, Eleonore Stump, and Richard Swinburne. Swinburne gave a sophisticated account of what it means for a text to be divinely inspired, as well as a (to me less convincing) justification for the moral permissibility of God’s commanding genocide; and van Inwagen explained how you could regard the whole Bible as divinely inspired and yet nonetheless regard the claims made about God’s commands in the hard passages as false (unfortunately, I don’t remember Stump’s right now).
Another feature that struck me was how much Bible and near eastern scholarship one would have to know to really understand these passages. Some people–for instance, Alvin Plantinga–claimed that it’s possible that many of the mentions of genocide may not have been referring to genocide at all, but rather may have used a metaphor to describe the routing of an opponent (e.g., the coach says to her basketball team, “kill the opposing team!” without wanting her players to in fact murder all the opponents). I don’t know if he was right about his specific exegetical claim, but I was often left with a feeling that some who criticize Christianity and Judaism on the basis of these passages don’t properly contextualize them.
But rather than delve too deeply into those particular points, I want to state a couple of my own feelings about the hard passages.
First, they seem to me to have a certain kind of power: the God who would make such commands is terrifying and hard for me to understand. He seems untamed and ready to upend my life at any moment. I worry that some explanations of those passages may be “too good”–they may domesticate the Biblical God in a way that makes Him less impressive, and so less attractive to worship. I don’t quite know why these feelings hang together like this for me–if God is perfectly good, then why would I want anything else but a full explanation of the passages such that God comes out as as perfectly good agent?
Second, even though I don’t–for whatever reason–want too tidy an explanation of the passages, I also can’t take them at face value. That is, I think if God literally commanded the Israelites to murder all the Amalekites–men, women, and children–then it would be rather hard to find that God worthy of worship. If that’s true, though–if the Bible is inspired, but God doesn’t want us to take the passages of commanded genocide literally–, then what is the point of those passages?
At any rate, I’ll leave it at that.

Comments:
  • Michael S.

    Thanks for the post, Robert. I can’t wait for the book based on the conference to be published.

    September 29, 2009 — 2:19
  • Dan

    quote:The focus of the conference was on the”hard passages” from the Bible, particularly from the Old Testament: instances where God seems to command genocide, rape, child sacrifice, and other such things (endquote)
    Where does God command (by which I mean, ostensibly command according to the books) rape? And by a command for child sacrifice, are you referring to something more than the case of Abraham and Isaac, which obviously turned out to be a case where God did not intend for such a sacrifice to take place? I am aware of commands to wipe out the inhabitants of a city, but it’s not clear to me that this is appropriately expressed as commanded genocide; since genocide seems to connote both an indifference to the location of the victicms (which was not the case) and a motive based on the (ethnic) kind of the victicms (which was not the case).

    September 29, 2009 — 3:44
  • Chris H.

    I believe Dr. Stump’s paper was focused on these passages as indications of what doesn’t work to correct/cure the Hebrew people (similar to a grand narrative for them). The other main point was that a union of wills cannot involve God directly manipulating the wills of the people, otherwise its God’s will joining up with God’s will, which is supposedly not a union.
    I found this to be one of the more interesting papers at the conference. Although, Dr. Drapier had a well-structured comments section, which was only replied to with an 5 minute analogy to a hospital.

