I think this argument is out of the track of the topic. Nevertheless, I should tell Wisdom it’s not worth to lug the alleged reliability of the Kuran in this thread (if ever the administrators will permit us to continue to dialogue in this track I surely don’t back down from it). The Coranic theologists have yet a hard roe to hoe with, for example, their own doctrine nâsikh and the mansûkh, that is, the annuller and the annulled, that permits some previous Coranic verses to be abrogated by later ones. This doctrine triggers a logical reaction that makes more difficult believing the dependability of this sacred text, since now the chronological order of the suras became essential to establish the non-abrogated section of the Kuran (but, sad to say, Coranic theologists are not agree until today to the exact chronological list of the Suras). So, when this agreement will be reached we may start to speak about the reliability of the Kuran, in another forum, I suppose.
On the contrary, do you really understand what constitutes life? I’m sick and tired about discourses like: “this text was writed for ancient gawks that didn’t know this or that…”. If this would be the point the future inhabitants of this planet (two or three centuries from now) will have to guffaw on our puerile views about, for example, physics (“the 21th century primitive peoples didn’t comprehend in what physical context can be encapsulate the two apparently states of the light: wave or particle? What a simple men they were!”). Granted, the Bible is a complex book, but this lofty attitude as regards the people that received this text is not useful at all. What we called “science” today has not a conclusive structure but a dynamic one. Paul Valéry once said “We have to call Science only the ensemble of the successful recipes. And all the rest of it is literature”.
We’ve going on different tracks. You are right if the Bible would be a book like any other books. I’m convinced that if a person takes up a deep search he will find that the Bible is a book from a divine origin, although writed by men. Granted, the writers’ environments, cultures, life experiences, etc. could be reflected in their scripts, but the concepts contained in these cultural frames are fruits of God’s wisdom. Sure, I’m speaking from a believer standpoint. We would to confront the proofs that the Bible has an divine origin. And I am disposable to confront with anyone who wants to start this search. But, all the same, my points is that the manner we consider the Bible (if by human origin or by divine one) compels our dialogue tracks to change. You say: Throughout the civilized history of humans each succeeding era has thrown out archaic ideas or modified others. As long as this occurred civilization advances. This positivist concepts are not sustained by the today knowledge of the world. For example, the scientists until now don’t comprehend the building techniques for a lot of megalithic buildings date back to 4 or more millenniums ago. Or, how people belonging to pre-Columbian civilizations did could perform successful brain surgery operations without our present medical acquaintances. The real problem is another. Inside the believers ensemble there’s differences. Often, they are arrived to believe in God on different ways. For peoples that have a greater (or different, simply) level of spiritual sensitivity it is enough to feel the presence of God. Other men, like me in the past, have need to dig deep in the world phenomena to find the traces of God in our physical world. So, if a first-type person try to persuade (in a positive connotation of the term) a second-type person the attempt will be surely unsuccessful, and vice versa. Each one of this type-persons are to tackle dialogue inside our own track. Differently, they get nowhere.
First of all, I apologize for my wobbly English, like Michamus has rightly pick out. Nevertheless, I hope that the concepts I express arrive at destination, at least. It is always more difficult explain our complex ideas to others inside the forumses, when the thoughts tend themselves to crowd.
a) My message (#186) to BlueScat48 was an objection to the idea that the ancient peoples were, by definition, more “regressed” (using his own terminology) respect to us. In other world, by analogy, we would be, as regards the knowledge of the universe phenomena, compared to the ancient peoples, like graduates compared to those attending the primary school.
Now, it is impossible that some graduates would be unable to explain a fact, a concept, or solve a problem that a primary-school student are able to perform, since the graduates’ knowledge cover also the primary-school student knowledge, necessarily. Now, if the history of man has unwind itself in an evolution-like manner (from simple to complex, from ignorance to expertise, etc.) we should understand all the concepts, techniques, and are able to solve every problem the ancients have yet successful faced, with their technology and know-how.
