Re: Grapenuts, anyone?

Massie (mrlab@ix.netcom.com)
Mon, 15 Feb 1999 19:47:55 -0800

PHSEELY@aol.com wrote:
>
> Moorad wrote to Howard,
>
> << You make the basic assumption that in the past there was no privileged
> knowledge. That is, the existing knowledge of a given writer must invariably
> indicate the level of knowledge of his culture. What are we to make of the
> term reveled truths? Is it meaningless? Can it be that someone right now
> knows something that surpasses all the knowledge that we have in our
> scientific texts? >>
>
> My studies of Scripture have uncovered a number of places where the history
> and science mentioned in Scripture reflects the ordinary opinion of the
> writer's day. On the other hand, I have never seen a reference to history or
> science which transcends the ordinary opinion of the writer's day. On this
> empirical ground as well as the way I understand that God has delegated the
> discovery of natural knowledge to mankind (Gen 1:28; 2:19, 20), it is my
> conclusion that natural truths are not revealed by God. Hence I see a sound
> basis for Howard's assumption that in the past there was no privileged
> knowledge, i.e., natural knowledge.
>
> Theological truths, on the other hand, are the proper subjects of revelation,
> but are revealed in terms of the natural knowledge of the day.
>
> Paul Seely

This is not exactly true. Of what are we to make of the statement "In
the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth." Certainly this is
a theological statement as Jehova has revealed and claimed to be the
Creator. We could stop at that, recognize its theological significance,
and leave the rest to the observations of nature by the cosmologists.

However, there is a great deal of natural history (not scientific theory
like gravity, or quantum mechanics) in this statement. Further, it is
an atypical observation for its time and not one that could in any
analysis be based on then current observations or scientific thinking.
As we can all recognize, there was no "science" or even a belief in
cause and effect in the days of tent-dwelling nomads.

BUT, it did get the cosmology right, or at least in tune with todays
theories. That is:

There was a beginning.

The universe was created (read that science cannot see beyond the "Big
Bang" event) and therefore, something that is not scientifically
determinable happened.

The heavens (and then) the earth were created.

Not even close to any other concurrent description. A natural history
revealed but not a description of any natural laws.

Wow. Thats a lot of cosmology for a shepard and in stark and dramatic
contrast to the typical anthropormorpic myths of the day or cyclic
universe of some regions.

And you say the ancient scriptors don't give scientific history?

What is missing is a detailed decription in modern terms. Can't be done
in the argot of the day but the Hebrew for all the translational
difficulties does within a broad brush framework get it right.

Bert Massie