Monday, May 25, 2009

The only wise alternative

Over on the discussion of 24 and the discussion on the inerrant Bible, it occured to me that some folk do not think that their Christian faith will crumble in places where the Bible might be wrong.

Over and over I heard and was told - this and that are not essential to the faith.

I would say they have a strong system of belief and may be wider on the base...

Now, the Scripture says that Jesus rose from the dead.

My question is, if the Bible could have been wrong in some part of it, how could it not be wrong on this part - Jesus' rising from the dead? If it were possible for Scripture to be wrong in spot X, could it not be wrong in spot Y? What special pleading should one give to it?

Just remember today it is Scripture that testifies of Christ's rising from the dead. We do not have the apostles with us, only what they wrote and claim to have seen and declared.

I cannot be satisfied with the idea of the NT scholar Bultmann who saw Scripture as myth but existentially says that yes, Jesus did rise from the dead, in the sense that he rises in people's heart, that is where he rises. I think Bultmann still considered himself to be a Christian because of this.

Unlike my interlocutors, my Christian faith will crumble if Jesus did not rise from the dead as the Scripture testifies. Unlike them, I cannot allow Scripture in to be wrong in one place but right on this one. For me, if Scripture was wrong at one point, how could it be right on another? Its reliability as the Word of God or Word from God to me is in question. It just does not make it reliable and must be un-inspired. It is just like saying, God nevertheless inspires what is a lie or falsehood. If so, then why can he not let you find Christ by reading Aesop's Fables, anyway he can use imperfect means to work through perfectly, correct?


Unfortunately my Christian faith will go down to the dogs. In fact if Scripture is wrong in one place, it could be wrong here, and guess what is the other alternative...?

IMHO Atheism, that is the only logical and wise alternative.

One thing for sure, it seems, my sparring partners and I do not have the same idea of what it means to have a Means of Grace.


Xan said...

Why do you interpret Revelation symbolically, while you interpret Genesis hyper-literally? Unlike the Gospels, which were eyewitness accounts of events, Revelation was given to John prophetically, and Genesis was given to Moses prophetically.

Basically, it's because you choose your interpretation based on what you believe to be true.

Again, the exact same arguments were made for geocentrism. You must be a geocentrist to have any consistency in your argument.

Past Elder said...

If you want to approach the faith as if it were mathematics, something much closer to a set of propositional statements than the Bible is the creeds, the symbols of our faith.

In the creed one will say I believe in Jesus Christ, and specifically state among other specifics his resurrection from the dead as one of the things one believes.

One will not say I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth in 6 24-hour days.

L P said...


I asked you what discipline you use to read the Bible and you have not shared it.

You also criticised me for using a man made discipline so you must have some God given discipline that you are using as opposed to mine.

Yet when pressed to identify what you use, you persistently duck and do not identify it.

It must be some secret discipline, no?

You just reminded me of the gnostics, they were like that too.


L P said...


Funny you require me to be consistent but you do not require any of that in yours.

Won't that be hypocritical?


Steve Martin said...


The MESSAGE of the Bible is inerrant.

That Jesus was raised from the dead is part of that MESSAGE.

What parts of the Bible are true and what parts are not true?


Is there a difference between inerrancy and infallibility?


The book... is just a book. Made of ink and leather and paper, by man, not dropped out of Heaven with a great big bow tied around it.

The MESSAGE is God's Word. Infallible. It does what it intends to do, inspite of any imperfections of a writer, translator, or anyone else on the human end of it.

God uses imperfect tools on this earth to accomplish His purposes.

If one were to believe He couldn't, then one's view of God is a bit smaller than it ought to be.

Past Elder said...

No, the criticism was not at all about using a man-made system. It was about making the norms of a man-made system binding upon Scripture.

No, I "must" not have some sort of God given secret discipline; it's a logical inference from the idea that the point was about using man-made systems per se, but that was not the point.

By trying to impose {0,1} on everything, you are missing much.

There are many man-made disciplines that can be helpful in understanding Scipture. There's your identification; all can be helpful, all can be detrimental. The point is, not to make their norms binding upon Scripture, or to understand Scripture as if that effort were strictly a matter of that discipline.

L P said...


Fair enough...

The point is, not to make their norms binding upon Scripture, or to understand Scripture as if that effort were strictly a matter of that discipline.
So if these norms are not binding upon Scripture, now which norms are you talking about that are binding on Scripture?

Is this a matter of being eclectic?

From the mind of man there are propositions that are not decidable.

With man it is impossible to determine but not with God. There are no undecidable problems with God.

So I go back to the propositions which God are making, are you saying that what God is saying has a value neither {0,1} but in between [0,1]?

Is that your position, that when God speaks what he is speaking has a range of values similar to fuzzy logic [0,1] the range of real numbers between these 0 being false, and 1 being true?

So for example, are you saying that when God speaks, the value of that proposition is say 0.7?

So we do not get side tracked I bring back my question which I like you to help me get informed...

So if these norms are not binding upon Scripture, now which norms are you talking about that are binding on Scripture?

Adrian said...

I meet people who speak of Scriptural interpretation yet read very little of the Scripture.

Likewise, there are those who question Scripture's inerrancy by pointing to so called "modern discoveries."

