Sunday, 10 June 2018

TL:DR: The Genesis Question part seven

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Sunday Funday:
1 April 18

Hi Matt!

You must be running out of my Biblical commentaries along about now. So…
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16 March 14
 Hi Troy and Mia!
 Okay, moving on to Mr. Ross' citations for Appendix A "establishing" that the Scientific Method originated with the Bible, he writes in Appendix A "Biblically, the 'foundations of the earth' indeed are 'immovable' in spite of any revolution  of the earth about the sun  or rotation of the earth about its axis because the Bible verses  making such statements always are from the perspective, or point of view, of an observer on the surface of the earth" and then cites as confirmation of this:
 1 Chronicles 16:30:  Fear before him (the YHWH) all the earth: the world also shall be stable that it be not moved Psalm 93:1:  The YHWH reigneth, he is clothed with Majesty, the YHWH is clothed with strength, he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved Psalm 96:10: Say among the heathen, The YHWH reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously Psalm104:5:  Who laid the foundations of the earth: it should not be removed for ever. Hebr.:  He (the YHWH) hath founded the earth upon her bases: it should not be removed forever
 Which seems to me, rather, to make the case that the Biblical statements are false because they're made from a false perspective.  Which is what the Scientific Method was developed to establish: the nature of Reality when divorced from false perspectives and imperfect observations: to remove variables to the extent possible to determine the irrefutable.
 The world is not "stable" in any conventional physical sense and is moving constantly -- hurtling around the sun and around itself at an astronomically unimaginable speed.  It is literally impossible for the human mind to conceive of the speed at which we are going and to apply it to our own situation.  "Stability" is an illusion in that sense.  We would not, if we were experiencing it accurately, describe revolutionary movement of tens of thousands of miles an hour as "stable".
 It is, however, predictable which is a kind of stability and seems to me to be part of God's point in the creation of the earth:  the illusion of stability within the construct of profound instability -- the eye in the centre of the storm.
 So, while I agree that the "stability" issues, as Mr. Ross asserts, from the perspective of an observer on the earth it seems to me more to the point to issue from the perspective of the earth his/her/its self, which I theorize to be the actual author of the text:  the YHWH.
 It seems to me to be an astute way for God to make His point that -- unless you have Overview (which only God, by definition, has: omniscience) all of your observations are going to be suspect even -- and in this case, especially -- where they are primary, irreducible perceptions of the reality of self: thinking that you are a fixed, immutable, un-moveable presence, like God, when you are actually a little chunk of rock hurtling through the void in a giant flattened ellipse at tens of thousands of miles per hour. 
 Which, to me, begs the question and which again, I think is God's point (or one of them), relative to 96:10: if your self-perception is so inaccurate as to believe "the world shall be established that it shall not be moved" then doesn't that also make -- extremely -- suspect your assertion that you will "judge the people righteously"?
 And, while the world is, inarguably from a scientific basis, "established" for a long period of time -- billions of years -- in cosmological terms, billions of years are the blinking of an eye, and far from Psalm 104:5's "forever".
 And "should not" doesn't really enter into it, as far as I can see.  Entropy works.  The earth -- like all the planets and solar systems and galaxies -- is a phenomenal piece of construction.  Again, the human mind wobbles on its own axis even contemplating the construction of a small-scale reality like the earth built to endure for billions of years.  But, thanks to science, we know that there is an "endgame" to the earth that takes "should" out of the equation.  Failing any variables that would bring an end to the earth prematurely, we know how long the earth is likely to endure until the sun begins to nova.
 Mr. Ross' further citations centre on "proof":
 
