Is Genesis all literal, all allegory, or somewhere between?

Discussion in 'Sacred Scripture' started by ZachT, Jun 27, 2021.

  1. Carolinian

    Carolinian Member

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    Science says that it is impossible for anyone who dies to come back alive after 3 days. The ancient people of the 1st century wouldn't have understood science as well as we do now. The inspired reaction that we recieve from texts that discuss "ressurections from the dead" is that we as special individuals can arise from the depths of human suffering. Jesus didn't arise from the dead, because we know that is scientifically impossible, so it most all be allegorical to communicate an inspired moral message. :)(JK)
     
  2. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    If I were to employ you as a ghost writer of my autobiography but then insisted on telling you exactly what words you had to put on the pages, would I be 'dictating' to you, or not?

    It seems to us that that is exactly the state of affairs that you are suggesing God used in producing the scriptures. Men sat down to write but God put the ideas in their heads and the words came out exactly how God wanted them. Like it or not, that is 'Dictation Theory' and that is also exactly what Islamists claim concerning the way their scriptures were obtained from Allah.
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  3. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Actually, I think you're objecting over the method God used to create the inspired scriptures, aren't you? Seems to me that the definition of inspiration is very straightforward. Inspiration means "God-breathed," 2 Tim. 3:16.

    As for the exact method... well, I offered my understanding of it, and I explained why it isn't the same as dictation (dictation is word-for-word, as in "you write exactly the words I tell you to write"). Isn't the big objection to dictation theory the fact that the various books of the Bible reflect individual differences in vocabulary and so on? Well, I've offered you a way to understand how scripture can be God-breathed without verbatim dictation, a way to reconcile the issue of "individual differences" without throwing the baby out with the bath. I can't speak for other forum members and their understanding of the method God utilized, but it should suffice from what they and I are saying that your choices are not binary. It is in no way necessary to retreat all the way to a "natural inspiration" viewpoint. Moreover , 2 Tim. 3:16 and other verses reveal to us that such a viewpoint is not consistent with scripture. The people of the Apostolic age held a much higher view than that of the scriptures they had at the time; Jesus quoted the scriptures as 'high authority' that settled issues conclusively. And we have no good reason to hold the N.T. scriptures in lower regard than the O.T.

    I'm not arguing for dictation theory, however I think it's worth pointing out that the argument against it does not derive from scripture but from human reasoning. Let's face it, human reasoning sometimes misses the mark. (But scripture does not.) But God could have dictated it verbatim if He wished to do so, human reasoning be darned and confounded. For the sake of discussion, I say this: it can never behoove us to assume that there is anything God cannot do. If He wanted to dictate the words verbatim in Southern-colloquial English to a Georgia resident for one book, and then dictate the words of the next book in the sort of Spanish spoken in Chile, doubt not that He could do it! The argument against dictation theory might be nothing more than finite brains imagining a problem that doesn't exist.

    FWIW, here is a web page that lays out 5 different theories of Biblical inspiration. Yep, five of 'em. And you know what? I bet we could come up with more than five if we really put our minds to it. The choices aren't binary. Picture instead a (mathematical) number line with infinite fractions contained just between the zero and the one.
     
  4. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Actually science is well aware that there have been cases of people being pronounced dead, who were to all intents and purposes deceased and up to 3 days later revived in the morgue, much to the surprise of the people in charge. True, they were not a physically traumatised as was Christ and didn't appear in an upper room through locked and barred doors, or disappear while breaking bread at an evening meal.
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  5. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    What is your proof that Jesus, the Apostles, or anyone else at that time considered the apocryphal writings to be "Scripture"? Assuming that the stories about the seventy (or 72) and the time period are correct, the mere fact that the Apocrypha were translated into Greek as were the Law and the Prophets (the Scriptures) does not prove that the Apocrypha were accepted as authoritative, inspired Scriptures. They were not written in Hebrew like the Scriptures. They were never canonized by the Anshei Knesset Hagedolah, when the other O.T. books were canonized.
     
  6. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like something an atheist might say. Does this mean you don't believe that Jesus' resurrection was supernatural?
     
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  7. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Happily, we don't need complicated theological discussions for this one. All we have to do is look at the Article VII of the 39 Articles. As Anglicans, we reject the books of the deuterocanon as Scripture because the Church mandates it. We may read those books for insight and wisdom, but they are not to be accounted as Scripture.

