Re: personal revelations

Date: Tue Feb 25 2003 - 10:18:46 EST

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    Iain Strachan wrote:

    >Although this is fine in general, I have a problem with it when applying the idea that, for example the numerical patterns in Gen 1:1 were simply embellishments. This is because the numerical structure (as illustrated in detail on Vernon's website) is far too detailed; it is like just decorating a poem by making the line-ends rhyme, it would necessitate the entire sequence of integers being pre-specified. It is my view, having looked at examples where deliberately numerically constrained writing have been given, that this would impose far too great a constraint on the freedom to write something meaningful. In another post, I cited the "2300" poem from the 17th Century; the numerical constraint was so severe that it produced a highly artificial, worthless bit of literature. Furthermore, despite the fact that each line came, via the author's ingenuity, to 2300, there would not be any internal structure in the lines that would yield any reinforcement of the design, as !
    there is in the Gen 1:1 example.

    It is certainly interesting. I honestly don't see anything
    wrong with looking at patterns. But let's suppose that
    some Islamic apologist claims that the Koran has some passage
    somewhere that fits the first period of jo(x) -- a Bessel
    function. Now we have a potential two dimensional fuction,
    e.g., the wave equation for a drum head. Naturally, I am sopposed to be feel
    convicted and bow down and worship Allah and reject the
    Christian faith. What should be my answer? I think the best answer is "show me the fruits first".

    Likewise, suppose the most ancient translation has
    something a little bit different. Should I consider
    God incompetent and/or ineffectual and chuck the
    Bible in the trash can?

    It's just not something to base a faith on.

    I would be curious to know how likely it is to take
    some text like say Hegel's writings and get a match somewhere. If it comes up with no match, it proves Hegel has nothing
    profound to say and so I'll have to believe you. (for the
    philosophers here, that is mostly intended as a joke).

    >Another problem with it being done by the humans, is that the historical evidence suggests that the earliest known deliberate use of number letter equivalence using the same scheme is in the 2nd century BC on Maccabean coins. It may of course be that the scheme was in place earlier than that; but it appears that the original scheme was Greek, and devised by mathematicians in the 5th Century BC, and that the Hebrew scheme followed after. Of course it may be the case that the scheme was around earlier, but this becomes highly speculative. In any case, where numbers are mentioned explicitly in the OT, such as 969, then it is not written as numerals, but spelt out in words "Nine hundred, sixty and nine". If the numeral scheme was in place when Genesis was written, and if the authors deliberately introduced numerical embellishments using that scheme, then it seems odd that they didn't use the numerals to represent the many numbers that you find in the OT.

    It does seem that Pathagoras is documented as being a
    number fiddler, but math has that character of being
    eternal, immutable, true beyond comprehension, simple,
    yet deeply profound. Who wouldn't find something
    satisfying in putting a little grasp of that eternity
    into a piece of writing devoted to God in a world
    without much certainty. Whereas there is no clear
    documentation, I wouldn't think it is really invented
    by Pathagoras, only that he did it more consistently.

    I appreciate that you don't emphasize that we _must_
    believe the Bible because of these curiousities.
    Often, in great writing, there are many things that go unnoticed to the untrained reader --- regardless of
    their origin.

    By Grace alone we proceed,

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