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Biblical Q & A For Anyone

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Q: Our science teacher told us that the Earth is in fact some 13.5 billion years old and that the Bible is wrong by saying that the Earth is only six thousand years old.
My Pastor explained to me that my teacher is wrong since it does not say anywhere in the Bible how old the Earth is. So who is right then?

A: Your science teacher is right and your Pastor is wrong or at best, misleading. The Bible states the age of the earth by genealogical deduction. That is, Adam was 130 and 11 months when he fathered Seth, Seth was 105 and 11 months when he fathered Enosh, And so on up until the great flood. That there is such a fundamentally huge error in chronology gives rise to the reasonable conclusion that anything stated in the Bible lacks credibility.

Q: Okay, I explained what you said to my Pastor and he said that my science teacher is right and so is he right. He went on to say that one of God's years equals thousands of our years and that's what it meant in the Bible.
A: I'm afraid your Pastor is being a little bit shy of being upfront there. Nowhere in the Bible does it state that one of God's years equals thousands of ours. The Bible quite clearly states the number of years. A year is a year is a year.
In any case, that would mean that the life span of early man would be something like half a million years. As it is, Biblical claims that early inhabitants lived to over 130 years old is a bit rich, to say the least. We know from solid evidence that early man was lucky to have survived past 20 years of age.

Q: A recent documentary on TV showed that Noah's Ark actually existed. In fact, It showed scientists unearthing solid evidence of the arc and the pieces found clearly outlined the shape of such a giant vessel. The pieces were carbon dated and verified by scientists. Is this then surely proof that reinforces the accuracy and trueness of what is written in the Bible?
A: It was quite a comprehensive documentary indeed but at no point was a statement made confirming the existence of the arc. The words, "could have" and "possibly" were used in abundance throughout the film.
The fact is that the entire "Noah's Arc Discovery" was a complete hoax. The so-called "scientists" just happened to belong to the Noah's Arc Society based in Hong Kong. The society was duped into investigating an "archaeological find" near Mt Ararat.
Probably instigated by the local tourist council to attract tourists, some local Kurds were paid to lug some ancient fossilised wood to the site and bury it in a ship-like formation.
Further "scientific" evidence of massive floods in the region confirm no more than what has happened for hundreds of thousands years and still happens around the globe but certainly nowhere near the scale as mentioned in the Bible.
JesusistheonlyGod777
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  • @Swolliw

    The Bible quite clearly states the number of years. A year is a year is a year.

    What about all the places it's not? You have to take into account the context of the book it's in, the section it's in, the original language and culture assumptions for these. 

    You can't just pick the ones that support your argument and ignore the rest. That's the same for the YEC group. The Bible is broad here, much to the dissatisfaction of our modern, hubris-filled and answer demanding minds would prefer. 

    The point of Genesis wasn't to be a historical textbook. Genesis 1 contains a ton of easily sourced poetic, metaphorical narrative based on the knowledge of those ancient peoples. This wasn't written down with the purpose of being read through all time. It was written for the people of that time and preserved. 
  • @JustinC
    What about all the places it's not? You have to take into account the context of the book it's in, the section it's in, the original language and culture assumptions for these. 
    You can't just pick the ones that support your argument and ignore the rest. That's the same for the YEC group. The Bible is broad here, much to the dissatisfaction of our modern, hubris-filled and answer demanding minds would prefer. 
    The point of Genesis wasn't to be a historical textbook. Genesis 1 contains a ton of easily sourced poetic, metaphorical narrative based on the knowledge of those ancient peoples. This wasn't written down with the purpose of being read through all time. It was written for the people of that time and preserved. 

    A year is a year is a year.
    The Bible got it horribly wrong and no circumstantial crap as some sort of weak excuse will change it.
  • Swolliw said:
    @JustinC
    What about all the places it's not? You have to take into account the context of the book it's in, the section it's in, the original language and culture assumptions for these. 
    You can't just pick the ones that support your argument and ignore the rest. That's the same for the YEC group. The Bible is broad here, much to the dissatisfaction of our modern, hubris-filled and answer demanding minds would prefer. 
    The point of Genesis wasn't to be a historical textbook. Genesis 1 contains a ton of easily sourced poetic, metaphorical narrative based on the knowledge of those ancient peoples. This wasn't written down with the purpose of being read through all time. It was written for the people of that time and preserved. 

