Inerrancy of scripture and evolution

(Christy Hemphill) #21

Yeah, it really strains credibility to think that powerful men might have been into weird sex for their own kinky reasons. That has never before happened in the history of mankind.


In the story, Sarah knows that she is no longer fertile, and so she finds the idea of getting pregnant hilarious.

9 Then they [visitors] asked him [Abraham] , “Where is Sarah your wife?” He replied, “There, in the tent.” 10 One of them said, “I will surely return to you when the season comes round again, and your wife Sarah will have a son!” (Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, not far behind him. 11 Abraham and Sarah were old and advancing in years; Sarah had long since passed menopause.) 12 So Sarah laughed to herself, thinking, “After I am worn out will I have pleasure, especially when my husband is old too?”

(Christy Hemphill) #23

I had an OT prof who said this whole “will I have pleasure” thing was a euphemism for “my husband is impotent”

(George Brooks) #24


I find that a credible interpretation! [ Gen 18:12 ]

What a peculiar breed Abraham and Sarah must represent … It is no doubt easier to suffer childlessness when both members of the couple are just so darn good looking…

(Evan) #25

If I’m reading Joshua 19:1-9 right, Simeon received cities in the inheritance of Judah, but the inheritance still belonged to Judah. Judah shared their inheritance with Simeon because it “was too large for them” (Josh 19:9). Simeon never received any land of their own, just like the Levites. In Genesis 49:7 Jacob prophesied that both Levi and Simeon would be divided among Jacob and scattered across Israel. I take this to mean that Simeon started out in Judah, but over time they were scattered and eventually ended up residing in the north. The exact reason for this I cannot say, but later references to ten northern tribes make it clear the Simeon was in the north by the time of the Division of the Kingdom. Since that occurred hundreds of years after the initial division of the land, there is plenty of time for Simeon to make the move north. Maybe they had a beef with Rehoboam and liked Jeroboam better (Which, considering the other tribes’ reaction to Rehoboam’s “scorpion speech” in 1Ki 12, is quite likely).

Your accusations that I am making stuff up is hardly what I would call gracious dialogue.

I never said that Egypt never existed or that the Flood occurred during Egyptian history. I would date the beginning of the Egyptian civilization after the Flood, when it was most likely founded by Mizraim, Noah’s grandson. This is done by compressing Egyptian history by overlapping some of the earlier dynasties. Some Egyptologists (David Rohl, for example, though I don’t agree with his dates) have already made some progress in this area.

I am saddened by this statement :cry:


Deuteronomy 34:7 hints that at age 120 Moses was still hot in the cot.

(George Brooks) #27


Don’t you think you should provide the text when you are providing a novel interpretation?

Joshua 19:1 says:

“And the second lot came forth to Simeon, even for the tribe of the children of Simeon according to their families: and their inheritance was within the inheritance of the children of Judah.”

You say Simeon received no inheritance, but Joshua still describes their lot as an inheritance, even though it was “within” the inheritance for Judah.

So I would say you are not reading Joshua correctly. Furthermore, just in case someone didn’t get the first time, Joshua 19:9 repeats the point:

“Out of the portion of the children of Judah was the inheritance of the children of Simeon: for the part of the children of Judah was too much for them: therefore the children of Simeon had their inheritance within the inheritance of them.”

As for verse Gen 49:7, we have

“Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.”

As used by Israel, pronouncing his curses, Jacob and Israel are synonyms. So Levi and Simeon receive equal curses. They will be scattered in Israel. I’m not sure this helps you in the long run.

Sure, you can Simeon was scattered into the Northern Kingdom. But when? If Simeon and Levi share the same fate, then we must conclude that Simeon, like Levi, survives in Judah, right? That actually makes a little bit of sense… since Simeon’s inheritance is within Judah, and after the Assyrian conquest of the northern Kingdom, Levites survive only in Judah.

So why does the bible refer to the Ten Tribes of Israel? It’s really the Eight Tribes of Israel, right? And yet, despite the promise of the curse, King David locks up the 10 maidens of the northern Kingdom - - not 8 of them. The timeline of Simeon is still pretty much utter confusion.

