Re: The forgotten verses

From: Vernon Jenkins (
Date: Tue Jun 03 2003 - 19:13:39 EDT

  • Next message: D. F. Siemens, Jr.: "Re: The forgotten verses"


    I'm currently digesting your response to my recent posting. For now, let me
    just challenge your closing words, "I simply go by the text." - referring to
    your belief that the Hebrews of Solomon's day believed pi to be 3 - a
    deduction based upon the data provided by II Chronicles 4:2. But you surely
    realise there is ambiguity here. All real cylinders have an inner diameter
    (d, say) and an outer diameter (D, say); an inner circumference (c, say) and
    an outer circumference (C, say). Does "...ten cubits from brim to brim..."
    represent d or D? Does "...a line of thirty cubits did compass it round
    about." represent c or C?

    You must therefore agree that the data here provided is insufficient to
    support your claim. It needs the additional information given in verse 5 of
    the same chapter to bring the solution a little closer. Here we are told
    "And the thickness of it (the cylinder wall) was an handbreadth..." (t,
    say). A 'handbreadth' is defined as a measure of four fingers, equal to
    about four inches, and a 'cubit' as the distance from elbow to to the tip of
    the longest finger of a man - about 18 inches.

    Clearly, pi may be determined as either of the ratios c/d or C/D, but not as
    c/D or C/d. Thus, only by reading the 30 cubits as the _inner_ circumference
    (c), and the 10 cubits as the outer diameter (D) do we make sense of the
    data, thus:

    d = D - 2xt = 10x18 - 2x4 = 180 - 8 = 172 inches
    c = 30x18 = 540 inches
    pi = 540/172 = 3.14 (which we recognise as a commonly used approximation
    for pi).

    There can be little doubt that the intrinsic ambiguities associated with
    IIChr.2:4 are here satisfactorily resolved, and why anyone should, (a) have
    believed the Hebrews incapable of detecting a 4.5% error in the value of pi
    (by assuming it to be 3 rather than its true value), and (b) have assumed
    that Egyptian knowledge of this constant would have stopped short of its
    border with Israel, is really beyond understanding - unless, of course, the
    principal motive was the undermining of the Judaeo-Christian Scriptures.


    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "D. F. Siemens, Jr." <>
    To: <>
    Cc: <>; <>;
    <>; <>
    Sent: Tuesday, June 03, 2003 5:41 AM
    Subject: Re: The forgotten verses

    > On Tue, 3 Jun 2003 00:10:16 +0100 "Vernon Jenkins"
    > <> writes:
    > > Dave,
    > >
    > > You appear to overlook the principal reason for my last writing to
    > > Michael.
    > > It was to point to the fundamental matter of man's essential nature
    > > as it is
    > > presented in the Judaeo-Christian Scriptures; and, arising from
    > > that,
    > > whether it is reasonable to believe that his (man's) overturning of
    > > God's
    > > account of how things actually began can possibly carry any
    > > conviction. I
    > > suggest that until that matter is understood, and settled, no real
    > > meaning
    > > can be attached to the detailed evidence driving the current debate.
    > > An
    > > associated consideration, of course, is man's tendency to discount
    > > the
    > > supernatural; to look only to 'natural' explanations.
    > >
    > Correction: I did not overlook your "principal reason," I ignored it as
    > irrelevant and irrational. I once believed much as you do, until the Lord
    > delivered me from such lies about what the scriptures and his creation
    > teach. I discovered that geological dating might be off by a factor of no
    > more than two, not by 6 orders of magnitude. I recognize that you think
    > that this makes me discount the supernatural. I do not, for I rest in the
    > constant care and concern of my Lord.
    > > Dave, perhaps you would like to address my concerns with respect to
    > > these
    > > matters.
    > >
    > > Let me now briefly turn to what you have chosen to call
    > > 'numerological
    > > drivel'. You are hardly suggesting that the numbers I find in the
    > > Scriptures - express and implied - are merely figments of my
    > > imagination.
    > > Have you, therefore, no desire to inquire why they are there? A
    > > careful
    > > examination of the facts reveals they are undoubtedly of
    > > supernatural
    > > origin - and one thus infers they are intended to accomplish some
    > > serious
    > > purpose. I claim no personal advantage for seeing a clear message in
    > > the
    > > numbers - but I do consider it strangely ostrich-like for any
    > > numerate
    > > intellectual Christian to brush these aside as completely
    > > inconsequential.
    > > Are you really presuming to deny our Creator the right to use
    > > whatever means
    > > He considers appropriate to safeguard His Word?
    > >
    > Your question on this matter assumes that the current state of the
    > scriptural text is inerrantly inspired and preserved in its present
    > state. I know enough about the text to recognize this assumption to be
    > false, for there is not a single version of most passages. So the basis
    > of your analysis is flawed. Further, I recall one place where you changed
    > the word order of the text in order to make things come out right.
    > Further, if you were discovering the handiwork of deity, then the numbers
    > would show up exactly in every word, clause, sentence, paragraph and
    > book. There would be no exceptions.
    > Additionally, there is no benefit to a walk with God to the stuff you dig
    > out. If anything, it advances pride, which is hardly a virtue. When I
    > referred to "numerological drivel" it was to avoid using an earthier
    > term.
    > > By the way, your belief that the engineers of Solomon's day believed
    > > pi to
    > > equal 3 is utter nonsense - if only on the basis that the pyramid
    > > builders
    > > were near neighbours - and the early Hebrews had spent a long time
    > > in
    > > Egypt.. However, a closer reading of II Chronicles 4:2, 5 and a
    > > more
    > > sympathetic approach to the data adequately proves the point.
    > >
    > > Vernon
    > >
    > >
    > I simply go by the text.
    > Dave

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