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Does the Bible contradict itself?
Yes. 30%  30%  [ 15 ]
No. 26%  26%  [ 13 ]
Only if you take it literally. 44%  44%  [ 22 ]
Total votes : 50
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 10:31 pm 
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What do you mean, "sporting chance"? You're saying that as if he owed it to them. Perhaps now would be a good opportunity to explain the essential problem.

Romans 1:18ff explains that the essential problem with all people is that they reject the knowledge of God that has been given to them, in whatever form it might take. In essence, all people at one time knew the true God, but chose to turn away from him. Ultimately, on account of their rejection of the knowledge revealed to them, God will hold them accountable. Romans 3:23 further explains that the problem is one of sin and rebellion: all people have sinned and fallen short of God's intended purpose for them, and as a result, do not deserve his caring provision or his mercy. Now, that God would provide a way out of that situation - through the cross of Jesus Christ - is itself a sufficient act of mercy on his part. But bear in mind, it's not as if he owed anyone that.

But regarding the ancient Egyptians, or for that matter, any other culture that did not acknowledge the Hebrew God: the Egyptians really don't have much of an excuse. The Hebrew people were their slaves for over 400 years, and even when Moses was sent to free the Israelites, the Egyptians for the most part refused to acknowledge this foreign God. But for anyone else, if there is to be any hope had, it can only be on account of THIS PASSAGE in Acts, or to summarize:
Quote:
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead (Acts 17:30f).


But to summarize my own points:

1. Mankind's doom has been brought about by evil deed, part of which is refusal to acknowledge God as creator (Romans 1:18ff). This doom is made real to each individual on account of their own wrongdoing, so there is no excuse for anyone (Romans 3:23, 6:23).

2. God didn't owe anyone a remedy for this problem, but provided one anyway (Ephesians 2:8-10, Romans 5:8-11).

3. In the present day, on account of the revelation of Christ, each person will be held accountable for their disposition toward God.

4. Regarding ancient people and those who have not received this revelation, we can only hope that God shows mercy upon them on account of their ignorance (Acts 17:30-31). But in this age, we should not count on that.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 11:00 pm 
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Hmm... very interesting, Didymus. This has always been one of my biggest qualms with Christianity, and you've helped me udnerstand this a lot better.

I guess my main problem is, as someone told me recently, I'm one of the many people who confuses a "compassionate God" with a "pushover God". God may offer compassion, but he is also just.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 4:46 am 
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Didymus wrote:
But regarding the ancient Egyptians, or for that matter, any other culture that did not acknowledge the Hebrew God: the Egyptians really don't have much of an excuse. The Hebrew people were their slaves for over 400 years, and even when Moses was sent to free the Israelites, the Egyptians for the most part refused to acknowledge this foreign God.


small correction: the Israelites were only slaves in Egypt for 210 years.

and anyway, Didymus, doesn't Christianity think that everyone pre-Jesus went to hell anyway, since we "need" his sacrifice to remove the taint of original sin or whatever?


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 5:35 am 
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small correction: the Israelites were only slaves in Egypt for 210 years.

Are you SURE ABOUT THAT?
Unless your intent is to distinguish between the time that they resided there and the time they were under servitude. If that is the case, then I stand corrected (but I'd like to see a citation to verify it first). In either case, the Hebrew people were in Egypt for more than 400 years, sufficient time for the Egyptians to have come to know the God of Abraham.

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and anyway, Didymus, doesn't Christianity think that everyone pre-Jesus went to hell anyway, since we "need" his sacrifice to remove the taint of original sin or whatever?

No. The sacrifice itself covers not only the sins of those who lived after that time, but also those who lived before in longing expectation of God's redemption. As Jesus says, "Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad" (John 8:56). You must also remember that we Christians believe in the resurrection of the body on the Last Day; it is at that time that people will be judged.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 6:38 am 
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Didymus wrote:
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small correction: the Israelites were only slaves in Egypt for 210 years.

Are you SURE ABOUT THAT?
Unless your intent is to distinguish between the time that they resided there and the time they were under servitude. If that is the case, then I stand corrected (but I'd like to see a citation to verify it first). In either case, the Hebrew people were in Egypt for more than 400 years, sufficient time for the Egyptians to have come to know the God of Abraham.


i'm not saying it wasn't long enough. but they were only in Egypt for 210 years -- the four-hundred and thirty years are counted from the time of the prophecy where God promised Abraham that his descendants would become slaves but would then be freed -- "four hundred years," God says (Genesis 15:13), and that period is counted from the birth of Isaac, thirty years later. the Israelites were only actually SLAVES for one hundred and sixteen years until the exodus; before that they resided in the land but were not slaves, Joseph was actually Pharaoh's chief adviser during that time. the means to calculate this is all there in the text.

