You are hereJust A Tad Bit of Philosophy

Just A Tad Bit of Philosophy

  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/vaduva/planetpreterist.com/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 842.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument::init() should be compatible with views_handler::init(&$view, $options) in /home/vaduva/planetpreterist.com/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 745.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/vaduva/planetpreterist.com/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 589.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/vaduva/planetpreterist.com/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 589.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_boolean_operator::value_validate() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::value_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/vaduva/planetpreterist.com/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_boolean_operator.inc on line 149.

By Sam - Posted on 18 February 2005

by Samuel Frost
This article will contain no references to Matthew 24, Josephus or the visions of the Apocalypse (whew!). Instead, a much deeper problem appears on the Preterist horizon, and it ain’t Calvinism versus Arminianism. It’s Empiricism versus Presuppositionalism. Before you get your “isms” in a wad, let me define them for you. As Gordon Clark always stated, if you cannot define your terms, then you do not know what you are talking about. The problem of “definition” goes back to Plato’s Dialogues, which I wished every Christian read.This article will contain no references to Matthew 24, Josephus or the visions of the Apocalypse (whew!). Instead, a much deeper problem appears on the Preterist horizon, and it ain’t Calvinism versus Arminianism. It’s Empiricism versus Presuppositionalism. Before you get your “isms” in a wad, let me define them for you. As Gordon Clark always stated, if you cannot define your terms, then you do not know what you are talking about. The problem of “definition” goes back to Plato’s Dialogues, which I wished every Christian read.Having said that, and having studied far more than just Preterism, which is but one subject among a myriad of subjects, science has always intrigued me. At first, I believed (faith) that science could actually explain the universe and how it works. But, through college and seminary, I found that the more I read scientific literature, they were just as divided on issues as Christianity. Why? I thought. If someone could look at a rock, run a carbon-14 test on it and tell the date, origins and composite material, then isn’t that a definition of a rock? Well, no. It’s just what we call this thing that appears to have these particular properties and acts this particular way. But every individual rock is different. The same with zoology and botony. No two cats are the same. They have shared properties, but they each have distinct properties that make them different. This is the problem of individuation. But, I am getting ahead of myself.

No one would deny that Michael Polanyi was not a “scientist.” He was the professor of physical chemistry at the University of Manchester. He wrote Science, Faith and Society (University of Chicago Press, 1946). In his opening chapter, “Science and Reality”, he stated, “Never yet has a definite rule been laid down by which any particular mathematical function can be recognized, among an infinite number of those offering themselves for choice, as the one which expresses a natural law. It is true that each of the infinite number of available functions will, in general, lead to a different prediction when applied to new observations…” (21). He goes on to state that science cannot, from a choice of infinite choices of measurements, grant absolute explanations called “natural laws.” Natural laws are defined as fixed laws of the observable universe, like dropping an apple on Newton’s head.

Now, before going further, we must define Empiricism. “In all its forms, empiricism stresses the fundamental role of experience. As a doctrine in epistemology it holds that all knowledge is ultimately based on experience” (Concise Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Routledge, 2000), “Empiricism”, William P. Alston). Now, remember what Clark said above. We must define our terms. What, then, is the definition of “experience”? Alston immediately is aware of the problem and, thus, attempts to define “experience”: “It is difficult to give an illuminating analysis of ‘experience’. Let us say that it includes any mode of consciousness in something that seems to be presented to the subject, as contrasted with the mental activity of thinking about things” (ibid.). Wow. Instead of saying , “let us say,” he really means “let us assume.” But, I have not defined Presuppositionalism, yet. “Any” mode of “consciousness” begs to be defined as well, but, alas, Mr. Alston does not do so. What the heck is “conscious”? Has anyone ever “seen” being “conscious” under a microscope? The Apostle Paul talks a great deal about the conscience, but Paul receives this information from the revelation of God. It is strange, indeed, that “experience” is based on “something presented to the conscious” and, in turn, “conscience” is not based on anything presented or seen at all! verblüffend! Secondly, he used the phrase “seems to be presented.” It “seems” to some that aliens gave them a probing in the night. If “experience” is based on what “seems” (may or not) be presented to the subject, then we hardly have a definition of experience.

Nonetheless, Alston goes on to say, “but empiricists usually concentrate on sense experience, the modes of consciousness that result from the stimulation of the fives senses” (ibid.). This is loaded. Note that the fives sense stimulate the consciousness of a person. But do they tell him or her anything? The definition above already stated that “all knowledge” is derived from “experience” and, thus, all knowledge is derived from the five senses stimulating the conscious person. Theology is impossible, but, so is science.

Take a breath. I have not even begun. Before, we quoted Polanyi, who is what is called a “critical realist.” Ben Meyer defined critical realism as “intensely empirical” (Critical Realism and the New Testament, Princeton Theological Monograph Series, 1989). John Polkinghorne is a critical realist, too. Yet, based on this methodology (which is basically Kantian, but that’s another dead German philosopher’s story), Polkinghorne cuts to the chase with what it means for idiots who believe that the Bible is without error: “For me, the Bible is neither an inerrant account of propositional truth nor a compendium of timeless symbols” (Faith, Science & Understanding, Yale Nota Bene, 2000). Yet, Polkinghorne, noted scientist, believes in the Christian faith. He just does not start with the Bible, but with Empiricism. If one starts with “experience” and “senses,” then one can never arrive to the conclusion that the Bible is the word of God.

Now we can define Presuppositionalism. It is the philosophy that insists that one must start on unprovable propositions. A proposition is simply a declarative statement, like, “All knowledge is derived from sensation.” If one must prove every statement, then one could never start anywhere. The conversation would go on ad infinitum. The Bible has an answer for this: the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. That is, one starts with God. But which God? There are a lot of gods floating around. However, the God of the Bible is defined by His own self-disclosure (revelation), and revelation knowledge is hardly empirical. It comes to the mind ab extra (from outside). One does not pick up a rock, see a cloud, hear a sound and conclude: Jesus died for my sins! How did you become convinced? The Bible answers: the Holy Spirit opened the eyes of my heart. Hardly empirical.

Before we wrap this up, let’s go back to science and talk about measurements, mentioned by Polanyi above. Measurement is the stuff of science. Lines, spheres, triangles, weight, mass and the like are all measured, and the ratios of these measurements are relentlessly tested over and over again. If they continue to perform the predicted task, then a “law” has been “discovered.” However, as Polanyi noted, measurements require a “choice” from an infinite selection of where to begin. Gordon Clark, stated this years ago: “If mathematical equations could describe nature, the chance of choosing the correct description is one over infinity, or zero. Therefore, all the laws of physics are false” (Philosophy of Science and Belief in God, Trinity Foundation, 1996 [1964]). This is not to say that what we call “laws” and the like are not useful constructions, they most certainly are useful. I would not be able to type on a computer screen were it not for the usefulness of Boolean symbolic logic! Scientist P.W. Bridgman wrote, “The attitude of the physicist must…be one of pure empiricism. He recognizes no a priori principles which determine or limit possibilities of new experience” (The Logic of Modern Physics, Macmillan Paperbacks, 1960). A priori simply means where one starts their system. A physicist cannot have any starting points, because possible new, unknown factors may alter the hypotheses, and if the physicist is committed to his system in spite of these unexpected factors, then he is no longer a scientist, but a propagandist. In short, to quote Polkinghorne again, “Science never is absolutely certain, nor is its method absolutely clear cut” (op. cit.). The only way it can be absolutely certain is to have all possible knowledge available in all possible worlds. In order to know anything, empiricism must know everything (omniscience), but empiricism cannot know everything, therefore, it cannot know anything.

How about a few quotes from atheistic scientists? Popper, legendary in his field, wrote, “..in science we do our best to find the truth, [but] we are conscious of the fact that we can never be sure we have got it…” (Popper Selections, “Two Kinds of Definitions”, Princeton University Press, 1985). Or, “All scientific statements are hypotheses, or guesses, or conjectures which have turned out to be false” (Conjectures and Refutations: the Growth of Scientific Knowledge, Harper and Row, 1968). Or, take this quote from celebrated atheist and scientist-mathematician, Bertrand Russell: “All inductive arguments in the last resort reduce themselves to the following form: “if this is true, that is true; now that is true: therefore, this is true.” This argument is, of course, formally fallacious. Suppose I were to say “if bread is a stone, and stones are nourishing, then this bread will nourish me; now this bread does nourish me; therefore, it is a stone, and stones are nourishing.” If I were to advance such an argument, I should certainly be thought foolish, yet it would not be fundamentally different from the argument upon which all scientific laws are based.” It appears, then, that Russell, Clark, Polanyi, Popper, Bridgman, Polkinghorne and many, many other scientists are in agreement: scientism can never grant absolute, propositional knowledge. It is thoroughly empirical, and as such, must remain empirical through and through. If it starts with the senses, it must demonstrate by sensation how sensation becomes conceptual in the mind, and, it must demonstrate that a mind exists at all (naturalists and behaviorists psychologists like Skinner, Rogers, and the like deny “mind” but only what they “see”: the brain. There is no “mind”). The problems with empiricism are so varied that these three pages here are hardly even the tip of the tip of the tip of the tiniest fraction of the tip of an iceberg.

So, when a person in here tells me that he can measure the sun and then state that is has “roughly 4 or 5 billion years left on it” I must laugh. When the Bible says, “This is what the LORD says: 'If I have not established my covenant with day and night and the fixed laws of heaven and earth, 26 then I will reject the descendants of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his sons to rule over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” (Jer. 33.25-26). This is repeated in 33.19-22. The logic is clear: If you can break my covenant with the day and the night (sun and moon) and the fixed laws of heaven and earth, then I reject the seed of Jacob and David my servant. Yet, we know that “David my servant” is promised a seed “forever” and that that answers to Jesus, who is the messianic David. Therefore, God will not break his covenant with the day or the night. Therefore, his covenant with the day and the night is forever as Jesus is forever. For those who argue that the term “forever” has no notion of “time without end” may want to spend a few years in Hebrew lexicography. The term is applied to God. Is He “everlasting to everlasting” or will he, too, “burn out” one day?

