Why do people try to make scripture talk science?

It was written to the original audience; it was written for everyone.

That has very little to do with a worldview. Worldviews revolve far more around concepts such as how to communicate truth, what the cosmos is like, what makes something trustworthy. In the modern worldview in the West, those can be roughly answered as “objective reporting”, “astronomy”, and “correct data” – but in the ancient word those weren’t even in consideration. In the ancient near east the answers were more like, “the right story forms”, “what we all see with our eyes”, and “who it came from”. Objective reporting would have been a totally alien idea, astronomy would be amusing, and correct data would have been a baffling concept. And when we force our criteria on these things onto ancient literature, we miss the message.

Which believers? Those who think that what the text looks like in English is what it really is make up a definite minority; most Christians grasp that the opening of Genesis was not meant literally and that none of scripture is meant to talk science.

“Unseen”? Well, I suppose we can’t see Moses, or Solomon, or Baruch, or the scribes who wrote down what Isaiah and others said, but that’s the only reason they are unseen.

Now if by “author” you mean God, well, that’s not biblical except for the places where it says “Thus says the LORD” or a similar phrase. Claiming God as the author of the whole thing cannot be supported from the scriptures themselves.

You think God say Moses and the rest down and explained who we would be, and gave them lessons in modern English concepts of the universe, so that somehow they could fashion their writings more for us than for the actual audiences? God of course knew that we would eventually read it, but He expect us to do our homework and not lazily assume we know things we haven’t bothered to study.

God revealed His truth in the text. In order to understand it we have to let the text be what it is and not spin it into something it isn’t – and what it is is ancient literature written to ancient people and since God is not a God of confusion it is in forms they would understand.

This is called being wise in your own eyes: the words only have meaning in the context in which they were spoken or written. To think you can understand words without knowing their context is sheer arrogance.

Reading it in English without understanding what you say you don’t need throws away the vast majority of the message and replaces it with uneducated musings that have no connection with what the text was intended by the writer the Holy spirit chose and prepared to communicate.

But ignoring the original external context makes it less than human literature, it treats it like a children’s story book you can make mean whatever you wish. The scriptures are more than human literature, but they are never less than that.’

Pretending has nothing to do with it. The original writer didn’t have that knowledge that we (think) we have, so in the text it doesn’t exist. It’s not a magic code book talking about things the writer didn’t even know about – that would require altering the mind of the writer, which is what demons do, not God.

Changing the subject is dishonest and disrespectful.

Because it’s not that kind of literature. The kind of literature you’re trying to make it be didn’t even exist back then.

Those are all in the Gilgamesh Epic as well, but it isn’t about those things either.

Only very incidentally – they are items in stories told in very specific ways to communicate theological truths to ancient people in ways they would recognize. It is not about those things any more than When You Wish Upon A Star is about astronomy or Somewhere Over the Rainbow is about weather.

You left out the oldest meaning:

empty, trackless waste

BTW, you can cut and paste Hebrew from BDB in most online versions – just be careful if copying multiple words because there can be code embedded that makes things get weird.

Yes – the ones that are built into the literary types used.

Unneeded because I understand what the original literary types that the writer chosen by the Holy Spirit used and how those convey meaning.

Then you should endeavor to learn what the scripture actually says instead of assuming you can do that without doing the homework.

Actually you read what you think the words are because you ignore their context.

Not if you’re reading in English, and not even if you’re reading the original unless you know how people back then communicated. But very little actually qualifies as myth, though there’s a lot of mythologized history, e.g. the Tower story in Genesis 11 – that’s a fascinating one because all the ‘mundane’ details in it are correct as history, but it took the inspired writer to make it talk theology. And BTW, there’s very little actual history in the scriptures, but there’s gobs of theologized history.

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Matter and energy; then their absence.

To people in the ancient near east, those were secondary or peripheral at best; reality back then was gods and spirit(s). Unreality would be mere matter and energy.


science is not a worldview but a method to investigate the regularities of nature.

many of us think they just put them under the tap to fill them or just put any old water into them :slight_smile: unaware of the jewish hygiene fetish and hoe those sacred vessels had to be filled and how they had to be protected from fouling.