    September 29, 2009 — 5:50
  • Robert,
    The point of the passages, if they are meant to be taken allegorically, is that if there is something which is pernicious to your spiritual health, you kill it.
    The question is whether they are meant to be taken allegorically. This seems dubious since the Exodus from Egypt is quite important for the history of God’s work. If you want to say the Israelites didn’t wage war on Canaan, you have to wonder how they got into the land. And if they did wage war, were they supposed to?
    I think the cultural divide between us and the Israelites of the 2nd millenium B.C. will make the question unanswerable. Asking, ‘Would you partake in genocide if God told you to?’ is a nonstarter for whether or not the *Israelites* could have been justifiably commanded to perform such an act. The significance of the event to them may after all, in their context, have been something like the supremacy and sovereignty of Yahweh, which would override the pernicious spiritual effects that waging war naturally has.
    It is not clear that those pernicious spiritual effects could be wiped out for us; that’s why the question, ‘Would *you* commit genocide if so commanded?’ is so effective. The problem in then using this question to say that nothing could override the pernicious spiritual effects for the Israelites is in presuming our present mental states would be identical to those of the ancient Israelites. (Which especially seems dubious in light of their ostensibly ulta-personal relationship with God, in which God was their direct ruler.)
    So perhaps they were supposed to wage war, and the significance of it might have been good for the Israelites. There are some other auxiliary questions with which people can take issue that were addressed in the conference. One was, does God have the right to take life? (I think Pruss was recently in dialogue with someone about that.) And, can God order acts like genocide without sharing all of his reasons for doing so with us (meaning everyone who might read about it happening)?
    I think the answer to both questions is yes. I had an interesting discussion with Paul Draper about the former question: he thinks that God cannot violate the natural teology he has set into motion in creation. I don’t, however, think our having the natural tendency to die around age 75 means a person has an incorrigble right to that or some minimum amount of life.
    It was interesting conference, given the lack of much preceding philosophical literature on these issues. Mixed and conflicting methodologies and differing assumptions plagued the conference throughout.
    Michael Murray did tell me the last day of the conference that they plan to put the whole conference online at some point. Not sure when.

    September 29, 2009 — 17:25
  • This is an interesting (and difficult) topic, but I think that Romans 9 puts these “hard passages” in context.

    September 29, 2009 — 22:07
  • Andrew Moon

    Robert,
    Thanks for the update. Did Plantinga give any textual/historical evidence for his interpretation? I’m wondering what that was.

    September 30, 2009 — 10:28
  • Mike Rea

    Re.posting the conference online: We’re working on that right now. We hope to have the talks posted on the website of the Center for Philosophy of Religion within the next couple of weeks.

    September 30, 2009 — 12:20
  • Some random remarks:
    1. God’s directly commanding people to do something is already a miracle–presumably, the giving of the command involves God somehow causally affecting the mind of a prophet. There is no difficulty about supposing a second miracle by which God prevents the usual aretaically deleterious effects of the action.
    2. Actually, the fact that we are already in the realm of the miraculous when we are talking about divine commands allows us to bring in all sorts of epistemic possibilities that otherwise we wouldn’t consider. Analogy: Normally we wouldn’t consider the possibility that a household item we can’t find was taken by aliens; but if we just saw a flying saucer sending a beam of light over our house, the possibility would need to be taken much more seriously.
    So, epistemic options that normally would be outlandish become available when we are talking a miraculously commanded action. For instance, especially with the precedent of the Sacrifice of Isaac, we cannot completely dismiss such really weird possibilities as God miraculously transporting the people whom the Israelites are trying to kill to another planet, while putting a dead body created ex nihilo in their place at the moment the sword falls. I don’t think this is what happened, but we can’t dismiss it without some hard arguments.
    3. The “would you do it” question seems to be hard to answer because of the difference between our epistemic position and that of at least some of the people to whom the command was issued. Consider, for instance, the Israelites in the desert told to wipe out the Amaleqites. Few of us witness events such as: the sea being parted for us and closed behind us, the firstborn of all the Egyptians dying, the earth swallowing up idols, etc. Or consider the case of Abraham and Isaac: Sarah was way past the usual age of menopause when Isaac was conceived, after all. It is quite hard for most of us to imagine ourselves as being in the epistemic position of the people who have seen all these things.
    4. For me, the really difficult question is this: Is God permitted ever to directly will the death of an innocent person? If so, then I think he is permitted to command us to kill an innocent person. Moreover, it then becomes very plausible that in cases where the innocent person’s future earthly life would be full of misery, God could permissibly kill the person and bring the person to an afterlife that is in some (though not all, since until the Last Day it does not include the good of embodiment) important respects better.
    The Christian tradition is very clear that, apart from the cases in the “hard passages”, it is wrong for us to kill innocent people, no matter what the benefits (it is wrong to kill one person to save twenty–even if that one person would be killed by someone else if we didn’t kill him; it is wrong to kill oneself to escape from rape or excruciating pain). However, I do not think the Christian tradition condemns praying for death when one is in horrible terminal pain and desires to be with God. (I vaguely even remember the story of a saint who prayed for death.) If an innocent person’s praying for death makes sense, then it should be permissible for God to kill an innocent person when doing so would result in significant benefits for the innocent person.

