But what is the degree of accuracy? Just in playing Telegraph or Telestrations (kind of like Pictionary Telegraph) at a party, there is a dramatic shift in meaning as one passes on a story or even a drawing, despite one’s best efforts. That was the reason the caliph Usman, I think it was, destroyed many copies of the Qur’an…there were so many versions he wanted to choose just one. Thanks…
and then there is this:
Yes, the Qur’an was supposedly dictated by the angel Gabriel to Mohamed. So it wouldn’t do to have several versions, would it? Clearly, this book was superior to the Bible!
Likewise, the Book of Mormon was supposedly written on golden plates in “reformed Egyptian” (don’t even ask) and buried in New York State in ancient times. Joseph Smith dug up the plates and translated them by using a “peep stone.” When he was done with the translation, God took the plates into heaven. Clearly a superior book to the Bible!
So I’m thankful that those who compiled and redacted our Jewish and Christian Scriptures left the conflicting, weird, and difficult passages in place. It’s very untidy, but it’s almost as if they wanted us to think.
Hi Randy…I did read this a couple days ago. I have read some of the various positions people are taking regarding the historicity of some of these early events — that is, for the moment at least, the Genesis 1–11 section. Lamoreux is someone I have read before, as well as rebuttals to his views by Walton and Collins. They disagree on details but not on everything he says, BTW.
I am not trying to ruffle too many feathers (well, OK, seems impossible given the subject). I am trying to “figure some things out.”
I do read a fair amount, but I can only take what seems to make sense to me from my own (I suppose) perspective.
If Jesus “chose not to know more than those around him” — this would be somewhat different to the idea of Jesus (who is God) :“condescending” to assume the form of His created human beings. If He did not know more than those around Him, then how was He able to tell Nathanael that when he (Nathanael) was underneath a fig tree, He (Jesus) saw him (Nathanael)? Evidently this would be a telling detail and meant to tell Nathanael something more about Jesus than what Nathanael has thought up till then?
Jesus at age 12 may have just been a smart-alecky kid when He told His parents that they should have known that He would be in His Father’s house. But the statement alone was a statement of divinity. Did smark-alecky kids in the first-century A.D. in rural Galilee routinely make such comments? One writer said the only reason Jesus did not get convicted of blasphemy right then and there — was because he was not yet of age.
There are other examples. The issue of “how God became man” and what He knew and did not know — is a tough one and has probably been debated forever — or, at least, since about 33 A.D. To me, it makes “sense” that He as God “condescended” to become one of His creation — because we needed help and only He could help us.
Jesus did, at times, seem to believe that He knew more than those around Him…and He forgave sins, which everyone of that era knew only God can do. We know it now too. He knew what Peter would do — and how many times the cock would crow, and He told Peter how He was praying for him. He also knew Peter would die by crucifixion one day.
I do know that the man who is said to have initially developed the idea of a Rapture event was excommunicated from his church (Anglican, I believe) for suggesting that — since Jesus was tempted just like us, He also had a sin nature. It is a tricky subject, as I said before, and I think we can go too far with it.
As for the many issues of Genesis 1 — 11…I do not suppose those chapters talk of recent events, and they talk about them very “vaguely,” at least from the perspective that we have on the issues involved. As long as there is/was a mitochondrial Eve/Y-DNA Adam there still seems to be something to the story …even if they lived 120,000 years (+/-) ago and maybe were not the only humans on the planet… I do not know how “much” of “something” there is to the story …but we know that all women have some piece of mitochondrial DNA that comes from — you get the point, I am sure.
As for all the various other things — there is a long history of flooding in the Mesopotamian region, and the possibility that there was some great flood that was a dividing line in regional history has been mentioned by a number of others, not just theologians but by historians of that region. Enns also goes along with the idea of a flood (to an extent). It does not have to have involved the entire globe.
Well, that is enough, I think. I am sure that this site evolved into more than the original post-er expected — if he or she is still paying attention. And he is right in that many or some used evolution in a way that is not “neutral” but just justifies there skepticism. That IS a bit removed from where we are here.
OK…have a great day,
It’s a long subject, Randy…those who specialize in various cultures note that people can, if they want, pass down accurately the things they desire. Some cultures even demanded word-for-word accuracy with oral presentations — under penalty of death—and others were more lenient in oral recitations because the listeners already knew the true story. You have to look at the culture. Being able to recite the Quran accurately from memory was a requirement — a long time ago — for admittance to a particular mosque in Cairo. And there were citations — a century back — about Brahmins who had memorized the Vedas and could recite on cue when required…They must have done nothing else in their day than refresh their memories! Or maybe they were just that good.
I think the citation I gave from the Yamauchi article should suffice for the moment.
As to the genealogies in Mt and Luke, which someone else noted ---- those have been hashed over forever. I think others have spoken well on them. Inasmuch as the earliest parts of those genealogies are not in question — and the further back in time, the more chance for forgetfulness — it seems there is more to the subject here than whether someone misremembered a couple generations in one version or the other – so it might be as well to point out that the distinctions in them came from the purposes of the gospel writers and not (probably) faulty memories.
At this point, the genealogies — Abraham to Jesus, at least — cover about the same period of time as that which extends from Jesus’ day to ours — and we are still quibbling over them without (I presume) accusing subsequent copyists of error. Another subject altogether!!
The Iliad was memorized by ancient storytellers and was faithfully passed on for many generations. If I said today that a person’s vanity was their Achilles heel, no one would think that I was implying that Achilles was a real historical person. Even in modern times we use mythical figures as metaphors.
Different topic, T.
The question about the Fall is not the question of the historicity of Adam and Eve, but the historicity of the story in the Bible about a talking, walking serpent, and trees that bear strange fruit, the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and Life.
While Adam and Eve could well be true, there must have been a first pair of humans, although how one would determine this is problematic and why the first male human would be called Mankind in Hebrew, theses aspects of the story clearly suggest that the narration is not historical as people define it today.
Of course just because it does not meet our standards does not mean it did not happen, but that God presented it so we would understand what happened and why, which are much more important than the bare facts.
Interesting post, Roger… I thought we were discussing geneaologies and how-people-can-pass-things-down by oral tradition, etc.
Guess that subject went by the wayside. The “talking walking serpent” issue gets tossed about quite a bit. Am reading a book whose author believes the serpent was really a divine being in the sense of a created being. Everyone has a thought. There was a Mitochondrial Eve and a man from whom you — being of the male persuasion – get part of your DNA. The reality may have been more complex than the story seems to portray. I will agree with you there. The Bible discusses a number of otherwise-historical (known to be historical) events from a perspective that is more oriented toward the theological — so, as you said, it could be true in this case too.
Oh, one of my favorite concepts. It’s bounded set thinking versus centered set thinking and it comes from the missiology work of Paul Hiebert, expanded by Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost.
Thanks for that, Christy. And I must have picked up the idea from you talking about it here since I don’t recall ever having read that document before. But bounded set and centered set are definitely the terms I was trying to remember.