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Contradictions in the bible


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#346    srd44

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 07:11 PM

View PostIamsSon, on 06 February 2013 - 06:55 PM, said:

Actually, it is not at all clear that there were two authors.  You seem to be doing what you're accusing David of doing.  One has to remember the original texts did not have chapter, much less verse divisions.  The account is one continuous account, first dealing with a synopsis of the period of creation of life on earth and then going into detail regarding God's interaction with the humans He created.  Article, Article
Not at all, the hypothesis that the Genesis' accounts were part of two larger textual traditions first appeared in the 18th century by 3 INDEPENDENT critical readers. No scholar diputes this now. The best book of this topic, one that is honest to the text, the best book out there actually, is David Carr's Reading the Fractures of Genesis. As the title indicates, Carr, highly learned, takes as his starting point the text itself, so not even the documentary hypothesis, and by looking at the Hebrew texts, its "fractures" in the narratives, its resumptive repetions, diferent style and consistenly different use of vocabulary and theological point of views, etc. --- the textual data itself makes the claim of different authorships. Period. To deny this is to deny these texts and their authors and in lieu of them to impose later theological ideas of homogeneity and single authorship whether divine or human.

I have written on this extensively at my blog. Here's an excerpt:

The German Lutheran minister Henning Bernhard Witter, the French physician for Louis vx, Jean Astruc, and a professor of Göttingen University by the name of Johann Gottfried Eichhorn each separately came to the conclusion that the Pentatuech must be a composite of, primarily, two sources. It was Witter, who in the early century (1711) postulated a two-source hypothesis based on the distinction of two different appellations for Israel’s god in the opening creation accounts of the book of Genesis. Witter observed that Genesis 1:1-2:3 consistently and exclusively used the Hebrew word elohim ("god(s)"), while Genesis 2:4-3:24 consistently and exclusively used the Hebrew name Yahweh when referring to the deity.{{3}} It should also be mentioned that Witter was still working within the paradigm handed down to him by the previous century’s critics—namely that Moses used sources in his composition of Genesis. Thus for Witter, these two sources distinguished themselves from each other not only by the difference in portrait and appellation of Israel’s god, but also in terms of doublets and differing styles.
It was not, however, until the 1753 study by Astruc, Conjectures sur les mémoires originauz dont il paroit que Moyse s'est servi pour composer le livre de la Génèse (Conjectures on the original sources which Moses apparently used in composing the book of Genesis), that the impact of this discovery was felt. Astruc not only labeled these two sources the Elohistic (from the Hebrew elohim) and the Jehovistic (from the mistaken medieval pronunciation of the tetragrammaton, yhwh), but he also noticed that these two sources exhibited other differences besides the two distinct appellations of Israel’s deity, and furthermore that these differences extended throughout the book of Genesis. For example, these two sources also displayed differences in style, vocabulary, and even theological emphasis. Most impressively, this two source hypothesis was able to explain successfully the book of Genesis’ duplicate narratives, discordant chronologies, and even contradictions. Astruc claimed that these discrepancies were the result of the combination of these two sources by Moses. The work of Eichorn follows more or less that of Astruc: Moses used two identifiable and independent sources, whose separate identities are discernable from the difference in their appellation of Israel’s deity—Yahweh and elohim—as well as differences in style, and narrative repetitions of the same event.
It should be stressed that Witter, Astruc, and Eichorn were not arguing against Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch. Rather, the critical discussion revolved around the potential sources that Moses used in composing the Pentateuch, and the post-Mosaic sources used by later writers who appended material to the core Mosaic text. In fact Astruc was a stanch defender of Mosaic authorship: Moses had allegedly used antiquarian sources for his composition was the claim.

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#347    srd44

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 07:20 PM

View PostDavid Henson, on 06 February 2013 - 12:20 AM, said:

Okay, then give me an example either of my doing so, in your opinion or where it is likely that I would do so. I think it is most likely that you are doing what you are accusing me of doing. My interpretation doesn't jive with yours so I must be reading into it.

The first account is chronological, the second topical. So the order comes out different. The second account being topical, in which Adam and his family are the subject, after a brief prologue, relates events in accordance to that.  Adam is to live in the Garden so then the planting of the garden is given, Adam is to name the creatures so their creation is given. Its all relative to Adam.

Ok, if the camel doesn't what to go to the well, the water must be brought to the camel. Here is my post on Gen 1 & Gen 2. I reproduce it in full, to my reader's chagrin no doubt (this is copyrighted material, as it is part of a forthcoming book).

