Bible stories literal or symbolic?

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Bible stories literal or symbolic?

Literal
7
47%
Symbolic
5
33%
Exaggerated
0
No votes
Not sure
3
20%
 
Total votes: 15

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Re: Bible stories literal or symbolic?

#91

Post by Gman » Tue Jun 10, 2008 6:50 pm

Jac wrote:That says it all.
All about what? No one really knows how God created everything. Are you claiming that you do know? If so, please explain how God created everything. The only thing we can agree on here is that He did create it all. That's about it.

Given this I'm not a real fan of theistic evolution. I believe it explains too much without the involvement of God. As you know, (Ihope anyways) I'm no friend of Darwinian evolution. From this idea I gather that God is replaced by natural selection. However, that being said, I don't believe with 100 percent certainty that God didn't use some form of evolution in his creation. We just don't know, so I can't say "no" to this idea completely. My lean however is with progressive creationism.
Jac wrote:edit: I'm going to take one last shot at this. I am convinced that I'm not explaining myself correctly, because you are not even addressing my point. Let me just do this Q/A style:
Q. Briefly, what causes you to consider the snake in Genesis 3 to be non-literal?
Ok, let's take a different approach then. Let's just examine the words that involve the word “serpent” or the Hebrew “nachash.” This way we won't even involve other scripture. Seems fair? Let's just examine the word from the Strong's concordance.

Serpent, Strong's H5175 nachash (naw-khash);

Usage: A serpent, so called from it's hissing. The root 1) to practice divination, divine, observe signs, learn by experience, diligently observe, practice fortunetelling, take as an omen.

Source: http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexi ... 5175&t=KJV

As we can see the hebrew word for serpent in the Bible is "Nachash". It can actually mean a snake from it's hiss not really what is was. In fact the root word has more of a focus on the actions and character of the snake but not literally a snake. The root is actually more of a adjective than a noun. It literally means one who practices divination, an or is an enchanter and that is exactly what the devil was doing with Eve. He was speaking or whispering lies to her. Other words can also mean to illuminate or shine as we shall see…

I've been reading from the Hebrew scholar Michael S. Heiser on this topic lately so I thought I would quote from him.
In this lesson, I'd like to lay out in more detail, with at least a little visual help, my translation of the word in Gen. 3 usually translated “serpent” in Genesis 3 — hannachash. I'll also trace a few references to the “seed” of hannachash in the Old Testament. Some of what follows will be familiar, as my goal is to try and tie a few ends together a bit more tightly for readers.

The Hebrew word שחנ , is actually an adjective (ןונ ש; meaning “bright”, “brazen (as in shiny brass) with the prefixed article (-ה the word “the” in Hebrew). Thus the word is formed ןונ ש + חקיפ (a dot is added in the second letter from the right when an article is attached). The whole word then, in the Hebrew text is שחנ , hannachash
(nachash is pronounced “nakash”).

What is different about this approach is that I view the base word, nachash, as an adjective, not a noun. The NOUN spelled nachash in Hebrew can mean: snake / serpent or one who practices of divination. The adjective means “bright, brazen” and is itself the base word for other nouns in Hebrew, like “shining brass.”

Hebrew grammar, it is not unusual for an adjective to be “converted” for use as a noun (the proper word is “substantivized”).2 A common example would be “holy one” (with or without the article). If we take שחנ  as deriving from the adjective rather than as a noun, the translation becomes “the shining one”, which is quite in concert with descriptions of the satan figure in the Old Testament. For example, in Isa 14:12-15, he is called Helel ben-shachar — “The shining one, son of the dawn.” Elsewhere, divine beings are described as “shining” or luminous, even by use of the adjective ןונ ש. For example:

Daniel 10
Now on the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was by
the side of the great river, that is, the Tigris, 5I lifted my eyes
and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in linen, whose
waist was girded with gold of Uphaz! His body was like beryl,
his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like
torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze
(ןונ ש; ; חקיפ) in color, and the sound of his words like the
voice of a multitude.

Personally, I tend to think that, in light of the serpentine appearance of divine beings in Yahweh's presence, what we
have in Genesis 3 is wordplay using all the meanings of the חקיפ semantic range. That is, Eve was not talking to a snake. She was speaking to an bright, shining upright being who was serpentine in appearance, and who was trying to bewitch her with lies. She was in the presence of one of the sons of God, beings who had free will, who were more powerful than mere angels, whom humanity was created “a little lower” (Psalm 8:4-5; the phrase usually translated as “a little lower than the angels” is actually “a little lower than the elohim in the Hebrew text).3 She was speaking to a member of the divine council who did not share Yahweh's enthusiasm for his new creation, humankind, to whom Yahweh had just given rule over the planet (Gen 1:26-27). These mere humans were—as the “lesser elohim” had been previously—created as Yahweh's image (“let US”…“OUR” in Gen 1:26-27), to rule the cosmos for Yahweh, and earth — at least until humanity was fashioned. In this last regard, I share the view of certain lines of Jewish tradition that teach the “serpent's” motive for seducing Eve was jealousy at humanity's “appointment” as supreme authority under Yahweh on earth — as opposed to the sons of God getting that job.
Source: http://www.thedivinecouncil.com/nachashnotes.pdf
The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects as false - Galileo

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Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. -Philippians 4:8

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Re: Bible stories literal or symbolic?

#92

Post by Jac3510 » Tue Jun 10, 2008 9:20 pm

You do realize that his entire argument is based on a polytheistic view of the Old Testament, don't you? I can't imagine why wikipedia labels him evangelical.
  • The thought might have occurred to you that when the Hebrew writers referred to the God of Israel as “THE God” (par excellence) or “Most High” (greater and more exalted than all others) that this implies more than one god. If that question crept into your mind, kudos to you! You'd be correct . . . according to Psalm 82:1, the singular God (elohim) of Israel presides over an assembly or council of other gods (elohim).
Oh, here's the link. Look, from the same page you referenced, he says that "[Eve] was speaking to a member of the divine council who did not share Yahweh's enthusiasm for his new creation, humankind, to whom Yahweh had just given rule over the planet."

Besides this, he directly contradicts Jesus' own words (which is never a good idea). He argues that the elohim of Ps. 82:1 cannot refer to Israelites because there is no "scriptural basis for the idea that God presides over a council of humans that governs the nations of the earth." And yet, Jesus uses this same passage with reference to the Israelites!