Didymus wrote:
[
No. The sacrifice itself covers not only the sins of those who lived after that time, but also those who lived before in longing expectation of God's redemption. As Jesus says, "Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad" (John 8:56). You must also remember that we Christians believe in the resurrection of the body on the Last Day; it is at that time that people will be judged.


oh, that's nice. the belief in the physical resurrection in the End Times is from Judaism. what about those who didn't "live before in longing expectation of God's redemption"? who had never heard of the God of Abraham but were otherwise good people?


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 5:26 pm 
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"Otherwise good people" doesn't fulfill the Great Commandment, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength." It may fulfill the second, lesser Great Commandment, "Love your neighbor as yourself," but not the greater of the two. But you might also want to note THIS PASSAGE I cited earlier.

As for the 430 years:
Genesis 15:13 wrote:
Then the LORD said to Abram, "Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years.

Exodus 12:40-41 wrote:
The time that the people of Israel lived in Egypt was 430 years. At the end of 430 years, on that very day, all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.

Both of these passages seem to indicate to me that the actual time the Israelites spent in Egypt is 400+ years. I'm still not entirely sure where you get the 210 from. Can you further clarify that for me please?

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 6:42 pm 
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Didymus wrote:
"Otherwise good people" doesn't fulfill the Great Commandment, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength." It may fulfill the second, lesser Great Commandment, "Love your neighbor as yourself," but not the greater of the two. But you might also want to note THIS PASSAGE I cited earlier.


those commandments weren't given to the Egyptians, though, so they weren't obligated to uphold them. they weren't even given to the Israelites until Mount Sinai, which was already after they ceased having any contact with the Egyptians.

Quote:
Both of these passages seem to indicate to me that the actual time the Israelites spent in Egypt is 400+ years. I'm still not entirely sure where you get the 210 from. Can you further clarify that for me please?


it's just counting. Moses was 80 when he led the Israelites out of Egypt. his father Amram lived 137 years, and Amram's father Kehat was one of the 70 original Israelites who went down to Egypt, and he lived 133 years. even if there wasn't any overlap in their lifetimes (which obviously there had to have been), that only adds up to 350 years.

but if you start from the birth of Isaac, take the number of years of his life before the birth of Jacob (60), and the number of years of Jacob's life before he went down to Egypt (130), and subtract that from the promised 400 years, you get 210. and if you consider that the promise that Abraham's descendants would be "strangers in a land not theirs -- four hundred years" was given 30 years before the birth of Isaac, then you get the 430 years that the Torah later gives for the period of enslavement.

the Israelites clearly weren't physically enslaved in Egypt for 400 or 430 years, it's just not numerically possible.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 8:25 pm 
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That's assuming that all the necessary numbers are available to calculate the time of Moses' ancestry (according to my Hebrew professor for college, it is reasonable that there are omissions in the genealogy). But the texts in question, from both Genesis and Exodus, resolutely state that the time of Israel's sojourn in Egypt itself is 400+ years, not calculated from the time of Isaac, but their actual stay in the land. So it seems strange to me that the time should be calculated according to Moses' genealogy rather than the stated time.

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those commandments weren't given to the Egyptians, though, so they weren't obligated to uphold them. they weren't even given to the Israelites until Mount Sinai, which was already after they ceased having any contact with the Egyptians.

Ah, but consider this: doesn't the entire early history of mankind related in Genesis and Exodus follow a consistent theme of humanity turning away from the true God to follow their own ideas? From the very beginning, God's expectation of mankind seems to be to trust him and follow him, or, as the language of the Torah puts it, to walk with him? It seems the chief lesson to be learned from those stories is this: that when people stop walking with God, they fall into evil. This, to me, is the essence of the Commands, particularly the Great Command, "Love the Lord your God," that mankind was created to walk with God, and by not walking with God, mankind not only fails in that purpose, but also opens itself up to even greater evils (particularly those that violate the second of the Two Great Commands, "Love your neighbor as yourself"). From the way you phrased your question earlier, I was under the impression you were speaking specifically of those who had no desire to walk with God, whether because they did not believe in him at all, or because they deliberately turned against him as Pharaoh did.

