QUESTIONS/ANSWERS FROM THE QUESTION FORUM
Group Number 93
So do you accept this OT story of the flood as an actual occurrence or is it a myth or a misunderstanding of some sort of natural event?
Jesus spoke of the flood (Matt 24:38-39; Lk 17:27). Peter spoke of it (1 Pet 3:20; 2 Pet 2:5). The book of Hebrews refers to it (Heb 11:7). Precisely what is it that would lead a person to question the reality of the flood -- an occasion, the Scriptures affirm, "through which the world was destroyed, being overflowed with water" (2 Pet 3:6)? How is it that any doubt could be associated with a record that Jesus likens to His own return? Peter reasons upon the basis of the flood, confirming it is an example of God's reaction to abounding sin (2 Pet 2:5). The book of Hebrews gives it as an occasion of the demonstration of faith and the condemnation of the world (Heb 11:7). Peter also correlates the flood with our baptism into Christ (1 Pet 3:20). Is this the kind of reasoning that can be based on a myth, an exaggeration, or a flawed interpretation?
The Scriptures provide some specifics of the flood that set it apart from mythology. I am assuming you are familiar with these things, although your posts give no such indication.
1. It was the result of a Divine determination to destroy all flesh (Gen 6:6-7).
2. It was the occasion when Noah "found grace in the eyes of the Lord" (Gen 6:8).
3. The specifics for the preparation of the ark, the means by which Noah and his family would be saved, were given (Gen 6:14-16).
4. God affirmed He would bring a flood upon the earth, resulting with everything in the earth dying (Gen 6:17).
5. The establishment of a covenant with Noah (Gen 6:18).
6. The contents of the ark were specified (Gen 6:19-7:4).
7. The duration of the rain, and the week before it are provided (Gen 7:4).
8. The age of Noah at the time of the flood is given (Gen 7:6).
9. The precise time when the heavens poured forth its waters, and the fountains of the earth were opened (Gen 7:11).
10. The people in the ark are named (Gen 7:13).
11. The increase of the waters over the whole earth, and even the highest mountains, is affirmed (Gen 7:7-19).
12. The measurement of the waters above the highest mountains is specified (Gen 7:20).
13. The death of all life outside of the ark is particularized (Gen 7:21-23).
14. The length of time the waters prevailed upon the earth is given (Gen 7:24).
15. The means of drying up the waters is provided (Gen 8:1).
16. The stopping of the rain and the breaking up of the fountains are identified (Gen 8:2).
17. The time it took for the waters to abate is specified (Gen 8:3).
18. The precise time the ark came to rest on the mountains is given (Gen 8:4-5).
19. The time when Noah knew the waters had resided is identified (Gen 8:8:11-12).
20. The time when the earth was dried is provided (Gen 8:14).
21. A point is made of when God told Noah to leave the earth (Gen 8:15-19).
22. Noah was told to "replenish the earth" (Gen 9:1).
23. God made a covenant to never again destroy the earth with a flood, confirming that covenant with a sign (Gen 9:11-17).
24. It was through the sons of Noah that "the whole earth was populated" (Gen 9:19).
Is this metaphorical language? How can anyone read this account and conclude there is even a possibility that the flood was not real? It is an affront to the Lord to banter about such things when God has gone to such lengths to provide the details of the flood. In addition, there is holy reasoning, teaching, and exhortation based upon this event.
The time has come to cease philosophizing about what God has said, and believe it. Whatever conflicts with the Scriptural record should be trashed, and considered to be the "refuse" that it really is. God has spoken about "foolish disputes" (Tit 3:9), "idle talk" (Tit 3:6), "ignorant disputes" (2 Tim 2:23), and "things which cause disputes" (1 Tim 1:4). Such words are to be taken seriously.
What is a day? Is defined by one rotation of the earth, 24hrs or is it something else?
God has spoken on this. The first day, as well as the other six, consisted of an "evening" and a "morning." Before embracing the nonsense of a "day" meaning an undefined and lengthy period in Genesis, it is necessary to establish that this is also implied in the words "evening" and "morning."
Also, a point is made of the world being created in "six days" in the Law (Ex 20:9), with not the slightest inference that it was an undefined period. Additionally, a point is made of God resting on "the seventh day" -- was that a lengthy period also? Did God "rest" for a million of so years? Were the grass, herbs, and trees thousands of years old on the third day? Were the fish, sea creatures, and fowls of the air thousands of years old on the fourth day? Were the creeping things and beasts of the earth thousands of years old on the fifth day? Was the "day" in which Adam and Eve were created a similar period, making them thousands of years old, or maybe even millions of years old, during that possibly lengthy day six day?
