Sheesh - this is getting to be like posts between Jac and K - not brief. Sorry.
Neo: I think you are misreading some of my points. For instance, I have admitted foreknowledge in almost every post, how can I then claim that God doesn't know about something?
I realize you have acknowledged foreknowledge. The problem is, when you create with foreknowledge of every aspect of a thing know, per HOW and WHEN you create, what the interactions will produce, then that is powerful established control over ever parameter. If a programmer writes code for how input data will be considered and utilized, he need not micromanage it – as the control was built in the programming and thus the set parameters of what can happen. But God is not some random programmer – He KNOWS fully all that He designed and built, of how it will play out. And it could not play out without His installations, designs, timing, parameters instilled, all that. So that foreknowledge negates what you are asserting about randomness and God's “hands off” approach. Again, to GOD, NOTHING is random! And prophecies are not just predictions based upon foreknowledge, but they are pronouncements of what God has decided will occur, and thus WANTS to occur – as He has ultimate purposes in them. Natural disasters, etc. - all are under God's control. Scripture says God places people precisely in their own times, geographic and familial circumstances. And so when He does this, He also fully knows whether a future earthquake or or other natural disaster will destroy wastelands of no consequence, or whether the civilizations of humans He seeds will be impacted by such disasters. Foreknowledge MEANS control. Creating parameters and abilities IS control. Combining all of that – God is orchestrating history – which is what He says.
Neo: I do believe that Adam and Eve could have been real people who had an encounter with God, or God chose to interact with them. I do understand that the text really means that when it mentions them. And thus, find it ironic that you of all people don't believe it.
Neo, I didn't say I don't believe Adam and Eve's story – I only question whether theirs is the FIRST story – while it MIGHT well be. I'm also saying that there are a variety of possibilities of how the text is both true and the events were historical. And if Adam and Eve did not fall into sin – you have a major problem with the narrative woven throughout the Bible – sin and the need to have it forgiven, to have a Savior. And, truly, I'm not so concerned about how one thinks Adam and Eve came into existence, as I am that they were real people, and that their story, rebellion, fall, and their need for redemption is believed as truth.
Neo: Jesus was silent about many things.
Silent upon how false things are widely believed as truth – and, by the way, dangerously so! And so, by not distinguishing, we would have no idea which was which. Clearly, Jesus believed the OT was His/God's Word! That is what He taught, that is what the Apostles believed and re-enforced. And this is why, mainly, I believe that ALL of the OT is God's word – although I don't know HOW it went down. I do know that saying things like this or that thing in Scripture cannot be true – I see that as terribly dangerous – a slippery slope with no certainties whatsoever, not to mention great dangers.
Neo: I do think that perhaps what Jesus may have meant, not just the books but the people, the prophetic line etc, and obviously that I have no problem with. If however, Jesus was confirming O.T as a word to word replication, then I am not sure.
But neither Jesus nor any Apostle ever asserted that EVERY word in Scripture was true word for word – that's obviously not the case. Scripture has the literal, allegorical/metaphorical, history, viewpoints, statements and actions of various people recorded, poetry, etc. But are the paraphrased sayings, sermons, and events stated as fact, not true??? How could that be? It would mean Jesus either didn't mean what He said OR He was lying. Does that equate with the Jesus across Scripture? Of the God who built the universe? And what better opportunity to set the record straight about Mose's writings, than when He referred to them as Scripture - as in, "and by the way, this or that was added by evil men - God did not say this, nor did Moses write it." He makes no such distinctions - distinctions which, if they existed, would have been immensely important to note and correct. In fact, correct understandings of Scripture and rebuttals of false beliefs are the norm across the NT. But nothing of the sort. AS when Jesus said, "not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from The Law until everything is accomplished," this is Him doubling down that NONE of it was false and that ALL of it was God-inspired, important and trustworthy! And what does "The Law" include? The Creation accounts in Genesis 1 and 2, and more!
How then, can those accounts be false - what are the options? A) Jesus never said this - it was simply made up by some later "creative" copyist or apostle wannabe; B) Jesus was sloppy or unclear as to what aspects of The Law and the Prophets He meant to endorse as being God's Word?; C) The apostles developed Jesus' "high" view of a God-inspired and dependable Scripture, independent of anything Jesus taught or that God's Spirit had inspired? What, then? Which is the answer? And note: When Jesus endorsed the entirety of the OT in Matthew 5, His disciples were there (verses 1 and 2): "Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them." So, Jesus disciples KNEW He said this - and He did so with crowds of people around.
