A Theological Perspective on Why the Sky Is Blue

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In the beginning of years, when the world was so new and all, and the Animals were just beginning to work for Man, the Lord created the Reptile. And the Lord, for a lark, covered the earth with a blue dome that stretched from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. And the dome caused the humidity to rise and the plants to grow without limit. And the Reptiles ate of the abundant plants and were fruitful and multiplied and every moving thing that lived was meat for them. And terrible Lizards grew to gigantic proportions and drove Man to the edges of the earth, to the wilderness of Zin, where the humidity was low. And the Lord saw that the dome was not so good and became wroth with himself and said oops. And the Lord removed the dome, and the Lizards died (save those that were covered with feathers). And Man was fruitful and multiplied and colonized the earth, and every moving thing that lived was meat for him (except for the Pig). And God said let the sky be blue* as a token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations.

* It is not known whether God made the sky blue at the same time as he made the rainbow.

Dedication. I dedicate this essay to Robert Byers.

478 Comments

YUCK here. I am so glad to see you dedicate this exemplar of common sense to that wonderful US American, the Canadian Robert Byers!

Robert Byers (God bless him in all his endeavors!) is even now routing the infidel Darwinists from the field. God willing, soon he shall become North America’s first and greatest Constitutional Theomancer and return us to glory!

dpr

Why do non theists like this one all too often feel so free to be disrespectful to people’s most dearly held beliefs? Have you no compassion or respect for others? The arrogance. And this is all coming from one who accepts the science of evolution, etc. I am also a Bible believer. I don’t interpret the creation story in Genesis as what we would deem literal. But to so freely mock the beauty of the language used in the creation story is totally uncalled for. There are other ways to poke fun at Creationists that are not so “blasphemous” to people’s faith.

Avi, if you’ve read anything by Byers you know he is not worthy of any respect whatsoever. The man is unhinged, and just will not go away.

Also please note the publishing date.

Avi

Avi said:

Why do non theists like this one all too often feel so free to be disrespectful to people’s most dearly held beliefs? Have you no compassion or respect for others? The arrogance. And this is all coming from one who accepts the science of evolution, etc. I am also a Bible believer. I don’t interpret the creation story in Genesis as what we would deem literal. But to so freely mock the beauty of the language used in the creation story is totally uncalled for. There are other ways to poke fun at Creationists that are not so “blasphemous” to people’s faith.

Problem is Avi, many of us have actually read the Bible and recognize it as a poorly written collection of idiotic stories that, as often as not, teach horrific lessons of genocide, rape, and murder. Add in the abuses of personal rights and freedoms, assaults on those who don’t believe or don’t believe precisely as you (collective) do, the wars, inquisition, crusades, witch hunts, assaults on children, coverups, corruption, venom, and hatred, and those of us who don’t believe have ample reason to distrust and dislike religion and the religious. Be thankful, praise your God, whatever, that non believers don’t do much beyond parody, snickering, and sarcasm. If we took a page from your rule book we’d be “smiting” believers, perhaps launching a crusade or two, beating believers to death, dunking them under water, stuff like that. At the same time realize that we non-believers quite commonly are treated far worse than this by believers, have the various belief systems of believers (more commonly silliness from the above satirized book in the US) forced upon us, are told, quite honestly that we have no morals, no ethics, can’t be trusted, aren’t real citizens, are going to hell, will be prayed for, and all of the other garbage associated with second class citizenship. Many of us know, quite honestly, being open about our non-belief can cost us jobs, promotions, friends, family.

So really, you’re going to get up in arms over satire?

That’s great. And in the Northeast we had flooding this week just like Noah did. (The sky wasn’t blue then.)

We have sinned and sinned greatly and thusly, the Almighty has judged us, unleashing his wrath via extensive flooding here in the Northeast:

Karen S. said:

That’s great. And in the Northeast we had flooding this week just like Noah did. (The sky wasn’t blue then.)

P. S. Of course, the Almighty was kicked off the face of Qo’nos by Klingons who grew weary of his Old Testament declarations. To put it simply, he meddled too much in their daily lives. Too bad we humans aren’t as wise as the Klingons were.

@ Matt Young -

Have a confession to make. I have seen the light and the Disco Tute is absoluely right. Have accepted as the one true PROPHET, thy master’s most humble servant, Bill Dembski.

P. S. Of course I most strongly endorse your dedication to my favorite Canadian not named Denyse O’Leary.

Avi said: Why do non theists like this one all too often feel so free to be disrespectful to people’s most dearly held beliefs?

Why do you single out non-theists here? I’ve seen equal and greater disrespect from various forms of theists towards just about any dearly held belief you can name. Your implication that such rudeness (or satire, comedy, assault, etc. depending on your perspective) is a non-theist trait is wrong–in my experience it’s a human trait. When things like this offend you, it says more about you than it does about the person causing the offense.

From our “you can’t make this stuff up” department: A relative of mine, a science teacher, has friends who are Biblical literalists. Recently he asked them to explain the existence of dinosaur fossils. They replied that they subscribed to a “theory” – they insisted on the word theory – that God had enclosed the earth with a shell that allowed the humidity to rise. Plants grew lush, and there was adequate food for dinosaurs. When God removed the shell the dinosaurs died out.