1 Thessalonians 5:21 all, however, be you proving, the fine be you holding down If this is, as Mr. Ross contends, evidence of Biblical origin of the Scientific Method then I think the Biblical narrative would support that in a more general scientific way.  Science demands that experiments be repeatable with the same outcome and for variations to be minimal in…and to…those outcomes.
 The Biblical narrative does support that in the sense that, as an example, Elijah's calling down of fire from heaven to devour his sacrifices (1 Kings 18) actually occurs while the Baal worshippers are not able to duplicate his feat.  But that's an Age of Prophets thing.  I really doubt that piling up a bunch of dead cows in the parking lot of your favourite church and asking God to devour them with fire in order to prove that He exists and to refute atheism would have the same successful outcome.
 So "proving" has a different meaning, theologically, today than it did during the Age of Prophets, in my view.  It is we who are "put to proof" as individuals and communities.  We are tried or -- as North Americans (as compared to, say, Muslims or Christians) in the interior of Africa -- "tried" in the "furnace of affliction", tried (as the Torah says) as silver is tried.  You get purer silver by subjecting it to increasingly higher temperatures until you burn off more and more impurities. I attempt to do this myself through prayer, fasting, observing a Sabbath, reading Scripture aloud and working 12 hours a day six days a week.  I certainly see myself as being improved exponentially by maintaining that.  I certainly hope that I'm improving, but there's no way to prove or "prove" that by the Scientific Method.  Even someone else attempting it and succeeding at it wouldn't be a "control group" which could "prove" my "findings".  The only "proof" is what God thinks of it and, for me, that won't be known until Judgement Day.  And I have no way of "proving" Judgement Day even exists.  So, all of this seems to me to be outside the realm of the Scientific Method.
 1 John 4:1 Loved, not to every spirit be you believing, but be you proving the spirits if out of the God it is, because many false prophets have gone forth into the world. I think it was probably possible for John the Evangelist to do this -- to "prove the spirits" speaking to him in the world or from Scripture -- because he WAS John the Evangelist, that is, a significant figure in the Age of Prophets.  He would be designated one of God's prophets and messengers in the construct of Islam.  The rest of us have to go by the far more unreliable method of "gut instinct" and the theology we have, as individuals, constructed for ourselves out of the raw materials provided by the Age of Prophets.  No different a process from what John went through but, my best guess, with less certain results.
 In John's time it would be profitable to suggest that "many false prophets have gone forth into the world" because, in his own context, he had no reason to believe that the Age of Prophets would ever come to an end: as a devout Jew you were always waiting for the next prophet to come along and, ultimately, for the meschiach.
 It is generally accepted in Judaism that the Age of Prophets is over and they are just waiting for the Real meschiach to appear. It is generally accepted in Christianity that the Age of Prophets is over and they are just waiting for Jesus to Return. It is generally accepted in both Sunni and Shiite Islam that the Age of Prophets ended with the death of Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) in 632 AD.
 All three faiths have their exceptions: Jews who believe that Jesus was the meschiach or believe that Elijah has reincarnated himself elsewhere in recent times, Christians who believe that there have been prophets subsequent to Jesus, Muslims who believe in "Ahmad" etc.
 And my own opinion was the John the Evangelist was being held in abeyance by God through the period of, roughly, 38 AD to 98 AD so that Synoptic Gospels and the Synoptic construct -- centring on Simon Peter and Paul of Tarsus -- could fully hatch out.  So, John's life, I would guess, was largely composed of "proving the spirits" at work around and within him with an enormous pressure to just kowtow to Synoptic ideology and to forget the "other Jesus".  Enormous pressure that I think eventually led the Synoptic Church to exile him to Patmos where the Revelation was revealed to him.
 More on this at the Revelations citation below.
 Acts 17:11:  these however were of better race of the _____s in Thessalonica, whoreceived the world with all mental readiness, the down day examining the Scriptures if it would have these thus Paul, Unplugged.  I have no idea what this could possible mean, assuming that this is an accurate word-for-word translation from the Koine Greek.
 Revelation 2:2:  I have known the works of you and the labour and the endurance of you and that not you are able to carry bad and you put to the test the saying themselves apostles and not they are and you found them false In my own, admittedly idiosyncratic, view, Revelations is at least partly concerned with the theological adjustment -- by God or by someone delegated by Him to the task -- of the early first century Christian churches and that this is what John is documenting in Revelations.
 I envision this as being analogous to the best current scientific thinking on the Big Bang (the article I sent you last week) where there were Large Primary Stars which came into being relatively early in the "outward migration" which I flagged to you as the "seminal YHWHs".  Of which all other stars would serve as microcosmic allegories.  There would be a variety of stars and star sizes that would come into being, but never again on the scale of the "seminal YHWHs".
 The analogous construct, to me, is the "ecclesias" -- the churches in Asia -- Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Philadelphia, Laodicea, Ephesus and Sardis -- which had come into being subsequent to the lives of both the Synoptic Jesus and the Johannine Jesus, the documented events of Acts and the dissemination of Matthew, Mark and Luke's Gospels -- roughly 38 AD to 98 AD.
 I don't think they were the only Christian churches but, in terms of potent theological content, I think they were the seminal YHWHs of Christianity, Christianity's Giant Stars.  And I think God did to the ecclesias, through Revelation, what He had done with the Giant Stars in the aftermath of the Big Bang:  essentially tweak and purify them.  Not to the extent that they would cause another Big Bang -- although, by definition, God being omnipotent this was within His Power to accomplish -- but so that they would continue "outward bound" and not expire too quickly because of  built in (built in because they weren't God even though they believed themselves to be Him, just as the ecclesias each believed themselves to be the Truest Christian Church most aligned with the teachings of Jesus) impurities and malformed self-limitations.
