From: Howard J. Van Till (email@example.com)
Date: Wed Jun 04 2003 - 08:41:02 EDT
Having watched discussions of this sort many times on this list, here's a
simple observation: With all of this obsession with numerology and with
all of this zeal for statistical cherry picking, the concern to find wisdom
for living a good life enriched with a keen awareness of the Sacred seems to
have faded into the background. What a sad irony if the text has become more
important for its ability to generate numbers than for its ability to
stimulate awe or worship.
Howard Van Till
>From: "Vernon Jenkins" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>To: "D. F. Siemens, Jr." <email@example.com>
>Subject: Re: The forgotten verses
>Date: Tue, Jun 3, 2003, 7:13 PM
> 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." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> To: <email@example.com>
> Cc: <firstname.lastname@example.org>; <email@example.com>;
> <firstname.lastname@example.org>; <email@example.com>
> Sent: Tuesday, June 03, 2003 5:41 AM
> Subject: Re: The forgotten verses
>> On Tue, 3 Jun 2003 00:10:16 +0100 "Vernon Jenkins"
>> <firstname.lastname@example.org> 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
>> > 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
>> > http://www.otherbiblecode.com
>> I simply go by the text.
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