A few questions

Discussion about scientific issues as they relate to God and Christianity including archaeology, origins of life, the universe, intelligent design, evolution, etc.
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Re: A few questions

#31

Post by PaulSacramento » Thu Dec 15, 2011 11:14 am

August wrote:Paul, that would approach the way that ANE people would have interpreted it. One has to consider not only the theological circumstances of the ANE, but also the cultural and wider sociological environment. When I have more time I will elaborate.
Don't know what "ANE" means...sorry.
To me it makes sense that Genesis is simply a creation story told to anceint man to help him understand that role of the Creator in the creative process.
The universe started from nothing via the power of God and after some time Life came to be on this planet and we are the end result of that creative process ( at this point).
Genesis doesn't explain or try to explain HOW God did it, simply that God did do it and was actively involved in it.

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Re: A few questions

#32

Post by August » Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:01 pm

PaulSacramento wrote:
August wrote:Paul, that would approach the way that ANE people would have interpreted it. One has to consider not only the theological circumstances of the ANE, but also the cultural and wider sociological environment. When I have more time I will elaborate.
Don't know what "ANE" means...sorry.
To me it makes sense that Genesis is simply a creation story told to anceint man to help him understand that role of the Creator in the creative process.
The universe started from nothing via the power of God and after some time Life came to be on this planet and we are the end result of that creative process ( at this point).
Genesis doesn't explain or try to explain HOW God did it, simply that God did do it and was actively involved in it.
Sorry. ANE=Ancient Near East.
Acts 17:24-25 (NIV)
"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. [25] And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else."

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Re: A few questions

#33

Post by Stu » Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:30 pm

August wrote:How long is the 7th day?
24 hours?
Am I missing something, why are we still in the 7th day of God's creation?

A couple things.
- Why do you feel God would need to "dumb it down" for ancient man? From what I've read, ancient man might not have been as technologically sophisticated but he sure was as emotionally intelligent as modern man.
Not only that but ancient man lived to 900 years old. Even their concept of time was somewhat different to ours.

- Do you find the idea of a 6 day creation too immense, perhaps stretching even the scope of God and so would prefer to reduce it to a period that seems more "acceptable"?

- If we are to interpret the first 2 or so chapters as a story, where do we stop. Could the fall of man; the flood; the Tower of Babel; Ten Commandments not also just be stories?

The majority of the Old Testament is a factual account of human history. From about Genesis 4 onward it provides a detailed account of human history. This continues throughout, even through the New Testament. When Jesus spoke in parables, we knew when he was doing so.

I suppose the first few chapters could simply be a story used to convey those events in a more comprehensible format, but to me it requires a whole different interpretation.
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Re: A few questions

#34

Post by PaulSacramento » Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:07 pm

A couple things.
- Why do you feel God would need to "dumb it down" for ancient man? From what I've read, ancient man might not have been as technologically sophisticated but he sure was as emotionally intelligent as modern man.
Not only that but ancient man lived to 900 years old. Even their concept of time was somewhat different to ours.
In this day and age we have people that still have a hard time understand how the world works, can you imagine ancient man?

-
Do you find the idea of a 6 day creation too immense, perhaps stretching even the scope of God and so would prefer to reduce it to a period that seems more "acceptable"?

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- If we are to interpret the first 2 or so chapters as a story, where do we stop. Could the fall of man; the flood; the Tower of Babel; Ten Commandments not also just be stories?
Ever read Augustine of Hippo?
We are all very open to accepting something that we NOW KNOW to NOT be real ( like the sun moving) as methaphore or allegory or just "genre speak", so we are ALREADY doing just that, dedciding what IS and what ISN'T literal and concrete.
The majority of the Old Testament is a factual account of human history. From about Genesis 4 onward it provides a detailed account of human history. This continues throughout, even through the New Testament. When Jesus spoke in parables, we knew when he was doing so.
Not HUMAN history, Hebrew History, let's not confuse the two.
I suppose the first few chapters could simply be a story used to convey those events in a more comprehensible format, but to me it requires a whole different interpretation
.
Since we don't know who started them ( the oral traditions that predated the actual writing of them) we don't know what his/their intent was but IF they wanted to give a "scientific" account of creation then why didn't they?

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Re: A few questions

#35

Post by August » Thu Dec 15, 2011 4:08 pm

Stu wrote:
August wrote:How long is the 7th day?
24 hours?
Am I missing something, why are we still in the 7th day of God's creation?
Did God start creating again? Also, we read in Heb 3 & 4 of His rest.
A couple things.
- Why do you feel God would need to "dumb it down" for ancient man? From what I've read, ancient man might not have been as technologically sophisticated but he sure was as emotionally intelligent as modern man.
Not only that but ancient man lived to 900 years old. Even their concept of time was somewhat different to ours.
It is not a question of dumbing it down, but making it relevant to the time and culture in which the was to be understood. The concept of cosmology was different at that time, as can be seen from the writings contemporary with Genesis. If we are to interpret Scripture, we should try and also understand the surrounding culture of the time period. At the time, the Genesis account was "competing" with the creation accounts from several other groups, like the Babylonians, Assyrians and Mesopotamians, and had to be put in terms that took that into account. It is a recognition of the common conceptual worldview of the time, which is a tool to help us understand the context better.
- Do you find the idea of a 6 day creation too immense, perhaps stretching even the scope of God and so would prefer to reduce it to a period that seems more "acceptable"?
Not at all. It is totally conceivable. I just don't believe that creation is what happened in the 6 days, it happened before that. The 6 days describes how God ordered the universe into His cosmic temple.
- If we are to interpret the first 2 or so chapters as a story, where do we stop. Could the fall of man; the flood; the Tower of Babel; Ten Commandments not also just be stories?
It is not too hard to distinguish literary genres for what you mention, so no need to invoke a slippery slope fallacy here. To insist on a totally literal reading for the first two chapters does create some difficulties as well, so we have to be cautious about how we approach it.
The majority of the Old Testament is a factual account of human history. From about Genesis 4 onward it provides a detailed account of human history. This continues throughout, even through the New Testament. When Jesus spoke in parables, we knew when he was doing so.

