The Human Fossil Record, Part 2: Bipedality

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January 5, 2011 Tags: Human Origins

Today's entry was written by James Kidder. Please note the views expressed here are those of the author, not necessarily of The BioLogos Foundation. You can read more about what we believe here.

This is the second part of a series by James Kidder on the human fossil record. The first part can be found here.

One of the most fruitful and exciting areas of research in palaeoanthropology is the search for the last common ancestor to the higher apes and humans. This question is inextricably tied to concepts of what separates humanity from the animals around us. This is a question that has spiritual as well as physical ramifications. In this set of posts, we are dealing with what makes us human from a biophysical perspective.

Traditionally, paleoanthropologists have considered the hallmark of humanity to be habitual bipedalism. While we share many characteristics in common with the higher apes, this trait alone is practiced by no other animal. Some animals practice facultative bipedalism, allowing them to go short distances on two legs when necessary, but only humans use it as their only form of locomotion. Put a man on all fours and even a squirrel can outrun him. Bipedalism is a skill that we learn early in life, before we are sentient and even understand what makes us different from the animals around us. It is programmed into us.

Bipedalism is marked by a number of anatomical modifications to the standard primate body. These center on the pelvis and involve changes in the head (cranium) and the rest of the body (postcranium), reflecting a shifting of the center of balance from the abdominal cavity to the hip. In mammals, the hip is composed of three mirrored sets of bones: the ilium, the ischium and the pubis (Figure 1). The top part of the leg fits into the bottom-rear portion of the ilium, into a round socket called the acetabulum. It is one of two ball-and-socket joints in the body, the other being where the arm fits into the scapula at the top of your shoulder.

Where the two pubis bones fit together in the front and the two ilia meet in the back with the sacrum forms the birth canal. In chimpanzees and gorillas, the ilium is narrow and tall (Figure 2). Consequently, the connection to the upper leg bone, the femur, is straight up and down. In humans, the ilium is flat and flared, creating an outward bowing of the top of the femur, which allows for the balance necessary for walking upright (see Figure 1). This, in turn, creates what is known as the valgus knee, where the bottom of the femur meets the top of the large lower leg bone, the tibia, at an angle. The fact that the two bones meet at an angle provides for a better balance of the body mass for upright walking. In contrast, when higher apes such as gorillas and chimpanzees stand, the femur and the tibia are both perpendicular to the ground, resulting in a straight knee joint. Consequently, when chimpanzees walk upright, they swing side to side in an ungainly fashion to simulate the balance that is inherent in human walking.

Other changes are present above the hip, as well. Because they are quadrupedal, chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans have a straight backbone, or vertebral column (Figure 3). In humans, the vertebral column resembles a double “s” shape, which balances the torso above the hip (and creates the back problems we suffer later in life). At the top of the spinal column, the top vertebra, the atlas, has facets that balance the head and the second vertebra, the axis, has a prong that fits directly into a hole in the skull. This hole, which is called the foramen magnum, is at the back of the skull in higher apes, as in all quadrupedal animals. This allows the animal to keep its head up while it is trotting along the ground. In humans, the foramen magnum is at the base of the skull, allowing us to look forward as we walk. It also makes it hard to look forward when we crawl on all fours. Each of these modifications is diagnostic of humans and easily recognizable in the fossil record in specimens for which these anatomical areas are present.

Ardipithecus ramidus and the Origins of Bipedality

The origins of bipedality have traditionally been understood as having evolved at the end of the Miocene epoch, around 6 to 8 million years ago (Crompton, Sellers and Thorpe 2010) when the climate began to dry out and cool. Unfortunately, there are only scattered presumed hominin remains from this time period, all of which are taxonomically controversial and fragmentary and none of which have diagnostic postcranial remains. It has also been thought that the transition to bipedality likely did not happen all at once but in mosaic fashion (as evolution often proceeds) and this has recently supported by the fossil record. Up until a few years ago, the most widely-accepted model was that bipedality originated among a group of large-bodied hominoids that had adapted to the savannah-jungle fringe. The jungle, itself, was ceded to the precursors of the modern chimpanzees and gorillas and the savannah to the precursors of the modern baboons and other terrestrial monkeys. As a result, some workers (Crompton et al. 2010) suggested that both arboreal (tree-dwelling) and terrestrial locomotion might have been present in our earliest ancestors. Recent evidence has corroborated some parts of this model, but not others.

