Biblical Inerrancy

1246715

Comments

  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Gee D wrote: »
    While I accept the 13.6 or so billion years on an intellectual basis, it's just so great as to be beyond my comprehension - as is the number of stars per galaxy and then the number of galaxies in the universe.

    Aye. It all means that God is not God.
  • Or the understanding of God that the stars and galaxies makes impossible is not correct.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Exactly. We need a new God. Even newer than C. S. Lewis'.
  • That's not what I wrote - what I meant was we need a new understanding of God. And if you need an author to write that for you, maybe try Dave Tomlinson.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Same thing.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    He looks a good egg.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    MPaul wrote: »
    The YEC god is a charlatan.[/quote]

    Hmm, speaking of charlatanism. The Catholic God..Eucharistic wafer in a monstrance. Is the Orthodox God any different? The God of 'Holy' icons. Or the Anglican God? Liturgical claptrap by priests in drag doesn't bring anyone closer to the Biblical God.

    [/quote]

    Thank God. The Queen's chaplain was no where near the schizoid monster of the flat cookbook on Sunday.
  • MPaulMPaul Shipmate
    Steve Langton: In a passage I've repeatedly quoted, Tyndale makes plain on the one hand that the 'literal sense' is the key and most important 'sense' of interpretation, and on the other hand that of course as normal human use of language the Bible includes all kinds of figures of speech and other literary devices like different genres, which you are meant to use your brain to work

    Right Steve. It kind of suits the argument to ignore the obvious at times.
    The Bronze Age writers were so naive of course that anything they wrote can be automatically dismissed. Come to think of it, how did those semi neanderthals learn to write?
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    God forbid, but I'm agreeing with Steve Langton.

    MPaul, that's not what he said, and you deliberately (and possibly you can do nothing else but) misinterpret him.
  • Right now I'm not sure from what he has written whether MPaul is disagreeing with me or misinterpreting me or actually agreeing with me and aiming his remarks at the opposition....

    Evidence-wise it seems there is general agreement that writing goes back to the low 3000s BCE, centuries after the supposed 4004 BCE Young Earth Creation date. Language and art go back considerably earlier - many thousands of years by current archaeological reckoning - so early transmission of what eventually became the Bible was presumably oral....

    FWIW I broadly reject the YEC hypothesis and think that the Biblical creation stories are not exactly in the genre of 'scientific textbook', while still being valid and useful accounts. As a modern example of this point about 'genre' - though not an exact parallel - consider two options you might have for understanding the Russian Revolution and its development into Stalinism....

    On the one hand there is probably somewhere a vast multi-volume history which practically tells you what Trotsky and others had for breakfast each day; and on the other hand is George Orwell's account in the book 'Animal Farm' which is far from 'literal history' but nevertheless a valid account of the events and a good help in understanding them in outline.

    I've just been double-checking my copy of the "Fundamentals" and a key passage on Science and Faith was written not by some American backwoods hick but by a Scottish professor, one James Orr, and he is quite happy to consider the 'days' of Genesis not to be 24-hour days but possibly '"aeonic" days - vast cosmic periods'.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Gee D wrote: »
    Martin54 wrote: »

    Aye, He makes a cosmos that by every rational, empirical observation that has been, can and will ever be made is 13.7 ga old.....

    Not sure about that. Certainly that's our present knowledge but will it always remain so? When I was a mere lad, the estimated age varied from about what it is now thought to be to nearly double that at one extreme, and at the other to a mere 5 billion or so. I'm prepared to allow for the possibility of further best estimates as more data comes in, as methods of calculation differ and so forth. Whatever it is is certainly much more than 6,000 years.

    I am sure about that to three significant figures: 13.799±0.021 billion. Call it 13.8 There is no rational let alone empirical reason to doubt that. The multiverse is, of course, eternal.

    I totally agree that there is no empirical reason to doubt that. I simply allow for further research and the finding of new material leading to a different conclusion. Your post does not allow for that.
  • MPaulMPaul Shipmate
    Steve Langton: a key passage on Science and Faith was written not by some American backwoods hick but by a Scottish professor, one James Orr, and he is quite happy to consider the 'days' of Genesis not to be 24-hour days but possibly '"aeonic" days - vast cosmic periods
    Steve, My comment was intended to convey your 3rd option. I do think some of those late 19 and early 20 Century academics were heavily pushed towards liberal interpretation. Naive as it sounds I am happy to believe the Eden story as is, as that seems to be what Moses did and Jesus agreed with. The atonement makes no sense without a literal fall. How can the NT demand repentance unless “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”?
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    edited January 17
    MPaul wrote: »
    The YEC god is a charlatan.