Psalm 104.5 states, “He set the land on its foundations, it can never be moved.” Here, the word “forever” is not used, but a more explicit syntactical phrase means the same thing. Psalm 89.34-36 is explicit in terms of what we read in Jeremiah: “I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered…I will not lie to David…his line will continue forever and his throne endure before me like the sun.” Hmmm. Let’s apply logic: if David’s line lasts forever by the unalterable covenant of God swearing by himself, then the sun must last just as long, therefore, the sun lasts forever. I can quote at least ten more references like this, but I think you get the picture. The figurative-metaphorical passages that speak of the sun being no more, or the heavens rolling up and vanishing are the non-literal passages, but the passages that speak of the eternal endurance of the good creation of God are the literal. Now, for some pseudo-scientist to come along and say with absolute certainly that the sun will “burn out” one day, in light of this paper, is, in my mind, not a Christian thinker.

In conclusion, Preterism must reject empiricism, common sense philosophies, critical-realist epistemologies, Kantian experientially derived analytical propositions and the like. It must begin with the revelation of God. It must end with the revelation of God. When any other view, such as historical “evidence” or scientific “veridicalism”, is used as the place to start, the Bible becomes, automatically, regulated to that view. In short, the Bible comes to be judged by man, rather than the man judged by the Bible. We decide what is, and is not “God’s word” by our own mental capacities and philosophies rather than regulate our minds to the word of God, written. Scientism is the original lie: did God say? “Hey, Eve, look at the tree, discover it, taste it, touch it, feel it. It will make you feel good.” And then Eve thought, “it does look pleasing to the eyes, and it appears desirous for food.” Had she just stood on the revealed word of God, Satan would not have had a chance.

Windpressor's picture

>>>'If one starts with “experience” and “senses,” then one can never arrive to the conclusion that the Bible is the word of God.'<<<

--- I experience the Bible through my senses by which I am made aware of things beyond sensing.

--- Is arriving at the "conclusion that the Bible is the word of God" neccessary? The term "word of God" applied TO scripture does not appear to be synonomous with use of same IN scripture. I wonder what comes up with a word search.....

--- Scripture certainly reports on instances about and records references to the Word of God but does not seem to exact the connection of equivalency.

This is not to call into question canonicity, sola scriptura or inspiration of scripture(2Tim 3:16). Those issues have to bear up under their own scrutinies which may or may not relate to scripture being considered as the Word of God in some fashion. The questions I have are about what scripture says about itself and how it has come to be known as the Word of God. I have generally accepted without question, the claim by others, that the Bible was the Word of God. Now I question ---

What chapter and verse declares that scripture is the Word of God?

If there is no direct statement of equivalence then how and where does scripture expressly make the claim that such written testimony is The Word of God? Is there something of semantics or translation that shows such a conclusion from the original languages?

If there is no clearly obviated claim from scripture, then we have a derived doctrine which may or may not be well founded. If so, how then is such doctrine supported? Does this idea come by satori, or a leap of logic? Is it based on evidentiary developments or mind control? Is there an internal line of reasoning from the texts sufficient to derive such doctrine? Does that doctrine derive support from additional external evidence or proofs?

Hebrews 11:3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.(ESV)

If the word of God is invisible, does calling scripture such cause conflict with....

Pro 30:5)Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. 6)Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.(ESV)

Am I missing something here? Is this just an oversimplification of definition superficials?
Or does this raise a legitimate question of longstanding tradition?

G1

G-Juan Wind

SuperSoulFighter's picture

There is no, one text indicating WHICH books, precisely, belong in the "canon" and which don't, Windpressor (and this is where Parker, the RC, would jump in loudly proclaiming the "inspiration" of the ecclesiastical authorities responsible for canonizing the Scriptures).

One of the Scriptures used to support the idea that the PAULINE espistles are inspired Scripture is found in 2Peter 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, 16 as also in all his epistles, 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 rest of the Scriptures."

As can be seen in Peter's statement, he considered Paul's writings as being "on par" with the "rest of the Scriptures" (whether he was referring to the Torah/OT, or to more recent writings which eventually became the NT). Of course, this statement by Peter assumes that Peter's own writings were inspired.

Yes, the belief that the Bible is the inspired Word of God is certainly an article of faith, Windpressor. The Book of Revelation closes with this warning: "18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." John seems to be referring to the Book of Revelation, alone - but the possibility DOES exist that ALL Biblical prophecy was in view in this statement.

Christ Jesus stated that His Word would be preserved (Luke 21:33) and He promised His disciples that the Holy Spirit would refresh their memories concerning His words and teachings, "25 "These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you." (John 14:25,26) SO...we have evidence for the belief that the Gospels and epistles should be regarded as holy Scripture - sacred texts inspired directly by God (2Tim. 3:16).

The Scriptures have an internal consistency in them, wherein they do not contradict each other and, in fact, reinforce and add further dimension to the propositions concerning God, man and our reality, found throughout their pages. There are various key characteristics canonical books display (including their being cited as authoritative and accurate, by other Biblical writers and texts).

That's a bit of a summary of the case for the Scriptures being the Word of God, G1 - but it's a much bigger subject than can be summarized in a brief comment, here.

JM

Windpressor's picture

Hey JM,

Thanks for responding.

I consider axiomatic:
-- that human communication is subjected to our individuated backgrounds so that phraseology and terms end with disparate meanings among the variegated minds so involved. In short, conversation involves a certain amount of: 1) hearing things not said and 2)answering questions not asked and also the obverse of 1 & 2.

Let me see if I can clarify what I am trying to discern.....

Accepting inspiration and/or canonicity as a given and for the sake of this discussion, let's procede with the premise that the Word of God is distinguished from scripture as something else altogether;

"God breathed" (2Tim 3:16) is qualitatively different than "God spoken" (Matt 4:4).

IN CONTRAST --

The "conventional" proposition that "scripture (or Bible) is the word of God" is:

  • 1. a claim by scripture, or
  • 2. a doctrine

    A claim by scripture(1) will either be:

  • a. a direct claim, or
  • b. an expressly implied claim.

    And a doctrine(2) will either be a:

  • a. derived doctrine, or
  • b. an imposed tradition

    With this in mind you might review the previous post. There may be other ways to form the discussion, but this seems to organize in such a way as to determine nuances of language, audience relevance and historical views. This presents a skeletal frame which can be further fleshed out. I have read and reasoned in numerous subject areas, but have gaps in scholarship as a matter of choice and circumstance. I don't know if this approach is of any unique value in the present postings or if there is some previous research that expounds in similarity. I have been puzzling on this matter for a while albeit amidst the pursuit of daily bread and various contemplations. So this exercise is assistive in sharpening the comprehension.

    There may be other implications, but one which I perceive is the conclusion to the questions:

    Is the statement that "scripture is the word of God" an accurate depiction or a convention of linguistic economy? Does that matter in such a way on the one hand to facillitate communication or in the other to subtly distort understanding?

    G1

  • G-Juan Wind

    Windpressor's picture

    continuing......

    Basic problem solving or research usually involves something like the scientific method. You start with a certain amount of information, develop a premise and conduct experiments or search information to determine if the premise can stand as true, require modification or must be discarded.

    My current query is based on the previously related personal experiences, a few word searches in a Bible program and the fact that a search engine inquiry resulted in sites that linked to the words of the premise that: "Bible is not the word of God". The top results included KJV only as well as a skeptic/unbelief link, a charismatic and an Islamic site. I am not sure where to start reading. It never occurred to me, during the past when I have been exposed to instruction or information media, to consider whether the term "Word of God" might have significant meanings vastly different in scripture than what claims are made about scripture.

    So many things have faded from memory, I can name but few references from past perusals which I might review again to check my premise against. Long ago, I visited major university libraries, for freshman english, to get bibliographical material for research papers in literature. Since I have always loved reading and learning, it was overwhelming to see the vastness of books on endless shelving and going upstairs and below with more of the same. It was tiresome just to imagine trying to read just a portion of the many interesting subjects. The impact of the wise man's saying became very real: "Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body".

    There must be some scholarship or word studies that address the particular perspective of my premise. Is the scholarship worthy and poignant or merely peripatetic? Does every aspect of Biblical study require scholarship or expertise? Are there somethings obvious that only require a "Hey, wait a minute, aren't we overlooking something obvious here?". Has not the application of "audience relevance" been overlooked by both popular dicussion and serious academics? Perhaps, I will look further into some word studies or sites when I have the time.

    For now, without any more support than the current sketchy reflection and of course subject to affirmation or refutation, I submit that:

    -- it seems that scripture stops short of making the claim that it is the word of God for good reasons which have to do with the logic therein.

    G1

    G-Juan Wind

    SuperSoulFighter's picture

    This is one discussion that I regret losing track of. I apologize for leaving you hanging a bit here, G1!

    Concerning your questions pertaining to the Scriptures and their nature (i.e. whether they themselves claim that they are the Word of God), I have formed my own view of their divine inspiration and source in God based (at least partially) on statements made in the Psalms, such as these:

    7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; 8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; 9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward.

    Our view of the Scripture should have its source in the original, written revelation of God - the Old Testament. There are some fascinating injunctions therein, clearly identifying the written Word as divine in origin, and representing the wisdom and Truth of God.

    8 Understand, you senseless among the people; And you fools, when will you be wise? 9 He who planted the ear, shall He not hear? He who formed the eye, shall He not see? 10 He who instructs the nations, shall He not correct, He who teaches man knowledge? 11 The Lord knows the thoughts of man, That they are futile.

    12 Blessed is the man whom You instruct, O Lord, And teach out of Your law, 13 That You may give him rest from the days of adversity, Until the pit is dug for the wicked. (Psalm 94:8-13)

    1 Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. (Psalm 1:1-3)

    There are many, many more texts emphasizing the benefits and necessity of meditating upon, and internalizing, the written Word of God (His Law). Those are just a sample, to get you started in your research in this area, G1. Good questions! Study on, and stay true to context at all times!

    JM

    Windpressor's picture

    JM,

    Thanks for keeping this thread in mind. I'm sure most here are engaged by day jobs, daily bread, and other interests. Even when I have some time for R&W here I sometimes have lapses in the synapses that cause thought blocking. Then it might take me a few sessions over days to finish something like the paragraphs in the previous post. Other times a bump or two can break a log jam and send thoughts churning into text on screen.