To all most all of those kind of discussions I reply: "When you die and rise from the dead in a glorified body, I will believe your objections, interpretations, and modifications of the Scripture. Until then you will have to take me for a fool."

L P said...


I got your first part, I am finding it hard to swallow the second part.

Can you determine the message of the Bible though filled with textual errors, the right message?

So I come back, to Aesop's Fables.

If God can use the book - the Bible, filled with some erroneous texts, and make you get the right and true message, why can he not do the same for Aesop's Fables as you read it.

Why not Lord of the Rings?

What special reason do we give the Bible in your case in such a way that when you read it, you will get the right message?

Is it that the HS has bound himself to the Bible but not to Aesop's Fables? Would that be the proper position?

What I am having difficulty in understanding is that from what I know, the message is in the very text or in the very words themselves. I hope I am being clear.

What I am reading is that in your case, you can disentangle or abstract away the message independent of the text (since the text can have errors, and yet you get the right message).


L P said...


That is so true. I also meet people of the same, they say that it is a matter of interpretation, yada yada yada, but they do very little reading of it and have very little concept of the whole Bible narrative.

This is what I call Gospel Reductionism.

Back when I was studying I was asked to read a book the Mighty Acts of God (from a Reformed author). It is very very concise form of the Divine Drama by Dr. Wendt.

Anyway, the Lutheran dictum of Scripture interprets Scripture requires us to read all of it from cover to cover. Also scholars say that you cannot apply proper hermeneutics of a section of the Bible if you have not read it overall.

What did Jesus say?

Man does not live by bread alone, but lives by EVERY WORD that proceeds from the mouth of God.

Mt 4:4.

Several times in Jesus battle with the devil, he said is written...

Well said, I share your comment - until then people will have to take me for a fool, too.


Past Elder said...

There are no norms from man-made disciplines, which is to say from all disciplines, that are binding on Scripture.

There are also no autographs of Scripture. So even if you wanted to proceed as if this were an exercise in propositional logic about "every word", you cannot.

But trying to will lead one exactly where people were who thought the earth revolving around the sun contradicted some of the "every" words and would therefore invalidate the rest of them, or where people were who took the KJV as if it were an autograph.

Which does not at all mean the Word of God is unavailable, unknowable, or only partially available or knowable.

If texts you could use as a set in propositional logic were necessary, God would have preserved them.

I am not at all suggesting that if it is not classic logic then it must be fuzzy logic, or have truth values between 0 and 1. That is just more of imposing on Scripture the norms of a man-made discipline.

One does that when one forces Scripture into confines of {0,1} and has faith no less than the one who finds the fossil record out of synch with Genesis and loses faith. Both are based on interpretation of Scripture, not "every word".

joel in ga said...

I take the Genesis account of creation literally because there is no compelling reason in the text to understand it symbolically or as an accommodation to outward appearances (such as when the sun is said to 'rise'). I take the book of Revelation symbolically because the text specifically says in the first chapter that the contents are "signified", i.e., written in sign or symbol. The different approaches are thus determined by the texts themselves and are consistent with belief in the inerrancy of the written Word of God.

Adrian said...

I had a wonderful teacher of hermeneutics, Dr. Horace Hummel. Unfortunately, he was wasted upon me because I had his class at seminary as introduction. If you have a chance to pick up any of his books, do so. He was not only a scholar of Hebrew, Greek, and Biblical history he was well acquainted with Church history. I wish I could take a seminar with him tomorrow. I enjoy your blog.

joel in ga said...

Henceforth all things thy dealings are with me
For out of thee is nothing, or can be,
And all things are to draw us home to thee.
What matter that the knowers scoffing say,
"This is old folly, plain to the new day"?--
If thou be such as thou, and they as they,
Unto thy Let there be, they still must answer Nay.

-- George MacDonald

L P said...


There are also no autographs of Scripture. So even if you wanted to proceed as if this were an exercise in propositional logic about "every word", you cannot....

Well in your world there are no autographs...

You do an amazing leap of logic. You imply that when Jesus said to the devil ... "it is written", he was deluding himself because as you claim there are no autographs of Scripture! So to which autograph was Jesus referring to? By your exposition here -- to nothing!

You do make astounding statements even those the make Jesus funny!

I do not have those guts.

God uses my language and uses my logic that is what revelation in a sense mean, for heck, if he reveals something I can not comprehend or attain to, then it is a farce. Incidentally that is where your position leads.

When I say that the Scripture is a set of propositional statements that are true it is axiomatized to the fact that it is God who is declaring them, therefore the value of those propositions is not 0, it is not 0.7, neither 0.8, it has only one and only one value 1. In effect, TRUE. Those propositions are all true.

Another thing...

There are no norms from man-made disciplines, which is to say from all disciplines, that are binding on ScriptureSo I ask you again, if there are no human norms that are binding on Scripture, can you specify a divine norm at all?

I can tell you that there is a norm that is binding on Scripture but I won't spell it out just yet because you do not answer plainly the questions I ask, so you will have to wait for that, until you show good form in answering plainly.

My problem is that you are not helping me by just saying it is not this, not that, not this or that...etc. Can you at least tell me what it is? I heard enough of what it should not be.