    Hmm, speaking of charlatanism. The Catholic God..Eucharistic wafer in a monstrance. Is the Orthodox God any different? The God of 'Holy' icons. Or the Anglican God? Liturgical claptrap by priests in drag doesn't bring anyone closer to the Biblical God.

    Do you have anything other than ad hominems against straw men? You appear to think everybody would see exactly your point of view if only they stopped being so damnably obstinate. Just to pick on Orthodoxy which is what I'm most familiar with, what is the supposed charlatanry in holy icons? Charlatanry to compare to a 'god' who creates a young world that looks old in order to... well whatever reason.

    Please use small words because I am so worldly I might not get longer ones.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    edited January 17
    MPaul wrote: »
    Steve Langton: a key passage on Science and Faith was written not by some American backwoods hick but by a Scottish professor, one James Orr, and he is quite happy to consider the 'days' of Genesis not to be 24-hour days but possibly '"aeonic" days - vast cosmic periods
    Steve, My comment was intended to convey your 3rd option. I do think some of those late 19 and early 20 Century academics were heavily pushed towards liberal interpretation. Naive as it sounds I am happy to believe the Eden story as is, as that seems to be what Moses did and Jesus agreed with. The atonement makes no sense without a literal fall. How can the NT demand repentance unless “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”?
    Jesus dude, even I can suss that one out. It is about accountability and responsibility for one's own failings.
    Free will is enough. The fall is several bridges to far for a loving, omniscient god. Now for an ignorant, sociopathic god...
  • The fallen character of the world is not dependent on the verbatim accurate transmission of a story about 2 people eating an apple 6000 years ago. The precise facts of how humans came by the capacity to disobey God and to distinguish good from evil (except, as we've seen in this thread, in MPaul's case) are not important compared with the truth that we have and we do. "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" stands even without a fall narrative, literal or otherwise.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Gee D wrote: »
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Gee D wrote: »
    Martin54 wrote: »

    Aye, He makes a cosmos that by every rational, empirical observation that has been, can and will ever be made is 13.7 ga old.....

    Not sure about that. Certainly that's our present knowledge but will it always remain so? When I was a mere lad, the estimated age varied from about what it is now thought to be to nearly double that at one extreme, and at the other to a mere 5 billion or so. I'm prepared to allow for the possibility of further best estimates as more data comes in, as methods of calculation differ and so forth. Whatever it is is certainly much more than 6,000 years.

    I am sure about that to three significant figures: 13.799±0.021 billion. Call it 13.8 There is no rational let alone empirical reason to doubt that. The multiverse is, of course, eternal.

    I totally agree that there is no empirical reason to doubt that. I simply allow for further research and the finding of new material leading to a different conclusion. Your post does not allow for that.

    There's no warrant for it having to. Beyond the purely abstract, theoretical; another decimal point.
  • By MPaul
    I do think some of those late 19 and early 20 Century academics were heavily pushed towards liberal interpretation

    Haven't time for a full response right now but would want to underline that in the context of this discussion Orr wasn't just any such academic but a major contributor to the original 'Fundamentals' - which therefore were not necessarily committed to a 'young earth' interpretation.

    This in turn goes along with my point that the original Fundamentals were not about excessive literalism but about the kind of approach seen in Tyndale and other Reformers.

    (I'm pretty sure the Tyndale quote hasn't appeared on this thread yet; I'll try and post it here next time I contribute)
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Hang on; do we actually have MPaul saying the authors of the Fundamentals were skirting the shores of liberalism? Because, well, wow...
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    The fallen character of the world is not dependent on the verbatim accurate transmission of a story about 2 people eating an apple 6000 years ago. The precise facts of how humans came by the capacity to disobey God and to distinguish good from evil (except, as we've seen in this thread, in MPaul's case) are not important compared with the truth that we have and we do. "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" stands even without a fall narrative, literal or otherwise.

    Aye. And our fault isn't our fault.
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    Hang on; do we actually have MPaul saying the authors of the Fundamentals were skirting the shores of liberalism? Because, well, wow...

