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The Progression of literalism in origins

Discussion in 'Creation & Theistic Evolution' started by Vance, Aug 26, 2003.

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  1. Vance

    Vance Contributor

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    This is the progression of thought by those who insist that their literal, "plain reading" interpretation of Scripture is correct. This torch is now being carried by the YEC's (Young Earth Creationists).

    The progression:

    The world is flat because to say otherwise is to contradict the Bible.

    Well, OK, the Earth is spherical, but the universe revolves around it because to say otherwise is to contradict the Bible.

    Well, OK, so the Earth revolves around the Sun, but evolution is a lie, it simply doesn't happen, because to say otherwise is to contradict the Bible.

    Well, OK, evolution happens, but only micro evoution, not macro, because to say otherwise is to contradict the Bible.

    Well, OK, we don't want to argue about "macro" v. "micro" because every time we define "macro" evolution, someone eventually proves that it does happen (and no, we won't define "kind" either for the same reason), But the bottom-line is that speciation does *not* occur, because to say otherwise is to contradict the Bible.

    Well, OK, speciation does occur, but this evolution never creates any "new information", because to say otherwise is to contradict the Bible.

    Well, OK, so evolution does create "new information", but that new information must always results in a net loss of total information, never a net gain, because to say otherwise is to contradict the Bible.

    And we *mean* it this time . . .
     
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  2. wblastyn

    wblastyn Jedi Master

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    The sad thing is Biblical literalists never learn. :(
     
  3. Vance

    Vance Contributor

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    I should add that I *do* believe that the Bible is the complete and inerrant Word of God to Mankind. It is inspired by God and can not be contradicted. It is wholly true and just as relevant for us today as the day it is written. My bibles are my prize possessions and I believe a grounding in the Word is essential to a strong Christian walk.

    Having said all that, I challenge anyone to state that they read *every* phrase in the Bible literally.
     
  4. Serapha

    Serapha Well-Known Member

    +26
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    I see that this is just another "swing" at people who believe in a literal translation of the Bible.


    I don't know of a single theology professor, fundamentalist or otherwise, who would teach that "every" phrase in the Bible is to be taken literally, but I could quote a hundred that will tell you that you are to take every passage of the Bible literally unless there is a specific reason that you cannot.

    That means... the literal interpretation is not "pick and choose", but rather a structured interpretation with principles that can be studied and applied in a consistent manner.


    What are the rules of hermeneutics that you follow... by that I mean what are the principles applied to YOUR interpretation of the Bible?


    ~malaka~
     
  5. Vance

    Vance Contributor

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    Malaka:

    My approach is stated in your very post:

    I take every Scripture literally unless there is a specific reason I can not.

    And, believe me, it takes some pretty strong evidence for me to bump off of my literal reading. Fantastically strong, actually. The evidence for an old universe/earth and against a world-wide flood clear even this high standard by a long shot. Not even a close call.

    But I am very glad to see you acknowledging that not all Scripture can be taken literally.
     
  6. fragmentsofdreams

    fragmentsofdreams Critical loyalist

    +410
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    I have not seen anyone present a standard to take the flat earth/geocentric passages non-literally and Genesis literally except that the evidence against a flat earth and geocentricism is so overwhelming. If this is the standard, one cannot reject science based on a scriptural interpretation.
     
  7. Serapha

    Serapha Well-Known Member

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    Vance,

    In 50 words or less (and I will count them)... tell me why the evening and the morning were the first day... cannot be accepted as a literal 24- hour day. Don't you believe in a supernatural God that can created that much in a literal day?


    No, remember 50 words or less.


    ~malaka~
     
  8. Vance

    Vance Contributor

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    I could take the time to reduce the following to less than 50 words, but I just don't have the time. This states the position better than I could anyway:

    http://answers.org/newlook/NLCHPTR3.HTM#Argument 3

    And the particular text, if you would rather not link over to it:

    Argument #3
    That the use of the Hebrew expression "evening and morning" forces the twenty-four-hour interpretation.