So, on this count, Heiser's entire argument falls apart. There is no council of lesser-gods in whose image we are created. Now, you wanted to talk to me about the damage our hermeneutic is causing to Christianity. Let's look at what your hermeneutic has gotten us into so far:

1. It can be taken, by men like Crossan (whether you do or not), to deny the Resurrection;
2. It implies polytheism;
3. It means Jesus either didn't understand Scripture or was a bad exegete.

Now, all in all, you still haven't answered my question: I asked you, what in the context of Genesis 3 would lead you to such a wild (or at least non-traditional) exegesis as this? I'm asking YOU, not Heiser.

edit:

BTW, to further kill the argument, Paul himself says this was a snake. "But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ." (2 Cor 11:3) The Greek word for serpent here is ophis, which has no bearing on light-bearing. It just means snake. Also, the LXX translates hannachash with the same word: ophis. If the idea here were "a bright-shining one," Paul would have said so. As it is, Paul translates this "serpent."

So, I either take Heiser's translation or Paul's. Hmm . . . ;)
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Bible stories literal or symbolic?

#93

Post by Gman » Tue Jun 10, 2008 10:23 pm

Jac3510 wrote:You do realize that his entire argument is based on a polytheistic view of the Old Testament, don't you? I can't imagine why wikipedia labels him evangelical.
  • The thought might have occurred to you that when the Hebrew writers referred to the God of Israel as “THE God” (par excellence) or “Most High” (greater and more exalted than all others) that this implies more than one god. If that question crept into your mind, kudos to you! You'd be correct . . . according to Psalm 82:1, the singular God (elohim) of Israel presides over an assembly or council of other gods (elohim).
Oh, here's the link. Look, from the same page you referenced, he says that "[Eve] was speaking to a member of the divine council who did not share Yahweh's enthusiasm for his new creation, humankind, to whom Yahweh had just given rule over the planet."

Besides this, he directly contradicts Jesus' own words (which is never a good idea). He argues that the elohim of Ps. 82:1 cannot refer to Israelites because there is no "scriptural basis for the idea that God presides over a council of humans that governs the nations of the earth." And yet, Jesus uses this same passage with reference to the Israelites!
Are we going to talk about Genesis 3 or do you want to talk about a different subject? I've noticed a few other topics by Heiser that I don't necessarily agree with, but I believe his stance about the serpent DOES raise some issues, being that it wasn't a literal snake we are dealing with here. It could very well be something else whether the elohim were other LESSER God's (which I would probably question too), or were simply Satan's demons cast down to the earth..

If you want to talk about his other subjects then I suggest that you post them somewhere else.
Jac3510 wrote:So, on this count, Heiser's entire argument falls apart. There is no council of lesser-gods in whose image we are created. Now, you wanted to talk to me about the damage our hermeneutic is causing to Christianity. Let's look at what your hermeneutic has gotten us into so far:

1. It can be taken, by men like Crossan (whether you do or not), to deny the Resurrection;
2. It implies polytheism;
3. It means Jesus either didn't understand Scripture or was a bad exegete.

Now, all in all, you still haven't answered my question: I asked you, what in the context of Genesis 3 would lead you to such a wild (or at least non-traditional) exegesis as this? I'm asking YOU, not Heiser.
As I have explained to you the word "Nachash" is actually more of an adjective than a noun. In Genesis it is called a serpent ONLY from it's hiss. The text does NOT really imply it was a literal snake. You are simply wrong in your assumptions...

Let's look at what your hermeneutic has gotten us into so far:

1. It can be taken (a literal snake), by men to deny the Resurrection and the Cross and turn God's word into a unbelievable fable.
2. It implies gross exaggerations in the Bible which puts it out of bounds of our observational science.
3. It means that if the snake was literal, then other figures should be taken as being literal also. Like a 6 day creation.
Jac3510 wrote:BTW, to further kill the argument, Paul himself says this was a snake. "But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ." (2 Cor 11:3) The Greek word for serpent here is ophis, which has no bearing on light-bearing. It just means snake. Also, the LXX translates hannachash with the same word: ophis. If the idea here were "a bright-shining one," Paul would have said so. As it is, Paul translates this "serpent."

So, I either take Heiser's translation or Paul's. Hmm . . . ;)
Well if you look at the word snake in 2 Cor 11:3, it is exactly the same word used in Revelation 12:9 and 20:2. And it's a figurative term. According to the Strong's Greek Lexicon...

3789. ophis of'-is probably from 3700 (through the idea of sharpness of vision); a snake, FIGURATIVELY, (as a type of sly cunning) an artful malicious person, especially Satan:--serpent.

Source: http://www.eliyah.com/cgi-bin/strongs.c ... index=3789

edit...

Also from the Companion Bible, Bullinger classifies the Genesis snake as a metonymy the same as serpents in (Num. 21: 6,9). Heb for Nachash, a shining one. The old serpent (2 Cor. 11:3), an angel of light, a shining one (2 Cor. 11:14). He also gives an example of "nachash" used in Numbers 21:8. and as the figure of speech Hypocatastasis.
The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects as false - Galileo

We learn from history that we do not learn from history - Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. -Philippians 4:8

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Re: Bible stories literal or symbolic?

#94

Post by Jac3510 » Wed Jun 11, 2008 5:16 am

edit:

As much as I would love to walk through that and point out things like illegitimate totatality transfer (WEHOO FOR BIG WORDS), let me just go back to what I was trying to get to before. Just one question.

What, in the context of Genesis 3, causes you to take nacham to be figurative?

Actually, for the record, you have changed your argument. You are now arguing it is not figurative at all, but you are rather translating the word differently. That's fine, but I still want to know: what in the context causes you to take this as either a figurative snake or an alternate translation of "brazen one"? Why do YOU think it should be taken in either sense, rather than refering to an actual snake?
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Bible stories literal or symbolic?

#95

Post by ttoews » Wed Jun 11, 2008 9:17 am

Hi all, I thought I'd pop back in for a bit and this topic drew my interest
Jac3510 wrote:Q. Briefly, what causes you to consider the snake in Genesis 3 to be non-literal?
My answer is a little different than Gman's, and so I'll provide it (for what it is worth).

In short, b/c of what is contained in the passage.