L P said...



When it is narrating then it should be taken as history, when it is being apocalyptic then we respect that and treat it as such.

It is just being respectful and responsible in handling the sacred text.


L P said...


Thank you. I will look for your prof's books.

In fact I have come across his name, I am sure because his surname rings bells to me.


Acroamaticus said...

Joel in Ga & Adrian & Lito!

Well said on Gen. and Rev., Joel.

Adrian, Dr H. Hummel is a gem.

Lito, there's a saying: "If the Old Testament strikes a leak, the water will soon flow into the New Testament"; in other words: doubts about the historicity of the OT, beginning with Genesis, have a way of working their way through to the NT.
It is not an iron-clad law, mind you, more an observation. Fortunately, by "felicitous inconsistency", there are many who entertain doubts about the OT who do not succumb to agnosticism in regard to the NT, and so keep their faith intact.

Xan said...

Would this "felicitous inconsistency" apply to, say, St Augustine? Allow me to quote a comment I belatedly made on another thread:

Augustine's instantaneous creation was exactly compatible with evolution.

First off, his instantaneous creation comes from reading Genesis 2:4, which, letting Scripture interpret Scripture, means that the days of Genesis 1 are not chronological but categorical.

He then uses the analogy of the dormant seed to explain how the universe can develop from that initial state.

This is pretty much exactly Big Bang + evolution. All matter and energy were created in an instant, with everything in place to develop from that initial condition.

This is a major church father who is 100% on board with modern understandings of the universe.

Acroamaticus said...


With leave from Lito...

Thanks for bringing up the interesting case of Augustine!

Firstly, my friend (no sarcasm intended),it is, strictly speaking, anachronistic to say that Augustine is "100% on board with modern understandings of the universe" when he knew nothing of such theories, predeceasing their originators by some 1600 years.

Indeed, I think you will find that Augustine, giant thinker that he undoubtedly was, was much more a man of his time than you allow for. For example,he speculated on the existence of human beings in the antipodes, but dismissed it as a ridiculous notion; he also thought that the amount of time from Adam to the Flood was 2,262 years (City of God, Bk 15, ch20) -difficult to fit human evolution in there, yes?

Secondly, Augustine famously had no Hebrew, and I think that partly explains the way he treats
Gen 1-2. If he did he have Hebrew he might have realised that 2:4 is a thin exegetical bridge on which to build a theory of instantaneous creation, for it is simply an adverbial construction in Hebrew, an idiomatic way of saying "When...", (and the "when" it refers to has just been described in ch 1 as unfolding in six days!). It is, to say the least, an idiosyncratic exegesis that regards 2:4b as somehow trumping the magisterial account of Gen 1. The fact that Augustine's view was definitely in the minority among the Fathers goes some way towards confirming the oddness of his interpretation (indeed, it is difficult to see how it even sqaures with Augustine's own rules for interpreting the Bible).

I suggest that we don't have to look far for the source of Augustine's idiosyncratic views either, and it was not Gen 2:4 or his anticipating of theistic evolution. It's his neo-Platonist assumptions, which focussed his attention on the need to reconcile in his mind how absolute essences or forms were related to the "lower forms" of Gen 1, and accounts for his creative reading of the text.

However, setting this aside, in direct answer to your question, yes, I would regard Augustine as a case of felicitous inconsistency, although I was not in the first instance thinking of him, as he clearly does not deny the historicity of Adam or the Genesis 1-11 narrative, even though he interprets the creation days as categories rather than literal days.

L P said...

Pr. M.

Thanks for this input and specially bringing out the lack of Augustine's copy of the Hebrew Bible. The only Scripture that he was in possession of was the Latin Vulgate. This was the reason why he also missed the judicial nature of diakowsune (justification). Now I am of course just airing the readings I have made around this and I have not read much of Augustine's work due to other needful things.

But it makes sense to me that a teacher of the church must be familiar with its scripture in the original languages it was written. There is really no short cut for the man of God (to be).

What impressed me with the Lutherans is their thorough going exegesis, even rationalism takes a back seat. I hope this tradition of going to the text and brutally bringing it out and let the pieces fall remain.


Past Elder said...

Have you stopped beating your wife?
There is no answer as the question is invalid, and the question is invalid because the paradigm from which the question is drawn does not comprehend the situation and allows for only two answers neither of which necessarily express the situation.
You still haven't anwered my question, why can you not just plainly answer my question Yes or No?

God speaks my language.
God speaks English or Tagalog then.
That is not what I meant.
Oh, then your language is not English or Tagalog, tell me what it is, perhaps you and God have some secret language you will not identify then.
That is not what I meant by language.
But you said "your language" so which language do you speak, you say you do not mean "your language" by "your language", answer plainly and quit just making noise.

Surely you recognise these two exchanges as nonsense.

Likewise this whole thing about days, inerrancy and word of God.

You assert that the author is God, which no-one, at least not myself, is denying here -- and that therefore it functions as a set of propositional statements with only one value out of the possible two in classic propositional logic.

So again, one man successfully pigeonholes Scripture into the norms of his academic discipline and declares it necessary for faith; another cannot pigeonhole Scripture into his academic discipline and declares himself agnostic or atheist.