    A year is a year is a year.
    The Bible got it horribly wrong and no circumstantial crap as some sort of weak excuse will change it.
    Or Hebrew is hard?  

    For example an accurate English translation of part of Genesis 1:1 could be "When God began to create the heavens and the earth" instead of the often used "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth". 

    This would be much more in line with how the ancient Israelites would have thought of the text and has implications for a lot of what follows.

    I didn't realize that understanding an ancient language and its context was something that was weak. English has a single word for love, which has 4+ colloquial uses. That alone causes confusion in the understanding of the Greek texts of the New Testament. What is the reasoning why it must be a year? Or is it just as you said, a year is a year?
  • @JustinC

    The understanding of the first line as "When God began to create the heavens and the earth" is more an interpretation than a translation because of the verb structure. The opening word "b'reishit" has a prefix (b') which means "in" or "at" and then the r-a-sh root which often means "head" or "top" or "start." Reishit elsewhere in the bible means "first" (or, IIRC, "primary"). So one way to see the word is "at the start." Therefore "In the beginning" is reasonable it seems. The problem is that the text never says "of what" -- the phrase should be "at the start OF..." but instead, people translate to the word "beginning" as if it is a stand-alone noun which posits its own moment of existence.

    Then comes the verb -- it is in the simple past (bara -- "he created") whereas we might prefer "b'ri'at" -- "of the creation of". This reinforces the "beginning" as a moment at which everything happened ("at the start, he made"). Had the verb been "b'ri'at" then we could have read "at the start of the making of".

    So putting in the "began" (or even "When") might make some sense logically, neither is supported by a strict reading of the Hebrew words.

    There other intricacies (especially as to whether the "b" in front of "reishit" is a prefix or if it somehow creates a new essential word-construct) but I will just start with these points.
  • abdulabdul 26 Pts
    Q: Our science teacher told us that the Earth is in fact some 13.5 billion years old and that the Bible is wrong by saying that the Earth is only six thousand years old.
    My Pastor explained to me that my teacher is wrong since it does not say anywhere in the Bible how old the Earth is. So who is right then?
    A: Your science teacher is right and your Pastor is wrong or at best, misleading. The Bible states the age of the earth by genealogical deduction. That is, Adam was 130 and 11 months when he fathered Seth, Seth was 105 and 11 months when he fathered Enosh, And so on up until the great flood. That there is such a fundamentally huge error in chronology gives rise to the reasonable conclusion that anything stated in the Bible lacks credibility.

    actually........
    2.8 million years ago
    The earliest members of Homo evolved around 2.8 million years ago. H. habilis has been considered the first species for which there is clear evidence of the use of stone tools.
  • rosends said:
    @JustinC

    If we start with. 

    "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."

    This is an independent clause, it can stand on its own with giving the impression of missing information.

    When God began to create the heavens and the earth would be a dependent clause. We need something else to get the full idea of what's being said. I'll get to that. 

    The rest continues:

    "Now the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep"
    "And the spirit was hovering over the waters"
    "And God said "Let there be light" and there was light"


    Interesting that verse 2 starts with "Now", which is reflected in the original Hebrew.

    Traditionally, the idea is verse 2 is the result of verse 1. God created, then the result is verse 2. Then the next action in verse 3.

    Zooming in on In the beginning and looking at the Hebrew, were looking at reshith.

    For "In the beginning", if we're using the Hebrew system which has included vowels, we'd need to use the kamatz (little T), making this : "Ba"-reshith.

    For "When God began", we'd need to use Shva (Two vertical dots), making the "beh"-reshith.

    The translation of "When God began to create" is not only legitimate but accurately reflects the Masoretic text. Furthermore, I haven't seen any Maseroretic texts which have the kamatz. 




  • @JustinC

    You wrote,  “We need something else to get the full idea of what's being said.”

    We do need more which is why the text continues. But the first statement stands on its own. The language chosen makes clear that it is a declarative statement.

    You wrote, “The rest continues:
    "Now the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep"”

    But it doesn’t – the first word is “v’ha’aretz” which means “AND the earth” not “Now the earth”. Starting with the vav (and) though just means a progression not a dependence. The word “Now” which you say is reflected in the Hebrew is simply not there. The idea that the second statement is a result or effect is also not supported by the language. The world was created AND its status was…

    You wrote, “For "In the beginning", if we're using the Hebrew system which has included vowels, we'd need to use the kamatz (little T), making this : "Ba"-reshith.”