    September 30, 2009 — 16:21
  • Andrew

    Alexander,
    I think St. Therese of Lisieux, as a child, prayed for her parents to die so they would be with God (as well as herself later on in life). But, I might be mistaken.

    September 30, 2009 — 20:40
  • Mike Almeida

    I think St. Therese of Lisieux, as a child, prayed for her parents to die so they would be with God (as well as herself later on in life)
    I’ve read the Story of a Soul (as I’m guessing you haved) and I don’t recall that particular event. Of course I could have simply not noticed or forgotten, but I’d be surprised if, in her case, it were anything other than a childish, uninformed, wish. There is a lot in her early life that is not hagiographic (thanks be to God for something frank and genuine about the saints!). Probably not best described as a saint praying for death.

    September 30, 2009 — 21:25
  • Andrew

    Mike,
    I believe I read it in a book that St. Therese’s blood sister wrote about Bl. Louis and Zellie (St. Therese’s parents). I forget now exactly which book I read it in (she wrote a few about her family), but I believe it was in one of those books. It very well could have been a childish wish…
    Also, doesn’t Elijah go out into the desert (to escape death from Jezebel) after killing 400 or so prophets of Baal and pray that God take his life instead of Jezebel? I think it is in 1Kings 19. Now, of course God did not grant him death, but instead kept him going (so this does not directly support what Alexander was saying). But perhaps God did not grant Elijah’s request, not because it was a ‘bad’ request, qua praying for death, but only because God want Elijah to continue to live for some other reasons. Seems like a possibility.

    October 1, 2009 — 10:17
  • Brian

    What strikes me as odd, maybe unfortunate, is the relative lack of familiarity with OT scholarship displayed not only in many of the conference presentations, but in broader work of many of the participants. The question on topic in this conference goes quite a bit beyond the problem of evil (as pointed out in the third para of the OP, into areas of theology, OT studies, and wider ancient studies, that many of the presenters have very little background in, yet often have much to say about. Now, the broadness of the conference’s topic isn’t a problem if the presenters confined themselves to possibility proofs, or the “philosophical” aspects of the question as far as it can be demarcated, but my impression is that a surprising number of the presenters go quite a bit beyond their area of familiarity. Did anyone else have that impression?

    October 2, 2009 — 11:01
  • Anonymous

    “Now, the broadness of the conference’s topic isn’t a problem if the presenters confined themselves to possibility proofs, or the “philosophical” aspects of the question as far as it can be demarcated, but my impression is that a surprising number of the presenters go quite a bit beyond their area of familiarity.”
    Do you think that academics are only permitted to have one “area of familiarity”?

    October 2, 2009 — 15:55
  • I find it odd but to think philosophers can shed more light on these passages than Biblical scholars can. For a few essays on these texts I recommend this list. And then there is the Darwinian problem of evil which I wrote a chapter for in this forthcoming book of mine. Yours is a tough problem, no?