The fake reality is the truth as apparent to the wedding guests who are told that the groom must be filthy rich when he can afford to waste the good wine on drunken guests. to hold the fine wine more valuable than the ceremonial water is a sign of a materialistic value scale.

yet it appears that the God as I understand him makes you feel rather uncomfortable because I read the scriptures without adding wishful thinking of a God that bends his own rules to impress people.

tell me why it would make one feel “superior” and why God would not call a baby born of rape his son. Jesus clearly identified himself with the lowest of the low when he said that what you do to them you do to me.

looks like you have the guts to say so, not the kidneys :slight_smile:

but then the clearly wrote this because they did not know science and that it cam from your heart

Merely the assumption that there are “regularities of nature” is a major worldview aspect.

It isn’t likely that any of the guests noticed; one of my Greek professors rendered the term there as “well sloshed”, beyond noticing what quality of wine they were drinking. That’s why the steward was so shocked: there was fine wine available yet it had been – as far as he knew – saved until a point when the guests wouldn’t even notice.

Again, there was no ceremonial water, there was just water that turned to wine. Why would the steward tell the bridegroom that it was wine if it was just water? And as sloshed as the guests were, some at least would have noticed they were being given water and gotten angry.

If you think there’s any materialism involved, you haven’t got a clue what the incident is about! The “values scale” involved is compassion and generosity: there was a need, and Jesus more than met it.

Note that John calls this a “sign”. That means it points to just who Jesus is. Handing out ceremonial water as though it was wine would have indicated that He was a jerk and a buffoon – but changing water to wine pointed to Him as the One Who turns water to wine every year using sunshine and grape vines and fermentation.

You really need to actually study the culture at the time so you stop making these warped assertions based not on the scriptures at all but on your own worldview and wishes.

No, I object to anyone who imposes his own worldview onto ancient literature, twisting it and changing the meaning.

No, you read the scriptures by pretending they’re written in a code that only certain people can understand, ripping them out of their external context by totally ignoring the culture and the literary type involved.

As for rules, if you think God was bending anything you fail to understand the story. This was God doing what He always does, except in this instance He accelerated the process and seemingly skipped some steps. Not having it be real wine would have been violating God’s rules, the ones that count (the “deep magic”) – compassion and generosity.

Oh – who was God supposedly impressing? some servants? No one else had any idea that anything unusual had happened.

Because it’s based on having special knowledge not available to others.

Because that baby wouldn’t be His Son! The scriptures use the term μονογενής (mono-geh-NACE) to describe Jesus; it’s traditionally translated “only-begotten”, but its use in the Septuagint shows that “uniquely begotten” is more accurate. Its use in the New Testament shows it indicates an “only child” – not the first, but the only, and not by adoption but by actual conception and birth.

The amount of scripture that you ignore in order to sustain your pet ideas here is astounding, but I’ll just remind you of one:

Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.
. . . .
Καὶ ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο . . . .

In the beginning was the Logos . . . and the Logos was God.
and the Logos became flesh.

God became flesh. This is the “second Yahweh” of second-Temple Judaism, except now instead of taking on the form of a human He actually became human.

Which would be meaningless unless He was actually the highest of the high – a claim that what someone does to one of the “low people” is doing it to another of the “low people” wouldn’t have meant anything, it would have been regarded as just another “low person” getting above himself. The importance was that Jesus was highest of the high and yet He identified with the low.

You’re advocating a heresy known as Adoptionism, though that flows from a Gnostic approach to the scriptures. If what you write is true, then we have no Redeemer, which is why it was condemned as a heresy long ago: it proposes not the Jesus of the Gospels (and all the prophecies) but a different Jesus. That’s an issue Paul had some things to say about.

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The creation account in Genesis is an idiomatic story. The YEC crowd wants to apply the idiom literally due to their obsession with the ‘literal truth’ of the Bible and their imagination for the supernatural. It is a feature of personality, mental aptitude, indoctrination and experience that makes up someone’s ‘worldview’.

I was reminded this morning of why a lot of YEC types expect Genesis to be literal: in English, it reads like prose, which invokes the idea of a newspaper article (though they may not recognize this in that way), and people expect newspaper articles to be objective, accurate, and linear. So while YEC from the “top down” grew from scientific materialism, from the bottom it was appealing because it fit people’s reaction of treating Genesis as a newspaper report.