In other words, the reason for those two Great Commands is to reveal God's intended purpose for all mankind, which is first and foremost, to walk with him, and second, to show compassion on those in need. But, as the passage I cited in that link earlier, God in his compassion for mankind is at times willing to overlook ignorance, but only for a time.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 11:13 pm 
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Didymus wrote:
That's assuming that all the necessary numbers are available to calculate the time of Moses' ancestry (according to my Hebrew professor for college, it is reasonable that there are omissions in the genealogy). But the texts in question, from both Genesis and Exodus, resolutely state that the time of Israel's sojourn in Egypt itself is 400+ years, not calculated from the time of Isaac, but their actual stay in the land. So it seems strange to me that the time should be calculated according to Moses' genealogy rather than the stated time.


there are no omissions in the genealogy. Moses was the son of Amram who was the son of Kehat who was the son of Levi who was the son of Jacob. the Torah is extremely specific when it comes to genealogies. it wants us to be able to calculate this stuff, because the text doesn't always make things explicit, or because it sometimes makes things seem complicated when it could be easy precisely so we'll have to look deeper for what's actually going on.

here's what the commentary in my Chumash says about Exodus 12:40:

Quote:
Although the verse gives the duration of Israel's stay in Egypt as 430 years, it is clear that the nation could not have been in Egypt that long, for the lifetimes of Kehoth, who came with Jacob, and his son Amram total only 270 years, and Amram's son Moses was eighty at the time of the Exodus. Rather, the Rabbinic tradition, as cited by Rashi,
is as follows: the Covenant between the Parts (Genesis 15:7-21) took place 430 years before the Exodus, and that is the period referred to in our verse. At that time, God foretold to Abraham that his offspring would endure 400 years, during which there would be exile, persecution, and servitude -- but not necessarily all of them at the same time. Those 400 years began with the birth of Isaac, since the prophecy referred to Abraham's offspring (Genesis 15:13). Thus, the Exodus was perfectly calibrated to conform to the prophecy to Abraham, for Isaac was born on the fifteenth of [the month of] Nissan, and exactly four hundred years later, precisely at the deadline -- [miketz], at the end -- of the prescribed time (v.41), the Jews were liberated. The actual sojourn in Egypt lasted 210 years (Rashi). Accordingly, the verse's reference to 430 years as the time they dwelled in Egypt means that the Egyptian exile had been decreed 430 years before the Exodus.

Rambam (Iggeres Teiman) cites this chronology as an illustration of how prophecies are often understood completely only after they come to pass. Until the Exodus, it was not known if the 400 years were to be dated from the prophecy to Abraham, the birth of Isaac, Jacob's descent to Egypt, or the beginning of the Egyptian servitude. A sizable number of the tribe of Ephraim, convinced that the 400 years began from the Covenant, attempted a mass escape thirty years before the Exodus, and many were slaughtered by the Philistines (see Sanhedrin 92b).


so you see, you can't just take the words at face value, because they often are only a hint of what the true meaning is meant to be. the whole point is that you constantly have to be looking deeper to find the meanings that are below the surface.

Quote:
Ah, but consider this: doesn't the entire early history of mankind related in Genesis and Exodus follow a consistent theme of humanity turning away from the true God to follow their own ideas? From the very beginning, God's expectation of mankind seems to be to trust him and follow him, or, as the language of the Torah puts it, to walk with him? It seems the chief lesson to be learned from those stories is this: that when people stop walking with God, they fall into evil. This, to me, is the essence of the Commands, particularly the Great Command, "Love the Lord your God," that mankind was created to walk with God, and by not walking with God, mankind not only fails in that purpose, but also opens itself up to even greater evils (particularly those that violate the second of the Two Great Commands, "Love your neighbor as yourself"). From the way you phrased your question earlier, I was under the impression you were speaking specifically of those who had no desire to walk with God, whether because they did not believe in him at all, or because they deliberately turned against him as Pharaoh did.

