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Talk:Alleged problems in the Bible

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Edgerunner76's potential additions to the list

I have a few of these that I would like to list here first for discussion before they get put into the article. -- Edgerunner76 13:26, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

The Garden of Eden

  • Why is the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil even in the Garden of Eden? It seems as though God is simply asking for trouble. -- Edgerunner76 13:26, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
If there was no possibility of Adam and Eve disobeying God, they would have been robots rather than beings with free will. So there had to be the possibility. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:14, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
That's why I leave the drain-cleaner out where my toddler could take a drink of it. Can't go restricting the kiddies' Free Will!
God restricts our Free Will in ALL SORTS of ways. Try to convince me that a limited lifespan, a need for food, and gravity aren't all God-Given restrictions on my Free Will. I DARE ya. --Gulik 02:36, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
Actually a limited lifespan is not a restriction on free will, but a result of its exercise! Recall, "If you eat of it you will surely die." Also, your draincleaner example is apt (even though it was a throw-away). Adam was not a toddler, but an adult, with an adult's mind. If I have a number of items on a table (including drain cleaner, smelling nice and lemony) and I tell you "If you drink that liquid right there, you will die." You have the ability to choose whether or not you will drink the draincleaner. If you drink it, and die, that is a result of your own free will. Of course I would prefer that you exercise your free will by NOT drinking the drain cleaner. The fact that the drain cleaner is there is not some sort of trap to poison you; but if you drink it and die, you won't be using it to clean any drains.BradleyF (LowKey) 04:44, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
I didn't drink any drain cleaner, so why do I have to die? MY free will doesn't seem to be involved at any point in this analogy. --Gulik 09:41, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
How did this become a discussion about restricting free will? That's not what we were talking about. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss
God being omniscient knew from the beginning that Adam and Eve would break the rules. The whole thing is a big theatrical production number Hamster 02:58, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
If all of the typical theistic beliefs about God are true, he is not limited to knowing what will happen, but actually knows, in full detail, the possibility of every event and series of events that is possible his set framework. Had Adam and Eve not chosen to take part of the fruit, he would have known all the consequences of those actions. Knowing does not violate freewill. In fact freewill would have been limited had the choice of Death not been offered to man: otherwise they could only ever choose to prolong their existence. Granted, the rationalization of Good choosing to coexist with Evil is a tough question to ask, but I don't think the Garden is necessary a good starting point. Jirby 16:21, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Another question - why/how would Adam have any concept of what death was? Wasn't death a meaningless concept at that point? Adam could have just as easily been thinking to himself - "coooool". -- Edgerunner76 11:13, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
That's one of the things about intelligent beings and language. It's possible to convey ideas from one person to another without the recipient having to experience them for themselves. Adam hadn't experienced or even observed death, but that doesn't mean that it was a meaningless concept. Nobody (ignoring a few claimants) has experienced contact with intelligent alien beings, but that doesn't mean that the idea is meaningless. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 12:35, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't accept that. I don't believe that you can have any concept of death without observing it to some extent (experiencing it wouldn't be very useful in this context). Have you ever had to tell a small child that someone has died? They never seem to grasp the concept very well. This is as close an analogy as can be made. My opinion is that the concept would be even harder for Adam to grasp as death did not exist when he was told about it. If the text had God giving an explanation of death, that would be another thing. But, as it stands, I don't understand how Adam could know the consequences of his actions. -- Edgerunner76 14:15, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
Adam was not a small child. Rather, he was newly created with full use of his faculties without any deterioration like you and I have. Also, there's no reason at all to believe that just because the Bible doesn't record God explaining death to Adam in detail that He didn't do so. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:55, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
What good is the full use of his faculties without the information for those faculties to process? And, it seems like not recording an explanation, were it given, would be a huge oversight. Again, it is something we'll just have to chalk up to "not very convincing to me". -- Edgerunner76 15:43, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
Within philosophy is a great debate about the necessity and/or novelty of experience, and I doubt that it will be solved anytime soon. Needless to say, I agree that some form of experience is necessary for a concept to have any meaning. Now that being said, Adam resides outside your typical case of things. God, being God, would no doubt be able to communicate to Adam the seriousness of Death, or any idea for which they would have the inclination to discuss without necessarily having Adam experience it for himself. Jirby 16:21, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
Adam in no way had full use of his faculties. The text makes clear that certain concepts were beyond him until the eating of the fruit and his expulsion. He had no concept of pain, stress, work, achievement, right or wrong, good or evil, sin. Adam is very much like a child until the 'Fall'. Saying that he wasn't just because he was created as an adult assuming that he was created with all the experiences people have by the time they reach adult-hood. And as I said above, he clearly wasn't.--ScottA 21:36, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
Where does the Bible say that "certain concepts were beyond him until the eating of the fruit and his expulsion"? Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 04:06, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

(outdent)Philip, ScottA's speculation doesn't sound much different (though more-or-less opposite) than your speculation. I'm sure that you'll find this unsurprising, but I find ScottA's speculation to be more reasonable than your's. However, they are both still speculation. -- Edgerunner76 11:04, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Yes, what I said was speculation. But the way a lot of these arguments goes is:
  1. That couldn't have been the case because of X.
  2. Well, we don't know that X is the case. Not-X could well be the case.
  3. But not-X is just speculation.
Yes, not-X is speculation, so I can't prove anything with it. But X is also speculation, and the original objector was trying to build a case on that speculation.
Sometimes it's not that obvious; sometimes the objection is implied rather than explicitly stated. On occasions I read that implication into the comment when it's not actually there. But very often it is there.
In this case, you basically said that you don't believe that Adam could have had any concept of death, but now you effectively admit that this rejection of the fairness of events is based merely on speculation.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 11:24, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
There is only so much text to work with and it is not very much at that. So, there will be speculation. I admit that I have my speculation as much as anyone else. It comes down to what parts of the speculation someone finds to be more plausible and reasonable. As such I, unsurprisingly, find ScottA's and my speculation to be more plausible and reasonable. I suspect that the opposite is true for you. However, I do genuinely find your replies to be fascinating if unconvincing. -- Edgerunner76 12:25, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

The Free Will Argument

Will humans have Free Will in Heaven? If so, can they be cast out for using it? (See: Satan.) --Gulik 02:37, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Why not? Why would they be? Satan wasn't. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 02:50, 20 April 2009 (UTC) Satan wasn't thrown out of Heaven? Or he was thrown out for reasons that didn't result from exercising Free Will? --Gulik 23:54, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
He wasn't thrown out of heaven for exercising free will, but for the particular way he chose to exercise it. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 06:53, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
Are you trying to build the argument that free-will vanishes once we have departed from the physical plane? -- (This was Jirby)
Yes. Once we arrive in Heaven, God will core us like apples so that we will lack the ability to commit evil or feel any remorse for the people we knew in life who are now being tortured for all eternity in hELL. Do You Believe That? --Gulik 09:41, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
I understand why you assume that, but I don't think it's a very fair characterization. There is nothing in the bible that says God will excise our freedom to chose from us (if such freedom has any value on a supernatural scale to begin with, though that is a discussion for another time). The reason why no one would choose to disobey God would probably be the same reason people use when making decisions every day. You didn't go out into traffic to play a nice game of tag, and yet I doubt you would call such aversion to danger a limiter of your will. Jirby 12:23, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
You don't read News of the Weird, do you? People use their Free Will(tm) to do all SORTS of insane, stupid, and painful things every day. What makes you think the ones who manage to get into Heaven will be any different? --Gulik 19:32, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
No bad influences, for a start. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 04:07, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
Well, there will be at least one mass murderer there. --Gulik 20:40, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Cain and Abel

