You are hereThe Bible alone: an oxymoron?

The Bible alone: an oxymoron?

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By Ransom - Posted on 23 February 2010

by Doug Chaplin
Occasionally one will come across an otherwise well-thought out post which insists that “the Bible alone” is, or should be, the basis for – well, pretty much everything genuinely Christian, but especially doctrine and ethics. It has a reasonable pedigree in the Reformation. But does it make sense?

The problem comes with the word Bible. “Bible” turns scriptures into Scripture, library into book. It takes a diverse collection and insists that they be read together, privileging the relationship between these books as a closed circle of intertexuality. “Bible” implies the discerning, collecting and reading decisions taken by a community that recognises the story and doctrine of the God they worship, teach about, and serve in these very writings they collect into this special relationship with one another.

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Ransom's picture

This has particular weight given the stance of sola scriptura full preterists. To trust Scripture, we must trust those who gave it to us as the canon we have: the church. To the extent that we feel the historical church may have entertained inaccurate beliefs in the creeds (viz. eschatology), their evaluation of and/or dependence upon the books of the canon cannot be assumed to be correct. Carrying this further, consider that the books of the Bible themselves are theological literature written by the even earlier church, subject to the same limitations of the later church.

It seems to me that no full preterist has any business claiming "the Bible alone" without recognizing the Bible's own limitations.

Starlight's picture

Stephen,

Let me go off on a tangent here.

I think what we call the canonical Bible as most protestants think of is sufficient for us concerning our faith in Christ. However should we recognize the limitations of those who canonized and have handed it down to us? I would have to say yes as these individuals are not inspired to render sole judgment and may not be any more competent in determining these qualifications than we are today. In fact the case could be made that present day scholarship if it wasn’t affected by tradition could possibly consider other works as viable possibilities. Some Eastern forms have actually recognized Enoch as part of their canon and with good reason as it is attributed to by numerous quotations and allusions from its work by the NT writers. The question must be asked that if these men of faith felt comfortable with its message then why we should be precluded from utilizing it also.

Of course as we are seeing presently there is still much division and turmoil in the scholarly community even over the dating of scriptures. The Documentary Hypothesis which ruled for a century is becoming outdated itself as better evaluations are challenging its suppositions. This means that we are still in a state of flux in higher scholarship and it’s even worse in the lower levels of biblical examinations where there is pervasive evangelical turmoil that clouds that arena to no end rendering much of that work almost useless for scholarly discussions.

This brings me back to my original point though in that what we have is sufficient for developing faith in Christ and one could possibly make the case that simpler is better in that regard and indeed God’s hand may be presumed to have helped guide it to the simpler for that ultimate purpose. That being said the scholar rightfully recognizes that other material is quite helpful and essential to a deeper analysis of scriptures especially as we search the ramifications of books such as Genesis and how they were developed and their background implications. Historical mishandling of OT and NT literature still is having negative bearings upon the present day culture. Simple is helpful for faith development but often times it does not end there nor should it.

Sam's picture

Wow. One might actually want to read what "sola Scriptura" means, and its history (not the Reformation, but the early church). Maybe we can't trust those silly Jews who put Jesus on the cross. After all they "collected" the Hebrew Bible.

A lesson in logic is neeeded, too. How "biblos" implies "ekklesia" is way beyond me. Maybe "biblos" implies "God" and "Tarsus", too! As far as the collection of books goes...Paul was quoting from something....oh, right, "the WRITINGS" (that's what "graphai" means).....And Peter says about Paul's "epistoloi" that they are among "the other writings". I could go down the list as to why the early church are not the "authors" or "imprimaturs" of the Bible.....but, that would require a great deal. F.F. Bruce, anyone? Alright...my sarcasm for the day is over.

Ransom's picture

I know well what "sola scriptura" means, and its history, Sam.

A lesson in logic is neeeded, too. How "biblos" implies "ekklesia" is way beyond me. Maybe "biblos" implies "God" and "Tarsus", too!

Sarcasm and attacks on reasoning skills are a poor mask for misunderstanding someone else's point and being too lazy to parse it honestly. If you had been reading with your mind screwed in, you'd have seen his and my point. There were many books circulating that many claimed were the word of God. Without the Church that canonized just these Scriptures we have into a single biblos, there would be only bibloi (see? I can talk Greek, too!). Thus "Bible" (N.B. the capital "B") cannot but "imply" the Church in its selection, even if we disregard the role of its constituents in its production. A volume of collected poems by Robert Frost on the theme of "hope", even if not a single word from the editor appears within it, is a work of literature that certainly implies that editor. This is what Doug meant (and I have full confidence that you could have figured this out if you weren't busy waving your hands).

Maybe we can't trust those silly Jews who put Jesus on the cross. After all they "collected" the Hebrew Bible.

Your sarcasm puts this forth as a silly proposition, but have you considered that, stripped of the emotive, dismissive tone, it's a logically sound proposition? Let me put it this way: "Maybe we shouldn't assume that the Jews who misunderstood Christ's mission were able to infallibly determine which scriptures were authoritative." Sarcasm is so rarely helpful, Sam.

The circularity of your reasoning makes your attack on others' logic seem "silly". We know the Hebrew canon was infallible because Paul referred to it; we know Paul was infallible because Peter called his writings "scripture"; we know Peter wrote 2 Peter because it's in the Bible and can't be wrong. Natürlich! The problem is, by that "logic", Enoch is also infallible and authoritative because Jude quoted from him and and 2 Peter quoted from Jude.