In either case, human norms of a human discipline are elevated above God himself.

L P said...


In these discussions so far it is clear that there is a clash of priority and procedure when approaching the Scripture text.

The proper procedure is first go to the text and then bring out what the text says. Why? Because it is given as Christians that this is the Word of God and that it is readable or understandable.

You are being misled if you listen to the voice that says this or that is just a matter of one's interpretation. That is not true. Or an interpretation is mere theory. One's interpretation or exegesis is testable by other passages of Scripture. There is a thing called reasonability and someone who is implying that we are in a world of chaos when it comes to exegesis is deceiving you.

When in the process of bringing out what the text means and we find a clash with science, the procedure is not to abandon what the text says and declare we have a problem with interpretation because it contradicts the testimony of science.

Rather the procedure should be the reverse, it should be science which has a problem with the text.

As I said, if you begin to be aware of what philosophers are saying against science, you will develop a healthy skepticism that science deserves.

I already gave an example - Godel's disavowal of natural science and he himself is the idiot who suggests that Godel is one. Godel did to mathematics what Einstein did to physics but even more for Godel's discoveries and proofs have very far reaching implications outside of mathematics, it touches on religious claims, philosophy of language and even psychology.

I am sorry I sound like I am giving you an elementary lesson and I sound condescending but my intention is get you closer away if possible from felicitous inconsistency because some are not felicitous at all,

I am not saying we will all be zero of inconsistencies because sin is by its very nature is inconsistent and we are affected by it.

But at the same time, let us not tempt God.

We are both sinners and saints at the same time but that does not mean we should make it our aim, or our purpose to be as sinful as we can. That is being antinomian.


Acroamaticus said...

Yes, it is true, Augustine had little Greek and no facility in the Hebrew language, which makes him at best unreliable as an interpreter. Even the old 'Catholic Encyclopedia' acknowledges that "the two grand qualities of his genius -- ardent feeling and prodigious subtlety -- carried him away into interpretations that were violent or more ingenious than solid."

The same source also quotes a RC scholarly authority, Abbe (Father) Martin, as concluding after long study that "the most formal texts force us to recognize that Augustine proclaimed the fixity of species, and did not admit that "from one identical primitive principle or from one germ, different realities can issue."

If I had this quote at my disposal in replying to Xan I would have mentioned it.

L P said...


Yes they are nonsense because they are straw-men constructions, they are not my words/

My questions to you were designed to give you a chance to clarify yourself, instead you keep on being evasive.

If you look like espousing Christian NO-Epistemology or Christian Agnosticism, you only have your comments to acquit you. I respect your stance no matter how wrong it may be ;-)

I already warned you not to be unduly obtuse with your words, as they do not clarify what you are saying and does not improve the impression you generate. Perhaps you do not mean what you say because you keep on tip toeing?

Keep on asserting A and NOT A at the same time and in the same context and the same sense.

Who knows, God may use Christian NO-Epistemology to enlighten someone out there after all, if we do not have any autographs of Scripture (as you said) --- thus any thing can happen.

Actually when you declared that we do not have autographs of Scripture you stepped into a hole where RCs commonly fall, I know bro u are no longer RC but perhaps the mindset is very hard to shake?

I wonder if you fully realize the impact of such comments and how they attack one of the Means of Grace.


Past Elder said...

I did not say they were your words or offer them as such.

They are exchanges of the same nature of the one here: asking a question which imposes a choice of answers which the question itself determines, not the matter at hand, then thinking the respondent is being evasive.

The world, life, faith, Scripture, revelation are not confined to A and Not-A, {0,1}, and even within the mindset that it is, to deny A is not to affirm Not-A.

If there is a hole to be stepped into here, it is in making Christianity, or Judaism for that matter, Greek dualism or Platonism for the masses.

L P said...


In this case, offer them as such.You did imply them...

In your allergy to rationalism you chuck the baby with the bath water and lump all with the implication that there is no rationality at all.

Coherence is not platonism nor propositional logic is such. It is simply being rational.

You mean mathematicians are platonists because they use propositional logic? And this is dualism? Dualism is a religious term - it stands for the belief that good and evil are completely equal, like yin and yang.

It is you who is muddling the waters here - by confusing the unsophisticated throwing red herrings like dualism.

That means programmers must be dualists because they use binary numbers!

If only folk here knew what you are on about, I won't be alone rolling on the floor laughing.

If you are into Christian NO-Epistemology, fine, keep that to yourself. But please try not to pull folk here to your movement as if it is more holy and more humble to plead ignorance.

My reply to your "to deny A is not to affirm NOT A", is this, you are into undecidability. Fine.

But don't imply that God and his Word are into your camp, because God is not into undecidability, there are no such problems for him.

I have better idea, give a concrete example and I challenge you to demonstrate in Christianity "to deny A is not to affirm NOT A". Surely you can find an example of this since you stated this, so what is in your mind then?

Lastly, I am also giving you a chance to retract what you said--- that there are no autographs of Scripture.


Past Elder said...

You will not be able to reduce a statement that everything does not reduce into A and Not-A into a statement of A or Not-A.

Dualism is not necessarily bitheism.

