Re: The Wheel of God

From: george murphy (
Date: Mon Aug 06 2001 - 08:26:20 EDT

  • Next message: Moorad Alexanian: "Re: Copernicus was wrong?" wrote:

    > This post concerns the site:
    > George, thank you for your detailed post! Except for its content, its
    > precisely what I had hoped for! (LOL)
    > But seriously folks ....
    > > Richard - Please note that I am posting this to you privately, not to
    > > the asa list in general.
    > I am glad you erred in posting this to the list. You bring up many important
    > issues that should be discussed. I hope you will be willing to continue it
    > out here in the open air.
    > > I am sorry to have to give you what may appear to be a rude
    > > reception to the list, but the
    > > type of argument which you present is very questionable theologically.
    > I see (almost) nothing rude in your reply. It seems to be an honest
    > representation of your point of view, and as such, it is of great value!
    > > Let me just note a few points.
    > > 1. As David Campbell points out in a post to the list, the
    > > numbering of 66 books in traditional protestant Bibles has no
    > > fundamental significance.
    > This must be classified as an >opinion<. I hold a different one, and I think
    > I have many cogent reasons to do so.

            David gave some cogent reasons for his statement.

    > > 2. The reference to the King James Bible on your website
    > > failed to note that the original KJV contained the books of the
    > > Apocrypha in a separate section, in this regard being similar to
    > > Luther's translation. See my earlier post to the list for further
    > > detail on this.
    > Actually, I did not >fail<, rather I >chose< not to note that particular
    > fact along with myriad others. All I said in respect to the KJV was (I
    > quote) "These seven divisions follow the traditional order of the Christian
    > Canon as exemplified in the King James Bible." My primary purpose was to
    > emphasize that I did not invent this structure myself, but that it has been
    > established in one of the most widely published versions of the Bible to be
    > found on the planet. This fact is extremely important when evaluating a
    > claim such as mine. For example, FW Grant, in his "Numerical Bible," loved
    > the number seven so much that he recombined just enough of the books to
    > arrive at the number 63, a multiple of seven. Such activity is patently
    > absurd and devoid of any fundamentally significance. I was merely pointing
    > out that the structure of the Bible, as exemplified in the KJV, is not a new
    > thing, so that any structure discovered in it was not the result of my
    > "fudging the data." With regards to the Apocrypha, there is an on-going
    > debate as to whether it is inspired Scripture. The fact that I ignore it, in
    > concert with millions of Christians, presents no argument what-so-ever
    > against my thesis .

            Yes, the status of the Apocrypha is debated & the fact that you come
    down on one side of that debate doesn't in itself show that you're wrong. But
    ignoring this issue, which is certainly relevant to a claim which depends
    critically on the number of books in the canon, means that a pretty big hole is
    left in your argument.

    > > 3. Accepting the protestant canon for the sake of argument, the
    > > division of it into 7 parts as you do is arbitrary.
    > I did not do it. I merely reported the traditional divisions as presented by
    > numerous scholars over hundreds of years.

    >E.g., there is no

    > > logical or theological reason for separating "major" and "minor"
    > > prophets.
    > > In the Hebrew Bible, e.g., all of those are included with
    > > some of the historical books as "the former and latter prophets."
    > This is simply wrong. The Tanach (pub by JPS) presents the "12 Minor
    > Prophets" as a separate category from the rest. Furthermore, this division
    > is extremely ancient, being sited in the apocryphal book of Sirach (vss.
    > 48:8-10) and confirmed by the esteemed scholar Lee M. McDonald in his "The
    > Formation of the Christian Biblical Canon" (pg 34) where he wrote: "The
    > reference to the Twelve Prophets suggests that by the time of Sirach, the
    > "Minor Prophets" circulated in one scroll."
    > How can you argue against the obvious fact that the structure I present is
    > not arbitrary? It is an objective historical fact that I received. I did not
    > invent it!

            Of course "The Twelve" were grouped together - because, unlike Isaiah,
    Jeremiah, & Ezekiel,
    the books of the individual "minor prophets" weren't long enough to make up a
    single scroll. I didn't challenge the grouping of the 12 together as a single
    book. What I questioned was your separation of "Major Prophets" and "Minor
    Prophets" as two separate groups of books - a separation crucial for your 7-fold
    division of the protestant canon. But there is no basis in content, date of
    composition &c for this separation.
            As I noted, in the Hebrew Bible both groups of prophets are combined
    with Joshua, Judges, I-II Samuel & I-II Kings as "Former and Later Prophets,"
    the 2d part of the Hebrew scriptures with Law and Writings. This division
    probably goes back to at least the 2d century B.C. since it seems to be referred
    to in the prologue of Sirach, & is probably to be understood in Luke 24:44,
    where "the psalms" stands for the whole 3d division (which begins with the Book
    of Psalms). Chapter 2 of F.F. Bruce's The Canon of Scripture is helpful here.
            Note that I am not claiming that this 3-fold division of the OT is
    "inspired" or even that it's more logical than some other divisions. It is
    arbitrary, though convenient for some purposes.
            & that's really the point of my first few objections to your whole
    approach. It's not that your divisions are wrong but just that they are
    arbitrary, though perhaps convenient for some classification purposes. & the
    fact that they have some tradition behind them (not nearly as monolithic a
    tradition as you suggest) doesn't change this.