It just doesn't work, my friend.

davo's picture

With reference to 'Sola Scriptura' alone, this is something I posted on some thread here at PP absolutely ages ago…

Maybe a consistent prêteristic application of the so-called 'Sola Scriptura' should be applied to the Old Testament only?

It is possible "I think" to propose an argument where that everywhere the NT mentions "the Scripture/s" it is referring to the OT writings exclusively, i.e., the Scriptures being – the Law, the Psalms and the Prophets.

Mt 5:17 "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.

Lk 24:44-45 Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me." And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.

Act 26:22 Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come—

Jn 5:39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.

The weight of NT evidence is that "the Scripture/s" refers to the OT. Even Peter's use of "the other" or "the rest of the Scriptures" needs to be seen in light of Paul – seeing as this is the context for what Peter says. So where there is any uncertainty one must go with the weight of the evidence available. Could it be that the NT is in fact a type of midrash on the OT??

2Tim 3:15-16 …and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures [ιερα γραμματα = sacred Writings or Letters i.e., the OT], which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture [γραφη = Scripture] is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…

2Pet 3:15-16 …and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation--as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles [επιστολαις = injunctions or instructions], speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the other Scriptures. [λοιπας γραφας = other Scriptures]

The Greek words γραμματα, γραφη and γραφας are all cognates or derivations of γραφω [grapho] and relate to the OT writings i.e., "the Scriptures". Paul's epistles [επιστολαις] however are his teachings on these OT scriptures – they are the "these things" that Peter refers to – Paul's teachings. So Peter's "other Scriptures" are not Paul's writings – his epistles, or any of the NT that may have been extent at the time, but the Old Testament Scriptures that Paul's epistles are about. Therefore Peter's "these things" are to be understood in the same vein as "the word" that Paul brought, i.e., Paul's teachings ON the Scriptures to the those of Thessalonica, upon which with gleeful acceptance they then "searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so." Act 17:11b.

None of this is to in anyway undermine the credibility of the NT; it does however IMO show that NT references to "the Scriptures" can be seen as referring to the OT only – thus giving us a consistent context for 'Sola Scriptura'. What for example does Paul in his teaching on the resurrection do? – as quoted above, he appeals to the OT [Act 26:22-23]. This is why I believe that the NT may be understood, in part, as a type of midrash if you will on the OT. Paul, don't forget was a Pharisee par excellence, a Hebrew of the Hebrews, and what was his modus operandi? "What saith the Scripture?" Rom 4:3; Gal 4:30 – and what follows? – a quote from the Old Testament.

Starlight's picture

Davo,

Does your approach then confirm Enoch as OT scripture since it was quoted in Jude as such and I've seen papers that point to its usage by the NT writers over 100 times.

davo's picture

To "my" knowledge Norm 1 Enoch wasn't considered part of the Hebrew OT -- but I stand corrected IF someone knows otherwise...

JL's picture

It appears to have been part of the Palestinian canon until Jabneh/Jamnia. (Along with much of the so-called Apocrypha.)

Jabneh was a Post-AD-70 Pharisee school. They appear to have edited the Hebrew canon to make one of their own, Simon bar Kochba, into the Messiah. Their text was the source for the Vulgate and the Masoretic text. The later is the source for our modern English Bibles.

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

davo's picture

Thanks JL… hence my precautionary "I stand corrected".

Starlight's picture

Davo, I know its not considered to be by the post AD70 Jews who left town with their tails between their legs wanting nothing to do with Messianic Jewish Literature. I'm asking you though in consideration of your definition from scriptures if it meets the standard?

I'm not worried about the traditionalist out there as they can't even find the truth of Preterism.

davo's picture

Well I'm not including it in what I said only because what I've stated is considering "the Bible" as we typically know it.

I see no issue with Jesus or the apostles referencing "outside" sources relative to the culture of the day that would make some point of understanding they could grasp – I'm not presently convinced however that that qualifies such as "inspired" etc.

That's just my view anyway.

Sam's picture

You guys can read F.F. Bruce the Canon of Scripture, or God-Breathed by Gaussen. Inspiration and Authority by Warfield. Carl F.H. Henry, God, Revelation and Authority....then get back to me....I just see one more "plank" being yanked out in the name of "Preterism" - and that, Ransom, doesn't "work", either.

I Enoch is inspired? (cough).

Starlight's picture

Were these guys that you mentioned considered to be inspired? If not then what grounds from the scriptures do they proclaim their authority from? Has nothing to do with Preterism it has everything to do with searching for truth and not hiding behind the skirts of traditionalism like a bunch of pharisaical Jews.

If Enoch was good enough for the Apostles and Christ then its good enough for me without your approval.

JL's picture

What does inspired mean? From Scripture please.

FF Bruce doesn't address that issue. http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/jtvi/inspiration_bruce.pdf

Would you please?

Thanks

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

Sam's picture

sigh......

StephenGreer's picture

Honestly, I think this post is a little silly. If the Church is in fact the Body of Christ, then who cares if the "Bible" is collected by it? And who cares if the Church made mistakes in interpretation? So did the Apostles, so did the Prophets, so did Abraham, Moses, etc. Does that invalidate their authority? No. Just because the Jews misunderstood Jesus' role as Messiah, does that mean that we can't trust them in their choice of inspired texts? No. God often works through broken vessels, and whether or not they misinterpreted or whatever is irrelevant as it concerns the canon.