As pointed out by Gman, Rev. 12:9 identifies Satan as that ancient serpent. When I look at the Bible I note that the serpent first shows up in Gen 3 and so I recognize the possibility that the serpent of Gen 3 is really Satan. When I look at Gen 2 & 3 I note certain things that strongly indicate that this passage is not to be taken literally. First, I can agree with Jac that the passage applies to the cross...but of course, I think Jac is wrong wrt the way it applies. The scriptures tell us that eternal life is the product of what Jesus did for us when he hung on a tree...it is not something gained by our works in picking a particular fruit from a particular tree and eating it. In other words, eternal life is the fruit of Christ's work as he hung on a tree (which we eat symbolically in the Lord's supper) and is not something gained by eating the literal fruit that grows on a tree...therefore, I see the passage as prefiguring the most important message of the Bible.
Second, experience (not science) tells me (and the author and readers of Gen 3) that snakes can't actually speak for themselves and that they are not the craftiest of all beasts. If the actual agent in the deception of Eve is Satan, then why is the snake cursed and not Satan? The curse says nothing about removal of the ability to speak or the ability to be crafty...So why don't snakes still speak?" Why are they not still the craftiest of all beasts? Should one disregard one's experience and believe that snakes can still talk and are still the most crafty beast? If one wants to adopt a hermeneutic that allows one to assume that the ability to speak was removed along with superior craftiness when the Bible is silent on the matter, then I guess (if applied consistently) that hermeneutic would allow one to add a whole lot to the Bible to accommodate quite a variety of views (that are built on locations where the Bible is silent).

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Re: Bible stories literal or symbolic?

#96

Post by Jac3510 » Wed Jun 11, 2008 5:33 pm

Hey ttoews, always nice to get your thoughts. First let me say that I appreciate your response. There are a few comments I'd like to make on it, although I also have to confess that I have something of a tactic I'm employing with Gman wrt this particular question. I can't take my answer in the same way with you as I will with him! Still, iron sharpens iron, so the more the merrier, eh?
As pointed out by Gman, Rev. 12:9 identifies Satan as that ancient serpent.
This is obvious, but just as obvious is the fact that Revelation was written some 1800 years after Genesis. Thus, whatever extra light the Revelation may shed on this passage, it cannot affect its original meaning.
When I look at the Bible I note that the serpent first shows up in Gen 3 and so I recognize the possibility that the serpent of Gen 3 is really Satan.
But would you recognize this possibility if it were not for the NT? Probably not, which is a serious problem.
When I look at Gen 2 & 3 I note certain things that strongly indicate that this passage is not to be taken literally.
THIS is what I'm after. If there are indications in the passage itself, then I'm all up for adopting your view, but we cannot import our theology into the text. That's just bad hermeneutics.
First, I can agree with Jac that the passage applies to the cross...but of course, I think Jac is wrong wrt the way it applies. The scriptures tell us that eternal life is the product of what Jesus did for us when he hung on a tree...it is not something gained by our works in picking a particular fruit from a particular tree and eating it. In other words, eternal life is the fruit of Christ's work as he hung on a tree (which we eat symbolically in the Lord's supper) and is not something gained by eating the literal fruit that grows on a tree...therefore, I see the passage as prefiguring the most important message of the Bible.
1) I never argued this passage applies to the Cross. I said Gman's hermeneutic--as demonstrated by the way he is interpreting this passage--would have ramifications on how he interprets the Cross.
2) Regarding this being a prefiguration of the Cross and salvation, that's fine. I have no problem with that, but we can't use that to argue against the literal nature of the passage. Again, the Cross came 1800 years after this was written. It can have no bearing on the literalness (or lack-thereof) on the text.
Second, experience (not science) tells me (and the author and readers of Gen 3) that snakes can't actually speak for themselves and that they are not the craftiest of all beasts.
Do you believe that we are to interpret Scripture in light of our experience? Should we not, rather, measure our experience against the teachings of Scripture?

As far as the serpent not being the carftiest of all beasts, you can tangle with Jesus on that, not me: "Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." (Matt 10:16)
If the actual agent in the deception of Eve is Satan, then why is the snake cursed and not Satan?
I answered this earlier in the thread. The snake is the one who deceived Eve. His relationship to Satan is not explicitly stated in the passage. That the snake even has such a relationship is a matter of later revelation, and from that revelation, we come to see the curse on the snake as a curse on Satan as well--especially in 3:15.
The curse says nothing about removal of the ability to speak or the ability to be crafty...So why don't snakes still speak?" Why are they not still the craftiest of all beasts?
Jesus refers to snakes as crafty. Regarding the removal of the ability to speak, we don't know enough about the nature of that snake to make the charge. Perhaps Adam and Eve could talk to all animals before the Fall. Perhaps they couldn't talk to any animals, but Satan was allowed to tempt Eve through that particular snake. Perhaps the loss of the ability to speak wasn't necessary to imply for the exact reason that the Israelites could well see that snakes no longer talk. There are endless possibilities, but the fact that there is even one militates against this as being an argument against the literalness of the snake.
Should one disregard one's experience and believe that snakes can still talk and are still the most crafty beast?
The text does not assert that snakes can still talk, therefore, I am not required to believe that they are. The fact that the text does not address this particular issue doesn't mean anything other than this: the snake's ability to speak is not the point of the story.

With that said, your first clause is right. Experience should have no bearing on interpretation whatsoever.
f one wants to adopt a hermeneutic that allows one to assume that the ability to speak was removed along with superior craftiness when the Bible is silent on the matter, then I guess (if applied consistently) that hermeneutic would allow one to add a whole lot to the Bible to accommodate quite a variety of views (that are built on locations where the Bible is silent).
You are confusing speculative theology with hermeneutics. The latter doesn't allow me to say anything about the loss of the snake's ability to speak, precisely because the text doesn't address it. For me to address something that the text does NOT address is called eisogesis. Thus, I am NOT allowed to make such claims and label them an interpretation. Not here, and not anywhere.

Against this, I AM allowed to draw out observations that are asserted by the text. I can then compare these and come to a series of possibilities (one or more) to explain how they could possibly relate. And so, I have as observations:

1. A snake,
2. That talks,
3. and tempts,
4. A woman,
3. To eat . . .

Etc., etc.

I observe, then, that the snake talked in Gen. 3 and that they don't talk now, and I ask myself, "How can this be?" If I try to say, "Well this passage teaches that man could talk to animals before the Fall," then I have committed eisogesis. But if I say, "It is possible that man spoke to animals before the Fall; on this, the Bible is silent, but this is a possible explanation of what we see in the text," I have made no such error, for I am no longer practicing hermeneutics of any kind.