    Now, about your post:

    You are giving me a lot of revs in devotional rpm but I am not getting any traction on the specific subject. All equipment needs runtime for maintenance whether or not it will be placed in service. The meditations are certainly beneficial at most any time. However, I was looking for a single chain of thought from among all those dangling, from what you are driving at, that will reach and fasten to the text in a more direct fashion. (pardon my metaphors & hyperboles)

    Based on what I can tell from your responses and gauged by the discussion structure of my post (2/23 -- 00:55), it seems that your position is ---

    1) that the statement, "scripture is the Word of God" is therefore not a claim of scripture but a doctrinal development. and,

    2) (see previous post; last sentence)the logical reason that scripture refrains from making the claim is:

    ?????__a) that the Lord wants that those studying should come to the conclusion that it IS the WoG;

    ?????__b) that WoG is simply a matter of semantics or an inconsequential convention of language;

    ?????__c) that scripture is scripture and WoG refers to something more and should be so distinguished in learned discourse (Pro 30:5,6), or;

    ?????__d) other____________ ?

    p.s. how do you get html tags to switch text back and forth from one font style to another? When I tried it, the whole post following would stay with the tag and not revert back to standard text.

    G1

    G-Juan Wind

    SuperSoulFighter's picture

    Hi, G1 (why am do I feel like I'm having a discussion with an MI5 agent?).

    A couple of texts I forgot to include in this discussion are Heb. 4:12, "12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." and Romans 10:14-17, 14 "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!" 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our report?" 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

    Back then, they heard the Word of God preached, for the most part, as illiteracy was high, and copies of the Scriptures were very limited, due to the painstaking copying processes (all manual) they had back then. But it seems clear to me (particularly in view of the reference to Isaiah's statement) that the WRITTEN Word (the Scriptures) are equated with the "Word of God" in these texts, by inference. It COULD be argued, I suppose, that this is not entirely clear in the Hebrews text (i.e. God's "spoken word" COULD be implied), but it seems that in most places where this phrase is used, the context implies a reference to the written Scriptures.

    I hope those observations help clarify things somewhat. OUR modern usage of "the Word of God" as exclusively referencing the Scriptures MAY be a matter of semantics and a language convention that has developed over the period of history between the closing of the canon and the present, but the phrase has its origins, obviously, in the Scriptures themselves.

    The font tags listed below each comment text box should be used to modify the font at the beginning of the text you want affected/changed. The closing tag uses a backslash. So, for example, the "italics" tag uses the small, bracketed "i" below, and closes with the same tag at the end of the text you want to modify, like this . That should change it back to standard text for you.

    JM

    Windpressor's picture

    Hey, JM;

    (why am do I feel like I'm having a discussion with an MI5 agent?)
    If this shows italic then it means I was missing the slash for closing tag, before.

    I don't get your reference to me as MI5. Isn't that a British agency of some kind? I am only aware of that term in passing reference; perhaps in newscasts or "Bond" movies.
    ****************

    Certainly the texts you quote are closer; if only by "inference". The context still seems to point to something more than "the writings" or (GR)graphe [I am relying on memory for the translation and transliteration].

    In scripture, there are places where "writing" is commanded and other verses where they are refered to as "inspired". This would make scripture a PRODUCT or manifestation of the WoG.
    [To be more exact: A product of God's command in parts and/or brought forth by inspiration (by the Spirit) in the other parts.]

    What then is Scripture? An interface to the Word? A conveyer of the the WoG? Some sort of gauging reference? Perhaps more or other?

    Isn't it also a testimony about the "logos" or the "christ"? --

    John 5:37-40(NIV) --

    37And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, 40yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

    Notice that "his word" is referred to as something distinct from "the scriptures".

    I recall from some works I've read that ancient scribes venerated the scriptures with great devotion while undergoing the perile and tedium of transmission with primitive resources. We moderns can hardly appreciate the arduous quality of scribal endeavor. There has certainly been a tremendous paradigm shift from ancient scriptoriums to the modern proliferation of text. If any of these works emphasized the development of the etymology, I certainly missed it or just don't recall. I still need to research some of the search links. If there is a scholarly work, it should be interesting.

    I had some thoughts on the faith/hearing connection but when my puter rebooted from a link click, I lost my first composing of this post from which this 2nd is now somewhat different; memory being what it is.

    later,

    G1

    ps -- I think you meant "/" forward slash....

    G-Juan Wind

    JL's picture

    JM,

    Nobody disputed that the OT Law is God's Law. Nor did anyone dispute that it was of divine origin. You've assumed that it is the same thing as what Scripture calls "God's Word." G1 would like you to prove it.

    JL

    Blessings,

    JL Vaughn
    Beyond Creation Science

    Windpressor's picture

    Proof??

    Maybe in the courtroom; here I would like to see just a few dots connected like from point A to point B.

    G-Juan Wind

    JL's picture

    G1,

    Now you've done it. "Basic problem solving or research usually involves something like the scientific method." This is going to get you in a lot of trouble with Sam and his gang. They have direct revelation from God and KNOW. You and I, for all that research we do, don't really know anything.

    JL

    Blessings,

    JL Vaughn
    Beyond Creation Science

    Windpressor's picture

    Greetings to any comment bottom readers;

    Comment or just read if you will, I would like to post here a few times just for the purpose of recording the process of this inquiry.

    I am working through, and posting here, a personal query into a line of thought that got into my mind as a result of research into the proper application of U.S. tax law.

    According to many who have studied, conventional practice of IRS collection and enforcement is contrary to what is actually written in the law. When those researching ask an expert or official to show in the law where such practice is supported by what the law actually says, the response is unbelief, some form of avoidance, offpoint spin, reactionary villification, etc. Although not acknowledged as such, there is a persistent Berean quality in the "Tax Honesty" movement when those involved insist: "Show me the law".

    Some time in the past year, perhaps in response to hearing that "scripture is the Word of God" one extra time, it dawned on me to wonder about where in the Bible that claim is made. I could not recall any passage that stated such a claim. I have read through the Bible a number of times, read a few books about Biblical origins, watched televised documentaries, and heard lectures. I have probably retained only a fraction of all that I reviewed but my recollecton serves me fairly well when mentally surveying what I have long since absorbed. Nevertheless, the reason for having things recorded is so that we not rely on the drift of memory but can refer to some established record such as a written document.

    While it may or may not be true depending on semantic correctness, considering the claim that ""scripture (or Bible) is the word of God", where, if any place, does scripture make that claim for itself?

    Show me the verse.

    G1

    G-Juan Wind

    JL's picture

    G1,

    Thank-you. It's much like the doctrine of inerrancy or infallibility. Somehow they get that from the claim "All Scripture is inspired and profitable ..." (I keep asking, but I still don't see how.)

    Unfortunately, they must then start qualifying it. Only the Authorized Version of 1611 is inerrant. (Personally, I'm not a big fan of government authorized documents.) Or the original manuscripts were infallible. (None of which we have or use.)

    We don't even know what langauge the originals of Genesis were in. Chapters 1-11 clearly came from a different source than chapter 12 on. (Everybody, I'm not making reference to the damned Document Hypothesis. This is a different issue.) The Hebrew Old Testament we use went through 2 major revisions since AD 70, the Jabneh revision (AD 70-135) which the Roman Catholic Church used for the Vulgate and the Massoretic revision (10th century) which we use. Half of the New Testament was originally written in Aramaic and we use Greek translations. Jude claimed Enoch as Scripture and we ignore that.

    Our whole doctrine of Scripture has had serious problems since at least since AD 400.

    JL

    Blessings,

    JL Vaughn
    Beyond Creation Science

    Windpressor's picture

    JL,

    You raise some interesting points. I can readily accept inspiration because it is a statement of scripture. I have not studied enough about inerrancy to say one way or another. I do find 1 Cor 1:25 an intriguing contemplation: "For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength."

    I agree that KJV only is problematic. I came across a link that presented some insights into the problem of church hierarchies based on a historical summary and exegesis of some key terms---

    The Great Ecclesiastical Conspiracy
    http://clarkdavis.homestead.com/files/ecc.html

    The most recent work I have read on the rliability of our current Bible is --

    "How We Got our Bible" by Neil R. Lightfoot

    Review is here --
    http://www.spiritandtruth.org/teaching/reviews/tony_garland/review_of_ho...

    I think his scholarship is trustworthy.

    G1

    G-Juan Wind

    Windpressor's picture

    Title to previous post was somehow truncated :

    What if conclusion is NOT "that the Bible is the word of God".
    ------------------------

    >>
    --- Shades of Star Trek, in that alternate universe, what chance is there that some of us even are?

    G1

    G-Juan Wind

    MiddleKnowledge's picture

    Since it appears that some here are not familiar with Gordon Clark, I thought it may be helpful to quote some of his passages regarding science. This will give people here a feel for his approach. Then you can judge for yourself. All quotations come from Gordon Clark's book, A CHRISTIAN VIEW OF MEN AND THINGS. All emphasis is his. Consult the book directly for wider context and application.