What I see a lot in Preterism is not so much logical inference as extreme reactionism: reactionism to the "mind control" of traditionalism that leads to extreme measures of control. "Did they make mistakes? Yes. Therefore, we can't trust them, and since they put the Bible together, we can't appeal to the Bible as the sole authority." That's an extreme reaction that is completely and totally unnecessary. But if we can't look to the Bible as authoritative, what do we look to? Human opinion and "learning"? Cause I can see a lot of examples where that has gotten us screwed. And if it were up to my learning and experience, I would out and out say that Jesus was wrong, that the Gospels are made up, and Christianity as a whole is a bunch of crap. That's what the learning of today says, isn't it? In other words, where is the measuring rod?

I'm gonna go out on a limb and side with Sam on this one.

Stephen

Ransom's picture

God often works through broken vessels, and whether or not they misinterpreted or whatever is irrelevant as it concerns the canon.

If I understand your point, Doug Chaplin and I would agree with this. We're not trying to throw out the Bible. For most inerrantists, including Sam and apparently yourself, any single error invalidates the whole thing. I am the one who doesn't believe the fallibility of the Body of Christ necessitates dumping it all, but rather the opposite: rather, we shouldn't hold our standard any higher than those who established that standard, but not necessarily lower either. If we uphold the value of the Church while recognizing its limitations and possibility of error, why should we not extend that same courtesy to "the Bible" and those books within it, written as they were by the Body of Christ? "God often works through broken vessels." Why, then, do you and Sam think that a single error in Scripture's presentation of facts or interpretation of events would make it a load of hooey?

But if we can't look to the Bible as authoritative, what do we look to? Human opinion and "learning"? Cause I can see a lot of examples where that has gotten us screwed.

Seems we'd have to live without a 100% airtight, perfect, inerrant witness to the truth of God. You know, like the patriarchs lived their whole lives...

And by the way, my stance on these issues has nothing at all to do with preterism. I stumbled upon preterism along the way. I rarely deal with eschatology anymore. I just recognized the implication of the above article for full preterists who believe in a body of believers in church history that somehow produced both an errant creed and an inerrant canon, without any basis for this distinction.

Starlight's picture

Stephen,

You said … “I rarely deal with eschatology anymore.”

Could you explain why eschatology is not that important to understanding the meaning and purpose of the Old and New Testament? Not relating the eschatological implications of scripture to its investigation is like saying the Messianic message is not an important aspect of the Bible. If one doesn’t fully understand the eschatological implications then they will simply go off on tangents that the bible isn’t concerned with. This is a problem that I have with many scholars who don’t understand the consistent eschatological implications thus missing the forest because of the trees.

Stephen take a look at how Brian Godawa over on biologos frames the importance of the eschatological implications for himself to start uncovering the meaning of scripture.

http://biologos.org/blog/reading-the-bible-plain-and-simple-2/#comments

“I am just at the beginning of the whole covenant interpretation of Scripture. Paul Sailhamer’s Genesis Unbound opened my eyes in a way that had a very big “aha” to it. I also need to research the Sabbath context as well, because I see that as very crucial.

I am not sure what you mean by “Age of Covenant Creation” but yes, I see the New Covenant connection with New Heavens and Earth to be clearly linked to this. IT ALL BEGAN FOR ME WHEN I STARTED SEEING ESCHATOLOGY THROUGH DIFFERENT EYES. So for instance seeing how collapsing universe imagery (stars falling, sky rolling up, moon turned dark etc.) had nothing to do with the Dispensational literalist hermeneutic, but was rather covenantal, well that was the first realization that has led to a lifelong reevaluation of how I read the Bible. And it has affected so many of my beliefs about the Bible.”

Emphasis mine.

Mick's picture

Stephen,
May I submit a passage for analysis? I submit this is illustrative of the dilemma we face.

Acts 5:33–39 (ESV) — 33 When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them. 34 But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in honor by all the people, stood up and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while. 35 And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men. 36 For before these days Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. 37 After him Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him. He too perished, and all who followed him were scattered. 38 So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” So they took his advice,

I have heard much use of Gamaliel’s words as evidence for a short term solution for a movement or opinion within Christianity which the speaker disagrees with. As an example, “Covenant Eschatology has no long term future because the Bible says in Acts 5:38, if it is of men it will fall.” I submit that this is a misunderstanding or the roll of the Scripture here. Gamaliel is not credited with being an inspired writer, therefore his words can be wrong, but the accurate record in the Scriptures of Gamaliel’s words not and endorsement of his opinion.

The recorded words are accurate, it is often our understanding and application of them which is the problem. I sumbit the accurate record of the conversation between Job and his friends produces a similar problem.

Mickey E. Denen

JL's picture

Stephen,

Who said this?

"Did they make mistakes? Yes. Therefore, we can't trust them, and since they put the Bible together, we can't appeal to the Bible as the sole authority."

No one here. Change, "Yes. Therefore," to "If they did, then," and it sounds a lot like what Sam has said for years.

Paul called Peter on his mistakes. Scripture demonstrates Peter made errors. No one has thrown out I & II Peter.

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

Starlight's picture

StephenG

Which Jews are you saying we should listen to; those post AD70 who threw out books that were accepted prior to AD70? Which Canon should we ascribe to the Western church or the Eastern church. Your trying to over simplify this issue and it ain't that simple. We just don't throw our brains out to make tradition a standard if we did then none of us would be Preterist.