In 1994, the remains of a remarkable hominin, dated to 4.4 million years ago, were unearthed in the Afar Triangle of Northeastern Ethiopia. Examination of the surrounding deposits, however, yielded a conclusion that this hominin lived in a woodland environment, rather than a savannah/forest fringe environment (White et al. 2009a). Requiring over ten years of extrication from the surrounding rock and painstaking reconstruction, this fossil form, Ardipithecus ramidus (now represented by 110 individuals) yields diagnostic parts of the pelvis (Figure 4), as well as sections of the arms and skull (Figure 5) (White et al. 2009b). Although the base of the skull is not preserved, one striking aspect of humanity is present in the teeth. The canine (eye tooth) does not extend beyond the tooth row. Humans are the only hominins for which this is the case. In all other ape species, fossil and extant, the canine projects well beyond the tooth row.

Biomechanics specialist Owen Lovejoy and colleagues (Lovejoy et al. 2009) write about this species:

“The gluteal muscles had been repositioned so that Ar. Ramidus could walk without shifting its center of mass from side to side. This is made clear not only by the shape of its ilium, but by the appearance of a special growth site unique to hominids among all primates (the anterior inferior iliac spine). However, its lower pelvis was still almost entirely ape-like, presumably because it still had massive hindlimb muscles for active climbing.”

Figure 6 shows the intermediate nature of the pelvis of Ardipithecus ramidus compared to later hominins (Homo sapiens, Au. Afarensis) and chimpanzees (P. troglodytes).

Ardipithecus, then, represents a shift away from the primitive locomotion employed by the last common ancestor of our line and that of modern chimpanzees. Here is a hominin that maintained a link with its tree-dwelling past and yet had progressed toward the bipedal future. This evidence is striking because it firmly demonstrates that a species had arisen that was advanced in the human direction. Whether or not it led to the hominin forms that followed is not known but it clearly represents a phenomenal example of a transitional form in the human fossil record.

From this point on, the forms become noticeably more human in appearance, leading eventually our own species some four million years later. In his infinite wisdom, God had set us on a path toward our eventual communion with Him. That this path took such a long period of time and through so many varied forms of humanity is a testament to His creative power and patience.

Next, the successors to Ardipithecus and true human walking.

Sources

Crompton, R., W. Sellers & S. Thorpe (2010) Arboreality, terrestriality and bipedalism. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 365, 3301.

Lovejoy, C. O., G. Suwa, L. Spurlock, B. Asfaw & T. D. White (2009) The Pelvis and Femur of Ardipithecus ramidus: The Emergence of Upright Walking. Science, 326, 71, 71e1-71e6.

White, T. D., S. H. Ambrose, G. Suwa, D. F. Su, D. DeGusta, R. L. Bernor, J.-R. Boisserie, M. Brunet, E. Delson, S. Frost, N. Garcia, I. X. Giaourtsakis, Y. Haile-Selassie, F. C. Howell, T. Lehmann, A. Likius, C. Pehlevan, H. Saegusa, G. Semprebon, M. Teaford & E. Vrba (2009a) Macrovertebrate Paleontology and the Pliocene Habitat of Ardipithecus ramidus. Science, 326, 67, 87-93.

White, T. D., B. Asfaw, Y. Beyene, Y. Haile-Selassie, C. O. Lovejoy, G. Suwa & G. WoldeGabriel (2009b) Ardipithecus ramidus and the Paleobiology of Early Hominids. Science, 326, 64, 75-86.

Figure 1: http://www.bikemonkey.net/2010/01/3-series-tune-up-checking-the-pelvic-girdle/

Figure 2: http://www.boneclones.com/KO-303-P.htm

Figure 3: http://www.fixscoliosis.com/entries/13-The-Human-Spine-and-Idiopathic-Scoliosis

Figure 4: Bone Clones

Figure 5: National Geographic Images

Figure 6: from Lovejoy et al. 2009


James Kidder holds a Ph.D. in Biological Anthropology from the University of Tennessee (UT). He currently employed as an instructor at UT, and as a science research librarian at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He has been involved in the Veritas Forum at UT and runs the blog "Science and Religion: A View from an Evolutionary Creationist/Theistic Evolutionist."