That’s what’s known as the “vapor canopy” theory, which was at one time seriously proposed by some of the well-known creationists. The removal of the shell was what led to Noah’s flood.

And if that is true, then how come the avian dinosaurs - especially landlubbers like the ostriches, rheas and emus - survived and their larger cousins didn’t:

Matt Young said:

From our “you can’t make this stuff up” department: A relative of mine, a science teacher, has friends who are Biblical literalists. Recently he asked them to explain the existence of dinosaur fossils. They replied that they subscribed to a “theory” – they insisted on the word theory – that God had enclosed the earth with a shell that allowed the humidity to rise. Plants grew lush, and there was adequate food for dinosaurs. When God removed the shell the dinosaurs died out.

You made some good points Avi, but you see how they respond to you. Don’t worry, you are useful to them, you are still their friend, of course – as long as you limit your comments to criticizing and opposing Non-Darwinist efforts and creationist theology.

And you’d better learn to love that good bible satire, and (according to Fnxtr), you had better be thankful that your masters don’t do anything WORSE to you Christians (how would you like to be dunked under water, you uppity Avi?).

FL

My sister’s church “taught” her that the Earth was much more “pure” back in the “olden days” and that’s why animals were far larger “back then” than they are now. I countered that the Earth’s atmosphere was toxic to multi-cellular animal life for most of Earth’s history, and that the largest animal that has ever existed exists in the present. My mother’s church is even WORSE: they “teach” that idiotic “regenerating eagle” parable as biological fact. I set her straight on the biology end of things, but I had the sense she wasn’t fully believing me. I love my mother, but it pains me to no end that she became all Jesus-y late in life and believes more and more stupid, untrue, and sometimes hateful things as she “grows” in her faith. I miss that woman who raised me.

FL said:

… you had better be thankful that your masters don’t do anything WORSE to you Christians (how would you like to be dunked under water, you uppity Avi?).

Yes, you’ve got to worry about those evil “Darwinists” who are always threatening to have 40 days and 40 nights of rain, and a worldwide flood that will destroy all non-Darwinists. Sick, they are.

Oh great, more sneering and baiting by Flaming Looney. I won’t hang around for more of his special brand of short-bus riding, window-licking, steaming heap of bible babble. As it turns out, PZ Myers is speaking tonight at my place of employment, so I’m thrilled. And Avi, the xian persecution complex is getting pretty tired. Don’t make me call the whaaaaambulance for you. Take a joke, ya crybaby.

Do I smell a persecution complex all up in this thread?

Flintstones, meet the Flintstones, they’re a page right out of history…

Avi said:

Why do non theists like this one all too often feel so free to be disrespectful to people’s most dearly held beliefs?

Because the people who hold those beliefs have an annoying tendency to attempt to force everyone around them to abide by them, via government laws or violence, and frequently proclaim all who don’t hold said beliefs to be evil, baby-eating, amoral monsters.

If you attempt to beat me over the head with a cross, you have no cause for complaint if I snatch it from your hands and break it. Respect is a two-way street, and your side is grossly negligent. Tend to the beam in your eye before concerning yourself with the sliver in your neighbor’s, as a wise man once said.

I wonder if maybe, just to be on the safe side, the “me” in “And God said let the sky be blue* as a token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations” ought to be rendered as “Me.” The Big Fella tends to be kinda touchy about things like that, ya know. He gets pretty steamed if you have any other gods before Him. Far as I know, though, it’s okay to have other gods alongside of Him, eh?

Avi -

Why do non theists like this one all too often feel so free to be disrespectful to people’s most dearly held beliefs? Have you no compassion or respect for others?

It is my position to always try to be respectful of other peoples’ feelings, within reason.

I observe plenty of respect and compassion for others among non-theists. I observe extreme disrespect and lack of compassion for others among many theists.

I didn’t much care for this post, but the background is that Robert Byers is a frequent and spirited commenter in this forum. He takes heat - as would be expected - but he is not censored, let alone threatened or harassed, as would be the fate of one who dares to deviate from the consensus at many religious or right wing sites.

I must suggest that overall, your comment, with its grossly unfair generalization, is less respectful and compassionate than the original post.

The arrogance. And this is all coming from one who accepts the science of evolution, etc. I am also a Bible believer. I don’t interpret the creation story in Genesis as what we would deem literal. But to so freely mock the beauty of the language used in the creation story is totally uncalled for. There are other ways to poke fun at Creationists that are not so “blasphemous” to people’s faith.

I have some sympathy for this argument, but at the same time, I place far more importance on freedom of expression.

It is true that satire of religion sometimes hurts peoples’ feelings, but I do not think that this is a fair argument that there should be no satire of religion.

Again, I am not particularly impressed by the individual example here.

Avi Wrote:

There are other ways to poke fun at Creationists that are not so “blasphemous” to people’s faith.

I don’t think it’s right poke fun at them this or any way. (except today, of course, and fellow “Darwinists” are fair game too).

Every other day of the year, If I refer to the Bible to an evolution-denier, it’s only to to rub it in how they can’t agree on (1) “what happened when” in the history of life, (2) whether Genesis qualifies as evidence, or that their interpretation is confirmed by independent evidence, and (3) whether Genesis can even be taken literally.