    The Hebrew prefix B’ (with a shva) happens often in Hebrew. You can look at words like “b’yadecha” – IN your hand, “b’einecha”, IN your eyes or “B’chol” (in every). The move to a kamatz simply invokes the definite article (combining the bet prefix with a hey prefix, turning b’ha into ba). This accounts then for both the “in” (b’) and “the” (ha). In the first word here, though, we have only the shva making the literal understanding “in beginning”. If you prefer that, then we can stick with that. For comparison, look up Psalms 119:6 for a B' followed by a patach if you are interested. The B’ prefix takes a noun object – here, reishit.

    In a similar vein, the word "b'shem" literally translates to "in name" but it means "in the name of" as in Psalm 118:26. The diffrence there is that the preposition "of" is inserted because the text provides an object to the preposition. Gen 1:1 does not have that object of a preposition, just of the verb.

    So using the shva na here is pointing specifically to “in” leading to the noun “reishit” (start)  unless you see the entire unit of “b’reisheet” as a distinct word, as appears to be the case when it is introduced with a mem prefix (and all the more so, a shin, mem). 


  • rosends said:
    @JustinC

    You wrote,  “We need something else to get the full idea of what's being said.”

    We do need more which is why the text continues. But the first statement stands on its own. The language chosen makes clear that it is a declarative statement.

    You wrote, “The rest continues:
    "Now the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep"”

    But it doesn’t – the first word is “v’ha’aretz” which means “AND the earth” not “Now the earth”. Starting with the vav (and) though just means a progression not a dependence. The word “Now” which you say is reflected in the Hebrew is simply not there. The idea that the second statement is a result or effect is also not supported by the language. The world was created AND its status was…

    You wrote, “For "In the beginning", if we're using the Hebrew system which has included vowels, we'd need to use the kamatz (little T), making this : "Ba"-reshith.”

    The Hebrew prefix B’ (with a shva) happens often in Hebrew. You can look at words like “b’yadecha” – IN your hand, “b’einecha”, IN your eyes or “B’chol” (in every). The move to a kamatz simply invokes the definite article (combining the bet prefix with a hey prefix, turning b’ha into ba). This accounts then for both the “in” (b’) and “the” (ha). In the first word here, though, we have only the shva making the literal understanding “in beginning”. If you prefer that, then we can stick with that. For comparison, look up Psalms 119:6 for a B' followed by a patach if you are interested. The B’ prefix takes a noun object – here, reishit.

    In a similar vein, the word "b'shem" literally translates to "in name" but it means "in the name of" as in Psalm 118:26. The diffrence there is that the preposition "of" is inserted because the text provides an object to the preposition. Gen 1:1 does not have that object of a preposition, just of the verb.

    So using the shva na here is pointing specifically to “in” leading to the noun “reishit” (start)  unless you see the entire unit of “b’reisheet” as a distinct word, as appears to be the case when it is introduced with a mem prefix (and all the more so, a shin, mem). 


    I think in Genesis 1:1, the kamatz is used to denote the dependent clause. 

    Before I go deeper, I just have a question about interpretation as it corresponds to realty. 

    If your claim is "In the beginning... " is a declarative statement and a independent clause, would you take the stance this is where once could sorce an idea of creation of the universe from nothing? Creation ex-nihlo?
  • @JustinC

    You wrote, "I think in Genesis 1:1, the kamatz is used to denote the dependent clause. "
    Which kamatz? There are 5 in the verse. Just none in the first word.

    You wrote, "If your claim is "In the beginning... " is a declarative statement and a independent clause, would you take the stance this is where once could sorce an idea of creation of the universe from nothing? Creation ex-nihlo?"

    If one wanted to infer that from this statement, i guess one could. The classical biblical commentators seem not to, though. The Aramaic translations talk about the timing (like the inclusion of אַוְולָא in the TY) or the method (the Yerushalmi's statement "בְּחוּכְמָא "). If you know of any commentators who draw the idea of ex nihilo specifically from this verse, please let me know. The Maimonidean explanation of ex nihilo (from his 4th principle) points to Deut 33:27 and NOT 1:1 (the text of the 13 references his Moreh Nevuchim 2:25) because he states that using just texts like 1:1 can also be used to draw erroneous conclusions about the nature of matter. 
  • SwolliwSwolliw 567 Pts
    edited October 14
    @JustinC
    What is the reasoning why it must be a year? Or is it just as you said, a year is a year?