    Speaking of the imprecision of scientific measurement

    p. 208-209

    "The important thing is that areas allow the possibility of an infinite number of curves; that is, measurements with variable errors allow an infinite number of natural laws. The particular law that the scientist announces to the world is not a DISCOVERY forced on him by so-called facts; it is rather a CHOICE from among an infinity of laws all of which enjoy the same experimental basis. Thus it is seen that the falsity of science derives directly from its ideal of accuracy. It may be a fact that gold is heavier than water, but it is not a scientific fact; It may be a fact that the longer and farther a body falls, the faster it goes, but Galileo was not interested in this type of fact. The Scientist wants mathematical accuracy; and when he cannot discover it, he makes it. Since he chooses his law from among an infinite number of equally possible laws, the probability that he has chosen the "true" law is one over infinity, i.e. zero; or, in plain English, the scientist has no chance on hitting upon the "real" laws of nature. No one doubts that scientific laws are useful: by them the atomic bomb was invented. The point of all this argument is merely this: however USEFUL scientific laws are, they cannot be TRUE. Or at the very least, the point of all this argument is that scientific laws are not DISCOVERED, but are CHOSEN.

    p.210

    "Naturally a great many people, steeped in nineteenth century scientific traditions, react violently to the idea that science is all false. Did we not make the atom bomb, they say? Does not vaccination prevent smallpox? Cannot we predict the position of Jupiter and an eclipse of the sun? Verified prediction makes it forever ridiculous to attack science. This reaction is of course understandable, however irrational it may be. The argument has not "attacked" science at all; it has insisted that science is extremely useful - though by its own requirements it must be false. The aim nowhere has been to attack science; the aim is to show what science is.

    p. 214-215

    To speak of the sun as ninety million miles distant from the earth, or of the star as some billions of miles distant, is to assume that lengths in inches, feet, and miles on the earth's surface are the same sort of distances that separate the stars. But since the operations used in measuring these two sets of "lengths" are different, it follows that there is no "distance" between earth and the sun. Similarly, any other concept that has been used in connection with different operations is equally ambiguous and misleading. To carry this thought one step further, it may be added that the operations of science change from time to time, and when they change all the old concepts are discarded. If a new instrument should be invented for the measuring of stellar distances, the results would not be the "length" of the previous experimentation.

    p.215-216

    Careful scientific procedure was originally invented for the purpose of overcoming the grossness of ordinary sensation. The unaided eye cannot make fine distinctions and therefore delicate instruments had to be invented in order accurately to measure, say, a length. A length was supposed to be some sort of real attribute of a physical thing. Now length turns out to be just operations themselves. And how can the scientist observe and define operations? Will he depend on his unaided eye to describe the instruments and the procedure, or will he invent other more delicate instruments to measure the operations, ad infinitum? There seems to be in all this a thoroughgoing epistemological relativism that makes the obtaining of truth impossible; and if scientific procedure cannot obtain truth, it can offer no absolute arguments against theism nor can it say truthfully that "the scientific method is the sole gateway to the whole region of knowledge."

    p. 227

    Conclusion

    Since the discussion of science has returned us to ethics, a phrase from the previous chapter will serve to introduce a conclusion. One of the theories there criticized depended on assuming a Reason spelled with a captal R. At the beginning of the present chapter too, Science was assumed with a capital S. It is this assumption that has been called into question. There is no Science to which final appeal can be made; there are only scientists and their various theories. It was easy to show that the Science of infallible law does not exist; it was not much more difficult to show that absolute facts do not exist; it may have been a little subtle to argue that the concepts of science change with operations; and when the methods, as opposed to the results, of science are taken as the ultimately important matter, an attempt was made to show that scientists do not agree on methods. Furthermore, all these methods depend on faith, choice, or, as Clifford would have to say, "insufficient evidence." No scientific or observational proof can be given for the uniformity of nature, and much less can experience demonstrate that "the scientific method is the sole gateway to the whole region of knowledge." On the contrary, a plausible analysis showed that science was incapable of arriving at any truth whatever.

    Virgil's picture

    Yeah, well Clark also rejected the idea of "free-will" saying "free will is not only futile, but false. Certainly, if the Bible is the Word of God, free will is false; for the Bible consistently denies free will." (Clark, Religion, Reason and Revelation, 206)

    So why would anyone be surprised to see what conclusions he came to? "God is sovereign" suddenly means "God is a busy mechanic running around the universe making sure the hydrogen atoms in stars split properly, my heart doesn't get arrhythmia and earth's gravity stays constant in order for humanity's existence to continue."

    Sorry...I am not buying it.

    Throught the principles of sin/death and Christ/life, God taught mankind that the principle of causality is valid and healthy. To every effect there is a cause. Not even Clark himself could deny this...and ultimately, this empirical data in its most basic form destroys Clark's philosophy.

    Forget science - think Christianity. Everything we know about God and Christ is through observation. Maintaining this line of thinking will inevitably lead one to think that man knows nothing about nothing.

    Sam's picture

    Virgil,

    I am shocked. "Everything we know about God and Christ comes through observation". you cannot mean this. Did you "observe" Jesus die on the cross and raise from the dead? No. Then why believe it? Did you "observe" Samson? David? You could not have meant this because the objection to it is too easy!

    Clark was a Calvinist, therefore his philosophy is wrong. This is about as bad a fallacy than saying "Virgil's father in law is Church of Christ, therefore anything Virgil says is wrong." Finally, "causality" is not "observable" in the least (David Hume proved this). You conclude: "Maintaining this line of thinking will inevitably lead one to think that man knows nothing about nothing." Let's see if I get this straight. Clark argued that revelation KNOWLEDGE is the only correct source of KNOWLEDGE and this "line of reasoning will lead to knowledge about nothing"? Well, I guess, then, God's word is "nothing" since no one alive today "observed" anything that happened in it. The liberal Christians are right! Jesus never raised from the dead...his followers made it up.

    Samuel Frost

    Virgil's picture

    Sam - I am talking about observation of Scripture. You and I both know about Christ dying on the cross for our sins because our eyes read markings on pages of of paper telling us about it. These markings and letters have meaning, so we use our senses to observe them. Our ears received the information through vibrations in the air, when other people told us about Christ. Blind people use their sense of touch to "read" their Bible for example, and that leads them to make observations about God and Christ. So my friend, our own senses were the basis for finding Christ to begin with. We observed empirical data both visibly and audibly (or by touch) - and we used our senses to interpret this data. Interpretation led us to make decisions..whatever these decisions were.

    And yes, Calvinism comes into the picture yet again :) Of course you will believe that empirical data is meaningless since God already chose to save us before the foundation of the world. If there is no free-will, then causality is a false principle.

    Sam's picture

    Virgil,

    Looking at black ink marks on a piece of paper told you nothing about Jesus. If that were the case, then the role of Spirit is superfluous. Are you saying that you were saved by looking at black ink marks?

    Samuel

    Virgil's picture

    Sam - you are sidestepping my questions. Do your senses of seeing and hearing bring you understanding of God and salvation or not?

    KingNeb's picture

    Matthew 16:16-17 16 and Simon Peter answering said, 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.' 17 And Jesus answering said to him, 'Happy art thou, Simon Bar-Jona, because flesh and blood did not reveal it to thee, but my Father who is in the heavens.

    thereignofchrist.com

    Virgil's picture

    "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ." - Romans 10

    We can play this game all day :)

    KingNeb's picture

    define 'hearing' there Virgil. it obviously carries a different meaning then sensation. are deaf people doomed then?!

    Romans 11:8 8 as it is written, "God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day."

    is he talking about sensation here virgil? was the majority of israel physically deaf? also, note why they can't hear..."GOD GAVE" THEM EARS THAT WOULD NOT HEAR!

    very clear who's in charge hear...here. (;

    thereignofchrist.com

    Virgil's picture

    Hearing here equates with understanding - it may not be a direct reference to your ear drums working, but it certainly indicates that reason and understanding premeditates faith. The truth is somewhere in the middle here - you (calvinists) say that man's understanding, logic and reason has absolutely nothing to do with salvation. Paul seems to contradict this. Others (arminianists) argue that it's totally up to man to walk to God. They are also wrong. God did his part and reconciled all of us to himself. Now it's up to each person to finish the race...

    KingNeb's picture

    Virgil,

    "you wrote: you (calvinists) say that man's understanding, logic and reason has absolutely nothing to do with salvation."

    boy oh boy! You certainly haven't been reading Clark then! My goodness Virgil...if you are going to critique someone, at least read them and know what you are talking about. [i say this joyfully listening to some tunes right now..i don't mean this in any mean spirited way (: ]

    Clark says the EXACT OPPOSITE.

    "The next question is, what does it mean to believe?...........What better conclusion can there be other than the express statements of the Bible? Permit just one outside of John. Romans 10:9-10 say, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your mind that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.” There is no mystical getting behind, under, or above the text; the only consent there is, is belief in the propositions. Believe these, with understanding, and you shall be saved. Anyone who says otherwise contradicts the repeated rheemata of Scripture."

    thereignofchrist.com

    Sam's picture

    Amen, Dr. Clark.

    Samuel

    Sam's picture

    I knew that the above essay would raise eyebrows. I cannot comment, either, on the remarks made. Clark wrote over forty books on the subject. I suggest you start reading. The differences between Van Til and Clark are huge. Tim Martin suggests that Clark made "the law of non-contradiction the center of his theology." False. This is a constant criticism of Clark from those who have heard what Clark teaches only from Van Til and Bahnsen (and Sproul is just as equally in the woods). I have read most of Van Til, Bahnsen (on this matter) and virtually all of Clark. Van Til leaves one with skepticism (no one can actually know God's truth propositionally). There is a level of ignorance on these matters in this room so concentrated on Preterism. Before I became a Preterist, I was steeped in other issues, too! There is more to life than Preterism! The implications of playing on the same ball field of empiricists is that they have you beat. Now, if any of you bright philosophers can answer one question correctly, you get the prize: how does sensation become perception? Be careful now...if you are an empiricist, then you must demonstrate BY empiricism how sensation becomes perception. Let the games begin.

    Samuel Frost

    MiddleKnowledge's picture

    Sam,

    If you disagree with my characterization of the divide between Van Til and Clark that is fine. I admit that I may have oversimplified the situation in order to be brief. How would you characterize the two sides? I am interested in open dialogue here, not brutal polemics or philosophical wrangling.

    In the introduction of Clark's A CHRISTIAN VIEW OF MEN AND THINGS after a subsection titled, "The question of Philosophy" Clark has a subsection titled, "The Law of Contradiction." In that subsection (p.31) Clark writes, "And in talking about it, there can be no logical objection to using the law of contradiction as far as it will go. Perhaps it will go further than is now expected." Even in the introduction of his book, Clark hints that this law is important, even underrated. There is no doubt it is important in Clark's model.

    Brother, I am not interested in any kind of hostile argument or internet shouting match. I understand, as you do, the differences between our approaches. One or both of us is wrong. Even given that fact we are both on the same team in the bigger picture for the Kingdom. None of this is worth animosity between you and me. There is no reason for me to tear you down, nor vice versa. I am interested here in balance, wisdom and grace. Nothing more, nothing less.

    The reason I got involved in this exercise in the first place is because I believe it to be a reckless charge for you to publically characterize, as you do in your article, the view that sun will fizzle out in 3-5 Billion years from now (or anytime in the future) is necessarily "UnChristian." Please reconsider your indirect charge directed toward JL, who has long demonstrated in this forum his sincerity to know God's Truth, both as a reader of Scripture and as a scientist. I beg you to reconsider this statement for the good of your brother. JL could be wrong, but even that possibility does not merit the charge you have leveled against him.

