Re: Science, Women, and Paul

From: george murphy (
Date: Sun May 19 2002 - 13:40:01 EDT

  • Next message: "Re: Science, Women, and Paul" wrote:

    > Hi George,
    > Thanks for discussing this subject matter with me. Though you have me a bit
    > confused. You seem to be saying that it appears that Paul rebuked those who
    > opposed women teachers at least once but that he taught the same things
    > himself at other times.

             I haven't said this. I have said the following:
             1) In I Cor.11:2-16 Paul says that women must have their heads covered
    (with something in addition to their hair) when they pray or prophesy in the
    public assembly of the church. This implies that such praying & prophesying
    itself is OK.
             2) I Cor.14:34-36 appears to be a prohibition of women speaking in
    church. It's hard to understand how Paul could make a blanket prohibition of
    this after giving rules for how a woman is to be dressed when she does speak in
    church. The explanation may be that in ch.14
             a. Paul is quoting someone with whom he doesn't agree, or
             b. that he is here giving a rule for a particular situation, perhaps
    because of particular disorderliness of Corinthian worship (which is a major
    concern in thsi chapter).
             While a. is possible, b. seems to me more likely. [That
    likelihood would
    be increased if these two chapters of I Cor. were originally parts of separate
    letters, as some have suggested, so that ch.14 was written some time
    after ch.11
    when Paul had been informed about problems of disorder in worship. But this is
    rather speculative.]

             The question of supposed contradictions in the Bible often
    arises because
    people think of the Bible as a collection of timeless abstract
    propositions which
    have to be logically consistent with one another. It isn't. Luke can describe
    Jesus saying at one time "He that is not against you is for you" (9:50) and at
    another "He who is not with me is against me" (11:23).The Book of Proverbs
    (26:4-5) puts side by side, "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you
    be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in
    his own eyes."

    > One thing you wrote on a somewhat unrelated subject has me curious.
    > You wrote: Acts 15:29 is not simply "helpful suggestion". In particular, the
    > requirement to abstain from blood was understood to be part of God's covenant
    > with Noah, and thus binding on all people - in distinction from the
    > regulations of torah which were only binding on Israel.
    > JWs use that argument for banning blood transfusions. They say "God banned
    > blood to Noah after the flood so that ban applies to all people since all are
    > people on earth are Noah's descendants." Do you believe that all people on
    > earth are Noah's descendants? If you do I believe you are mistaken. For, as
    > Davis Young writes in his book The Biblical Flood, 'It is simply no longer
    > tenable to insist that a deluge drowned every human on the face of the globe
    > except Noah's family. ... All the relevant evidence from the created order
    > tells us that the flood was neither geographically nor anthropologically
    > universal."

             No, I don't think that there was a universal flood, but what I think is
    irrelevant here. What is of concern is what Jews & Christians of the
    1st century
    thought. & whether they believed that the flood was universal or not (but they
    probably thought it was) is not as important as the fact that the story of the
    covenant with Noah was thought of as an expression of God's will for
    all people.



    George L. Murphy
    "The Science-Theology Interface"

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