    This argument is presented as if it were a general rule of interpreting scripture; but no reason is provided as to why it should be considered a valid one - especially considering the antiquity of the text. Like the word "day" the Hebrew words for "evening" and "morning" ("arab" and "boqer") both have multiple definitions. It can be seen from Psalm 90:14 that "Morning" carries a meaning which is not tied to a twenty-four-hour day:
    "O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days." - K.J.V. Emphasis mine.
    Here, the Hebrew word "boqer" (emphasized word) was translated as "early" rather than "in the morning" because it was obvious from context that "in the early part of a person's lifetime" rather than "in the morning of a particular twenty-four-hour period" was what the Psalmist had intended; otherwise, whether the blessing came in the morning or the evening would have very little to do with how much time would remain for rejoicing during that person's lifetime. 12
    But what about when "evening and morning" appear together as argument #3 requires? Psalm 90:14 does not exactly apply because "evening" and "morning" are not both used there. "Evening" and "morning" occur together many places in the Bible. In the first chapter of Genesis, this happens six times. Other usages are: Exodus 18:13, 14 & 27:21; Leviticus 24:3; Numbers 9:21; 1 Samuel 17:16; 13 1 Chron. 16:40; 2 Chron. 2:4 & 31:3; Ezra 3:3; Job 4:20; Psalm 55:17 and Daniel 8:26. As can be seen from examining context of these verses, the expression usually carries the idea of "continuously." For example, instruction may be given to do something "evening and morning." Not only is the thing to be done in the evening and in the morning, but it is also understood that it is to be done day after day. The Living Bible renders the expression "Day and night" in Exodus 27:21. Other acceptable paraphrasings might be "day after day" or even "around the clock" in some cases.
    At first glance, the sense of "continuously" does not seem to fit into the context of Genesis 1 no matter which interpretation is assigned to the six days; but it is possible that this phrase is telling us that each of God's creative acts merely commenced on the particular day named and then continued during subsequent days. If this were the case, either interpretation ("age" or twenty-four-hour) would fit equally well.
    None of the usages of evening and morning appear to limit an event to just twenty-four hours. Job 4:20 speaks figuratively of men's "houses" of clay which are destroyed between "morning and evening." This process seems slow to men but not to God. Daniel 8:26 relates a vision of Daniel's which covered future dynasties of man up until the end time.
    "And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days." - Daniel 8:26, K.J.V. Italics theirs.
    Here the expression "evening and morning" appears to mean something like "from beginning to end" - the entire rule of man. The translators of both the N.I.V. and N.A.S. Bibles rendered the phrase as "evenings and mornings" - apparently to make the greater-than-twenty-four-hour meaning more clear to modern readers. ("Evening" and "morning" are both singular in the Hebrew.) Daniel seems to confirm the greater-than-twenty-four-hour meaning, but the confirmation is weak; Genesis and Daniel represent very different times and cultures. 14
    In any case, the presence of the expression "evening and morning" does not by itself establish that the "days" of creation were twenty-four hours in length. It would seem there is still no clear way to decide how to interpret the word "day." As before, the decision should be made on some other basis.
     
  9. Serapha

    Serapha Well-Known Member

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    Vance,


    I didn't ask for your "discourse", I asked for a "discuss"



    And in the same "rudeness"... I don't have "time" to read a discourse... that's why I requested a discuss... Your time isn't more important than anyone else's on this forum... so please don't treat me as if your time is more important than mine. I find that quite insulting.


    bye, again...
    :wave:


    ~malaka~
     
  10. Vance

    Vance Contributor

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    So, first you accuse me of improperly summarizing another source, actually accusing me of misleading people. You tell me that I should not summarize, but post the whole text the first time.

    Now, you are criticizing me posting the whole text and NOT summarizing. Very odd.

    OK, the summary:

    The original Hebrew words for "morning and evening" are more accurately read to mean "continuously" based on Scriptural analysis of many verses where these verses, and this very phrase, are used to mean things OTHER than our usual understanding of "morning and evening".

    For more details, read above.
     
  11. Vance

    Vance Contributor

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    Oh, and I do, of course, believe that God could have created whatever He chose in one second, much less 24 hours.

    And He could have waived us all into being miraculously in our given time rather than create the process of sexual reproduction and a nine month gestation. I am not sure why God often chooses natural means and time frames to accomplish what He can do instantaneously and outside the natural laws He established. I am not one like Job to question why God does what He does or pretend to know every detail of His works.
     
  12. Sinai

    Sinai Well-Known Member

    +15
    Protestant
    As usual, Vance, you posted an interesting discussion--but there may be still another reason or a greater cosmic thought that Genesis One is telling us in the usage of those words and phrases.

    The Hebrew for “evening” is erev. The root of erev means “mixed-up, stirred together, disorderly”—which tends to be our visual sensation of being in the dark.

    The Hebrew for “morning” is voqer or boker. Its root means “discernible, able to be distinguished, orderly”—which tends to be our visual sensation at the coming of day.

    The root meanings help the phrase take on cosmic significance—and perhaps important enough to be repeated at the close of each of God’s creative days: Throughout the time of God’s creative activity, there was a systematic flow from chaos and disorder (“evening”) to order (“morning”). God brought order from chaos in the creation of both the universe and of our own world. The Bible also informs us that God desires to bring order from chaos in our own personal lives….
     