    If not that alone, then reconsider your charge in light of our history. Five hundred years ago a scientist made certain statements about the sun based in observation which sent many theologians into an uproar. After he was castigated as being in direct violation of God's Word and the history of the church, his followers were persecuted for their astronomical beliefs about the sun. It seems bizarre that we again have a scientist making a statement about the sun based in observation, and a theologian rebuking him as "UnChristian." The last episode of theologian v. scientist did not turn out well in the history of the church, and I can see no way in which this episode will turn out any better. Astronomers watch stars burn out on a regular basis in our universe. Our sun is a star that burns similarly to other stars. While this does not prove logically that our sun will burn out in 3-5 Billion years, odds are the notion that ours will never burn out is a bad bet, and completely unnecessary from the hermeneutic of preterism.

    In Christ,

    Tim Martin
    www.truthinliving.org

    SuperSoulFighter's picture

    I've been following these discussions closely, gentlemen, and - if you'll pardon my injecting a comment or two - I must say that I side with Sam on this issue, overall. Ultimately, we must hold science accountable to the Scriptures, as Christians, not vice versa - particularly where the two are demonstrably in conflict.

    Tim, Sam mentioned that no effort has been made, from your side, to directly address the Scriptures he has cited concerning the eternality of the sun, life on this planet, etc. I, too, have cited numerous texts stating essentially the same thing (in rather clear, plain language) and no response has been forthcoming from the defenders of "science". Where do you stand concerning the infallibility of Scripture, Tim?

    Here are a couple of interesting Scriptural reminders, from earlier discussions we've had.

    4 He will bring justice to the poor of the people; He will save the children of the needy, And will break in pieces the oppressor. 5 They shall fear You As long as the sun and moon endure, Throughout all generations. (Psalm 72:5)

    17 His name shall endure forever; His name shall continue as long as the sun. And men shall be blessed in Him; All nations shall call Him blessed. (Psalm 72:17)

    Will the name of God one day "burn out", Tim? Does God Himself have an "expiry date" or "shelf life"? I don't think you believe that, and neither do I.

    21 And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, "I will never again curse the ground for man's sake, although the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done. 22 "While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, Cold and heat, Winter and summer, And day and night Shall not cease." (Gen. 8:21,22)

    You who laid the foundations of the earth, So that it should not be moved forever (Psalm 104:5)

    One generation passes away, and another generation comes; But the earth abides forever. (Eccl. 1:4)

    Is the Bible "unscientific", Tim? Or maybe the plain language of these texts (clearly referencing the planet and the timeframe of the continuation of its existence) and their context leaves room for an alternative interpretation? Neither you nor JL seem to be in a hurry to grapple with these texts directly. But that's okay. We're patient. We aren't in a hurry either.

    Just thought I'd reintroduce some actual Scripture to these good discussions!

    JM

    JL's picture

    JM,

    I don't see why I should bother. Both you and Sam have decided that your interpretation of Scripture is infallible. That's what it really comes down to.

    Sam has already discussed his absolute propositions and reliance on the Law of Noncontradiction, neither of which I can find in Scripture. If you and Sam feel it is necessary to add such things to Scripture, be my guest. I'm confidant the god you worship doesn't mind. I'm likewise confidant that you know the mind of your god. That is, afterall what Sam said his chief disciple Gordon Clark teaches.

    God compares himself to a lot of things. All of these created things have limits. God doesn't. Just because God makes the comparison, I don't see that as reason to remove the Creator/creation distinction and either assume the limits on creation are removed or that God has placed limits on himself.

    Take care.

    JL

    Blessings,

    JL Vaughn
    Beyond Creation Science

    SuperSoulFighter's picture

    JL...Thanks for these interesting (albeit frustrated in tone) comments. I understand your perspective and the reason for your annoyance with us. I want to make that very clear at the outset.

    You introduced one or two thoughts in your comments, though, that I would like to address here.

    I don't see why I should bother. Both you and Sam have decided that your interpretation of Scripture is infallible. That's what it really comes down to.

    We believe OUR understanding of the originally intended meaning of the Scriptures we have presented is truer to the Author's original intent, JL - yes. Correct. You believe YOUR understanding is superior and more accurate than ours. We understand each other.

    Sam has already discussed his absolute propositions and reliance on the Law of Noncontradiction, neither of which I can find in Scripture. If you and Sam feel it is necessary to add such things to Scripture, be my guest. I'm confidant the god you worship doesn't mind. I'm likewise confidant that you know the mind of your god. That is, afterall what Sam said his chief disciple Gordon Clark teaches.

    Yes, JL - we are reasonably confident that we understand the "mind of God" in relation to these things. There is rather a simple (and yet incredibly profound) reason for this (was Clark SAM'S disciple?? I wasn't aware of that).

    We hold that God EFFECTIVELY and ACCURATELY communicated His Mind and Will to man in His written revelation of Himself known as the Bible. To argue that God FAILED to accurately and clearly communicate the nature of His Person and Truth (not to mention the nature of the reality He created, including ourselves) leads us to the conclusion that God is FALLIBLE and imperfect.

    God compares himself to a lot of things. All of these created things have limits. God doesn't. Just because God makes the comparison, I don't see that as reason to remove the Creator/creation distinction and either assume the limits on creation are removed or that God has placed limits on himself.

    Your ASSUMPTION is that God doesn't have limits, JL. This is an assumption that I can readily demonstrate to be false, I believe, with recourse to both Scripture AND logic (not to mention philosophy). There are strong arguments in ALL those areas for limitations in our Creator. If God has sovereignly chosen to create an ecosystem in which He has limits, what argument do you have against such a decision?

    I will be presenting an article this weekend on the limitations of God's knowledge, as revealed in His Word. I have no doubt that considerable discussion will ensue. Hopefully, the dialogue will be informative, instructive and enlightening.

    To believe in an utterly "transcendent" God, JL, is to believe in a God incapable of true interaction and inter-relationship with finite man. In fact, such a "god" is, essentially, a non-Person, and could NOT be the true Source of all personality and intelligence as it exists on our planet today.

    JM

    JL's picture

    JM,

    I'm sorry I was ambiguous. I was trying to say, "Gordon Clark is his god's chief disciple."

    Your view of Scripture necessitates that all Scripture is simple to understand. Peter expressely denies that. Some of it takes work.

    In the context of our discussion to that point, God has no limits. He is the creator. God often compares himself as equal in some aspect to some created thing. The created thing is limited in that aspect. God is not. You ripped my comment out of context and applied it "globally." (You've done the same to Scripture so at least you're consistent.) In doing so, you've completely missed my point. Your last three paragraphs have nothing to do with the discussion at hand.

    JL

    Blessings,

    JL Vaughn
    Beyond Creation Science

    SuperSoulFighter's picture

    JM,

    I'm sorry I was ambiguous. I was trying to say, "Gordon Clark is his god's chief disciple."

    Got it, JL. Thanks for the clarification!

    Your view of Scripture necessitates that all Scripture is simple to understand. Peter expressely denies that. Some of it takes work.

    Not really, JL. My view requires consistency, and, in most cases, it DOES result in a more comprehensible Scripture, easing the whole process of interpretation. I agree with you concerning the more difficult nature of some passages and texts. I just don't think we need to make certain texts more difficult or complex than they were intended to be (according to the nature of the context AND the understanding/cultural distinctives of the original recipients of them). I agree that the Scriptures, as a whole, DO require work to accurately interpret them according to a consistent hermeneutic.

    In the context of our discussion to that point, God has no limits. He is the creator. God often compares himself as equal in some aspect to some created thing. The created thing is limited in that aspect. God is not. You ripped my comment out of context and applied it "globally." (You've done the same to Scripture so at least you're consistent.) In doing so, you've completely missed my point. Your last three paragraphs have nothing to do with the discussion at hand.

    Actually, my last three paragraphs directly address the inferences of your closing comments in the previous post, JL. Your assumption is that God "has no limits", and therefore the physical entities with which He equates Himself simply manifest some element in His Person, without necessitating an equivalent limitation in Him (the finite vs. the "infinite"). One of the primary problems that I have with your view (and this isn't a personal criticism, per se, it's just that I've encountered this idea repeatedly among Christians) is that this assumption conveys the idea that God's ability to communicate His Person and Nature accurately was limited to inaccurate representations of Himself. So, for example, when Psalm 72:17 declares that God's Name is as eternal as the sun (or vice versa), within your position, we are forced to conclude that God didn't really mean what He said, there, and that the sun just manifests a seeming eternality (beyond the lifespans of human generations), and therefore God (who is timeless and has no end to His existence) only - what? - seems to be timeless? Because His existence is much longer than that of the average human? You can see where your line of reasoning could, logically, lead, JL. I don't think either of us are interested in such an interpretive outcome.

    MY contention is that God DOES have limits - in His power, knowledge and Presence. His very Being has limits and can be defined according to certain, specific parameters HE has set forth in His Word. This is why He CAN, effectively, communicate the essence of His Being and qualities of His Person through illustrative comparisons to finite, physical entities.

    I trust this clarifies where I'm coming from.

    JM

    MiddleKnowledge's picture

    All,

    The translation of "forever" from the Hebrew "olam" presents enough difficulty to warrant a little caution and humility in the matter at hand. No doubt, its use is flexible in Hebrew. It can denote eternity, but it also can denote a perfect period of time in relation to the thing characterized.

    In Hebrew, we can see that the cutting of the foreskin is a sign between God and Israel "forever" (Ex. 31:17) We can see that the land of Israel is an inheritance for Israel "forever" (Ex. 32:13). Both the ordinance of physical circumcision and the land inheritance "burned out" in God's covenant economy. It's ironic. Dispensational futurists would absolutely agree with your interpretation in defense of their doctrines regarding the physical children of Israel and the promised land.

    In Psalm 74:1, the psalmist wonders why God has cast his people off forever. This is how the hebrews used language - flexibly. It even continues in Eastern linguistic patterns and cultures today.

    As far as Psalm 72 goes, the comparison between God's name is built on the idea already presented in v. 5 "They shall fear You as long as the Sun and Moon endure." The key is to think in terms of Hebraic metaphor rather than scientific precision, at least if you want an interpretation that is in step with their eastern, hebraic minset. (A fascinating book which explores this in detail is "THE LANGUAGE AND IMAGERY OF THE BIBLE by G.B. Caird with introduction by NT Wright.) It's a real stretch to read this as a passage in which Solomon is pressing and delivering a scientific model of the universe - the eternality of the sun. Is that what Solomon is getting at? Or is that your Western, Scientific mindset being smuggled into the text?

