Mr. Dean P. Ter Haar, Clerk of Session
3000 Woodside SE
Grand Rapids MI 49508
As you know from attending the recent meeting of the presbytery, the Presbytery of the Midwest voted to bring charges against Dr. Terry Gray. The charges and specifications drawn up by a committee of the presbytery were adopted as the charges and specifications of this presbytery against Dr. Gray. With this letter the presbytery hereby files these charges with the clerk of your session. In order to prosecute its case, the presbytery has erected a committee to prosecute these charges. The following are the members of that committee: Tim Bero, Doug Clawson, David King, Peter Stazen II, and T. Jeffrey Taylor
I. First Charge:
A. We charge that Dr. Terry Gray has committed the public offense of stating that Adam had primate ancestors~ contrary to the Word of God (Genesis 2:7, 1:26,27) and the doctrinal standards of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (WCF IV.2, W L C 17).
B. Relevant Passages of Scripture and Confessional Standards:
Genesis 2 presents the historical account of God's creation of man. (1) Specifically, the text of this chapter describes the creation of the first individual man, Adam, and the first woman, Eve. (2) The text presents itself as straightforward didactic history. (3) The text describes the creation of Adam and Eve as special acts of creation, distinct from and not arising out of the previous creation of any other living creatures.
(a) According to Genesis 2:7 ["Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being."- NASV] the man did not become a "living being" (nefesh hayah, cf, 1:20f,24) until after God had formed him from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. The text does not present an already existing "living being" (nefesh hayah) transformed by God into man by the infusion of a soul, but just the opposite. It is impossible, in the light of Genesis 2:7, to hold to a divinely guided development of man from already-existing pre-man beings.
(b) There is no basis in the text for supposing that the "dust" of Genesis 2:7 is any different than the "dust" of Genesis 3:19.
(c) By the same token, Genesis 2:21f depicts God's creation of the first woman as a special act of creation by which the tissue of the man was fashioned into the woman. If Genesis 2:21f is historical then there is no possibility that woman evolved from a non-man living being.
(4) Elsewhere the Bible speaks of the origin of man as a special creation of God, never as a development from some previous creation. In Genesis 1:26 note the difference between "I,et us make man in Our image" and the language of 1 :24, "Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind..."
Genesis 5:1-2 - 1 "This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Man in the day when they were created."
I Corinthians 15:35-49 - 35 "But some one will say, "How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?" 36 You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; 37 and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own. 39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds and another of fish. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars, for star differs from star in glory. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So also it is written, "The fist Man, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. 47 The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly."
The Confession of Faith & Larger Catechism employ the same language to distinguish sharply between God's creation of "all other creatures" and His creation of man. The view of our confessional standards of the origin and history of mankind accurately summarizes the teaching of Genesis 1,2. And there is no place in this conception for the development of mankind from previously existing non-man creatures.
WCF IV.2 "After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal souls, endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, after his own image, having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfill it; and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject unto change. Beside this law written in their hearts, they received a command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; which while they kept, they were happy in their communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures."
WLC 17 "How did God create man?" "After God had made all other creatures, he created man male and female; formed the body of the man of the dust of the ground, and the woman of the rib of the man, endued them with living, reasonable, and immortal souls; made them after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness; having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfill it, and dominion over the creatures; yet subject to fall."
C. Specifications of the Charge:
1. In a review article entitled "The Mistrial of Evolution" (reviewing Phillip E. Johnson's Darwin on Trial), published in the April 13, 1992, issue of "The Banner" (pages 12f, photocopy attached to this document), Dr. Gray writes:
"Consider, for example, how animals obtain vitamin C. Of all mammals, only guinea pigs and primates (including human beings) must have vitamin C in their diet. All the others have the biochemical machinery to make their own. This suggests that an ancestral mammal had vitamin-C-synthesis capability but that an ancestral guinea pig and an ancestral primate lost that ability and passed on that defect to their descendants."