  • Why does God ask Cain for the whereabouts of Abel? Shouldn't He know? Shouldn't Cain have expected Him to know, especially since there doesn't seem to be many people to keep track of. -- Edgerunner76 13:26, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Are you a father? Or did you have a father? Do fathers ever ask their kids what they've been up to even though they already know? Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:14, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Why does Cain believe that there are plenty of people that he might run into when he is cast out? -- Edgerunner76 13:26, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Because there was? Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:14, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Where did they come from? --Gulik 21:26, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Adam and Eve had daughters and other sons than Cain and Able , the must have moved away and established towns.Hamster 22:30, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Because Cain knew Adam and Eve would have other children, and they would grow up, and he would encounter them sometime within his roughly nine hundred year lifespan. Mega 12:00, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
They had almost certainly had other children. Eve considered Seth a replacement for Abel after Cain murdered him, and Seth was born when Eve was 130. It's extremely unlikely that Adam and Eve didn't have any more than two children in their first 130 years. By then, they had plenty of time to have other children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren... Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 12:48, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
If Eve bore other children before Seth, they were daughters, because Eve considered Seth to be her "replacement" son for Abel. Gen 4:25 ...For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew. Mega 21:08, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
There's no reason to think that. Seth being a replacement for Abel doesn't require that there were no other sons in the meantime. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 05:12, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
    • I actually have a more basic follow-up to this bullet. No matter how the other people got there, why would/should Cain think that they'd know what he had done? -- Edgerunner76 00:49, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
How else would Abel have ended up dead? Others would have been able to tell that it wasn't an accident. Okay, that doesn't pin down Cain in particular, but there might have been an easy process of elimination to narrow it down to Cain, such as him being the only one in the vicinity at the time without an alibi. Or perhaps because he had wounds where Abel had fought back. Although we don't know how others would tell, it's hardly a problem to accept that they would have had some way of telling. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 05:12, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
Again, Cain is looking down the road a few years. He knew his killing of Abel would be family lore, and some of his little brothers or nephews might come looking for him. Mega 01:09, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
Although I find what you wrote to be plausible, there is nothing in the text to even suggest that is the correct or even probable answer. Cain's dialogue certainly reads like the "present tense" to me. -- Edgerunner76 01:13, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
The original text was the "J" document, written in Hebrew, which was merged with the Elohist source, then the Priestly source, and then Ezra slapped the whole thing together with the Deuteronomist text to form the Torah, which finally was translated into English by the crew working for King James in 1611. So it's possible that past or present or future "tense" slipped through the cracks somewhere and got lost. Mega 01:53, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
The Documentary Hypothesis has been thoroughly discredited, so I wouldn't resort to that. Genesis dates to the time of Moses at the latest, if not being comprised of earlier documents dating back to, in this case, Adam himself. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 05:12, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
I will grant you that. However, I still believe that you are making a leap that is not there. -- Edgerunner76 04:00, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

This is a case of critics reading the Bible hyper-literally...

Wait, what? TheoryOfPractice 01:29, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

Christians who supposedly read the Bible "literally", in fact recognise that the Bible contains metaphor, euphemisms, parables, and other non-literal language, and only read literally the parts that were meant to be read literally. Some bibliosceptics, on the other hand, read even things like the apocalyptic symbolisms of Revelation literally, then use their "hyper-literal" reading of non-literal passages to criticise the Bible. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:55, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
So how do you know that all that stuff about creating the world in six days 6000 years ago and the flood and people living to be 900 years old and people being nailed to trees and walkin' around a couple of days later and whatnot don't fall into the realm of "metaphor, euphemisms, parables, and other non-literal language"? My Bible certainly doesn't have a handy guide where it says "this part to be read literally" and "this next section is a metaphor." I'm beginning to think you're just making this up as you go along...TheoryOfPractice 04:09, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
Also, how does what was inserted as the refutation column for the point of "In Genesis 4, Cain's descendants..." qualify as a refutation? It simply repeats part of what was said in the "Problem" column. ListenerXTalkerX 04:32, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
If I said to you that I live in a brick-veneer house and that it's raining cats and dogs at the moment, would you know which part is literal and which part is euphemism? Or do I need to provide a handy guide so that you know how to understand my sentence?
The "problem" itself is not well-stated. The implication is that Cain can't be the father of groups that have existed since the flood if his descendants didn't survive the flood. The answer points out that he was the "father" of such pre-flood groups, not the post-flood equivalents.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 05:38, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
"in fact recognise that the Bible contains metaphor, euphemisms, parables, and other non-literal language" You're pretty much done with your "literal Biblial interpretatin" there Phil. Who gets to decide what is interpreted what parts of the Bible in which way? You? Me? ħuman Number 19 05:39, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
Well, that's the point. I'm not the one who claims to read the Bible literally; its the critics who claim it of people like me and put words in my mouth. Inventing a faulty POV then attributing that to your opponents then criticising them for holding it is not really a valid form of argument. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 06:08, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
Actually, you do. The parts you want to read that way, anyway. Personally, I think Genesis, most of Exodus, and the genealogies are mythical. You choose to see them as literal history. However, you dismiss the fantasies of Revelations as literature of some sort? Who are you to decide which of God's book is to be interpreted in which way? And if my Biblical scholarship here is lacking, please, as others have asked, point me to the correctly annotated Bible, where the allegory/metaphor/etc. is marked apart from the Historical Truth. ħuman Number 19 04:31, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
No, I don't. I do read parts literally, but that is not what we were talking about, so you are going off topic. Secondly, the parts that I read literally are not because I want to read them literally. I read Genesis as literal history because that is clearly the way it was intended to be read. See Creation week (references) for evidence of that. So to claim that I'm making up my own mind rather than going with scholarship is nothing but unsubstantiated, and wrong, assertion on your part. As for your request, the fallacy of that has already been answered in this very discussion, yet to continue to ask it. Why is that? A closed mind, perhaps? Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 05:33, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
OK, I went to your reference at the article. "DeYoung, Don, "Thousands... not Billions", Master Books, 2005, p.157-167." Don't have copy. And some rambling ref to "Barr, James, in a letter from Professor Barr to David C.C. Watson, quoted in Should Genesis be taken literally? by Russell Grigg, Creation, vol. 16 No. 1 p. 38". Come on Philip, that's just dodging, there's no answer there. No solid answer on this site where I expect it. I think I might have already complained in another section that you simply choose what to interpret literally according to your prejudices, with no clear and obvious guidance. To me, Genesis is obviously metaphor. OBVIOUSLY. So is Revelations. And much of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are, well, elaborations. I guess I missed the explanation of how to figure out which parts of the Bible are literal and which aren't, I'll dig into this page more after hitting "save", but a simple explanation at Parts of the Bible meant not to taken literally might do the job for once and for all. ħuman Number 19 06:39, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
The DeYoung reference was for evidence that the creation account is not poetry. cp:Creation week has a fuller description of that point. But I was referring to the quote from Barr. How is that dodging? Barr, a world-leading expert, says that there is a consensus among the world-leading experts that the passage was meant to be understood literally. That is an answer to how it was meant to be understood. Are you suggesting that the world-leading experts don't understand the difference between taking something literally and metaphor, etc.? So although you might consider it "obvious" (for reasons that are not themselves obvious—because you want it to be so?), the scholarship is not on your side. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 07:26, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
I'd say that most world-leading experts on theology and study of the Bible don't agree with Mr. Barr in this issue. Catholic 12:28, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
So it is your opinion that the world-class expert is wrong? Why should I take your opinion over his? Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 13:14, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
"If I said to you that I live in a brick-veneer house and that it's raining cats and dogs at the moment, would you know which part is literal and which part is euphemism? Or do I need to provide a handy guide so that you know how to understand my sentence?" Well, what about if it was raining frogs? So raining cats and dogs=metaphor, but raining frogs=the true word of God. Got it. Thanks for clearin' that up...You've opened up the door to the possibility that the every word in the Bible is not to be taken literally, and that it is a question of subjective, human interpretation to figure out what's what...That's a big step on the way to getting over embracing a collection of really old folktales as a means by which to define the world and live your life. Good for you...What you need to do now is ride that slippery slope to its logical conclusion. TheoryOfPractice 14:32, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
Despite your dismissive tone and red-herring argument, it seems that you did understand which parts of my sentence was literal and which was euphemism. So how did you distinguish without a "handy guide"? Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 15:08, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
Know any good Bible editions that tell which part is which? (Like the red-text Bibles that have everything Jesus actually said in red.) Remember, us dumb heathens see you taking the least likely parts of the story as literal fact, but treating others as mere metaphor, it's a trifle confusing. --Gulik 17:36, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
As I've just pointed out above, the fallacy of this has been answered already. How about addressing the arguments put instead of repeating the fallacious question parrot-fashion? Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 05:33, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