No, programmers "must" not be dualists because they use binary numbers and mathematicians are not Platonists because they use propositional logic. That is not what I said, nor is it a legitimate inference from what I said, which specifically distinguished the proper use of the norms of a discipline within that discipline from insisting that those norms apply elsewhere, or universally.

As for example when one treats Scripture as if it were a matter of propositional logic or a legal brief.

Perhaps you can tell me where Moses' autograph of the Torah is.

L P said...


Please be an adult. You know you do not have to use the exact words to deliver what you mean to say.

Do I have to give an example of this? Try the words "uhuh" and "yeah".

Of course there is Moses' autograph, right there in the Bible which we have, the first 5 books.

Perhaps you mean we do not have the "original" autographs of Moses? And you probably think that is where I fall, a subscriber to inerrant original autographs, no? If so, you are mistaken (I certainly hope you are not shocked though I hope certainly stirred).

I do not follow evangelical-fundamentalist-modernist debate in confining inerrancy ONLY in the original autographs.

Remember, I affirm inerrancy to the statements/sentences of the Bible (the propositions), this Bible I now have, in my hands, as well as that one that is used by the community of Christians out there.

In order for you to demonstrate my foolishness, all you have to do, and it is very very simple indeed.. is to demonstrate that the first 5 books of Moses as found in our Bibles are not a COPY of the original autographs!

I shall await your demonstration of the falsity of my position...


I am still impressed by what you said here....
though, I now have doubts if you actually believe it.

Past Elder said...

So we don't have to use the exact words to deliver what we mean to say -- except when it's God, and then it's "every word".

I did not say I confine inerrancy to the autographs.

Speaking of which, since we do not have them, how do you know that what you have is a copy?

You cannot, there being no original to authenticate the alleged copy. That it is a copy rests on another witness. Which locates the basis of the fundamentalist type of understanding you espose, ironically, outside of that which (the Bible) it attempts to uphold thereby.

L P said...


The Bible teaches the trinity without actually using the word trinity. Also your words are not inspired like Scripture, that is obvious, do not be silly.


You said...

Speaking of which, since we do not have them, how do you know that what you have is a copy?...

Since you do not have the original how do you know that what I have is not a copy?

That was the point of my challenge of which I even taught you how you can falsify my position.

You obviously missed it since you fell for it.


Past Elder said...

You said God put his words in human language. You also said that in human language one does not have to use certain words to communicate the meaning of those words. So did God speak in human language or not?

If you bring me something and claim it is a copy of the original, but cannot produce the original to authenticate the claim, your authentication rests on an external witness.

Speaking of which, since the NT contains no record of Jesus writing anything down or commanding anyone else to write anything down, how do you know that anything written in the NT is by the command of God, or that the ones we think are, in fact are.

Since your mental world seems to be entirely black and white, no, I am not saying Scripture is not inspired nor that we cannot know that it is. I am pointing out that if you want to confine God within human modes of wisdom, one creates all sorts of problems, to which one can either shut one's eye and call it faith, or open one's eye and become agnostic or atheist, either result based on confining God to human modes of thinking -- to which Scripture says he is not confined.

L P said...


Unlike you, I will answer questions raised against me. I hope people listening here could see how you fail to answer the questions I raise against your points, nor could you give an example of your pontifications. What you need is a rebuke not my answers.

You also said that in human language one does not have to use certain words to communicate the meaning of those words. So did God speak in human language or not?
Of course, how else could he communicate to us? He even had his words written. I already gave an example, the Scripture teaches that God is a Trinity but it does not use the words Trinity itself.

If you bring me something and claim it is a copy of the original, but cannot produce the original to authenticate the claim, your authentication rests on an external witness.

The issue is that you are to falsify my copy that is where we left it. You known darn well you need the original to confirm or deny my copy, and since you do not have it you have no basis to say mine is not a copy.

Speaking of which, since the NT contains no record of Jesus writing anything down or commanding anyone else to write anything down, how do you know that anything written in the NT is by the command of God, or that the ones we think are, in fact are.....

How is this a point against my position? You are in the same spot as I am since you claim Scripture is inspired.

I am pointing out that if you want to confine God within human modes of wisdom, one creates all sorts of problems, to which one can either shut one's eye and call it faith, or open one's eye and become agnostic or atheist, either result based on confining God to human modes of thinking -- to which Scripture says he is not confined...

Give me an example, make it obvious to me.


Past Elder said...

Well, again, you persist in asking questions akin to "Have you stopped beating your wife" and insist that anything other than "Yes I have" or "No I haven't" is refusing to answer the question, rather than look at what is being said, an attempt to show the question is bogus.

Since you do not have an original, you have no basis to affirm your copy is indeed a copy. You also have no basis to falsify the claim that it is not a copy. Your faith is first in the copy, not in the words therein, since you can neither prove nor falsify that it is a copy.

The other point is, if you base your belief that you follow "every word", even if the copy is a copy, it contains no command to write the words in it, so such an understanding of "every word" disallows "every word".

So by your approach, you have a copy you can neither validate not falsify which contains no command that it taken as a whole be written.

L P said...


This is very simple, I believe that the Bible is God's Word because Jesus says it is and St. Paul says it is. I test what it says and it complies with my experience of the world, it addresses my sin and my need to be forgiven of it.