  13. Vance

    Vance Contributor

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    Yes, that is another interesting possibility, and fits very well with the concepts of Creation. Actually either of these views of "morning and evening" strongly correspond to God's creative acts. Even if there were NO evidence that the Earth was billions of years old, and I did a word study to determine what God meant for us here, I would likely come up with one of these two approaches and NOT the idea that He literally meant a 24 hour period.

    A 24 hour period is the least likely even without the "old earth" evidence. It clearly can not mean a "morning" and an "evening" in the literal sense since it is first used on the first "day", before there was a Sun and an Earth for the Sun to move around (thus creating a morning and evening). So, it obviously must mean something *other* than what we call "morning" and "evening". And, since the actual words used can and often do mean something other than times of a day, I am not sure why people begin insisting on these meanings so dogmatically.

    What is ironic is that the "flat earth" groups used the "morning and evening" words as one of their literal Scriptures to prove that the earth must be flat. If the earth was a sphere, there would be no single "morning" or "evening", but a progression of morning/evenings all over the globe!
     
  14. fragmentsofdreams

    fragmentsofdreams Critical loyalist

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    God can do a lot of things. What God can do is not the same as what God has done and will do.
     
  15. Vance

    Vance Contributor

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    Which brings up an interesting point.

    Many YEC's argue that believing in an old earth and universe is a belief that God is not omnipotent if He required all that time to create. But then they go right on to say, "No, it did NOT take him Him billions of years, it only took Him six days!"

    Does anyone else see the flaw in this argument?
     
  16. Saint Philip

    Saint Philip Active Member

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    Hey Vance, you forget to give the link to where you lifted this from. Or, are you getting uppity and writing this stuff yourself?

    Anyway, it's a lie. There is no such Creationist progression.

    I'm doubtful that the "flat earth" was ever very popular. Modern man is more arrogant that ancient man was ignorant.

    The universe revolving around the Earth was a solidly secular belief, rather than anything reserved to Creationists.

    Creationists say and have always said that Evolution doesn't happen. They have never said "micro-evolution" (which isn't Evolution) doesn't happen.

    The Big Bang is a lame lie. One day, after a less lame replacement is imagined by Atheists, the Atheist religion will abandon the Big Bang. And, many years from now a twit Atheist will use the Big Bang as an example ignorance created by people believing the Bible. They might even provide a few quotes from Hugh Ross "proving" the Bible teaches that the Big Bang is how God created the universe.
     
  17. Vance

    Vance Contributor

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    Phil, Baby, you need to read up on your Creationist history.

    As for the flat earth, please read this:

    http://home.earthlink.net/~misaak/guide/CA/CA662.html

    And note that I did not say it was a mainstream Christian belief, but the type of belief which is based on the same literal interpretation combined with an abhorrence of science that those who hold to YEC'ism espouse today.

    On geocentrism, it was very much a Church belief. The fact that secular scientists of the day thought the same thing is irrelevant and a red herring. The bottom line is that the Church accepted the science because it fit their beliefs (as with current YEC'ism). And the ultimate bottom line is that the Church definitely said that a literal reading of the Bible required a belief in geocentrism and that to refuse to accept geocentrism is to deny the Bible's accuracy.

    This progression is EXACTLY how it has gotten from there to here.
     
  18. wblastyn

    wblastyn Jedi Master

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    Yes, why did it take Him 6 days and why did he need to rest?
     
  19. wblastyn

    wblastyn Jedi Master

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    Uh huh. ^_^

    Yet, the church had scripture to support it.

    "Micro-evolution" is evolution. What is evolution?

    What is the big bang?
     
  20. Saint Philip

    Saint Philip Active Member

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    "It is true that flat Earthism was never a majority or official position of the early church." Is that what you wanted me to read?

    Or this, "Theophilus of Antioch, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Methodius, Theodore of Mopsuestia, John Chrysostom, Cyril of Jerusalem, Ephraim Syrus, Athanasius of Alexandria, Diodorus of Tarsus, Epiphanius of Salamis, Hilary of Poitiers, and Severianus of Gabala." I didn't see one bit of evidence that any of these men believed in a flat Earth. But, so what if they did. See the first quote. There are always nuts, like those who think humans are children of apes.

    [/quote]On geocentrism, it was very much a Church belief.[/quote]

    No, geocentrism was a government belief, like Evolution. Just because the government had the official church, don't go blaming the church for what existed before the church and what was imposed on the church by the government.
     
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