evidence for earth's age

Discussion in 'The Commons' started by Rexlion, Aug 6, 2023.

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  1. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Dr. Andrew Snelling gives a nice presentation of why all scientific evidence for earth's age relies on unprovable assumptions. He points out that we have devised many methods for dating things, and 90% of those dating methods indicate a young earth. He has a heavy accent, so turn on the CC if you need help with what he's saying.

    Toward the end of the video, Dr. Snelling relates these facts of science to Genesis and to our faith.
     
  2. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Only a Yank could think this Aussie has a 'heavy' accent, even though he and the Yank both are supposedly speaking 'English' as understood by an Englishman. :laugh: I, an English speaking Englishman can fairly easily understand both, since their language has not yet evolved from real English to an unintelligably different language altogether.

    Having said that the lecture had a lot to say about assumptions being made in science, but failed to note some of the glaring Biblical theological assumptions contained in the final part of the lecture, I think. The greatest of which was that the words recorded as having been spoken by a 1st century Jew from Nazareth (John 3:16), have any connection or bearing whatever on the age of the earth. A subject that the man from Nazareth probably never once pronounced upon or if he did, no record whatever of his words on the subject have so far ever been discovered. I fail to see the logic being used by Dr. Snelling in assuming there must be a connection of some sort between the truth of the words of Jesus Christ, concerning the salvation of mankind, and the estimations by scientists of the age of the earth, truthful, assumed or not.
    .
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2023
  3. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I admit, the point Dr. Snelling made about John 3 may be somewhat tenuous. However, I think you do a disservice to our Lord when you refer to Him simply as "the man from Nazareth" especially in connection to His statement in John 3.

    Joh 3:11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony.
    Joh 3:12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
    Joh 3:13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.

    Consider Jesus' usage of the word "we" in relation to Himself. It is the royal "we." More than that, it is "we" the Godhead, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There is no one else present who is bearing testimony to the truth, who can speak of what "we" (plural) "have seen," other than God. Note verse 13; only God could ascend and descend to and from heaven. Jesus' statement about "earthly things" and "heavenly things" is bracketed by His somewhat veiled identification of Himself as an authority on the subject, one who is far beyond conventional authorities. (Even though He called Himself "son of man" right then, just two sentences later He referred to Himself as "Son of God.") Of course, they were not yet in a spiritual position to fully receive this revelation, since they lacked the indwelling Holy Spirit. But we Christians should be able to pick up on this.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2023
  4. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I don't think that this is about a 'Royal We'. That would be a cultural misrepresentation of the Greek. The passage speaks about how people generally (we generic) and specifically the one speaking and the one listening (we specific). Depending on how you date (not carbon dating!) John's Gospel, it may be a reflection of the relationship between the Christians and the Jews at that time.
     
  5. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    That, and John 3 isn’t a word-for-word transcript of a conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus. As NT scholars have pointed out, the word play employed by Jesus in John 3 works in Greek, but not in Aramaic.
     
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  6. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Actually, by the phraseology I used I was deliberately avoiding the mistake of attributing the words spoken at John 3:16 to God or even hint at them being the pronouncement of a Deity. Jesus was truly a human being besides all that and called himself 'The Son of man', as a human being he spoke the truth, by his own testimony. The age of the earth be it young or old can have no bearing whatever upon the truth spoken by even any male inhabitant of Nazareth of Galilee, yet alone The Christ of God.
    .
     
  7. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    In doing so, you have ignored the context of Jesus' statement. If you don't believe me, read a bit further and see how Jesus identifies Himself:
    Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
    Joh 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
    Joh 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
    Do you see it now? Jesus was identifying Himself as the Son of God, not just son of man, to Nicodemus. Put that together with His statement that He ascends and descends from heaven.
     
  8. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I have underlined a sentence above and ask you to explain further. The sentence does not make sense to me. "How people generally" do what? How specific people... do what? The sentence seems grammatically incomplete.

    In the meantime, let's look at the passage again.

    Joh 3:9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?
    Joh 3:10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?
    Joh 3:11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.

    Who exactly are the "we," the "our," and the "ye" spoken of in verse 11?