The only thing they all so seem to agree on is that evolution is falsified and unfalsifiable. ;-)

A belief being “cherished” is not some sort of kryptonite shield against criticism, which is all good satire ever really is. I’m sure “The Producers” was offensive to some folks who “cherish” Nazism, too. In fact, I’d bet that ever target of satire is, if not exactly cherished, at least valued by some people or another. Next stop: ridiculous British libel and anti-blasphemy laws.

And to add to the point an earlier poster made, I happen to have a degree in biblical studies from well-known evangelical college. I know the Bible quite well, especially the New Testament (I studied Greek but not Hebrew, so I naturally learned more of the New Testament that way). And as objectively as I can put it, parts of the Bible are pretty good. There is a pleasant sort of poetic symmetry in Genesis 1 that I can understand people growing attached to. But with dozens of people working on it for hundreds of years, it could have been better. It’s OK literature, and from that historical period, probably above average. But apart from its putative magical qualities, there’s not much to “cherish” in the Bible. Much of what in it is good has been said better (or at least as well) elsewhere, and much of the rest of it is not only a middling source of literature, but a deplorable source of morals and wisdom. I don’t think a person can just claim any old thing, regardless of its qualities, cherished and special and sacred and thereby off-limits for cheeky criticism…because I don’t know what, then, could ever be fair game for criticism, nor how many things could improve without it.

Greg Peterson said:

A belief being “cherished” is not some sort of kryptonite shield against criticism, which is all good satire ever really is. I’m sure “The Producers” was offensive to some folks who “cherish” Nazism, too. In fact, I’d bet that ever target of satire is, if not exactly cherished, at least valued by some people or another. Next stop: ridiculous British libel and anti-blasphemy laws.

And to add to the point an earlier poster made, I happen to have a degree in biblical studies from well-known evangelical college. I know the Bible quite well, especially the New Testament (I studied Greek but not Hebrew, so I naturally learned more of the New Testament that way). And as objectively as I can put it, parts of the Bible are pretty good. There is a pleasant sort of poetic symmetry in Genesis 1 that I can understand people growing attached to. But with dozens of people working on it for hundreds of years, it could have been better. It’s OK literature, and from that historical period, probably above average. But apart from its putative magical qualities, there’s not much to “cherish” in the Bible. Much of what in it is good has been said better (or at least as well) elsewhere, and much of the rest of it is not only a middling source of literature, but a deplorable source of morals and wisdom. I don’t think a person can just claim any old thing, regardless of its qualities, cherished and special and sacred and thereby off-limits for cheeky criticism…because I don’t know what, then, could ever be fair game for criticism, nor how many things could improve without it.

Feeling persecuted is feeling closer to the Christians of old and Christ himself. It’s also a convenient way to shut people up. Er, well, it would be convenient if it actually worked.

I suspect that the Christians of old (you know - the ones who were used as lighting by Nero) were very different from the fundamentalists of today.

You are a Christian in a free, secular country. You do not have the right to be not ridiculed for your beliefs.

FL said:

You made some good points Avi, but you see how they respond to you. Don’t worry, you are useful to them, you are still their friend, of course – as long as you limit your comments to criticizing and opposing Non-Darwinist efforts and creationist theology.

And you’d better learn to love that good bible satire, and (according to Fnxtr), you had better be thankful that your masters don’t do anything WORSE to you Christians (how would you like to be dunked under water, you uppity Avi?).

FL

The interesting thing is that virtually every christian group I know presents itself as being oppressed and villified.

Loonies.

Jesse said:

Greg Peterson said:

A belief being “cherished” is not some sort of kryptonite shield against criticism, which is all good satire ever really is. I’m sure “The Producers” was offensive to some folks who “cherish” Nazism, too. In fact, I’d bet that ever target of satire is, if not exactly cherished, at least valued by some people or another. Next stop: ridiculous British libel and anti-blasphemy laws.

And to add to the point an earlier poster made, I happen to have a degree in biblical studies from well-known evangelical college. I know the Bible quite well, especially the New Testament (I studied Greek but not Hebrew, so I naturally learned more of the New Testament that way). And as objectively as I can put it, parts of the Bible are pretty good. There is a pleasant sort of poetic symmetry in Genesis 1 that I can understand people growing attached to. But with dozens of people working on it for hundreds of years, it could have been better. It’s OK literature, and from that historical period, probably above average. But apart from its putative magical qualities, there’s not much to “cherish” in the Bible. Much of what in it is good has been said better (or at least as well) elsewhere, and much of the rest of it is not only a middling source of literature, but a deplorable source of morals and wisdom. I don’t think a person can just claim any old thing, regardless of its qualities, cherished and special and sacred and thereby off-limits for cheeky criticism…because I don’t know what, then, could ever be fair game for criticism, nor how many things could improve without it.

Feeling persecuted is feeling closer to the Christians of old and Christ himself. It’s also a convenient way to shut people up. Er, well, it would be convenient if it actually worked.

I suspect that the Christians of old (you know - the ones who were used as lighting by Nero) were very different from the fundamentalists of today.

Hey, let me ask a question. Something I’ve been wondering about for a while.

You know, PvM used to post and contribute threads in this forum. He was a professing Christian, a theistic evolutionist just like Avi.

You guys used to get a lot of mileage off of PvM, but I’ve noticed that he hasn’t posted around here in a long long time.

