Re: By Design (was Re: Numbers)

Date: Sat Mar 08 2003 - 10:32:03 EST

  • Next message: John Burgeson: "(no subject)"

    Vernon Jenkins wrote:

    >As many will already know, my reading of the situation - following the example of the SETI endeavour - is that these facts (augmented by the many other phenomena described in the pages of constitute proof that certain key parts of the biblical text - as found in current copies of the Hebrew and Greek originals - are intelligently designed, i.e. the numbers representing a fair alternative reading of the words are informative in respect of the coordinated symmetrical geometries, symbolisms and associations conveyed. Further, from a consideration of the nature of the text, the circumstances attending their appearance there and the negative greeting they have received across the board, I am convinced that such wonders must be the work of God. My experience over many years thus leads me to put a relevant question to the forum: "To what extent are Christians (and children of the Enlightenment) now capable of, (a) recognising, (b) receiving, and (!
    c) acting on divinely-given signs and wonders?" Many would no doubt argue that such things are no longer to be expected - to be ruled out, even. But, God being sovereign - and the times surely crying out for divine action - we have to ask Why not?

    Most of the posters on this list believe in God and have accepted
    Christ as a personal savior. My own resistance is threefold.

    (1) It is easy to play with the calculation procedure, chose the numbers
    to be used, chose passages that one sees as important, and chose
    the particular version of translation. That provides many free
    parameters to work around. So if we apply it to Faust, to Hamlet, to
    Aristotle's Ethics, or Marx's Das Capital, what is the result? So
    far, you have selected the procedure and you have selected the
    passage, but there are thousands of sentences in the Bible, and are
    they just meaningless? Moreover, if we also chose the procedure
    and the functions we wish, how can we be assured that it is
    _impossible_ to show that any of the above are "divinely inspired"
    by your methods?

    (2) You are the one who is pressing this matter, so the burden
    of proof is really on you in this case. I recognize the difficulty,
    but if you really want to make a case for this, you need to find
    a way to _specify_ an independent criteria that can be applied to
    every piece of literature. With so many free parameters, it _seems_
    rather difficult to argue that I cannot find a function and a procedure
    that doesn't show that some arbitrary selection such as Marx
    or some utterly vapid literature doesn't happen to have
    hidden functions in it.
    I can accept that I am wrong, but the approach, although logical, still
    strikes me as arbitrarily designed to fit my hopes
    and expectations. Naturally, because I am a Christian,
    I'm already prone to fall for all sorts of things if I
    am not careful. I think you also need to be careful about
    reading too much into these proofs number games.

    (3) Finally, even if there is something "intelligent" in the construction,
    the number PI was know by the Babylonians to 5 decimal places even
    in 1000 BC. It is of course interesting, but I don't see it contributing
    much to the theology. In fact, I am a bit concerned it detracts from it
    because it is written that "The Lord does not look at the things man
    looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks
    at the heart" (NIV 1S 16:7). This really looks too much like the typical
    kinds of meddling that man does, and not the work of God.

    by Grace alone we proceed,

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