NOW - you said you had things in the text that led you to believe that the snake is non-literal. So, my question to you is this:

1. What do you see IN THE TEXT that would imply the snake was non-literal; and
2. Assuming we DO take the text as non-literal, what IN THE TEXT (that is, without reference to later Scripture) would lead you to believe this was a symbol for Satan? If nothing of the sort exists IN THE TEXT, then what, IN THE TEXT, do you find the word "snake" to be a figure for?
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Bible stories literal or symbolic?

#97

Post by ttoews » Wed Jun 11, 2008 7:13 pm

Jac3510 wrote:Hey ttoews, always nice to get your thoughts. First let me say that I appreciate your response.
Thanks for your kind words Jac. I've got a bit of time, so allow me to give you one thing about the text that (I think) presents problems for a literalist....I'll respond to the rest of your post when time permits.

It is not just a talking snake that is presented. The snake can reason on par with man. The snake is aware of God and makes a distinction between good and evil. The snake is capable of deceiving and tempting through use words. Last time I checked, deception leading to disobedience to God would be a sin. As such, it seems that the snake is an intellectual being, who is conscious of obedience vs. disobedience to God, conscious of good vs. evil and capable of sin.

I note that in Gen 1: 26-27 God creates man (and woman) in his own image. Do you interpret those verses literally? If not, what do you understand "image" to mean....and how does God's image possessed by man differ from the traits possessed by the Gen 3 snake?

First, I can agree with Jac that the passage applies to the cross...
1) I never argued this passage applies to the Cross.
I should have known something was amiss as soon as I typed "I can agree with Jac". :D
2) Regarding this being a prefiguration of the Cross and salvation, that's fine. I have no problem with that, but we can't use that to argue against the literal nature of the passage. Again, the Cross came 1800 years after this was written. It can have no bearing on the literalness (or lack-thereof) on the text.
we have clashed on this view before...given that God is the ultimate Author of the entire Bible and that 1800 years is no more significant to him than is 18 seconds to me, I see no problem with God giving a later inspiration that allows a better understanding of an earlier inspiration.

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Re: Bible stories literal or symbolic?

#98

Post by Gman » Wed Jun 11, 2008 10:53 pm

Jac3510 wrote:As much as I would love to walk through that and point out things like illegitimate totatality transfer (WEHOO FOR BIG WORDS), let me just go back to what I was trying to get to before. Just one question.

What, in the context of Genesis 3, causes you to take nacham to be figurative?

Actually, for the record, you have changed your argument. You are now arguing it is not figurative at all, but you are rather translating the word differently. That's fine, but I still want to know: what in the context causes you to take this as either a figurative snake or an alternate translation of "brazen one"? Why do YOU think it should be taken in either sense, rather than refering to an actual snake?
No…. Changing the argument is like trying to figure out who the “lesser elohim” were. I'm trying to point out to you that the word serpent still is a figurative term. Again, "Nachash" actually means a snake from it's hiss not really what is was.

Obviously if you read Genesis 3 in english it seems to be talking about some kind of snake. But when you break it all down it simply does NOT. Why? Here is a summary of some of the things we already addressed...

1. Like you said, “there is a way to properly understand God/Scripture, which is in the order of its progressive revelation.” However, this is NOT the only way either. As we have seen, we also need to examine the actual words "IN THE TEXT" that were translated to find out their true meaning as well.

2. "Nachash" actually means a snake from it's hiss not really what is was. The root word has more of a focus on the actions and character of the snake but not literally a snake. It is actually more of an adjective than a noun. It literally means one who practices divination, or is an enchanter and that is exactly what the devil was doing with Eve. In other words, he was speaking or whispering lies to her.

3. From scripture we can clearly see in Revelation 12:9 the snake was "CALLED" the devil, meaning that the devil wasn't an actual snake.

4. From scripture we can see that the devil can also be called a lion (1 Peter 5:8), a dragon (Rev. 12:9), and men can also be represented as serpents (Matthew 23:33). These are figurative terms. Satan is also known to be roaming to and fro throughout the earth (like a snake) (Job 2:2). And in Isaiah 56:9, God calls the wicked "all ye beasts of the field” exactly like the snake was called.

5. Spiritual aspects like the devil could also be taken in symbolic terms like the snake. As an example Daniel 8: 1-22.

6. God gave man dominion over all living things (Gen 1:26,28), that means they would have dominion over the serpent. If so Satan couldn't. (from August)

7. Our observational experiences whether it is scientific or sensory tells us that it is not possible for snakes to talk nor walk for that matter either.

8. A literal walking talking snake with an intellectual ability to temp people puts the powers of God beyond that of the miraculous and into unbelievable fables.
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Re: Bible stories literal or symbolic?

#99

Post by Jac3510 » Thu Jun 12, 2008 7:37 am

You've misunderstood your own argument, Gman.

You do know that nchsh (="snake") and nchsh (="brasen") are not the same word, right? It is not like the same word has two possible meanings. Actually, nchsh is not a word at all--it is a ROOT of a word.

So I need to know which of two different arguments you are putting forward, because, right now, you are mixing them. Are you arguing

1) That nchsh is the word nachash, and thus should be translated "snake," in which case the "snake" is purely a literary device that describes Satan; OR are you arguing
2) that nchsh is the word nechosheth (the adjective), and thus should be translated "a bright one" (used substantively), in which case we have no literary device at all; in fact, we have no snake, we have a word "the bright one" referring to some semi-divine being (which later revelation tells us is Satan)?

So,which word are you using? Please note, again, this is not one word with two different meanings. These are two distinct words. Which one do you say the word in Genesis 3 is? The word nachash (snake) is NOT "more of an adjective." It is a noun, plain and simple, that means "snake." The word nechosheth (bright, as per Heismer) is NOT the word nachash and has NO relationship to snakes whatsoever. These two words simply have a similar root, no more, and no less.

We can't proceed with your argument until you tell me which one you are using.
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And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Bible stories literal or symbolic?

#100

Post by Gman » Thu Jun 12, 2008 9:40 pm

Jac wrote:You've misunderstood your own argument, Gman.
No you are misunderstanding what I have said….
Jac wrote:You do know that nchsh (="snake") and nchsh (="brasen") are not the same word, right? It is not like the same word has two possible meanings. Actually, nchsh is not a word at all--it is a ROOT of a word.