Sam's picture

Stephen,

You would think that you were sticking your neck, out, eh? But, fortunately, the great deal of Prets I have heard from over the last 15 years are conservatives. They have no "let's tear down tradition at all costs" mentality. Ransom, for example, cannot see the problem with God revealed error in the Bible. The emphasis is on the human author, and not the divine author. The "scriptures" (hai graphai - the writings, which means things WRITTEN with pens, ink and vellum, or papyrus, as the case may be) was breathed of God (theopneustos). That's Paul's estimation. "The Spirit hath spoken through the mouth of David, saying....." There are several other high views of inerrancy in the scriptures found in lines like this. Jesus viewed the "scriptures" as God's word; without error, for He is without error.

Now, may there be in error in the textual tradition? Certainly. I am not a KJV only advocate, and neither is any scholar that I read. Even Gordon Clark would not side with that (see his book, Logical Criticisms of Textual Criticism). And, in spite of the constant misrepresentation of Norm Voss, as a Preterist, I don't hold "tradition" above all else. Silly. I mean, I AM a Preterist!

But, I see silly things among the very few in our movement that I distant myself from in print because I do have a reputation and I know a lot of my peers and collegues read my posts and name, and watch my associations. So, I have to write out what I believe as a Preterist, so as not to lead others in thinking, "hey, Tom Joseph is a Preterist, too, so Sam must believe what he believes." Apparently, doing this angers people. That's their problem. Not mine.

I want people to know that I don't agree with "Beyond Creation Science" because I have received massive amounts of communication about that. I don't believe that First Enoch should be included in the canon (because no one I admire would take that seriously at all - not even the liberals would suggest such a thing based on the textual history of Enoch). As you noted, just because Jude MAY have possibly referenced Enoch is not a endorsement of Enoch, any more than Paul referencing Theodore of Mopsuetia, or Epiminides the Cretan in Acts 17.28 endorsed those heathen poets (and the idea that the Lucan genealogy supposes First Enoch 10 and the "seventieth generation" proposed by Bauckham [Jude and the Relatives of Jesus in the Early Church, T & T Clark, 1990] has met a round of criticism - see The Mission of the Early Church to Jews and Gentiles, Jostein Adna, Hans Kvalbein, Wissenschaftliche Untersuchengen zum Neuen Testament 127, "Acts 2.9-11 As an Anticipation to the Mission to the Nations" James M. Scott - 87-123).

And, so, I distance myself from "theories" that are just that, theories. Nothing wrong with that (well, you'd think). See, with statements like "Which Jews are you saying we should listen to; those post AD70 who threw out books that were accepted prior to AD70? Which Canon should we ascribe to the Western church or the Eastern church" I smell conspiracy theory. I actually heard one guy argue that the Catholics know about the Parousia in A.D. 70, but deliberately sought to suppress the information in the NT and early fathers!!!!! 70 A.D. -itus, I call it. A sickness, where everything becomes "70 A.D.! 70 A.D.! 70 A.D.!" History is not so nice and neat; it's messy. Lot's of details. If one wants to start with it, be my guest - but let me know how that whole Masonic Temple and Knights Templar thing works out....

"Sanctify them by Your Truth; Thy word is Thy Truth" John 17.17. And it shall be forever His Truth - and no man can conquer it.

Starlight's picture

Sam,

You have a way of playing with words.

Sam said … “And, in spite of the constant misrepresentation of Norm Voss, as a Preterist, I don't hold "tradition" above all else. Silly. I mean, I AM a Preterist!”

I’ve never said that you hold “tradition” above all else I simply point out that you have a skewed propensity toward the “traditional” that adversely affects your biblical examination especially in Genesis. That inconsistency simply is a tendency of reverting to a literal reading of Genesis against strong evidence against doing so.

You simply switch to literal clothes to suit your desire while thinking no one should notice that switcheroo. You go against the traditionalist in the NT concerning eschatological matters but fully embrace them in Genesis proclaiming their high excellence all of a sudden. Sam you’re simply a change artist hermeneutically speaking, but hey that’s alright if that’s what gets you going but don’t expect everyone to roll over with you on it.

Sam said … “I don't believe that First Enoch should be included in the canon (because no one I admire would take that seriously at all - not even the liberals would suggest such a thing based on the textual history of Enoch).”

So Sam has to have admiration for someone to take them seriously but the apostles who appear to have Enoch extensively as background scripture apparently do not rate on Sam’s admiration meter.

Take a look at what another Preterist wrote years ago before I even heard of Preterism, of course this guy whom I have absolutely no association with would be suspect in the admiration lineup with Sam. Also the author pointing out the implications of Enoch concerning the church fathers futurist issues is going to get him described as a conspiracy nut by Sam. Now I guess Sam has no conspiracy tendencies in himself with his book Misplaced Hope which performs similar analysis.

http://www.preterist.org/articles-old/book_of_enoch.htm

Begin quote

“From a preterist perspective, 1 Enoch adds considerable weight to the many passages in the New Testament which clearly indicate that the consummation of the age together with Christ’s second coming took place in A.D. 70 (in the destruction of Jerusalem). This being the case, it should not surprise us to learn that 1 Enoch was banned by Hilary, Jerome, and Augustine and was subsequently lost to Western Christendom for over a thousand years. In short, it was suppressed. Why? Because it could not be made to fit their idea that Christ’s coming had not yet been fulfilled. 1 Enoch’s “seventy generations” was too problematic. It could not be made to stretch beyond the First Century. Copies of 1 Enoch soon disappeared, and were it not for the fact that a number of copies have since been discovered and translated, we would have no knowledge of 1 Enoch outside of the references made to it in the Book of Jubilees, the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, and in the writings of the Apostolic Fathers (many of whom regarded 1 Enoch as Scripture: i.e. Barnabas, Athenagoras, Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus, and Tertullian).