God creates the heavens and the earth, then plants, then animals, and then both male and female in his image OR Yahweh first forms man from the ground, then plants, then animals, and then woman last from man’s rib? (Gen 1:1-2:3 vs Gen 2:4b-23)

Ancient and modern readers alike have long recognized the stark differences between the seven-day creation account of Gen 1:1-2:3 and the latter garden of Eden account of Gen 2:4b-3:24. Even on stylistic grounds noticeable in an English translation, the first creation account, penned by the
Priestly writer, is lofty, formulaic, structured, heaven-centered, and awe-inspiring with its image of an utterly transcendent and impersonal creator deity who brings creation and order into existence by the mere force of his word. The second creation account, from the pen of the Yahwist, on the other hand, is informal and fable-like in its presentation, is earth-centered, is presented as a narrative dialogue, and is theologically more poignant with its etiological tale describing how man, crafted from the clay of the earth by a very personal and "human" deity, and prompted by a talking serpent, fell from the presence of its creator, and as a result human suffering and toil befell the lot of mankind. But perhaps the most obvious differences, indeed contradictions, lie in their presentation of the order of creation and the manner in which the created world comes into existence. For instance, after the creation of the heavens and the earth, the first account then proceeds to describe how God creates—the Hebrew word used is bara’—plants on the third day (1:11), then animals on the fifth and sixth days (1:20, 1:24), and lastly male and female together in his own image (1:27). The repeated emphasis is on a god who creates (bara’) by pronouncing the thing into existence and then claiming the goodness in the created thing and by extension in the created order of the cosmos. In the second creation account, however, we are informed that now Yahweh (here the deity’s name is specified) first forms—the Hebrew word is yeser—man from the dust of the earth (2:7), then plants (2:9), and then, so that the man should not be alone and that he should have a corresponding aid, Yahweh forms (yeser) animals from the earth (2:18-19), and finally since man is unable to find a satisfactory companion which corresponds to him among the animals, woman is built (banah) from the man’s rib (2:22). Thus in our first account plants and animals are created (bara’) before both male and female are created in the image of the god(s), but in the latter account man is formed (yeser) from the ground first, then plants and animals, and then, woman is built from the man’s rib.

Wordplay and puns are also particular to this second creation account, and help accentuate this account’s anthropological orientation. For instance, we are told that from the ground (’adamah) Yahweh forms man (’adam), but no other beast formed from the ground (’adamah) has a name, that is an essence, which corresponds to man, only woman (’ishah) corresponds to man (’ish): "This, now, is bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman (’ishah) because she was taken out of man (’ish)" (2:23). In the Priestly account, male and female are created together in the image of the deity and his divine counsel ("let us make," "in our image" (1:26)); while in the Yahwist account, the origin of both man and woman is presented through the use of wordplay which accentuates the created stuff from which the essence of man and woman were made: man (’adam) comes from the ground (’adamah), woman (’ishah) from man (’ish).

One of the most prominent and distinguishable differences between these two creation accounts, especially in the Hebrew, is the manner in which each creation account depicts the creator god. Genesis 1:1-2:3 refers to the deity with the Hebrew word for god (elohim) in all of its thirty-five occurrences. The second account, Genesis 2:4b-3:24, always refers to the deity as Yahweh{{1}} in all of its eleven occurrences, and as we have already seen is the Yahwist’s hallmark. The addition of the word "god" (elohim) after the name Yahweh in all of the eleven occurrences in the second creation story, yielding "god Yahweh" in the text’s current form (2:4, 5,7, 8, etc.), is the result of an editorial process that apparently attempted to soften the transition from the first account’s elohim to the second account’s Yahweh by inserting into the text of the second creation account the word elohim after Yahweh.{{2}} In support of this view, it should be mentioned that this double identification, "god Yahweh," is only found in these eleven occurrences, and nowhere else in the Pentateuch.{{3}} This is significant considering that the name Yahweh appears roughly 1,800 times throughout the Pentateuch alone.

Along with the different terms for the creator god in each account, both texts also portray their deity in strikingly different manners. In the Priestly account, for example, God speaks things into existence. He is presented as utterly transcendent; he never interacts with his creation and stands completely outside of the cosmos. By contrast, in the Yahwist account Yahweh is consistently portrayed in anthropomorphic terms, and communicates and interacts directly with his creation (and often with himself in the form of interior monologues).{{4}} Such anthropomorphism, that is presenting a deity in human terms, is readily visible throughout Gen 2:4b-3:24. Yahweh forms man from the dust of the earth, presumably with his hands (2:7),{{5}} breaths into the man’s nostrils, plants a garden (2:8), takes and puts the man in the garden (2:15), commands the man (2:16), forms animals from the ground (2:19), builds a woman from the man’s rib (2:22), walks in the garden (3:8), calls and speaks to his creation (3:9, 13-14), makes skins of garments for the human pair (2:21), and lastly puts the human pair outside the garden (3:23). This type of anthropomorphism is never found in the first creation account's portrait of God, nor in the Priestly source in general. It is unique to the Yahwist.