So I need to know which of two different arguments you are putting forward, because, right now, you are mixing them. Are you arguing

1) That nchsh is the word nachash, and thus should be translated "snake," in which case the "snake" is purely a literary device that describes Satan;

OR are you arguing
2) that nchsh is the word nechosheth (the adjective), and thus should be translated "a bright one" (used substantively), in which case we have no literary device at all; in fact, we have no snake, we have a word "the bright one" referring to some semi-divine being (which later revelation tells us is Satan)?

So,which word are you using? Please note, again, this is not one word with two different meanings. These are two distinct words. Which one do you say the word in Genesis 3 is? The word nachash (snake) is NOT "more of an adjective." It is a noun, plain and simple, that means "snake." The word nechosheth (bright, as per Heismer) is NOT the word nachash and has NO relationship to snakes whatsoever. These two words simply have a similar root, no more, and no less.

We can't proceed with your argument until you tell me which one you are using.
From what I've seen the Hebrew word "nachash" can be used different ways in the Bible as I have shown from here. Sometimes it is used as a snake or on other occasions as a symbol. As an example it can be used as a venomous snake (Psa 58:4) or it can even be referred to the tribe of Dan (Gen 49:17). You can even translate nachash as to hiss, mutter, whisper (as do enchanters) as an onomatopoetic word (by it's sound) again as shown from it's root here, but it ALSO has the meaning to be a bright or shining one (constellation in Job 26:13). Sometimes the word nachash is even translated as fiery serpents (Num 21:6). Why shine? As an example we can see it's correlation in Isaiah 14:12-14 where we see that Lucifer was “the morning star” an exalted celestial being full of wisdom and beauty.

"Nechosheth" is generally interpreted as brasen, brass and is a derivative of the Hebrew "nachash".

My point with Bullinger is that he actually uses the word "serpent" in Gen. 3:1 from the root Nachash, to shine meaning that one should look at it figuratively using the root. He gives an example of "nachash" used in Numbers 21:8. and as the figure of speech Hypocatastasis. As an example, one may say to another, "You are like a beast” which would be a Simile. However if I said, "You are a beast" that would be Metaphor. But, if I said simply, " Beast!" that would be a Hypocatastasis. Here is his article on it that explains "nachash" pretty well (from the Companion Bible Appendix: 19). I'll explain more later....
19. THE SERPENT OF GENESIS 3.

In Genesis 3 we have neither allegory, myth, legend, nor fable, but literal historical facts set forth, and emphasized by the use of certain Figures of speech (see Ap. 6).

All the confusion of thought and conflicting exegesis have arisen from taking literally what is expressed by Figures, or from taking figuratively what is literal. A Figure of speech is never used except for the purpose of calling attention to, emphasizing, and intensifying, the reality of the literal sense, and the truth of the historical facts; so that, while the words employed may not be so strictly true to the letter, they are all the more true to the truth conveyed by them, and to the historical events connected with them.

But for the figurative language of verses 14 and 15 no one would have thought of referring the third chapter of Genesis to a snake : no more than he does when reading the third chapter from the end of Revelation (ch. 20:2). Indeed, the explanation added there, that the "old serpent" is the Devil and Satan, would immediately lead one to connect the word "old" with the earlier and former mention of the serpent in Gen. 3 : and the fact that it was Satan himself who tempted "the second man", "the last Adam", would force conclusion that no other than the personal Satan could have been the tempter of "the first man, Adam".

The Hebrew word rendered "serpent" in Gen. 3:1 is Nachash (from the root Nachash, to shine), and means a shining one. Hence, in Chaldee it means brass or copper, because of its shining. Hence also, the word Nehushtan, a piece of brass, in 2Kings 18:4. In the same way Saraph, in Isa. 6:2, 6, means a burning one, and, because the serpents mentioned in Num. 21 were burning, in the poison of their bite, they were called Saraphim, or Saraphs.

But with the LORD said unto Moses, "Make thee a fiery serpent" (Num. 21:8), He said, "Make thee a Saraph", and , in obeying this command, we read in v. 9, "Moses made a Nachash of brass". Nachash is thus used as being interchangeable with Saraph. Now, if Saraph is used of a serpent because its bite was burning, and is also used of a celestial or spirit-being (a burning one), why should not Nachash be used of a serpent because its appearance was shining, and be also used of a celestial or spirit-being (a shining one)?

Indeed, a reference to the structure of Gen. 3 (on p. 7) will show that the Cherubim (which are similar celestial or spirit-beings) of the last verse (Gen. 3:24) require a similar spirit-being to correspond with them in the first verse (for the structure of the whole chapter is a great Introversion). The Nachash, or serpent, who beguiled Eve (2Cor. 11:3) is not spoken of as "an angel of light" in v. 14. Have we not, in this, a clear intimation that it was not a snake, but a glorious shining being, apparently as angel, to whom Eve paid such great deference, acknowledging him as one who seemed to possess superior knowledge, and who was evidently a being of a superior (not of an inferior) order? Moreover, in the description of Satan as "the king of Tyre" (*1) it is distinctly implied that the latter being was of a supernatural order when he is called "a cherub" (Ezek. 28:14, 16, read from vv. 11-19). His presence "in Eden, the garden of 'Elohim" (v. 13), is also clearly stated, as well as his being "perfect in beauty" (v. 12), his being "perfect in his ways from the day he was created till iniquity was found in him" (v. 15), and as being "lifted up because of his beauty" (v. 17).

These all compel the belief that Satan was the shining one (Nachash) in Gen. 3, and especially because the followin 1000 g words could be addressed to him :-- "Thing heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness : I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee" (v. 17). Even supposing that these things were spoken to, and of, an exalted human being in later days (in Ezek. 28), still "the king of Tyre" is not compared to a being who was non-existent; and facts and circumstances which never happened are not introduced into the comparison.
There is more about "the king of Tyre" in Ezek. 28:11-19 than was literally true of "the prince of Tyre" (vv. 1-10). The words can be understood only of the mightiest and most exalted supernatural being that God ever created; and this for the purpose of showing how great would be his fall. The history must be true to make the prophecy of any weight.

Again, the word rendered "subtle" in Gen. 3:1 (see note) means wise, in a good sense as well as in a bad sense. In Ezek. 28:12 we have the good sense, "Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom"; and the bad sense in v. 17, "thou hast corrupted thy wisdom" (referring, of course, to his fall). So the word rendered "subtle" is rendered "prudent" in Prov. 1:4; 8:12; 12:23; 14:8; and in a bad sense in Job 15:5. 1Sam. 23:22. Ps. 83:3.