    Everyone is a heretic but me and thee ........
  • MPaulMPaul Shipmate
    Lilbuddah: Free will is enough. The fall is several bridges too far for a loving, omniscient god
    The fall is man’s failure not God’s. You could argue that God allowed it so is responsible. However, I would argue that though he allowed it, this was a function of the free will you celebrate.

    The gospel of redemption in Christ is his way forward from it and to take advantage of that you need to acknowledge your own helpless state and accept him as saviour..as we all do. There is no other way.

    “I am the way, the truth and the life; no man comes to the father but by me.”
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    What "fall" (in our evolution)?
    When (in our evolution)?
    How (in our evolution)?

    And amen, we get the concept of God the Father thanks be to God in Christ His only begotten son with the nature of the eternally begotten Son.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    I'm not sure how old you are Martin, but I'm now moving very quickly through my eighth decade. I look back and see how all sorts of calculations about the universe have changed in that period to limit confidence to what is put forward as our current best estimates, no higher.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Gee D wrote: »
    I'm not sure how old you are Martin, but I'm now moving very quickly through my eighth decade. I look back and see how all sorts of calculations about the universe have changed in that period to limit confidence to what is put forward as our current best estimates, no higher.

    It's deducible from my name Gee D. And the progress in refining the age of the universe reached an asymptote at least since your sixth.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Gee D wrote: »
    I'm not sure how old you are Martin, but I'm now moving very quickly through my eighth decade. I look back and see how all sorts of calculations about the universe have changed in that period to limit confidence to what is put forward as our current best estimates, no higher.

    Most of those revisions took place because of improvements in our ability to measure the universe, not in any revision of theory. Typically the "changes" simply narrowed the band between minimum and maximum possible ages of the universe, almost never falling outside the previous range of consensus. I recall when the one of the orbital telescopes (I forget exactly which one) was first applied to the problem and narrowed the previous range from the previous estimate of 10 billion to 20 billion years old down to somewhere between 13 billion and 15 billion years. A scientist involved said it was like going from a debate about whether someone had one hand or two to debating whether they had nine fingers or ten.

    In other words, positing a value outside the current uncertainty range, as you are, assumes a theoretical (or maybe systematic) problem with current age estimates. As such, past refinements in metrology, which seems to be the basis of your argument, are irrelevant.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Bleedin' typical. You wouldn't miss a few IQ points would ya guv?
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Exactly Croesus. And all the time more and more discoveries are being made. One day, someone will find out that as light passes a certain place it its speed is altered*; our best estimates will change. And they are estimates not guesses.

    Martin - I have no idea whether the 54 refers to age, your year of birth, or something else.

    * Or some other substantial discovery.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    No they won't. Well that's two ideas at least. I'm 10 years older than that.
  • As promised, here is *that* quote from Tyndale on basically what the 'literal sense' of Scripture meant to the Reformers and to academics in general at that period.
    “Thou shalt understand, therefore, that the scripture hath but one sense, which is the literal sense. And that literal sense is the root and ground of all, and the anchor that never faileth, whereunto if thou cleave, thou canst never err or go out of the way.

    And if thou leave the literal sense, thou canst not but go out of the way. Nevertheless the scripture uses proverbs, similitudes, riddles or allegories, as all other speeches do; but that which the proverb, similitude, riddle or allegory signifieth, is ever the literal sense, which thou must seek out diligently.”

    A key phrase in there is that "as all other speeches do" - that is, the Scripture uses language in an ordinary way, as human language in general is used; and that includes the use of literary devices of figures of speech, different genres, etc.

    As I suggested above, the original Fundamentalists intended that traditional Reformed view rather than the excessive literalism with which they are often associated today. And that excessive literalism is wrong precisely because it uses Scripture in a way that ignores that basic fact about human language, that it is a flexible language of figures of speech etc rather than a 'dumb wooden' literalism.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    edited January 19
    MPaul wrote: »
    Lilbuddah: Free will is enough. The fall is several bridges too far for a loving, omniscient god
    The fall is man’s failure not God’s. You could argue that God allowed it so is responsible. However, I would argue that though he allowed it, this was a function of the free will you celebrate.
    There are all sorts of problems with the concept of God and creation. But sticking to the Fall at the moment, the idea that people not yet born are sinful because of what their ancestors did is ludicrous and incompatible with a loving, competent God.
    The gospel of redemption in Christ is his way forward from it and to take advantage of that you need to acknowledge your own helpless state and accept him as saviour..as we all do. There is no other way.