Unfortunately, we cannot always do this. Also if we, in the future, will be able to do this, we have to be grateful in any case to ancient epochs’ scholars. We have build on their knowledges and ideas.
Isaac Newton once said that he feels himself like a dwarf on the shoulder of giants. If Newton feels himself a “dwarf”, scholarly speaking, we, in comparison, are welcomed in Lilliput. (I’m joking, obviously).
The point is that humility and the awareness of the our ignorance is the base to the true science. “And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know” (1 Corinthians 8:2, KJV). I’ve not introduce the idea that since we cannot explain those things in past, then… God exists; or He can explained this to us. My objective was only this: pinpoint that humankind didn’t get an regular and progressive increase of knowledge. Then, it is better to assume a more humble attitude as regards the ancients peoples, included the persons who received the Bible. b) As regards innaccuracies of the Bible I’ve had other people tell me that, but no one has ever been able to show me what is actually an inaccuracy (or, a contradiction). Then, I’ve no need to use the argument prophets’-language-style <> God’s-concepts to sustain it. c) “Hard science”? What is it? What you believe is hard science whereas the believing people are using feeble science? I would tell you the same thing, but so we go nowhere. Like Theodoric says: Facts are just facts.
I agree with your clarified thought "My point is that man must continue to strive for answers and not blindly accept older concepts."
For completeness, I take the liberty to add only a slight variant of it (I think you agree): Man must continue to strive for answers and not accept older or new concepts unless they are passed through a critical analysis.
Thanks for your sympathetic attitude regards my English.
You say: “This is assuming we have reached the final destination of scientific inquiry.” I don’t see a relation between my assumptions and the hypothetical end of the human scientifical inquiry. In my previous analogy I likened the learning (in sense of knowledge) relation between the ancient peoples with us today to graduates compared to those attending the primary school. But the analogy works also if we compared the two group of peoples to middle school students/primary school school students. What I want to say is that if a primary school student is able to solve, for example, a math problem, also a middle school student must be able to do the same (except he is unwilling to learn, obviously), necessarily. It is not important if the middle school student hasn’t “reached the final destination of his (scholastic) inquiry”. The principle included into the analogy remains valid, anyway.
After, you speak about the “numerous inaccuracies that are now known to be patently false”. I encourage you to dig more deep (this is one advantage to do so) in the Bible to understand what the Scriptures really say. I state beforehand, to avoid any misunderstandings, that we are free to accept or refuse what the Bible say. My point is try to set what the Bible really says. Because only on this base we can perceive if the Bible contains inaccuracies, contradictions or similar or not.
It is enough answer your first “inaccuracy” to have a clear head. You say: “For instance Genesis makes mention of non-streaked goats looking at streaked rods, which makes them give birth to streaked offspring.” Evidently you refer to Genesis 30:37-42 where we meet Jacob be caught up in the problem to induce his flocks to give birth a streaked offspring with a bizarre device apparently with the idea that if the animal looked at the stripes when in heat there would be a prenatal influence that would make the offspring mottled or abnormal in colour. Since the desired results were obtained, Jacob probably thought his stratagem with the striped sticks was responsible. In this he no doubt shared the same misconception commonly held by many people (until today, regrettably), namely, that such things can have an effect on the offspring.
This Jacob viewpoint is a BIBLE inaccuracy? Or is it a JACOB misunderstanding of the genetics principles?
A book can be extremely accurate to report facts and happenings and this may include to cite exactly also erroneous statements of some characters comprised in it. So, if we dig more deep what we find out? That the Creator, in a dream to Jacob instructed him otherwise.
Read it in Genesis 31:10-12.
In his dream Jacob learned that certain principles of genetics, and not the sticks, were responsible for his success. Whereas Jacob was tending only solid-colored animals, yet the vision revealed that the male goats were striped, speckled, and spotty. How could this be? Apparently they were hybrids even though of uniform color, the result of crossbreeding in Laban’s flock before Jacob began being paid. So certain of these animals carried in their reproductive cells the hereditary factors for spotting and speckling future generations, according to the laws of heredity discovered by Gregor Mendel.