In other words, the reason for those two Great Commands is to reveal God's intended purpose for all mankind, which is first and foremost, to walk with him, and second, to show compassion on those in need. But, as the passage I cited in that link earlier, God in his compassion for mankind is at times willing to overlook ignorance, but only for a time.


yes, but the examples of Adam and Eve, then of the generation of Noah, and then of the generation of the Tower of Babel, shows us that the entire human race as a collective is either incapable or unwilling to walk with God. that's why He made a covenant with Abraham and his descendants instead -- because if He were judging the whole world by those exacting standards, He'd have to keep wiping them out like He did the generation of the Flood. instead, He gave the Torah and commandments only to the Israelites, and it is then through the Jews' observance of the commandments and the holiness that is brought into the world via that path that the rest of humanity is blessed and endures.


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 Post subject: Does the Bible contradict itself?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 6:03 am 
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Saw this on another forum, though I'd link to it.

http://www.ethicalatheist.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=104

It lists 421 subjects on which the Bible seems to not be able to remain consistent, all backed up with biblical scripture.

It's really (really, really) long so I'm not sure if it's in there, but my favorite example of the bible contradicting itself is the part where Cain goes out and "meets other people and marry's them" (I'm paraphrasing) a little after he kills Able.

Right... which "other" people are these? The non-existant people who were not created at all because Adam was the first man, Eve was the first Woman, and Cain apparently wasn't marrying his sister, or would these be the magically-appearing-out-of-thin-air people who weren't mentioned at all before but suddenly pop up and *BING* there's more people than just Adam, Eve, Cain and his dead brother Able? Explain that and still remain a biblical literalist. Or sane.

You know, for a work of fiction, the editors of the Bible sure messed up their continuity.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 6:19 am 
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We already have a thread for Bible questions, curiosities, and contradictions, but I'll take a stab at the Cain question.

As I believe Didy said in that thread, Jewish genealogical records rarely listed daughters; if you look through both Testaments you'll see lists of fathers and sons, and rarely sisters and daughters. Adam and Eve did have other children after the twins.
Genesis 5:3-5 wrote:
When Adam was 130 years old, his son Seth was born, and Seth was the very image of his father. After the birth of Seth, Adam lived another 800 years, and had other sons and daughters. He died at the age of 930. (NLT)


So while procreation may have been incest, at that time it was necessary to allow the human race to survive. Now we have over 6 billion people on this Earth; that's plenty. ;)

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 6:30 am 
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IantheGecko wrote:
We already have a thread for Bible questions, curiosities, and contradictions, but I'll take a stab at the Cain question.

As I believe Didy said in that thread, Jewish genealogical records rarely listed daughters; if you look through both Testaments you'll see lists of fathers and sons, and rarely sisters and daughters. Adam and Eve did have other children after the twins.
Genesis 5:3-5 wrote:
When Adam was 130 years old, his son Seth was born, and Seth was the very image of his father. After the birth of Seth, Adam lived another 800 years, and had other sons and daughters. He died at the age of 930. (NLT)


So while procreation may have been incest, at that time it was necessary to allow the human race to survive. Now we have over 6 billion people on this Earth; that's plenty. ;)


OK, aside from the obvious biological problems with that argument (there's a very sound biological reason you're not allowed to marry your sister, and it has nothing to do with religion), there's the problem of Cain not being around at all. If you read where Cain gets cast out, he is "made to wander" or something like that (I don't remember the exact passage) and it's said that he wasn't living in the same place Adam & Eve were. Worse, since he was the killer of Able and God punished him by casting him out of Adam's presence, why would God allow Cain to marry his sister later? Doesn't that seem more than a little bit contradictory to you?

But, the point is moot since you are now MAKING STUFF UP! Nowhere in the Bible does it say anything about Cain marrying his sister (or even HAVING a sister, for that matter), so if that's your explanation then you aren't being very literal, are you?

I just love how every time something like this comes up, people always try and explain it away with a "Well, maybe this happened and the bible just forgot to mention it" argument. It's so very amusing. By that logic, maybe God is really a flying spaghetti monster and the bible just happens to be silent on that point.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 6:58 am 
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Sarge, watch yourself. Seriously. Ian answered your question. There is no need for you to start getting uppity about it. And I do believe you have been warned before about your attitude: if you do not wish to conduct your conversation in a congenial manner, then don't bother posting here.

As I've said before, if you don't want an answer to your question, then don't ask it. And yes, we have already discussed this issue in the thread Ian cited.

But as for your response:
1. There's nothing "contradictory" about Cain marrying his sister if there was no prohibition against it at that period in divine history.

2. The genealogies of the Old Testament rarely do mention female members of the family. If you'd take the time to read some of them, you might notice that the vast majority of the names recorded there are male. Do some study before you start accusing Ian of "making stuff up."

