Re: The Wheel of God

Date: Wed Aug 08 2001 - 03:41:06 EDT

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    In your last post you responded to this statement:

    > > First, I would like to say that I am very pleased with the tenor of this
    > > conversation. My hope is that we will be able to clearly discern between
    > > facts and opinions, and converse long enough to agree at least on the
    > Don't get your hopes up too much. It doesn't seem to me that a
    > deal has been accomplished, especially since you've chosen to skip over
    most of
    > the points I made in my previous post.

    You are right, of course. I should have dealt with all of your points in my
    last post. Let me correct that now, and then move on to your later comments:

    > > > 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
    > > I have many cogent reasons to do so.
    > David gave some cogent reasons for his statement.

    To understand why I disagree, we need to review David's statement. He said:

    "Although I would certainly affirm the current 66 books of the Bible as the
    only authoritative set, I think that the issue of how to count them is a
    problem. Splitting Samuel, Kings, or Chronicles into two books has more to
    do with the length at which scrolls become unwieldy than with a particular
    break in the narrative; one could also argue for merging Luke and Acts,
    among others. Also, the Hebrew tally counts the minor prophets as a single
    book. This particular change alone would not substantially change the
    opportunity for mathematical significance, as it decreases the total by 11
    and thus merely requires a 2.5 fold rather than 3 fold use of the Hebrew

    Note first of all that he specifically refers to the 66 books, _by number_,
    as authoritative. Here he is in complete harmony with my thesis. He then
    goes on merely to argue that this structure MAY be do to natural
    contingencies like the length of the scrolls, and that people could, if they
    wanted to, merge some books.

    I am astounded that you would consider these to be "cogent reasons."
    Consider the theology such an argument implies! Are you really saying that
    God can not accomplish His Work through anything that appears to be due to
    natural, contingent, seemingly arbitrary acts of humans? Are you saying that
    anything that appears contingent can not actually fulfill God's preordained
    plan? This flies in the face of the entire message of Scripture. The 66
    books are nothing if not the story of how God has accomplished His Work in
    precisely this fashion. Consider the countless, seemingly arbitrary, human
    choices that led to the crucifixion of the Lord! In my opinion, this is
    God's _primary_ way of acting in the world.

    This means that your primary argument, which you have repeated many times
    (see below), that the Wheel can not be the work of God because the 66 books
    and the seven canonical divisions appear to be the result of arbitrary human
    choices, utterly fails.

    In response to my arbitrary choice not to mention the Apocrypha when I
    referenced the KJV, you said

    > Yes, the status of the Apocrypha is debated & the fact that you
    > down on one side of that debate doesn't in itself show that you're wrong.
    > 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.

    Yes, it is a significant issue that must be dealt with if I want to produce
    an completely airtight case. But how many hundreds, or thousands of hours
    have been spent by both sides arguing from History, Biblical Criticism, and
    Theology? And to what result? Few people are convinced by those arguments.
    But if the Wheel can be established to be the Work of God through completely
    independent means, then we have an extremely strong argument against
    believing the Apocrypha to be Scripture.

    > > > 3. Accepting the protestant canon for the sake of argument,
    > > > division of it into 7 parts as you do is arbitrary.

    Note the repetition of the "Arbitrary" argument, which has been shown to be

    > >
    > > 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
    > > 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
    > > Formation of the Christian Biblical Canon" (pg 34) where he wrote: "The
    > > reference to the Twelve Prophets suggests that by the time of Sirach,
    > > "Minor Prophets" circulated in one scroll."
    > > How can you argue against the obvious fact that the structure I present
    > > not arbitrary? It is an objective historical fact that I received. I did
    > > invent it!
    > Of course "The Twelve" were grouped together - because, unlike
    > 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
    > book. What I questioned was your separation of "Major Prophets" and
    > Prophets" as two separate groups of books - a separation crucial for your
    > division of the protestant canon. But there is no basis in content, date
    > composition &c for this separation.

    Again, nothing but the failed "Arbitrary" argument.

    > As I noted, in the Hebrew Bible both groups of prophets are
    > with Joshua, Judges, I-II Samuel & I-II Kings as "Former and Later
    > 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
    > to in the prologue of Sirach, & is probably to be understood in Luke
    > where "the psalms" stands for the whole 3d division (which begins with the
    > of Psalms). Chapter 2 of F.F. Bruce's The Canon of Scripture is helpful
    > 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
    > 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. &
    > 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
    > > 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,
    > > therefore can not be attributed to the deliberate design of any human.
    > The grouping you use is one among many possible groupings. The
    > that can be said to have been "discovered" by you is something about the
    > of biblical study, not something intrinsic to the Bible itself.