"The story becomes even more interesting when we submit it to the methods of molecular biology. Using a DNA probe, we have found the vitamin -C gene in both guinea pigs and human beings. But we also find that this gene is a psuedogene-- that is, it looks like a real gene but doesn't function as one. We could argue that in God's inscrutable purpose, he placed that vitamin-C-synthesis look-alike gene in the guinea-pig or human DNA. Or we could draw the more obvious conclusion: that humans, primates, and other mammals share a common ancestor." [The Mistrial of Evolution, The Banner, April 13, 1992, p. 13, last paragraph of middle to third column, emphasis added]
Dr. Gray does not simply entertain the possibility mat "humans, primates, and other mammals share a common ancestor" (which would be a serious error itself), but he argues for this as the "more obvious conclusion," while dismissing the biblical teaching with rhetoric about "God's inscrutable purpose."
2. Dr. Gray affirms the theological possibility of the Christian rightly holding to an animal ancestor for Adam when he states, "In principle, then, Christians may accept the ideas of evolutionary biology in the same way they acknowledge other mechanistic ideas in the physical sciences." (p. 12, "The Mistrial of Evolution). And again, "For many Christians, however, it is the best explanation of the empirical data." (p. 3, ME) And again, "In summary, I would assert that evolution as a biological theory, understood and qualified in the ways set out above, is compatible with both Scripture and the Westminster Standards." (p. 4, Exegetical and Theological Issues)
3. Dr. Gray affirms the probability of an animal ancestor for Adam when he states "so far I have found nothing better that allows me to be faithful to Scripture and to the empirical evidence." (doc. B)
4. Dr. Gray states that he does hold to the theory of evolution as giving the origin of Adam when he writes, "This is how I ... hold to the theory of evolution." (p. 3, letter to "New Horizons") And again, "but that is a conclusion that they and not I make. The heart of this disavowal has to do with the claim that although I accept evolution as a biological theory..." (p. 2, The Centrality of Evolution in Biology). And again, "The biological evidence points toward an animal ancestry of humans. " (p. 2, Exegetical and Theological Issues)
5. Dr. Gray writes, ".... we could admit the more obvious conclusion, that humans and primates and other mammals share a common ancestor. (Note: Before I am accused of espousing human evolution, let me state clearly and succinctly my present position. I do believe in a historical Adam and Eve who were the parents of the whole human race. A plausible interpretation of Genesis 2 regarding the creation of Adam takes into account these evidences for human evolution is that God used some already evolved primate as starting material in his special creation of the unique image bearer, Adam. Granted, there are some exegetical and scientific arguments against this view, but so far I have found nothing better that allows me to be faithful to Scripture and to the empirical evidence." (from the essay of an expanded and less edited version, page 4, col. 2)
6. Dr. Gray writes, "The existence of a new kind of thumb as a result of the loss in history of the original thumb argues for descent from a common ancestor. " (from the "essay of an expand and less edited version, page 3, third column, par. 1).
7. Dr. Gray writes, "One more example illustrates the same point and at the same time shows that if we take the evidence seriously, the evolutionary arguments extend even to human beings. Of all the mammals only guinea pigs and primates (including human beings) must have vitamin C in their diet. All the others have the biochemical machinery to make their own. This in itself suggests that the ancestral mammal had the vitamin-C-synthesis capability, but that the ancestral guinea pig and the ancestral primate lost that ability and passed that defect to its ancestors". (from the essay of an expanded and less edited version, p. 4, col. 1)
8. Dr. Gray further writes from the same article as above, "I think that these really are independent evidences for common ancestry." (p. 4, col. 2, par. 1)
9. Dr. Gray writes, "Also there are transitional forms in the human evolutionary story: the various austalopithecine species, homo erectus, homo sapiens neanderthalis, etc." (Response of Dr. Gray to Report of the Session of Harvest, September 12, 1993, p. 4~.