 2:2 is addressed to "the angel in Ephesus of ecclesias" and John is told what to write to that angel -- that in-dwelling spirit that had "hatched out" as one of the Giant Stars of Christianity.  All of the instructions to the seven ecclesias are very simple but direct.  It's like Houston giving Apollo "course corrections".  "You can't keep heading that way or you're going to get into trouble.  Change this and change this other thing and Godspeed Apollo!"
 So, that's what John is told to write to the angel, the in-dwelling spirit, of each of the Giant Stars.  Which he does and the model he adopts is Paul's epistles.  Another good reason for Paul's epistles to exist even though they don't, technically, make a lot of sense:  there needed to be a model for John of formal theological address across a wide theological construct, which Paul had perfected, through Luke, long before John found need for it.
 Ordinarily, the YHWH would have impeded Revelations on "anti-God autopilot": anything ordained by God needs to be refuted and contradicted and replaced with a diktat from the YHWH.  But, in this case, the churches were all based in the Synoptic Gospels, the Gospels of the YHWH's Christ because, until 98 AD, that was all there were.  John was probably the "lone nut" of Christianity in the early decades of its existence because he was a follower of the Johannine Jesus.  Everyone else -- from Simon Peter on down -- went with the guy with the most and splashiest miracles (although I think the resurrection of Lazarus trumped all of them, personally, as I think God intended for it to do). Far from impeding the progress of Christianity, the YHWH did everything he/she/it could do to facilitate it because to the YHWH this was the one true religion that would finally establish that the YHWH was God
 So, although I don't think it bespeaks the Scientific Method, per se, I think all of John's relayed word to the angels of the seven Asian churches was definitely centred in Proof, a combination, within John, of theological knowledge of Scripture and a finely-tuned spiritual antenna by which he was constantly, on a daily basis, "proving the spirits": measuring what was said to him and by whom against his own internal yardstick of what was "from God" and what was "from God's adversary".
 It is an interesting question -- that I think lies outside of anyone's area of expertise except God's -- as to how accurate John's internal yardstick was.  I think the evidence of Christianity surviving and flourishing as long as it has and as long as it indicates it will continue to do so (quite long) suggests that John's internal yardstick was very accurate and that he adhered to it even when subjected to nearly insurmountable pressure to abandon it.       
 Romans 12:2:  and not be you being fashioned with to the age this, but be you transformed to the renewing of the mind, into the to be proving you what the will of the God, the good and well pleasing and perfect. Unusually lucid for Paul and, to me, aligning well with what I've just described as John's inward nature, his internal yardstick.  It's interesting to note that "be you being fashioned with" is a single Greek term for which there is no English analogue that I could picture.  Conveying as it does the, to me, very real idea that we are "being fashioned with" -- being shaped even as we shape ourselves.  And that it matters a great deal what we are "being fashioned with TO" (as awkward a English phrase as could be imagined but, to me, the most accurate expression of what we are here FOR).  And that "the age this" is a very bad choice in that area.  If only because the fashionable and the True tend to get easily conflated until posterity takes its turn and determines what is the True Wheat and what is the fashionable chaff.
 The "good and well-pleasing", it seems to me are always in danger of being misidentified because they are usually descriptors of the fashionable as well as the True.  Only the perfect is True, however, and that judgement belongs to posterity and to God.
 Job 34:4 Let us choose to us judgement: let us know among ourselves what good. Well, I don't think you can.  You can only suspect what is good and the Job narrative is a good example of that.  He and his companions sort through all of the possibilities for Job's profound turn into profound misfortune.  They are all devout, God-fearing men, all with good internal yardsticks to separate the fashionable from the True.  What they don't know is that this is a bet between God and his adversary to Prove -- rather than "prove" -- Job.  To Prove that his faith doesn't issue from God's blessings upon him: his family and his wealth nor the good opinion of his community nor any kind of human status.  To Prove that he doesn't forsake God because Job can find no reason for his present circumstances.  Because these are all adversarial positions:  that people are only good because God rewards them materially.  If God punishes them when they haven't done anything wrong that they can identify then they will become bad.
 It's really the only actual Proof that we have -- and far outside of the Scientific Method's bailiwick which is capable merely of discerning the factual from the false or "less factual".
 Back to the Appendix A itself next week.
 Best,
 Dave   
 PS:  on the subject of the three heavens, I knew there was a Koranic reference to this which --  serendipitously -- I have just come across.  Sura 65 Divorce: 
 It is God who hath created the seven heavens and as many earths. The Divine command cometh down through them all that ye may know that God hath power over all things and that God, in His knowledge, embraceth all things. Which certainly allows for any number of interpretations.
 It could mean that there are only seven habitable planets in the entire universe: that is, planets that have a heaven (a sustainable atmosphere) and an earth (dry land in the midst of universal waters/seas).  It could also mean that there are layers to the idea of an "earth" and "heaven" from the physically incarnated to the ultimately spiritual, seven earths and seven heavens all co-existing but having differently nuanced properties in their respective realities -- from Reality to "reality".
 It also seems to me to potentially resonate with the classic notions of angelology:  cherubims, thrones, dominations or dominions, virtues, powers, principalities, archangels and angels.  That each "heaven" is a habitation for one of those.  And that this is mirrored by Dante's "seven circles of Hell".
 It could also be both or neither.
 God alone Knows. 