    Let us suppose that "we" refers to "you, Nicodemus, and I, Jesus". Does this work? 'Nicodemus, you and I speak of what we know and testify to what you and I have seen, and you (Nicodemus) don't receive our (yours and mine) testimony.' Nope, that makes no sense. And actually, in King James English the "ye" is used to indicate second person plural. ("thou" is singular)

    Now let's suppose that "we" and "ye refer to the Jewish people in general. Let's try it. 'Nicodemus, we Jews speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen, and you Jews don't receive our (the Jews') testimony.' That's a little better, but it still isn't very sensible; why would Jesus include Himself as part of the group (we) when He is about to draw a clear distinction between Himself and the group?

    I think the best way to understand this statement is, 'Nicodemus, we (Elohim) speak of what we (Elohim, the triune Godhead) know, and testify to what we (Elohim) have seen, and you (Jews) don't receive our (Elohim's) testimony.' This interpretation also harmonizes contextually with the remainder of Jesus' statement (which is encompassed in verses 10 through 21), wherein He identified Himself as not merely human but as the Son of God.

    But if you have an alternate reading that I haven't yet thought of, by all means please share it. I do hope, though, you're not suggesting that Jesus never said what was attributed to Him and that John merely inserted it later "to reflect the relationship between Christians and Jews" that had developed by the time of the writing.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2023
  9. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    You're probably correct. I expect they were speaking Hebrew. However, I'm confident that John, who knew both the original language and that which he used to write the Gospel, did his level best to bring out the accurate meaning of what was stated by Jesus. And we have had the best minds working on translations into English. Therefore, I have great confidence in what was written.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2023
  10. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    1. When you and I speak of things, we generally speak of what we know, we speak from our experience, and from what we have learned. We bear witness to the things we know.
    2. When people speak of things, they generally speak of what they know, people speak from experience, and from what has been learned. We bear witness to the things we know.
    Two reasonable readings of the text that have nothing to do with a Royal We.

    Nicodemus is introduced to this narrative "Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews." in verse 1. It is clear that this introduction suggests that Jews were not the primary intended audience, for it would have been pointless to suggest the role of the Pharisee to a Jew, but perhaps helpful for a non-Jew. My issue with what you said is that the idea of a Royal We was an English Invention, perhaps Henry II around 100 years after the Norman Conquest, and his use of it suggests his understanding of an alignment with the Divine.
     
  11. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I know this constitutes a rabbit run, but the way this passage appears in John's Gospel can either be seen as the words of Jesus Christ the Son of God or as a commentary by John who wrote the Gospel. Verse 16 to verse 21 can also be read as the words of John the Evangelist to the reader in explanation of the previous words of Jesus in verses 1 to 12. The whole passage contains no inverted commas in the Greek, they are entirely added by the English translators of the passage, and John frequently comments elsewhere in his Gospel upon the words that Jesus has previously said. Since the scripture is inspired though, this makes no difference to the import and consequence of the statement between verses 16-21.

    Nevertheless the age of the earth is utterly irrelevant to the fact of the TRUTH of the words of Jesus Christ. Matthew, Mark and Luke ALL agree on that point. All of Christ's words are far more important than the theories of an Australian prof. on measurements concerning the age of rocks, as interesting as ever those theories may be.
    .
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2023
  12. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Okay, so let's forget the 'royal we,' because it is used by a singular person, whereas the Godhead is triune (3 Persons). I was definitely wrong to throw that in. (In my mind, God is the superb pinnacle of Royalty, and that influenced my thought process to make a connection to the 'royal we' concept.)

    I can understand where you're coming from. And to be fair, commentaries are all over the place on this verse. It's a difficult one.
     
  13. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    The Trinity is also not a “we.” The mind and the will of God are common to the three persons, according to every exposition of doctrine the Fathers wrote. The Trinity is also consistently referred to in the ancient, medieval, and Reformation-era liturgies in the original languages as “Thou” (singular), never as “They”, “Them”, or “We”. “Person” in the doctrine of the Trinity is not referring to consciousness or “personality” in the modern sense of the word, but to the distinguishing properties of begetting, being begotten, and proceeding, and it is in these qualities alone that the three Persons are distinct from one another in orthodox doctrine. There is thus in eternity only one divine “I”: the Father is the Speaker, and the Son - the Word - is not the Speaker but rather that which is Spoken; likewise, the Father is the Knower and the Son is that which is Known, the Image. The Holy Spirit in these analogies corresponds to the Breath of God (which carries the Word) or the Love of God (toward the divine nature in the Father as it is known in the Son). Any deviation from this is tantamount to polytheism according to the Fathers.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2023
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  14. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    The Catholic Faith is this : That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity.
    Neither confounding the Persons : nor dividing the Substance.
    There are not three eternals : but one eternal. As also there are not three incomprehensibles,
    nor three uncreated : but one incomprehensible.
    For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity : to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord ;
    So are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion : to say, There be three Gods, or three Lords.
     