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Martin Rizley - #47663

January 17th 2011

The recognition of the canon by the church did not require a divine revelation listing the particular books to be included, any more than the Jews needed to know ahead of time the name of the Messiah in order to to recognize Him.  Jesus commended Himself as the true Messiah by His own character and attributes, which manifested the glory of God and agreed with Old Testament prophecy concerning the Messiah.  The elect Jews recognized that ‘this is the One foretold,’ receiving Jesus as the promised Messiah, while the rest were hardened.  In like manner, those books which the church came to recognize and receive as inspired Scripture commended themselves from the beginning to the church as God’s very word by their own character and attributes, which manifested the glory of God and agreed with preceding revelation given by God.  This is a very involved subject, however, and one that can with great diffculty be ‘hashed out’ in a thread like this.


Rich - #47667

January 17th 2011

Martin (47661):

My point was not to contest any particular Church’s canon.  My point was that in accepting the Protestant canon, you have accepted a definition of what constitutes “the Bible.”  And that definition did not come from the Bible (it couldn’t possibly have); it came from the Protestant Church.  That Church decided which books were canonical and which were not.

I know the word “decided” will trigger a Pavlovian response—the Church did not “decide” but merely “recognized” the books which God had inspired, yada yada yada.  Don’t bother.  I’ll concede that God chose the books.  The problem is that different Churches disagree over *which* books God chose.  So it still comes down to a question of authority.  Which Church—the Reformed, the Catholic, the Orthodox, the Coptic, the Ethiopian—got *the canon* right?  You cannot settle this by appeal to the Scriptures; you don’t *have* a reliable list of Scriptures until the Church settles the canon.

Protestantism cannot function without both Scripture *and* authoritative tradition.  Without authoritative tradition, Protestantism cannot justify its canon.  Sola scriptura depends upon the authoritative tradition whose existence it denies.


nedbrek - #47696

January 17th 2011

Jimpithecus (47652) “It is not that a naturalistic story is so important to me.  It is just that I believe that the world is a record of God’s creation and the biblical passages in early Genesis are sufficiently obscure…One of the fascinating things about Genesis 1-11 is that it reads like myth and is absolutely unlike anything else in scripture.  It is a creation story for God’s people.  Does it have to be 100% literal to be true?  The six day creation in Genesis 1 wasn’t meant to describe exactly how the world was created.  It was designed to dispel the gods of the day, the night and the earth.”

Thank you for your time.  I think this is the defining issue “Did God not say”.  As Biologos progresses, we are going to see if it has to be 100% literal for Christianity to remain recognizably orthodox.  It is like an investigation of heresy in our own time (investigating heresy is good, it helps define the boundaries)


Jon Garvey - #47702

January 17th 2011

@Rich - #47667

It’s maybe a little unfortunate that you make it sound as if the modern Reformed, Catholic, Orthodox, Coptic and Ethiopian Churches are completely diverse in their choice of books for the Canon.

With very few exceptions, the differences to the OT are a question of rejecting those documents found in the Septuagint which are not in the Massoretic tradition. One can say that the Protestant tradition is conservative in this (though as per the 39 articles accepting the Apocrypha as “useful for instruction” whilst not inspired). The rest pretty well agree on including the Apocrypha, though some traditions reject part of it. The only “unique” books are the intertestamental apocalypses accepted by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

All the Churches are unanimous on the NT canon - the books that were sometimes included (eg Hermas, Baranabas, Didache) or excluded (eg Revelation, 2 Peter) in Patristic days are from lists that pre-date the formal process of canonisation, and it may be doubted whether the question of whether they were “inspired” or merely “useful” had been rigorously examined.

In other words the Protestant Canon is a minimum also accepted by every other major branch of the Church.


Martin Rizley - #47706

January 17th 2011

Jon Garvey,
You write, “There were always weeds outside Eden - man had never had to cope with it. There was always death apart from the tree of life - but man had always had access to it.”  Do I understand by these words that you hold to a view like William Dembski in his book The End of Christianity—namely, that God placed Adam and Eve in an idyllic environment (Eden), surrounded by a world that was already filled with the ‘natural evils’ of a fallen creation, stemming causally, but not chronologically, from the sin of Adam?  It seems to me (if I understand you correctly)  that in your view. . . the curse did not produce changes in the natural order per se, but resulted in the loss of human potential to overcome with ease the difficulties of life brought about by ‘ebullient’ nature.  Since sin prevented man from partaking of the tree of life and forced him to leave the Garden, he was suddenly confronted by circumstances he had never faced before, and having no access to the tree of life, would find himself ruled by nature more than ruling over it (continued)