Then you write this bit about Egyptian history: " I would date the beginning of the Egyptian civilization after the Flood, when it was most likely founded by Mizraim, Noah’s grandson. This is done by compressing Egyptian history by overlapping some of the earlier dynasties."


Frankly, I don’t think you have a prayer in making those timelines work out. We have archaeological history for Egypt that goes way back. For the scheme to work, you have to have the offspring of Noah start Egypt from scratch … which means having the Flood to back to before the first dynasty of Egypt. If you do that, then there isn’t enough time for Noah’s descendants to multiply into an Egyptian multitude.

And if you put the flood any time after the first dynasties have started, then you have double the problem … because you don’t have any time for Noah’s descendants to establish their multitude, and you don’t have any explanation for how newcomers to a flooded Egypt can just start up and continue with Egyptian practices, as if they have lived their lives in the culture.

(Evan) #28

I concede this point.

That’s the KJV, right? When I made my statement I was reading from the ESV, which reads:

"The inheritance of the people of Simeon formed part of the territory of the people of Judah. Because the portion of the people of Judah was too large for them, the people of Simeon obtained an inheritance in the midst of their inheritance.

So at least in this translation, one could be make the claim that Simeon’s inheritance was still considered part of the inheritance of Judah. But again, I will concede your point.

When? I don’t know. The Bible to my knowledge does not say, but as I repeatedly pointed out several hundred years passed between the inheritance of the land and the division of the Kingdom. The Bible does not record every event that happened in that time, so something could have happened that caused Simeon to move to the north, but isn’t recorded in the Bible. The presence of ten northern tribes shows that by the time of the division, Simeon had made the move north, for whatever reason.

The 10 tribes of the north are Reuben, Simeon, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Ephraim, and Manasseh. The 2 tribes of the south are Judah and Benjamin. I don’t know where you get 8 from, since even if Simeon was in the south as you say, you would have 9 northern tribes, not 8.

(George Brooks) #29


Count those tribes again. First of all, the ten tribes of the North includes Joseph… which is made of two half-tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh.

And Levi is the spoiler almost all the time. If you count the 10 tribes, you have to include Joseph, and Levi !!

Because Judah is supposed to only have two: Judah and Benjamin.

(Evan) #30

Ephraim is never referred to as a half-tribe. “Half-tribe” was used when the text is referring to either the eastern or western halves of Manasseh, which were separated by the Jordan, and not the tribe as a whole. If you don’t believe me, look at Joshua 12:5, which refers to “the clans of the tribes of Ephraim, Dan and half tribe of Manasseh.” If both Ephraim and Manasseh are half-tribes, why is Ephraim here referred to as a full tribe? The answer is because the “half-tribe” is only referring to the western half of Manasseh, and not the eastern half. Levi is not counted in the 12 because they had no land and were dispersed among all tribes.

I did a bit of digging and came across this short paper by Leon J. Wood, PhD. “Simeon, The Tenth Tribe of Israel.” He does a much better job arguing this than I do. One passage he argues from is 2 Chronicles 15:9;

“And he [Asa] gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the strangers with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon: fro they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the Lord his God was with him.” (KJV).

Simeon here is listed among the strangers that were coming out of Israel, the northern kingdom to worship at Jerusalem. The fact that are “strangers” implies that they were not inhabitants of the southern kingdom, thus Simeon had to have moved to the north sometime before then. (Wood, pg. 223)

The other passages he argues from is 2 Chronicles 34:6;

“And so did he [Josiah] in the cities of Manasseh, and Ephraim, and Simeon, even unto Naphtali, with their mattocks round about.” (KJV)

Here Josiah is cleansing Judah and Jerusalem of idolatry, and his efforts spread to the north. Simeon is once again listed among northern tribes, and its position in the list suggest it lays somewhere between Ephraim and Naphtali. (Wood, pg. 224)

Cite for paper: Wood, S.J. (1971). Simeon, the tenth tribe of israel. JETS 19: 221-25

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #31

God inspired the Bible, but God did not dictate it, so it is not without error.

The Bible is not the Word of God, since Jesus is the Word (Logos) of God. It is not the Bible that caused the problem, but bad theology about the Bible that caused the problem. The Bible is not divine, so it is not perfect, without error.