The word "beast" also, in Gen. 3:1, chay, denotes a living being, and it is as wrong to translate zoa "beasts" in Rev. 4, as it is to translate chay "beast" in Gen. 3. Both mean living creature. Satan is thus spoken of as being "more wise than any other living creature which Jehovah Elohim had made". Even if the word "beast" be retained, it does not say that either a serpent or Satan was a "beast", but only that he was "more wise" than any other living being. We cannot conceive Eve as holding converse with a snake, but we can understand her being fascinated (*2) by one, apparently "an angel of light" (i.e. a glorious angel), possessing superior and supernatural knowledge.

When Satan is spoken of as a "serpent", it is the figure Hypocatastasis (see Ap. 6) or Implication; it no more means snake than it does when Dan is so called in Gen. 49:17; or an animal when Nero is called a "lion" (2Tim. 4:17), or when Herod is called a "fox" (Luke 13:32); or when Judah is called "a lion's whelp". It is the same figure when "doctrine" is called "leaven" (Matt. 16:6). It shows that something much more real and truer to truth is impressively; and is intended to be a figure of something much more real than the letter of the word.

Other Figures of speech are used in vv. 14, 15, but only for the same purpose of emphasizing the truth and the reality of what is said. When it is said in v. 15, "thou shalt bruise His heel", it cannot mean His literal heal of flesh and blood, but suffering, more temporary in character. When it is said (v. 15), "He shall crush thy head", it means something more than a skull of bone, and brain, and hair. It means that all Satan's plans and plots, policy and purposes, will one day be finally crushed and ended, never more to mar or to hinder the purposes of God. This will be effected when Satan shall be bruised under our feet (Rom. 16:20). This again, will not be our literal feet, but something much more real.

The bruising of Christ's heel is the most eloquent and impressive way of foretelling the most solemn events; and to point out that the effort made by Satan to evade his doom, then threatened, would become the very means of insuring its accomplishment; for it was through the death of Christ that he who had the power of death would be destroyed; and all Satan's power and policy brought to an end, and all his works destroyed (Heb. 2:14. 1John 3:8. Rev. 20:1-3, 10). What literal words could portray these literal facts so wonderfully as these expressive Figures of speech?

It is the same with the other Figures used in v. 14, "On thy belly shalt thou go". This Figure means infinitely more than the literal belly of flesh and blood; just as the words "heel" and "head" do in v. 15. It paints for the eyes of our mind the picture of Satan's ultimate humiliation; for prostration was ever the most eloquent sign of subjection. When it is said "our belly cleaveth unto the ground" (Ps. 44:25), it denotes such a prolonged prostration and such a depth of submission as could never be conveyed or expressed in literal words.

So with the other prophecy, "Dust shalt thou eat". This is not true to the letter, or to fact, but it is all the more true to truth. It tells of constant, continuous disappointment, failure, and mortification; as when deceitful ways are spoken of as feeding on deceitful food, which is "sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth shall be filled with gravel" (Prov. 20:17). This does not mean literal "gravel", but something far more disagreeable. It means disappointment so great that it would gladly be exchanged for the literal "gravel". So when Christians are rebuked for "biting and devouring one another" (Gal. 3:14, 15), something more heart-breaking is meant than the literal words used in the Figure.

When "His enemies shall lick the dust" (Ps. 72:9) they will not do it on their knees with their literal tongues; but they will be so prostrated and so utterly defeated, that no words could literally depict their overthrow and subjugation. If a serpent was afterward called a nachash, it was because it was more shining than any other creature; and if it became known as "wise", it was not because of its own innate positive knowledge, but of its wisdom in hiding away from all observation; and because of its association with one of the names of Satan (that old serpent) who "beguiled Eve" (2Cor. 11:3, 14).

It is wonderful how a snake could ever be supposed to speak without the organs of speech, or that Satan should be supposed able to accomplish so great a miracle (*3). It only shows the power of tradition, which has, from the infancy of each one of us, put before our eyes and written on our minds the picture of a "snake" and an "apple" : the former being based on a wrong interpretation, and the latter being a pure invention, about which there is not one word said in Holy Scripture.

Never was Satan's wisdom so craftily used as when he secured universal acceptance of this traditional belief : for it has succeeded in fixing the attention of mankind on the letter and the means, and thus blinding the eyes to the solemn fact that the Fall of man had to do solely with the Word of God, and is centered in the sin of believing Satan's lie instead of Jehovah's truth.
The temptation of "the first man Adam" began with the question "Hath God said?" The temptation of "the second man, the Lord from heaven" began with the similar question "If thou be the Son of God", when the voice of the Father had scarcely died away, which said "This IS My beloved Son". All turned on the truth of what Jehovah had said. The Word of God being questioned, led Eve, in her reply, (1) to omit the word "freely" (3:2, cp. 2:16); then (2) to add the words "neither shalt thou touch it" (3:3, cp. 2:17); and finally (3) to alter a certainty into a contingency by changing "thou SHALT SURELY die" (2:17) into "LEST ye die" (3:3).
It is not without significance that the first Ministerial words of "the second Man" were "It is written", three times repeated; and that His last Ministerial words contained a similar threefold reference to the written Word of God (John 17:8, 14, 17). The former temptation succeeded because the Word of God was three times misrepresented; the latter temptation was successfully defeated because the same Word was faithfully repeated.

The history of Gen. 3 is intended to teach us the fact that Satan's sphere of activities is in the religious sphere, and not the spheres of crime and immorality; that his battlefield is not the sins arising from human depravity, but the unbelief of the human heart. We are not to look for Satan's activities to-day in the newspaper press, or the police courts; but in the pulpit, and in professors' chairs. Whenever the Word of God is called in question, there we see the trail of "that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan". This is why anything against the true interests of the Word of God (as being such) finds a ready admission into the newspapers of the world, and is treated as "general literature". This is why anything in favor of its inspiration and Divine origin and its spiritual truth is rigidly excluded as being "controversial".