My authority for believing is external it is Christ.

The copy or original as you know does not come into question when Jesus says Scripture can not be broken.

That is the point I make, which you miss. I have a copy you can not assail. That is the point. So if I were you I will duck once again and stop advancing that line or argument.

I have already proven that you can not assail my copy so case is closed.

You keep on ignoring my questions - you neither answer them nor give counter examples to illustrate the point you are making.

I am afraid A.S. is right about you.

So by your approach, you have a copy you can neither validate not falsify which contains no command that it taken as a whole be written....

How is your position different from this?

You shoot yourself in the foot because you also believe the Scripture is inspired so it is also an argument against your position.

In all of these, since you provide no answers and no examples except to pontificate I am wrong.

I can only conclude, you have no purpose but to show I am dumb and you are smart.

You are a legend in your own mind.


Past Elder said...

In your line of argument, you have not the slightest idea what Jesus or St Paul said apart from a copy whose authenticity you cannot verify and the best argument you can muster is that you can't authenticate that it isn't a copy either. You assume what your assumption "proves" is not an assumption.

Your questions are hardly ignored. I have tried in many ways to demonstrate the questions are bogus therefore the answer to them irrelevant. You do not see "Have you quit beating your wife?" is a bogus question, and will not accept anything but an answer to the bogus question when the issue is the question itself.

Law, law, law.

And in the end you "conclude" my real purpose is to make a point about your intelligence? Yet another false inference from reading a text forced into your paradigm.

L P said...


The point is that you also hold the same copy as mine, so the arguments you put on me are also an argument against yours.

Your analogy of "beating your wife" is despiration and an evasion. You are simply trying to weasle yourself out from the corner from which you painted yourself.

I used your own words to ask the question and to clarify your point.

Godness gracious, I even asked for an example from your own assertions to clarify your point and yet you run away and cry foul claiming my form of argumentation is like that of the "beating the wife" fallacy.

Since I used your words to ask a question and you claim that is the "beating the wife" frame of question, you got nobody to blame but yourself.

So I conclude that since you do not answer reasonable questions about your assertions neither you provide examples to back up your assertions, you are into pontifications.

Proverbs 18:2 ESV.


Past Elder said...

There is no "corner" other than within the mindset out of which you will not step.

To continue the analogy, should I answer, out of your only two possible answers allowed, that Yes I have stopped beating my wife, I cannot state that I never started, or that I have no wife, but if I state No I have not stopped beating my wife, I cannot state that I never beat my wife or that I have no wife to beat -- the paradigm does not allow for the situation in which there is no beating ever or there is no wife, it imposes that there is a wife and at some point she was beaten.

And that imposition, in particular, is that Genesis must be an exact literal account of the manner of Creation and if it is not the remainder of Genesis and the Bible itself falls apart, and in general, that Biblical documents as we have them now are only understood when studied as if they were mathematics, or a propositional set in classic logic, or a legal brief.

You no less than the biologist, archaeologist or geologist apply your discipline outside your discipline, the one not believing when he does not find Scripture crammable into his discipline, the other believing when he does so find Scripture.

Or to return to the analogy, I have neither stopped beating my wife nor not stopped beating my wife as there is neither beating nor wife other than your assumption that there is or was.

L P said...


You may continue the analogy but any reasonable mind will see that your analogy does not work. You continue with your opinion without facts.

Let me refresh you again...

Did you not say this and I quote you verbatim...

I am pointing out that if you want to confine God within human modes of wisdom, one creates all sorts of problems, to which one can either shut one's eye and call it faith, or open one's eye and become agnostic or atheist, either result based on confining God to human modes of thinking -- to which Scripture says he is not confined.......

I replied with...

Me:Give me an example.

What is so unreasonable with my requests? I used your assertions, and I simply asked for an example of what you claim.

You come back and cry foul and claim this is a "wife beating" question.

This is weird, I quote your own statements, I ask for an example that illustrate your statements, and you cry foul. More evasions.
The above were no my words, they were yours.

I do not know why, since you brought it up surely you must have a case in point for such assertions.

Proverbs 18:2 ESV

Proverbs 18:7 ESV.


Past Elder said...

Leaping, jumping and flying Judas.

Over several comboxes now we have been discussing people in various fields of science -- the biologist Dawkins has come up -- who apply the norms of their disciplines to theology and Revelation and become atheists, and I have been saying that you as a mathematician are doing the same thing, applying the norms of your discipline to theology and Revelation and believe, and you ask for examples of the effort to approach theology and Revelation by the application of the norms of a human discipline to it?

L P said...

Discipline has nothing to do with it.

Propositional logic is not exactly a discipline it is part of human language, it can be made keen but it is part of human language. It is part of reasonable sense, self evident truth such as creation which points to God.

The problem with atheists is not intellectual it is moral.

Do a bit or reading on the Bible and a bit of familiarity of its contents.

The way you argue you appear not to be familiar with Rom 1:18-21. I suggest you read it instead of making speculations that espouses Chritian Agnosticism which not Christian at all.

For the case of mathematicians who proved the existence of God using mathematics Google Liebnitz and Godel.