    Wrong. What I have discovered is absolutely incontrovertible pattern that
    objectively exists in untold millions of copies of the Bible. If you want
    any credibility, you must admit at least this point. You can argue all you
    want against its significance, but you can not argue against its objective
    reality. Anybody with eyes and any modern version such as KJV, NKJV, NIV,
    NASB, etc, etc, etc, can see it for themselves. It exists in our common

    > >
    > > > 4. The claim that this "proof of the divine origin of the
    > > > 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.

    Was I mistaken to take your association of "Vernon Jenkin's" with "immediate
    suspicion" as an _attack on a man_ rather than a _response to an argument_?
    Also, this is the Fallacy of Association, as if my use of the same phrase as
    someone else had anything to do with the truth of my argument! Furthermore,
    its the Fallacy of mistaking Style for Substance! How I choose to present my
    results has nothing to do with their validity!

    Of course, I think you are probably right -- a lot of my style is
    dangerously misleading. E.g. I am not a fundamentalist, but who could tell
    that from my web site? And for that matter, I don't even assert inerrancy in
    the ordinary sense. This lack of presentational clarity probably arose
    because I have studied this topic for about ten years and have only now
    begun to find intelligent interaction. That is why I TRULY value this
    discussion! Please be patient with me.

    > >
    > > All I can say to this is that you have utterly failed to >apprehend<
    > > the most rudimentary points of my argument. I challenge you to find a
    > > page where any of my arguments lack in Christological reference!
    > > about the Wheel points to Christ and His work on the Cross. That's why
    > > 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
    > 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
    > because 9 & 10, which originally were a unit, are combined there. (I.e.,
    > division into the present 9 & 10 is arbitrary.)
    > Of course this doesn't at all change the importance of "Psalm 22"
    > understanding the Passion - but that has nothing to do with the fact that
    > number 22.

    The fact that there is a variation does not mean that the numerical index of
    Psalm 22 is insignificant. Consider other textual variations, such as 1 Tim
    3.16, which gives Hos or Theos -- we must consider both, and the reasons one
    should be preferred over the other. We don't just say that _neither_ has any
    significance because there is a variation! Also, you failed to even mention
    the many theologically significant lines of convergence relating to the
    Number 22, the Letter Tav, the Cross, and the structure of Scripture. If you
    don't want to appear to be a knee-jerk reactionary who simply rejects my
    whole thesis regardless of merit, you should at least acknowledge some of
    the profoundly beautiful and theologically significant points I have raised.

    > > 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
    > only of Christ" (Luther). Any mathematical unity that can be constructed
    > can be, at most, be of some value for illustrating this theological unity.

    Actually, there is a lot more to it than merely illustrating the theological
    unity. But if all it did was illustrate that, what a wonder it would be!

    I believe I have addressed most of the points I had skipped. Let me know if
    I missed anything else.

    Now lets move on to you last post:

    > > One of your statements helps in this regard:
    > >
    > > > 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.
    > > 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
    > > > 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.
    > >
    > > I don't think you see how strongly your point argues for the validity of
    > > thesis! Consider the simple combinatorial mathematics of the situation.
    > > are the chances that anybody who takes 66 objects and combines them into
    > > seven ARBITRARY divisions will arrive at a structure that is both
    > > and bilaterally symmetric? I won't bore you with the details (especially
    > > since I haven't worked them all out yet) but I will assert that the
    > > probability of such a structure arising by chance is EXCEEDINGLY TINY.
    > Since you haven't worked this out yet there's no need for me to
    > the point but it's not at all obvious that the probability is this small.

    I still need to work this out ... its rather complicated.

    > But more to the point is the fact that you have said nothing here
    > cyhallenge the point I made about the lack of theological, historical &c
    > rationale for your 7-fold division. This being the case, you're just
    > math. & you can do all the math you want & still won't get theology out
    of it.

    First - note that we have yet again encountered the defunct "Arbitrary"
    argument. But there is more I should say. My study is much, MUCH, more than
    math. And besides, I have left your constant repetition of the supposed
    arbitrariness of the canon go unchallenged, in the sense that I have yet to
    show how it really is not arbitrary at all. Strictly speaking, this is not
    necessary since your "Arbitrary" argument fails anyway, but I sense it is
    necessary in order for you to see what is really going on here.

