From: bivalve (bivalve@mail.davidson.alumlink.com)
Date: Fri Aug 10 2001 - 10:22:08 EDT

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    Richard> It would have been nice to have this posted on the list since you bring up some very good points. If you chose to post it privately because you didn't want to get into an online argument with me, all I can say is I'm really sorry for giving the impression that I was so difficult. If you want to include it on the list after you read it, that would be great. I believe
    we all will benefit, and come to know each other a little better.
    >So let me speak to your points:
    Previous post from Richard: > In other words, your fundamental argument that the Wheel is not the work of God because it appears to be the result of arbitrary human choices UTTERLY FAILS.<
    me>But this is not the fundamental argument. Everything is the work of God (despite the efforts of many atheists, young-earth advocates, and intelligent design advocates to deny this). Therefore, the Wheel is the work of God. However, so is everything else, so the fact that the Wheel is God's work does not indicate that it is of particular theological importance.
    Richard>This sounds like a strong Calvinist perspective on the relation between God's sovereignty and (the supposedly non-existent) human freedom. I don't take such a radical stand. If you say God does everything, does that mean
    >God sins?
    >But beyond that, I believe the whole argument had a subtext that you missed. When we (both George and I) spoke of the Wheel as (or as not) the Work of God, I think we both understoond that we were talking about it as (or as not) the *special* work of God, like the Bible itself. What would there have been to argue about if we took your position? We could have simply said "Everything is of God. QED" Do you take a porno mag as the same kind of "Work of God" as the Bible? Certainly not! I maintain that the fundamental argument was whether or not the Wheel is the *special* work of God.
    me>Furthermore, God can use anything for His purposes. For example, the Wheel may be quite helpful to you in providing reassurance in your faith. However, you should beware of putting too much reliance on seeking after signs such as mathematical structures, lest they distract from seeking after
    Jesus Himself.
    Richard >Excellent point! I absoultely agree 100%
    me>Likewise, the Bible gives no promise of particular mathematical structure, so proof of an error in your structure for the Wheel should not disturb your faith. It is the contents, rather than the structure, of the Bible that should most impress us with divine authority.
    Richard >Again, I agree completely.
    me> Another question is whether to expect others to be impressed by the Wheel model or similar patterns. A while ago someone on this list cited the proof that all numbers are interesting. Certainly all numbers are interconnected, and enough work can generate an interesting pattern from any starting point. On the other hand, it's a nice regular pattern, and potentially a helpful mnemonic for remembering basic categories and themes for books of the Bible, and so can prove useful to some.
    Richard>As you probably have noticed, I think there is a lot more to it than you suggest in you last comment. But I am glad that at least you can see some value in it. And for that matter, you have noted what I believe to be one of the primary purposes of the Wheel -- it makes memorization of God's Word miraculously simple, natural, and exciting.
    >I hope you will consider putting this on the list.

    I was not certain that my comments would be of general interest.

    My view is indeed quite Calvinist; however, this does not mean that God sins. Nonetheless, every action or thought of ours, whether good or bad, is dependant on God's sustenance. Calvinism also asserts that people are free to do as they will, but that we will to do wrong.

    Your argument that something incorporating arbitrary human choices can nevertheless be the work of God seems to me to address the general rather than special work category. Of course, special works of God include such as well. Thus, it is certainly true that you can find the Wheel pattern because God made the Bible that way. However, this does not prove that everyone should see the pattern as particularly significant. The patterns of the divisions of the books of the Bible do not provide particular theological guidance. For example, the fact that the number and subject of the books of the Bible underlie the structure of the Wheel does not mean that one could add or remove texts as long as the Wheel structure was preserved. The apocryphal supplements to Daniel and Esther, for example, would not change the structure of the Bible, but they are historically, and to some degree theologically, out of place. Likewise, by considering the Minor Prophets as a single book, one c!
    ould add in 11 apocryphal books to retain the structure. Conversely, one could divide a longer book into multiple parts (e.g., the "books" within Psalms) and then take out others that one does not like.

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