In addition to the varying portraits of the creator deity, the god’s lofty and grandiose transcendence or his stark and churlish anthropomorphism, there are other differences that set these two accounts apart. Although the subject matter is roughly parallel, its treatment by each account is hardly the same and each account’s underlying emphasis, whether theological or otherwise, is scarcely compatible. Where one attempts to give an orderly explanation of the creation of the cosmos via the word of an all-powerful transcendent deity, and, in short, is heaven-centered, the other attempts to answer questions of an anthropological nature, is earth-centered, and emphasizes man’s creation, relationship, disobedience towards, and finally expulsion from a very personal and "human" deity, Yahweh. It might furthermore be said that the first creation myth, for reasons that will be explored below, moves from chaos to order, within which there are repeated refrains where the god pronounces the created thing’s goodness and, finally, blesses humanity—a humanity, moreover, created in the image and likeness of its divine creator(s). The second account, on the other hand, moves from an infertile, barren, and humanless landscape through the formation of man from this ground and his placement in a fertile and fecund garden to, finally, his expulsion from that garden and (re)placement on a ground that has now become cursed (3:17, 4:11, 5:29). Unlike the former’s original state of creation which is represented as a watery chaos, the latter’s original state of creation is depicted as a waterless waste with no rain nor vegetation (Gen 2:5); it represents the dry, arid land of the geography of Palestine, which is mostly irrigated through its various underground springs that swell up from the ground to make the soil fertile, like the one mentioned in Gen 2:6. The toil required for man (’adam) to work this hard, dry soil (’adamah) is a prominent theme in this story. It is an etiological tale which provides a rationale for man’s current lot—how it came to be that ’adam must procure his livelihood by working the ’adamah, and at that a cursed ground. As we will see in numerous future entries, this anthropological theology of man toiling the cursed ground from which he was formed is part and parcel to retrojecting the author's geography onto these archaic narratives. That is to say, the author’s own perspective and experience of life as defined by his social and political world is retrojected into the past in the formation of a creation myth that then explains how and why man, as perceived from within the cultural perspective of our author, must toil the cursed ground for his livelihood. Thus contrary to the first creation’s account of celebration, affirmed goodness, and blessing, the latter account is a dramatic narrative with crisis and resolution in the form of punishment and curse.

In fact, in the redacted PJE text as it now stands, the Yahwist account completely negates the main theological message of the Priestly account—that God made both male and female in his likeness and that this is inherently good. As professor David Carr has astutely observed, in the former, humanity is created in the image and likeness of God and this is "good," while in the latter humanity is punished specifically for yearning to be like his god and this is deemed a transgression. "Gen 1:1-2:3 depicts an omnipotent God creating a godlike humanity. In contrast, Gen 2:4b-3:24 depicts a God who can both fail (Gen 2:19-20) and succeed (Gen 2:21-23). Humanity is not godlike but is created out of earth and punished for acts leading to humanity’s being like God (Gen 3:1-24)."{{6}} The implication that Carr deduces from this, as well as other strongly supportive data, is that the P creation text with its emphasis on order and goodness was written to replace and correct the image of man given in the Yahwist version. But because of the redactional process that eventually brought these two contradictory statements together, in an irony of sorts it is the Yahwist text that has now subverted the message of the Priestly writer. And this happens on numerous other occasions as well.

Noteworthy also is the fact that the first creation account emphasizes themes whose purpose and importance may be labeled as liturgical or cultic in nature, such as the importance of the Sabbath (2:3)—thus linking the cultic observance of the Sabbath to the created order of the cosmos—and in general all festivals and rituals governed by the appointed times as dictated by the movement of the celestial luminaries, which serve as signs for the appointed times of such festivals (1:14). In fact, there is a heightened emphasis between ritual observances and the ordered creation of the cosmos in this creation account. The second creation account displays no concern for these priestly matters, while on the other hand, emphasizing themes that are important to its own narrative, a sort of anthropological theology interested in such questions as man’s relationship to a personal deity, to the ground, obedience, theodicy, and man’s lot in life. Indeed, all these differences (in theme, style, vocabulary, theology, presentation of the deity, emphasis, and purpose) and specific contradictions in the order and manner of creation point, irrefutably, toward the fact that these two creation accounts were penned by two different authors. In other words, what accounts for these differences and contradictions is the very fact that these two creation accounts were penned by two different authors, and most likely in two different time periods and for two different purposes and two different audiences.

The first creation account is from the Priestly source and it readily displays this writer’s beliefs and worldview. The most obvious is the Sabbath observance. This is not only built into the cosmic order, but it is an expression of God’s presence in the weekly revolutions of this cosmic order. It is also an expression of God’s sanctity and blessing: "And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy" (Gen 2:3). Gen 1:14 seems to push this idea further by suggesting that the regulation of the cosmic order serves to establish a ritual calendar whose sole purpose is to provide "signs for appointed times"—that is days for the observance of cultic festivals and holy days such as the Sabbath. In other words, it is a cosmos created for ritual observances! The act of separation that occurs repeatedly throughout this creation account (Gen 1:4, 6, 7, 14, 18) also expresses Priestly ritual concerns and practices. In the book of Leviticus for example, also written by the Priestly writer, separating the clean from the unclean, whether in diet, the cult, or ethical matters, is part of keeping ritual purity, sanctification, and cosmic order. Everything was prescribed at creation to have its own place. This focus on ritual and order is even inherent in the rhetorical form of the Priestly creation account with its repetitive and formulaic structure.

