From: Don Winterstein (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed Jun 11 2003 - 03:55:29 EDT
Iain Strachan wrote in part:
>I'd like to have a long talk with God & ask him why he allowed me to go on this journey that leads to my fellow Christians calling me a sucker for looking at "numerological drivel".
If a strange phenomenon exists--and apparently something of interest is there, then someone should look into it. What it means, if anything, or how it got there, are different questions. I can't accept Vernon's answers partly because I can't believe God communicates in that way and partly because I don't believe the phenomenon implies what he says it does.
No doubt someone has already raised this question, but I haven't seen the answer: Is there any reason to think God would associate numbers with letters the way numerologists do? What independent evidence is there that the idea ever occurred to God?
>But here's a question for you. Let's get this away from Vernon's thesis that it somehow proves young earth etc, and take for granted that the Universe is 13 billion years old, or whatever current best estimates are. Given that, I would certainly want to know why God should tell me to labour and do all my work in six days and then rest on the seventh, ostensibly for the repeatedly given reason that this is because He also created everything also in six days and rested on the seventh. Since six days clearly doesn't equal 13 billion years, the reason given is blatantly false.
>So like it or not, you're forced down the road of saying that God deals with us via symbolic numbers (e.g. the six days "symbolises" creation).
>The alternative is to say to God "If you think I should work 6+1 because you say you created everything 6+1 then we need to have a long talk ..."
Well, physicist Gerald Schroeder in "The Science of God" says a span of six days does equal 15 billion years, if you choose the right reference frame and take time dilation into account. But I don't buy his scenario, as it involves some forced fits. One also must accept the premise--which I don't--that God is speaking modern physics at the beginning of Genesis. God then switches rapidly and without warning from some absolute reference frame to the local one.
I can't say I know anyone now who regularly works 6+1, but God's people in the OT were required to do so. For most of my life I've interpreted this requirement as a convenient fit of the practical to the mythological: God knew people needed a regular day of rest and time to refocus on him; so if the local mythology says the world was made in six days, why not go with it? So I see 6+1 as symbolic only in terms of the mythology. Question: Which came first, the myth or the 6+1?
>Surely it is not for us to decide how God should have done His work & I don't believe you can ignore empirical data (such as presented by Vernon), simply because you personally don't believe that is the best way for God to do it.
Agreed: If the data are there, someone should pay attention, but maybe not I. But if the data are there, it's not necessarily because God put them there.
Agreed also that we don't decide how God should have done his work. On the other hand, these numerical tricks are so far removed from everything I respect as God's revelation that I can't believe that God is using them to send us some kind of message. Over time in experiencing persons or groups one can get a good feel for the kinds of behavior that are characteristic of them. These numerical tricks I would associate with a group like the Rosicrucians or perhaps the ancient Egyptian magicians and not with God. Of course, I must acknowledge that God probably has a side (or two) he's never shown me.
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