    Because "in the beginning" means "in the beginning" and "day" means "day".
    And that means the Bible is horribly wrong.
    The moving hand writes and having writ moves on.......(Omar Khyam).
    Biblical zealots cannot have their cake and eat it...."It's the word of God you know...oh, except, in the beginning, and oooh, oooh, day and then there's........"

    What's the bet that these Biblical nitwits "coincidentally" concocted such an anomaly soon after scientists revealed the actual age of the earth and not a day before?
    And as soon as any other damning scientific evidence comes to the fore, out come the nitwits again...."oooh ah, well you seeee, when it says 40 days and 40 nights it really means, umm 48 billion years and...ohh no that's not right, it means um, er oh well, it just happened okay.
    No accounting for honesty and consistency, is there?
  • @rosends The opening word  "b'reishit"......means exactly what it sounds like; bulls*it which sets the tone for the remainder of the Bible.@abdul
  • @abdul
    actually........
    2.8 million years ago
    The earliest members of Homo evolved around 2.8 million years ago. H. habilis has been considered the first species for which there is clear evidence of the use of stone tools.

    4.5 billion years actually...I got it wrong; the universe is 13.5 billion years old.
    But yes, 2.8 billion years since the first man appeared.
  • @Swolliw
    actually, the third syllable rhymes with "sheet" (a chirik under the shin) but if you like your little joke, stick with that. Most kids who learn basic Hebrew make that same joke by age 8 so you're right where you should be.
  • Swolliw said:
    @JustinC
    What is the reasoning why it must be a year? Or is it just as you said, a year is a year?

    Because "in the beginning" means "in the beginning" and "day" means "day".
    And that means the Bible is horribly wrong.
    The moving hand writes and having writ moves on.......(Omar Khyam).
    Biblical zealots cannot have their cake and eat it...."It's the word of God you know...oh, except, in the beginning, and oooh, oooh, day and then there's........"

    What's the bet that these Biblical nitwits "coincidentally" concocted such an anomaly soon after scientists revealed the actual age of the earth and not a day before?
    And as soon as any other damning scientific evidence comes to the fore, out come the nitwits again...."oooh ah, well you seeee, when it says 40 days and 40 nights it really means, umm 48 billion years and...ohh no that's not right, it means um, er oh well, it just happened okay.
    No accounting for honesty and consistency, is there?
    I'm not arguing from a YEC basis. None of your objections have been stated as views. To respond to the beginning though, I question what you think you're reading in English. I mean, verses have different words depending on if you're leaning figurative or literal in the whole text. Not to mention finding places where they were using colloquialisms. For example, if we were to write those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, how do you interpret this as a colloquialism in 3,000 years vs something like an assumption some people in the 21st century lived in glass houses? Context of the thing you're reading for one. Then perhaps commentaries on the current culture, which will give you the proper understanding. What you term dishonest and inconsistent, I would call necessary given the age and culture gaps we have. 

    To your beginning comment, "Because "in the beginning" means "in the beginning" and "day" means "day"."


    Unless of course it's not in the beginning and better understood as When God began to create. Or, an English translation which says "In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth,". It changes the context and meaning of the next section which starts with an and. 

    And day does not mean "day". Depending on where you look day means some period of time in the past. Day also could mean 24 hr day. There are two meanings already. 

    If I follow your logic then any passage saying to "love" something must be impossible to have two different meanings. Because i mean we only have one word in English for it and we should be able to accurately understand Hebrew or Greek in English on the surface level right?

    Weird then that the Greeks had more than one word for love. And weird that we use it to mean so many different things. Why does this logic of yours only apply to one or two words but not all?

    Do you then take, being written originally in English, this statement in the Declaration of Independence to mean only those with a gender = male? "All men are created equal".