    October 5, 2009 — 6:24
  • Andrew you asked “. Did Plantinga give any textual/historical evidence for his interpretation? I’m wondering what that was.”
    While I have no idea of who Plantinga cited. I note that Paul Copan makes similar claims over on the eps site http://www.epsociety.org/library/articles.asp?pid=63&mode=detail he cites some Ancient near eastern scholars who argue something like what Plantinga suggests.
    I also read similar suggestions from Kenneth Kitchen an Egyptologist at the University of Liverpool. From memory the evidence Kitchen suggested was twofold, the first was external evidence to the effect that other military chronicles of the period often used phrases like “killed them all” as hyperbole (in much the way Plantinga suggests) when as a matter of fact they clearly did not kill everyone. Kitchen notes Egyptian war chronicles often use phrases of total destruction to refer to the routing of an enemy in contexts its clear they were not totally wiped out The second was that if one carefully reads the Old Testament itself it’s clear that the phrases are hyperbolic. Take for example the passage Robert cites above, the command in 1 Kings 15 to go “attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.'” This command is recorded as being carried out in vs 8 however in Chapter 30 of the same book the Amalekites are clearly alive and a powerful military force which David has to contend with.
    Kitchen suggests a careful reading of the book of Joshua shows the same thing. Sweeping claims of killing everything that breathed are used but the actual recorded campaigns in the text shows they only destroyed a few cities and most of the Canaanite population was not destroyed at all. In fact Kitchen suggests that if one reads the text carefully the Hebrews in Joshua are in fact based at a camp in Gilgal and simply carry out disabling raids on a few main centers and then return to camp never actually conquering or occupying anything. He says something to the effect that when one is familiar with the kind of hyperbole and rhetoric used in military annals of the period this is actually quite explainable.
    I have been meaning to research this issue in more depth to find out if there is anything to this.

    October 9, 2009 — 20:04
  • Wes Morriston

    Of course they didn’t kill everybody. In the biblical narratives, Canaanites and Amalekites and the rest are still around long after the killing has supposedly taken place. We don’t need sophisticated scholarship to tell us that much.
    But what problem is this supposed to resolve? The fact remains that that the authors of the biblical narratives thought they were doing Yahweh no disservice by ascribing genocidal commands to him. Were they right about this?
    Take a look a 1 Samuel 15, which explains why Yahweh decided that Saul was no longer fit to be king. The official story is that Saul failed to obey the genocidal command to the letter. He failed to kill the king of the Amalekites (instead bringing him back in chains). He also brought back some of the best of the animals. The prophet Samuel proceeds to hack the King of the A’s into pieces with his own sword. Now that’s more like it!
    What does this tell you about the moral character of God as represented in this story? Or about the moral character of God as he figures in the worship of the people who wrote it? That’s where the real problem is – and not in figuring out just how many Amalekites were actually killed.

    October 12, 2009 — 16:49
  • Let me offer a question as a suggestion of ways to move forward on the question: In what way(s) do these passages present a more serious problem than the Biblical claim that God let death come into the world, for all of us, as a result of Adam’s sin?

    October 12, 2009 — 22:53
  • Michael Bergmann

    On Alex’s question on 10/12: Here’s something that I think affects moral intuitions people have related to Alex’s question (whether or not these moral intuitions ultimately help us in answering his question). We are morally appalled by genocides in Europe and Africa over the past century; we are morally appalled when a mother drowns her children, claiming to be hearing a voice from God telling her to do so; we are morally appalled when a suicide bomber leaves a message saying his motive for setting off a bomb in a crowded market was to follow God’s commands. But we aren’t nearly as morally appalled (probably not appalled at all) by someone eating forbidden fruit, even if doing so has the unforeseen, unintended consequence of bringing death to all humanity.

    October 13, 2009 — 7:41
  • Wes Morriston

    Here’s an interesting side point.
    Genesis does not actually say that “God let death come into the world, for all of us, as a result of Adam’s sin.” Here’s the RSV translation of the key verse.

    In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

    The implication here is that Adam will return to dust because that’s what he is (or because that’s what he was made of?). On that reading, physical death is not one of the consequences of Adam’s sin. On the other hand, Paul (Romans 5:12, 1 Corinthians 15:21-22) may well have interpreted the Genesis text in way. And it’s a dead certainty Augustine did.
    I’m sorry to say that I don’t have a direct answer to your question about the comparative seriousness of the two problems. Both seem pretty serious to me.