With just rudimentary reasoning, how is it that Adam could have died at 930 years of age (Gen 5:5) if the "days" of Genesis one were ages of several thousand years? Or did God start reckoning his age after the seventh day?
Other than the attempt to justify the erroneous postulates of men, what reason is there to even raise this question? Should you not be directing your doubts to the professed scientists who have concocted their postulates upon unproved theories and hypotheses? Where have we ever been encouraged to test the Word of God by the wisdom of the world, which God has already affirmed to be foolishness? You seem to saying the wisdom of this world is really not foolishness at all.
There is nothing in the Scriptures about being 'born of the Spirit.'
Because some of the things stated in this discussion have been very troubling to me, I am compelled to say something more on the subject of being "born of the Spirit." In this discussion, ________ referred to his preference for the ESV, saying it did not capitalize "spirit" in certain texts. It DOES capitalize "Spirit" in John 3:5 and 8. It also does in Galatians 4:29 (So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."). Helso stated that when God created the worlds with His word, the Spirit was off doing something else. Indeed, in the natural creation, the Spirit was active just as He is in the new creation. In fact he was moving or "hovering" over the "waters" -- called "the face of the deep," which was covered with darkness. His was a preparatory work then, just as it is now.
The error that this man has made is equating the MEANS of the new birth with the One who employs the means. We are, indeed, begotten with the Word of God -- that is the appointed means. But it is the Spirit who employs that Word, causing it to have, as it were, birthing power. This is what Peter called "the sanctification of the Spirit," which LED to our obedience and being "sprinkled" with the blood of Christ. As the ESV reads, "To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, FOR obedience to Jesus Christ and FOR sprinkling with his blood" (1 Peter 1:1-2).
Jesus taught His disciples that when the Spirit came, He would "convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment." This was a pre-conversion work, because the conviction had to do with not believing on Jesus, Jesus going to be with the Father, and Satan being judged (John 16:8-11). The Spirit, therefore, was clearly assigned a work to do upon those who were being prepared to come to Christ. He uses the Word, particularly the Gospel, but it is He who uses that Word. From yet another vantage point, Jesus affirmed "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:44). To postulate that Deity is not imminent in the preparing men for the new birth, and in the new birth itself, is something that cannot be supported.
When Jesus spoke of being "born of the Spirit" He was not speaking of a procedure -- even a Divinely appointed procedure. When, for example, the Scriptures say that Jesus was "born of a woman" (Gal 4:4), they are not speaking of a birthing procedure, but of the one who through whom Jesus came into the world.
What is so difficult about seeing that "born of the Spirit," or "born of God," or "born from above," speaks in the same way of the new birth? The difficulty is created because that representation impinges upon one's personal understanding of the truth of God. When such a circumstance occurs, we are to defer to the Word of the Lord, and that with great haste. It is God who will be vindicated in everything He has said -- as well as the way in which He has said it. As it is written, "Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, "That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged" (Rom 3:4, ESV).
We ought to be suspicious, to say the least, of any approach to Scripture that emphasizes men or de-emphasizes the Holy Spirit. That seems to me to be extremely elementary, but it is clear that it has not yet dawned upon some.
So you think that the world was destroyed about 2500BC. If true, how is that the ancient Chinese discovered ink and silk about the same time? Or how was that the Mayan's were able to establish settlements in the area that is now known as Belize? Or Egyptian pyramids dating back to 2500BC?
Am I missing something here? There were civilizations destroyed in the flood. It was a whole world that perished. Why do you have so much trouble with the Scriptures? You should not allow unbelief to crouch at the door of your heart. It will eventually get the best of you. God has not called upon us to reconcile the events of Scripture. Do you borrow your knowledge of God, Christ, redemption, justification, the judgment day, and everlasting life from these worldly writings also? You are revealing more of your heart that is appropriate.
I will hang all of my hopes and reasoning upon God's Word because He has "magnified" above all things His Word and His name (Psa 138:2). If you choose not to do so, you are making a big mistake -- to say the very least. God is going to be vindicated in "all of His sayings" (Rom 3:4). Some of those sayings relate to the flood. If you contest what He has revealed, you will lose, and that before an assembled universe. In the name of Christ, do not pursue this course. It is a foolish one.