10. Dr. Gray writes, "Johnson also notes that the fossil record contains little evidence of transitional forms between evolutionary stages. He points out that fossils suggest instead the sudden appearance of new groups--not evolution.
"To account for this observation, scientist Stephen J. Gould and others have proposed a theory called punctuated equilibrium. Gould's idea is basically an adjustment of traditional evolutionary theory; Johnson, however, labels it an attempt to 'deal with an embarrassing fact.' To me, it seems that Gould and others are showing sensitivity to the evidence." (The Mistrial of Evolution, The Banner, April 13, 1992, p. 13).
"I am a supporter of the notion of punctuated equilibrium; I find it to be an adequate response to the empirical evidence in the fossil record". (Response of Dr. Gray to Report of the Session of Harvest, September 12, 1993, p. 4)
D. Seriousness of the Alleged Offense.
To teach that Adam came from a primate ancestor is directly contrary to Scripture and the doctrinal standards of the church, and is thereby an offense. It is a serious offense because the biblical doctrine of man is central to the system of doctrine taught in the Word of God. While Dr. Gray affirms the historicity of Adam and his being a special creation of God as the image of God, his view of man's physical (body) origin denies what the Scripture teaches about creation. Dr. Gray believes that God worked through providence to bring about man's physical body. We believe that this view denies the Biblical view of the uniqueness of the body/soul unity of man. We believe Dr. Gray's position denies the Confessional standards and the Scripture. For instance, WCL 17 interprets Scripture's teaching on the creation of man. Note it speaks of creation and not providence. Note also that the answer speaks about body and soul. The offense is aggravated because it is an elder of the church and a teacher in a college who holds this view. (James 3:1)
Even though Dr. Gray affirms the special creation of an historic Adam, the offense is no less serious because viewing this creation as a divinely directed evolution from pre-man primates (including his view of the creation of Adam's soul) contradicts the historic record of Genesis 2:7, without any warrant from that text or any other related text of Scripture (Genesis 1:24-27; 2:18-23; 5:1-2; and I Corinthians 15:35-49; WCF I.9). The Princeton theologians offer a view diametrically opposite to that which Dr. Gray purports. In his Outlines of TheologY (chapter XVI), A. A. Hodge states the evidence that the human race was originated by an immediate creation by God. He cites that this is explicitly taught in Gen. 1:26, 27; 2:7. Charles Hodge in his Systematic Theology (Part II - Anthropology, chapter I, Origin of Man, 1), says of Gen. 1:26, 27 and 2:7 that "two things are included in this account; first that man's body was formed by the immediate intervention of God. It did not grow; nor was it produced by any process of development. Secondly, the soul was derived from God. He breathed into man 'the breath of life,' that is, that life which constituted him a man, a living creature bearing the image of God." Such is the presentation of Scripture. And not a hint of anything different is ever found in Scripture.
ln its conflict with unbelief the church is under intense pressure to conform to the world's naturalistic and rationalistic thinking in all areas and particularly regarding human origins. Given current attacks on the integrity of our faith officers of the church must be held to the high standard of Scripture regarding such matters. (Titus 1:9 -"holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, that he may be able to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.")
II. Second Charge
A. With regard to the process and method by which God created Adam, Dr. Gray subordinates Scripture to alleged empirical evidence.