Just wanted to ask, whatever happened to him? Why did he stop posting at PT?

avi the hypocritical wacko:

Why do non theists like this one all too often feel so free to be disrespectful to people’s most dearly held beliefs? Have you no compassion or respect for others? The arrogance.

google screen:

‘Cardinal Cormac: ‘Atheism the greatest of evils.” by Ruth …May 22, 2009 … You need that behaviour to gain and strengthen your superior Catholic Morality to withstand sub-human atheist danger to the proper working … www.richarddawkins.net/jumptocomment.php?…Atheism… - Cached

‘Atheists ‘not fully human’, says Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor …I am also surprised that this interview didn’t ask the natural follow-up question “do you think that atheists are subhuman?” …

You should see what xians say to and about atheists. According to an RCC cardinal, atheism is “the greatest of evils” and atheists are subhuman.

In times past, before we took away their guns, rope, and firewood, xians could and did kill atheists.

Better get that beam out of your eye before you claim atheists have a speck in theirs.

raven said:

avi the hypocritical wacko:

Why do non theists like this one all too often feel so free to be disrespectful to people’s most dearly held beliefs? Have you no compassion or respect for others? The arrogance.

google screen:

‘Cardinal Cormac: ‘Atheism the greatest of evils.” by Ruth …May 22, 2009 … You need that behaviour to gain and strengthen your superior Catholic Morality to withstand sub-human atheist danger to the proper working … www.richarddawkins.net/jumptocomment.php?…Atheism… - Cached

‘Atheists ‘not fully human’, says Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor …I am also surprised that this interview didn’t ask the natural follow-up question “do you think that atheists are subhuman?” …

You should see what xians say to and about atheists. According to an RCC cardinal, atheism is “the greatest of evils” and atheists are subhuman.

In times past, before we took away their guns, rope, and firewood, xians could and did kill atheists.

Better get that beam out of your eye before you claim atheists have a speck in theirs.

Somewhere on the internet are a couple of surveys that show that Christians trust athiests less than they trust Muslims, which is odd. Wicca is another one that raises some eyebrows.

Stanton said:

Want to bet 50 dollars that all of the papers FL mentioned fail to explain how Intelligent Design is supposed to work, let alone how it’s supposed to be a science?

That would be a safe bet if anyone could get ID/creationists to understand any science and then get them to confess that they were wrong.

FL’s chutzpa and fakery are endless. He challenges people to learn the connection between science and religion by referencing Dembski. What he apparently doesn’t recognize is that, at best, this might show the connection between religion and latter day pseudo-science. This is not what has happened historically between real science and religion.

Want to bet a hundred dollars that FL blows this chance, as usual?

Well he doesn’t get to pick the terms if he wants to have any kind of serious discussion. I don’t debate pseudo-scientists and Ferengis on their terms. Their standards are far to low.

I think we will see him change the subject and attempt to weasel the terms of any discussion onto his territory where he can Gish gallop forever. He is not going to generate another useless 100 page thread on my account.

Avi said:

I know that you have likely herd this before. But it is solid and true. The Jesus of the New Testament DID fulfill numerous prophecies about the Messiah found in the Old Testament. He got way too many of them to be coincidence.

You’re right. It probably isn’t a coincidence. More likely:

  • The people writing about Jesus knew the prophesies and made stuff up to agree with them,
  • The scribes recording the stories twisted them to agree with the prophesies,
  • There are multiple conflicting prophesies and one cherry-picks the ones that agree while ignoring the ones that don’t,
  • The prophesies are so vague that one may always find something to shoehorn into a match.

Muslims claim Mohammad was foretold by the Bible (and Hindu scripture, too). The LDS claims Joseph Smith’s various prophesies have been fulfilled. Jehovah’s Witnesses find fulfilled prophesies all over the place - some in conflict with the ones quoted by mainstream Christians. The predictions of Nostradamus and Fatima’s secrets have been “fulfilled” by one or another of these techniques. They’re the stock in trade of every fortune teller.

You’re right. It probably isn’t a coincidence. More likely:

The people writing about Jesus knew the prophesies and made stuff up to agree with them,

Well rather than fit the prophecies so strangely, why wouldn’t they have made it all so amazingly crystal clear so that no one would be able to really argue about it?

The scribes recording the stories twisted them to agree with the prophesies,

Again, see my response to the first point. And why would they expect so many people to buy into something that could be so easily checked out being so close to the events?

There are multiple conflicting prophesies and one cherry-picks the ones that agree while ignoring the ones that don’t,

Or many of the prophecies not mentioned are either referring to the final end time to come in the future or they refer to something that happened in the past- i.e. the Babylonian captivity and the return from it.

The prophesies are so vague that one may always find something to shoehorn into a match.

To an untrained eye it sometimes seems that way. But there were some prophecies that were not at all that vague. Malachi foretold that the Messiah, who “owned” the temple, would display the glory of God in public at the temple before the second temple was destroyed which happened in 70 c e. Now that narrows things down.

Avi said: To an untrained eye it sometimes seems that way. But there were some prophecies that were not at all that vague. Malachi foretold that the Messiah, who “owned” the temple, would display the glory of God in public at the temple before the second temple was destroyed which happened in 70 c e. Now that narrows things down.

And this is exactly what is known as cherrypicking.