Neo: It could very well be, that just like the sermon on the mount which is paraphrased and bonded together even though Christ didn't say those things in one, go, is a similar situation here done by the gospel authors. In any case, I understand that I am at a loss here, I can concede that the scriptures would maintain its internal consistency and thus it's better to say, all things considered, that Jesus did confirm the O.T.
Great! Because, clearly, Jesus did so – which is a huge can of worms for anyone cherrypicking of what they consider true, and what is not true. To me, the God who repeatedly and consistently across 16 centuries of prophets, apostles and His Incarnation – what they say about the importance and reliability of His word and its trustworthiness – it makes no sense that any of it is not reliable or that ANY of it is not true. And in confirming it, Jesus put that question to rest. Don't believe that – why believe ANY of it? There would be no way of knowing which is which. A God who came to FULFILL all of the OT, prophesied precisely key events, Jesus arrival, His death and resurrection, Who had the power to build a universe by speaking it into existence – does anyone seriously believe such a God, so Self-described, and witnessed in His Fleshly appearances, believe He could not protect His Word – or that it wouldn't be IMPORTANT for Him to protect? He DIED for it! Enough said.
Neo: However, I maintain my position. Adam and Eve were not the first humans through which all mankind descended and I realize this doesn't go with what Christ said, so there I am guilty of errancy, I admit I have no way to reconcile it.
There is still a possibility per how the text is worded, that there were humans before Adam. Read ancient Hebrew and Bible scholar Michael Heiser's writings about this. He does not – and I do not – assert this as the certain meaning. But it does mean the text might
be referring to that. But it is clear that the God's line of people that came through Adam are the humanity that would have also come down by Moses time via those on the Ark. Again, another “bottleneck” issue – are we to also question whether the Ark story is just made up? And on and on, the plagues in Egypt, the Red Sea parting – so many key stories that science doesn't back up as possible. Because science can't determine interruptions in God's otherwise natural behaving creation. In fact, THE reason we can even do science is the remarkable and thus measurable consistencies built into the world and universe.
Neo: I also conclude this because regardless of what the text says (and it seems pretty straight), it is beyond speculation that Jesus and/or the gospel authors were certain of the Biblical story, there was no reason to doubt it.
Either way, I don't want to twist the scriptures.
But twisting them is not the problem here – the problem is when you believe Jesus and the Gospel authors taught these things, but in the next breath assert certain parts of what they confirm can't possibly be true. That's a great inconsistency. And to do that is, at the very least, is denying the Scriptures.
Neo: And if you see the universe it is exact opposite of what you believe, it is random chaos out there, galaxies colliding, supernovas going off. Whatever sources you have for saying this, are misleading at best.
Neo, while an imperfect analogy, if a builder builds houses for a living, and as each house is built – and especially afterward - there are all manner of scraps of lumber, nails, leftover wiring, and tons of apparently useless stuff left over – which are then taken away to a landfill filled with decades of such leftover materials – is the focus of the builders or all those homeowners, the crap they long ago hauled to landfills? Or is it the nice houses that emerged that are filled with human beings reaping their benefits? It's not about the chaos and the scraps – or even dangers. Yes, a tornado can come and devastate and entire subdivision – that doesn't negate our focus of building houses for people. God's house for humans is an earth, which, if you know about the highly specific parameters of the universe, of our type of galaxy – an enormous amount of specificity protects us, and makes life possible. The world has stupendous order and design – to deny that is ridiculous! Even the supposed “junk dna” is now known to have purposes. As well, God, the ultimate builder, has purpose for this world – yes, it can be very dangerous and uncertain, disasters occur. But it's not ONLY about THIS world.
Neo: The reason you think you are safe is that you are on such a small part of the universe that it is trivial. Don't worry, our universe is "designed" to be a death trap for all life. If the universe kept expanding at its current rate, there will be nothing left or if it contracted there will be nothing left. No matter how much life you have here, the precision and order and great consistency etc etc. It will amount to nothing.
But ARE we ONLY at the mercy of the cold, ruthless, unmerciful forces of nature, or can we depend upon God – does He not care? Does He not intervene – although not always as we wish. Does He not protect? Does He not personally care about us? Are our prayers delusional and pointless? Scripture doesn't promise us a fairy-tale existence – but neither does it show us to be helpless or abandoned to random forces. Not to mention, God says He USES our trials for our own good and growth. If we were just in some hopeless Darwinian crapshoot without any protections or hope that God can help us, we'd be ignoring a huge amount of Scripture: http://biblereasons.com/troubles/
. Seems as if you are taking your deist randomness to an extreme that just because we are in an often scary world, that we are only at its mercy, or that God isn't aware or actively involved in how it impacts us, or doesn't even care. That is an unScriptural belief! And it's also a depressing and hopeless outlook for anyone claiming faith in God – as what good is such faith? God doesn't care about our circumstances???!!! He tells us to bring our burdens to Him – WHY??? So He can laugh, or just ignore them? Does He not tell us to do so because A) He cares and B) has power over our circumstances.
