Re: The Flood Hoax

From: george murphy (
Date: Wed Sep 18 2002 - 11:51:23 EDT

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    Walter Hicks wrote:

    > Robert Schneider wrote:
    > > Ian in his note below interprets Jesus in Matt. 5:17, 18 as referring
    > to the
    > > "inerrancy" of the scriptures or the law. I think rather that Jesus
    > was
    > > referring to "fulfillment" rather than "inerrancy." He also writes
    > that
    > > "Christ re-affirmed OT stories (Jonah in Mt. 12:38-40)" and adds "Were
    > > Christ's references to Jonah and the flood simply his misunderstanding
    > of
    > > the scriptures? Did He really believe that Jonah was swallowed by a
    > big
    > > fish?" Reading this passage from Matthew I see no reason to conclude
    > > necessarily that Christ thought that the story of Jonah was a
    > historical
    > > fact. One could make a good case that Christ, being a teller of
    > parables
    > > himself, recognized that the story of Jonah is an extended parable,
    > for the
    > > lesson which Christ draws from the story of Jonah is the lesson of
    > that
    > > parable: repentance. That is one "sign of Jonah" Christ clearly
    > refers to.
    > > Another is his using the allusion of Jonah in the fish three days and
    > nights
    > > as an allegory for his forthcoming death and resurrection; the former
    > sign
    > > is wrapped around the latter..
    > I have seen it posted many times that Jonah was an allegory or Parable,
    > rather
    > than a historical event. Now I can understand why that may be said for
    > events
    > that seem to be invalidated by scientific research (such as global
    > flood).
    > However, I see no reason for rejecting Jonah as a historical event,
    > other than a
    > bias against "miraculous" type events events in the Old Testament. Is
    > there any
    > scientific data to reject this as an actual happening?

             It depends on what you mean by "scientific." Ichthyologists &
    cetologists can provide information on whether or not there are any known sea
    creatures for which the story of Jonah & the fish would be possible but that
    would settle nothing since one can always say that God "provided" a
    miraculous fish.
             But the fish episode is really a minor part of Jonah, simply a way of
    getting Jonah from point A to point B. Questions are raised about the
    historicity of the book on other grounds. E.g.:
             The well-known site of the city of Nineveh was not "three days
    journey in breadth" (3:3).
             "The king of Nineveh" is a title equivalent to "The president of
    Washington." The king who might have been resident in Nineveh would have
    been "the king of Assyria."
             There is no historical evidence for a mass conversion of the whole
    city of Nineveh in the time of historical prophet Jonah (II Kg.14:25), somke
    time around 765 B.C.
             The prayer of Jonah in Chapter 2 makes no reference to his being "in
    the belly of the fish" but seems to be that of a man threatened with drowning
             There are obvious exaggerations. I already mentioned the size of
    Nineveh. Jonah's "sermon" in 3:4 is 5 words in Hebrew - enough to satisfy
    the minimum conditions of his commission but hardly enough to convert the
    whole city. (& there's no reason to think he said anything more. Since - as
    we finally see at the end - Jonah doesn't _want_ the Ninevites to be
    converted, it makes sense that he didn't.)



    George L. Murphy
    "The Science-Theology Interface"

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