Martin Rizley - #47707

January 17th 2011

Am I grasping more or less accuratedly your view of the fall?  The reason I asked the question about your view of supreme authority is because I think it is the central issue that TE’s have to deal with in the debate with creationists.  I found your answer interesting.  You say “The supreme arbiter of truth is, of course, God.”  Which I think, no one would disagree with.  But then you say, “I believe he has made the universe the revealer of itself (and a minimum of knowledge about him) and Scripture the revealer of himself, and of the way for us to return to him, because being beyond creation he cannot be known apart from revelation.”  The phrase I find interesting is your statement that God has made the universe the “revealer of itself.”  That is the phrase I think goes to the heart of the controversy between TE’s and those who interpret Genesis 1-11 more literally as historical narrative.  The word ‘reveal’ for most conservative evangelicals carries the idea of “infallible revelation.”  The question is, “What does the universe reveal infallibly?”  According to Scripture, the answer would seem to be God’s character and attributes (continued)


Martin Rizley - #47708

January 17th 2011

This is certainly the emphasis of Psalm 19 (“the heavens are telling the GLORY OF GOD”) and Romans 1:20.  The revelation of God through nature spoken of in these passages is universal, that is, immediately accessible to all people everywhere, regardless of their level of intelligence, their educational background, etc..  To some extent, it is pre-analytical, for the creation impresses men with a deep intuitive awareness of God’s being and attributes which is by no means available only to minds which are educated, anaylytical, and reflective.  So creation is a medium by which God, the supreme arbiter of truth, reveals infallibly to all men everywhere by an immediate revelation truth about HIMSELF.  It is to be questioned, however, whether we can say that creation also serves as the medium by which God reveals infallible truth about the material structure, operations, and origin of the UNIVERSE itself.  A distinction must be made, in other words, between what God REVEALS infallibly to men through nature—which is truth about HIMSELF (continued)


Martin Rizley - #47709

January 17th 2011

and what men DISCOVER about the universe through scientific research (a method of investigation that yields a fallible knowledge of the universe, based on human reason and judgment—a knowledge which is always to some degree provisional and subject to error).  This latter knowledge is not on the same level as the infallible knowledge about Himself (of His character and attributes) that God communicates to all men everywhere by general revelation.  Divinely REVEALED knowledge cannot be doubted, being of an infallible character; humanly OBTAINED knowledge based on forensic investigation, research, and human judgment about data can be doubted, being of an inescapably fallible character.  Now, what implications does this have regarding our knowledge of the ancient past and the history of the world?  What it means is that human beings have access to only one INFALLIBLE source of knowledge about the ancient past—the special revelation contained in the Scriptures.  Science has the POTENTIAL for bringing us into contact with truth about the past, (continued)


Martin Rizley - #47710

January 17th 2011

but it can never do so infallibly, because its pronouncements cannot be EQUATED with infallible divine revelation in the way that Scripture’s pronouncements can be equated with infallible divine revelation.  The only thing that God makes known to men infallibly by general revelation is His own character and attributes (and the resulting implications for human behavior); He does not give us an infallible revelation of the world’s material structure, operations, or history.  This latter sort of knowledge must be obtained through a method of research that is based on the judgments of human reason and is therefore subject to error.  What this means is that Christians cannot put ‘implicit faith’ in the pronouncements of scientists in the way they put ‘implicit faith’ in the words of God’s holy apostles and prophets.  Science textbooks are not books of infallible divine revelation; they are books that represent the conclusions of educated men regarding the world’s material structure, operations and history, based on the available evidence.  When conflict arises between the conclusions of scientists and the declarations of Scripture,  what is a believer to put greater trust in infallible Scripture over fallible scientists?


Jon Garvey - #47722

January 17th 2011

@Martin Rizley - #47706

No, I don’t agree that the enviroment outside of Eden was fallen: I don’t see in Scripture that weeds and animal death are anywhere described as evil, natural or otherwise. That sees a superposition on the Scripture. However I do see it as untamed and Eden as a protected environment (indeed, it is described a such). And I do see his expulsion from the garden as being thrust (quite justly) into an environment he had become unfit to subdue and rule adequately. Blessing continues, but under the sin-earned curse of death.