Get out the Dembski and Marks paper. It is essentially the most concise summary the major misconceptions that Dembski has been operating with for his entire “career.” There is a tactical reason that these are in that paper. When you have convinced me that you understand it, I’ll show you where I have dissected it. It was done here on PT.

Well, I do happen to have a pre-journal-publication copy of “Life’s Conservation Law” by Dembski and Marks. However, the specific material from William Dembski that I referred you to earlier, “Part Three – Bridging Science and Theology”, which covers chapters Seven and Eight of Intelligent Design (1999), does not appear in the Dembski and Marks paper at all. (I checked.)

Quite simply, the D & M paper addresses a different topic.

But that’s not a problem for you, because you clearly said (April 11, 1:42 am):

“I have personally dissected all the major works of the ID/creationists repeatedly over a period of 40 years and have given talks on these to the public over the years.”

So that particular boast would necessarily mean you’ve read Dembski’s 1999 book, Intelligent Design and hence you’ve read Part 3 (chapters 7 and 8, pages 187-236), Dembski’s explanation that bridges science and theology.

Furthermore, you’ve boasted that “I do have far more than enough scientific and mathematical expertise and experience to spot the misconceptions and mischaracterizations that run through ID/creationist pseudo/science,” so with all that expertise under your belt, and with you having read Dembski’s 1999 book, you are in a perfect position to offer a refutation to my specific contention that:

—-Dembski’s specific explanations given in chapters 7 and 8 DO successfully bridge the domains of science and theology,

—-AND furthermore he bridges those two domains in a totally Bible-compatible, totally Christ-centered manner.

This specific contention was clearly and previously stated earlier, and you were sincerely and respectfully asked to dissect and disprove it.

Furthermore, you directly claimed (April 11, 1:42 am) that I, FL, “have not read any of Dembski’s stuff”, which if true, would make it very easy for you to dissect and disprove my specific contention.

You also directly claimed that there’s “absolutely no way” that I “could know anything about the relationship between science and religion”, so you’ve honestly made it very clear that you understood that the topic I was addressing was Dembski’s explanation about bridging science and theology.

As you can see, I have not accused you of lying, Mike. I’m taking you at your word here. You said all these things openly, and I’m sure you’re an honest guy.

Hence you would have every advantage here, if you are telling the truth. I therefore repeat the following request:

So how about it? Would you want to go ahead and take the time to specifically show me where I’m wrong about #3?/

FL

Henry wrote,

No eyewitnesses wrote the NT?

2 Peter 1:16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

To which Dave Luckett replied,

In the first place, most scholars believe that 2 Peter is pseudonymous, for several reasons. Firstly, because it was one of the last epistles to be accepted into canon, and yet, if Peter actually wrote it, it must have been one of the most authoritative and earliest. Secondly, because the style, grammar and vocabulary is clearly different from 1 The writer of the epistle also says that it was written shortly before the death of the apostle, which is a bit of a giveaway.

So let’s look at all that.

******

Firstly, because it was one of the last epistles to be accepted into canon, and yet, if Peter actually wrote it, it must have been one of the most authoritative and earliest.

However, regarding the lateness of acceptance of 2 Peter into the canon, DA Carson and Douglas Moo point out that:

More important, there is a good explanation for the neglect of 2 Peter. So many Petrine forgeries were in existence that the Fathers moved very cautiously in separating out 2 Peter from these other spurious books.

—An Introduction to the New Testament, 2005 Zondervan, p. 662.

In a footnote, they also repeate Michael J. Kruger’s question:

“What reasons are there to put 2 Peter out of the canon, considering its authentication by the consensus of the 4th-century church?”

—(“The Authenticity of 2 Peter”, JETS 42 (1999), p. 651).

***

The next objection is,

Secondly, because the style, grammar and vocabulary is clearly different from 1 Peter.

To which Carson and Moo point out:

While certainly distinctive, the Greek of 2 Peter is not as distinctive as many scholars have suggested. Several scholars note that the author may be consciously imitating the so called “Asiatic” style, a form of rhetorical speech that was becoming popular at the time. Could not Peter, seeking to create as much common ground as possible with his readers, have adopted just such a style?

(Also), The claim that a Galilean fisherman could not have written the Greek of the letter cannot stand without knowing much more than we do about how that Galilean fisherman spent the thirty or more years between abandoning his nets and the date of his letter. Ministry in Asia Minor, Greece, and Rome might very well have furnished Peter with a training in Greek, and even a rhetorical style, similar or even superior to that to be had in the classroom. p. 661.)

In addition, you cannot afford to ignore stylistic similarities between 1 Peter and 2 Peter. Can’t just exclusively focus on differences, like the skeptics do, but you must deal with the similarities too:

But not only are there differences, there are also many similarities between 1 Peter and 2 Peter.

Although 2 Peter has more, they both are characterized by repetition of words. Bigg says, “The habit of verbal repetition is therefore quite as strongly marked in the First Epistle as the Second.” There are similarities of thought: the fruits of redemption and testing, the inspiration of scripture, the second coming of Christ. And Bigg adds, “…no document in the New Testament is so like 1 Peter as 2 Peter.”

—J. Hampton Keathley IV, “The Authorship of Second Peter.”

http://bible.org/article/authorship-second-peter

***

Next skeptical objection:

“Thirdly, because it appears to refer to Paul deferentially, and specifically to Jude.