That Jude regarded 1 Enoch as Scripture can hardly be doubted, not simply because he quotes from it, but also because he makes no distinction between 1 Enoch and other Scriptures. “Now I desire to put you in remembrance,” Jude writes, after which he alludes to two events recorded in the Old Testament and one recorded in 1 Enoch:

...the Lord, having saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. And angels that kept not their own principality, but left their proper habitation, he hath kept in everlasting bonds under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them...in like manner...are set forth as examples.... (Jude 5-7)

That Jude would tell his Christian readers to remember something recorded in 1 Enoch is significant. First of all, it indicates that Christians were familiar with 1 Enoch; second, it shows that Christians regarded the contents of 1 Enoch as historically reliable. In other words, it cannot be consistently maintained that Jude’s believing 1 Enoch to be authoritative was an isolated case among the first century Christians.

Others believed it as well, for instance, Peter (as his reference to events outside the official OT/NT canon shows):

For if God spared not the angels when they sinned, but cast them down into hell, and committed them to pits of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment. (2 Peter 2.4)”

End quote.

Sam said … “I smell conspiracy theory. I actually heard one guy argue that the Catholics know about the Parousia in A.D. 70, but deliberately sought to suppress the information in the NT and early fathers!!!!! 70 A.D. -itus, I call it. A sickness, where everything becomes "70 A.D.! 70 A.D.! 70 A.D.!"

Sam thinks it’s a conspiracy theory to investigate: no it’s simply reviewing what has happened historically and then analyze the results. What a misdirection Sam is trying to pull off by trying to equate historical examination with conspiracy theories about AD70. Sometimes this guy’s imagination just runs away with him when he can’t discuss and debate issues rationally. Anything he can think of to spook folks without legitimate scholarship are without end. What an embarrassment these kind of response represent to legitimate discussions amongst Preterist.

Sam's picture

nothing wrong with investigation, Norm. It's when your investigation becomes "truth". The article you quote is not convincing at about "how Jude felt" about Enoch. I have read extensively on the supposed 'allusions' to Enoch in the NT and Rev, and, by the consensus of most scholars, Enoch is important, sure. Like Josephus, but this importance should not be "exaggerated" either (see Interpreting the New Testament: Essays on Metthods and Issues, David Alan Black, David S. Dockery, EDS, "Interpreting the General Epistles", J. Daryl Charles, Broadman and Holman Publ.). I could cite more, but they are "not preterists" (standard answer from you). See, Enoch is important Norm. But, I don't go the EXTREME that you do (or this author you quote). I don't like EXTREMES. Call it the scholar in me....maybe it's my step-father...."walk cautious". Extremes get people in trouble. That's why Misplaced Hope was not a "conspiracy" theory. I just footnoted the scholars and projected what I called a "plausible scenario" assuming Preterism to be true. "Possible" Norm...not truth. Preterism may be wrong. See that "may" there.....?

I could build allusions all day long that supports the idea that Paul was a radical Hellenistic Jew with gnostic tendencies (it's been done). Big deal. Proves nothing.

Enoch is important. But whether is so dominated the culture? Not even Charlesworth would go with you on that one. I know, he ain't a Preterist either.....sigh. Enoch was "in the air" so to speak, maybe like "once upon a time" is used from Grimms, "I don't like green eggs and ham" or "to be or not to be". "To be or not to be" cannot be named by most people as to what story this is from....or who wrote it....but they know it. So, like that....

What do you do with Enoch's obvious literal account of Genesis? His literal account of Adam? And Creation? His literal flood? Do you really believe the angels got it on with the hotties in Noah's day?

Starlight's picture

Sam,

I like what the author of the Enoch article emphasized.

"Regardless how the book of Enoch is classified, the real issue is what influence it had upon those who wrote the New Testament. That it helped shape their expectation of the Messiah’s triumph at the end of the “last days” of the Judean economy is strongly suggested. To what extent 1 Enoch helps us to better understand the New Testament, will determine its value."

Sam's picture

Norm,

that's more closer to the way the question should be framed. In this, one is merely "making a case" for "suggestions". That Enoch formed a important role, or, in my article on I Enoch 83 and II Peter, that he was "in the air" so to speak, appears to be agreed upon. That the apostles regarded it as "inspired"? That's purely conjectural and beyond any hope of conclusively proving. I, like you, have read Enoch throroughly. One of the traits of his work is that it is in common with all the features of what constitutes "apocalyptic genre". But, again, the consensus is that he "borrowed" these features from the apocalyptic portions in the Prophets, namely, Daniel, Ezekiel (portions) and Zechariah. Whether Luke had him in mind in his construction of his genealogy of Messiah is, again, suggestive - highly suggestive - but Luke makes no mention of such a fact (unlike Matthew's explicit mention of "14 generations"). Luke's genealogy is notoriously difficult (not to say it cannot be solved, but each solution ends up with conjecture - which is not bad, it's just the way some things are in the Bible). Some scholars have shown (see, Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, IVP, "Enoch"), that the supposed "links" to Revelation and I Enoch are nothing more than verbal "common place" phrase typical in several apocalyptic works circulating at that time. Why Enoch, then, is singled out appears arbitrary. Judes "quotation" of Enoch 1 (and possibly 10, Bauckham) has been shown to be like Paul's usage of the Greek poets, "even some of your own poets have said....". Jude would be, then, saying to the Palestinian readers, "even some of your own works say...." to prove a case. I do this with those scientists that claim that science proves Truth by quoting Kuhn or the atheist Russell, "even some of your own scientists say...." I would hardly be endorsing Russell! But, what he says in some places supports my point.