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  15. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    If you hadn't thrown the word "Persons" in there, I would have thought this sounded quite like modalism. Actually it still sounds that way to me when you say that they are distinct only in certain "distinguishing properties." I'll have to read up on this.
     
  16. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    The Bible is the foremost ancient document in Christendom.

    Gen 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.

    I don't think there are any Bible versions that deviate from this. It is the consensus of all translators that the sentence should read that way in English.
     
  17. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I've thought some more about this, and I have a question. What about the distinguishing property of a physical, 2-armed, 2-legged body? I think we all can agree that neither the Father nor the Spirit have a physical body. But Jesus unquestionably has one.

    Another question regarding the statement, "Person...is not referring to consciousness or “personality”". Since Jesus fervently desired that "this cup" (death on the cross) pass him by, and since we know that the Father willed otherwise, does this not point to a difference in consciousness or personality (or something other than the "begetting, being begotten, and proceeding")?

    Those are fair questions, wouldn't you say?
     
  18. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    That is the Canon of Scripture, which is really the Rule of Scripture, the line by which we measure the rest.

    I normally describe this as the awkward plural in Genesis 1. It isn't sensible to suggest that the original pen was thinking of the Trinity when this was committed. I suspect that the origin of this plural lives in the historic tradition that was part of what Abraham carried with him on the journey from Ur of the Chadees. We have the Gilgamesh Epic, a much earlier account from the region of Ur of the Chaldees, and there are a number of parallels, differences and nuances, and indeed enough to conclude that they are related documents, so I see it as evidence of the earlier and probably oral traditions that have come to be caught in the Stories of Origin of the Hebrew people.

    It may be convenient to recognise that this sits nicely with a concept of God in Holy Trinity, however, to pronounce this as the true meaning of the passage is a bridge too far. There is a lot that is untidy in the patriarchal narratives in the Torah, and I think we would be better to accept this untidiness rather than try to smooth it all out.

    A proper understanding of this leads me to think that there is as much a -lace for Unsystematic Theology as there is for Systematic Theology.
     
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  19. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I think you may be putting a trinitarian, post resurection gloss upon the meaning behind that text when it was first written. I don't think a Trinitarian concept of God was envisaged back then. In hindsight WE can now interpret it as a visionary and prophetic utterance, but at the time that concept may not at all have been in the mind of the Hebrew writer. Israel was not always monotheistic. Their God was believed by them to be chief among all the other gods in the court of heaven. (Now there was a day when the sons of (God) came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.) Job 1:6

    אֱלֹהִים
    STRONG’S NUMBER:h0430 (God)
    Dictionary Definitionh0430. אֱלֹהִים elôhîym; plural of 433; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative: — angels, x exceeding, God (gods)(-dess, -ly), x (very) great, judges, x mighty.
    AV (2606) - God 2346, god 244, judge 5, GOD 1, goddess 2, great 2, mighty 2, angels 1, exceeding 1, God-ward + h4136 1, godly 1;
    (plural)rulers, judges, divine ones, angels gods
    (plural intensive - singular meaning)god, goddess godlike one works or special possessions of God the (true)God, God
    SEARCH FORh0430אֱלֹהִים
    .
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2023
  20. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    It is really important that we recognise that our comprehension of God will always be limited, for any God we could conceive to know absolutely would be unworthy. You referenced the Genesis passage where we are told we are made in the image and after the likeness, and it is important that we understand that each one of us bears the maker's mark, however, we are not called to make God in our own image, and indeed this is entirely unwise.

    I would highly commend the Cappadocian Fathers as a source of reflection.
     
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