The same way I was able to tell that the idea of a six-day-creation week 6000 years ago is utter nonsense, Phil. How else? TheoryOfPractice 15:09, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

Sigh. And what way is that? Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 15:32, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

Hey Phil, don't you know that your old boss says that only liberals "respond with "sigh" when presented with repeated examples" of things that make them look bad? Anyway, I'm not sure how to respond to that question: it doesn't actually rain cats and dogs, and deities don't actually exist--both instances of metaphor.... TheoryOfPractice 16:24, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

Your last point is begging the question, so that's not an answer. So the only other thing you've said is that you don't really know how you tell. And yet you could. The point is that metaphor, euphemisms, parables, etc. are discernible by reference to such things as our knowledge of the language and the context. Not by reference to whether we want to believe them or not. This is why, for example, the experts have a consensus that the creation account is meant to be read literally (which is a different question to whether or not it's true), as is documented in creation week (in the references, particularly). Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 05:33, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
The tone and tense of the Bible usually are good indicators of what is to be taken metaphorically, what is to be taken literally. Genesis: "How God Created The World" - indicates God means exactly what he says. Revelations: "Prophecy Through Metaphor" - prophecies are rarely ever without metaphor. Most are never direct. That's why Nostradamus is still seen as a relevant figure to the cultist: his prophecies are so vague their bond to come true. John's prophecies are pretty vague, but you could never mistake his prophecies for other events. They're either false (most likely we ought chuck revelations) or just haven't happened yet.
I will say, however, that creation stories are almost all pretty metaphorical. Why does Genesis have to be any different? Would people buy actual account (scientific one) when they had not the instruments or inclinations to verify them? I find the story to actually be /more/ sensible when taken into an allegorical context. First man lives in the garden of Eden (creature of nature) and then is expelled from the garden (realization of consequences for actions) and also expected to toil the fields and tame the Earth (tool development, agrarian society develops). This makes much more sense than an absolutely literally interpretation, which sadly, does not fit with how Creation actually functions. Jirby 04:53, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
Why does Genesis have to be different? Because it's the correct one!
How does an allegorical reading make more sense than a literal one? And how does a literal one not fit with how creation actually functions? (Actually, that seems to be comparing two quite different things—how it began with how it continues.)
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 05:33, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
"The tone and tense of the Bible usually are good indicators of what is to be taken metaphorically" - I again ask for the Greek and Hebrew scholarly explication of your claims as to what is to be taken as "fact" and what is "literature". Personally, I think you're making it up as you go along, and have never read the original texts. Also, I think that Genesis is obviously just a grand metaphor written by one people in awe of the creation to explain "where did we come from". As many other peoples have also done, with lesser or greater poetic impact. ħuman Number 19 06:27, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
Answered above in the comment posted at the same time as this one. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 07:26, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

(unindent) My problem with your position that the literal interpretation is the 'right on' is that there is nothing self-evident about that position at all! There would not be OECs, or evolutionists, or cosmologists if a literal interpretation of Genesis correctly described how Creation functions. Creation does not, by any reasonable standard, appear younger than 13 or so billion years. There is nothing about the interactions of Creation's elements that implies a young universe. Does that mean it's not possible that the literal interpretation is correct? Well of course not, but using the faculties that God gave us, His work implies the exact opposite as it pertains to Genesis. Look at it this way: to the best of our knowledge, Creation functions gradually according to its inherent properties as willed by God. This being the case, and it also being the case that God is not subject to time or any of its affects, why would that act of Creating not be gradual as well?

This also rather pleasantly ignores the obvious question: if the /account/ of our existence is only a footnote in the grand narrative of His word, then why wouldn't it be /presumed/ metaphorical on the outset?Jirby 07:37, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

I'm somewhat late to the party, but in response to PJR's comment above about brick veneer house and raining cats and dogs, I will say this: I know the brick veneer house bit is totally true because, in my experience, there are such things as brick veneer houses. I know the raining cats and dogs bit is a metaphor, because, in my experience, cats and dogs do not fall from the sky (at least, not all at once). However, in my experience, virgins do not become impregnated, people do not walk on water, and they don't rise from the dead. Nor are they capable of bearing children after the age of 100. Does this, therefore, mean that I can accept these parts of the Bible as metaphor? EddyP 10:32, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

In reply to Jirby, your argument is basically that if someone gives the correct explanation, then everybody is always going to recognise that. Sorry, but that simply isn't the case.
On the contrary, I believe that creation does appear younger than 13 billion years. Goodness, not even the most ardent evolutionists and long-agers believe that the Earth, for example, looks 13 billion years old. You are specifically talking about one part of creation there, and applying that to the whole of creation.
That the "gradual functions" of the present universe must have also been case in the origin of it is nothing more than an assumption.
And what makes you think the account is only a "footnote"? On the contrary, it's the very foundation of His Word. Everything else hinges off it.
EddyP, I think we ought to take a step back here. My point all along has been that the Bible contains figurative language as well as literal language. The figurative part takes many forms, including metaphor, euphemisms, similes, parables, etc. My point is that such figurative language is distinguishable from literal language by the form and context of the text. I used an example of figurative language to try and make this point. However, upon further reflection and study, I realise that my particular example of figurative language was probably not one of metaphor, but probably one of idiom.
Nevertheless, it still remains the case that metaphor is identified by the language, not by the truth of the claims. One site I found gave a three-step process for identifying whether something was metaphor, but the first step was to determine that it wasn't literal!
All figurative speech is figurative because that's the way that the author intended it, not because of it's truthfulness. A statement that the ship sank because it hit an iceberg doesn't become a metaphor just because it actually sank because it hit a submerged reef.
So no, those things in the Bible are not metaphor simply because you believe that they are wrong. In order to claim that they are metaphor, you have to demonstrate that they were not intended by the author to be literal. And as I have cited, the consensus of the experts is that the creation account was intended to be taken as literal.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 15:12, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
OK, so let's say that a section was "intended to be read literally" which I will concede for now is readily determinable via textual analysis. Does that also mean it is true? Cannot a lie (or a misinterpretation, or a misinformed statement, etc.) also be intended to be taken literally? ħuman Number 19 18:53, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
No, as I have said several times (perhaps on other talk pages), it being intended to be read literally does not mean that it is correct. That is a separate question. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 04:10, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
It is incumbent upon you to prove that such is not the case. If the correct answer is not recognizable from an incorrect answer, then we would never advance anywhere because no one would know which explanation was right! This does not mean that said answer does not need explanation, and support, but this is implicit. If your interpretation of Creation was in alignment with what Creation actually functions, then this would be obvious, even if the obviousness would have taken time to become apparent vis~ the required investigation.
Now since I inadvertently confused you with my use of the term Creation, I will clarify: I mean the utter entirety of the universe when I say Creation. So I look beyond, necessarily, the Earth's atmosphere when analyzing God's work, because it is all his work! So this use of Creation proves correct; the Earth may not itself be 13bn years old (though its materials surely are) but the entire universe itself is, and I find no harm in defining Creation in this manner.
Yes, it is an assumption, but it is a logical one. As there was a life before you (your parents) that created you, so there was for me, and for Bugler, and for Andy, and for everyone that exists. We recognize the gradual nature of the universe even when we isolate only one small portion of it (human life). God, to state the obvious, made for Creation to function in this way. We do not simply exist from A to B. We exist from A1, to A1.000000000000000001, to... well I think you get the point. So since we find this gradual nature to apply to ALL OTHER ASPECTS OF CREATION, why is it incorrect to assume... an even better question: why is it CORRECT to assume that the gradual nature of the universe began only after God created it, and not since the beginning as it reasonably assumed?
I call it a footnote because it IS a footnote. Hitler knew of the Creation account, as did ever other sinning evil person with even a rudimentary education in religion, but unless you find a verse that contradict me, God is not going to be satisfied with their cognizance of the Creation account. What is important (for reasons I find dangerous, though that is a debate for another time) is that God is God (and hence has infinite power, created everything), so that there is sufficient cause to read beyond those verses and find a philosophy to life your life by. So yes, it is within the grand narrative of His word, a footnote.Jirby 19:29, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
It is incumbent upon you to prove that such is not the case. If the correct answer is not recognizable from an incorrect answer... I wonder if we are talking about the same thing here. I'm not claiming that the correct answer is not recognisable; I'm claiming that not everyone will recognise it, and therefore lack of agreement does not mean that the answer is not correct.
Your claim about the age of the univserse is problematic for two reasons. One is the mere assertion, and the other is the lack of specifying a clock. According to the Bible, the Earth and the universe are only about 6,000 years old. According to a couple of modern crationist models which take into account that time can pass at different rates according to gravitational influence and velocity (see starlight problem), this 6,000-year age is according to Earth-time.
As there was a life before you (your parents) that created you, so there was for me, and for Bugler, and for Andy, and for everyone that exists.: Bugler didn't exist; he was a fraud.
why is it CORRECT to assume that the gradual nature of the universe began only after God created it, and not since the beginning as it reasonably assumed?: I don't follow. The beginning was when God created it. Are you trying to argue that the universe operated gradually before God created it???
Your argument about the creation account being a footnote basically seems to boil down to claiming that it's only a footnote because salvation does not rely on believing it. I agree with that point, but disagree that it is therefore only a footnote, and you've said nothing beyond that to justify calling it a footnote.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:51, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