I would wish that all would buy the two volumes of Charlesworth on the pseudepigrapha, read the christian apochrypa, and the Jewish apochrypa (LXX and the Catholic Bible), along with the War Scroll, et al. The fact of the matter is that there was a wide, wide range of divergent faiths in Judaism and views. The Apostles, and Jesus himself do not appear to have the great appreciation for these works. Jesus never quotes them. His appeal to the "scriptures" and to his own "words" which he spake by divine inspiration ("the words I say unto are not my words, but the words of my father in heaven"). The apostles have this same high view of the "scriptures" - and very early on, as indicated by Peter and John, even the words of the apostles came to be regarded as inspired words as the Spirit lead them into "all truth" (as Jesus promised them).

Have a good evening norm

JL's picture

Sam,

Are you suggesting that the book of Enoch was not written by the Enoch of Gen. 5?

14Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: "See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him." Jude 14-15

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

Sam's picture

Jeff,

Yup. Is he referring to the "book" or the "man"? Please, Jeff, don't tell me you believe the actual biblical "enoch" wrote the book! I believe he is referring to the book, not the man (see David F. Payne, "Jude" - The International Bible Commentary, p.1591)

JL's picture

Sam,

Every English translation of Jude claims that the actual man prophesied. Not one mentions that the prophecy was found in a book.

You believe Jude was referring to the book and not the man? Please show us how you got that from the text of Jude. Please explain why Jude thought it necessary to identify the man as the 7th from Adam, if he was merely referencing the book?

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

Sam's picture

Jeff,

First off, English ain't Greek. Jude wrote Greek. But, not even Bauckham (who basically broke the Enoch-Luke-Jude connection) would not say that Jude REALLY believed that Enoch wrote "First Enoch"! In fact, if you read some of my papers on Enoch, I have written, "Enoch says...." Now, Jeff, do I mean the REAL Enoch? Or the BOOK of Enoch? I footnoted David Payne (and there are many others) that do not take it like this. There is nothing in the text that mandates your position. Now, if Jude the common introductory formula, "thus it was written BY Enoch..." or "The Spirit says THROUGH the mouth of Enoch" or "in order to FULFILL that which was written BY Enoch" you would have a real case. But, the simple "Enoch prophesied, saying..." may merely speak of the work itself.

JL's picture

But, the simple "Enoch prophesied, saying..." may merely speak of the work itself.

Or it may mean what it literally says, that the man Enoch prophesied.

You prefer your tradition of the elders.

I prefer to consider every reasonable interpretation.

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

mazuur's picture

Sam,

"if you read some of my papers on Enoch, I have written, "Enoch says...." Now, Jeff, do I mean the REAL Enoch? Or the BOOK of Enoch?"

Jude states "Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men"

Doesn't the fact that Jude states "the seventh from Adam" demonstrate is was Enoch the man who wrote the book which Jude is quoting from? If that phrase only stated "Enoch prophesied about these men" then to me it could merely mean as you say, a reference to the book of Enoch and not the man himself. But, with that phrase added in, it is clear the man Enoch (who was the seventh from Adam) wrote the book. Also, since it was Enoch the man who said/wrote it, of course this also means the "book of Enoch" said it. So, both are true.

Just my two cents worth. Of course I could be wrong. But we know that is never the case. lol

-Rich

-Rich

Sam's picture

Rich, Jeff,

Since we can have no true proof as to what was in the mind of Jude, until we ask him, you will just have to settle for "I don't know." It's not a proof of my view, nor yours. More info is needed, and unfortunately, I don't see anymore coming short of asking Jude himself. In Genesis, Enoch is indeed, the "seventh from Adam" and the "authors" of Enoch (yes, authors - it was a work from 250 BC to First Century A.D.). Secondly, we have the Ethiopic version (too late for Jude to quote from), and it is not an "exact" quote, either (Jude says "tens of thousands" Enoch has "millions", oops). I think, therefore, since Enoch, the book, not the man, is being referenced here. I certainly would not use this as some sort of "prooftext" that absolutely beyond the shadow of a doubt without any questions proves your case. No way. So, we are simply left with conjecture......and that, to me, means, "so what"? I ain't gonna be building any doctrine off of it either way.....

JL's picture

Sam,

What case? You claim certainty, "it was a work from 250 BC to First Century A.D."

I have never made a claim of certainty. I have only questioned your claims of certainty.

"I certainly would not use this as some sort of "prooftext" that absolutely beyond the shadow of a doubt without any questions proves your case." Why do you invent these false arguments? Why do you place your claims of certainty on me?

Where have I built any doctrine off of Enoch? I haven't. All I have done is questioned the modern tradition.

Please make up your mind. Am I or am I not allowed to question the modern tradition? Am I not allowed to consider that some or all of this book might be 5000 years old? Must I follow the traditions of our elders which goes back to the Pharisees at Jabneh in AD 70-130 and no further?

Do you know with "absolutely beyond the shadow of a doubt without any questions" that the book of Enoch "was a work from 250 BC to First Century A.D." (your standard)?

