Afternoon ladies. I hope everyone is doing well.
Occasionally, I will post an article that I read, in hopes that it inspires you. Mostly, it will be apologetics or something in defense of the faith, as I need these most often. They are worth the read, if you can find time
In Defense of the Faith
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
There's no shortage of armchair critics out there whose mission in life is to point out all the supposed errors in the Bible, and the churches response is generally to circle the wagons. But a circle isn't a defense of the faith. As it turns out, actually, it's a reason for faith.
Google "errors in the bible
" and you'll get a prodigious list of self-styled experts on Biblical errancy. "Bible Babble-- exposing the evil of Christianity since 1998". "FreethoughtDebater." "RationalWiki." "Little Rock Atheist." And an interesting, if cumbersomely titled, "Rejection of Pascals' wager".
Sites that exist because the authors are convinced that if they point out all the "obvious" mathematical and scientific errors between the covers of your King James, your enlightened self will throw off the shackles of the Almighty and be free.
Reminiscent of Psalm 2:
"Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,“Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.”
It's a mystery to me how the God they don't believe in can be enslaving them, or why they are so anxious to set us free as well. Misery loves company, I guess.
Anyway, one of their red-letter passages is I Kings 7:23
, the culmination of a passage that describes Solomon's efforts in finishing the temple:
"Now King Solomon sent and brought Huram from Tyre. 14 He was the son of a widow from the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a bronze worker; he was filled with wisdom and understanding and skill in working with all kinds of bronze work. So he came to King Solomon and did all his work. 15 And he cast two pillars of bronze, each one eighteen cubits high, and a line of twelve cubits measured the circumference of each. 16 Then he made two capitals of cast bronze, to set on the tops of the pillars. The height of one capital was five cubits, and the height of the other capital was five cubits. 17 He made a lattice network, with wreaths of chainwork, for the capitals which were on top of the pillars: seven chains for one capital and seven for the other capital. 18 So he made the pillars, and two rows of pomegranates above the network all around to cover the capitals that were on top; and thus he did for the other capital. 19 The capitals which were on top of the pillars in the hall were in the shape of lilies, four cubits. 20 The capitals on the two pillars also had pomegranates above, by the convex surface which was next to the network; and there were two hundred such pomegranates in rows on each of the capitals all around. 21 Then he set up the pillars by the vestibule of the temple; he set up the pillar on the right and called its name Jachin, and he set up the pillar on the left and called its name Boaz. 22 The tops of the pillars were in the shape of lilies. So the work of the pillars was finished.
Huram was from Tyre, which was in Phoenicia, by the way, and those capitals, which have been unearthed, show clear evidence of being Phoenician in origin. So there's archaeological evidence of the passage's historic accuracy.
But then we get the passage the critics love to wave in the church's face:
The Skeptics (online) Annotated Bible
23 And he made the Sea of cast bronze, ten cubits from one brim to the other; it was completely round. Its height was five cubits, and a line of thirty cubits measured its circumference.
(an atheists condescending commentary on Scripture) points out the problem quite succinctly:
"This verse implies that the value of pi is 3. (The actual value is approximately 3.1415.)"
One obvious rebuttal is that the rim of the bowl had some measurable width, so that the actual circumference of the inner bowl -- circumference of the water-holding area itself could easily have been 30 cubits. However, this verse has a curious feature, an apparent mistake. The Hebrew word for circumference is misspelled. It has an extra "HEH".
"Heh", by the way, is the Hebrew letter that represents the breath of God. Completely
a coincidence, I'm sure
Jewish exegesis (a fancy word for trying to correctly interpret the Bible) has four different levels of interpretation, a system called Pardes, or P
, actually, because it is sort of an acronym.
The levels are Peshat
, meaning plain, in other words, the obvious direct meaning. What was God communicating to the intended audience?
In I Kings 7:23 that would be that Solomon had Huram make the laver
to specified dimensions.
The second is Derash
, "to inquire", meaning the metaphorical meaning. What is the passage saying about me? About life in general? In our passage, maybe since the lever was for ritual cleansing, we are all a little soiled. Or more than a little.
, "hidden" the mystical meaning. (Kabbalah falls into the Sod category) That usually gets weird. Don't ask me.
And then Remez
, "hints". Something in the passage that says to look deeper. And when a rabbi sees the word circumference misspelled, it sparks his interest.
A mistake = A "remez". A hint of something deeper.
You may know that in Hebrew, like Greek and Latin, the alphabet represents numbers as well as letters .
In this verse, when the Hebrew numerical values are inserted, the ratio of the erroneous spelling to the correct spelling results "i" is 31.415.
Which is pi, times ten, ten just happens to be the number symbolic of testing. Correct to four decimal places.
God is the original mathematician, and this appear to a mathematical pun.
And a hint (remez
) to look for God's watermark --a hidden, embedded testimony to His Authorship of His Word.
The 17th century mathematician Pascal once wrote:
"If there is a God, He is infinitely incomprehensible, since, having, neither parts nor limits, He has no affinity to us. We are then incapable of knowing either what He is or if He is ... you must wager. It is not optional. You are embarked. Which will you choose then? Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager then without hesitation that he is."
That's 'Pascal's wager', which the website author above has rejected.
We don't have to wager that God is. We can know He is.
He left hints. Sometimes mathematical hints, like the bronze laver, a hint of something deeper.