Revelations: Metaphor. Genesis: HISTORICAL FACT!!@!!one!

Okay, that's two down. Any more you can sort out for us? --Gulik 23:41, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

Can people please stop referring to 'Revelations'. The correct title of the last book of the Bible is 'Revelation' (no s), short for 'The Revelation to St John the Divine'.--CPalmer 13:16, 20 April 2009 (UTC)


The peoples that God had killed were evil, so their deaths were a punishment. Punishing people for evil is what justice is concerned with, so using this as an excuse to say that God is not just is incorect. Further, an unjust person would not be good nor holy, so being just is no reason to believe that God is not good nor holy.

Isn't the innocent Job harmed in the Bible? --Michaeldsuarez 15:34, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

Yes... Are you affirming the consequent? Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:31, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
No one is innocent, hence the need for grace. As I understand it.--CPalmer 16:17, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

Peoples God Killed...evil.

What evidence do you have that they were evil? One part of Judges describes one of the peoples as Peaceful and Unsuspecting. Others the Jews went out of their way to slaughter or enslave despite the lack or resistance to the Jewish invasion. It seems the only criteria these people met were, they lived in a place that God wanted the Jews to have, and they didn't follow Jewish traditions, and this is subverted in one case where the people convert, and while recovering from circumcision the Jews massacre them anyway. So does this mean, not knowing about god is evil? or owning land the jews want is evil? I think you need more than just "they are evil so they deserve genocide". --ScottA 20:17, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

I asked you first. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:34, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

Pharoah's Heart

Here is my question. In Exodus 10:11 it clearly states that, after the threat of the death of all firstborn, "...the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let the Israelites go out of his country." And then God killed all the firstborn. Can you really say that, after having his heart hardened by no less than God, Pharaoh deserved what fell upon him? And even then, did his subjects deserve what happened? If Pharaoh had no intention of relenting, then God would not have to harden his heart. But he saw fit to harden Pharaoh's heart. We can only assume, then, that Pharaoh was close to relenting. Otherwise we have a God who lashes out wherever and whenever, all helter-skelter. So how can this be just? We can only assume that Pharaoh would have let the Israelites go had God not hardened his heart. Unfortunately, God hardened his heart and then killed all the firstborn in Egypt that he had not given his special instructions to. Where is the morality in this? CorryTalk 04:56, 2 May 2009 (UTC)

Premature insertion of Awc's draft

Awc has inserted his draft into the article, which I think is a little premature. For one there are issues that were raised with the draft that have not been addresed in the insertion - e.g. it still says "fundamentalists" and "skeptics" throughout, although both have been challenged as inappropriate. For another the quondam examples, along with their responses, have been removed. Thirdly, the "extended examples" at least are long on description of the alleged problem and short on description of the response - in fact the response descriptions are somewhat dismissive, and in at least one the description itself is written more like a rebuttal (of the response). While I am not suggesting removing the insertion - and don't want to detract from the effort that Awc has put into this - I do think that the aforementioned should be given priority before further addition to the article. I will see what I can get done over this weekend. LowKey 03:50, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

I expect a lot of changes to be made. I thought my draft was enough of an improvement to put it in now, and I wanted to take a break from working on it myself. As long as it can be improved with incremental changes, I think it should be be done in the Article space. If the whole approach and outline is disputed, then it should be moved back to Research. --Awc 08:05, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
Actually, I thought the move might have had something to do with wanting to step back for a bit. LowKey 08:40, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
I was happy for it to be put in article space, as I felt free(er) to edit it myself. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 10:18, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
To each his own, I guess. Oh, wait: it is (your own). LowKey 12:26, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
I've replaced all references to "fundamentalists", and a couple to "skeptics", replacing the latter with "critics". Regarding the examples that were removed from the article, I've not looked to see which ones they were and whether they were best removed or left. However, on another "problems with the Bible" article (the one on problems with the flood, from memory), I insisted that the only examples to be included were ones that could be referenced as really being examples of criticisms. We should do that here also. Most of the criticisms I have no doubt are existing criticisms, but one or two I wonder about, and with all of them we might want to see what context the criticism was made in. For example, the criticism about how close Mary Magdalene was to the cross seems (like so many, admittedly) to be frivolous. Such terms as "close" or "far" are relative, depending on the perspective, so both can be true. In talking to an American, for example, I would say that I lived close to (or even in) Melbourne, but in talking to someone who lives within, say, 20 km of Melbourne, I would say that I live a fair way from the city (being 60 km from the CBD). I feel like removing this example of Mary Magdalene (on the grounds of being frivolous) rather than answering it, but if it was referenced to show that people (of some significance) really do argue this, then it would be best to answer it. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:43, 21 November 2010 (UTC)
Where the women stood may not be one of the most common contradictions cited, but it crops up at least here and here (#113). I fully agree with the principle that all objections should be citable. I have tried to draw examples from the sources, even if I haven't cited those sources (lazy, if you will). Faced with the task of making a manageable selection from the hundreds of examples available, I decided to choose themes, in this case Mary Magdalene in the last days up to Easter. This allows one to observe some regularities, most important that John often differs from the synoptic gospels. Whatever you make of it, this is an important observation about the gospels and has always been recognized as such. It is easy to say it is not important where they were standing, although one wonders why all the gospels mention it if it is not at all important. I think it gives a very different feel to the events. You could easily say that the Bible is inerrant, at least where it is important, i.e. in matters of salvation and pleasing God, but there are many authors who vehemently object to this view, saying that the Bible is inerrant in every way. I think it is easier to make a straightforward case for a contradiction in the "frivolous" cases (near the cross vs. from afar is straightforward, Jesus is/is not God gets into the deepest theological swamps). What I am trying to figure out is what "compromises" have to be made to hold the Bible to be inerrant. If you don't recognize figurative genres, it is easy to find contradictions. If you interpret every narrative as being complete and chronological, you can also find contradictions. I'd like to see in black and white what priciples are forced on you by certain passages of the Bible, in order that they may be consistently applied to all passages. --Awc 10:08, 21 November 2010 (UTC)
After I posted that just before I went out, I wondered if "frivolous" was the right word. Checking dictionary meanings now leaves me unsure; it may have been the right word, but maybe not. So if I have misled you regarding my objection, I apologise. But I wasn't meaning that it was a contradiction over a frivolous matter, but a frivolous objection (if that's still the right use). I agree that if the point was mentioned, there was some relevance to it. My point was that the objection is trying to draw a non-existent distinction, like my example of me being close to, but at the same time far from, Melbourne. To object that I'm contradicting myself in that is to misconstrue the points of my seemingly-contradictory comments which were both relative terms, and similarly to object that John contradicts the other Gospel writers is to make absolutes out of relatives. (As a barely-relevant aside, I once heard that the difference between a legalist and a liberal is that a legalist treats as absolute what is relative, and a liberal treats as relative what is absolute.)
Please include the references, else we may have to cover your laziness. Or we may be lazy ourselves and simply remove them on the grounds of being uncited! :-)
I'd like to see in black and white what priciples are forced on you by certain passages of the Bible... I don't know of any informed inerrantist who denies different genres of language. I thought I saw you mention that somewhere (mentioning parables, for example), but perhaps it was in one of your sources. I've made essentially this point earlier on this very talk page, only to have it effectively denied by critics who seem to think that accepting different genres must be don arbitrarily, despite them presumably non-arbitrarily accepting different genres in non-biblical literature. But what do you mean by principles being "forced" on us? This is not a case of wanting to take everything literally but not being able to. It's simply a case of the Bible clearly using different styles of language, of every informed person realising that, and reading it accordingly, except that some try and force different styles on to accommodate secular views (such as treating the creation account as poetic despite its clearly-narrative nature).
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 13:39, 21 November 2010 (UTC)