I probably spoke too loosely in contrasting nature and Scripture. It’s not so much that I see nature as revealing itself, as yielding to investigation because it is like us. God, being beyond our nature, cannot be found except as he reveals himself. So not so much two revelations (of natural and spiritual) but the necessity of revelation of the spiritual.

Except, as you say for “general revelation”, which both Scripture and experience show to be limited: men can see God’s glory, power and divine nature, but no more. And sin can blind them even to that (as per Romans 1)(...)


Jon Garvey - #47723

January 17th 2011

@Martin Rizley - #47710

This post says so much that is true, but then (in my view) blows it!

“The only thing that God makes known to men infallibly by general revelation is His own character and attributes (and the resulting implications for human behavior); He does not give us an infallible revelation of the world’s material structure, operations, or history.”

I’d say that was more true of special revelation, since that is its remit. I’d say general revelation is more limited than that - though like all revelation it is to do with these spiritual things.

But yes, for the material world he has left us tools of reason, ingenuity, hard work etc. They have limitations, and in that sense are fallible. But it’s a mistake to add, as I think you imply, “... therefore they need correction from special revelation.”

A gardener, for example, would be a fool to take his packet of seed back to the shop and complain that they weren’t seeds because they are smaller than mustard, which Jesus said is the smallest of all seeds. So neither should an astronomer be forced to believe that the stars are all in the firmament separating the atmosphere from the waters.


Martin Rizley - #47730

January 17th 2011

Jon,  I guess the remaining question I have regarding your view of the fall is what you mean when you say that Adam and Eve were expelled to an environment outside the Garden that had “become unfit to subdue and rule adequately.:  How and when did this ‘very good’ but untamed environment become unfit to subdue and rule adequately?That sounds like a change in the natural order to me.  Could you elaborate on this point a bit further?  BTW, I didn’t say that scientific study fails to yield knowledge about the physical world—only that this not knowledge is fallible.  Yet even fallible knowledge may help us to understand better the infallible teaching of Scripture.  It can help to correct misinterpretations of the inerrant Word.  For example, botany has shown that Jesus’ statement about mustard seeds is best understood as a statement about seeds that were commonly used by the Hebrews, not as a universally true statement about world botany.  Astronomy has clarified the phenomenogical, non-scientific character of biblical statements about the ‘lights in the heavens.’  Such statements are not erroneous, but valid descriptions of nature, when interpreted correctly.


Martin Rizley - #47731

January 17th 2011

correction:  the center sentence above should say:  “BTW, I didn’t say that scientific study fails to yield knowledge about the physical world—only that this knowledge is not fallible.”


Rich - #47737

January 17th 2011

Jon:

Regarding the NT:  the “broader Ethiopic canon” has 8 additional books, and the Coptic Church of Egypt has a couple of additional books as well.  It must be added that in earlier eras there was still more diversity, with the Armenian Church accepting many other writings in the early centuries, but rejecting Revelation until 1200 or so, and other Churches and localities displaying quite different attitudes to various books.  At times support for Barnabas, the Didache, Clement, etc. was stronger than for some books that were later accepted.

I wouldn’t use the word “conservative” to describe the Protestant attitude towards the Septuagint’s Greek-only books.  The “conservative” attitude (by “conservative” I mean “traditional” or “customary”, maintaining very ancient and long-honored practices) would be to keep them, since they had long been regarded as Scripture by the Church, both Catholic and Orthodox, and they are certainly alluded to, albeit not quoted, in the New Testament. 

(continued)


Rich - #47740

January 17th 2011

Jon (continuing):

To say that the Protestant Churches regard the OT Apocrypha as useful for teaching is being generous.  That is the traditional Anglican position, but Calvin and Luther made it plain that the Apocrypha had “no more authority than any secular book” and while the Anglican Church once included readings from Wisdom in its cycle of Bible readings, you will never find the Apocrypha in Reformed or Lutheran services.

I agree that the Protestant canon is inoffensive in that it is minimalist; but bear in mind that my point is not about canon as such but about sola scriptura.  Martin and I were arguing about this before you joined the group.  Martin believes that a Christian Church can be sustained via sola scriptura; I maintain that it cannot.  At a *minimum* the Church must have the power to declare and enforce the canon, and that amounts to indirect control over doctrine (e.g., purgatory, grounded in Apocryphal texts).  Additionally, there was Church authority over doctrine (regula fidei) before any NT book existed.