    And since that injunction does not run afoul of Article VI, we need not trouble ourselves further.
     
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  8. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Ask him about Lazarus, Rexlion. Ask him why Jesus waited for three days before raising Lazarus, even though he could have done it on the first day.

    I sometimes think Tiffy reads the Bible in the same way he reads Aesop's Fables or Bulfinch's Mythology.
     
  9. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Do you just have the happy knack of putting the worst possible interpretation on anything I write, or is it just a lack of discernment of what my sentences contain? I was simply stating the fact that coming back to life after being pronouced medically dead is not as rare an event as was suggested by a poster, and that Jesus Christ is rather a special case by comparison to any natural events which may be scientifically documented. There should have been no need for contention on either point.
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    Last edited: Jul 3, 2021
  10. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I left "Ship of Fools" because I got fed up with posters 'Piling on' and behaving badly in debate whenever their sometimes ridiculous assertions were challenged. I hope the same sort of snidey behaviour does not become common in this forum as well.
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  11. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I have the happy knack. :laugh:

    By the way, are you left-handed? It would explain a few things... :laugh: I'm right handed, my wife is left handed, and the way we reason things out is totally different! I attribute it to which side of the brain each of us uses; she's more of a creative, free-associating thinker while I'm more logic-oriented.
     
  12. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Disagreeing with you is not "behaving badly", Tiffy. And you do quite a bit of trolling yourself, come to that. Matt. 7:5.
     
  13. Admin

    Admin Administrator Staff Member Typist Anglican

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    I really don’t want to have to close this thread for bad behavior. People please remember to be respectful. It is better to say nothing than to say something not worthwhile.
     
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  14. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I think a fair reading of Article 6 says that the Book of Sirach is part of scripture. You can't use it to establish that which is requisite and necessary for salvation. The KJV included the texts in its publication until some time in the 19th century. These works are either 'non-canonical scripture' or 'deuterocanonical scripture'. So for me, as a believing Christian, there is no point in putting Sirach back in my Bible, because it is already their. And I agree with you wholeheartedly in acknowledging that Paul thought it was part of scripture as well.

    The practice of slavery is outlawed in most countries, though we have more slaves in the world today than at any time in history. This is despite the great work done by many in bring and end to the appalling practice. However we are also called to reflect on what Paul thought of the practice. Clearly in the letter to Philemon, backed up in his letter to the Colossians, Paul is at pains to value a Christian Brother as being of greater worth than a slave. None the less we note that despite the opportunity presented Paul does not tackle the question of slavery as an ethical issue. Slavery was an accepted practice in the day, and Paul seems to have accepted that rather than challenge it. His appeal on the part of Onesimus is much more couched int he personal and not only does he avoid the moral challenge, he acknowledges Philemon's rights in the matter, and appeals to his better nature.
     
  15. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    The Article discusses the Apocryphal books (in the middle of the Article, because the Apocrypha fall in between the OT and NT in bound volumes), but it does not apply the term "Canonical" to the Apocrypha. That is significant. And the Article technically does not call the Apocrypha "scriptures," either. I think you're inferring that it does, for the simple reason that the mention of them falls between that of the OT scriptures and the NT scriptures. But the Apocrypha have never been viewed as a part of the inspired word of God, and that is why the Article says we do not "apply them to establish any doctrine." Nor are they a part of what is herein called 'sufficient for salvation.' If we read from the Apocrypha during a service, we do not afterward say, "The word of the Lord."

    I suppose we can neither conclusively prove nor conclusively disprove from Art. 6 whether they are scripture, but my reading of the Article has been that they are not.
     
  16. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Article 6
    VI. Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation.

    Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the Holy Scripture we do understand those canonical Books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church.​

    Of the Names and Number of the Canonical Books.
    Genesis, The First Book of Samuel, The Book of Esther,
    Exodus, The Second Book of Samuel, The Book of Job,
    Leviticus, The First Book of Kings, The Psalms,
    Numbers, The Second Book of Kings, The Proverbs,
    Deuteronomy, The First Book of Chronicles, Ecclesiastes or Preacher,
    Joshua, The Second Book of Chronicles, Cantica, or Songs of Solomon,
    Judges, The First Book of Esdras, Four Prophets the greater,
    Ruth, The Second Book of Esdras, Twelve Prophets the less.​

    And the other Books (as Hierome saith) the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine; such are these following:​

    The Third Book of Esdras, The rest of the Book of Esther,
    The Fourth Book of Esdras, The Book of Wisdom,
    The Book of Tobias, Jesus the Son of Sirach,
    The Book of Judith, Baruch the Prophet,
    The Song of the Three Children, The Prayer of Manasses,
    The Story of Susanna, The First Book of Maccabees,
    Of Bel and the Dragon, The Second Book of Maccabees.​

    All the Books of the New Testament, as they are commonly received, we do receive, and account them Canonical.​

    You are of course correct. Article 6 does not account the deuterocanonical texts with the status of canonical. However given that they are listed in the Article determining Scripture, a plainer reading would be that they are scripture, and we certainly know that the writers of the New Testament treated them as scripture.

    When the King James Version of the Bible was translated the whole of the Bible was broken into segments and each segment was appointed a team to look after that section. The Apocrypha was translated by the Second Cambridge Company, and included John Dupor, William Branthwaite, Jeremiah Radcliffe, Samuel Ward, Andrew Downes, John Bois, Robert Ward, Thomas Bilson, Richard Bancroft. For the best part of the next 300 years, the printing of the KJV included the Apocrypha. The force of the Article, and the word 'And' is that they are part of scripture, with the proviso that these works are not to be used to establish any doctrine. The removal of the books from printed copies was argued for economic reasons, though it may well be taht some members of the reformed church communities preferred them not to be there at all.
     
  17. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Why is it that there is such a tendency in here for people to miss the point. It makes one wonder if there is any point at all in debating. Why has the issue of Paul considering the Apocrapha to be 'inspired', yet Biblical inerrantists and the Church of England alike regard them as 'defective for doctrine, because there most certainly had been no attempt during Paul's life by the Church to weed out any books from the LXX which it considered not so "useful" for teaching, establishing Christian doctrine or teaching Christian virtue.

    Why is it that the Apocrapha is not held up by Biblical Fundamentalists as being 'inspired', as stated by St Paul, to the degree that it infallibly can determine doctrine, like the other 66 books of the Bible?

    I think it's because to admit that it is 'defective for doctrine' calls the rest of what Paul considered 'scripture' into question. Their a priori assumptions preclude any contemplation of that fact, so it is ignored as if it is irrelevant.

    The whole of Scripture, contained in the Bible and the Apocrapha, should be read with a discerning, (if not 'critical') eye and a mind guided by the Holy Spirit. It is only in this way that the church could move forward on issues such as slavery, women's emancipation and other repressive evils imposed by 'spiritual wickedness in high places, with which we daily contend', toward the Kingdom of God on Earth, for which we all daily pray.

    Issues, such as slavery, are not directly addressed by the author's of the 66 books, not because God approves of slavery but because those authors had other priorities. There is more than adequate Biblical evidence that God does not approve of the subjugation of races of human beings by other races of human beings, to slavery though. We cannot assume that the abolishion of slavery is not high on God's list of priorities just because he did not inspire any of the writers of the 66 books to address it as an issue.

    A slavish adherence to 'the letter' of scripture instead of the spirit of it is one of the tools of Satan, used to blind and subjugate the nations; and the double irony that must amuse him the most, is that it is ultra religious Bible 'believers' who are often unwittingly his most willing and enthuiastic servants.
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  18. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Now there's a surprise! :yes:
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  19. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    It is when an Op gets involved Annaias. Watch it!
     
  20. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I do not know of any instance in which any of Paul's epistles clearly quote from the Apocrypha. Would you be so good as to provide the pertinent scripture verse(s) along with the portion of Apocryphal writing it allegedly quotes, so we may see and compare?

    Although I'm keen to see what you come up with, I must say at the outset that even if Paul penned some quote from an Apocryphal book, that by itself does not show the Apocrypha to be inspired scripture. It is my understanding that Paul also penned quotes from pagan poets and writers, such as in 1 Corinthians 15:33 and Acts 17:28, but no one would assume that any such quotations or citations would render the pagan works scriptural by incorporation.