I don’t know how to break people out of that except to intervene when someone hits the very common crisis of faith; I know refuting the error and probably make a hash of helping people see the problem.

YECists here talk about worldview but I haven’t seen any recognition of what a real worldview gap is; they are all so firmly in scientific materialism they don’t recognize that they are using definitions of truth that do not come from the scriptures. The real worldview issue is that the Genesis writer(s) had no concept of science and wouldn’t have cared if they had had one; their approach to conveying truth was so different as to be alien.

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you clearly don’t. You are offended by Jesus being born as a bastard as you believe a bastard to remain a bastard. you can’t fathom that God can change that reality. You want a God that makes fine wine as you find that more valuable than actually making people realise that the water of ritual cleansing is the finest wine you can ever get as it symbolises repentance. It cleanses you to make yourself presentable to God. You clearly think that the fine wine would do a better job for you :slight_smile:

he is truly begotten as it was the love of the mother that allowed this child to live as God incarnate. And that is why Mary deserves our admiration for what the word of God invoked in her, and can do in all of us.

Sorry, but comprehension or understanding of the word is available to al of us. People might deny the truth because it is inconvenient to them as it does not comply with their wishful thinking of a God that does magic instead of logic, but it looks like I am not the only one having figured out that the story of Jesus describes how the word of God breaks the powers of hate and oppression by people following his word.
your claim to my “superior knowledge” - an insight I gained admittingly whilst recovering from a serious head injury made me actually think that I could not be the only one realising what a virgin birth was about and why magic impregnation was not a recognised common excuse amongst primitive goat herders in those ancient times, clearly clueless about conception and ready to believe anything. And low and behold, I found that others had be there way before me, but its dangerous proposing logic instead of magic, as it can make people set your car on fire

And with regards to “superior knowledge”

It’s exactly the point, he did not brag about it. Imagine you were one of his “disciples to be”, present at the wedding and sampling the drink served following the comments of the master of ceremony. Would you follow a messiah that accelerated the process of winemaking by making instant wine and allow the master to make a false statement about the grooms reason not to serve inferior wine because he still had better wine in store - or would you be impressed by the elegance of the solution how Jesus handled the situation serving the most pristine water and cornered the master of ceremony to allow this water to be served with the praise for not having served inferior wine to pretend being rich when they knew he actually had run out of wine?

No, I am “offended” that you put your personal preferences above scripture and thus end up repeating ancient heresy.

There is nothing in that passage that suggests anything about being “presentable to God”. It’s about a wedding, guests getting “well sloshed”, the wine running out, and Jesus showing compassion by making some on the spot. Nor is there anything about “water of ritual cleansing”, there’s just plain water that gets transformed to wine – and not just any wine but really, really good wine. It isn’t about materialism, it’s about joy.

A bastard would not be God incarnate, nor would the mother be a virgin.

Rubbish – they knew about conception, that’s why they recognized a miracle.

Two falsehoods; you really love rewriting the text instead of reading it! Jesus handled the situation by making wine, which was what was needed, and He never even talked with the steward (master of ceremony).

You’re not reading the scripture, you’re using it as an excuse to make up your own story, and by doing so falling into heresy.

The only acceptable response to someone who insists on remaining in heresy after being corrected is to rebuke in the Name of Jesus and metaphorically shake the dust off my feet. Consider it done.

you are obviously well connected to the cultural context :slight_smile: what would you find more embarrassing if you were in charge of teaching your listeners a lesson with the story you are about to tell, that the host does not have enough wine or that those that are here to celebrate with the host to ask for the blessing of their marriage want more wine. Would you teach that God is the source of material prosperity and makes sure you never run out of wine with his magic powers and that you are in charge of the physics department - or would you teach them that the water that you gave them to cleanse themselves of their physical and metaphysical blemishes is the most valuable drink they have to their disposal and that you are in charge of the metaphysics department. :slight_smile:

sure you would know :slight_smile: If you see that as heresy to your God your God is seriously limited in his omnipotence. He can do magic, but he can’t change your bastard mentality.
The prophecy said that a virgin would become pregnant, not that a pregnant mother was a virgin. It is the wishfull thinking of the readers who read into the text that she still was a virgin after having fallen pregnant.

That’s why they had a law to kill the mother if she was pregnant but not married. How often would you think that excuse was used and how would they have tested it and how would you test it today?