B. Relevant Passages of Scripture and Our Confessional Standards.
II Tim. 3:16, II Pet. 1:20f, Mt. 5:18, John 10:35, John 5:46,47, Luke 20:37, Heb. 6:17,18, Titus 1:2 WCF 1.2, 4, S, 6, 8, 9, 10
According to the Bible, "all Scripture is God-breathed" (II Tim. 3:16), originating not in the private interpretation of its authors but from the direction of the Holy Spirit, as "holy men spoke from God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (II Pet. 1:20f). The Lord Jesus Christ affirmed that the smallest parts of Old Testament Scripture speak with unbreakable authority (Mt. 5:18 - "For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished."; John 10:35 - "If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken)," a quote from Psalm 82:6; John 5:46,47 - "For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote of Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?"), and he rested weighty doctrine on such slender basis as an implied present verb tense (Luke 20:37 - "But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the burning bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.") The reliability of Jesus Christ stands or falls with the reliability of the Scriptures to which He repeatedly testified. The Bible, in all its particulars, is the Word of God. It does not merely contain the Word of God (to be discerned by some sifting process of human examination). As God is truth itself and cannot lie (Heb. 6:17,18 - "In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, in order that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have strong encouragement, we who have fled for refuge in laying hold of the hope set before us."; Titus 1:2 - "in the hope of eternal life, which God who cannot lie, promised long ages ago,"), so His Word is altogether truth and can be depended upon in all it teaches and commands.
This is the teaching of our Confession of Faith. (WCF I.2,4, 6,8-10) I.2 - Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the Books of the Old and New Testaments, ... All which are given by inspiration of God, to be the rule of faith and life.
I.4 - The authority of the holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon God, (who is truth itself,) the author thereof and therefore it is to be received, because it is the word of God.
I.6 - The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelation of the Spirit, or traditions of men...
I.8 - The Old Testament in Hebrew, (which was the native language of the people of God of old,) and the New Testament in Greek, (which at the time of the writing of it was most generally known to the nations,) being immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical; so as in all controversies of religion, the Church is finally to appeal unto them.
I.9 - The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself; and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture, (which is not manifold, but one,) it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.
I.10 - The supreme Judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.
Someone may argue that the Confession speaks of "faith and life," "things necessary for His own glory, man's salvation, faith and life," and "controversies of religion," not scientific examination of the creation. We reply that the Bible doctrine of the creation of man is most certainly a matter of faith, God's glory, man's salvation, and religious controversy, regardless of the extent to which it may also be a matter of scientific inquiry.
While it is true that the essential nature of Scripture is that it is a progressively unfolding, redemptive-historical revelation from God to mankind (as opposed, say, to its being a philosophical discourse or a scientific treatise or even a history text, in the modem academic sense), we must also maintain that whatever the Bible declares to be true is true and commands our belief with divine authority. The Bible is not merely a vehicle to communicate a message of redemption without concern to the veracity of the details of its narrative and cosmology. Every particular of Scripture is important and is authoritative. Also while we recognize that the Bible speaks to us in a variety of literary forms (simple historical narrative, legal code, poetry, apocalypse, doctrinal and ethical instruction, etc.), and that each passage must be understood in terms of its own nature (thus we reject the "literal where possible" canon), we must also affirm that when we have heard the Scripture as God intends us to hear it, then we have heard truth that commands our faith and obedience. It is not our task to determine whether any passage of Scripture is telling the truth, we begin by assuming that. It is our task to understand the truth that any particular passage is teaching, and then believe and act upon it. While it is true that the Bible is not a text-book for genetics, paleontology, geology, or microbiology, it is also true that where the Bible speaks relevant to the concerns of such disciplines (whether it speaks in a broad doctrine, such as creation, or speaks in a specific text, such as Genesis 2:7,20ff~ the Bible speaks with the sovereign authority of God Himself and must govern the Christian's thought in that discipline (II Corinthians 10:4f). Because all creation is God's, because Jesus Christ is Lord of all of life, because the Bible speaks with God's truth and authority to every human endeavor, no action of man whatever (business, recreation, arts, science, literature, etc.) is free from the constraints imposed upon it by the teachings of Scripture, (not only the broad motifs of Scripture as sovereignty, providence, creation, the fall, redemption). Every relevant particular text, whatever the Bible says with regard to the concerns of science, history, etc., is true and must govern the Christian's thinking in that discipline.