    The comparison shows, by analogy of human experience, the quality and perpetuity of God's honor among his people. It does not demand an algebraic, precisionistic equivalence of God's perpetuity = sun's perpetuity. Just as the sun continues on when many things in life end, so God's name continues on. God is explicitly compared to many things in creation - this is a common practice in Scripture. The sun in this case is a creational type, God is the reality.

    Please don't read the English translation of the Hebrew texts naively. Your presentation of Psalm 104 as proof demonstrates the problem at hand. "You who laid the foundation of the earth, So that it should not be moved forever." Psalm 104 was one of the prime exegetical defenses (along with Joshua 10) for geocentrism and geostationism contra Copernicus. See... it says the earth cannot be MOVED, forever, so Copernicans deny the infallibility of Scripture and teach it errs. Death to Copernicans!!!! What Luther, Rome and the Reformed said is exactly your point - Astronomy must conform to Scripture, not vice versa. Death to Copernicans! This is where your approach leads in forcing the Scriptures to speak in the precisionist, scientific concepts which you are familiar with.

    Your quotations of "earth" in Genesis, Psalm 104 and Eccl. beg the question at hand. You should look deeper than just the English word "earth" to make the simplistic case you argue for. If we look at the Hebrew word translated for "earth" carefully, comparing it's usage across the OT, we will get a much better understanding of the Hebrew language, mindset and cultural communication they practiced. Your literalism based on the english rendering betrays you when you say it is "clearly referencing the planet." This is your interpretation of "earth" in those examples, not inspiration. The point must first be proved, not assumed.

    It is dishonest to imply that a non-global, non-eternal, yet covenantally driven reading of "earth" in these texts is tantamount to a rejection of the infallibility of Scripture on my part.

    Look at the Hebrew word for "earth" for each of your citations. Are they all not "erets"? Now, certainly there are some uses of erets in the OT that logically would apply to the entire planet, at least by theological extension. However, the Hebrew word itself, implies no universal, planetary implications ON ITS OWN. In fact, the majority of rendering for "erets" in our English Bible are "land" "ground" "land" "soil". Unquestionably non-planetary. There are a multitude of cases, even in Genesis, where erets CANNOT be read as the planet as a globe, such as the "erets of Israel" "erets of Egypt", Abraham leave your "erets" and go to the "erets" I will show you. The English translations you rely on attempt to translate the one hebrew word "erets" into the different connotations we have in our experience as scientific moderns. Historically, this translation work was done by globalist futurists who translated the planetary connotation of "world" the same way in Matt. 24, 2 Peter 3 and Revelation. It is this translating (interpretation)I question in light of well-defined preterist hermeneutical principles.

    Ultimately, your position hinges on a sloppy understanding of the translation of erets, much like the futurists' sloppy understanding of "inhabitable earth" or "world" in Matt 24, 2 Peter 3 as well as Revelation forces them to require global, planetary events.

    My only point, which tends to be overlooked in all the vitriol, is that caution is in order when we state that God's Word states absolutely that the Sun and universe will never end. There are some real scientific assumptions about the way the Bible communicates in that position. My concern is that we should take care to read the Scriptures in light of their own historical, cultural, linguistical context and put ourselves in their shoes. There has been no end to the trouble Christians have made throughout history when they force the Bible to speak to them while in their own modern shoes and their own modern cultural context.

    I do not demand for anyone to change their beliefs in this regard because of the infallibility of Scripture. If you believe the physical universe and the sun is as eternal as God, that's fine. There is an issue of independent Creator and dependent Creation here. Is the universe immortal as God is - even when we know God alone has immortality (1 Tim 6:16)? I will admit that the texts presented in this discussion *could* be read that way. I only ask a little bit of grace and charity to acknowledge, given preterist hermeneutic understandings of the connection between "heavens and the earth" and covenant, (Habakkuk's shaking of the earth and covenantal judgment, Hebrews' connection between shaking of heavens and earth and covenant) between the "world" and the covenant (this present world is passing away, etc), that a literal reading of these things as the entire universe or planet earth may be questionable.

    The issue is interpretation, not inspiration and infallibility.

    Tim Martin
    www.truthinliving.org

    PS. For those interested in an exploration of how Preterist implications may bear on the current origins debate see:

    http://www.truthinliving.org/images/beyond%20CS.ht

    A new revision and update is in progress. E-mail me if you would like the next edition when complete.

    PSS. Sorry it took so long. Some of us work and have other obligations beyond monitoring internet forums.

    SuperSoulFighter's picture

    I apologize for coming on a little strong, Tim, in my comments to which you responded, above. I think many of us are a little jaded from dealing with hard-headedness and obstinacy among futurists BEFORE becoming Preterists. We tend to be a little short with each other as a result, at times.

    The translation of "forever" from the Hebrew "olam" presents enough difficulty to warrant a little caution and humility in the matter at hand. No doubt, its use is flexible in Hebrew. It can denote eternity, but it also can denote a perfect period of time in relation to the thing characterized.

    In Hebrew, we can see that the cutting of the foreskin is a sign between God and Israel "forever" (Ex. 31:17) We can see that the land of Israel is an inheritance for Israel "forever" (Ex. 32:13). Both the ordinance of physical circumcision and the land inheritance "burned out" in God's covenant economy. It's ironic. Dispensational futurists would absolutely agree with your interpretation in defense of their doctrines regarding the physical children of Israel and the promised land.

    Thank you for that clarification, Tim. Yes, the Hebrew seems to permit a certain flexibility in interpretation (i.e. inferring a somewhat figurative sense, exaggerating the timeframe of a thing's or person's existence into an eternality not necessarily corresponding to reality). It COULD be argued that the "sign" of "circumcision" between God and Israel had an eternal perpetuation in the "circumcision in heart" experienced by converts to Christianity and the gospel of Christ Jesus. It could ALSO be argued that Exodus 32:13 has more to do with the survival of God's Covenant People in fulfillment of His promise to Abraham than it does any Covenant related to the actual, literal land of Canaan. In fact, the true "land of promise" was the HEAVENLY Land (see Heb. 11:8-10; 13-16), and thus it can be seen that there very likely IS a truly "eternal" element in both usages of "olam", as cited above. I don't think Dispys would appreciate my handling of this term and its eternal implications, Tim. But let's leave the hair-splitting for the moment.

    In Psalm 74:1, the psalmist wonders why God has cast his people off forever. This is how the hebrews used language - flexibly. It even continues in Eastern linguistic patterns and cultures today.

    Yes, I understand your point here, Tim. The context in Psalm 74:1 clarifies the fact that to the Psalmist it SEEMED like God had cast them off "forever". Verse 19 begs God NOT to do so, so in reality, the Psalmist understands that God has not actually "cast them off forever" at the time of his writing this text. But he is in fear of God's doing so. The context clarifies the inferences of the terminology in every case. It's interesting to note, with reference to Psalm 74, that there are parallels to the ultimate "casting off" of the OC People in that passage, and that there WAS an eternal aspect to their rejection and damnation. Asaph, on the other hand, appears to be speaking on behalf of the elect or "remnant" (God's Covenant People according to the faith of Abraham).

    As far as Psalm 72 goes, the comparison between God's name is built on the idea already presented in v. 5 "They shall fear You as long as the Sun and Moon endure." The key is to think in terms of Hebraic metaphor rather than scientific precision, at least if you want an interpretation that is in step with their eastern, hebraic minset. (A fascinating book which explores this in detail is "THE LANGUAGE AND IMAGERY OF THE BIBLE by G.B. Caird with introduction by NT Wright.) It's a real stretch to read this as a passage in which Solomon is pressing and delivering a scientific model of the universe - the eternality of the sun. Is that what Solomon is getting at? Or is that your Western, Scientific mindset being smuggled into the text?

    Solomon suggests something very similar in Eccl. 1:4, Tim. There, also, he emphasizes the eternality of the planet vs. the continual, cyclical iterations of mankind's temporal generations. I don't think taking the text at "face value" necessarily robs it of its Eastern inferences and the subtle nuances of their syntax and terminology. "Throughout all generations" could just as easily imply what I'M suggesting (rather dogmatically, I admit) - that mankind's history on this planet has no end, and that the endurance of the sun and planet themselves is likewise eternal. I do understand what you are implying here, Tim. I appreciate the balanced perspective you're seeking to introduce AND the legitimate possibility that there is a more figurative sense implied in Solomon's usage of "olam" here. I do, also, note that the endurance of the sun is directly linked to the continuance of God's own Name, in v.17. I don't believe God's Name will ever cease to exist. Do you?

    The comparison shows, by analogy of human experience, the quality and perpetuity of God's honor among his people. It does not demand an algebraic, precisionistic equivalence of God's perpetuity = sun's perpetuity. Just as the sun continues on when many things in life end, so God's name continues on. God is explicitly compared to many things in creation - this is a common practice in Scripture. The sun in this case is a creational type, God is the reality.

    I could just as readily argue that due to the fact that GOD is eternal (as is His Name), the sun's continuance is predicated upon (and equated with) that reality, and thus is fully assured, regardless of the hypotheses of the modern scientific community. I don't want to take a thoroughly "anti-scientific" stance here, Tim - but the dogma of modern cosmologists, astronomers and physicists is thin on supporting empirical data as far as I'm concerned. The evidence used to support their conjectures may hold true for SOME stars in the universe, but even at that (and THAT'S a stretch), there is no conclusive evidence establishing the fact that the sun will "burn out" FOR A CERTAINTY in a few (give or take one or two) billion years. By contrast, the Scriptures seem to be quite direct and clear, concerning the eternality of the sun and this planet.

    Let's consider, also, that if not for Divine protection and sustenance this planet and all life on it could easily have been snuffed out by chance asteroid collisions or the like many times over, throughout mankind's history here. WHY has this not happened? What mysterious Force is protecting this planet from massive, catastrophic upheaval? I certainly see the Hand of God at work here, personally (in accordance with His agenda set forth in Psalm 104).