(Evan) #32

The phase “Word of God” is used in different ways in different contexts. In some cases it refers to Jesus (John 1:1 is the prominent example), but in other cases it does refer to the written Scriptures (John 17:17, 1Thess. 2:13, Rev. 1:2, among others). All of them use the word logos.

If the Bible can contain errors, does that include theological errors or just historical/scientific errors?

(Chris Falter) #33

Then most of the folks who profess the doctrine of inerrancy, in my experience, do not understand it properly.

(Peaceful Science) #34

That is absolutely correct. Usually there are unaware of the doctrine itself, and of the reasons why it is stated the way we find it. Often, it can become a rhetorical point, where people stake out how much they place high-value on Scripture, all without actually engaging the complexity of the text or the doctrine itself.

There are at least two responses possible:

  1. Accept their caricature of their own position, and argue against “inerrancy” as a flawed concept.
  2. Affirm inerrancy, correctly understood, and help them understand it too.

I have found that option two is ultimately much more sound. It is both rhetorically strong, and also well-grounded. At its core, all it teaches is that God teach us through Scripture, and that God’s teaching does not contain error. More than anything else, it is a statement about God’s character and how it affects our reception of the Bible. There will still be debates about exactly what God teaches us by Scripture, but our starting point is that God is not deceptive, or in error. His teaching is trustworthy.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #35


You miss the point of the Bible. In John 1:1 the Bible uses the Word of God specifically to refer to Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity. That is the only place where the Bible capitalizes Word. Thus Word of God is the Divine Word Jesus. The word of God is God’s Book, the Bible.

Our faith is based on Jesus Christ, the Divine Logos of God, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End of Christianity. I find that a problem occurs when Christians misuse the word of God to take the place of the Logos of God.

Again you are asking the wrong question. The primary question is about Jesus and not the Bible. Jesus came not to teach us about science and history. He came to show us how to live for God and others. The question is about the Word (Logos), not about the words (logoi.)

(Ray Bailey) #36

Scriptural Inerrancy only applies to Special Revelation, and was never intended to apply to the descriptive passages of General Revelation as stated in the Bible.

Inerrancy in the “original manuscripts” (as it so often is stated) is a true statement, but lacks the definition needed for our current (and past ) ages since then.

My Informed opinion is that most of the conversation so far is missing the real crux of the argument. So far you are all talking about the “symptoms” or “details” of the argument without stating the real issue as it stands concerning Inerrancy!

Inerrancy applies to the Scriptures only within the context of Special Revelation. Outside of the needs of the LOGOS message (Elohim God’s plan purpose and reason for existence) is all contained within General Revelation.

Everything we discussed here is trying to find the line between Special and General Revelations.

To me, this makes clear that Inerrancy of the Scripture applies only to the purpose and plan. John 3:1-21 which includes John 3:16 is the prime definition of the boundary between Special and General Revelation.

The Seen" is General Revelation: The physical world and all it contains (all the discoverables mankind is able to find out through our own efforts. No "miracles: needed.

The “Unseen” is everything outside of General Revelation which includes the Spirit Realm, as well as the revealed plan a purpose of Elohim God.

The Church (as in the entire church including our Catholic roots) has a long history in dealing with this issue already. That is why the Catholics are not involved in the Creation Wars as we are currently. They have already learned (mostly) the boundaries between the two:

  • From the “Jesus Wars” (re Philip Jenkins) over the Trinity

  • The Flat Earth vs Round Earth

  • Geocentric Earth to Heliocentric Earth (Tycho Brahe, Copernicus, and Galileo)

  • (…and more not listed)

After Pope Urban VIII had censured Galileo to life house-arrest (and it was a nice house and Galileo lived comfortably). After Galileo died and and two years before his own death, Pope Urban revised his thoughts. He did not, however, make any change to the church’s official stand—which did not occur until 1992 under Pope Paul II.
[This is a paraphrase of his convoluted and obscure Latin phraseology, often used so they could avoid expressing doubt of their ex cathedra]

“After all, if it can be proven that Nature gives the lie to our interpretation of Scripture, we must change our interpretation. There is Scripture, Nature, and the theology of men. The creation of men cannot be allowed to gainsay the creation of God, after all, and such revisions to the Church’s teaching have happened before and will doubtless happen again.” [emphasis mine]

If we can keep this distinction in mind, that General Revelation, as it changes, has the authority to change our interpretation of the Biblical Text as it applies to the “Seen” things of General Revelation.