    “I am the way, the truth and the life; no man comes to the father but by me.”
    Assuming this is God's position there is still a lot of interpretation between your meaning and one that coincides with the God most Christian's claim to worship. Including the one you try to cram into your narrow rationale.

  • MPaulMPaul Shipmate
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    MPaul wrote: »
    Lilbuddah: Free will is enough. The fall is several bridges too far for a loving, omniscient god
    The fall is man’s failure not God’s. You could argue that God allowed it so is responsible. However, I would argue that though he allowed it, this was a function of the free will you celebrate.
    There are all sorts of problems with the concept of God and creation. But sticking to the Fall at the moment, the idea that people not yet born are sinful because of what their ancestors did is ludicrous and incompatible with a loving, competent God.
    The gospel of redemption in Christ is his way forward from it and to take advantage of that you need to acknowledge your own helpless state and accept him as saviour..as we all do. There is no other way.

    “I am the way, the truth and the life; no man comes to the father but by me.”
    Assuming this is God's position there is still a lot of interpretation between your meaning and one that coincides with the God most Christian's claim to worship. Including the one you try to cram into your narrow rationale.
    I totally get that you don’t get it. That is because you need your eyes opened spiritually. The issue is with the fact that humanity shares its fallenness via its ‘spiritual DNA’ as a best but flawed analogy. That is the theory but it isn’t explicable. It is however what the Bible teaches in Romans. All are sinful and this causes all to sin sooner or later, mostly sooner. We all lust, we are all covetous. Etc.

    The good news is that Christ overcame sin ..he condemned sin in the flesh. However, because he came from a different line, a non Adamic line of ancestry, he qualified as the divine ‘Passover lamb as well. No one else could have done it. God had to become human to defeat sin. We can enter into that victory if we choose to. Hopefully you will.

  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Yes lilbuddha, you need your eyes open spiritually to know that the universe is 6023 years old and that murdering rape victims is love which is why Jesus had to be murdered as a human sacrifice for YOUR sins. There is NO OTHER POSSIBLE MEANING.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Of course I know what it's like being trapped in the mindset for decades. Just as nearly all philosophers and physicists are now in the B-Theory of Time. Which is at least as absurd as wooden literalism. You know, that because of the relativity of simultaneity, and that every Planck point in the universe has it's own reality, everything is extended in time. That the past and the future have to be as real as now.
  • I wonder if respect for genre as per the Tyndale quote includes the genre of myth which surely encompasses much of Genesis and Exodus.
  • Don't those first chapters fall into the genre of allegory?
  • MPaulMPaul Shipmate
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Yes lilbuddha, you need your eyes open spiritually to know that the universe is 6023 years old and that murdering rape victims is love which is why Jesus had to be murdered as a human sacrifice for YOUR sins. There is NO OTHER POSSIBLE MEANING.
    You are doing the exact same thing..stating unequivocally that your twisted mythical version of reality..is somehow self evident fact. You are totally deceived poor man.
    How do you know what you think you know? ..and what sort of knowledge is it? There is a lot more to reality and ways of knowing than are dreamed of in your philosophy.
    You accuse Bible believers of delusions..what about yours? The rocks don’t lie right? But what is the basis of your interpretation of the story they tell? Are the people you trust trustworthy?
    They aren’t.
    They have a vested interest in their truth story, Jerry Coyne and the rest of them.
    One day you’ll see what a stuff up you’ve made of it and it may well be too late.
  • Ah, we've moved on from bigotry to not-very-veiled threats if hellfire. Does anyone have a full list of the stages of fundies encountering reality? When do we get to MAGA and fulminating about bathrooms?
  • I wonder if respect for genre as per the Tyndale quote includes the genre of myth which surely encompasses much of Genesis and Exodus.

    Kind of Yes. But a lot of discussion of the Bible being 'mythical' has tended, on the 'liberal' side, to mean by 'myth' that the texts in question are simply untrue and can be disregarded completely by us wonderful moderns who know better. But 'myths' can in fact convey truth, just in a way that isn't scientific history.

    See my example above - 'Animal Farm' could be regarded as a 'myth' about the Russian Revolution in the sense that clearly the story about animals taking over a farm is totally untrue. However 'Animal Farm' also clearly conveys truths about the Revolution (and indeed revolutions in general) in a very accessible way.