That the opening chapter of the Pentateuch is from the Priestly source is not a coincidence. Rather it is a carefully implemented interpretive decision on the part of the Priestly redactor. It not only sets the interpretive framework for the next four books, but it introduces the central conviction inherent in the Priestly writer’s worldview, namely that the cultic system is woven directly into the fabric of creation itself. Ideas of ritual, order, blessing, the presence of God, and the observance of holy days are among the most visible aspects of the Priestly writer’s craft in this opening creation account. Thus the Priestly creation account establishes the importance of ritual as part of that which was inherent in the cosmos’ creation itself. In fact, the rituals of the cult themselves reestablish cosmic order; that is to say, officiating the cult and festival observances is part and parcel to maintaining cosmic order. It might further be concluded that in the Priestly creation account God is cast in the role of a priest who bestows blessings, ordains the ritual observance of the Sabbath, and in general safeguards the sanctification of the created world. Both the deity’s presence and sanctification is reestablished and reenacted through cultic and ritual observances. This is no coincidence. That God is imagined and presented in the role of its author, a priest, should not surprise us. Texts are the expressions of their authors. We will see more of this as we proceed through the Priestly writer’s composition. The role of the cult, its sacrifices, its rituals for separating the pure and the impure, its observances of the Sabbath and other festivals all function to reestablish the original sanctity inherent in the creation of the cosmos. It also functions to highlight the role of the cult and the priests for the audience to whom this was written. It subtly legitimates a worldview where priests are at the apex, and like the deity himself they too re-create the goodness of the established order through officiating ritual and cultic observances and bestowing blessings. These connections will become more pronounced in the book Exodus, where the establishment of the cult on the New Year’s day is presented, and in the book of Leviticus, where cultic and ritual legislation are set forth.

Many biblical scholars and attentive readers have noticed that the Priestly account of creation is not a creatio ex nihilo (a creation out of nothing). Before creation commences we are told that the earth was formless and void (tohu wabohu). We are also informed that the waters and the deep were present (1:2). Careful attention to these narrative details allows us to see more clearly the Priestly writer’s worldview and what exactly he hoped to convey through his creation account, and to whom!

That the Priestly writer has God create an ordered and habitable world from an unformed void or waste (tohu wabohu) is significant:{{7}} the image conveys that God can create a good and blessed cosmos from an initial condition of darkness, void, and waste. It is at core a message of hope, that even in the most dire of circumstances and conditions, goodness, order, and even holiness can be created. But we can learn more about this initial pre-creation state of tohu wabohu from other biblical passages that also speak of this. For example, foreseeing the imminent doom of Judah by the Babylonians and the coming desolation of the lands and the turning of fruitful fields into wildernesses, Jeremiah professes: "I looked on the earth and behold, it was void and waste (tohu wabohu), and to the heavens, and they had no light (Jer 4:23). The prophet uses the image of the reversal of creation to depict the harsh realities of the Babylonian destruction of the land of Judah and its people in 587 BC. In fact, references to Judah specifically, and the earth in general, as a tohu wabohu, a wasteland, a barren and sterile wilderness, are typical exilic descriptions of the aftermath of the Babylonian destruction as they laid siege to the land and utterly destroyed and burnt everything they encountered, from cities to fields. Yet also particular to this 6th century BC exilic literature is the theme of return and recreation, that Yahweh will bring his people back to their land and once again turn it from a wasteland (tohu wabohu) into a fertile and habitable land. Isaiah 45:18, for example, states that Yahweh has "formed the earth and made it; he established it. He created it not a wasteland (tohu), but he formed it to be habited." In its historical context, tohu refers to the desolation of the land of Judah in the aftermath of the Babylonian destruction and exile of 587 BC. Yet the allusion to (re)creation is also apparent here. It is a message of hope to the exilic community that Yahweh will turn Judah in the aftermath of this Babylonian destruction back into a habitable land. As in Genesis 1:2, an initial condition of a wasteland (tohu) is created into a habitable world. The passage continues: "I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness. I did not say to the children of Jacob, ‘Seek me in desolation (tohu)’" (45:19). Here the reference is to the Israelites in their exiled captivity in Babylon. In other words, these 6th century BC texts use tohu to speak of the wasteland, desolation, and darkness of the exilic condition, and the aftermath of the Babylonian destruction of Judah. What was brought about was tohu, a state of decreation. But these prophetic passages also express hope that this was not Yahweh’s intention—to have the exiles sitting in tohu. They express hope that Yahweh will (re)create a habitable world from this current condition of tohu, and bring his people out of tohu. They are in short, narratives of (re)creation designed to address the specific historical catastrophe brought about by the Babylonian destruction of 587 BC. The point I’m trying to make is that this specific vocabulary and imagery is unique to the exilic literature of the 6th century BC and reflects these authors’ reality, or at least how they perceived their reality—as a desolation, a wasteland. Since this word (tohu) and what it conveys is only found in the exilic literature of the 6th century BC, could the Priestly writer also be expressing the same idea in his creation account and to the same audience for the same purpose as these exilic texts? The tohu wabohu of the Priestly creation account would seem to serve two purposes then: it describes the state of desolation and waste wrought by the Babylonian aftermath of 587 BC, and on the cosmic level the waste and void that existed prior to creation. If this is so, then the Priestly creation account, like the Isaiah passage above, is a message of hope for the exiles. It is an expression of the very hopes and reality of an exilic community and how this community perceived its own condition. In other words, the Priestly creation account is very much representative of its 6th century BC date of composition and the worldview shared by the exilic community. It is an expression of hope, and faith, that God has created, and will recreate, the world a habitable place from an original state of void and wilderness. It reaffirms to this exilic community, the goodness and holiness in the created order of the world despite their current plight living in tohu!