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Well, I'm sorry but if it's not in the Bible and you claim it as part of your theology, then you're making it up. You can't just construct convenient characters out of whole cloth to fit your hypothesis and pretend it's biblical. I mean, that's what the King James version did with Unicorns (the KJV mentions Unicorns as having been on Noah's Arc), so are you going to start believing in Unicorns now? Of course not: That would be silly. But, it's somehow OK to make up a story about Cain having a sister and insert it there because it's a very inconvenient thing for Cain to not have any females around to procreate with, huh? Gotcha.

Why don't you just say "I don't know" and leave it at that? It's OK to not know, you know.

And I wasn't being "uppity" (and I resent that term, by the way.) I was just highlighting the flaw in his logic. Basically, he was saying that since the bible is silent on who exactly it was that Cain married, let's make something up and call it explained. Well, that's fine for fairy tales and myths, but that's not christianity. If you start doing that, then anything goes. You could say Jesus appeared to walk on water because he knew where the shallow parts were, or that Noah's flood was just a really bad downpour that got exaggerated, or that Jesus resurrection is completely metaphorical. I do believe they used to call that Hersey.

Since I don't believe any of it, I don't really care which of the characters in the bible you think really existed and which were mythological constructions, but if you're gonna claim Adam et al were real people then don't insult my intelligence by trying to say that the reason the story has a big loophole is that the authors left stuff out on purpose. That's just dumb. If the authors expected people to take the story literally then why make it so easy to debunk it? Why didn't they just say that Cain went away and was never heard from again? That would have tied it up all nice and neat, with no room for ambiguity. But that didn't do that, did they? They made him the founder of a nation ON PURPOSE but they fail to mention where his wives came from. Do you expect me to believe that something as important as that didn't deserve to be clearly explained?

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Well, I'm sorry but if it's not in the Bible and you claim it as part of your theology, then you're making it up. You can't just construct convenient characters out of whole cloth to fit your hypothesis and pretend it's biblical.

You may be correct in asserting that Ian's hypothesis is just that: a hypothesis. Nevertheless, it is a sound one, which, as I stated before, a tiny bit of research on your part might confirm. There are lots of things that are not clearly discussed in the Bible - like ancient recipes for beer. So I fail to see on what basis you reject the hypothesis presented other than it completely blows your "contradiction" out of the water.

Quote:
I mean, that's what the King James version did with Unicorns (the KJV mentions Unicorns as having been on Noah's Arc), so are you going to start believing in Unicorns now? Of course not: That would be silly.

Unicorns: First of all, KJV is a translation, not an authoritative Hebrew text. As I was trained, you always check the Hebrew text rather than rely on any particular translation. According to Brown Driver Briggs, the correct Hebrew term there, reem is better translated:
Richard Whitaker, Editor, The Abridged Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew-English Lexicon of the Old Testament, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1997. wrote:
n.m. wild ox — wild ox, as fierce and strong; sim. of strength of Isr.; so fig. of Joseph; fig. of princes of Edom; of powerful foes; in sim. of skipping, leaping.

So basically, the translators of the KJV made an error in their handling of the term. In which case, the "contradiction" lies with the translators, not with the text itself.

Quote:
But, it's somehow OK to make up a story about Cain having a sister and insert it there because it's a very inconvenient thing for Cain to not have any females around to procreate with, huh? Gotcha.

Once again, a little research on your part would demonstrate that, no, you haven't proven anything.

Quote:
And I wasn't being "uppity" (and I resent that term, by the way.) I was just highlighting the flaw in his logic. Basically, he was saying that since the bible is silent on who exactly it was that Cain married, let's make something up and call it explained. Well, that's fine for fairy tales and myths, but that's not christianity.

Ian offered you a hypothesis to explain what you called a "contradiction". The mere fact that any hypothesis can be shown to answer the question proves that it is not a contradiction. The fact is the Bible is silent about Cain's wife. It never point-blank says that he didn't have one - only that, if she existed, she was not recorded in the genealogies. There is no real reason to suppose that he didn't, so why should we consider it a contradiction at all?

Quote:
If you start doing that, then anything goes. You could say Jesus appeared to walk on water because he knew where the shallow parts were, or that Noah's flood was just a really bad downpour that got exaggerated, or that Jesus resurrection is completely metaphorical. I do believe they used to call that Hersey.