    Please don't read the English translation of the Hebrew texts naively. Your presentation of Psalm 104 as proof demonstrates the problem at hand. "You who laid the foundation of the earth, So that it should not be moved forever." Psalm 104 was one of the prime exegetical defenses (along with Joshua 10) for geocentrism and geostationism contra Copernicus. See... it says the earth cannot be MOVED, forever, so Copernicans deny the infallibility of Scripture and teach it errs. Death to Copernicans!!!! What Luther, Rome and the Reformed said is exactly your point - Astronomy must conform to Scripture, not vice versa. Death to Copernicans! This is where your approach leads in forcing the Scriptures to speak in the precisionist, scientific concepts which you are familiar with.

    I would be the first to agree with you, Tim, concerning the erroneous nature of ecclesiastical dogma historically (post-AD 70). I certainly don't want to suggest a return to the close-minded mentality of those clerics who rejected the ideas, theories and findings of Copernicus on the basis of spurious (or shaky) exegetical treatments of Scripture. In fact, this is why my OWN ecclesiology supports a de-institutionalizing of Christianity, and a deconstructing of the hierarchies that historically have held the Truth at arm's length, and placed it beyond the reach of their adherents, in order to maintain their own positions of authority and prestige.

    But I DO advocate for integrity on BOTH sides, and a willingness on the part of the "science-biased" Preterists among us to come to terms with the rather startling and remarkably straightforward propositions of Scripture that SEEM to stand in stark contast with modern science's projections at the macrocosmic level. I find that empiricists rely heavily on the faulty assumption that verification of data at the microcosmic level somehow validates theories at the macrocosmic level. Of course, empiricists reliant on this form of conjecture fail to take into account the direct, continual, perpetual involvement of the Creator - that supernatural Intelligence responsible for bringing all of this into being.

    Your quotations of "earth" in Genesis, Psalm 104 and Eccl. beg the question at hand. You should look deeper than just the English word "earth" to make the simplistic case you argue for. If we look at the Hebrew word translated for "earth" carefully, comparing it's usage across the OT, we will get a much better understanding of the Hebrew language, mindset and cultural communication they practiced. Your literalism based on the english rendering betrays you when you say it is "clearly referencing the planet." This is your interpretation of "earth" in those examples, not inspiration. The point must first be proved, not assumed.

    It is dishonest to imply that a non-global, non-eternal, yet covenantally driven reading of "earth" in these texts is tantamount to a rejection of the infallibility of Scripture on my part.

    Look at the Hebrew word for "earth" for each of your citations. Are they all not "erets"? Now, certainly there are some uses of erets in the OT that logically would apply to the entire planet, at least by theological extension. However, the Hebrew word itself, implies no universal, planetary implications ON ITS OWN. In fact, the majority of rendering for "erets" in our English Bible are "land" "ground" "land" "soil". Unquestionably non-planetary. There are a multitude of cases, even in Genesis, where erets CANNOT be read as the planet as a globe, such as the "erets of Israel" "erets of Egypt", Abraham leave your "erets" and go to the "erets" I will show you. The English translations you rely on attempt to translate the one hebrew word "erets" into the different connotations we have in our experience as scientific moderns. Historically, this translation work was done by globalist futurists who translated the planetary connotation of "world" the same way in Matt. 24, 2 Peter 3 and Revelation. It is this translating (interpretation)I question in light of well-defined preterist hermeneutical principles.

    Ultimately, your position hinges on a sloppy understanding of the translation of erets, much like the futurists' sloppy understanding of "inhabitable earth" or "world" in Matt 24, 2 Peter 3 as well as Revelation forces them to require global, planetary events.

    Ultimately, my understanding of "erets" is not necessarily as "sloppy" as you suggest, when you factor in both the TYPE of literature in question (in every instance of its usage), AND the implications of the immediate context. Those two, governing guidelines and interpretive parameters SHOULD ensure greater accuracy and integrity in our handling of Hebrew terminology.

    My only point, which tends to be overlooked in all the vitriol, is that caution is in order when we state that God's Word states absolutely that the Sun and universe will never end. There are some real scientific assumptions about the way the Bible communicates in that position. My concern is that we should take care to read the Scriptures in light of their own historical, cultural, linguistical context and put ourselves in their shoes. There has been no end to the trouble Christians have made throughout history when they force the Bible to speak to them while in their own modern shoes and their own modern cultural context.

    I agree, Tim. The historical, cultural and linguistic contexts are critical in determining an accurate interpretation in every instance. We have to understand the Scriptures the way THEY understood them.

    I do not demand for anyone to change their beliefs in this regard because of the infallibility of Scripture. If you believe the physical universe and the sun is as eternal as God, that's fine. There is an issue of independent Creator and dependent Creation here. Is the universe immortal as God is - even when we know God alone has immortality (1 Tim 6:16)? I will admit that the texts presented in this discussion *could* be read that way. I only ask a little bit of grace and charity to acknowledge, given preterist hermeneutic understandings of the connection between "heavens and the earth" and covenant, (Habakkuk's shaking of the earth and covenantal judgment, Hebrews' connection between shaking of heavens and earth and covenant) between the "world" and the covenant (this present world is passing away, etc), that a literal reading of these things as the entire universe or planet earth may be questionable.

    The issue is interpretation, not inspiration and infallibility.

    Again, we are in agreement. This IS a matter of interpretation between us - NOT an argument over the inspiration and infallibility of Scripture. I just needed that one, wee clarification (not that I was in much doubt concerning your own stance, my question to which you are responding being more rhetorical in nature).

    Thanks for the good, thorough response, Tim! I, also, am sorry my own response took so long! I, too, am working full-time (10-hour shifts) and fit in these responses as energy and time permit).

    JM

    MiddleKnowledge's picture

    Apology accepted, Brother.

    Tim Martin
    www.truthinliving.org

    (Forgot to mention that in the other post)

    SuperSoulFighter's picture

    Thanks, Tim! I appreciate it!

    MiddleKnowledge's picture

    John,

    Thanks for the fruitful post. Look forward to your article on the limits of God. I think this is probably somewhat fundamental to our disagreement in some ways.

    Your pointing out of the eternality of the land promise and the circumcision is something I can agree with. It is not the creational *thing* itself which is eternal, but the spiritual reality which it represents - which is a reflection of the eternal God. You are absolutely right in this approach.

    That is exactly why I proposed what I did. The physical heavens and the physical earth (and sea) and sun and moon, etc. are the *thing* which points to invisible realities. (Under the OC it was miniaturized in the temple.) By the same pattern then, that the Scriptures call "circumcision" and the "land inheritance" as eternal when it is getting at spiritual realities, the Scripture can speak of the earth, world, sun and moon, as eternal *things* in reference to their spiritual/covenantal realities, i.e. the "universe" of covenant relationship between man and God.

    Again, when these things are referenced, I, as a preterist ingrained in metaphor and symbolism, believe it is *really* the New Covenant being spoken of. "World without end" has covenant written all over it, since "world passing away" has covenant (old) written all over it. To literalize the *thing* in a scientific sense is the same error (from my point of view) that dispies do with the land promise, physical circumcision, etc. It is only seeing the surface. As a preterist, it just looks like a glaring inconsistency to me.

    Billions of years is a long time to mature and develop. Perhaps when we get there the options that lie before humanity will be more than we can comprehend at this time. Can you imagine a universe full of godliness? A universe full of covenant relationship between God and man? Do we have to demand absolutely that the earth is it? Preterism opens up so many possibilities for our small minds. A long past, as an old earth creationist, opens horizons to a long future.

    Tim Martin
    www.truthinliving.org

    P.S. I'm glad you showed up - was wondering where everyone went!

    SuperSoulFighter's picture

    Your pointing out of the eternality of the land promise and the circumcision is something I can agree with. It is not the creational *thing* itself which is eternal, but the spiritual reality which it represents - which is a reflection of the eternal God. You are absolutely right in this approach.

    That is exactly why I proposed what I did. The physical heavens and the physical earth (and sea) and sun and moon, etc. are the *thing* which points to invisible realities. (Under the OC it was miniaturized in the temple.) By the same pattern then, that the Scriptures call "circumcision" and the "land inheritance" as eternal when it is getting at spiritual realities, the Scripture can speak of the earth, world, sun and moon, as eternal *things* in reference to their spiritual/covenantal realities, i.e. the "universe" of covenant relationship between man and God.

    Again, when these things are referenced, I, as a preterist ingrained in metaphor and symbolism, believe it is *really* the New Covenant being spoken of. "World without end" has covenant written all over it, since "world passing away" has covenant (old) written all over it. To literalize the *thing* in a scientific sense is the same error (from my point of view) that dispies do with the land promise, physical circumcision, etc. It is only seeing the surface. As a preterist, it just looks like a glaring inconsistency to me.

    Hi, Tim! Thanks for the courteous and affirming response! I appreciate it! Yes, we are in agreement concerning the metaphorical, figurative usages of physical entities as representative of spiritual (Covenantal) realities. I do, however, see significant contextual indicators, in certain passages and in certain forms of literature, pointing towards a more literal, physical meaning (i.e. the "sun" meaning the burning star overhead providing light and sustenance to life on this planet). Contextually, in Psalm 72:17, for example, it really can't be understood as a reference to anything else (at least I, personally, don't see it). It wouldn't make sense to make it a reference to a "king" or ruler of some kind. Verse 6 in that chapter sets the tone, using literal rain showers on this planet to represent the wondrous blessing and benevolence of the God of Israel (to desert people, rain is an unbelievable source of delight and refreshment).

    The difficulties that Dispys run into in their handling of Scriptural terminology, is their insistence on interpreting everything in physical, universal terms - particularly in cases where both the immediate context AND the broader context of usage within the particular type of literature under consideration (AND within the writings of the author in question) dictates otherwise. I certainly don't go anywhere near that extreme, and reject their poor hermeneutical approach out-of-hand (as do all other Full Preterists). By the same token, however, I don't believe that we can go to the OTHER extreme and rule that ALL instances of the terms "sun", "moon", "stars", "heavens" and "earth" must be understood figuratively. I don't think that's the position you are promoting, Tim, but certainly we need to be careful to let context determine our understanding of Hebraic terminology, in every case.

    Billions of years is a long time to mature and develop. Perhaps when we get there the options that lie before humanity will be more than we can comprehend at this time. Can you imagine a universe full of godliness? A universe full of covenant relationship between God and man? Do we have to demand absolutely that the earth is it? Preterism opens up so many possibilities for our small minds. A long past, as an old earth creationist, opens horizons to a long future.