This is why Satan is quite content that the letter of Scripture should be accepted in Gen. 3, as he himself accepted the letter of Ps. 91:11. He himself could say "It is written" (Matt. 4:6) so long as the letter of what is "written" could be put instead of the truth that is conveyed by it; and so long as it is misquoted or misapplied. This is his object in perpetuating the traditions of the "snake" and the "apple", because it ministers to the acceptance of his lie, the hiding of God's truth, the support of tradition, the jeers of the infidel, the opposition of the critics, and the stumbling of the weak in faith.
Source: http://levendwater.org/companion/append19.html
The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects as false - Galileo

We learn from history that we do not learn from history - Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. -Philippians 4:8

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Re: Bible stories literal or symbolic?

#101

Post by Jac3510 » Fri Jun 13, 2008 5:58 am

I'm sorry, Gman, but you are just facutally wrong. This isn't a matter of how to interpret a word. This is just a plain manner of grammar. Do I need to quote from introductory Hebrew grammars here? I can, if necessary.

Here's a few basics:

1. Hebrew words have no vowels. They are composed of consonants only;
2. The standard form (especially for verbs) is to create words of three-constant roots;
3. This is a common feature of all semetic languages;
4. Roots are not words;
5. Two words with the same root may or may not be related;
6. Knowing the meaning of a root does not necessary entail knowing the meaning of the word;
7. Two words with the same root do not, then, have the same meaning, nor must the necessarily derive from the same meaning.

OK, so let's take the ROOT NCHSH (three lettrs - N (nun) CH (heth) and SH shin)). This is not a WORD. It is a root, and the root has to do with divination. Roots, then, and given prefixes, suffixes, infixes, etc., to make words and give them proper inflections. But even then, context has to tell you which word you are using (since they make look the same if the root is bare). This is not at all different from English. Consider the following words:

bear
bear

Here, we have two different words. The first is a noun, the second is a verb. They have different meanings. They are NOT related, regardless of their spelling. You can't say the noun is "more of a verb" or that the verb is "more of a noun." The context in which those four letters are found will tell me if I want the noun or the verb form.

So it is with NCHSH. So I'm reading Hebrew, and I come to this word. I say to myself, "Ah, NCHSH. Let's see, this could be a couple of words. It coult be NaCHaSH, in which case, this should be translated 'snake.' I wonder if Moses is using this word 'snake' literally or figuratively?" Or, I could come to the word NCHSH and say, "Ah, NCHSH. Clearly, Moses is using the adjective NeCHoSHeTH in a substantival manner, and therefore, I should translate this 'bright one.'"

Regardless of how I take this, I cannot say that this is Nachash and translated it as "bright one" because they are different words. Your confusion is that you are taking the root itself to be the word, and that is simply wrong. Both nachash andnechosheth are derived words from the root NCHSH, but they are not the same word, nor do they have overlapping meaning. Heiser recognizes as much, and he opts for the latter translation (since he is a polytheist).

What YOU have to decide is whether or not this WORD (not root) is Nachash or Nechosheth. If the former, it is translated "snake." If the latter, it is translated "bright one." You cannot, however, translate this "snake," and say, as Bullinger does, that this "snake" is a way to refer to a bright one.

References available upon request. Conversely, I have a few Ph.D's in Hebrew I can get written statements from on this. This is Hebrew 101, Gman. At this point, I'm not saying your interpretation is wrong (although I obviously think it is). I am saying that we have to have the right WORD to interpret, and right now, you are conflating two words. You simply cannot do that.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Bible stories literal or symbolic?

#102

Post by ttoews » Fri Jun 13, 2008 11:53 am

Jac3510 wrote:This is obvious, but just as obvious is the fact that Revelation was written some 1800 years after Genesis. Thus, whatever extra light the Revelation may shed on this passage, it cannot affect its original meaning.
original meaning is not the same thing as original understanding. When the OT speaks of God, the ultimate Author knew what kind of God was being considered, however, the Jews would not have understood the OT God to be triune in nature....and God seems to have been OK with his people possessing a more "simple" less accurate understanding until further revelation disclosed his triune nature.
Do you believe that we are to interpret Scripture in light of our experience?
God is aware of the experience of his audience and (I believe) would take such experience into account when inspiring the text of scripture. The Jews would have been well aware of what snakes can and can't do...and so a story about a snake doing what only men and angels could do, would be cause for the Jews to understand that the text should not be taken literally.
Should we not, rather, measure our experience against the teachings of Scripture?
so, should we, like the Roman Catholics, disregard our experience and hold that it is actually the body and blood of Jesus that is consumed at the Lord's Supper? Should we expect to see an earth with four corners? Or should we understand that when the words of scripture conflicts with what we actually see, it is likely that figures of speech or symbols (something not to be taken literally) is involved?
As far as the serpent not being the carftiest of all beasts, you can tangle with Jesus on that, not me: "Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." (Matt 10:16)
so you think that these are not figures of speech?
...and from that revelation, we come to see the curse on the snake as a curse on Satan as well--especially in 3:15.
likewise, from later revelation, we come to see that a non-literal interpretation is affirmed
Jesus refers to snakes as crafty. Regarding the removal of the ability to speak, we don't know enough about the nature of that snake to make the charge. Perhaps Adam and Eve could talk to all animals before the Fall. Perhaps they couldn't talk to any animals, but Satan was allowed to tempt Eve through that particular snake. Perhaps the loss of the ability to speak wasn't necessary to imply for the exact reason that the Israelites could well see that snakes no longer talk. There are endless possibilities, but the fact that there is even one militates against this as being an argument against the literalness of the snake.
it is not just about possibilities...it is also about probability. We have clashed on this before. From over here, your approach seems to be to impose a literal interpretation if at all possible (disregarding probability in the process). I believe that I approach the text with an openess to both a literal or a non-literal interpretation/reading and adopt what appears to be the most probable.

With that said, your first clause is right. Experience should have no bearing on interpretation whatsoever.
would you also disregard the culture of the audience when approaching a text?...or would you take that into account to arrive at the more probable understanding?

1. What do you see IN THE TEXT that would imply the snake was non-literal; and...
I have mentioned some things, but it is not just the snake, but the whole story that smacks of non-historical event. I don't approach it by isolating one character and analyzing whether that one character is to be understood in a literal or non-literal fashion....I approach the story as a whole.
2. Assuming we DO take the text as non-literal, what IN THE TEXT (that is, without reference to later Scripture) would lead you to believe this was a symbol for Satan? If nothing of the sort exists IN THE TEXT, then what, IN THE TEXT, do you find the word "snake" to be a figure for?
At the time that this passage was inspired the snake portrays a non-human, non-divine temptor....apparently it was unnecessary to expressly name the snake as Satan at that time...though the more astute may have made the connection anyhow.