    > > One could equally well divide the epistles into the Pauline ones
    > addressed
    > > to specific churches or persons and the catholic epistles, or put
    > > Revelation in a separate New Testament category.
    > Yes, one may do whatever one wishes, but one can not then expect others to
    > consider such actions the work of God. This is why I am so adamant in my
    > reiteration that this structure has been >discovered< after the fact, and
    > therefore can not be attributed to the deliberate design of any human.

            The grouping you use is one among many possible groupings. The most
    that can be said to have been "discovered" by you is something about the history
    of biblical study, not something intrinsic to the Bible itself.

    > > 4. The claim that this "proof of the divine origin of the Holy
    > > Bible" is "self-evident" raises immediate suspicion. (Vernon Jenkins
    > > makes similar claims.)
    > Sorry George, this is ad hominem. You should know better.

            I made no personal attack, which is what ad hominem means.

    > >It's a form of argument from intimidation - what
    > > one of my physics profs called the "any fool can see" proof.
    > You have miscategorized my statement. It was not part of any argument, it is
    > simply >my< opinion of the result of my research. Such statements of the
    > author's opinions are typically found on >introductory pages< which is where
    > you found the one that offended you. The actual arguments are found in the
    > work itself!

            It didn't "offend" me. It's just wrong. The only things that are "self
    evident" are tautologies.

    > > But if
    > > this seems too harsh, we could try an empirical approach: How many
    > > people on the asa list, most of whom are Christians with some scientific
    > > training, will accept this "proof" at first glance, as they should if
    > > it's self evident.
    > Nothing is self-evident in the form you suggest. Something must be
    > >apprehended< before anything about it becomes self-evident. My intention
    > was to convey my understanding that when the Wheel is truly apprehended, and
    > it is recognized that the sevenfold structure of the Canon exhibits both
    > radial and bilateral symmetry, with the line of bilateral symmetry dividing
    > between the Aleph and the Tav, and that the Tav in Hebrew means mark, sign,
    > or CROSS, and when all these facts are integrated in the mind enlightened by
    > the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ, - that then the BELIEVER will receive the
    > gift of perception that the Bible is a single, God-breathed geometric unity,
    > and God will be greatly glorified in His Word.
    > > 5. This "proof" has nothing to do with Christ, who is the
    > > center of scripture. You do cite John 20:31 as giving the purpose of
    > > the Bible (which requires a extension, albeit a legitimate one, from the
    > > purpose of the 4th Gospel to that of the whole of scripture), but the
    > > divine character of the Bible is supposedly to be proven quite apart
    > > from any christological considerations.
    > All I can say to this is that you have utterly failed to >apprehend< even
    > the most rudimentary points of my argument. I challenge you to find a single
    > page where any of my arguments lack in Christological reference! Everything
    > about the Wheel points to Christ and His work on the Cross. That's why the
    > whole Bible is structured on the Number 22, which corresponds to Tav,
    > pointing to the Cross. That's why there is a Cross at the center of the
    > Wheel. Read Psalm 22 in light of 22 = Tav = Cross and you will understand a
    > little of the depth of the Mind of God Who has given us His Eternal Word.

            Undoubtedly you had the cross in mind in constructing this argument but
    the mathematical argument itself is independent of it.
            & a less significant point: There is variation in the numbering of the
    psalms. The one counted as 22 in protestant Bibles is 21 in the Septuagint
    because 9 & 10, which originally were a unit, are combined there. (I.e., the
    division into the present 9 & 10 is arbitrary.)
            Of course this doesn't at all change the importance of "Psalm 22" for
    understanding the Passion - but that has nothing to do with the fact that it's
    number 22.

    > > This means that in principle a
    > > person could accept the Bible as wholly inspired, true, authoritative &c
    > > - & then start to try to find out what it's about! That way lie all
    > > sorts of sectarian pitfalls.
    > It means no such thing. I'll explain why in another post if you want to
    > pursue this point.
    > > A person comes to believe that the Bible is a true witness to
    > > God's ultimate revelation in Christ
    > > when he or she has come to believe in Christ through that witness. "If
    > > you will not believe, surely you shall not be established" (Is.7:9).
    > Excellent statement! I could not agree more!
    > > I want to be clear that I am not questioning the quality of your
    > > Christian faith.
    > Nor would I question yours. Thank you for acknowledging this important
    > point.
    > >But I think that the way in which you're trying to
    > > prove the divine origin of scripture is fraught with several kinds of
    > > problems. & it's not necessary. The Holy Spirit will bring people to
    > > faith in Christ by the preaching of Christ, not by questionable
    > > mathematical arguments.
    > Unfortunately, you have missed my main point, even though you quoted it. Let
    > me repeat myself (from my homepage:)
    > The Wheel of God demonstrates that the entire body of Scripture is a
    > geometric unity - a perfect, compact, complete and symmetric structure. It
    > provides immediate, self-evident proof of the divine origin of the Holy
    > Bible, but more significantly, (much more significantly!) it yields endless
    > insight in the mind of God. For this is the true purpose of Scripture, which
    > was given that
    > ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that
    > believing ye might have life through his name. -- John 20.31
    > The fact that the Wheel proves the Bible is of God is an inevitable
    > side-effect of its true purpose, which is simply to >know God<.

            The Bible has a theological unity: "All scripture everywhere speaks
    only of Christ" (Luther). Any mathematical unity that can be constructed (N.B.)
    can be, at most, be of some value for illustrating this theological unity.



    George L. Murphy
    "The Science-Theology Dialogue"

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