Am I not allowed to consider that Jude thought it was a true prophecy? Am I bound to assume that passage in question does not look like Matt. 16:27?

27For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.

9 And behold! He cometh with ten thousands of His holy ones To execute judgement upon all, And to destroy all the ungodly:

Is this just a coincidence? Or that Luke's 70 generations have nothing to do with Enoch's 70 generations, "bind them fast for seventy generations in the valleys of the earth, till the day of their judgement and of their consummation, till the judgement that is 13 for ever and ever is consummated."?

Or that when Jesus said "This generation" that some listening would remember Enoch's prophesy?

Why should I be bound by tradition? Why can't I read it myself?

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

Sam's picture

Jeff,

If you want to consider that I Enoch was written by the biblical Enoch and is a five thousand year old book.....be my guest.....

JL's picture

Thank-you for your generosity.

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

MiddleKnowledge's picture

Jeff,

While you are at it, maybe you should consider that Jesus returned nearly 2000 years ago and that the resurrection has already taken place. Surely, academia already knows this if it is REALLY true. They would never miss something as important as that, right?

Tim Martin
www.BeyondCreationScience.com

Sam's picture

Hey Tim,
Yeah, those acadamians......idiots. But those geologists, now they got their act together! sheesh.....

Virgil's picture

CAO...pffft!!

JL's picture

Phil,

I'll be in Hawai'i in June. I will bring you back a big bag.

You will have to show up at PPW in Ardmore in July to claim them. If you don't show, I will be passing them around Sat. morning.

Anyone else want some?

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

JL's picture

Sam,

Tim didn't bring geology into this discussion. You claim to be one of those "acadamians." Get your act together.

Those "acadamians" believe either that Moses wrote Genesis from oral tradition or had visions of creation. Yet they believe we are supposed to take those stories or visions literally.

The liberal "acadamians" take those oral traditions all the way to the first temple period and claim Ezra assembled them. Sorry, I wouldn't trust something as important as the word of God to tradition. Jesus sure didn't, "Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down." Oral traditions fail to keep the word of God. It doesn't matter to me whether you believe Moses or Ezra wrote down oral traditions and called it Bereshith. Jesus didn't trust oral tradition. Neither should we. If that is your view of Genesis, drop it quick.

We've seen the damage that taking visions literally does in Revelation. If that is your view of Genesis, then stop the assaults on those who don't take Genesis as dispensational literal as you pretend to do.

I'm the only one here who takes seriously the case made by the first ANE scholar (a man FF Bruce quotes favorably) that Genesis was written by human witnesses to the events. Just like all the rest of the history in Scripture.

You've not bothered to study Wiseman's case. Instead you mock it. Instead, you believe Genesis is made up of oral traditions and visions, yet still you refuse to consider what that implies for interpretation.

Those geologists developed their field of study to settle a disagreement between Lightfoot and Usher. According to Sailhamer and Jordan, Lightfoot believed in a gap between Gen. 1:1 and 1:3. The H&E "became" formless and void. The days that followed were 24-hour days. He dated accordingly from the "first day" of Genesis 1:5. Usher believed the days were long ages. He dated from Adam's creation.

Did the geologists ever settle the question? I don't think so. The fundamental question of geology is still unsettled. I think it is unsettled because it is not a question geology can answer. Which interpretation of Scripture is correct? Science can't answer that. As Karl Popper learned, science doesn't verify a view, it can only falsify a view. Geology falsifies Lightfoot's gap theory. Geology falsifies Usher's day-age view. Geology falsifies Ellen G. White's young-earth view. So far, geology falsifies every view of Genesis that contains details testable by geology.

You like to quote Popper. Then act like you believe Popper. Both an only 6000-year-old planet earth (unless you very carefully invoke the appearance of age argument) and a global flood since the creation of man have been falsified by geology.

That's why I gave up years ago trying to find a view of Genesis that matches science. Contrary to your accusation, Tim never tried. There is nothing in Covenant Creation that can be tested by geology except possibly for the mines of Havilah and the hydrology of Eden and the Genesis Flood. (But only if the Michael Bennett's flood can be falsified by other means. Covenant Creation can handle Bennett's Flood, but I can't.)

Blessings.

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

MiddleKnowledge's picture

Sam,

It astonishes me that you still seem to think this is about "geology." Really? Say it ain't so...!

For a few years now, I (and many others) have been presenting a Covenant Creation approach; that is, I am arguing that geology is completely irrelevant to the original context, meaning, and content of Genesis 1. The fancy description making the rounds these days is non-concordism.

Do you still not get this about the Covenant Creation view? How are you going to counter the view when you still think this is, somehow, about old-earth geology?

The theological ruminations of unbelieving geologists do not concern me. It's not like they are trained theologians, right?

Believing geologists I know (in "academia") are busy trying to force their geology into Genesis 1. I mean, really, does Ross, Snoke, Ramm, etc. give any indication at all that they even understand a fully covenant approach to creation? How about Morris, Ham, Humphries, etc.?

Dembski's new book is another perfect example of this huge circular argument into the abyss. Another attempt to merge geology and Genesis creation. Another pathetic failure. I mean how messed up is this: theodicy created by synthesizing young-earth theology and old-earth science. All in the name of preserving "orthodox" Christian theology which boils down to "orthodox" Christian futurism. I'm left just shaking my head. Terry warned against all of this more than a hundred years ago. Jeff and I warned against it in print in Beyond Creation Science. Young-earth "geology," too.