The Yahwist creation account, on the other hand, expresses the very opposite, and portrays a dismal portrait of man and his precarious relationship to his creator. Furthermore, without even taking notice of the Priestly writer’s themes and message, the Yahwist’s creation account serves to explain the current lot of mankind, cursed to work the field. In fact this dismal picture gets increasingly worse as the Yahwist text continues with the murder of Abel by his own brother. Since the Priestly text was written after the Yahwist, many critics see the Priestly source and its strategically placed passages as an attempt to correct, readjust, or impose a new interpretive framework onto the JE narrative. By placing P’s creation account before J’s, the redactor makes a theological assertion that God created a good cosmos and a morally upright and divine-like humanity. It is only later that J’s less-than-perfect image of the human race with its disobedient and violent nature emerges. A further case can be made. There are good grounds for arguing that P’s creation account with its optimistic view of a godlike humanity, blessed and good, was intended as a refutation of or correction to J’s dismal portrait of a increasingly violent humanity. In this case, the Priestly writer would be involved in a program of reconceptualizing Israel’s prehistory in response to the concerns, ideas, and beliefs of a particular elite priestly guild in a specified socio-historical setting. Indeed, contrary to the redactor that brought these two creation myths together, the Priestly writer, since he is later than the Yahwist, might correctly be seen as writing a new creation of humanity that was meant to subvert, correct, and even replace the older tradition preserved in what we now call the Yahwist source (Gen 2:4b-25). Why? So that the primeval creation narrative offered up a poignant message to the exilic community it was drafted for, and answered their needs and concerns, while nevertheless expressing the views and beliefs of the Priestly guild that penned the account. Finally, what ever unique intentions, meanings, and purposes the J and P authors individually had in creating their creation accounts, they are gone. The combined PJ creation narrative now introduces unforeseen interpretive questions and meanings that neither the author of J nor P intended, one of which is the tendency among modern uninformed readers to harmonize these two accounts. This actually does disservice to both the J and P authors and their individual texts with their different meanings and purposes. It places the reader’s importance above those of the authors.

1 Bible Contradiction a day -- identified & explained !! http://contradictionsinthebible.com

#348    IamsSon

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 07:59 PM

View Postsrd44, on 06 February 2013 - 07:11 PM, said:

Not at all, the hypothesis that the Genesis' accounts were part of two larger textual traditions first appeared in the 18th century by 3 INDEPENDENT critical readers. No scholar diputes this now. The best book of this topic, one that is honest to the text, the best book out there actually, is David Carr's Reading the Fractures of Genesis. As the title indicates, Carr, highly learned, takes as his starting point the text itself, so not even the documentary hypothesis, and by looking at the Hebrew texts, its "fractures" in the narratives, its resumptive repetions, diferent style and consistenly different use of vocabulary and theological point of views, etc. --- the textual data itself makes the claim of different authorships. Period. To deny this is to deny these texts and their authors and in lieu of them to impose later theological ideas of homogeneity and single authorship whether divine or human.

Actually, this is still very much a debated idea in theological circles, there may not be any liberal scholars who question it today, but that is hardly surprising.

Edited by IamsSon, 06 February 2013 - 08:17 PM.

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#349    David Henson

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:49 PM

View PostIamsSon, on 06 February 2013 - 07:59 PM, said:

Actually, this is still very much a debated idea in theological circles, there may not be any liberal scholars who question it today, but that is hardly surprising.

Its fascinating to watch, though. A bit like evolution. It starts out simple and gradually becomes more complicated like a boiling lobster. It evolves, embraced by those who need a reason not to believe, then before you know it if you don't buy into what all the "scholars" are saying you must be uneducated and stupid. You have to admit, that is the perfect way to do it. People eat it up like candy. Except for that it doesn't really matter because people will eat up anything like candy. They are sort of like turkeys. They look up, mouths wide upon, and drown.

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#350    Paranoid Android

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 04:05 AM

View Postsrd44, on 06 February 2013 - 07:11 PM, said:

Not at all, the hypothesis that the Genesis' accounts were part of two larger textual traditions first appeared in the 18th century by 3 INDEPENDENT critical readers. No scholar diputes this now.
The account of Genesis 1-11 represent the oral tradition of pre-Hebrew history.  Considering the idea of multiple traditions, it doesn't necessarily imply two authors in the creation account, just that the story came from oral traditions that were fused.  The two oral traditions can then be considered to be two ways of explaining the same theological discourse, thus entirely justifying one author, two traditions, and one united narrative with one united purpose.

Just a thought,

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#351    AquilaChrysaetos

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 05:14 AM

View PostBling, on 12 October 2012 - 10:13 PM, said:

If the bible was inspired by the holy spirit of God, why then does God allow those errors to occur? If it really is his chance to communicate with mankind then why would he allow things to be less than perfect?
And questioning a book that major religions are based on, and these religions then go on to kill and destroy people's lives based on this book, is not demeaning it - it's asking for some kind of validation. If you or anyone else is offended by an atheist bringing up this subject then don't get involved with it, believe what you want and let atheists express themselves as they wish. I am merely stating facts about the bible. I haven't placed the 'darkening cave with pits' in the world, God has done this to the world....so the bible says.

