Re: [asa] Predestined Fame:

From: Vernon Jenkins <>
Date: Tue Jul 22 2008 - 15:38:27 EDT

Hi Murray,

It's a pity that I can't persuade you to examine the numero-geometric features of the Hebrew of Genesis 1:1. They really are extraordinary - involving as they do a symbolic (even prophetic!) representation of Rev.13 - and clearly require an extraordinary explanation. But in view of the fact that such truths - and the problems they raise - are obviously not for you, I am happy to terminate what has become an interesting - though unresolvable - discussion.

With all good wishes,

----- Original Message -----
From: "Murray Hogg" <>
To: "ASA" <>
Sent: Sunday, July 20, 2008 10:43 AM
Subject: Re: [asa] Predestined Fame:

> Hi Vernon,
> Just a point of clarification prior to bowing out of a discussion which,
> as I see it, has no constructive direction remaining in which to turn.
> I'm afraid you've been remarkably too optimistic about my "concession"
> re the omission of "selah" for, if you reread my post on the matter,
> you'll observe that I laid conditions on such an exclusion.
> However, as such conditions were obviously not spelled out clearly
> enough - thus leading to the quite incorrect perception that I've
> changed my mind on the matter - I'll restate my position one final time;
> I consider that there are two clear implications of your argument;
> (1) If we omit "selah" from the inspired text of Psalm 46 and use the
> linguistic/numerological approach to demonstrate the inspiration of the
> resultant "tweaked" or "modified" text THEN I take such demonstration as
> proof that the original text IS NOT inspired as it erroneously includes
> the word "selah".
> Or
> (2) If we include "selah", then your numerological analysis simply
> doesn't demonstrate what you claim for it.
> Either way, I'll simply restate my position: your approach, when applied
> to the text of Psalm 46 AS ACTUALLY PRESENTED IN THE AV demonstrably fails.
> I acknowledge that your approach works when one omits "selah" - but as
> "selah" is part of the inspired text you seem to have (again) one of two
> options - deny the very theory of inspiration you seek to demonstrate OR
> acknowledge that you are, despite assertions to the contrary, "tweaking"
> the text in order to demonstrate a theory.
> I have to say that I'm genuinely sorry that I'm not able to move in the
> direction of a compromise on this matter, but feel compelled to restate
> my rejection of your methodology and its conclusions due to the question
> begging assumptions and selective appropriation of data which, to my
> mind, your theorem requires. Indeed, the more I reflect on the issue,
> the stronger my reservations become.
> Intellectual honesty requires that I state, quite baldly, that I have no
> sympathy with your approach. Nor would I wish anybody on the list to
> mistakenly assume that I have found your defense of this position the
> least compelling.
> Just to add one last contrary observation: note that I haven't even
> mentioned to this point those words in Psalm 46 which are found in
> italics. As you most likely know italics represent words not found in
> the original languages but which are added in order to make sense of the
> English translation. In my opinion, such words are CLEARLY more
> "dispensable" than "selah" so that if one can reasonably exclude the
> later then one can likewise reasonably exclude the former. This is just
> one more strike against the entire linguistic/numerological approach
> which you've been advocating.
> Apologies if you feel I've wasted your time but I certainly don't see
> that I'm able to warm to what I still consider a fundamentally flawed
> approach.
> Nor do I wish to try the patience of others on the list by furthering
> what must be regarded as an off-topic discussion which, as I earlier
> stated, probably has nowhere constructive left to turn.
> Blessings,
> Murray Hogg
> Pastor, East Camberwell Baptist Church, Victoria, Australia
> Post-Grad Student (MTh), Australian College of Theology
> Vernon Jenkins wrote:
>> Hi Murray,
>> Here is what you last wrote with my responses interleaved.
>> MH> We're on totally different wavelengths as regards our understanding
>> of the
>> role and nature of Scripture, I'm afraid. My guess is that your puzzlement
>> arises from the assumption that we share the same conceptual space on the
>> matter.
>> VJ> Yes, I guess one learns as one goes along.
>> MH> First, I don't consider ANY translation as divinely inspired nor do
>> I consider
>> the Holy Spirit to be bound by such considerations. It is, basically, a
>> distinction between (1) the origins of a text and (2) how we read it
>> under the
>> influence of the Spirit. Failure to draw such a distinction means that one
>> either has to argue that ALL translations of scripture are inspired OR the
>> Holy Spirit cannot speak through the "non-inspired" translations (which
>> include, what? The NIV? NKJV? RSV? Good News? Non-English translations?).
>> Neither seems a desirable position to take. One _might_ adopt a mediating
>> position saying that the Spirit speaks most clearly through the AV - but