    I'M certainly optimistic with regard to mankind's development of knowledge and wisdom in the future, Tim. I think this is one of Preterism's key characteristics, and I would agree with you on this. Billions of years from now, we may have acquired the ability to assist in the maintenance of our own planet and solar system to an unprecedented (currently unimaginable) degree. Certain theorists are, even now, projecting that distinct possibility.

    You and I agree on many things, Tim (more than we disagree, I think) and we share the same, fundamental approach to Scripture. It's a pleasure to discuss these things with you, and I look forward to your responses to my article next week!

    Thanks for the good comments and observations!

    John McPherson

    P.S. Sometimes it seems like everyone has quietly "disappeared" (no rapture scenario, or anything like that, obviously) - but we're hovering, reading, thinking and will eventually get around to responding as time permits! I wouldn't leave you hanging in the middle of a discussion if it could be avoided.

    MiddleKnowledge's picture

    John,

    Read my first response here:

    http://www.truthinliving.org/images/resp%202.htm

    I wrote that more than four years ago, and stand by it today.

    Tim Martin
    www.truthinliving.org

    SuperSoulFighter's picture

    Interesting read, Tim! Thanks for referring me to these comments you made. I would agree with the majority of what you've stated at that site, particularly the following:

    As to your question concerning interpreters "reading literal global assumptions into the text." I would say "maybe." What you have to understand is the historical dynamic in which we live. In the past (church fathers) there was an over-spiritualization that took place in biblical interpretation. One reaction to this problem was interpreters developing a conscious effort the other way. The trend in late medieval and modern interpretation was to "over-literalize." My belief is that neither approach fully recognizes the degree of variety which biblical revelation contains. Instead of reacting from one extreme and heading the other way, we should re-think what a biblical hermeneutic means in covenant and creation. Or to put it another way, I prefer a both-and approach rather than an either-or.

    Your concluding statements are also interesting.

    And now the big kahuna. "Should we understand the referent of the entire OT Scripture to be a local region." I know of some who have taken that position, but I am not convinced... yet. My concern is falling into the same errant methodology we recognize with dispensationalism. They start with a priori assumptions about those terms and lop off all that doesn't fit. A sort of procrustean bed. If we start with different a priori assumptions and read those terms uniformly what is the essential difference? Should we really trade one procrustean bed for another? Both may be too small to fit the variety of biblical texts on creation and covenant. Furthermore, understanding all NT "heaven and earth" language locally does not, by itself, guarantee every OT use should be understood the same way. That would be a large leap as a result of a theological commitment. Because of the inherent rationalism in Reformed Theology, I get somewhat nervous about using this method because all the texts may not fit neatly into our mental categorical boxes. Theology that follows abstract categorical boxes rather than individual exegesis bothers me. Ninety percent or more of the errors in Reformed Theology come from this bad method.

    My tentative conclusion to your questions would be this. First of all a local flood does not require a local creation. My argument for a local flood is based on the flood's repeated parallelism in numerous texts, ie. Olivet Discourse and the book of Revelation. The concept of original creation (beginning) is not treated the same way in the NT as the flood. We may say the parallelism exists in 2 Peter 3:6, but is that enough to seal the case? Secondly, a local reading of 2 Peter 3 and a local flood view at least opens the option to consider a local creation in reference to Genesis. John Sailhammer is a pioneer with this, no matter if you agree or disagree with his thesis. I have my own opinions, but I will keep them to myself.

    Did you ever end up airing your own opinions, Tim?

    John

    MiddleKnowledge's picture

    John,

    The updated, second edition of my book BEYOND CREATION SCIENCE will be out in the next couple of months. Lots of new material. Stay tuned.

    For those that would be interested the original is here:

    http://www.truthinliving.org/images/beyond%20CS.htm

    Tim Martin
    www.truthinliving.org

    Sam's picture

    Tim,

    I understand your concern, but let me add something to that. Christians can be "unchristian" all the time. Christians can have "unchristian" beliefs, too. That is all I meant by that phrase. I am not questioning the man's soul. Secondly, to compare Galileo to this discussion is a bit of a leap. If I had power over souls, I would not deem the view of J.L. as "heresy" or "damnable" as did the Church in Gal. day. That's an unfair caricaturization. No one, Tim, is threatening anyone with the death penalty. Don't make me out to be a "bad guy" with zero tolerance for any view but my own. I am not "politically correct" and I believe in what I believe, and I am confident in what I believe. Since when was that a crime? Thus, in that context, to believe, against God's word, that his covenant with the sun will one day "end" is, to me, unchristian (and I have YET to see anyone exegete the passage in my essay, or any of the points I have made). I plead to you, Tim, don't make this an issue of "hurt feelings." It isn't that at all. Finally, we have not a clue as to what stars are. Even the last episode on National Geographic stated that we are only scratching the surface as to what a star is. The "sun" is a "star" theory is equally suspect. You give man far too much credit, my dear brother.

    Samuel Frost

    chrisliv's picture

    Yeah, Sam,

    A Christian need not be anti-empirical, as you suggest.

    Christians and objective secular folks can probably agree that all the data in not yet in.

    And I think it is a mistake to promote an alleged "Eternal Earth" as a tenant of Preterism or even as a biblical implication.

    You stated:

    "Psalm 89.34-36 is explicit in terms of what we read in Jeremiah: “I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered…I will not lie to David…his line will continue forever and his throne endure before me like the sun.” Hmmm. Let’s apply logic: if David’s line lasts forever by the unalterable covenant of God swearing by himself, then the sun must last just as long, therefore, the sun lasts forever. I can quote at least ten more references like this, but I think you get the picture. "

    No, I don't get that picture. Are you being facetious?

    Does David's line and throne continue, even now?

    No, not in the carnal or material sense.

    The Davidic covenant even stated that the scepter would depart from Judah when Shiloh came. And so, it did.

    God communicated in terms that people understood, and the Bible is a record of that, even if there is a misunderstanding to some degree by one of the communicating parties (not God).

    It's recorded that Joshua once asked to have the Sun stop its rotation around the Earth, but we know that Joshua's cosmology was flawed, yet the Lord granted his request without providing an astro-physics lesson.

    "Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon." Joshua 10:12

    Are these all contradictions?

    No, not at all.

    The revelation of God in the Old Covenant led the Israelites to believe that through them all the nations (Gentiles) of the Earth would be blessed. And that was true, to a degree, but it had nothing to do with Jews being better than Gentiles, they weren't. The promised "Seed" or "Offspring" was actually, we are told much later, a play on words, which could be taken in the singular or the plural sense.

    And Apostle Paul tells us, in his Epistle to the Galatians, and Romans too, that the the promised Seed was, untimately, not natural "Jewish" Israel. (Gal. 3:16) It even took Apostle Peter ten years and a trance induced by the Holy Spirit to figure that out. (Acts 10:10)

    The Promise was to Christ, the True Israel of God, and we too, by trusting in Him. But Christ was a bachelor, so how does his line continue?

    Not through blood. Nor is His throne a gaudy ornate fixture on some strip of Middle Eastern real estate.

    That's what the Dispensationalist and Christian Zionists don't want to get! They ignore the New Testament illumination regarding Old Covenant passages. They are still waiting for the King and Blessing to come through a genetic line of Jews, with a Christ who styles himself as a hostile global dictator from a petty, earthly palace.

    As a Preterist, you, Sam, don't do that, but you do interpret Old Covenant passages in a somewhat similar fashion, in an effort to "prove" an alleged Eternal Earth.

    So, Christians need not be threatened if the Sun does continue to loose it's energy.

    The Moon is apparently continuing, every year, to get a couple inches further away from the Earth, which suggests that the Earth is quite young, because at the current rate of movement, the Moon would have made the Earth uninhabitable due to closeness to the Earth and resultant tidal waves.

    Peace to you all,
    C. Livingstone

    JL's picture

    Chris,

    I was with you and in complete agreement until your last paragraph. Where did that come from?

    JL

    Blessings,

    JL Vaughn
    Beyond Creation Science

    chrisliv's picture

    Sure, JL,

    That last paragraph was just more empirical data, which happens to support the biblical implication that the Earth is fairly young and that Evolution is an unlikely theory.

    So, should we reject that data and observation? No. We like that data.

    I don't think the Bible is threatened by Entropy or the likelihood that the Earth is not eternal. Preterists need not be either.

    An alleged Eternal Earth need not be a Preterist tenet.

    Peace to you,
    C. Livingstone

    JL's picture

    Chris,

    What do you mean by fairly young? The rate at which rotational energy is being transfered from the earth to the moon implies an earth-moon system that is less than 4.5 billion years old. That's fairly young compared to infinity which Ptolemy and Darwin believed. But it's fairly old compared to what Kurt F. believes.

    JL

    Blessings,

    JL Vaughn
    Beyond Creation Science

    chrisliv's picture

    Yeah,

    Both you and Virgil are asserting something similar, I think: that the Earth may be millions or billions of years old, yet lifeforms, especially humanity, are probably much younger on the scene. And that seems a very tenable position for many Christians, since the fossil record shows the sudden presence of humanity to be estimated at around 12-18,000 years.

    I really don't know if the Earth is millions of years older than the presence of humanity on it. I've seen people make that argument from Genesis, by using allegorical days of Creation. I haven't really made my mind about that, and I'm not in the 10,000-year-old-Earth camp either.

    Evidence and probability suggests that the Earth is not as old as Evolutionists and State school ciriculum would have us believe. I think the Bible, the empirical data, and even the statistical demographic data all agree that the emergence of humanity began around 10,000 years ago, or not much more than that.

    Peace to you,
    C. Livingstone

    Virgil's picture

    You don't need to use "allegorical days" to support an old earth position. Genesis 1:1 is very clear about the creation: "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth" - For ANYONE to say that he or she knows when "the beginning" is, would be utterly foolish and conceited. Genesis doesn't say when the beginning of creation happened. Young-earth creationists assume it is part of the first day of creation. That's just an assumption and nothing more.

    Recent comments

    Poll

    Should we allow Anonymous users to comment on Planet Preterist articles?
    Yes absolutely
    23%
    No only registered users should comment
    77%
    What are you talking about?
    0%
    Total votes: 43