With that being said, it then defines the role of Inerrancy of the Scripture to those items that are within the realm of Special Revelation.

Therefore: Interpretation requires us to hold the principles of the division of “Seen” and “Unseen” in General and Special Revelations FIRST, as we discuss the arguments over the Creation text.

Most of the discussion here is battling over the minutia of this problem without ever discussing or defining why we are able to have the argument without violating the Inerrancy of Scripture.

(Ray Bailey) #37

Thanks for the Lusanne post. I point out, given my pontifications above, that the “.…in all it affirms…” is the critical part. We already accept that there are “errors” attributable to the original (and Inspired) writer’s statement of things that concern life as they knew it at that time for which we understand they didn’t know anything different. But we then turn around and still try to apply it to everything else not specifically related to the Inspired Message which comprises the Special Revelation.

(Joshua Hedlund) #38

It’s one thing to argue that certain claims within the text are contradicted by modern archaeology. It’s quite another, IMO, to argue certain claims within the text are obviously just logically ridiculous… Help me out if I’m missing something here… Like, what’s more plausible? That we, dear modern readers, separated by thousands of years and language and cultural context, found a logical hole that the original audience was just too stupid to notice? Or that our “obvious” interpretation of the meaning of that text might just be something different than what theirs was? I’m not saying it couldn’t happen, but for me a lot of arguments about Biblical contradictions don’t seem to pass the “Assume The Original Audience Was Not Stupid” test.

(George Brooks) #39


I would say it is generally impossible to make a dent in your views… and it could be on any topic you have decided upon. Your descriptions seem to do more to confirm that the Biblical timeline is a complete jumble when it comes to the northern tribes.

“Though the biblical descriptions of the geographic boundary of the House of Joseph are fairly consistent, the descriptions of the boundaries between Manasseh and Ephraim are not, and each is portrayed as having exclaves within the territory of the other.[18] Furthermore, in the Blessing of Jacob, and elsewhere ascribed by textual scholars to a similar or earlier time period,[31] Ephraim and Manasseh are treated as a single tribe, with Joseph appearing in their place. From this it is regarded as obvious that originally Ephraim and Manasseh were considered one tribe — that of Joseph.[18] According to several biblical scholars, Benjamin was also originally part of the House of Joseph, but the biblical account of this became lost;[18][29] Benjamin being differentiated by being that part of Ephraim (House of Joseph) which joined the Kingdom of Judah rather than that of Israel.”

[Footnote 18: See Jewish Encyclopedia]

[Footnote 29: Peake’s commentary on the Bible’s_commentary_on_the_Bible ]

[Footnote 31: e.g. Joshua 17:14-18
And the children of Joseph spake unto Joshua, saying, Why hast thou given me but one lot and one portion to inherit, seeing I am a great people, forasmuch as the LORD hath blessed me hitherto?
And Joshua answered them, If thou be a great people, then get thee up to the wood country, and cut down for thyself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the giants, if mount Ephraim be too narrow for thee.
And the children of Joseph said, The hill is not enough for us: and all the Canaanites that dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron, both they who are of Bethshean and her towns, and they who are of the valley of Jezreel.
And Joshua spake unto the house of Joseph, even to Ephraim and to Manasseh, saying, Thou art a great people, and hast great power: thou shalt not have one lot only:
But the mountain shall be thine; for it is a wood, and thou shalt cut it down: and the outgoings of it shall be thine: for thou shalt drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots, and though they be strong.

(Evan) #40

@gbrooks9 (and others who want to join in)
Is there any part of the Old Testament that you think is at least somewhat historically accurate? From what I’ve gathered you seem to think that everything from Creation Week up to about the Division of the Kingdom is either non-historical or historically unreliable. What about the era of the Kings of Judah and Israel? Or the Babylonian Exile?