I suppose the first few chapters could simply be a story used to convey those events in a more comprehensible format, but to me it requires a whole different interpretation.
There is prophesy, poetry, hyperbole, allegory and many other literary forms ingrained in Scripture, as part of the bigger history of redemption. What are your suggested standards for interpretation? How do you propose to distinguish between the different forms?

The typical best practice approach for Biblical exegesis consists of 6 elements: Historical context, Literary form, Grammatical analysis, Lexical elements, Discourse/Argument and Theological message. This can also be summarized as Setting, Structure, Syntax, Semantics, Summation and Significance. Unless we use all of the tools at our disposal, we won't necessarily understand what is intended or how it was understood in a cultural environment other than ourselves.
Acts 17:24-25 (NIV)
"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. [25] And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else."

//www.omnipotentgrace.org
//christianskepticism.blogspot.com

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Re: A few questions

#36

Post by zmorg » Sat Mar 17, 2012 5:11 am

Hi,

it took me a while to examine much of the stuff you people recommended. I have read Anthony Flew's book and also listened to literally days of material by WLC, which after some initial doubts, I find rather honest and also thought-provoking. It's not that I now have all the answers, but I am quite a bit further down the road. I also watched some of the "New Atheist" videos, not only the debates. I now understand, why you consider them bringing only "light-weight" arguments to the table. I guess their success is rather to the fact, that they present their stuff in a very easily consumable way.

It really troubles me, that so many people buy into that stuff. I also had some interesting discussions with people around here, it is surprising to see how little they question their (unconsciously accepted?) materialism. Which is kind of weird, because they accuse the religious folk of exactly that same thing. Also I feel kind of stupid about the questions I initially asked, as there seems to be no such thing as a "neutral" standpoint about God's existence.

thanks again & cheers,
Sven

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Re: A few questions

#37

Post by MrRoboto » Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:37 am

I have looked at the New Atheist propaganda and have found when I really researched it, it didn't hold water. Some of it seemed to be outright lies.

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Re: A few questions

#38

Post by bippy123 » Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:03 pm

Sven, I know that you don't like watching videos as you stated, but you should really watch some of Antony Flew's last few video interviews he left the world. It seemed like he was closer to Christianity then most think. There is one clue as to why he stayed with deism, it's subtle but unmistakable. When he was asked about whether he believed in heaven or an afterlife he responded by saying that he sure hoped there wasn't one. He seemed genuinely scared of living eternally because he felt that he would get bored living that long.

I think that the problem was that he looked at heaven and the after life from a finite human perspective .
He came to believe in a creator but couldn't trust that our creator would never let us get bored in heaven.

I can't post that video interview as I'm on my iPod , but he was asked if he converted from deism to theism which religion he would have chosen and I believed be said it would be Christianity because of the love Jesus showed for humanity.

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Re: A few questions

#39

Post by Canuckster1127 » Sun Mar 18, 2012 4:22 am

I think we need to be honest about Flew's conversion and not overstate it. Flew to my knowledge made no comments in his later changes of view that indicate any more acceptance of Christ or Christianity than earlier in life. He admitted some influence from the arguments coming from intelligent design which certainly have Christian influences. Flews philosophical adjustment however is at most, a move from atheism to deism in which he admited the possibility of the existence of "God" as a reasonable conclusion based upon his observation of the world. He did not go further than that. I and many Christians celebrated tha move because of Flew's "rock star" status in the academic world and prior status as one of the pre-eminent spokesperson for atheism. It was a spectacular defection in many ways. Dawkins and others still attempt to represent it as a sad descent into senility in an attempt to lessen it's impact. I think Flew was a sharp as he ever was and he made an intellectual shift he felt was necessary based upon continued examination of the evidence and the impact of that evidence upon the theories he rested upon.

It's a powerful statement and an important one in many ways, but we need to keep it in context and not try and overstate it for anymore than what it is. Flew did not convert or embrace Christianity.
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Re: A few questions

#40

Post by Dallas » Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:27 pm

How do you guys know all about these people? I just recently learned about Lennox (3 days ago) and Dawkins (5 months ago). So, can you guys give me a background on WLC and flew. Background as in field of study and why they're famous.


Thank you,

-Dallas
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Re: A few questions

#41

Post by bippy123 » Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:54 pm

Dallas wrote:How do you guys know all about these people? I just recently learned about Lennox (3 days ago) and Dawkins (5 months ago). So, can you guys give me a background on WLC and flew. Background as in field of study and why they're famous.


Thank you,

-Dallas
Hey Dallas , WLC is one of the top Christian debaters in the world. He has a dual phd in theology and the philosophy of science ( correct me if I'm wrong please folks). Flew was one if the top if not the top atheist philosopher of the last 50 years of the 20th century. Incidentally they debated each other a while back .

WLC's website is reasonablefaith.org

By the way Dawkins has been ducking a debate challenge by WLC for many years.

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