At this point I repeat myself: we are free to accept or not the fact that the Creator exists and was in touch with Jacob, and so on… The point is: the Bible not endorse the Jacob’s erroneous idea about genetics. Then, this is only an alleged inaccuracy. An accurate study of the Bible (it can last for considerable time) can help us to reach the conclusion the it is a divine message to the humans.
In a mine message (# 186) I’ve yet explained that the human history is not necessarily unwinds itself in a progressive and constant escalation of knowledge (another historical example? The Egyptian 5th and 6th dynasty’s pyramid builders possessed a store of architectural/engineering knowledge far more inferior compared to that of their colleagues of the 4th dynasty, any reason was the cause of that decline of knowledge). So, a better definition of our state of knowlegde inside the flow of time could be: the human history has been characterized by an relatively increase of knowledge interspersed with fluctuations of its degree.
I agree with you, completely, as regards the meaning of “what the Scriptures really say”. Surely, factors like context, applied linguistics, analysis of the sources, comparative history, anthropology and a lot of other elements help us to understand “what the Scriptures really say”. A scientific analysis of the Bible strenghten its reliability instead of the contrary.
”Who told Jacob to have the flocks look upon the rod, and why? If you want to know what the scriptures really say, then you need to actually read the entire story or series of events.”
I’ve actually read this story (and the entire Bible) dozens of time, some time in the original language, also. Sorry, but I don’t know what you mean.
“In this he [Jacob] no doubt shared the same misconception commonly held by many people (until today, regrettably), namely, that such things can have an effect on the offspring.” He did think that his device could work, so producing birthmarks (spots and specks) on the fleeces of the flock. Neither God nor God’s angel or prophet instructed him to do so. Quite the opposite, I’ve yet explained that “the Creator, in a dream to Jacob instructed him otherwise. Read it in Genesis 31:10-12.”
(2) the real Biblical meaning of blood such as regards its capability to be "receptacle" of life.
First of all, the Bible does not claim to teach science. Rather, it reveals God’s standards, aspects of his personality that creation alone cannot teach, and his purpose for humans (Psalm 19:7-11; 2 Timothy 3:16). Yet, when the Bible does refer to natural phenomena, it is consistently accurate. Galileo Galilei himself said: “Both the Holy Scriptures and nature proceed from the Divine Word... Two truths can never contradict one another.”
Consider the following examples. Even more fundamental than the movement of stars and planets is that all matter in the universe is governed by laws.
The earliest known non-Biblical reference to physical laws was made by Pythagoras, who believed that the universe could be explained by numbers. Two thousand years later, Galileo, Kepler, and Newton finally proved that matter is governed by rational laws.
The earliest Biblical reference to natural law is contained in the book of Job. About 1600 B.C.E., God asked Job: “Have you come to know the statutes [or, laws] of the heavens?” (Job 38:33) Recorded in the seventh century B.C.E., the book of Jeremiah refers to God as the Creator of “the statutes of the moon and the stars” and “the statutes of heaven and earth.” (Jeremiah 31:35; 33:25) In view of these statements, Bible commentator G. Rawlinson observed: “The general prevalence of law in the material world is quite as strongly asserted by the sacred writers as by modern science.”
So, if we use Pythagoras as a point of reference, the statement in Job was about a thousand years ahead of its time. Keep in mind that the Bible’s objective is not simply to reveal physical facts but primarily to impress upon us that God is the Creator of all things—the one who can create physical laws (Job 38:4, 12; 42:1, 2).
Another example we can consider is that the earth’s waters undergo a cyclic motion called the water cycle, or the hydrologic cycle. Put simply, water evaporates from the sea, forms clouds, precipitates onto the land, and eventually returns to the sea.
The oldest surviving non-Biblical references to this cycle are from the fourth century B.C.E.