In the case of these events that are directly addressed by the text, you are correct. To deny a miraculous event, or to put some kind of non-miraculous spin on them is heresy. But your question is not addressing such an event, so the charge does not apply. A common sense reading of the text does in fact permit us to speculate that Cain married a sister.

Quote:
Since I don't believe any of it, I don't really care which of the characters in the bible you think really existed and which were mythological constructions, but if you're gonna claim Adam et al were real people then don't insult my intelligence by trying to say that the reason the story has a big loophole is that the authors left stuff out on purpose. That's just dumb.

Sarge, you're the one who brought it up. Like I said before, if you don't want an answer, then don't ask the question. If you didn't really care, then why are you bothering?

Quote:
If the authors expected people to take the story literally then why make it so easy to debunk it? Why didn't they just say that Cain went away and was never heard from again? That would have tied it up all nice and neat, with no room for ambiguity. But that didn't do that, did they? They made him the founder of a nation ON PURPOSE but they fail to mention where his wives came from. Do you expect me to believe that something as important as that didn't deserve to be clearly explained?

Why do you think the name of Cain's wife is so important? Other than bearing Cain children, she doesn't seem to have contributed much at all to the divine history. But, like I said, if you take the time to study genealogies of the Old Testament, you might note that very few females are ever mentioned in those early genealogies. Why? Because the inheritance was always reckoned through the males. Sexist? Perhaps, but then again, early Hebrew culture wasn't exactly known for it's complete equality between the sexes anyway.

But whatever you might Personally make of the omission, the fact remains: a reasonable answer to your challenge has been offered, a reasonable answer that you seem to be going out of your way to discredit.

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I'm going to have to side with Didymus: there isn't a contradiction in that part. The rule "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" applies to the Bible, too. It's clear that the scenario is possible, in which case, there is no contradiction. A contradiction is something impossible. Moreover, the Bible's gotta omit some things, because infinite precision would require infinite words. To us it may seem strange to omit details such as where these people came from, but it might have made enough sense to the Hebrews.

- Kef

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 11:12 pm 
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Is everyone descended from Adam and Eve?

Yes
Gen 3:20
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And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.

No
Heb 7:1-3
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For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;
To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also king of Salem, which is, King of peace;
Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 11:21 pm 
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Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.

The passage in question is speaking of the fact that Melchizedek had no listed ancestry, but is rather a solitary individual whose identity is something of a mystery. As such, there are three possibilities:

1. The text is simply referring to his lack of recorded ancestry.

2. He is an angelic being, and not human in any real sense. This would be consistent with appearances of other angelic beings in both the Old and New Testaments.

3. The text in question here is relating Melchizedek as a type (or image) of Christ himself, whose true origin is divine. Some have even speculated that he might have been Christ in a pre-incarnate manifestation, perhaps similar to the 4th Man who appeared with Shadrak, Mishak, and Abednego in the fiery furnace.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 11:23 pm 
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What does the original Greek say in that passage?


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 11:28 pm 
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It literally says, apatwr (without father), ametwr (without mother), agenealogetos (without genealogy).

So from the Greek, we have it clear: it is referring to his lack of genealogy, the fact that the details of his life have not been recorded. Still, the text does make a very strong connection between Melchizedek and Christ.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 11:54 pm 
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That's the problem with that passage: It's rather ambiguous as to who the "Without father, without mother...," part is referring to and what it means. Very open to interpretation.

The text doesn't say that he's an angelic being, so I don't know how biblical that interpretations is. No, wait, I do: It's not. Nice try, but it doesn't fly. Like I said before, you can't just make stuff up when one part of the bible contradicts another part of the bible. It's either internaly consistent or it's not. Make up you mind.

And don't say that Melchizedek is Christ because that's patently absurd: The Bible mentions Jesus's mother and father by name on several occasions, and it expressly says that Melchizedek did not have either a mother or a father. How can they possibly be the same man?

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 11:57 pm 
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Actually, Sarge, I've already clarified. The Greek terminology makes it clear that it is referring to his lack of genealogy.

As for the connection with Christ, he is being referred to as a type (image). The text here is only drawing parallels between them, and that, in the overall context, to establish Christ's authority to act as God's priest. I only mentioned that as one possible understanding of the text, since the text does make that connection pretty clear. After all, the name itself means King of Righteousness, and his title, Prince of Salem, literally means Prince of Peace.