    October 13, 2009 — 16:02
  • Wes Morriston

    You say:

    But we aren’t nearly as morally appalled (probably not appalled at all) by someone eating forbidden fruit, even if doing so has the unforeseen, unintended consequence of bringing death to all humanity.

    I’m not sure why you say “unforeseen” here. Are you suggesting that God did not “foresee” that Adam and Eve would eat the forbidden fruit?
    Leaving that point aside, I’m not sure why you are /not/ “morally appalled” by what you describe here. If a parent made a poisoned fruit easily accessible to its young children, and instructed them not to taste it, I think we’d already be appalled. If the children disobeyed and died from the poison, the parent would be found guilty of a very serious crime. If the fruit were poisoned in such a way as to cause death before the age of thirty for the children and all their (many) descendants, that would hardly improve the picture.
    When I read Genesis 2 and 3, Adam and Eve always seem to me to be rather immature and child-like. Like all children, they test the limits. They are, to be sure, a bit disobedient. But they don’t know what’s at stake, and I’ve never been able to see them as guilty of some heinous crime. Nor have I ever understood why all their descendants should be punished severely for their disobedience.

    October 13, 2009 — 16:22
  • Wes,
    There are two ways of understanding the Fall and death, and they differ in important ways.
    1. Adam is naturally immortal, and God sends death on him and his descendants as a punishment (not necessarily by a separate act of will–perhaps by setting up a causal situation such that if Adam does A, then death results).
    2. Adam is naturally mortal, but originally Adam is prevented from dying (e.g., by the fruit of the tree of life), and as a result of Adam’s sin, the remedy ceases to be available.

    October 13, 2009 — 16:23
  • Let me try something. First consider these two propositions, which I hasten to emphasize I believe to be false:
    HKG (Humans Killing the Guilty). It is not wrong for us to kill those who are sufficiently guilty solely as a punishment.
    HKI (Humans Killing the Innocent). It is not wrong for us to kill the innocent when doing so results in a very significant improvement in the well-being of the innocent.
    (A sufficient condition for a state B to be an improvement over state A for x is that it would be unreasonable for x not to prefer B to A, and x upon experiencing both B and A would in fact reasonably prefer B to A.)
    Now, I believe HKG and HKI are false, but there are intelligent and otherwise apparently decent people in our culture who(unfortunately) accept HKG and HKI.
    Now anybody who accepts HKG and HKI should a fortiori accept:
    GKG. It is not wrong for God to kill those who are sufficiently guilty solely as a punishment.
    GKI. It is not wrong for God to kill the innocent when doing so results in a very significant improvement in the well-being of the innocent.
    Now anybody who accepts GKG and GKI should accept in principle the permissibility of God killing all the members of a large group of people. All that would be necessary is that each person in the group be either sufficiently guilty (and so GKG applies) or innocent but would such as to be benefited by dying and going to the afterlife (and so GKI applies). And, plausibly, if God could permissibly do it himself, he could permissibly delegate it (I don’t have a strong argument for this).
    If this is right, then the idea that God could permissibly command the killing of a large group of people that includes both the guilty and the innocent is about as reasonable as the conjunction of GKG and GKI, and GKG and GKI are at least as reasonable than HKG and HKI, respectively.
    Now, what if we do–as I think we should–reject HKG and HKI. Do we have reason to accept GKG and GKI? Well, this depends on our grounds for rejection of HKG and HKI.
    A lot of people who reject HKG and HKI will say that acting in the ways described by HKG and HKI usurps the role of God. If that is the reason for rejecting HKG and HKI, it not only is not a reason to reject GKG and GKI, but is a reason to accept GKG and GKI.
    Some people who reject HKG and HKI will give a story about the dangers of acting on these (in the case of HKG, worries about judicial error, and in the case of HKI, worries about slippery slopes). Such a story will not apply in the God case.
    Some who reject HKG and HKI will give a story about the sacredness of life. However, it is not clear that this story will support GKG and GKI. It might be wrong for me to destroy a genuinely sacred temple, but, given the connection between God and the sacred, it would not be wrong for God to do so.
    Utilitarians will reject HKG but will accept a version of HKI. However, utilitarians will accept capital punishment on other grounds, and cannot rule out in a principled way the permissibility of God killing either the innocent or the guilty.
    Natural Lawyers are going to be a hard case. However, here I might just give an argument from authority. The great Natural Lawyers like Aquinas do in fact seem to accept GKG and GKI. Maybe they are inconsistent in doing so while rejecting HKI (it’s not clear to me whether Aquinas accepts or rejects HKG), but that would have to be carefully argued.
    The most difficult kind of case might be Kantians who reject HKI (but probably accept HKG) as contrary to respect for the victim’s life. However, it is not clear that it is right to say that God owes us respect. If God exists, he is not on our level morally speaking. The duty of respect for Kant is grounded in the worth of persons who are end-setters. However, if God exists, we are not absolute end-setters–our end-setting is in an important way derivative, and our worth is a worth-by-participation in God. It does not follow from this that GKG and GKI are true, but I think such consideration make it at least doubtful whether the reasoning against HKI applies to GKI.
    Consequently, I think GKG and GKI are not unreasonable to believe.
    But if GKG and GKI hold, and if God may delegate, the only question about the Biblical cases is whether the conditions in the antecedents of GKG and GKI are satisfied. Now, there are two possibilities. Either God in fact issued such commands, or he didn’t. If he did, we have very good reason to think the conditions in the antecedents are satisfied–or some other story about why his actions were permissible is true. Suppose God didn’t issue such commands. There are two sub-options. One of these is that the text is not to be taken literally. In that case, it is not clear how much of the problem remains. Another is that the text is to be taken literally, but is in fact false. Then the answer to the question whether the conditions are satisfied is one that, I think, we cannot have much confidence about. We know little about the afterlife of the innocents killed, for instance, or of what kind of life they would have faced had they not been killed. Here the considerations that apply in the standard inductive problem of evil are relevant, and an analogue of sceptical theism might be appropriate.