I’m sorry you dropped commenting on the “Darwin’s Pious Idea I” thread.  I tried to engage you on some important points you made re Deism and TE, but I never heard back from you.


Rich - #47743

January 17th 2011

Martin:

As I spent considerable time answering all of your questions, I’d appreciate if you’d answer the questions and respond to points you still haven’t covered from posts #47599, 47600, 47606, 47613, 47633, 47639, and 47642-50.

I’m not asking for an essay or sermon or homily on each point.  I’m not asking for masses of textual references or citations of modern scholars.  I’m asking for one or two sentences which address the theoretical points raised.  One or two posts would cover most of what I’m looking for, if you stick with responding narrowly to what I’m claiming and answering my specific questions.

Bear in mind that I am not challenging the Protestant canon *as such*, but merely drawing out the implications of your arguments re canonicity.  I have a summary argument ready for you—one which brings the canonical question back around to the original subject of science, evolution and Genesis—but I will withhold it until you’ve replied substantively to at least a few of my key unanswered points and questions.


Jon Garvey - #47889

January 18th 2011

Rich - #47740

“I’m sorry you dropped commenting on the “Darwin’s Pious Idea I” thread.  I tried to engage you on some important points you made re Deism and TE, but I never heard back from you.”
I must literally have “lost the thread” - I’ll try and get back there and engage.


.


Jon Garvey - #47901

January 18th 2011

@Martin Rizley - #47730

I think you slightly misread my post: For “the Garden that had become unfit to subdue and rule adequately” read “an environment HE had become unfit to subdue and rule adequately”.

The intended domain was the earth - the starting point was the garden. Sin excluded man from the latter to the former, but without the righteousness, communion with God and freedom from death that was intended. Hence a curse.

Your last, excellent, point was my starting point for Genesis. The science made me say, “It can’t be saying what it seems to be saying.” But John Walton’s realisation that the *plain* original meaning is a functional creation of the world as cosmic temple suddenly vindicates both science and the Bible by showing their diverse viewpoints. And G K Beale’s expansion on that theme shows that, just as cosmic imagery informed the design of the tabernacle and temple, so architectural temple imagery informs the description of the cosmos itself in Genesis.

A combination of phenomenological description, specific imagery (especially temple) and God’s/Genesis’s accommodation to the physical worldview of its first audience gives tools to iron out “anomalies” preserving both “books’” due authority.


gingoro - #48084

January 18th 2011

Rich
” how can *sola scriptura* be maintained without at least *one* extra-scriptural decision—regarding canon—first being made?  And how can this decision be made unless the Church has authority?”

IMO the church as represented by a group of churches (denomination) needs to rule on the canon, under God’s guidance of course.  I belong to a Protestant confessional reformed church.  Our doctrinal statements are three ancient creeds, two catechisms and a set of Canons plus possibly some items I am forgetting and rulings made now and again by the annual general church governing body which consists of representative ministers and elders from the various congregations.

In general I think that *sola scriptura* is somewhat inappropriate at the present time although as best I understand the original context, it would have been appropriate during the reformation.  Some understanding more like “prima scriptura” seems better.  Thus once the canon is established church tradition and rulings take secondary place to the canon properly interpreted.
Dave W
ps I know that I owed you a response on this topic from back in November but have not felt well enough to pull my thoughts together even as much as I have here.  Sorry about that!


Rich - #48097

January 18th 2011

gingoro:

I think that many churches have a set-up such as you describe, whereby, in addition to affirming the truth and reliability of the Bible—at least in all matters concerning faith and morals—they affirm certain confessions, Creeds, and traditions.  Even Calvin and Luther, when they insisted on sola scriptura in doctrinal debates, never imagined that the Church had no doctrinal authority at all.  They were certainly aware that the early Church survived for a few generations with no New Testament and that during that time a wholly legitimate *doctrinal* authority was exercised by the apostles and their successors.  Luther and Calvin nowhere taught that, the moment the New Testament canon was complete, God dissolved all the authority he had given to the Church and that the Holy Spirit was thenceforth restricted to speaking through Biblical exegesis.  And even the most hard-boiled partisan of “No Councils, no Popes, no Creeds, no Traditions, Only Scripture” has to grant his own Church the authority to ban Baruch and Clement from the canon.  *Some* divine authority must rest with the Church as well as with Scripture, or Christianity simply cannot function.  Martin’s pure Biblicism is a castle built on air.


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