Jesus Christ is the light of the world, not the bible.
Christ was the one who was perfect, not the bible.
Christ is the one who died for us, not the bible.
We are to believe in him, not the bible.
We are to follow him, not the bible.
He's who died for our sins, not the bible.
He rose from the dead, not the bible.
He grants the holy spirit, not the bible.
We are to have a loving relationship with him, not the bible.
Salvation is found in him, not the bible.
He is our one and only connection to God, not the bible.

Fact is, the bible is extremely contradictory due to the fact that it was written by a multitude of imperfect men back in the day. It is not shameful aor 'blasphemous' for a follower of Christ to make such a statement, because after all, we Christians are meant to spread the truth. No matter what that may be.

Jesus Christ is alive, he isn't just some old dead guy in the past, he is the literal son of God, who is currently active this very moment. We are to commune with him, be given the holy spirit, and try our best to connect with God and follow Jesus Christ to the best of our ability.

Yes, the bible has caused war and anguish, but only due to our own imperfection, and in our own failing to follow Jesus Christ. Most Christians study the bible as if it were God's words and actions incarnate, when fact is they're not. JESUS CHRIST is God's words and actions incarnate, and we must do our best to follow him. The bible (primarily the four gospels) can be a good resource book as long as you simply take it for what it really is, a collection of books that are honestly not that different from most Christian literature by authors today. Even if the bible were the literal words of God, people can still twist them to sound like whatever. It was just the other day I watched a televangelist attempt to justify his own wealth through scripture, and he did. No prob. There's an argumentative case one could have, and they could just as easily use scripture to back their case up as well. Why do you think there are so many denominations in the world now? They use the exact same scriptures (save mormons and catholics maybe) yet have entirely different interpretations.

People need to stop worrying, and stop analyzing the bible to death. To do so would be no different than believing my own words on this post were God's literal words and then analyze and disect it attempting to find some sort of deeper meaning. They're just my own words expressing What I believe deep down to be right.

Therefore you should make your own words. Gather your own experiences. Commune with God through Jesus Christ in the best way that you can. Learn to interpret God's signs. Love God. Love others. And then go out there and try to do God's work to the best of your own ability...

That's what I believe to be what's best in the heart of a true believing Christian...

Jesus Christ - Matthew 28:18-20 said:

"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

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#352    David Henson

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 07:12 AM

Error Posting

Edited by David Henson, 07 February 2013 - 07:13 AM.

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#353    IamsSon

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 04:09 PM

View PostAquilaChrysaetos, on 07 February 2013 - 05:14 AM, said:

Jesus Christ is the light of the world, not the bible.
Christ was the one who was perfect, not the bible.
Christ is the one who died for us, not the bible.
We are to believe in him, not the bible.
We are to follow him, not the bible.
He's who died for our sins, not the bible.
He rose from the dead, not the bible.
He grants the holy spirit, not the bible.
We are to have a loving relationship with him, not the bible.
Salvation is found in him, not the bible.
He is our one and only connection to God, not the bible.

Fact is, the bible is extremely contradictory due to the fact that it was written by a multitude of imperfect men back in the day. It is not shameful aor 'blasphemous' for a follower of Christ to make such a statement, because after all, we Christians are meant to spread the truth. No matter what that may be.

Jesus Christ is alive, he isn't just some old dead guy in the past, he is the literal son of God, who is currently active this very moment. We are to commune with him, be given the holy spirit, and try our best to connect with God and follow Jesus Christ to the best of our ability.

Yes, the bible has caused war and anguish, but only due to our own imperfection, and in our own failing to follow Jesus Christ. Most Christians study the bible as if it were God's words and actions incarnate, when fact is they're not. JESUS CHRIST is God's words and actions incarnate, and we must do our best to follow him. The bible (primarily the four gospels) can be a good resource book as long as you simply take it for what it really is, a collection of books that are honestly not that different from most Christian literature by authors today. Even if the bible were the literal words of God, people can still twist them to sound like whatever. It was just the other day I watched a televangelist attempt to justify his own wealth through scripture, and he did. No prob. There's an argumentative case one could have, and they could just as easily use scripture to back their case up as well. Why do you think there are so many denominations in the world now? They use the exact same scriptures (save mormons and catholics maybe) yet have entirely different interpretations.

People need to stop worrying, and stop analyzing the bible to death. To do so would be no different than believing my own words on this post were God's literal words and then analyze and disect it attempting to find some sort of deeper meaning. They're just my own words expressing What I believe deep down to be right.

Therefore you should make your own words. Gather your own experiences. Commune with God through Jesus Christ in the best way that you can. Learn to interpret God's signs. Love God. Love others. And then go out there and try to do God's work to the best of your own ability...

That's what I believe to be what's best in the heart of a true believing Christian...
Sure one can justify anything using the Bible, or heck, the Harry Potter books if one were so inclined.  All you have to do is take the passage you need out of context, and "Presto!" you have justification or contradiction.

I have to disagree with your statement that the Bible is "extremely contradictory."  I find that many things critics call contradictions do not even meet the common definition of the word (a proposition, statement, or phrase that asserts or implies both the truth and falsity of something Source) or only do so because the context (either literary or cultural) is ignored, or because tradition is taken as truth despite the fact that it contradicts what is in Scripture.