It must be late, for it attempts to explain the delay in the Second Coming - which means that it must post-date the lifetimes of many who heard Jesus, but Peter died about 62 CE, in the Neronic persecution. This is on the face of it barely consistent.”

The idea behind this objection is that “Some scholars think that the (2 Pet. 3:15-16 reference to Paul) implies a full collection of the Pauline epistles, and such a collection could not, of course, have existed during Peter’s lifetime.” (p.659).

However, Carson & Moo respond,

“But the text implies nothing about a collection, referring only to an undetermined number of letters.” (p.659)

“Peter’s appeal to the.…letters of Paul(3:15-16) do not imply the existence of a fixed tradition.” (p. 662).

They go on to state:

And Peter’s teaching about the Parousia (the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ) is quite in keeping with the thrust of the New Testament in general: its coming cannot be dated (3:8,10), so believers need to be prepared for that day to arrive at any time (3:9, 11-12) (p. 662).

So the thing with Paul and Jude and the Second Coming of Christ, is actually okay. It DOESN’T eliminate Petrine authorship of 2 Peter.

***

Finally, Dave Luckett wrote

The writer of the epistle also says that it was written shortly before the death of the apostle, which is a bit of a giveaway.

But that objection is easily answered. Peter simply used an amanuensis. A secretary. Wasn’t unusual.

“One plausible explanation for the differences between 1 Peter and 2 Peter is that Peter used an amanuensis to do the actual writing of 1 Peter with Peter checking and approving the final product.

That this was a common practice is evidenced by Longenecker who states, ‘The Greek papyri, therefore, indicate quite clearly that an amanuensis was frequently, if not commonly, employed in the writing of personal letters during the time approximating the composition of the NT epistles.’

If Peter himself wrote 2 Peter, this would explain the differences between the two letters.”

—Keathley’s article

***

So, taken together, we see that there ARE good rational reasons to ACCEPT that the Apostle Peter was the author of 2 Peter. And therefore, the text Henry pointed out.…

2 Peter 1:16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

cannot be brushed aside.

FL

FL said:

You also directly claimed that there’s “absolutely no way” that I “could know anything about the relationship between science and religion”, so you’ve honestly made it very clear that you understood that the topic I was addressing was Dembski’s explanation about bridging science and theology.

That’s because your definition of “religion” entails demanding blind and total obedience to your own personal interpretation of the Bible, up to and including denying reality as being evil. And then there is the fact that you regard science as being an evil, rival religion.

And then there is the problem how Dembski has repeatedly demonstrated how he is totally uninterested in explaining or even demonstrating how Intelligent Design works, or even is supposed to be a science, is totally uninterested in doing any science, and how he has demonstrated himself to be totally unreliable, period.

In other words, FL, I think you’re going to have a lot of trouble trying to explain this, if you intend to make a coherent, honest attempt at an explanation, that is.

FL, you’re seriously arguing that because the early Church fathers had serious doubts about 2 Peter, and took a very long time to accept it, that it’s more likely to be authentic? Really?

You’re also arguing that the stylistic differences can be simply set aside by waving the term amuensis around? They can’t, you know.

Or that if Peter wrote 1 Peter and an amuensis (in fact, a pseudonymous writer) wrote 2 Peter, this would solve the problem? Surely even you can see that it only introduces new ones?

Or that it’s credible that by 62 CE it was already necessary for the head of the church to write an encyclical letter to tell followers that the second coming might be on hold for a while? He talks about a thousand years, so it’s pretty plain that by the time it was written, the church had dug in for the long haul. In 62 CE there were still plenty of people alive who’d heard Jesus - but at 3:3-4, the writer implies that that generation had all passed away. This has to put it later than Peter’s life.

But even if you ignore this, you’re still not off the hook. If the writer was Peter, the letter must predate the Gospels, and therefore Peter could not attest to their truth himself, anyway. Unless, of course, we are to have recourse to your usual solution and call up an uncovenanted miracle.

No. 2 Peter is dubious. But even if it weren’t, even if there were no worries about it at all, even if you could reasonably insist that the fourth and fifth century church fathers whose consensus put it into canon were absolutely, definitely, unquestionably right about it, and it certainly is the product of Simon Peter himself, it says only that Peter describes himself and unknown others - presumably the other disciples - as eyewitnesses. He does not say, and does not imply, that the canon of the New Testament was written by eyewitnesses - and manifestly, most of it was not.

FL Wrote:

Furthermore, you’ve boasted that “I do have far more than enough scientific and mathematical expertise and experience to spot the misconceptions and mischaracterizations that run through ID/creationist pseudo/science,” …

If you think that is boasting or bluffing then you are in for one hell of a rude awakening.

You also directly claimed that there’s “absolutely no way” that I “could know anything about the relationship between science and religion”, so you’ve honestly made it very clear that you understood that the topic I was addressing was Dembski’s explanation about bridging science and theology.

The only thing you think you know at best is Dembski’s opinion about the relationship between science and religion.

What you don’t know is if Dembski knows anything about real science (he doesn’t, and you haven’t checked).

You also think he knows something about religion because his sectarian dogmas are similar to yours. That proves nothing.

If you want to carry on any kind of intelligent discussion, you will not be allowed to drag this into the mud and do your endless dances and changing of subject.

