Re: Re: personal revelations

From: Iain Strachan \(asa\) (
Date: Wed Feb 26 2003 - 19:41:22 EST

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    Wayne Dawson wrote:
    > 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
    > 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".

    Two points:

    (1) See my other post concerning the "19" supposed phenomenon in the Koran.
    It simply doesn't convince in the same way.
    (2) Concerning the "fruits". Interestingly, we had a sermon in church where
    we heard an example of an Orthodox Jew who was converted to Christianity
    just upon reading Matthew Chapter 1. This had much to do with the layout
    (the three "14's" of generations), and the fact that 14 is the numerical
    value of "David". He was convicted on the basis of seeing this that his
    whole nation's history was fulfilled in Jesus Christ & became a Christian as
    a result. While I do not advocate basing ones faith on this phenomenon,
    here at least seems to be one example of someone who got saved as a result
    of it.

    > 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?

    We're not dealing with translations here, only the agreed Hebrew and Greek
    texts. It is harder to do this on the Greek text, where there are more
    variations, than on the Hebrew. But also if the original spelling was
    different (i.e. when the author wrote it down), I don't think that
    invalidates the phenomenon, or makes God incompetent. If a spelling change
    made the patterns appear, then that rules out the idea that the original
    human writer did it deliberately. And furthermore, one should consider what
    is the more likely outcome; that a spelling change makes a symmetrical
    pattern appear that wasn't there before, or that a spelling change causes an
    original pattern to diasppear. The second law of thermodynamics implies a
    progression from order to disorder, rather than the other way round.
    Furthermore, one can't argue here that an evolutionary process might reverse
    the trend. Clearly the presence or absence of a pattern in a specific text
    gives no selective advantage for one spelling of a word over another.

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

    Agreed in general, but see the comment above concerning Matthew Ch 1.

    > 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'm not sure you quite got my point here. In fact it's not certain that
    Pythagoras invented the numbering system; and also the system was not
    invented in order to do gematria on words. It was invented as a method of
    representing numbers, in order to do proper maths. There is a certain
    similarity to Roman numerals here, though the Greek (and later Hebrew)
    system is more logical. In general, it would be a base-ten representation,
    so 369 might be 300+60+9. Only one exception to this way of doing it is
    found in the Hebrew. The numbers 15 and 16 would normally be 10+5, and 10+6
    but this gives the letters YH and YW, the sacred names of God, so 9+6 and
    9+7 are used instead. A Hebrew bible I once saw had every fifth verse
    number written in the Hebrew numerals, and adopted the above convention for


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