Hope this helps, but I think we have done this to death. I have no time for your pontifications anymore.

Have a good life, mate.



L P said...

btw to anyone listening...

Leibnitz and Godel were Lutherans.


Past Elder said...

Romans 1:18-21 speaks of the natural knowledge of God and the nature of the origin of idolatry.

It nowhere assumes or states your reading of Genesis in that. Nor do I anywhere espose an agnosticism re God as Creator of Heaven and Earth as stated in the creed.

If all this has been done to death, it is because it has not been done at all. My comments have not been about God as Creator of Heaven and Earth, but the necessity of your reading of Genesis, which, since you insist that it is necessary conclude that anything toward a negation of that is a negation of the knowability of revelation and apparently natural knowledge of God too.

Genesis does not need to be made into a mathematical style proof of God.

Ditto SM's latest comment in the other combox re this too.

L P said...


Recall that my reading of Genesis 1 was supported by Ex 20:11.

My maths did not come into play here. As I said it was purely from linguistic and philosophical grounds. The analysis was on the Hebrew use of 'yom', explained by Ex 20:11.

No offense, but I noticed those who deny 24 on a popular level have not studied the Hebrew language side of this, so will not be aware of the argument. But a more literal translation using Scripture interpeting Scripture even bears the meaning out.

The agnosticism I allude to here is your position that Gen 1 is obscure, you are neither pro nor anti (IIRC) 24, where in fact I argued by Scripture interpreting Scripture that it is clear.


L P said...

btw, atheists know there is a God, they just refuse to acknowledge him because what Scripture says in Rom 1:18-21 is true about them, such that they import their antagonism towards him using their discipline.

The reverse is true, for believers, they acknowledge him and they see his handy work in their discipline which is also sovereignly indirectly created by God himself.

Case in point - Leibnitz, Godel, Euler.


Past Elder said...

Well, it's amazing that in 20 years of study with those for whom Hebrew is not only studied but is their first language, nothing like your connexion between EX20:11 and Genesis 1, or your reading of yom, or your regarding of such readings as normative, at least before Darwin, or especially your idea that such a reading is necessary for any of the rest to retain its integrity at any time, is found.

That being the case, you must be getting these ideas from somewhere else. I posit it is from trying to make Hebrew Scripture function like Greek logic.

L P said...


Trouble is you keep on projecing your Rabbinic Judaism that you learned to Moses's time. This is anachronistic which was what Acroamaticus pointed to Xan when the latter pointed to Augustine as if he believed like you moderns do with regards to 24.

You seem to suggest I am a genius for using Ex 20:11, I like to claim the complement but in actuality mine was not original. Where did you think the early Christians who believed in 24 got it? They believed in 24 long before we came on the scene. As I said, only did some Christians change when Darwin came along.

For a knowledgeable bloke like you, I would have expected for you not to have been surprized like this. Your agnostic view on 24 is pretty recent.

You are an LC-MS guy right? Why not read one of your late dogmaticians like Pieper and J.E. Mueller on the subject, on the latter I refer you to p.181 of his Christian Dogmatics book. I understand these 2 dudes are pretty reliable in most parts of Christian doctrine.

However though, I arrived at my Ex 20:11 before I opened up my copy of Mueller's (which was 2 days ago) . And had I found he thought differently on 24, I would have used its pages as toilet paper to wipe my a.. with it (joke only).


Past Elder said...

Lito, it is not "the 24" that is the object of my comments, it is your insistence that it must be so understood or else everything else gets woobly at best and heretical or atheistic at worst.

It is this kind of fundamentalism that is the recent phenomenon, roughly 100 years old now, as an hysterical reaction to Darwin, Higher Criticism and other things.

It is characteristic of no point in Judaism, not was it characteristin of the proverbial early church. And it contributes nothing to our time but countering the bad theology of some scientists with the bad science of some theologians that has nothing particularly scientific or theological to recommend it.

L P said...


Good, this is a better comment and a fair one.

Here are my points.

1. If as I argued that 24 is clearly taught in Scripture as proven by other parts, what reasons are there to reject it? So far I have read, a non literal reading of Gen 1 with science being used as a hermeneutic to adjust the meaning of the text.

2. If Gen 1 is non literal as is claimed, then what warrant is there to also not attach non literal meanings to Adam and Eve? If Adam and Eve are not grown developed human beings when God created them, then Jesus being the second Adam makes no sense. There is the domino.

In fact I can cite you a fellow who is teaching that Adam was actually the first single cell, not a human but the single cell of evolution.

Now read it and watch how he coerces the text. I am not saying you are doing that, no I am not accusing you of those, what I am pointing out is that when eisegesis using Science is used over the text, this is what happenes.

You get an assinine theory as shown there.

This fellow is teaching how science as he sees it complies with the Bible. But note, he adjusted the meaning of the text to accomodate science.

If you look in the other combo boxes like the recent one of Jim Pierce, he articulated the connection for me of what I wanted to say.

We are not discussing here if Mary remained a virgin like a pious opinion etc. The case for Gen 1's 24 is supported by text by 2 passages.

The Scriptures are connected, that is my point. So if the text teaches 24 there is no otherway but to teach it that way to no ifs nor buts. Unfortunately J.E. Mueller and I are at one here if you read his p.181.