Peter's denials and general approach.

Here is a rebuttal of the contention concerning Peter's denials: It took less than 5 minutes to find. The problem I have with many of so called "problems" is that many non-Christians do so little diligence concerning these matters. Ruylopez 11:11, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

I've made some changes to the article, but haven't finished. The one of Peter's denials is one that I was going to change. The article says, "The descriptions of the second denial, for example, describe four different accuser(s)", but this is false. "another servant-girl" (Matthew), for example, is not inconsistent with "another" (Luke). Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 11:47, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
Be careful. Peter's reply to this other person was "Man, I am not!" --Awc 12:18, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
(Edit confict. This is directed @Ruylopez.)
  • I will cheerfully accept your criticism of my lack of diligence as soon as you have put a tenth as much effort into this article, on both sides of the question, as I have.
  • In the article, I made the observation that the conversation was held in a different place in the different gospels. I didn't call it a contradiction or a problem.
  • The real difficulty is not the location of the conversation, but the number of cock crows, predicted and reported. The site you cite also has a piece on this question, which says,
The best assumption is that Mark's story is the most accurate, with the cock crowing after the first and third denials. This is so because, for one thing, Mark got much of his story directly from Peter, and, for another, having authors removing a crowing is more logical than having them add one. So assuming Mark is the correct one, does Matthew's account (and Luke's and John's) contradict it? Not really, since the others essentially summarize Mark's version of the story and are ultimately just leaving out a detail. Not a contradiction.
This "so called rebuttal" is inadequate because it does not mention Jesus' prediction that Peter would deny him three time before the cock crowed once. The problem is not a contradiction in the events but a failed prediction by Jesus.
  • Let me help you. Everything in each of these stories is true. Jesus said Peter would deny him three times before the cock crowed once and three times before the cocked crowed twice. This can only happen if Peter denies Jesus three times before the first cock crow. Then he automatically denies him three times before the second cock crow. The chronology of events must have been:
    1. Peter denied Jesus to the servant girl.
    2. Peter denied Jesus in an event that was not recorded in the gospels.
    3. Peter denied Jesus in another event that was not recorded in the gospels.
    4. A cock crowed.
    5. Peter denied Jesus to a hodge-podge of people.
    6. Peter denied Jesus to people who recognized him by his funny accent.
    7. A second cock crowed.
If you find that explanation honest and satisfying, more power to you. --Awc 12:11, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
I have avoided reading the responses/explanations of this one for now, preferring to go simply to the Bible itself (with the help of references for the words themselves, though). My response here is thus my own, and is rough at that. I have focussed on the cock crows rather than all the waffle about who spotted him for now. Something stood out to me which I am going to have to look into further. The actual verses in Greek have no commas. Matthew 26:34 and 75 are worded "before cock crow thrice you will deny me." Mark 14:30 is worded "before cock crow twice thrice you will deny me" and Mark 14:72 is worded "before cock crow twice thrice you may deny me". These could well be read as "before the cock crows three times" and "before the cock two or three times". In other words the numbers could be all about the crows rather than the denials. I notice the denials are listed but not specifically enumerated. Thoughts? LowKey 14:09, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
I have now done the same with Luke and John. Luke says "not cock-day before the thrice denial" at the prediction and "before cock-day denial three" at the fulfillment. John says "no cock crow by denial with three". This does look to be talking about three denials, so my thoughts about the numbers not referring to the denials are out the window. Conversely, "cock-day" and "cock crow" seem to be referring to the time of day rather than to a cock specifically crowing. Currently we understand "cock crow" to mean dawn regardless of whether there are any roosters about. In Australia we have a similar term for before dawn (or at lest VERY early), regardless of whether sparrows actually even do that.
I can see why critics would consider these passages problematic, but I think the problematic reading is far from necessary. I don't think that this particular issue weighs heavily either way, as those already critical will not accept any reading other than one that comes up contradictory and those already confident will accept a reasonable likely explanation even if it is not completely obvious. LowKey 04:26, 21 November 2010 (UTC)
Awc, how many notable Christian apologetic websites/books from an inerrancy perspective have you examined on the Peter/cock crowing issue? The reason I am questioning your degree of due diligence is that when I was researching the topic of Bible inerrancy I did not find this passage to be a significant issue when it comes to the issue of biblical accuracy. Ruylopez 19:02, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
You ought to be looking to see if the critics are raising this as an issue, and they are. I couldn't say one way or the other regarding response from Bible believers because I specifically did not look. It is in the index of Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible and Tektoniks mentions it under Matthew. Awc has demonstrated a diligence beyond most when it comes to research and accumulating information before commenting. It boots nothing to to cast baseless aspersions in this manner, and is somewhat insulting. Please desist. LowKey 22:10, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

Clear contradiction

The two creation myths. One fabrication has man appearing before animals and the other after. It's dishonest not to include this. Jesuit 22:40, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

