October 31, 2020

The Council

Proclaiming the truth to the world.

Here are the other parts: Part 1Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, and Bibliography.

The common alternative to Concordism is Accommodationism. This view is defined different way according to different individuals. The term is used to explain how an infinite God can communicate to creatures. Unfortunately, it is also sometimes used as a ploy to deny inerrancy. It is used very loosely. God communicating in Human language is an example of accommodation. He uses such things as the Covenant is another example of accommodations for us. It is an outgrowth of the Creator-Creature distinction. Those are rather trivial and universally accepted examples of accommodation. It doesn’t explain the modus operandi of when accommodation is being used. Accommodation is used for explaining that which God is. It says he has body parts (eyes, ears, and hands), but not every text must use this kind of accommodation. This other view is a different kind.

Accommodationism teaches that God did not intend to teach us science, and instead spoke His theological truths using the false cosmology of the Israelite’s day.


The issue is this is clearly the opposite of Concordism, but it suffers from the same problems. It also is a rather simplistic version of what Walton subscribes. God simply propounds falsehoods to explain theological truths. If you read Job 38 giving cosmology, then you have the correct interpretation. It only is wrong, but great to explain God’s sovereignty. God knows his messages will mislead individuals and he could’ve to use simple and accurate analogies. Accommodation doesn’t entail that God must use erroneous accommodation. We argue on the one hand that God reveals erroneous cosmology with another intention in mind. The issue is that God would be doing both. It is rather a distinction between primary purpose and secondary purpose. In John 1:1-3, you have its primary purpose being a proclamation of the deity of The Word. You have a secondary purpose of it teaching about how these things are created ex nihilo. You wouldn’t dismiss the secondary purpose merely because the primary takes precedence. Of course, I reject the idea that the Bible does maintain such erroneous cosmologies.

“The Bible isn’t a scientific textbook”

This phrase is thrown around very often. This issue is how it is being used.

1. This simply means the Bible is not here to teach us things like quantum mechanics, complex Biology, or Newtonian physics. It is written to average everyday individuals of the past.

2. The Bible contains scientific and factual errors of ancient times. The important issue is to extract the theology from it. It isn’t making scientific claims.

3. The Bible contains scientific and factual errors of ancient times. It is thus not true.

While I affirm the first it is often taken that one is also committed to the second or third. We can’t take phrases as self-evident truths that are agreed upon. It usually is the case phrases need unpacking. The third simply uses the phrase to undermine the Bible’s authority. The first uses it as an explanation of the type of language used. The second is what this discussion is about. Let us return to the phase and definition. This is assuming a meaning of science that isn’t the case. We have historical sciences that the Bible is making specific claims about. The issue is historical and theological claims are not separable. That imaginary distinction is not possible without clarification. We cannot apply the thinking they do about the certain text to events like the Exodus unless we wish to sound like neo-orthodoxy or liberals.

This is where science can be used as a corrective. The text may be erroneous, but God actually knows the scientific truth of the matter. This puts them in the same boat with the Concordist. You usually see to groups arguing, but they usually have core agreements. The difference is in Accommodationist doesn’t seek to harmonize science and Scripture. They accept scripture has the mistakes of the past. The Concordist tries to harmonize them at the cost of the meaning of the text. In my first article, I mention an Objective Idealist that is a Christian. They maintain that the Physical world is just a mental construct. That would entail the entire Biblical timeline never occurred in time and space. The idealist believes as he does because of findings in quantum mechanics. That is of science and has nothing to do with the Bible the proponent of Accommodationism believes. What is the Accommodationist response to the Christian Idealist? If he argues that the Bible is incompatible with such a view, then he denies the Bible isn’t making scientific claims. If he says they are compatible, then he has agreed the Bible could be in entirety an accommodation and that would entail the Bible is compatible with all redemptive history not occurring. For more on Accommodationism go here, here, and here. For more on the theological usage of accommodation go here.