    October 13, 2009 — 17:02
  • Michael Bergmann

    Wes,
    I was saying that we aren’t morally appalled by what the Bible says *Adam* did–i.e., eat forbidden fruit, an act which had serious consequences unforeseen and unintended by Adam.

    October 13, 2009 — 18:16
  • Wes Morriston

    Thanks, Alex. I had indeed neglected that distinction.
    However, I’m not sure it makes much of a moral difference. If it’s wrong to change someone’s nature in such a way that he has to die within, say, four hundred years, then (I would say) it is equally wrong to deprive that person of what he needs to live longer than four hundred years.
    I’ll have to think a while about your longer post!

    October 13, 2009 — 18:25
  • Wes Morriston

    Sorry, Mike. I misunderstood completely! Apparently, neither of us is appalled by what Adam and Eve did. I myself am appalled by the incredibly disproportionate “consequences,” for which Adam and Eve can hardly be held responsible. Are we in agreement about that as well?

    October 13, 2009 — 18:38
  • Michael Bergmann

    Wes, The short answer to your question is probably “No”. But that would need to be qualified and explained at some length, in part because I suspect there are a lot of things we agree about in the neighborhood and it isn’t clear to me exactly where we disagree. Unfortunately, I feel like I don’t have time to try to sort this out right now and, in any case, I think it might be easier to do in person.

    October 14, 2009 — 9:31
  • Michael:
    Obviously, Adam’s sin had unforeseen consequences, as all actions do. But from the text, it appears that he at least should have foreseen death as a consequence. And it is compatible with the text, but not required by it, that Adam could have foreseen death coming to his descendants. (Though Adam might have expected to get struck down dead very quickly, without having the time get any descendants.)

    October 15, 2009 — 8:50
  • Mark Murphy

    In an earlier thread Mike Rea mentioned that video of the “My Ways Are Not Your Ways” conference would soon be available. Video of all of the paper presentations, as well as the comments, responses, and discussion periods, is available here.

    November 4, 2009 — 20:51