What of natural revelation? "The heavens declare the glory of God" (Psalm 19:1, cf. Acts 14:17, Rom. 1:19f, etc.). Surely God makes Himself known by the creating and providential works of His hands. But it is just as certain that apart from the light of His word in Scripture and the enabling work of the Spirit, fallen man cannot read the book of creation so as to arrive at truth. Granted, fallen man may discover many "bits" of truth (such as 2+2=4, the formula for gravitational attraction, the structure of the DNA molecule, etc.), but they can never understand the proper relationship of these bits to their Creator or to each other. Fallen man's study of creation should bring him to see the glory of God, but his inclination is to rebel against the truth and distort the evidence for it (as is the case in regard to the question of origins). Fallen man is at war with God, not only in his religious, social and moral conduct but in his mind and thinking as well (Rom. 12:1f, Eph. 2:3, 4:17f). Wisdom and knowledge begin with the fear of the Lord, and this comes by the Word and Spirit. We may speak of the book of creation, but that book may be understood only in light of special revelation, including its particulars. Scripture provides the "glasses" necessary to read the Book of Creation. The teaching of Scripture is necessary to the faithful exegesis of the creation and must always govern. We may never judge as to the truth of a passage of Scripture based on the study of creation. We must always study the creation on the basis of the truth of Scripture. While the study of creation may illuminate our understanding of particular passages of Scripture, the only infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself. (WCF I:9). The scientific study of creation may not be allowed to contradict the clear teaching of any passage of Scripture, nor should supposedly clear findings from the study of creation be allowed to force on a clear passage of Scripture an interpretation that is at odds with the clear teaching of that passage.
C. Specifications of the Charge
1. "I am not convinced that Genesis 2:7 is intended to bear the weight of the interpretation that Murray places upon it. In the section on "Inbreathing" Murray comments "we may not know the precise nature of the action denoted by 'breathed in his nostrils'". Here he acknowledges the anthropomorphic and non-scientific character of this account. Thus, even in the absence of what appears to be compelling scientific evidence, one might question the finality of Murray's conclusion. I find it remarkable that human evolution is dismissed, even as a possibility, in the face of substantial evidence in its favor on the basis of a single phrase of Scripture. Is it not sufficient to say that Genesis 2:7 is teaching us humanity's affinity with the rest of creation (dust of the earth) and the biological world (living creature), humanity's unique origin, and the fundamental discontinuity between humans and non-humans?" (from Dr. Gray's response dated February 15, 1993, to Rev. Thomas E. Tyson, editor of "New Horizon", regarding the February 1993 edition of "New Horizons" devoted to creation and evolution)
2. "Simply put, if mature science is telling us that the human body has animal ancestry, and our Biblical exegesis is telling us otherwise, if possible, 'it is obligatory on us' to come up with a slightly less natural but equally reasonable interpretation of the Biblical text. When this occurs, then as Hodge put it, we have a most marvelous coincidence between science and the Bible." (from Dr. Gray's response to the 'Creation/evolution' issue of "New Horizons" and page 2 of his paper to Harvest session, "Exegetical and Theological Issues.")
3. "Note: Before I am accused of espousing human evolution, let me state clearly and succinctly my present position. I do believe in a historical Adam and Eve who were the parents of the whole human race. A plausible interpretation of Genesis 2 regarding the creation of Adam and that takes into account these evidences for human evolution is that God used some already evolved primate as starting material in his special creation of the unique image bear¢r, Adam. Granted, there are some exegetical and scientific arguments against this view, but so far I have found nothing better that allows me to be faithful to Scripture and the empirical evidence." (from the unedited article sent to "The Banner".)