Neo: God knew humans would happen, foreknowledge, again. As for the image of God, I don't know what that means, surely not a beard and nipples. If we are talking about giving them a conscience or a spirit, perhaps that sounds more like it, hence I agree but that must have come later after humans arrived on the scene.
YOU know what I mean about God's Image – we're not animals – and we are the only creature on earth like us – again, per God's intentions. Note that God states AFTER He has created all of the animals, that He “saw that it was good.” And “then” He speaks of making man (future tense – not as He states about every other animal created (with each being made “after its own kind”), but man will be created “in Our Image, after OUR likeness." So, this OT that Jesus confirms says man was made AFTER and INDEPENDENT of all of the animal kingdom. The text of Genesis I also does not say this is Adam and Eve, but “MAN” that He will create. Genesis 2 shifts to the scene with the creations of Adam and Eve. Adam is created before the Garden exists, later placed there. And they are made, not from existing animals, but “in OUR image, after OUR likeness" – as neither of them yet existed. Note that this account is the first reference to God's Trinity - think someone made THAT up, and just got theologically lucky in making it up? And so man, Adam and Eve are made independent of and AFTER ALL of the animals, and from the earth's dust and Adam's rib. Even as an allegorical story, we see that the animals already exist and are separate in creation of man. It MIGHT be possible that Adam and Eve are much later creations – again, MAYBE.
Neo: I think that such a creation is possible. You don't think it is. Please understand this, it doesn't matter what you think is possible or not. In the end, evidence decides what is possible or isn't.
And evidence must be interpreted correctly – evidence, which can, of course, be interpreted in a number of ways, as with several possibilities noted. Get some key aspect of your evidence or its interpretation wrong and your assertion falls apart.
Neo: The reason why this should not be taken seriously, is because of the number of homo species we have found so far, 7 of them very close to modern humans. This evidence of population just flies in the face of what Fuz is claiming in those articles. We know that populations arise together and die as well. It is a simple fact of biology.
Neo: Just take one example, why don't a Caucasian couple can't produce an Asian baby or vice versa or a black one or an aborgine? They can't even produce it eventually even in 100 generations. Because the same type of DNA and diseases and other genetic data is being circulated in the population. You need a population for that diversity to happen.
That is NOT a evidence-based rebuttal of the issues that Faz brings up – what he definitely shows is that there are still huge questions and uncertainties – meaning, there is yet no PROOF that the Biblical accounts are false – guess Jesus' assertion isn't enough???!!! Do we have to wait on science or anything else to validate as being true, if Jesus has already declared it so? The question should be, "Did Jesus say this?" And note that He said it in multiple ways, validating the OT categorically and with individual stories. Look at the passages where Jesus validates such things - they are intermingled with crucial, foundational teachings of His. Who controlled what the Apostles wrote down? THEY did! And if the writers of the NT were mistaken, then so are we. But, again, this points to a God who doesn't care about the truth of His Word - you know, the one He came to die for!
But let's look at some outtakes of big problems Faz notes - relating to whether key Biblical texts can be falsified:
* The incongruity of evolutionary trees. In other words, evolutionary biologists wind up with different evolutionary trees depending on the region of the genome they use to build the trees
http://www.reasons.org/articles/dna-seq ... t-better-3
* If the action of an intelligent agent becomes part of the construct of science and, hence, biology, then the shared molecular fossils in the genomes of humans and the great apes (such as pseudo-genes) could be seen as shared design features. These sequence elements point to common descent only if certain assumptions are true:
1. The genomes’ shared structures and sequences are nonfunctional.
2. The events that created these features are rare, random, and non-repeatable.
3. No mechanisms other than common descent (vertical gene transfer) can generate shared features in genomes.
However, recent studies raise questions about the validity of these assumptions. For example, in the last decade or so, molecular biologists and molecular geneticists have discovered that most classes of “junk DNA,” including pseudogenes, have function.
* One point Venema fails to acknowledge is that, at best, the population sizes generated from genetic diversity data are merely estimates, not hard and fast values. The reason: the mathematical models these methods are based on are highly idealized, generating differing estimates based on several factors.
More significantly, recent studies focusing on birds and mammals, however, raise questions as to whether these models predict population size.