I count five errors in that single line. You are very efficient. See the first alleged problem and the response here for why there is nothing dishonest about not including something non-existent. LowKey 00:07, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
That's a great non-response and a terrible answer. To cut to the chase I'll simple ask you to write the order in which things were created. Namely: what came first, man or animals? Jesuit 20:37, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
Animals. Did you not even read the linked responses? Your "man appearing before animals" is a basic error that even rudimentary scholarship exposes. LowKey 22:34, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
"18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” 19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky."
So why was man alone (without animals) in Genesis 2? Jesuit 22:44, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
what Lowkey is avoiding stating, for whatever pleasure he gets by being obtuse,(and this is my personal opinion) is that some Bible followers say that in Genesis 1 God created the animals , and Adam, then in the Garden, to get Adam to name a helpmeet, he recreates all the animals again (genesis 2). Then when Adam wont take an animal helpmeet , he reluctantly produces Eve. With that view there is no real conflict. I leave it to you to determine the worth of this position. I find the animal helpmeet thing a bit strange. Did God intend for a innocent Man (no knowledge of good and evil)to frolic with animals with Jesus(God) in the Garden for all eternity ? Thats just so ... well, no words really do it justice. The current Bible also drops all the stuff with Lilith as Adams first wife which cleans up a few other oddities in the story. Hamster 23:33, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
If you really are interested in an answer then please read the links. Alone does not mean "without animals", unless animals are people. Part of the point of the "helpmeet thing", as Hamster puts it, is to demonstrate that Adam was alone. Hamster, I have never heard of that position, but it seems to me to arise from the same kind of exceedingly poor scholarship that raises the "animals after man" claim in the first place. Do you have evidence that people actually hold to this?
The current Bible also drops all the stuff with Lilith ... 1) you imply that the "current" Genesis is much different from the "original" Genesis, but provide zero evidence. 2) The Bible did not drop such stuff as it never contained such stuff. LowKey 00:22, 16 December 2010 (UTC)
Lilith occupied a complete section that Christianity dropped as problematical from the old testament. Her story completely screws the timeline of creation and when Eve came on the scene. She refused to be on the bottom for sex, and so Adam wasnt happy , and God threw her out of Eden. Its a rather long story though. And Yes, Biblical bestiality is a well known item , because its pretty clear that if Adam had said yes to a beast, then Eve may never have been made. Hamster 00:53, 16 December 2010 (UTC)
I asked if you had evidence, but you have merely expanded your claim (but still without sufficient identifying specifics). LowKey 01:42, 16 December 2010 (UTC)
If you really are interested in an answer then please read the links I did read the links and there is no one answer given. There are multiple answers given-none of which has any basis in the Hebrew language as they so claim. If you speak Hebrew I will be more than happy to use the original text to go over this with you. Unfortunately for you I am a Biblical scholar.
Part of the point of the "helpmeet thing", as Hamster puts it, is to demonstrate that Adam was alone. But I thought you said animals were created first? Jesuit 01:03, 16 December 2010 (UTC)
I am having doubts about your ability to read English properly at the moment. Right there before the sentence that you tq'ed I said Alone does not mean "without animals", unless animals are people. So animals were created first and Adam was alone. Are you saying that animals are people? I don't "speak" Hebrew, but I am working on improving my "fluency" in reading Biblical Hebrew. If you want to present your reading of the Genesis 2 statements, then feel free. LowKey 01:42, 16 December 2010 (UTC)
Lilith occupied a complete section [of what?—PJR] that Christianity dropped as problematical from the old testament. False.
...its pretty clear that if Adam had said yes to a beast, then Eve may never have been made. It's not clear at all. What is clear is that the animals were an object lesson.
I did read the links and there is no one answer given. There are multiple answers given... So you agree that his "great non-response" was actually a multiple-answer response? So why pretend that it's a "non-response"?
...none of which has any basis in the Hebrew language as they so claim. Instead of sweeping dismissals to specific answers, how about some specifics? Where, exactly, do you consider their answers to be in error?
Unfortunately for you I am a Biblical scholar. Ooh, I'm scared. Now I wish that some of the people who understand it as I do were (also?) Hebrew scholars. Hang on—some are!
But I thought you said animals were created first? He did. Haven't you ever heard of being alone in a crowded room? That is, one can be alone even with other people present, let alone animals.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 01:48, 16 December 2010 (UTC)
Here is another answer (or rather the same answer again). LowKey 02:09, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

So you agree that his "great non-response" was actually a multiple-answer response? No, I don't. So why pretend that it's a "non-response"? Because having me hack through links that skated the issue by confusing the language is still a non-response. A response would have included something to the effect of a direct answer to the question, not links that try to say Hebrews don't know what they're saying. Where, exactly, do you consider their answers to be in error? They claim it's an unmarked pluperfect and that 1 Kings 7:13 is in the same syntax. Clearly not true. Ooh, I'm scared. You get upset when scientist mock idiots but it's clearly ok for a lay person to mock a Biblical scholar? Wow, Phil. Double standard much? Haven't you ever heard of being alone in a crowded room? This is a modern construct that even modern Hebrews have NO CONSTRUCT of. There is no similar term in Hebrew. The great thing about Hebrew is that it is a literal language, unlike English where we can speak in slang. Jesuit 02:42, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

You did post There are multiple answers given did you not? You may consider the answers to be incorrect, but you still acknowledged their existence, after earlier referring to them as "non-response".
They claim it's an unmarked pluperfect and that 1 Kings 7:13 is in the same syntax. Clearly not true. Thank you. Does "Clearly not true" refer primarily to the unmarked pluperfect claim itself or the "same syntax" claim (and consequently to the pluperfect claim)? LowKey 05:39, 16 December 2010 (UTC)
The great thing about Hebrew is that it is a literal language, unlike English where we can speak in slang. Those poor Hebrews in the Bible, being unable to express imagery or enjoy poetry. Oh wait... LowKey 05:39, 16 December 2010 (UTC)
@lowkey, I am not providing sources for you at all. Nothing I have said is terribly arcane.Try looking at the origin of the jewish religions and what they took from the Sumerian and Akkadians. If you are learning Hebrew spend some time on cultures from the area so you follow the common use terms and not the upper-class form of the language. Hamster 03:29, 16 December 2010 (UTC)
I am not saying that your Lilith claim is arcane; I am saying that it is wrong and challenging you to provide some sort of evidence for it. If you choose not to, then don't blame me if I dismiss it as unsupported. LowKey 05:39, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

(od)Hamster way down in the Tekton Two Creation Accounts? article there is a section titled "Another Option" which seems to be saying something similar to what you laid out above regarding "re-creation". I do not recall reading that before, so I cannot say if it is a later addition or if I had dismissed and forgotten it. It's not quite what you described, though. Actually, the way JPH presents it seems a bit muddled to me and I am still trying to parse it.LowKey 06:39, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

@LowKey You may consider the answers to be incorrect, but you still acknowledged their existence, after earlier referring to them as "non-response". YOU DID NOT ANSWER THE QUESTION. YOU SENT ME TO A LINK THAT HAD MORE LINKS THAT DID NOT ANSWER THE QUESTION. THEREFORE YOUR RESPONSE IS A NON-RESPONSE.
Does "Clearly not true" refer primarily to the unmarked pluperfect claim itself or the "same syntax" claim (and consequently to the pluperfect claim)? Both! The Bible uses the pluperfect in a number of cases. Because, as you and Phil see it, this is the literal word of G-d, you are forced to admit that G-d meant what was written in the pages of the Bible. Two reasons (one by my logic and one by yours) they are for sure wrong.
Those poor Hebrews in the Bible, being unable to express imagery or enjoy poetry. Imagery and poetry are most certainly not slang. "Being alone in a crowded room" is slang, that is, wording that is informal and meant for a certain group of people. It doesn't invoke imagery or poetry. You fail. Miserably. Jesuit 00:58, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
Please stop shouting.
I pointed you to entire articles which did answer your question. You have called it "no answer" and "multiple answers" and specific where you disagree with the answer.
Try again with your second paragraph. I cannot make sense of it, in that (at apart from "Both!") it does not seem to address what I actually asked.
You said Hebrew is a literal language. No imagery or poetry is the reasonable conclusion from that. I did not address you comment about slang because it did not make a whole lot of sense. "Slang" is about vocabulary. The phrase "alone in a crowded room" does not make exceptional use of vocabulary and is not used by some certain group of people (unless you mean the group of people that speak English, in which case the whole language is slang). Regardless, none of that addresses that Adam was alone unless the animals were people. Do you claim that animals are people? LowKey 06:04, 17 December 2010 (UTC)

At least until you provide substantiation, it should be worded this way.

Concerning Philip's edits with the edit comment in the section title:

  • "Contemporary archeology and history are at odds with the Biblical narrative" -> "are claimed by critics to be at odds"
I didn't say the Biblical narrative is at odds with the facts, only at odds with the beliefs held by contemporary archeology and history. By your edit, did you intend to say that contemporary archeology and history actually accept the veracity of the biblical narrative?
  • "The acheological evidence for the events up to the Exodus from Egypt is generally too sparse to allow a detailed comparison or independent verification" -> "is thought to be too sparse ... although others claim that this is because critics are looking in the wrong place—or at least the wrong time—due to secular reliance on a problematic Egyptian timeline."
This sounds like you are claiming that a "detailed comparison and independent verification" actually is possible, if you look in the right place. Is this what you intended to say? Is the difficulty with the timeline only a consequence of the dating by adding up the geneologies, or are there other factors that are problematical?