Okay, good post. See you tomorrow Everybody.

Next Time: It's my birthday, so...gifts, cake. I really don't know what you guys have planned for me...

7 comments:

David Birdsong said...

Is it really your birthday?

https://youtu.be/D2k05JRYRCg

Tony Dunlop said...

I think he means *next* week is his birthday.

"The scientific method originated in the Bible?" As Superman said in some Keith Giffen issue of "DC Comics Presents" back in the 80s, "Rao, give me strength!" I'm not even going to bother to read anything that starts with such a silly comment.

Shecky said...

Happy Birthday, Mr. Dow!!!

I would get Marilyn to sing it to you, but she's tired.

And, um, dead.

And many moooore.

Jeff said...

Tony, I think, maybe, you misapprehended that "first line". Dave was quoting Ross, the person about whose writings the couple had inquired. He then goes on to refute Ross, in depth. It's actually a pretty good read. Best Sunday entry in a while.

IMHO.

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Dave is always at his weakest when he discusses science, because he knows almost nothing about it and what he does know is wrong. Here, for example, he seems to believe (I almost wrote "think", but that's not an accurate term for what Dave does) that "stable" means "not moving", or that our sun will go nova when it's far too small. And he believes it's impossible for us to imagine the movement of the Earth; maybe he can't do it, but we've described it quite thoroughly. What would one say about an argument built on demonstrably false premises ..?

-- Damian

Tony again said...

Jeff, I got that Dave is setting up a claim so as to refute it, but I just can't see my way to reading so much text - expeshally on a computer screen - refuting something that don't need no refutin,' bein' as it's self-evidently bollocks.

Mouse Skull Entertainment said...

Yes,

Yesterday WAS my birthday.

Where's my cake?

Matt