    I'm inclined to the view that the Abraham story is essentially true; likewise the Exodus account. But before Abraham more 'mythical'. And I recall from Bible studies at our church a few years ago realising that 'Samuel' actually quite often gives a 'double' account - a bald and spartan 'Annals' account similar to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles in the Dark Age UK, supplemented by much more lively and detailed accounts of the same events which might be described in genre terms as 'saga'.

    The Creation account(s) in Genesis are I think neither science nor history as we understand it. But compared to other creation myths they are much more both scientific and historical in spirit and attitude. For example, the firm statement that the heavenly bodies are not gods and demons but God-given lights for our benefit is the starting point for scientific astronomy in the long run.
  • Just to confirm I agree that myths can indeed convey truth (though obviously we could argue endlessly about those truths), though I would suggest the de-deification of celestial bodies is more about theology than science. I have considerable doubt about the historicity of much of the pre-exilic narrative in the Bible, though I tend to think in terms of a continuum of history shading into legend shading into myth.
  • Just to confirm I agree that myths can indeed convey truth (though obviously we could argue endlessly about those truths), though I would suggest the de-deification of celestial bodies is more about theology than science.

    I have considerable doubt about the historicity of much of the pre-exilic narrative in the Bible, though I tend to think in terms of a continuum of history shading into legend shading into myth.

    Yes of course it is more about theology than science; but the point, at least to me, is that you can do science on 'God-given lights' in a way that is rather more difficult if your theology says they are actual gods/demons/etc.

    As suggested by my comments on Samuel, pre-exilic stuff is a mix of actual written annals with orally transmitted stories. And of course it's a one-sided Israelite account. I don't expect the kind of history a modern academic historian would write, and in any case I'm looking back on it through, if you like, a New Testament lens and seeing development and direction the original writers and early readers would not have been aware of.
  • ArethosemyfeetArethosemyfeet Shipmate
    edited January 19
    Now, now Steve, keep talking like that and we'll think you've gone all liberal on us. :p

    That is to say I pretty much agree.
  • For me, the quintessence of 'liberal' was the preacher I once heard quoting an NT passage, one of Jesus' parables, and saying
    "Would our Jesus have said that?"

    I'm pretty sure that the actual Jesus did say it - it is quite a striking passage - and it was remembered to be recorded by the gospel writer; so who is this 'our Jesus'? In essence that person was not 'interpreting' but making up the interpretation to suit what he wanted to believe. I would have preached a significantly different message from that text!

    Back in the 60s I several times saw examples of 'liberals' glibly saying that you could make the Bible mean whatever you liked; yet when they had to actually interpret a text they would find that even after much unravelling of figures of speech etc., the text still meant the same basic thing in moral/spiritual terms. The problem was that the 'liberals' didn't want to believe that message.

  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Back in the 60s I several times saw examples of 'liberals' glibly saying that you could make the Bible mean whatever you liked; yet when they had to actually interpret a text they would find that even after much unravelling of figures of speech etc., the text still meant the same basic thing in moral/spiritual terms. The problem was that the 'liberals' didn't want to believe that message.

    I disagree with this assessment. Despite claiming to read the Bible the same way you read the Iliad or On the Origin of Species or any other book there seems to be a lot of highly motivated distinction between what is "literal" and what's just a figure of speech. For example, the Sun, Moon, and stars as objects mounted on an overhead dome and all more or less the same distance away? That's just poetic language. The same book describing a fruit-based ancestral curse? Literally happened exactly as described. And then there's cases where the actual words are completely ignored, both as literal description and poetic metaphor, in favor of some story about God smiting evil cyborgs.

    The main failure of literalism is that it doesn't deliver what it promises. The idea is that if you read the words as actually written (or as translated) everyone will agree on what they mean and there will be no such thing as theological disagreement any more. The fact that this is not the case even among those who claim to adhere to a "literal" reading of scripture argues that there's a failure here. Most often it's attributed to bad faith on the part of that other guy, who is clearly not reading "literally" or is doing so in bad faith.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited January 19
    MPaul wrote: »
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Yes lilbuddha, you need your eyes open spiritually to know that the universe is 6023 years old and that murdering rape victims is love which is why Jesus had to be murdered as a human sacrifice for YOUR sins. There is NO OTHER POSSIBLE MEANING.
    You are doing the exact same thing..stating unequivocally that your twisted mythical version of reality..is somehow self evident fact. You are totally deceived poor man.
    How do you know what you think you know? ..and what sort of knowledge is it? There is a lot more to reality and ways of knowing than are dreamed of in your philosophy.
    You accuse Bible believers of delusions..what about yours? The rocks don’t lie right? But what is the basis of your interpretation of the story they tell? Are the people you trust trustworthy?
    They aren’t.
    They have a vested interest in their truth story, Jerry Coyne and the rest of them.
    One day you’ll see what a stuff up you’ve made of it and it may well be too late.