What you will do, however, is demonstrate to my satisfaction that you can understand Dembski’s concepts of science. And once you have done that, you will then demonstrate that you can understand the differences between what Dembski uses as the foundation of his analyses and what Nature actually does.

If you cannot do this, my statement about your knowledge about the relationship of science and religion stands.

I am not going to do your little time consuming dance. You will discuss this at my level of expertise and on my terms.

We both have access to exactly what is needed in the D&M paper. You are going to go through it concept by concept and demonstrate for me that you understand exactly what D&M are doing and what concepts they are using.

Then you are going to go through it again concept by concept and compare this with what nature and science actually are all about.

Those are the terms; there will be no negotiation, no haggling, no changing subject, and we will stick to a concept until you convince me you understand it clearly before we move on. You got that?

Now get out that D&M paper and tell me exactly what they are doing.

Start with their initial definitions.

henry said: We all have presuppositions and worldviews.

Not me. That is, my worldview is not based on presuppositions I have no presuppositions about anything. Not a single one.

My worldview is based solely on ‘I’m hungry’. From there, everything in this ‘reality’ is either a perceptable change to state or doesn’t exist. It’s that simple.

henry said:

Rilke’s granddaughter said:

And I wasn’t offering armchair diagnoses: there are thousands of Christian sects in the world, very few of which demand the bible be literal. To deny this reality would be insane, by definition.

And the truth or falsity of the resurrection DOES NOT DEPEND ON WHETHER IT WAS ACCURATELY REPORTED. Got that? 500 people don’t have to have seen Christ risen for him to have risen. People are fallible, they misremember, they hear rumours, they write what they’ve heard - nothing in the NT was written by eyewitnesses; and we know telephone effects happen. By the way, your rebuttal was useless - it talked about transmission of the texts, not the story.

No eyewitnesses wrote the NT?

2 Peter 1:16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

Odd that you should choose to quote from by all scholarly work and agreement is a pseudonymous piece. In any event, the statement is quite accurate - from a scholarly standard and an intellectually honest one, nothing in the NT was written by eyewitnesses. Feel free to present any scholarly theological material to demonstrate otherwise.

Mike Elzinga said:

You will discuss this at my level of expertise and on my terms.

Good luck with that, Mike. I”m expecting either a vanishing act or the rhetorical equivalent of throwing sand in your eyes.

SWT said:

Mike Elzinga said:

You will discuss this at my level of expertise and on my terms.

Good luck with that, Mike. I”m expecting either a vanishing act or the rhetorical equivalent of throwing sand in your eyes.

I suspect FL will do the former, rather than the latter, and reappear in another thread.

He’s not only a Liar and a Slanderer for Jesus, he also becomes a coward when he realizes he can not engage in lying or slandering.

SWT said:

Mike Elzinga said:

You will discuss this at my level of expertise and on my terms.

Good luck with that, Mike. I”m expecting either a vanishing act or the rhetorical equivalent of throwing sand in your eyes.

I have no illusions that he will behave any differently than he always has.

I fully expect he will start throwing papers at us also. But the central point at issue is whether he has the expertise to know whether or not such papers are relevant or even if they contain the same misconceptions. If he can’t understand the D&M paper, there is no reason to believe he can understand any other paper.

But, as I said to Stanton, he is not going to run up a 100 page thread on my account. I refuse to engage him on any other terms than what I have set.

If he can’t deal with these terms, he discredits everything he claims explicitly or implicitly about his ability to evaluate science or religion or their historical relationship.

That’s sufficient for me. I think we all know what he is anyway.

You will discuss this at my level of expertise and on my terms.

Maybe si, maybe no. The poster “Deadman” (bless his dead little heart), can fill you in on my debating style if you are not already acquainted. Stated simply, I like to be accomodating (as much as possible), but sooner or later I will simply debate on my own terms…usually sooner.

******

Hmmm. Just thought of something. So far, you’ve not acknowledged that you’ve read Dembski’s 1999 IVP book Intelligent Design at all.

Nor have you indicated that you have access to the book at this time, or have even skimmed it at the public library within the last one or two years.

Nor are there any signs that you have some idea of what Dembski wrote in chapters 7 and 8.

Nor do you give any sign that you’re even open to discussing anything other than the Dembski and Marks journal-article (which I already checked yesterday and it contains nothing of Dembski’s science-theology bridging explanation of chaps. 7 and 8.)

You haven’t even retracted your (by now clearly falsified) statement that I “haven’t even read ANY of Dembski’s stuff.” Gave you a couple of fair opportunities there to come clean.

No, Mike. You do not come across as trustworthy on this one. Angry, inflexible, impatient, possibly a tad over-dramatic. But not trustworthy.

It’s as if you’re making a very conscious effort to avoid having to engage or reply to the specific contention I repeatedly brought up.

******

It’s not my task to force you to respond to my specific contention, or to debate it.

And while I did enjoy the 100-page ATBC debate and learned much, you’ll find that I am being a bit more selective about marathons like that.

After all, we both value our limited time, and neither one of us are wanting to waste such time with possible members of the Ferengi Alliance, right?

FL :)

Evoluionists can be such wussies sometimes.

Closing arguments, please, people - I can’t take much more of this.

Matt Young said:

Closing arguments, please, people - I can’t take much more of this.

Before engaging FL, you have to realize that its posts are intellectual ipecac.