The reason this is significant was because priests in Jesus' day required genealogies in order to establish their right to serve in the temple.

Quote:
The text doesn't say that he's an angelic being, so I don't know how biblical that interpretations is. No, wait, I do: It's not. Nice try, but it doesn't fly. Like I said before, you can't just make stuff up when one part of the bible contradicts another part of the bible. It's either internaly consistent or it's not. Make up you mind.

Ah, but as Kef pointed out before, the rule of "Lack of evidence for does not constitute evidence against" applies here, too. While the text does not explicitly state that Melchizedek is an angelic being, it likewise does not explicitly state he is not. So this, on your part, does not make an adequate refutation of that particular theory. Although, as I said before, to me that's a moot point, since the text itself establishes that it is referring to his lack of genealogy, rather than an actual lack of physical parents.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 12:10 am 
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Sarge wrote:
That's the problem with that passage: It's rather ambiguous as to who the "Without father, without mother...," part is referring to and what it means. Very open to interpretation.
Well, when something is open to interpretation, you can't interpret it in a way that makes a contradiction and then call the passage a contradiction. If you could, you could make ANYTHING into a contradiction.
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The text doesn't say that he's an angelic being, so I don't know how biblical that interpretations is. No, wait, I do: It's not.
First of all, Didymus didn't say he believed Melchizedek was an angelic being; he only offered it as one possibility. Second of all, if you know for sure Biblically that Melchizedek isn't an angelic being, can you back it up? Is there a verse that says he wasn't? If not, you can't.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 12:46 am 
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ed 'lim' smilde wrote:
Well, when something is open to interpretation, you can't interpret it in a way that makes a contradiction and then call the passage a contradiction.


I agree with this, and is more or less what I said already. A contradiction means something is impossible, not that one of several possibilities is impossible. If you want to claim a contradiction, you have to prove all the possibilities impossible.

- Kef

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 3:39 am 
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ed 'lim' smilde wrote:
Sarge wrote:
That's the problem with that passage: It's rather ambiguous as to who the "Without father, without mother...," part is referring to and what it means. Very open to interpretation.
Well, when something is open to interpretation, you can't interpret it in a way that makes a contradiction and then call the passage a contradiction. If you could, you could make ANYTHING into a contradiction.
Quote:
The text doesn't say that he's an angelic being, so I don't know how biblical that interpretations is. No, wait, I do: It's not.
First of all, Didymus didn't say he believed Melchizedek was an angelic being; he only offered it as one possibility. Second of all, if you know for sure Biblically that Melchizedek isn't an angelic being, can you back it up? Is there a verse that says he wasn't? If not, you can't.

The thing is that he's not mentioned as being an angelic being, so there is no bible passage to back up that contention. True, he's not mentioned as NOT being an angelic being, but that doesn't make him one either. But that sort of logic you could run around claiming ANYONE was angelic.
Including your left toe.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 3:56 am 
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But in the case of Melchizedek, depending on how one understood the reference to his lack of ancestry, there could be precedent for making that claim.

As I stated before, the text in question from Hebrews is in fact referring to his lack of genealogy.

However, if one were to run with the notion that the text is claiming that he had no human parents at all (which seemed to be in part where you were hoping to take your interpretation of it), then it would have to be understood as a claim to supernatural origin, in which case, the most likely answer would be that it is claiming him to be an angelic being. If that were the case, though, then there would still be no contradiction with the Genesis passage regarding Eve's motherhood of the human race, since, in essence, Melchizedek would not be human anyway.

Quote:
The thing is that he's not mentioned as being an angelic being, so there is no bible passage to back up that contention. True, he's not mentioned as NOT being an angelic being, but that doesn't make him one either. But that sort of logic you could run around claiming ANYONE was angelic.
Including your left toe.

If and only if we were simply making the assertion without precedence for doing so. However, if, as you seem to be claiming, the text is saying that he has no actual human ancestry, then the text itself would be affirming his supernatural character, thus compelling us to conclude him to be a supernatural being. We wouldn't be "making stuff up" as you claim, but simply drawing a conclusion from available information about the person.

So here it is:

1. Either the text is merely pointing out that Melchizedek has no recorded genealogy (and, if you study the passage in question, the reason becomes quite clear: to establish that, despite having no genealogy, he still served as priest of God, thus setting a precedent that allows for Christ to serve as priest as well).

Or

2. The text is asserting that Melchizedek is of supernatural origin, in which case, he is not human, and therefore it still does not contradict the notion of Eve being the mother of all humanity.