    For what? Cthulhu-Tokoloshe-Anthony Fremont is going to turn me inside out?

    I couldn't care less about the personal morality of consensual scientists. What has that got to do with the truth they reveal? There is no story and therefore there is no interpretation. There is only measurement. If you want stories, read Bronze Age myths. Oh!!!!!!!
  • MPaul wrote: »
    I totally get that you don’t get it. That is because you need your eyes opened spiritually.
    In your previous posts, you indicate that it is God who opens one's eyes. So God must want me to burn in Hell. Strange love.
    All are sinful and this causes all to sin sooner or later, mostly sooner. We all lust, we are all covetous. Etc.
    God built us, did a shitty job of it and it is our fault? We all lust? no. There are asexual people. We are all covetous? No. There are ascetics for one, but there are people who truly do not want. We could go on for all the sins, And, given the billions of people passing through this mortal coil, there will be/have been people who had none of those faults. Not a great percentage, granted, but there will have been some.



  • MPaul wrote: »
    How do you know what you think you know? ..and what sort of knowledge is it? There is a lot more to reality and ways of knowing than are dreamed of in your philosophy.
    Damn, you really need a mirror.
    You accuse Bible believers of delusions..what about yours? The rocks don’t lie right? But what is the basis of your interpretation of the story they tell? Are the people you trust trustworthy?
    They aren’t.
    They have a vested interest in their truth story, Jerry Coyne and the rest of them.
    One day you’ll see what a stuff up you’ve made of it and it may well be too late.
    Science isn't a "truth story" it is an investigation into how things work. Coyne's extra-scientific publishing is a separate thing from biology.

  • For me, the quintessence of 'liberal' was the preacher I once heard quoting an NT passage, one of Jesus' parables, and saying
    "Would our Jesus have said that?"

    I'm pretty sure that the actual Jesus did say it - it is quite a striking passage - and it was remembered to be recorded by the gospel writer;
    You do not know what Jesus said. You know what somebody said, somebody said Jesus said and that though an interpreter.
    so who is this 'our Jesus'? In essence that person was not 'interpreting' but making up the interpretation to suit what he wanted to believe. I would have preached a significantly different message from that text!
    We do not have Jesus' actual words. We have, at best, his words as remembered by someone who heard them. I have said "You are a bastard" to more than one person. Depending on context, it meant that person had gotten one up on me and my words were a friendly acknowledgement of it or I thought the person was a horrible person. Context determined which and, frankly, the NT is missing loads of context that the writers would have understood, but we don't.
    BTW, Never have I called someone a bastard because their parents were not married at the time of their birth.
    So, yes, believers should have an idea of what they beleive Jesus message to be and filter individual passages through that. In other words, you judege individual parts by the whole, not the whole by individual parts.
  • Crœsos wrote: »
    Back in the 60s I several times saw examples of 'liberals' glibly saying that you could make the Bible mean whatever you liked; yet when they had to actually interpret a text they would find that even after much unravelling of figures of speech etc., the text still meant the same basic thing in moral/spiritual terms. The problem was that the 'liberals' didn't want to believe that message.

    I disagree with this assessment. Despite claiming to read the Bible the same way you read the Iliad or On the Origin of Species or any other book there seems to be a lot of highly motivated distinction between what is "literal" and what's just a figure of speech. For example, the Sun, Moon, and stars as objects mounted on an overhead dome and all more or less the same distance away? That's just poetic language. The same book describing a fruit-based ancestral curse? Literally happened exactly as described. And then there's cases where the actual words are completely ignored, both as literal description and poetic metaphor, in favor of some story about God smiting evil cyborgs.

    The main failure of literalism is that it doesn't deliver what it promises. The idea is that if you read the words as actually written (or as translated) everyone will agree on what they mean and there will be no such thing as theological disagreement any more. The fact that this is not the case even among those who claim to adhere to a "literal" reading of scripture argues that there's a failure here. Most often it's attributed to bad faith on the part of that other guy, who is clearly not reading "literally" or is doing so in bad faith.