Clearly you “corrected” me :slight_smile: so often. Tell me why it is so offensive to you to think of God to come into this world as a bastard - and why you would no think that to turn the water of ritual cleansing into wine would defile it and the vessels used for it.
My understanding of the bible is that it teaches us how with God we can overcome evil and what is important in life is not the wine and the parties but the cleansing, e.g. repentance. It tells me that I, like Mary, can turn an act of hate and oppression into a beacon of love and hope by living Gods word, and therefore create miracles in his name.
Good luck with the dusting


That’s my assessment as well. It is entirely understandable why people in the modern world would adopt such a position. We all come to the table with a set of biases, so none of us are immune.

The three points that I think could help:

  1. There are many, many Christians who do not use a literal interpretation.
  2. It isn’t a salvation issue.
  3. We are all fallible, so if we sense an error in the Bible it could be our error as interpreters.

The Scientific Creationism movement kind of laid it bare. As much as they protested about trusting science over the Bible, they themselves felt it necessary to make a scientific argument for YEC. If they believed that the Bible trumps science, then why the need for a scientific argument?

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A canonical reading must take those under advisement, but it is not totally bound by such limitations.

I’ve asked that, and they just return to the notion that the Bible has to be scientifically correct.

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If by “canonical reading” you mean on that conforms to the (Nicene) Creed and the half-dozen Ecumenical Councils, I haven’t noticed and divergence, though admittedly I haven’t gone looking.

Wild, isn’t it? One moment they are saying that science is an evil atheistic worldview, and the next moment they are trying to claim that science supports a young Earth, separately created kinds, and a recent global flood. It makes one wonder if they think YEC is an evil atheistic worldview.

I have also seen YEC’s claim that they don’t trust scientists. When asked why they accept YEC, they claim that Dr. So-and-so says it is scientific, and they trust Dr. So-and-so because he is a scientist. They also claim that they don’t trust science because it is changing all of the time. When asked what would make them trust science more and they will tell you that they would trust science more if it changed its mind about evolution.


I mean that scripture is more than the sum of its parts and the historical critical method has limitations.

Take typology for example. If we just read the Old Testament in its historical context we don’t find much Jesus. When we read the NT works critically we see they are reading Jesus into the OT.

But if we read it all as a full canon inspired by God it makes perfect sense to say the OT and Jewish history prefigures and foreshadows Jesus. Because God worked it out this way and inspired this double meaning that only becomes clear when we have the whole of scripture and hindsight. Atomizing scripture can in some cases distort its meaning.

So there are places where the “original historical context” argument fails even within scripture. The NT authors had no concern for it at times. Then there is the Holy Spirit and Church teaching to add into the interpretive mix. Historical context is only one part.

No argument from me there! From my experience with HCM it can be used to make scripture into truly bizarre things, utterly apart from reality.

But we do find a suffering Messiah, a divine Messiah, a prophet Messiah, a king Messiah, a priest Messiah, which BTW is where the idea of multiple Messiahs arose: putting all those together doesn’t work, at least without the missing piece provided by the Incarnation.

In places, yes, but they weren’t doing anything different than could be found in second-Temple Judaism.

This is one problem I have with a fair number of NT scholars: they treat the NT as though it appeared from nowhere with no cultural context (if I’d taken notes I could provide some hilarious examples from Bart Ehrman, for one).

A Lutheran pastor/priest I knew who had a doctorate in liturgical studies once commented that there are too many pericopes that chop units of thought into pieces, which I would guess fits the idea of “atomizing scripture”.

I’m not so sure. The more I work at seeing things in their original context, the more I see how it all points to Jesus. Some of that is due to the emergence of enduring themes such as Yahweh’s warfare against the Nephilim & Co.

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They believe that ‘true’ science (i.e. - science that isn’t beholden to an evolutionary outlook - which is how they would define ‘true’ science) - will always confirm what the Bible teaches (according to them). So that’s how they would resolve your dilemma. I’m not defending all the logic involved. Just being a messenger.


That is indeed the case.

“No apparent, perceived, or claimed evidence in any field of study, including science, history, and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture obtained by historical-grammatical interpretation.”–Answers in Genesis

Those same creationists seem to project this dogmatic approach onto scientists, which is interesting.


Projection comes with ideology.