As stated before, I assert the former option based on the actual language of the text. I just do not believe your argument does much to undermine the second.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 2:35 pm 
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Addressing a post COLA made in Random Thoughts:
Choc-o-Lardiac Arrest wrote:
When the time comes, One Vase will Rule them all!!!

Also, I've just come to a conclusion when it comes to world peace:

Its something God doesn't want.

An explanation from Wikipedia discussing the Tower of Babel:
Quote:
According to Genesis Chapter 11 of the Bible, the Tower of Babel (Hebrew: מגדל בבל‎ Migdal BavelArabic: برج بابل burg babel) was a tower built to reach the heavens by a united humanity, all speaking a single language. God saw that humans would be able to do whatever they set their minds to, so he confused their unified language and scattered them. In later stories, God destroys the tower, as well. The story of the tower of Babel is set in the time after Noah's flood and before Abraham's covenant with God.

Now, Judaeo-Christian interpretation says it was about going against god, but I just can't seem to come to that conclusion.

At the time, yes, one leader could go over himself and attempt to strike against god, but why would he? Why would Nimrod choose to strike against the entity that gave him life and allowed him to create a united humanity.

But perhaps it was an act against god...the construction of teh tower was to attempt a sort of revolt against God and Heaven, sort of like the War on Heaven where Lucifer and a third of heavens angels rebelled against god and were subsequently thrown out.

Perhaps god felt threatened by the power of a unified humanity, and confused our once unified language into that of many, and scattered us across the globe.

Perhaps this is the reason that world peace can never exist...The fact that God would not allow us all to be united for the fear of rebellion.

But why would god not allow us to unite as one people under him? We know our place, and I certainly doubt that we would attempt a revolt.

Why? Why can't we unite as one people?


We can, COLA. That's one reason why Jesus came to save us. He came to fulfill the old law of the Old Testament so we don't have to follow the 600+ commandments anymore (Matthew 5:17-19). If you look in the first chapter of the book of Ephesians, you'll see that everything on Heaven and Earth will be united under Jesus:

Ephesians 1:7-10 wrote:
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.


God separated us with our languages, but we all have a common Savior.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 5:53 pm 
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First, almost universally, the building of the tower has been understood as an act of pride. These were men who sought to establish themselves, establish their own dominion. Notice that their speaking is entirely without reference to God at all.

This has been part of mankind's problem pretty much since the Fall: man wants to place himself in God's position. "Surely you will not die, but will be like God." Mankind always has difficulty accepting his place as God's creature, and submitting to him. Building this tower was just one more attempt to "make a name for ourselves" (i.e., displace the name of God).

I don't think God acted out of fear, at least not fear for himself. As a transcendent being, it is unlikely that mankind bound by creation would ever mount a significant threat to him in his eternal realm. I imagine it was more out of concern about what mankind might do to itself if they did succeed in all its ambition. After all, God had already had to destroy humanity once on account of the great evils that were being committed. And here was mankind, once again trying to establish itself as the ultimate power without submitting to him. As it was, Babylon eventually became a great empire renowned for its barbarity and cruelty - imagine what that empire would have been like if it had absolute dominion, as it would have had it completed its project?

Incidentally, you might note that this tower was to be built with bricks. In ancient Israel, altars to God were typically built with natural stone rather than artificial bricks. While this is a detail easily overlooked by the modern reader, it does, I think, indicate one fatal flaw in the basis of this structure: it does represent man trying to establish himself as supreme. By contrast, read what 1 Peter 2 says about God's people being built as a temple of stones, with Christ himself as the chief cornerstone.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 6:44 pm 
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My understanding of the Tower of Babel was that they were trying to build a substitute for the Temple of God. I don't think they were trying to physically climb high enough to reach heaven, rather they were trying to build an alternate path into heaven instead of having to follow the steps God had laid out, and without the authority he had given his prophets.

If they had succeeded in building this "temple," many people could have been led astray, believing their path was good enough for salvation. It was due to God's love that he didn't want them misled, ending up in a place where they could no longer return to live with him. For that reason he confused the languages, to prevent wicked men from convincing others that they claimed his authority.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 10:37 pm 
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Except, keep in mind, there was no temple of the Lord constructed at that time. If anything, one might contend that the Tower of Babel was an attempt to construct a temple to mankind, but not as an alternate temple for God.

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