Re: By design

From: Vernon Jenkins (vernon.jenkins@virgin.net)
Date: Tue Mar 11 2003 - 19:06:33 EST

  • Next message: John Burgeson: "Pi and e"

    (To the Forum: a resend with corrected subject heading)

    Wayne,

    If I can address just one of the points you make:

    First, you say, "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."

    You appear to have a false idea of what I am about. You must surely agree
    that the passages I focus on _are_ highly significant textually, and
    brimming with numerical interest when read from current copies of the
    Hebrew and Greek originals. The principle of reading words as numbers is no
    invention of mine: it derives directly from the historically-attested
    systems of alphabetic numeration used by these ancient peoples. The Lord's
    words in Rev.13:18 - with their offer of wisdom - both ratify the process
    and, in the giving of the specific number 666, provide a pointer to the
    kinds of numbers we are to expect and regard as significant. Thus, it is
    not we who choose the numbers; we simply _find_ the numbers and related
    structures of numerical geometry.

    Wayne, it troubles me that, as a Christian you cannot bring yourself to see
    that nothing is impossible with God. The phenomena are real. We have to
    decide whether they are, (a) there by chance, (b) the work of a tradition of
    exceedingly clever men possessing powers of precognition (to achieve what,
    precisely?) or, (c) the work of God (more than likely, for some serious
    purpose which we would do well to consider and discuss). On the basis of the
    available evidence, is it your considered view that option (a) can be ruled
    out?

    Thanks for your interest.

    Sincerely, and with regards,

    Vernon

    PS Your mailings are exceedingly difficult to read. (What appears below is
    an edited version of what I received.) I believe Iain has already pointed to
    the reason for this and suggested a possible solution to the problem.

    V

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: <Dawsonzhu@aol.com>
    To: <asa@calvin.edu>
    Sent: Monday, February 24, 2003 1:25 PM
    Subject: Re: numbers (from Re: personal revelations)

    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
    Jlooks 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,
    Wayne



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