--Awc 13:54, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

I would suggest that there is ambiguity in your original wording (which I didn't resolve with my alterations).
If you say "Contemporary archeology and history", are you referring to the following two thing:
  • Contemporary archeology
  • Contemporary history
Or the following two:
  • Contemporary archeology
  • History
Before I comment further on that, there's another issue:
Does contemporary archaeology refer to the current views of archaeologists, or to the current state of archaeology?
My point is that with both of these ambiguities, it was not clear that what was intended was that the Bible was at odds with the beliefs of contemporary archaeologists and historians. It read to me as though the claim was that the Bible was at odds with the current state of archaeological evidence and that the Bible was also at odd with history. Different wording may have caused me to not make that change.
...did you intend to say that contemporary archeology and history actually accept the veracity of the biblical narrative? I didn't intend to say that contemporary beliefs accept the veracity of the biblical narrative. Some of the leading biblical archaeologists, such as one that is considered the founder of biblical archaeology (William Albright, although I've seen more than one claimant for that title), said that archaeology strongly confirmed the Bible. However, more recent archaeologists with more anti-biblical views have challenged that view, but did not dare challenge it until after Albright was dead, apparently because he could have shot them down in flames. So I would argue that the evidence does support the Bible, even if the modern fad is to play down or dispute that support. (I might add that much argument on these lines tends to be based on archaeology not providing support the Bible in particular instances, not that it actually disputes it. That is, it's an argument from silence.)
Probably very little in archaeology is as empirical as "detailed comparison and independent verification" implies, but apart from that, yes, that is what I was alluding to. The difficulty with the dating is not just a matter of comparing it to biblical genealogies, nor even just with other biblical records (the king lists, for example, are very detailed in their chronology, but are not genealogies). The difficulty is that most scholarship is based on Egyptian chronologies that are known to be problematic, and they disagree not just with the Bible, but with chronologies of adjacent nations. Even some secular Egyptologists have proposed that the Egyptian chronologies need to be dumped (or significantly revised). Further, numerous claims have been made that there is actually archaeological evidence for things such as the Exodus, but it is dismissed as the Exodus simply because the evidence (such as evidence of a new group of people taking up residence in Palestine) is at the wrong time to be the Exodus of the Bible. When you discover flattened walls at Jericho, for example, you don't find a plaque on them saying "These walls were flattened by Joshua and his army upon their arrival from Egypt". You simply find flattened walls, and can ascertain that they occurred at a certain period in history. If that period doesn't correspond to the Exodus, then it's not evidence of the Exodus. If the timeline is shifted, however, then it suddenly "becomes" evidence of the Exodus. As I said, various claims have been made that there is evidence for things like the Exodus, if the timeline is shifted. There are, however, others who accept this general principle but who dispute some of the specific claims, so I'm not prepared to go as far as saying that with a shifted timeline the evidence is all cut and dried and overwhelming.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 04:04, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
I got it. Let's see what comes out when we get down to brass tacks. We probably don't want to do more than discuss one or two of the most prominent examples of "alleged problems", at least not in this article. --Awc 07:41, 15 September 2011 (UTC)


You have given examples of 40,000 and 4,000 as posible copy errors. How are numbers indicated in Hebrew or whatever language was used ? How the number is stated would make a difference to how likely a copy error is. Just a thought. Hamster 14:53, 17 September 2011 (UTC)

Good question. I found a page on Hebrew Numbers that says that the system is not positional, so something more would have to happen than to add an extra zero. There is a letter that is used for "four" and a different letter that is used for "forty". This is probably a good thing for reducing the number of copyist errors over the years, but it does make the claim of a simple copyist error in this case a bit less plausible. --Awc 17:22, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
there is no question (at least to me) that copying a document leads to mistakes, and translating may lead to subtle changes in meaning (and not subtle in some cases) but it may be a case that a copy error in an english text occured thats not in the original hebrew , greek or aramaic (whichever) because the way numbers are represented makes the specific error unlikely. That was an interesting link on hebrew numbering and may explain why certain mathematical advances did not happen until the arab numbering system cane in. Hamster 19:28, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
If I understand that page that Awc linked to, the difference between 4,000 and 40,000 is the difference between ד׳ and מ׳. So it's not the difference of a dropped (or added) digit, but between two different letters. They don't appear that similar, but with handwriting perhaps they can be confused; I don't know. (Although ambiguity is not the only possible explanation; simply being distracted between reading the letter and writing a copy may be an explanation. Also, the page is talking about Hebrew numbering, and specifically mentions that the Bible uses the traditional (non numeric digits) form, but is not detailed enough to be certain that some details, like thousands and tens of thousands, didn't change over time or have variations in use. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 15:19, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

Awc's addition.

Awc has added the judgement on the Midianites. This has been dealt with before but I cannot recall where the discussion took place. When I find it, I will bring the salient points here. One thing awc raises that was [NOT] discussed that other time is that the Midianites were punished while the Israelites were not. That is not true - the Israelites had already been punished (10,000 of the offenders dead IIRC [later: I did not recall correctly,see below]). I have other issues with awc's statements about this (at Philip's talk page), but I will leave them for now while I try to find the "round 1" discussion. I have removed one particularly egregious (to me) presumption from the article. In short, the people saved were those who could marry into Israelite families and thus no longer be Midianite. LowKey 21:34, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Maybe you are thinking of what you wrote in Talk:Richard Dawkins#Edit break (Midianites). The presumption you removed is the most obvious interpretation, but is not unavoidable, so I understand your removing it. I didn't look a lot at the context, so you might be right about the Isralites having been punished, too. Probably the whole story should be put into the context of collective punishment, which occurs again and again in the Bible, often in the form of the children or further descendents of transgressors being punished. —Awc 22:02, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
In the associated discussion Philip also referenced this rather detailed apologetic piece:
—Awc 22:24, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
That was the discussion to which I was referring, but it turns out it is not the discussion of which I was thinking. I have taught on these punishments - and the crimes - so I may be muddling more than one conversation. Before wading in too deep, I will review a little, if you don't mind waiting a bit. I will say a little about some aspects, thought, particularly your presumption regarding the virgins. Given the context (both cultural and incident specific) it is in fact the least obvious and this suggestion has to me always smacked of manufactured outrage. BTW, the crime of Numbers 25 is mentioned here in Numbers 31 (giving some further hint of why the truth of your presumtion is unlikely) along with some mention of Israel's punishment (there were 24,000 killed, not 10,000 as I said earlier).
Regarding your repugnance about the boys, I think you may be overestimating how broadly it is shared. I am thinking of; total war, pre-emptive strikes on civil targets, firebombing, Nagasaki. Many modern societies hate their enemies and would exterminate them if possible (including the young boys). The majority[corrected: 13%] of WWII Americans wanted all Japanese exterminated (again, including the young boys). I vaguely recall something similar much morerecently regarding certain middle eastern people, but would have to verify that. I know that this doesn't negate your overall position, but I think it is worth reflecting on the fact that the repugnance is not nearly so apparent when the deed is at arm's length - or when it is not some other people doing it. I will look over what Miller has to say. I usually find his scholarship quite good, although I think he sometimes makes unjustified leaps and stretches. LowKey 01:57, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
The majority of WWII Americans wanted all Japanese exterminated (again, including the young boys). I have never heard this and am skeptical of it. Do you have a reference? —Awc 08:14, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
You are rightly sceptical. It was a 1944(?) survey, and I misread it as 53% in favour when it was 13%. Still a disturbing number, but nothing like my original impression. Sorry about that. It is mentioned on about page 135 of this book. There is this US Govt poster, though, so it was certainly the official position. LowKey 13:02, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Frustrating re-hashes

Awc has added a list of other examples of "child killing". I find this frustrating for a couple of reasons, not least of which is that several of these have already been answered on this very encyclopaedia and yet here they are again presented as if they have never been addressed. The other is the stretching (it's not extreme but it is there) to fit some of these to the topic. For example the "youths" killed by the bears were not children. I suggest we work on fleshing out the principles and reasoning behind the allegations and responses, rather than simply listing multiple examples which mostly come under the one principle. LowKey 00:01, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