Slow down a bit here. Bible says that God destroyed both the people and the earth." However, in Hebrew the same word is used for both planet earth and ground or land. A huge local flood could do this. God's intent is to reverse what man has done.
So God was displeased with the wickedness of a local area (Gen 6:12)? Did the flood bring the end of "all flesh" in a part of the earth (Gen 6:13)? Was it the imaginations of those of a certain locale that were corrupt from their youth (Gen 8:21)? Was there a certain spot of land "under heaven" that God judged (Gen 6:17)? Did "all flesh" die only in a certain area (Gen 7:21)? Am I to understand Noah "replenished" a local area Gen 9:1)? By the sons of Noah was there a locale that was populated (Gen 9:19)? Did the water rise fifteen cubits above the mountains of a certain area, causing every living substance on the face of a local area, together with man, cattle, creeping things, fowls of the air to die (Gen 7:23)? Was the area destroyed too large for the dove Noah sent out to find a place to rest (Gen 8:9)? Why was there not a resting place in some adjoining area? Did God make a covenant with Noah concerning the ground and people of a special region of the earth (Gen 8:12-17)? Am I to understand that it was really a parcel of land that Peter compared with "the heavens and the earth which are now preserved" by God's word, and "reserved for fire" (2 Pet 3:6)?
I must admit, that is certainly stretching one's imagination. I suggest that is one of the imaginations that must be thrown down with the spiritual weaponry God has provided (2 Cor 10:4-5).
If God has chosen to save from a divided source, a polluted stream, and the admixture of truth and the lie, then your postulate is true. However, then the Second Timothy text would read "some Scripture," not "all Scripture." Wisdom in the mouth of a fool is like a jewel in a swine's snout (Prov 11:22) -- but that is emphatically not the case with Scripture. In order to justify the idea you have suggested, we need some word from God that deals with corrupt texts of Scripture -- something Moses or the Prophets wrote that was discounted by God, or said to be untrue. It seems to me that philosophizing about the validity of Scripture is a most dangerous practice. Far better to tell us what God has said about Scripture. Has He ever said anything to anyone that would lead men to think in the manner represented above? And if He has not, please explain why men do so.
Speaking only for myself, the idea of taking a view of Scripture that requires the expertise of modern day scribes to decipher what is valid and what is not, and what is truth and what is opinion, is a throwback to the Scribes and the Pharisees. We really do not need linguistic and philosophical experts to feret the truth out of Scripture. If it is countered that the Holy Spirit will assist us in this work, I would ask why He did not take care of the Scriptures in the first place. What would lead any person to think the Spirit could not stop error from getting into Scripture, but would instead help us detect the errors that were worked into the text of Scripture?
I hesitate to argue when we have been in so much agreement, but you do interpret. The Bible in certain places mentions mythical gods of the sea (Tiamon or something like that). These are in poetic sections of the Bible. I would venture to guess that you donít really believe in their existence? So, it is an interpretive choice that the Bible is using poetic language and not always to be taken literally. You donít read apocalyptic literature the same way you read the epistles, narrative, wisdom literature, etc. Surely you know and believe this. If not, I will pull out the Bible and journey with you to some places that I know you will reject as literal. When you make such a choice you are interpreting.
Divine reasoning is not founded upon myths or poetry. Genesis one and two are the basis for considerable reasoning in Scripture (Matt 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-8; Rom 5:14-19; 1 Cor 15:22,45; 2 Cor 11:13; 1 Tim 2:13-14; Jude 1:14). Luke traces the fleshly genealogy of Jesus back to Adam (Luke 3:38). Hebrews reasons concerning the creation, as recorded in Genesis (Heb 4:4). I am saying it is not the Divine manner to base such weighty reasoning on things that are not absolutely true. It seems to me that reasoning on a myth is something Satan would do, not God.
God does not build houses upon the sand -- which surely characterizes all myths. Further, the references to "Leviathan" in Scriptures do not for one moment suggest this was a "mythical god" -- although I do not doubt the heathen would have made a god of it. Job 41 provides some extensive details and reasoning on this strange creature, as well as Psalm 74:13-14, Psalm 104:26, and Isaiah 27:1.
I understand there is such a thing as apocalyptic language. However, it is attended with Divine explanations and correlations with clear statements of realities.