I also have to disagree with the idea that the books found within it are no better than the books written by Christians today.  If all the Bible is, is a compilation of human writings then why put your faith in Jesus as savior?  I think your advice to stop analyzing the Bible is more in keeping with the dogma of the Roman Catholic Church than it is with anything Christ taught.  It is through studying and analyzing the Bible, seeking to truly understand the context while seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit that we truly learn what an awesome being God is.

"But then with me that horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey's mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?" - Charles Darwin, in a letter to William Graham on July 3, 1881

#354    AquilaChrysaetos

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 03:15 AM

View PostIamsSon, on 07 February 2013 - 04:09 PM, said:

Sure one can justify anything using the Bible, or heck, the Harry Potter books if one were so inclined.  All you have to do is take the passage you need out of context, and "Presto!" you have justification or contradiction.
I have to disagree with your statement that the Bible is "extremely contradictory."  I find that many things critics call contradictions do not even meet the common definition of the word (a proposition, statement, or phrase that asserts or implies both the truth and falsity of something Source) or only do so because the context (either literary or cultural) is ignored, or because tradition is taken as truth despite the fact that it contradicts what is in Scripture.

I also have to disagree with the idea that the books found within it are no better than the books written by Christians today.  If all the Bible is, is a compilation of human writings then why put your faith in Jesus as savior?  I think your advice to stop analyzing the Bible is more in keeping with the dogma of the Roman Catholic Church than it is with anything Christ taught.  It is through studying and analyzing the Bible, seeking to truly understand the context while seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit that we truly learn what an awesome being God is.

I'm not trying to encourage people to stop reading the bible, I hope you know that. My point in making such statements are to redirect the overall emphasis of Christians from 'reading and anylyzing' into 'working and doing'. I find that to be a large stumbling block for most Christians. Reading and analyzing the bible does fall under the category of 'working and doing' but that isn't all that's required. They read and read and read and read, and talk and talk and talk and talk, but if they do that and don't put anything to practice then what good does it do? Not only that, my emphasis is that God is a living God, Jesus Christ alive, and the Holy Spirit is active to this day. The best way to connect with God in my opinion is to simply pray and act, because he will answer and he will act.

With that said, the bible (particularly the four gospels) are a great reference point and are very important in growing close to God as well. I encourage people to read and analyze, I really do. My point as I've stated above is simply that too much emphasis has been put on it, it has been mistaken as being perfect, and has therefore become the centerpoint of most Christian's faith.

People cling to the bible in my opinion simply due to human nature. Humans need rules, laws, documents, and contracts in order to keep things intact. Otherwise things turn into pure anarchy and chaos. That's the very reason in fact that the four gospels themselves were written in the first place, and one of the reasons why they were written a couple decades after Christ's death. Early Christians believed that Christ's second coming was within the next several years, but since that didn't happen, some books had to be written in order to maintain the peace and quiet some of the resulting chaos. It's human nature to require written rules, but that doesn't suddenly mean that that's God's nature, or that that is the nature that we should accept.

As you should well know, there are in fact contradictions that do fall under that definition you posted. If you don't believe me read the other pages in this very thread, or better yet look them up yourself. They are there whether we like them or not. Now I personally find many parts of the bible to be true, just one of the many reasons why it is still needed (and even commanded by Christ) to be there. As I've said, reading the bible is not in any way wrong. However, we cannot as Christians just pass off and/or ignore these harsh realities. It's not shameful in my opinion to accept this. After all, our connection with God is through Christ, not the bible. You can disagree with me all you want, but it won't stop atheists and/or other non-Christians from exploiting that fact and therefore attacking our weakness.

Also, There have been in fact numerous accounts from people who have had near death experiences, and many other accounts from people who have written books on how their journeys through life have come around to bringing them to know God. Essentially their lives become bible stories, and they then write down and spread their stories to the world. Tell me, how is that in any way different from many of the stories in bible? Sure, there are many times where people write down laws, rules, and functionalities to abide by as opposed to actual experiences, but there are also many that do. What I've found is that they are eerily similar to accounts told from today. That's why I think we should live our lives and make our own stories to be told to people as well. After all, people are far more likely to believe you and give you much more credibility if you give them first hand living accounts of God's work as opposed to "because that's what the bible says."

When you say  "It is through studying and analyzing the Bible, seeking to truly understand the context while seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit that we truly learn what an awesome being God is." I have to say yes I agree, but that isn't all that it takes. I can tell you first hand all the ways I've learned how awesome God is simply be stating experiences in my own life, much less the many other experiences fellow Christians have had out there. People are much more willing to come to God and believe in his true power and glory when they're able to see his great power and his miracles first hand, as well as have first hand accounts of his great and wonderous miracles. These things happen every day, many of which are overlooked and taken for granted. What you said there makes sense, and I agree with it entirely. All I'm saying is that it doesn't stop there. We must have faith and be willing to take the next steps in order to commune with God and accomplish his great will.