Dale Husband said:

FL said:

Unitarians are Christians. Lying will get you damned to eternal hellfire, FL.

What, you are saying you believe in the existence of eternal hellfire? Riiiiiight.

But the fact is, I was there, RG. I went to their services. Like I said, I even knew which person’s name went with which person’s religion, for many members of the congregation. The only Christians in the UU church, are the UU’s who directly tell you they are.

Btw, making a blanket declaration that “Unitarians are Christians” actually could be considered offensive by those Unitarians who personally claim to be agnostic, atheist, Buddhist, Hindu, and Jewish.

You may want to keep that in mind next time you visit a UU service, yes? Musn’t step on ecumenical landmines, you know.

FL

FL, STFU! The only kind of person that is offensive to UUs like me is bigots like YOU! And that is not about Christianity, but about dishonesty, stupidity, and arrogance.

Like I said, I even knew which person’s name went with which person’s religion, for many members of the congregation.

Was their “religion” written on their name tags?

It causes me great pains to agree with FL, but it is true that many Unitarian Universalists don’t consider themselves Christian. I know of a fair number of Pagans who attend UU services, and there is even a Pagan group within the church (CUPPS). Unitarianism was originally an offshoot of Christianity; they did not believe in the Trinity, thus their name. But it would be inaccurate to call them a Christian group today.

Avi said:

tomh said:

Avi said:

So I would offer the challenge, where is even one piece of undeniable proof or reason to deny that Jesus is in fact who he claimed in the gospels and that he did not rise from the dead?

confirming my suspicions that there is no evidence about the Resurrection. Other than the assertions made in the Bible, of course.

The first evidence of the resurrection is the eyewitness accounts in the gospels themselves.

Since these accounts differ as to such things as to how many women went to the tomb, whether the rock was rolled away when they got there, who they encountered there, and what time of day they arrived, they can hardly be accepted as reliable.

The second is the accounts that Paul referred to as being around 500 or so in number.

We have Paul’s word on this, not the acount of any of the 500 people. In other words, we do not have the acounts of 500 people, we have the account of one. The rest is hearsay.

FL said:

Maybe si, maybe no.

Apparently you didn’t get the point. And, to repeat, you don’t get to change the subject.

Or, perhaps you missed where to find the paper.

There are no other options.

Matt Young said:

Closing arguments, please, people - I can’t take much more of this.

I understand completely.

We appear to be done anyway.

Nothing could be more obvious - FL trying to back out with an air of dignity intact. Of course, he lost any semblance of dignity long ago.

Keelyn said:

Nothing could be more obvious - FL trying to back out with an air of dignity intact. Of course, he lost any semblance of dignity long ago.

FL never had any dignity, air or otherwise, ever to begin with.

FL said:

Let’s imagine for a moment that the biblical passage I offered to Dale is “non-literal.”

3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

5 and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.

6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.

7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles,

8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

—the Apostle Paul, 1 Cor. 15

Read the text, FL. In what way did Jesus appear to Paul? In a physical body, walking around? Or in the spirit? Paul equates the experiences of others to his own. If you read the words literally (yes, literally), he is saying that Jesus was not raised in a physical form.

FL, you said

Maybe si, maybe no. The poster “Deadman” (bless his dead little heart), can fill you in on my debating style if you are not already acquainted. Stated simply, I like to be accomodating (as much as possible), but sooner or later I will simply debate on my own terms…usually sooner.

.

I’ve looked at a lot of your postings, both here and at ATBC, and I don’t see any signs that you’re willing to debate at all. I mean that seriously: I can’t find any actual attempts by you to engage the actual points raised by your opponents. I can understand why he’s concerned, and why he wants to establish that you really know something about what Debmski is claiming before you even have a discussion. You’ve made a lot of mistakes about Dembski in the past, I’m sure he wants to avoid any repetition.

But really - based on what you’ve posted that I can read, you’ve never made any attempt to discuss a topic in good faith.

Can you point me to a counter-example?

Thanks.

Wow. That’s a really badly-written paper. It’s like trying to read sludge.

I realize Dembski’s math skills aren’t very good, but does he have to write so BADLY?

Mike Elzinga said:

FL said:

Maybe si, maybe no.

Apparently you didn’t get the point. And, to repeat, you don’t get to change the subject.

Or, perhaps you missed where to find the paper.

There are no other options.

Rilke’s Granddaughter said:

Wow. That’s a really badly-written paper. It’s like trying to read sludge.

I realize Dembski’s math skills aren’t very good, but does he have to write so BADLY?

And, I am not kidding, I really did plow through that entire paper, concept by concept. When you compare it with others of Dembski’s work, it is a pretty concise summary of his misconceptions about science that permeate everything else of his.

The comparisons of the degrees of difficulty of solving combinatorial problems are quite trivial, but it is the labeling of these degrees of difficulty that is a setup.

The rest of the paper totally mischaracterizes the work of others. And Dembski’s methods and critiques contain his misconceptions.

I wasn’t kidding about plowing through Abel’s and Meyers papers either. It’s a mind numbing and unpleasant process, but necessary if one wants to understand the thinking and the misconceptions of ID/creationists.

And it didn’t wreck my brain (but then, how would I know? Hmmm.).

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on April 1, 2010 8:00 AM.

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