    You have conveniently left out the beginning of it all - the Pentateuch. Do
    you assert there is no theological or historical reason to group those
    books? How about the NT history? Many people, before I was born, thought
    those five went together. And what of the 22 Epistles? Even if you want to
    categorize Revelation as Apocalyptic, you still need to recognize it is an
    Apocalyptic Epistle, and so the 22 Epistles stand as a NON-ARBITRARY group.
    And what about the 12 Prophets? We have an ancient witness that these have
    been collected together as a unit for more than 2000 years! The more I think
    about it, the more your assertion of arbitrariness seems itself to be truly

    > > Yet that is but the beginning. How can we ignore the symmetric sevenfold
    > > structure of the Canon in light of the universally recognized Biblical
    > > significance of the Number Seven? And how can we ignore the theological
    > > significance of the line of bilateral symmetry dividing between the
    > > and the Tav, the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet? And how
    > > we ignore that all of this is going on in a book that declares itself to
    > > the Word of God? The nimbus of divine associations is overwhelming!
    > For a start, your "7-fold structure of the canon" is an arbitrary
    > structure imposed upon it, as I have shown several times. & all this is
    > on" not in the Bible but in a classification scheme that you've
    constructed for
    > the books of the Bible.

    Again, it is NOT MINE! And again - there's that failed "Arbitrary" argument
    again! And how, tell me how, can you possibly assert that I am the one who
    "constructed" this classification scheme? It existed objectively in the
    world before I was born!

    > > Yet there is still more! Even if we ignore the incredible sevenfold
    > > of the Canon, we still have to deal with the underlying structure of the
    > > books. Read my article called "A Great Cloud of Witnesses." In it, I
    > > demonstrate how numerous scholars, innocent of any bias towards the
    Wheel by
    > > reason of complete ignorance of it, have borne witness to the thematic
    > > correlations linking the books on each Spoke. Most notable is the great
    > > thematic river that unites Genesis, Isaiah and Romans, which constitute
    > > Spoke 1 of the Wheel, as detailed in the article just cited.
    > No doubt. There's also a literal, & yet profoundly
    > "great thematic river" linking Genesis, Ezekiel, and John.

    Yes - the Bible is an infinitely integrated book - from the mind of God.
    Just like you could find endless relations between any part of the body with
    every other part ... but this does not deny that some parts are uniquely

    E.g. Read my article called "A Great Cloud of Witnesses." In it, I quote
    Herbert Wolf who reports that Isaiah has been called the Romans of the Old
    Testament. Can you find similar quotes relating your little threesome? And
    that's but one example. Go to the site to find many, many more.

    > > Yet there is still more! The thematic correlation can be mathematically
    > > measured by the distribution of words throughout Scripture. A notable
    > > example being given in my article called "Creation." (Select Spoke 1 -
    > > and go to the article called Creation.) In this article I demonstrate
    > > distribution of words based on the roots bara (Hebrew) and ktidzo
    > > occur on Spoke 1 with a frequency that is TEN TIMES THE STANDARD
    > > This is an example of how the _semantic content_ of Scripture correlates
    > > with the _geometric structure_ of the Canon.
    > >

    Where is you response to this mathematically measurable and highly
    significant statistical result?

    > > As a final note -- I must ask how a man with a PhD in Physics can fail t
    > > immediately recognize the profound significance of this symmetry, since
    > > symmetry is one of the most fundamental concepts that unites our study
    > > God's other great work, Creation itself?
    > Probably because this particular physicist is also a theologian &
    > to see some theological content. Not all math symmetry is embodied in the
    > world, & the fact that your classification scheme has some symmetry
    > mean that it corresponds to anything of theological significance.
    > But let's follow up the physics analogy. Where the Omega-minus?
    > does your scheme predict any novel theological result? (For
    > The correct prediction of the omega-minus particle, with strangeness minus
    > three, was a major factor in convincing particle physicists of the value
    > Gell-Mann's SU3 symmetry scheme and ultimately the quark model.)

    Ahhh ..... a beautiful question! Unfortunately, it is quite late, and this
    post is quite long, so I will answer it as soon as I get some more time.
    Rest assured I am eager to discuss this as soon as I am able.

    I want to thank you again for persevering through this discussion, and my
    hopes are still high that we will continue ...

    B'Shem Eloheynu


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