>> there's a MAJOR catch lurking in there which I leave others to discover for
>> themselves (that said, ask and ye shall recieve!).
>> VJ> While you may not consider any _translation_ to be divinely
>> inspired, presumably you'd go along with the Spirit-guided words of the
>> Aposle Paul (2Tm 3:16,17) and agree that the _original_ undoubtedly was;
>> otherwise, the Holy Spirit speaks with an uncertain voice, does He not?!
>> MH> Second, regardless of how you see it, I have said nothing about
>> whether one
>> can, or cannot, deducing the truth of Scripture by rational argument. All I
>> have stated is that I find unconvincing your attempts to demonstrate the
>> divine inspiration of the AV by using the particular
>> linguistic/numerological
>> arguments you have so far advanced. As to whether such arguments are based
>> on "self-evident" truth - well, that's precisely the question at issue. You
>> think it self-evident that the 46th word from the end of Psalm 46 is
>> "spear",
>> whereas I consider it self-evident that the word is "in".
>> VJ> I thought we had agreed that a _careful_ consideration of the
>> circumstances attending Psalm 46 reveals that the concluding 'selah'
>> should, logically, be _excluded_ from the reverse word count. You've
>> obviously had second thoughts. Would you care to explain your change of
>> view?
>> But anyway, you must realise that this phenomenon is no isolated case -
>> though the easiest of all to comprehend. It is but one of many unique
>> and rare events which conspire together to 'spell ' the word 'miracle'
>> and thereby raise the status of the whole of the Judaeo-Christian
>> Scriptures. I have already drawn your attention to some of these, viz
>> and
>> MH> I actually dislike saying too much about whether one can "prove"
>> anything
>> respecting the faith by rational argument as one is almost always
>> interpreted
>> wrongly on such matters. My experience is that most people take a
>> dichotomizing view of faith and reason whilst I would hold that the
>> interplay
>> between the two is actually far more complex. Personally, I consider
>> that the
>> Holy Spirit can speak as well through a mathematical proof as through a
>> sunset
>> or a sermon. But because it IS the Spirit speaking, it is therefore an
>> error
>> to ask whether it was the proof or the sunset or the sermon or the Spirit
>> which convinces. The Spirit works THROUGH such secondary causes, not apart
>> from them. So we're not forced to discriminate between the primary cause of
>> the God's revelation through the Spirit, and the secondary causes already
>> mentioned. I'll only add that my current post-grad studies are PRECISELY on
>> the question of how John's Gospel presents God as making himself known
>> through
>> Christ - quoting Jn 10:37,38 as thought this were ALL that John's gospel
>> says
>> about the relation between Christ's works and the knowledge of God shows a
>> woefully inadequate grasp of John's theology of the Spirit which is,
>> essntially, the fact that even when one sees the works of Christ one
>> believes
>> on the basis of the Spirit enlightening the eyes of the soul THROUGH the
>> works. Again, it isn't an "either/or" proposition with regards to secondary
>> causes (Christ's works) and primary causes (the witness of the Spirit).
>> VJ> Murray, I believe you elaborate too much. All that I am aware of in
>> the quoted passage is that the Lord invites those skeptical of his words
>> to believe _because_ of the miracles they had seen him perform. Isn't
>> that a fair reading of the matter? And doesn't it extend to what I am
>> now promoting?
>> MH> Incidentally, you might consider that the arguments your are
>> presenting are
>> not, strictly speaking, "rational" arguments so much as "empirical"
>> arguments:
>> they hinge on the simple question of whether or not the text of the
>> Authorised
>> Version AS ACTUALLY WRITTEN shows the characteristics you claim for it. Yet
>> what I find is that when I count so many words from such-and-such a
>> position
>> in the text IT IS DEMONSTRABLY THE CASE that your argument fails UNLESS you
>> first "tweak" the data to fit the theory. Not a good game to play amongst
>> those attempting to be faithful to the scientific method. It's like arguing
>> that "all swans are white" is self-evidently true just so long as one
>> disregards the black ones.
>> VJ> I believe I've already dealt with this objection. However, you ought
>> to know that most of phenomena I speak about are based upon the Hebrew
>> and Greek texts of Scripture. If you are interested, the following page
>> provides a good overview:
>> MH> Third, I consider your position viz-a-viz linguistic/numerological
>> arguments
>> to be fundamentally flawed for the reasons already given. One simply can't
>> argue that the facts ought to be faith strengthening when the facts
>> actually
>> have to be tailored to fit the faith one wishes to espouse.
>> VJ> No tailoring, no tweaking, Murray; just careful observation and
>> simple logic.
>> Regards,
>> Vernon
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Received on Tue Jul 22 15:39:28 2008

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