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Re: Bible stories literal or symbolic?

#103

Post by Kurieuo » Fri Jun 13, 2008 5:06 pm

ttoews wrote:
Jac3510 wrote:This is obvious, but just as obvious is the fact that Revelation was written some 1800 years after Genesis. Thus, whatever extra light the Revelation may shed on this passage, it cannot affect its original meaning.
original meaning is not the same thing as original understanding. When the OT speaks of God, the ultimate Author knew what kind of God was being considered, however, the Jews would not have understood the OT God to be triune in nature....and God seems to have been OK with his people possessing a more "simple" less accurate understanding until further revelation disclosed his triune nature.
This took me back a little.

Chris, don't you take a canonical approach to Scripture to accept it as a whole? I feel this is the most important hermeneutic for Christians. If it was all ultimately composed by one Author and is special revelation then it should be taken as a whole. Scripture should interpret Scripture regardless of the human author who penned it. I am sure you would agree with this? Thus, whatever extra light Revelation may shed on Genesis, it in fact has full bearing on its original meaning.

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Re: Bible stories literal or symbolic?

#104

Post by Jac3510 » Fri Jun 13, 2008 7:22 pm

Yes, K, it can clarify and even expand meaning. As you note, there is one Author of Scripture, and with that, I obviously agree. But future revelation CANNOT change the meaning of earlier revelation. That is, future revelation cannot invalidate the meaning of earlier revelation. Or, put yet differently, Scripture cannot mean one thing at one time and then mean another thing at another time.

Furthermore, to assert that Scripture cannot be properly understood until future revelation clarifies it sufficiently is to declare Scripture untintelligable concerning the original audience, which flies in the face of what Scripture actually is. It is in that sense that I say we cannot interpret earlier revelation based on our understanding of future revelation. That is exactly backwards.

I'll respond to other comments later.

God bless
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Bible stories literal or symbolic?

#105

Post by Gman » Fri Jun 13, 2008 8:07 pm

Jac3510 wrote:I'm sorry, Gman, but you are just facutally wrong. This isn't a matter of how to interpret a word. This is just a plain manner of grammar. Do I need to quote from introductory Hebrew grammars here? I can, if necessary.

Here's a few basics:

1. Hebrew words have no vowels. They are composed of consonants only;
2. The standard form (especially for verbs) is to create words of three-constant roots;
3. This is a common feature of all semetic languages;
4. Roots are not words;
5. Two words with the same root may or may not be related;
6. Knowing the meaning of a root does not necessary entail knowing the meaning of the word;
7. Two words with the same root do not, then, have the same meaning, nor must the necessarily derive from the same meaning.

OK, so let's take the ROOT NCHSH (three lettrs - N (nun) CH (heth) and SH shin)). This is not a WORD. It is a root, and the root has to do with divination. Roots, then, and given prefixes, suffixes, infixes, etc., to make words and give them proper inflections. But even then, context has to tell you which word you are using (since they make look the same if the root is bare). This is not at all different from English. Consider the following words:

bear
bear

Here, we have two different words. The first is a noun, the second is a verb. They have different meanings. They are NOT related, regardless of their spelling. You can't say the noun is "more of a verb" or that the verb is "more of a noun." The context in which those four letters are found will tell me if I want the noun or the verb form.

So it is with NCHSH. So I'm reading Hebrew, and I come to this word. I say to myself, "Ah, NCHSH. Let's see, this could be a couple of words. It coult be NaCHaSH, in which case, this should be translated 'snake.' I wonder if Moses is using this word 'snake' literally or figuratively?" Or, I could come to the word NCHSH and say, "Ah, NCHSH. Clearly, Moses is using the adjective NeCHoSHeTH in a substantival manner, and therefore, I should translate this 'bright one.'"

Regardless of how I take this, I cannot say that this is Nachash and translated it as "bright one" because they are different words. Your confusion is that you are taking the root itself to be the word, and that is simply wrong. Both nachash andnechosheth are derived words from the root NCHSH, but they are not the same word, nor do they have overlapping meaning. Heiser recognizes as much, and he opts for the latter translation (since he is a polytheist).

What YOU have to decide is whether or not this WORD (not root) is Nachash or Nechosheth. If the former, it is translated "snake." If the latter, it is translated "bright one." You cannot, however, translate this "snake," and say, as Bullinger does, that this "snake" is a way to refer to a bright one.
Ok I'm fine with that. This is good news actually... Since you are fluent in Hebrew, then please explain to the panel why the Gesenius's Lexicon is giving these usages for the noun "nachash." (Strong's H5175)

Outline of Biblical Usage

1) serpent, snake

a) serpent
b) image (of serpent)
c) fleeing serpent (mythological)

1) a serpent, so called from it hissing (see the root). Gen. 3:1, seq.; Ex. 4:3; 7:15; 2 Ki. 18:4. Used of the constellation of the serpent or dragon in the northern part of the sky. Job 26:13

Source: http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexi ... 5175&t=KJV

Next, I want you to explain why the Gesenius's Lexicon is giving these usages for the verb or root "nachash." (Strong's H5172)

Outline of Biblical Usage

1) to practice divination, divine, observe signs, learn by experience, diligently observe, practice fortunetelling, take as an omen.

a) (Piel)
1) to practice divination
2) to observe the signs or omens

1) unused in Kal, an onomatopoetic word, i.q. to hiss, to whisper, especially used of the whispering soothsayers.

Source: http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexi ... 5172&t=KJV

I'll explain later why I'm going this route.... Take your time.
Jac3510 wrote:References available upon request. Conversely, I have a few Ph.D's in Hebrew I can get written statements from on this.
Well there are a number of other PhD's that would challenge your PhD's as well I'm sure...
Jac3510 wrote:This is Hebrew 101, Gman.
Given the fact that I'm much older than you I think I could come up with a number of sarcastic remarks to this statement, but since I want to take the higher ground on this I won't.
Jac3510 wrote:At this point, I'm not saying your interpretation is wrong (although I obviously think it is). I am saying that we have to have the right WORD to interpret, and right now, you are conflating two words. You simply cannot do that.
Well, if you want to go that route, you cannot make a snake talk or walk either. You are confusing the literal with the symbolic. You simply cannot do that... Unless of course if you want to use animation...
The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects as false - Galileo

We learn from history that we do not learn from history - Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. -Philippians 4:8

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