Re: [asa] Empiricism, Faith and Science

From: Don Nield <>
Date: Sat Sep 23 2006 - 00:27:59 EDT

I am coming in late on this thread, which has become a discussion of
Vernon's gematria. It has been pointed that the accusative marker
aleph-tau is a late feature of Hebrew grammar. Has anyone recently
pointed out that the division of the Hebrew scriptures into separate
verses is also late? Since Genesis 1:2 begins with a waw-consecutive
(that could be translated "and") this means that verse 2 runs on from
verse 1. Thus the fact that in our Bibles verse 1 has only 7 words is
somewhat arbitrary. This is another reason for ascribing the gematria to
a late editor rather than regard them as divinely inspired.

Paul Seely wrote:

> Iain wrote,
> This doesn't answer my original criticism of your argument. You're
> saying "I don't like this - it's more like pagan magic than a miracle,
> so God couldn't have done it that way". Just as Dawkins argues that
> God wouldn't have done it by evolution so there can't be a God.
> My point here was that quite a few people have argued that the pattern
> in Gen 1:1 could have been put there by the original authors, because
> humans often played around with gematria & your comment about the
> aleph tau being a late edition rules out the possibility of it being
> done by humans. [ I grant that it doesn't rule out the possibility
> that it was written by a human after the aleph tau came into the
> language]. >>
> My argument is directed at Vernon's belief that as God inspired the
> text of Gen 1:1 he built in an impressive numerical pattern which by
> its impressiveness bears witness to its divine inspiration. My point
> is that the impressive pattern is very probably resting partly on a
> much later scribe's updating of the grammar. I mentioned the
> aleph-tau, which is enough to make the point, but in fact there are
> two aleph-tau's The pattern is thus resting on significant later
> additions which do not add to or change the message in any way, but
> change the numerical value considerably. And since these additions do
> not add to or change the message but are, one might say, purely
> mechanical, I see no reason to regard them as divinely inspired.
> I agree that my comments negate a theory that the pattern was
> purposely placed there via the author or authors playing with
> the words to get a numerical pattern. The last scribe who updated it
> could have done so, but it does not seem likely to me that he did.
> To me Vernon's patterns are just one more example of numerology, which
> from my experience I conclude comes as much from the mind of the
> discoverer as from the text. I think Vernon could remove the two
> aleph-taus and still come up with a new impressive pattern.
> As for the argument that it would be even more of a miracle if the
> pattern did not appear until the last scribe updated the grammar, I
> admit that my call (sounds like magic, not biblical miracle) is a
> judgement call, but unlike Dawkins it is not purely subjective: it is
> based on the nature of miracles as they appear in Scripture.
> <<I do not think the aleph tau is like French pas. Pas is a regular
> word, not a mere grammatical marker.
> OK, so I got it slightly wrong. In fact it is the "ne" that doesn't
> have a meaning. This definition came from an online dictionary:
> *1 ne *Adverbe *(a)* /(placed before a negated verb: carries no
> translation as such, and frequently absent in non-emphatic speech)/
> *je ~ travaille pas* I don't work, I do not work /(frm)/ ; *il ~
> travaille jamais* he never works
> So ne is merely an untranslatable particle that indicated the
> following verb is negated. Hence it's exactly analogous to the aleph tau.
> Instead of this nit-picking which seems like an excuse not to evaluate
> the data on its own merits, I think it would be more honest to
> actually have a look at it. >>
> I did not mean to nit-pick. I did not understand your argument I
> agree that there are similarities between French ne and Hebrew
> aleph-tau though I doubt that in speaking Hebrew Israelites actually
> vocalized aleph -tau (but there is no way to prove it). But, you
> misunderstand my argument. I am not arguing that aleph-tau should be
> ignored or rejected just because it is only a grammatical marker, but
> rather because it is a late updating of the grammar, and hence not an
> added revelation from God, and hence not inspired in the way that
> Vernon is thinking of the text.
> << Some time back, I publicly challenged Vernon to evaluate the
> evidence for evolution by examining Francis Collins's paper "Faith and
> the Human Genome", which presents pretty much irrefutable evidence
> that it happened. Vernon gave the absolutely infuriating answer that
> it was obvious that Collins and other TEs were just ignoring the
> bible, indicating that the evidence presented by Collins didn't carry
> any weight.
> Your objections to Vernon's data are equally infuriating, because you,
> equally, are not attempting to evaluate the evidence, but using your a
> priori beliefs (about, e.g. the nature of miracles that you'll believe
> God would or would not do) to discredit it out of hand.>>
> I hope you realize from the above that my argument is not purely
> subjective or apriori. You may also get more insight into my
> conclusion by reading a book on Old Testament textual criticism. The
> differences in the spellings and hence in the numerical value of
> various verses are considerable. I do not think Vernon's foundation is
> firm.
> Regarding Collins' book, Vernon sees no more sense in going through
> all the intricacies of it than I do in going through all the
> intricacies of his work. And in a sense for the same reason: We do not
> think the foundation of the proffered truths is sound. Vernon believes
> Genesis is a revelation from God as to HOW and WHEN God created the
> world. Since the "days" look very much like 24-hour days, and Adam
> from the 6th day, judging by the genealogies, was created not more
> than 6 to 10 thousand years ago and since Eve was made from Adam's
> rib, there is no place for long ages of evolution And who is Francis
> Collins or anyone else to say God got it wrong?
> If you want to change Vernon, you need to argue from Scripture.
> Best wishes,
> Paul S
> G

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Received on Sat Sep 23 00:29:16 2006

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