The dialogue on evolution and Genesis in which Ms. B laid out a way to ground a doctrine of the fall without a historical Adam prompted the following response from Mike:
I get that interpretation changes for the different prose but don’t you walk a razors edge when you’re deciding which accounts are fictitious and which are not. Would it not be easy for someone to come along and refute that the entirety of scripture is fictitious based on any number of criticism? I am not that intellectual and I get lost in a lot of the academia jargon but I appreciate your response to my question.
I see Mike’s comments as representing both a general concern and a specific concern. The general concern is that interpreting texts opens one up to error, the “razor’s edge”. Certainly it does. But the answer is not to refrain from interpreting texts. Everyone is interpreting whether we like it or not. We’re all sticking our necks out. The risk does not lie exclusively with the novel interpretation: traditional interpretations can be wrong too.
Think about the issue in analogy with societal change. If you were living in 1940s Alabama then the risky position would seem to be advocating for racial integration and equality. But we now look back and recognize that the perception that there was an asymmetry of risk was wrong. Those who advocated the status quo with respect to the issue of of race relations (i.e. segregation) were also taking a risk. And in retrospect they are the ones that ended up on the wrong side of history: they risked and they lost.
Advocating a novel interpretation of a passage may seem likewise to involve an asymmetry of risk. But it could be that the traditional interpretation of the passage in question is in fact the errant reading. Traditionalists can end up on the wrong side of history whether they are defending a particular reading of society or a particular reading of a text. There is no risk free zone.
I take it that the narrow concern is focused on the specific proposal presented by Ms. B, viz. a non-Adamic fall. On this point I suggest that Mike think about the proposal as being like a fire extinguisher hanging on the wall of his kitchen. He may at present sense no need to draw upon Ms. B’s proposal (that is, he is unaware of any fires burning in his kitchen). But what if Mike gets to the point where he believes the kitchen is on fire (Neo-Darwinism is true and there was no Adam!). At that point I would submit that he would be very glad to have the fire extinguisher of Ms. B’s interpretation ready at hand. And so he loses nothing by letting the extinguisher remain hanging on the wall should he need it.