4. "But has not the fall rendered general revelation defective, incomplete, insufficient? The answer depends on the perspective from which that question is asked. If the question concerns the adequacy of general revelation for salvation, then the answer must clearly affirm the necessity of special revelation for salvation, for the essential difference between general and special revelation is that special revelation makes known the covenant of grace. " (from "Special Revelation, General Revelation, and Human Evolution", p. 3)
5. "Perspectives from science can become the occasion for a new understanding of Scripture provided that the new understanding remains in harmony with the revelatory intent of Scripture. The Scriptures may not be isolated from what we know to be true in the arena of creational revelation." (from "Special Revelation, General Revelation, and Human Evolution", p.8)
6. "In my view, Johnson has not succeeded in his attempt to unseat the theory of evolution as a credible scientific view of origins. There is merit in his claim that atheistic evolutionists maintain the theory as their only acceptable creation account: for them it is a philosophical necessity. But for Christian scientists who believe in an omnipotent, sovereign Creator, evolution is not a philosophical necessity. For many Christians, however, it is the best explanation of the empirical data". ('The Mistrial of Evolution, The Banner, April 13, 1992, p. 13, third col., par. 4)
7. Following a quote by Davis Young, Dr. Gray argues as follows: "He goes on to point out that just as there are conflicts between the Bible and science that there are also Bible-Bible conflicts and science-science conflicts. Consequently, we should be not be surprised to find Bible- science conflicts. What then should we do in light of such apparent conflicts? Basically, his answer is that we must re-evaluate our interpretation of nature (our science) and our interpretation of the Bible (our exegesis and theology) to see if another interpretation relieves the conflict. He does not say to use the results of science to help us interpret Scripture or to use the results of exegesis to help us interpret nature. " (from "Special Revelation, General Revelation, and Human Evolution", p. 9) "In the end Young (Davis Young - Calvin College professor) suggests that we may have to live with tension because we can't see clearly how to resolve the apparent conflict. He suggests that we let each speak in its own terms and be prepared to affirm what each says even if it seems to be contradictory." (from "Special Revelation, General Revelation, and Human Evolution", p. 10) (Dr. Gray is quoting from Davis Young's writings in such a way as to affirm Young's position)
D. Seriousness of the Alleged Offense
Based on the quotes above and the writings in which they appear it is apparent that Dr. Gray's position is contrary to Scripture, and therefore an offense in that it: a. subordinates the interpretation of Scripture to the findings of "science" (citations 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7) b. fails to properly subordinate the work of science to the teaching of Scripture. (citations 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7) c. views the authority of Scripture too narrowly. (citations 4, 5) d. fails to account adequately for the noetic effects of sin on those who study the creation. (citation 7) Each of these individually and taken together substantiates the charge that with regard to the process and method by which God created Adam, Dr. Gray subordinates Scripture to alleged empirical evidence.
Dr. Gray repeatedly speaks as though we ought to interpret Scripture subject to the findings of science. He seeks to conform the teaching of Scripture to a current evolutionary view. In dealing with Genesis 2:7 he specifically prefers an interpretation of the text that is strained and contrary to the clear interpretation of the text, based on what he considers to be the best evidence from the study of creation. Dr. Gray fails to recognize that the book of special revelation is the authoritative lens by which the scientist is to read the book of general revelation, rather, Dr. Gray suggests that the church ought to read the book of special revelation through the lens of the scientific study of creation. He repeatedly envisions scientists arriving at valid conclusions that are contrary to the conclusions that we would otherwise draw from the straightforward exegesis of Scripture. He illegitimately restricts the scope of the divine intent and authority of special revelation to areas of salvation and the covenant of grace.
While the first charge narrowly focuses on the origin of Adam's body, here we are looking at the hermeneutic Dr. Gray employs to arrive at those conclusions. His hermeneutical method is more dangerous even than his specific view of human origin. Clearly, the application of this hermeneutical method cannot be limited just to the teaching of Scripture regarding the origin of Adam's body. It may be that Dr. Gray is content not to extend the application of his hermeneutic to other areas, but the method itself consistently applied undermines the authority of Scripture in any area of scientific inquiry.
The seriousness of Dr. Gray's offense is aggravated by his position as an elder in the church and teacher in a college. While he has not propounded this hermeneutic or applied it within the congregation, Dr. Gray has propounded it before the broader church in The Banner and New Horizons.
Respectfully submitted in our Lord,
Douglas B. Clawson
Stated Clerk, Presbytery of the Midwest