Re: Solomon's 'molten sea' revisited

From: Roger G. Olson <rogero@saintjoe.edu>
Date: Thu Apr 29 2004 - 18:24:37 EDT

> Don and Michael,
>
>
>
> I am surprised that you regard this as a trifling matter. You must surely
> be
> aware that The Sunday Telegraph correspondent (part of whose letter I
> quoted) is but one of a multitude of 'clever people' who delight in
> undermining the Judaeo-Christian Scriptures and the Gospel message. They
> quote 1Kings 7:23 as proof positive that they are correct, and undoubtedly
> take heart from the fact that Christians like yourselves - though blessed
> with keen mental faculties - are prepared to yield the ground. It
> certainly
> gives one a lot to think about!
>
>
>
> Vernon

>
>
>
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Donald Nield" <d.nield@auckland.ac.nz>
> To: "Vernon Jenkins" <vernon.jenkins@virgin.net>
> Cc: "Michael Roberts" <michael.andrea.r@ukonline.co.uk>; <asa@calvin.edu>
> Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 2004 11:50 PM
> Subject: Re: Solomon's 'molten sea' revisited
>
>
>> A more common sense approach is to recognize that the Bible is not
>> concerned with scientific accuracy, and for most non-scientific
>> practical purposes 3 is a sufficiently close approximation to pi. Thus
>> 1Kings 7:23 contains no error, and no harmonization with modern science
>> involving quibbles about inner an outer circumferences is required.
>> Don
>>
>> Vernon Jenkins wrote:
>>
>> > Michael,
>> >
>> > <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns =
>> > "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
>> >
>> > You may already be aware that The Sunday Telegraph of 25 April carried
>> > a letter from one who shares your view that 1Kings 7:23 reveals the
>> > woeful ignorance of the Hebrews of Solomon's day concerning the
>> > mensuration of the circle - the piece concluding with the words: "The
>> > Bible, we are told, is directly inspired by God and scientifically
>> > accurate, since He cannot err. Clearly, He did not then know the value
>> > of pi, since you cannot get a line of 30 anythings to go round a
>> > circular vessel 10 anythings in diameter, even if you stop at pi =
>> > 3.142."
>> >
>> > I have compiled the following rebuttal which I hope soon to see
>> > published:
>> >
>> > "To claim that the artisans and engineers of Solomon's day were not
>> > aware that piexceeds 3 by some 4.7% flies in the face of simple common
>> > sense and logic - particularly when one considers that their immediate
>> > neighbours, the Egyptians, had long before incorporated an exceedingly
>> > accurate representation of this fundamental constantinto the
>> > dimensions of the Great Pyramid. We therefore seek a more
>> > satisfactoryinterpretation of 1Kings <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns =
>> > "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />7:23 - and one is not
>> > hard to find.
>> >
>> > "1Kings 7:26 informs us that the wall thickness of Solomon's 'brazen
>> > sea' was 'an handbreadth' - and we are immediately reminded that a
>> > real cylinder has an inner diameter (d, say) and an outer diameter (D,
>> > say); an inner circumference (c, say) and an outer circumference (C,
>> > say). It must follow that 1Kings 7:23 is inherently ambiguous, for the
>> > '10 cubits from one brim to the other' and the 'line of 30
>> > cubits.round about' are unqualified. Your correspondent has assumed c
>> > = 30 and d = 10, so that the ratio, c/d = pi= 3 (or, alternatively, C
>> > = 30 and D = 10; with an identical conclusion). But what if the
>> > writer's intention had been c = 30 and D = 10? The inner diameter (d)
>> > would then be the outer diameter(D) less twice the wall thickness of
>> > the cylinder (i.e. 2 x 'an handbreadth' - about 0.4 cubit). Under
>> > these conditions, pi= c/d = 30/9.6 = 3.125 (underestimating piby a
>> > mere 0.5%).
>> >
>> > "We might well conclude, therefore, that Solomon's chief concern when
>> > planning this structure was to ensure - by the careful balancing of
>> > inner diameter and wall thickness - that 3 (symbol of divine
>> > perfection) would appear as the simple ratio of two of its principal
>> > dimensions, viz c/D."
>> >
>> > Vernon Jenkins MSc
>> >
>> > PS Interestingly, an accurate value ofpiis built into the Hebrew text
>> > of the Bible's first verse. Details may be found at:
>> > http://homepage.virgin.net/vernon.jenkins/Pi_File.htm
>> >
>> > VJ
>> >
>> > Michael, I am interested to know how you would counter this argument.
>> >
>> > Vernon
>> >
>>
>>
>>
>>
>
>
>

I concur with Don, Michael, and George. It's not a good idea to let
atheists bait a Christian into ticklish explanations of insignificant
physical phenomena.
Received on Thu Apr 29 18:24:54 2004

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