    You can't just pick and choose these rules when it fits your interpretation. It's an intellectually shallow claim to think we can understand a text written thousands of years ago in another culture, with a different understanding of the world, in a different language by a surface level simple reading. 
  • rosends said:
    @JustinC


    Quote 
    Which kamatz? There are 5 in the verse. Just none in the first word.
    - On reshith. My interlinear Bible has one? (Pic attached) 



  • @JustinC
    In that image, you have the word b'reisheet (stress on the third syllable)

    בְּרֵאשִׁית

    there is a shva under the bet, a tzeirei under the reish and a chirik (plus an accent mark) under the shin.

    No kamatz.
  • @JustinC
    I question what you think you're reading in English. I mean, verses have different words depending on if you're leaning figurative or literal in the whole text.

    Crap. You are going through the whole deceitful exercise still.
    The Bible is full of discredited nonsense and you can try and twist peoples minds as much as you think you can but the fact remains: the Bible is full of myths, anecdotes, misinformation, lies and utter filth.
    And did you paste that piece of "witticism" on the water-cooler bottle?
    I bet they swapped the bottle over straight away even if it was more than half-full.
  • rosends said:
    @JustinC
    In that image, you have the word b'reisheet (stress on the third syllable)

    בְּרֵאשִׁית

    there is a shva under the bet, a tzeirei under the reish and a chirik (plus an accent mark) under the shin.

    No kamatz.
    Sorry yes I reversed the two names. I found a presentation which covers this point well in the beginning. First 10min.
  • Swolliw said:
    @JustinC
    I question what you think you're reading in English. I mean, verses have different words depending on if you're leaning figurative or literal in the whole text.

    Crap. You are going through the whole deceitful exercise still.
    The Bible is full of discredited nonsense and you can try and twist peoples minds as much as you think you can but the fact remains: the Bible is full of myths, anecdotes, misinformation, lies and utter filth.
    And did you paste that piece of "witticism" on the water-cooler bottle?
    I bet they swapped the bottle over straight away even if it was more than half-full.
    Your logic eludes me. How is claiming the original language had multiple word options where we have one in English dishonest? You usually go on a rant like this when confronted with questions you don't have answers to. So you must just assert that well it doesn't matter it's simply disproven. That claim is not supported in reality. If you don't want to have a discussion or need more time, you can simply say so. What is this water cooler stuff other than a clear example of not being willing to engage?
    Dee
  • DeeDee 2800 Pts
    @JustinC


    You’re doing the usual totally dishonest and cowardly dance of deflection Christians all do. Last week you quoted a couple of verses that you said were “clear examples” of gods goodness because they suited your position , when any verses that clearly demonstrate a slave sanctioning, petty , vindictive god they become suddenly “out of context” or a poor translation......You’re full of BS 
    JustinC
  • DeeDee 2800 Pts
    @JustinC

    You can't just pick and choose these rules when it fits your interpretation.

    Absolutely hilarious , this is all you ever do 


    It's an intellectually shallow claim to think we can understand a text written thousands of years ago in another culture, with a different understanding of the world,

    You understand perfectly when it fits your intellectually dishonest positions 

     in a different language by a surface level simple reading

    Yes of course as you explained before the only people who understand the Bible are people who are fluent in ancient Hebrew which rules you and 99.9 percent of Christians out as most have never even read the bile in English 
    JustinC
  • SwolliwSwolliw 567 Pts
    edited October 14
    @JustinC
    How is claiming the original language had multiple word options where we have one in English dishonest? 
    You've been told how a number of times and theists, in general, are notorious for it.
    The utter bovine excrement theists have believed for the past hundreds of years has been completely turned inside out and upside down and found to be false.
    Any twisting and turning or re-interpretation of such crap after the event of being found out does them no favour at all. It just enhances and further confirms why normal sane folk won't go anywhere near a Christian know-all with a barge pole when it comes to the truth. The fact is that theists will lie their way out of any lie in order to try and save face.
    That is why you and any other theist who defends such absurdities with other absurdities is a habitual liar and therefore, dishonest.

  • @JustinC
    I stopped 18 and a half minutes in. He also inserts "now" where it doesn't exist in the Hebrew. And he intuits a dependence which is not in the Hebrew. I still don't see how the kamatz (there are two in bara) has anything to do with it. The word bara appears 5 times in the 5 books of Moses, always with 2 kamatz vowels. There is no other version or option so why would that necessarily make this iteration a dependent clause?
    JustinC
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