Jesus Christ - Matthew 28:18-20 said:

"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

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#355    Paranoid Android

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 05:33 AM

View PostIamsSon, on 07 February 2013 - 04:09 PM, said:

Sure one can justify anything using the Bible, or heck, the Harry Potter books if one were so inclined.  All you have to do is take the passage you need out of context, and "Presto!" you have justification or contradiction.
Just to take this example to prove what you are saying, I once read an email sent to my father, from a pastor of a church he was briefly involved with.  It was a fundamentalist group that shunned anything to do with magic.  Anyway, when the first Harry Potter novel came out, shortly thereafter the pastor emailed his congregation.  I'm paraphrasing here, but the general idea went something like this:

Greetings brethren,

Despite the rave reviews in the media, do not read Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone.  Do not let your kids read it.  It is a work of evil, the devil trying to get a foothold in your life. Reading this book will corrupt you.  I have read it, and by the Grace God has given me by granting me seven times the Holy Spirit of the rest of you (due to my study at Ambassador College) I have been able to resist the evil and temptation.  However, for the rest of you not granted the gift of the Spirit, you will be corrupted.  You must take my word on this.  Just to give you a small sample of the evil, in a pivotal scene, one of the primary characters declares at one point "There is no good nor evil.  There is only power, and those too weak to seek it".  If you are tempted to read this or let your children read this, ask yourself if this truly is a value you want your kids to learn?

In God's love, I bid you farewell,

Signed, random fundie pastor


Now, ignoring the theological inconsistency of a pastor having more of the Holy Spirit than a lay person, the quote from Harry Potter was said by Lord Voldemort, and was contrasted in the text by Dumbledore to say that such a view was defeated by the thing Voldemort could not defeat - Love.  But out of context, and with express instructions not to read it to find out for yourself, this preacher made it sound like Harry Potter taught evil values.

Just thought I'd share,

~ PA

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#356    eight bits

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 01:35 PM

Quote

I find that many things critics call contradictions do not even meet the common definition of the word (a proposition, statement, or phrase that asserts or implies both the truth and falsity of something Source)

No, as even a casual reading reveals, that is a formal definition of a term of art in logic.

The common meaning lies close to etymology, "speaking opposite," that is, for two things to be reported as true, both of which cannot be true. When the same source makes both statements, then we say the source contradicts itself or contains contradictions.

The formal and the common meaning can be reconciled by conjoining the two reports (that is, join them by placing "and" between them). Since the new statement is false, it implies every other proposition whatsoever, and so implies both the truth and falsehood of "something."

Literary contradictions are not necessarily errors. Poems and other figurative expressions frequently use contradiction instrumentally, as famously did Charles Dickens,

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times ...

Whether a contradiction exists is a question of fact. Obviously, what I just quoted is, as a matter of fact, a contradiction. Whether there's anything wrong with that is a matter of judgment and opinion. Many people admire Dickens' literary skill in crafting that opening line; I understand some French readers do not. Then again, maybe they're touchy about the book's subject matter.

What a contradiction is fatal to is any kind of hard inference between drawn from a text which contains a contradiction. So, that explains the abiding interest in pointing out contradictions in the Bible. There are readers who deny that there are any, because they think the Bible is some kind of instruction manual on how to survive death, speaking of the deliberate use of contradictions. A field day ensues.

The majority of Christians belong to churches that teach critical reading of the Bible, and it is much less fun to argue contradictions with them. I've seen atheists try to "push the envelope" and say that "the word of God" shouldn't contain any contradictions. This, of course, founders on the twin reefs that the Bible oughtn't to be confused with the Koran, except when arguing with a Fundie, and that it may be God's prerogative to inspire his writers to be at least as skilled as Charles Dickens was. Unless God is French, of course, but that's another thread.

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#357    Frank Merton

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 02:02 PM

Premise: God is perfect therefore anything he inspires must be perfect.

Premise: Any ambiguity or contradiction or illogicality or scientific or geographical error or even grammatical error is an imperfection.

Conclusion:  The finding of any of the above disqualifies a writing as being divinely inspired.

Further Premise:  Human languages are inherently ambiguous and therefore imperfect.

Further Conclusion:  Nothing written in a human language can be divinely inspired.


#358    eight bits

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 02:28 PM

As I said in my post, it is unhelpful to confuse the Bible with the Koran.

The Koran is dictation from God, allegedly transmitted verbatim. The Bible isn't. It's supposed to have been written by people.

It looks it, too.

What's the problem?

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#359    Frank Merton

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 02:38 PM

Weather it was "Written by God" or "Inspired by God," the same issues arise.


#360    Paranoid Android

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 02:46 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 08 February 2013 - 02:02 PM, said:

Premise: God is perfect therefore anything he inspires must be perfect.

Premise: Any ambiguity or contradiction or illogicality or scientific or geographical error or even grammatical error is an imperfection.

Conclusion:  The finding of any of the above disqualifies a writing as being divinely inspired.

Further Premise:  Human languages are inherently ambiguous and therefore imperfect.

Further Conclusion:  Nothing written in a human language can be divinely inspired.
I'm not sure I follow.  I get the premise of what you are saying, but I don't know if I can agree.  I get that the English language is not perfect, but that does not therefore mean that something written in that language is also not perfect or divinely inspired.  The logic does not follow

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