Awc has added a list of other examples of "child killing". Why do you put "child killing" in quotes? Were they not children, or were they not killed?
several of these have already been answered on this very encyclopaedia I wasn't aware of that. In articles or in talk pages? I wasn't able to find anything except some discussion on Talk:Biblical_worldview about "the sins of the fathers". Can you point me to the pages?
and yet here they are again presented as if they have never been addressed. I'm not clear on how the presentation of the critics' position should depend on possible counter arguments. Excuse me if I am not familiar with the "proper" response to these criticisms, but I assumed someone else would fill out that part of the article.
For example the "youths" killed by the bears were not children. That could be true. At least they were punished for something they themselves did. It does seem rather extreme, though.
I suggest we work on fleshing out the principles and reasoning behind the allegations and responses, rather than simply listing multiple examples which mostly come under the one principle. It is important to make that point that the slaughter of children under orders from God was not a one-off thing, but is reported many times in the Bible. I think the critics' principle is clear, that it is barbaric and immoral to kill children, no matter what their parents may have done. I am curious to hear the "principles and reasoning behind the ... responses".
—Awc 09:11, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
Another essay from — Good question...shouldn't the butchering of the Amalekite children be considered war crimes? — does an excellent job of presenting the case that slaughtering the women and children of vanquished tribes was an act of mercy. We should work the argument into the article. For me, it is in the end unconvincing. Although the action may arguably have been merciful, that isn't the way it is presented in the Bible. Consider, e.g., the verse
  • Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.
Which of the following does that sound like?
  • Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy their capacity to threaten us or others again. Once you have killed all the grown men, continue with the women and children and the cattle to spare them a slow and horrible death in the desert.
  • Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy their capacity to threaten us or others again. Show no mercy, but kill their women and children and cattle, too. They have it coming, and next time people will think twice before messing with us.
If the author of the Bible thought killing the women and children was an unfortunate necessity forced by the actions of the men and the circumstances, I would at least expect a disclaimer. Do not try this at home!
—Awc 14:16, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
I have very little time, so I will try to keep this brief. I will also be without a computer over the weekend.
Why do you put "child killing" in quotes? Were they not children, or were they not killed? Yes, sometimes they were not children and yes sometimes they were not killed. I used quotes because the sub-section is called "Killing children" and although child killing is the issue under discussion, but I do not concede that it is the appropriate term to be using. In many cases you are dealing with the deaths of everyone including children rather than the specific deaths of children. You say that the principle is that it is barbaric and immoral to kill children but I am almost certain that I have not come across Churchill or Truman being called barbaric, immoral child killers. Both ordered the mass extermination of enemy populations - including the children - to demoralise the enemy (i.e. the "strategic" targets of the actions were not even the cities that they bombed. Truman strongly implied divine endorsement of the atomic bombings, and threatened to keep on with them - IIRC he used words like "rain destruction across [Japan]". I can see a few differences between the actions of these national leaders and those described in the OT, and they don't favour the critic's position. More on that later,though.
I largely agree with your assessment of Miller's article about the killing of the Amelikites. What he says about acts of mercy may well be true (I find the scholarship convincing as to the facts) but it doesn't really address that the killings are Biblically described as acts of judgement, not acts of mercy (I find the scholarship UNconvincing as to the argument). LowKey 01:58, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
I wasn't concious of it at first, but one of the reasons the slaughter of the Midianites evokes such a visceral reaction is that the killing of the women and boys was not done in the heat of battle and did not occur as collateral damage to a military campaign. The soldiers said, We're done here, and then went home. Moses sent them back to kill the defenseless women and boys.
Dresden and Hiroshima have both been described as immoral. I'm very hesitant to call it, but I am afraid I would have to agree with that. If the goal was really to "demoralise the enemy" to help win the war, then that was a military goal, even if it was indirect and came with a high price. The war against the Midianites was already over. If we want to go into details, it could become lengthy.
It is a key point whether the killings were motivated by judgement or mercy. In the case of the women, it was clearly judgement. With the boys, the language very strongly indicates that their death was part of the punishment. Most translations specifically say "therefore".[1] As for the girls, the soldiers were not told to spare them out of mercy, but "for themselves" (whether or not that implies sex).
I would like to add some of these things to the article.
—Awc 09:22, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

Examples from early OT

I have found the short paragraph at the end of this section unsatisfactory for a while, and despite attempts by awc and myself to improve it I still find it unsatisfactory. I still find that the sentence introducing the critic's position. It speaks of passages being "too difficult" to reconcile but apart from being an extremely subjective measure it does not reflect the evident practice of critics. I have had knowledge of and dealings with a number of critics and a significant portion (i.e. not all but not rare) have a position more like "If any combination of interpretations can result in an inconsistency then there is per force an inconsistency."

The explanation offered regarding verse 22 is obviously addressing the first dot point in the "reconciliations" list, but I have never heard that reconciliation offered. Does someone have a source for that? Anyway, I think that if the critic's explanation is expounded, then the inerrantist's counter-position should also be expounded. Currently the article (orat least that portion of it) seems to be arguing the critic's position rather than simply describing it, but without unwieldly qualifiers in every sentence I don't think that there is an easy solution apart from explaining the counter point(s).

I'm out of time now, but there is probably plenty to discuss/resolve already in that little bit. LowKey 03:50, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

The explanation offered regarding verse 22 is obviously addressing the first dot point in the "reconciliations" list, but I have never heard that reconciliation offered.
If you think we should exclude this explanation or include something else, I'm fine with that. The example can be rewritten to use the second bullet point. (The third one is of a different nature, but could also be used.)
I wonder if I put too much of my own thinking into this paragraph. It would be better if we could cite critical sources.
—Awc 07:50, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
I would rather include the counter-point than exclude the existing explanation - after all addressing an argument does not mean that it was never made - but like you I wonder about putting too much of my own thinking in there. I can argue the points but this is meant to be an encyclopaedia article rather than a community debate. I do think that the paragraph is a good start at explaining a type of criticism rather than just dealing with an individual criticism. Actually if we can nut out a decent description we could put it in the beginning of the section, ahead of the examples.LowKey 09:43, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
I did some looking and all I could find was arguments that the reconciliations offered stretch credulity, of that if God were the author of the Bible he would have made it clearer. Although I am fond of the argument I put in here—I think it is more subtle and stronger than the other arguments.—I am afraid it really is my own work and might have to go. —Awc 13:04, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

Natural sciences

I added a section of natural sciences (cosmology, biology, natural history), but I'm not at all happy with it. The creation/evolution/flood issues are covered by other articles and can certainly not be dealt with adequately here. The other topics can mostly be explained, without even working too hard, by invoking linguistics, phenomenological descriptions, or specific miracles. The most damining item is probably Jacob's excursion into genetic selection, but the story just says he did A and B happened. Maybe he thought his A was causing B, but really it was a miracle made just for him, with no expectation that it could be reproduced on a modern research farm. It's not that the Bible is accurate as a science textbook, it just doesn't have much to say about science.

My impression is that "The Bible contradicts known facts of physics and natural history." is seldom used as an argument against the Bible (with the exception of the special cases of creation and flood), and that the section distracts from the other much stronger arguments. I'm wondering if we should eliminate it from the article completely. (Except probably for a link to the creation/flood stuff.)

—Awc 15:09, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

I have never understood how people can seriously suggest this particular criticism. Apart from confusing reporting with endorsing (it does appear that Jacob thought the stick trick did the trick) the account itself shows that the particoloured lambs were due to particoloured parents. In a dream God showed Jacob what really happened, and explained it for good measure. Despite Laban's attempt to swindle Jacob by removing the "wage" animals from the flock, God made sure that the particoloured males were the ones that sired young in the flocks that Jacob pastured. When exactly this happened is perhaps in need of some interpolation - indeed it would appear that this was a two-way scam of some duration with both Laban and Jacob trying to identify and hide the "wage" animals before the other spotted them (pun unintended) - but speckled offspring from speckled parents are hardly genetic anathema. I am pretty sure that a modern research farm could repeat this :). When the Bible clearly desribes both the offspring and their parents in like terms, it really is impossible to sustain a claim that the Bible is getting the genetics wrong. On the other hand, the Bible demonstrates an understanding that Jacob at least seemed to lack. LowKey 02:42, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
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