    Judging by that comment about (alleged) cyborgs I think you may be confusing me with MPaul and other hyperliteralists. I'm not putting forward that kind of case.

    I'm putting the case for reading in 'the literal sense' as understood by the Reformers and the medieval scholars before them. And as Tyndale's words indicate this was not a 'dumb wooden' literalism but a view that fully recognised the Scriptures as written in an ordinary human use of language way including figures of speech, different genres, etc.

    One of these which applies to the idea of 'the Sun, Moon, and stars as objects mounted on an overhead dome and all more or less the same distance away' is what is technically called 'phenomenal' language - ie, describing how things appear irrespective of your scientific theory of them. I would expect that you and everybody else on the Ship regularly use 'phenomenal' language by referring to 'sunrise' and 'sunset' even though as good Copernicans you know that in scientific terms it's not the Sun that's making the relevant movements.

    Again, my comparison to 'Animal Farm' shows that I'm not necessarily thinking in terms of a 'fruit-based ancestral curse... that... literally happened exactly as described'. What I think is rather more subtle than that; but the Genesis story is still a good basis for discussing the simple fact that "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God...."

    Your other example there is definitely MPaul and I don't think I agree with him and I'll leave that discussion for you to have with him, please, rather than shoe-horning it into a discussion of my views as if it was mine.

    The failure of the 'dumb wooden literal' view is simply that it tends to ignore the basic reality of human language as not always being simplistically 'cat sat on the mat' literal but very often using figures of speech and other literary devices on which, as Tyndale says, you have to use your brain a bit. Plus, as you point out, even the most literalist generally have to admit figures of speech etc at some point. I've yet to meet a 'fundamentalist' who believes that describing Jesus as 'the Lamb of God' means that the Sermon on the Mount was bleated by a woolly animal...!

    My point which you've quoted was that generally when liberals have to actually interpret a particular text, rather than just make grandiose 'soundbites' about the Bible in general, they find the text is not all that much of a proverbial 'wax nose' to be shaped however you want. Even with maximum allowance for the various literary devices, the range of credible meaning is still fairly narrow and pretty much what evangelicals have always said, while it can't credibly be interpreted as the liberal theologian would prefer.
  • by Lilbuddha
    You do not know what Jesus said. You know what somebody said, somebody said Jesus said and that though an interpreter.

    I don't think I did claim quite so absolutely to 'know what Jesus said'; my actual words, which you noticed sufficiently to quote them, were "I'm pretty sure that the actual Jesus did say it...." That is, my estimate of the balance of probabilities is that Luke has recorded something that really did happen and which he may have heard from somebody as close as an eyewitness. And if we're being fussy, Jesus said it in Aramaic and the version we have is Greek....

    I didn't specify exactly which parable was quoted; but as I said, it's quite striking and likely to have been remembered fairly exactly; and the part my liberal friend was objecting to is compatible with many other statements attributed to Jesus in the gospels.

    So where does he derive his idea of "Would 'our Jesus' have said that?" And basically it was a case of he didn't want to believe Jesus could say that because it doesn't fit his (rather 'cherry-picked') view of what Jesus would say. In terms of knowledge he is going way beyond merely the remove of "... what somebody said, somebody said Jesus said..." into an essentially totally subjective idea of what Jesus ought to have said according to his ideas. In effect he was, as I suggested, making up Jesus to suit himself, in defiance of the almost contemporary evidence.

    by lilbuddha
    So, yes, believers should have an idea of what they believe Jesus' message to be and filter individual passages through that. In other words, you judge individual parts by the whole, not the whole by individual parts.

    Sort of yes. But my 'idea of what (I) believe Jesus' message to be' is essentially based precisely on the evidence of 'the whole', the gospel record. And in this case the passage in question appears to be thoroughly compatible with that whole, so judging by the whole I accept it. My liberal friend is using a much more subjective standard....
  • ArethosemyfeetArethosemyfeet Shipmate
    edited January 19
    I would expect that you and everybody else on the Ship regularly use 'phenomenal' language by referring to 'sunrise' and 'sunset' even though as good Copernicans you know that in scientific terms it's not the Sun that's making the relevant movements.

    Actually in scientific terms it's perfectly reasonable to describe observations from the frame of reference of the observer, so long as one comprehends when one frame is accelerated relative to another. Absolute position and absolute motion are not valid physical concepts.
Sign In or Register to comment.