In the case of Revelation, John was given a vision, and wrote of what he saw (35 times he refers to what he "saw."). Nothing like this is ever associated with Genesis. Adam is declared as a real man, committing real sin, with real offspring, and the progenitor of the real race.
As to the "serpent," I understand Satan to have spoken through the serpent. He also could have taken the form of a serpent, just as he transforms himself into an angel light now. I will continue to view Genesis as God has presented it, and feel I am at no disadvantage for doing so. I do not see how viewing it in any other way could prohibit me from believing Cain and Abel, the flood, Babel, Job, Abraham, Sodom and Gomorra, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and all of the rest were also fables.
That sounds good, but it is impossible. Nothing we read or hear can be acted upon without interpretation. That might even be a definition of reading. All input that we have must be weighed and evaluated before it has any value. Most of the time we do this without even a conscious thought, but neverless we do interpret. We even have sayings like, "take that with a grain of salt" that warns us to be careful how we accept certain opinions, just as all of us do on this list occasionally.
You speak with a lot of seeming confidence -- even though there is not a shred of evidence in Scripture that this is an accurate assessment of how people read and receive words. You are using words and concepts that man's wisdom teaches. I simply do not accept them, nor do I see any reason or need to do so.
When God made promise to Abraham, it is said that He "believed God," and reasoned with the God's ability in mind, fully persuaded that what God had promised He was also able to perform (Rom 4:21). What kind of interpretation was involved in that process?
The Bereans received the word "with all readiness of mind," and searched the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true (Acts 17:11). What kind of interpretation was involved in that process?
When the Thessalonians heard the word of Paul, they received it, not as the word of men, but what it really is, the word of God (1 Thess 2:13). What kind of interpretation was involved in that process?
When Lydia heard the word, the Lord opened her heart so she could respond to Paul's message (Acts 16:14). what kind of interpretation was involved in that process?
The word "interpret," and its various forms, is used around sixty times in Scripture. It is applied to understanding dreams, interpreting language, the words of the wise, various names, sayings in another language, and places. The only time the word, in any version, is associated with Scripture, is in Peters affirmation that no Scripture has came about by the prophets own interpretation (2 Pet 1:20).
When it comes to Scripture, or the Word, there are the revealed responses of believing (John 2:22), receiving (Acts 2:41), not understanding (Luke 18:34; John 20:9), and understanding (Dan 9:2; 10:11). But never are the Scriptures said to have been "interpreted."
The postulate that men bring the baggage of opinion and previous perceptions that shape how they hear or read Scripture is a lot of philosophical nonsense. On the day of Pentecost, 3,000 souls scrapped their entire mode of religious thinking within a short period. Saul of Tarsus altered his whole manner of thinking upon a single confrontation with Jesus. The Ethiopian eunuch went from confusion to understanding within a brief span of time.
I still affirm that the Word of God is to believed, not interpreted by men. That is why David prayed for understanding (Psa 119:34,73,125,144,16). It is why Jesus opened the understanding of the two on the road to Emaeus, that they might understand the Scriptures (Luke 24:45). It is why Paul desired for the Lord to give Timothy understanding in all things (2 Tim 2:7). It is one of the reasons Jesus has come -- to give us an understanding (1 John 5:20). It is why Paul prayed believers would be filled with the knowledge of God's will in al wisdom and spiritual understanding (Col 1:9).
If we do not begin by believing Scripture, we just as well discard the whole of the matter, for without faith it is impossible to please God -- and faith is associated with heartily embracing God' word without question.
You are certainly under no obligation to receive what I say. You are, however, obligated to God to receive what He has said, not doubting or questioning it. There is nothing in all the realm of learning that can compensate for a failure to believe God.
If we are going to draw conclusions, or make announcements of what men do or do not do, let us at least draw out of the water of inspiration, not the impoverished wells of human wisdom. Those are nothing more than broken cisterns that can hold no water.
Whether you or I want to accept it or not, we interpret every communication, including scripture, based on our education, experiences, and biases, and it is impossible for any of us to be completely objective about our conclusions. That's not necessarily a bad thing, it's just the way humans operate.
You have made my point, and I thank you. Dreams needed to be interpreted because they were NOT understood. Furthermore, their interpretation came from God, not from men.