Ideas have consequences.


Past Elder said...

One of the most interesting of these "harmonisations" of the Bible and science I have read is from an Israeli physicist who is Orthodox (Jew of course, not Christian) who worked out something along the lines of a backward look at a forward motion in time where "day" could accurately describe eons of millions of years when the temporal aspects of Relativity are considered. This is not at all to say I endorse it, hell I can't even remember the author's name, just to say it is the best of such things where day in the 24 hour sense, and day in the sense of a period of time are combined, that I have heard about.

As to the two points, I contest the first as argued from the Sabbath in Genesis. Revisionist elements in Judaism soften the Sabbath along with everything else and they are not a part of what I mean by "Judaism", but in all the many things written in praise of the command and gift of the Sabbath from God to Israel, that it falls apart if the 7th day of creation is not a 24 hour human day is just not found, anywhere.

As to the second point, there indeed has been a progression of doubt from one thing to another to another, and the sorry state of most church bodies is ample evidence of that, including parts of my own. However, many of those who uphold "the 24" in particular and a literal reading across the board also fail to see in that reading things I believe are quite clear, for example the Means of Grace as we confess, particularly Communion, or the Office of Holy Ministry. Wobbly in their case does not result in atheism of course, but it does result in false doctrine, and is not prevented by "the 24" or the literal throughout approach.

So I maintain "the 24" is a position which can be validly held, but holding it is not necessary to, of itself neither leads from or to, the faith of the Bible as summarised in the Creeds and presented in the BOC, documents much closer in nature to a set in propositional logic than the Bible.

Xan said...

If we're going to blame ideas for their consequences, perhaps we should reject 144-hour Creation on the basis that it leads adherents to conclude that without that particular belief, atheism is wiser than Christianity.

L P said...


Based on the BOC I will not deny the name Lutheran to the one who holds an anti-24 hour day.

However Lutherans as Christians can be, wrong and in error on other matters of Christian doctrine.

For example, I think it is wrong to have a woman pastor to lead the congregation, I think abortion on demand is wrong etc.

So someone who subscribes to the BoC who believes that women can be pastors is in my opinion wrong and so does, the one who do not believe in 24 hour days.

I am not saying they are not Christians, I am not saying they are not saved. I am saying they are wrong at that point.

Your position of 24 that CAN be validly held is non-sense. Either it is wrong or it is right (in the end). You are holding it at bay as tentative is ok if there are Scriptural evidence that you are not sure of. But that is not the case so being politically correct on this is adding to the confusion.

If I have very good Scriptural backup with no less than 2 verses that clearly demonstrates it then your CAN becomes an OUGHT, it ought to be believed.

Fair enough if you disagree with your famous dogmaticians such as Pieper and Mueller but between you and them, I think they have more scholarly work than you. Credibility wise I will cast my vote on their take on this because they are casting their vote on mine.

That physicist Jew you spoke about should make you think why he could not let go of 24 and why he was trying to reconcile it with science. Because he knows darn well that 24 is steep in the tradition of Biblical interpretation.

Science so called is against it (24) but there are quite a few passages in Scripture for it.


L P said...


I am utterly surprised by your comment in saying leads adherents to conclude that without that particular belief, atheism is wiser than ChristianityHow could you suggest that? You again contradicted the Bible.

No Christian should say at that point an atheist is wiser than a Christian!

Why? Because Scripture calls atheists fools!

See Psalm 14:1.


Xan said...

But that's you, Lito; that's the entire premise of your post here. Look at the title!

Augustinian Successor said...

Greetings to you Kuya Lito, from University of Thammasat, Bangkok!

Xan said, "Augustine's instantaneous creation was exactly compatible with evolution." That'sl ike saying that 2+2=5 is compatible with 2+2=4. What an assinine statement that was.

Xan said...

There's not much more "assinine" [sic] than going off on one sentence of somebody's, without even bothering to read the next two that explain it.

Look, you don't have to agree with it, but at least read it before starting the name-calling.

Past Elder said...

I think the "physicist Jew" was much more about people not rejecting, when encountering points of view that demand "day" must have been in God's mind rather than a condescension to what it is ours, a unit of time that does not exist apart from or outside of our rather small part of Creation, that Creation is indeed Creation at all and that there is a Creator who wills it into existence with a purpose.

Everything does not have sharp values. That only becomes a problem when one insists that it does, rather than distinguish where they work and where they don't.

L P said...



Salamat datang!

The backward projection of Augustine's view down to Gen 1 is indeed anachronistic.


L P said...


My post is far from attributing wisdom to the atheist because they do not believe in 24.

If Jesus did not rise from the dead then we are left with looking for another Messiah.

Like those who believed in Jesus while he was here, I should ask, is this not the Mesiah or should we look for another.

What would be your option if Jesus did not rise from the dead, be a Jew?

As PE said (if he was correct), they won't let you join in the club.

For me, being a Jew will not do, because I am still left with my sin.

See 1 Cor 15:14, 17-19.


L P said...


The issue is that one declares what is clear to be vague.


L P said...


This has been done to death. If you are still at it, move it up to the latest post.