However, Biblical statements predate that by hundreds of years. For example, in the 11th century B.C.E., King Solomon of Israel wrote: “All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full. To the place from which the rivers come, to there and from there they return again.” (Ecclesiastes 1:7, The Amplified Bible.) Likewise, about 800 B.C.E. the prophet Amos, a humble shepherd and farmworker, wrote that God is “the One calling for the waters of the sea, that he may pour them out upon the surface of the earth” (Amos 5:8). So, without using technical language, both Solomon and Amos accurately described the water cycle, each from a slightly different perspective.
The Bible also speaks of God as “hanging the earth upon nothing,” or he “suspends earth in the void,” according to The New English Bible (Job 26:7). In view of the knowledge available in 1600 B.C.E., roughly when those words were spoken, it would have taken a remarkable man to assert that a solid object can remain suspended in space without any physical support. We are to remember that Aristotle himself rejected the concept of a void, and he lived over 1,200 years later!
Now, passing on the blood subject, we have to understand what Bible really says about it. Some forum member think the Bible teaches blood has a ..., a more different status respect to other body's organs. But, are they sure that this is what the Bible really teaches on blood?
To answer this question we have to compare two Genesis passages with the same formal conceptual structure. "And the Lord God gave the man orders, saying, You may freely take of the fruit of every tree of the garden. But of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you may not take; for on the day when you take of it, death will certainly come to you.'" (Genesis 2:16, 17, Bible in Basic English). "And God [...] said to them: 'Every creeping thing which is alive shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green plant. But you shall not eat flesh in its life, its blood'" (Genesis 9:1, 3, 4, Literal Translation of the Holy Bible).
We all are able to extrapolate from these passages the same inner conceptual structure:
God establishes what is – inside an ensamble of obiects (in a mathematical acceptation) - to be excluded for the human personal use. Leviticus 17:11, 12 says (bold is added): "For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh atonement by reason of the life" (American Standard Version).
The sacredness which God vests the personal-use-excluded object doesn't imply an innate difference between this object and the other same ensemble's objects. The difference is acquired, not innate.
So, in no point the Bible sustains the idea that some fruits of the Eden's tree of the knowledge of good and evil had a innate power to give death to men if they were eaten (like as a venomous mushroom); or that they were envelopped in a deadly aura. In the same manner, the Bible doesn't teach that blood had a similar mystic power innate in it.
God is who vests to this objects a symbolic meanings. Regarding blood, a Bible commentary states: "God, as the sovereign author and proprietor of nature, reserved the blood to Himself and allowed men only one use of it - in the way of sacrifices" (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown). As regards blood, God did choose – among a lot of human body's vital organs, first of them, the brain – a liquid (and life's representative) organ. The best choice was just blood.
It is one of the body'svital organs. It is a liquid organ to be poured (on the altar's base, on the ground) for atonement purposes. It is visually representative of life that wastes away (expecially when a person are losing it).
Another Bible passage can help us to confirm the fact that is God who lends to some objects the status of sacredness; status these objects don't possess before God bestowal: Leviticus 5:2-11.
In the cases mentioned in this passage, the Israelite individual had sinned in some manner. He was to confess his sin and present a guilt offering. Now, depending on the one's means, the offer did can consist of (from the high priced to the lower): "a female lamb or a female kid of a goats (verses 5, 6); "two turtledoves or two young pigeons" (verse 7); or, "the tenth of an ephah of fine flour" (verse 11).
So, for the very poor, God chose to make an exeption and allow a sin offering without blood (compare Leviticus 17:11). In Israel, poverty denied no one the blessing of atonement or the privilege of making peace with God.
This fact proves beyond doubts that blood had no mystic power innate in it, otherwise if the Israelite ones had offered that bloodless offering, he wouldn't have received the sin forgiveness. What makes difference is how God decides to considerate an object.
So, like a touchstone, an abuse of these sacred objects (the fruits of the Eden's tree of the knowledge of good and evil, in one instance; or blood, in another) reveals the person's real attitude toward the laws of God and toward his legitimacy to set what is wrong and what is right, for mankind.