As to the statement that every communication filters through our education, experience . . . that is your statement. I choose to believe there is such a thing as "the hearing of faith," or believing what we hear from God (Gal 3:2,5). We simply are not on the same page, nor are we speaking about the same thing. I can only hope and pray that you will receive the Word of God as it is in truth (1 Thess 2:13), without filtering it through all of your biases. Faith will not come through that kind of hearing (Rom 10:17). Through what education, experience, and biases did Abraham sift God's promise? How about at Pentecost, or with the eunuch, of the Philippian jailor? What education, experience, and biases did they use to "interpret" the word delivered to them? Please address those matters. Do not simply restate the very supposition that is held in question.
Rather than passing God's word through these filters, they are part of the process of denying ourselves -- which is a necessary requisite to affiliation with Jesus.
Well, we all have our knowledge that has been given to us by our parents, teachers, worship experiences, etc. To say that none of those has an impact on how we hear and process information is foolish. The apostle Paul noted this, and said he changed his behavior around different people, so as to win them over to Christ. He didn't insist that they "get it" the same way he did (for which we are fortunate). If you look around the postings of this and other e-groups, you will find that people's assessment of Jesus often various on their own personality. Some see Jesus as the person who will judge according to the word (along with the weeping and gnashing of teeth. Others see Jesus the reconciler, who brings us to God. Some see Jesus who encourages us to seek justice and take care of those less fortunate than others. Still others see Jesus who fulfilled the law and took away our sin. All of those positions can be backed by scripture, but most of us have a general take on things that colors our outlook on the rest of scripture. Those who see a judgmental God will have a decidedly different take (interpretation) of scripture than those who see a merciful God. To ignore these biases is similar to the people who insist that the devil is not real. That just allows those biases to have a greater impact, just as saying the devil is not real gives him more room to work.
Since it is obvious I have not stated this case clearly enough, let me restate it another way. I am saying that the responses of those on the day of Pentecost, the Ethiopian eunuch, and the Phillippian jailor would have been impossible if they had sifted the Word of God through their biases, and what they were taught by their parents and teachers, and what they had previously experienced. Their responses contradict your statement: "To say that none of those has an impact on how we hear and process information is foolish." In fact, to believe God they had to overcome all of those things, not keep them, or use them as ingredients of reason.
I am saying Abraham could not possibly have believed God if He had processed the promise by interpreting it in view of his teaching, experience, or biases. As he thought upon the promise, his reasoning contradicted every kind of human wisdom. A man whose body was "now dead," and "the deadness of Sarah's womb" were the components God would use to produce "the child of promise." What teaching, experience, or bias, of that time could in any way serve to confirm to Abraham the truth of that promise?
Were Adam and Eve the only people on the planet during the period of the garden? Consider chap.4 of Genesis, were was the land of Nod, and were did Cain's wife come from? Literally there was a lot going on outside of the garden.
Are you asking if there were other people before "the FIRST man" and "the mother of ALL living?"
Cain was expelled from the garden and then married a woman who lived outside of the garden.
Cain was born AFTER Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden. It was "Adam and his wife" that sinned, received coats of skin, and were driven from the garden (Gen 3:21-24). The Scriptures do not give the slightest hint that Cain as "expelled from the garden." That would mean that Abel was murdered in the Garden, and that Adam and Eve long remained in the garden. "The presence of the Lord" in Genesis 4:16, from which Cain departed, does not equate to the Garden.
I hope in all of this you are jesting, for if you really believe what you are saying, you are betraying a most remarkable level of Scriptural ignorance.
In light of the woman from NOD, then we cannot assume on a literal basis, that humanity was confined to Adam and Eve and their offspring. I think that Given will have to ponder this for while.
It will certainly not take "a while" to ponder this. If you are talking about mankind, Adam was "the first man" (1 Cor 15:45,47). If you are talking about sinners, they are all the progeny of Adam (Rom 5:12,15). If you are talking about nations of people, they were all made "from one" man (Acts 17:26). If you are speaking of living personalities, Eve is "the mother of all living" (Gen 3:20).
This is what we teach our preschool children. I am chagrined that it has become necessary to remind anyone on this list of these realities.
He specifically points out that this statement is not from God, but from Paul.
There is a factor that you must consider. Paul declares that he gave his judgment as "one who by the Lord's judgment is trustworthy" (1 Cor 7:25). It was the Lord Jesus Himself who counted him "faithful," putting him into the ministry (1 Tim 1:12). A person who has "the mind of Christ" (1 Cor 2:16) speaks in concert with the Person and will of God. His words are not to be viewed as mere opinion, but counsel that has resulted from being in fellowship with Christ. Paul was spouting mere opinion, even though God had not commanded him to say what He said.
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