The "academic" geologists in the Christian world don't want to have anything to do with Covenant Creation. Like you, they seem to be incapable of focusing on anything beside "science." And you still think this is about geology?

The few exceptions out there today are the non-concordists. Framework view is still based on a physical-universe view. Matches well with Reformed futurism. Sailhamer's view is a modern recapitulation of the gap theory, also based on a physical universe view of Gen. 1:1. Walton is getting REAL close with the ANE approach, but he doesn't want to have anything to do with eschatology. Boy, is he missing out!

Then there is this shot out of the blue by Brian Godawa.

http://www.beyondcreationscience.com/index.php?pr=Biblical_Creation_and_...

You might remember the name. He spoke at the American Vision Worldview Conference a couple of years ago. But he is not known as an "academic." No prestigious position in the halls of the university or "evangelical" college. And from what I hear through the grapevine, he is in some trouble over his view. Funny how trouble seems to find the thoughtful-artistic types these days!

Here is what I would love to see from you. See this text:

"He also says, 'In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment.'" Heb. 1:10-11

To what is the writer of Hebrews referencing as that which God made "in the beginning"? Followup question. Doesn't the writer say that what God made "in the beginning" was going to "perish"?

You have been ignoring this text (and a few others) for years and years and years, even when I have repeatedly asked you to explain it in print. You run from it every time it comes up. Are you going to run from it again this time, too?

You can always tell something about a view by which texts are conveniently ignored.

How does Heb. 1:10-11 match your view of Genesis creation?

Please consult all of your commentaries and various theologians. Note, for all of us here, what the universal voice of "academia" says about the subject at hand in Heb. 1:10-11. How do they all read it? How many of them emphasize what appears very clear in the text; a direct connection back to Gen. 1 through Psalm 102? How many commentaries deny the reference to Gen 1? Are there any at all that say "in the beginning" there is talking about... what? Are there any scholars, university professors, teachers, Greek experts, pastors, conference speakers, etc., etc., etc., who say Genesis 1 is completely irrelevant and totally beyond the focus of Heb. 1:10-11?

How will the academic world ever embrace your "take" on Genesis creation given the complete agreement regarding what Heb. 1:10-11 teaches? Please help us here. You've got a very big job in front of you if you expect your model to have any future whatsoever.

Please provide me with one "authority" that would bolster your view of Heb. 1:10-11.

What is your view of Heb. 1:10-11?

Tim Martin
www.BeyondCreationScience.com

mazuur's picture

Tim,

Concerning Brian Godawa's article, Biblical Creation and Storytelling: Cosmogony, Combat and Covenant. I just read that today. FANTASTIC!!!! Dude, Covenant Creation is coming out from every angle (Futurist as well Preterist) out there. Seems God is opening eyes everywhere I turn. Brian's article was so good I want to read everything he writes. Will be watching for more. Sure wish somebody could get him to read your book.

-Rich

-Rich

MiddleKnowledge's picture

Rich,

I can tell you there is at least one very good reason to believe that Brian has read BCS.

You should check out the podcast at the top of this page:

http://www.worldmag.com/podcast/worldforum.cfm

Marvin Olasky from WORLD Magazine recently interviewed Brian. I am told he talked a little bit about Genesis creation...

The best verification is when independent sources, from all directions, come to the very same conclusions. A new era has begun.

Tim Martin
www.BeyondCreationScience.com

Starlight's picture

Sam,

I’m not saying that Enoch needs to be part of the Canon but it is obvious from archeological evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls that it was highly popular. Also as I stated in an earlier post I’m a lot more conservative in my practice than I am in my investigative determinations. I’m not about to call for adding Enoch to the Canonical list because it would simply add to more confusion for the typical biblical student than most can handle. We know how difficult Revelation and Ezekiel have been and the problems it causes for the uninitiated but in the hands of trained theologians I believe it is a great tool for insight into the second Temple mentality that permeated the first Century time period up to AD70. Those of us who have a good grip on apocalyptic literature are able to read it with much more clarity than a layman can. I can give you an example of how people read Enoch that have no business doing so; you may remember that there was a guy here on PP a couple of years ago who believes that people still lived in the center of the earth and he derived that belief from Enoch. It’s Enoch’s theology though that I’m interested in helping understand the world that Christ came to because it appears they were heavily influenced by it.

The point is though that there was a strong Hellenizing of Hebrew literature during the second Temple period just as the Babylonian and Egyptian influenced earlier Hebrew times and writings. The Hebrews appropriated these worldviews to a limited extend in their writings. In the case of Hades and Sheol it seems that they embellished them with the Greek underworld attributes and made the “Pit” a much more garish entity in this form of apocalyptic story telling. The end result of Sheol or the Pit theologically speaking served the basic same purpose of the Hadean realm portrayed in Enoch. It was a place of gnashing of teeth in the language of Christ. By the way it seems that Jesus story or the Rich Man and Lazarus is an example of Christ using this literature for his own purpose but it does not mean that He was endorsing it as reality.

So rest assured that I’m not arguing for Enoch’s inclusion in Canon; although to the early church it may have been deemed as scripture and probably was too many of them. This shouldn’t bother us since these may have had a healthier grip on this form of literature than we might imagine. What I’m all about is highlighting its importance to helping us understand how Preterism may have flourished better in the first century than it does today because many understood that world better than we do. Christ spoke in parables Himself most often and His point was that it required a measure of faith to search out the meaning hidden in these stories. That holds true also for the apocalyptic writings.

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