Volume 2 -- August 1998 (35 pages)
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE: The "Friends of the Nazarene" are a Bible research group for better Scriptural understanding. We are dedicated to the preservation and publishing of Christian writings which aid the Fathers Children to "follow the Lamb no matter where the Lamb goes." (Revelation 14:4) We are apologists dedicated to the defense of the truth that "God is One" and not three. The Bible is our credo. We wish to respect the views of our multitude of Christian brethren. (1 Peter 3:15) [Research associates: Mark Miller - ; Andrew Foss - ; Ralph Slaney - ; Andy Weeks - ; Greg Jones - ]
IN THIS ISSUE ---
1) What are "the times of the Gentiles"?
2) Do Scientific Evidences Point to a Creator or to Chance?
4) Perfecting the Christian Character: Think First and Peaceable
5) Faith Perspectives: Daddys Girl
6) What is the "Holy Spirit"?
7) Was the Flood Global or Local?
WHAT ARE "THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES"?
Most Jehovahs Witnesses, Bible Students, Free Bible Students, and various Adventists groups are familiar with the phrase "the times of the Gentiles." They generally understand the words "the times of the Gentiles" to refer to a very long period of time with a beginning and an end. They believe this period of time to cover many, many centuries. Some believe these "times" to be seven in number and cover over two millennia. They believe these "times of the Gentiles" to have begun with the destruction of Jerusalem in the sixth century before Christ. They understand these "times" would end with the Return, or Parousia of Jesus Christ.
By calculating the length of these "times of the Gentiles" some Bible students have predicted the Return of Christ to have occurred in an invisible visit in 1874 or 1914. Some apply "the times of the Gentiles" to Israel in the Middle East and point to a year like 1948 or 1976. Others would place the fulfillment of this period to a date -- 2000, 2006, 2012, 2020 -- in the future. If one uses a search engine such as InfoSeek and enter "times of the Gentiles" or "Luke 21:24" quite a number of thoughts on the Internet can be read on this subject.
What are "the times of the Gentiles"? Can they be used to compute the actual date for the Return of Christ in his foretold Parousia or Second Coming? How long are "the times of the Gentiles? Seven, or another number? How does the meaning of "the times of the Gentiles" affect your life?
How can we know the real length and meaning of the phrase "the time of the Gentiles"? Researchers with the Nazarene Saints believe this question may be answered without bias or preconceived theories by studying two things: a) the context; and, b) any source for the phrase from the Old Testament. Please consider these two matters with us.
ACCORDING TO THE CONTEXT
The phrase of interest is found only in Luke 21:24 in what is called by some the "little apocalypse." [For details on this subject see the online publicationDID JESUS PREDICT THE END OF THE WORLD? or the verse by verse study of Revelation NAZARENE APOCALYPSE at www.nazarene-friends.org] In Luke chapter 21 Jesus the Nazarene has been answering a question put to him by four of his apostles. This is also recorded in Matthew chapter 24 and Mark chapter 13. This question was sparked by the Nazarenes shocking prediction regarding the magnificent Temple of Herod as the center of Jewish worship in Jerusalem. In view of the whole Temple complex, the disciples of the Nazarene pointed out the beauty of the edifice: "Teacher, look at those [temple] stones and buildings!" (Mark 13:1) Jesus response must have made these religious Jews break out in cold sweats: "These things which you behold -- the days will come when not a stone will be left on a stone and not be thrown down." (Luke 21:6) Instantly, and no doubt excitedly, the apostles asked: "Teacher, when will these things occur and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?" (Luke 21:7)
Is it unfair to suggest that the disciples question was sparked by the mere thought the Temple at Jerusalem would be destroyed? Is it clear the question itself, as presented here in the Gospel of Luke, deals with this same subject? Can we expect Jesus answer to their question is related to this phrase of our interest, "the times of the Gentiles"? Within the answer of the disciples question we find Luke 21:24 to be the conclusion:" ... and (Jerusalems inhabitants) will fall by the edge of the sword and (others) will be led captive into all the Gentiles; and, Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles should be fulfilled." This would conclude the specifics to the disciples question here in the Gospel of Luke.
This is not the first time the Nazarene predicts dire events for Jerusalem. Just a few days earlier he spoke with tears to a crowd of Jews:"If you had only been aware of this day and those things dealing with peace -- but it was hidden from your view. Because upon you days will arrive when your enemies will throw up a palisade around you and they will encircle you and distress you from every side. They will dash to the ground you and your children, and a stone will not remain upon a stone because you were ignorant of the time of your inspection." (Luke 19:41-44) In so doing he used language highly similar to that in the prophet Daniel: "And the king of the north [Rome] will come and throw up a siege rampart and actually capture a city [Jerusalem] with fortifications. ... And he will stand in the land of the Decoration [Judea], and there will be extermination in his hand." (Daniel 11:15, 16 NW)
However, the Gospels of Matthew and Mark also include this "little apocalypse." They do not include the phrase in Luke 21:24, "the times of the Gentiles." How can we find out where Luke 21:24 would belong in the contexts of Matthew chapter 24 and Mark chapter 13? Both Matthew and Mark state something similar regarding Jerusalem:"Therefore, whenever you see the Disgusting Thing of the Desolation -- that spoken by the prophet Daniel -- standing in a Holy Place (let the reader be mindful) then let those in Judea flee into the mountains." (Matthew 24:15, 16; Mark 13:14) The Nazarene continues to predict this "desolation" of Jerusalem will be a "great tribulation (oppression)" on the Jews. In so doing, Jesus borrows words from Daniel 12:1. (Matthew 24:21, 22; Mark 13:19)
Does it seem fair to conclude that Luke 21:24 with its "times of the Gentiles" falls within the contextual environment of Matthew and Marks "great tribulation" and desolation of Jerusalem? Therefore, contextually, this trampling of Jerusalem -- with so many put to the sword while others are led away as prisoners -- occurs during this period of "the times of the Gentiles"? Thus, Jerusalem is "trampled" to such an extent that the Nazarenes prediction regarding the Temple with no stone left upon a stone comes true. This actually happened between the years of 66 to 70 AD. To this day there is a monument to this Roman victory in the city of Rome -- the Arch of Titus. It shows the captive Jews with soldiers carrying the golden Temple memora along with prisoners as booty. The Romans also cast a coin to commemorate their six year war with the Jews.
Thus, the contextual setting of Luke 21:24 and its "times of the Gentiles" would place it between the years 66 and 70 (or, as late as Masada in 73) AD. The period between 66 to 70 is roughly three and a half years, or 1,260 days. The whole period from Fall 66 to Spring 73 is 2,300 days, each year commemorated by a Roman coin. However, is there a source for Jesus words regarding "the times of the Gentiles"?
THE SOURCE OF THE PHRASE
"THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES"
Can we discover a source in the Old Testament Hebrew Bible for the Nazarenes phrase "the times of the Gentiles"? The disciple Luke wrote to a Greek named Theophilus and therefore recorded the words of the Lord in Greek. The whole phrase, "and the times of the Gentiles," is transliterated from the Greek to English by kai (and) esontai (will be) kairoi (times) ethon (of nations). Most versions render kairoi as "times" though it is also translated, appointed times (NW), their day (TCNT), the period (MOF). This is numbered by Strongs as Greek word 2540, meaning "occasion, i.e. set or proper time."
Does kairoi occur in the Jewish Greek (the Septuagint) Book of Daniel? The word group kairoi occurs about two dozen times. Some want to parallel the Nazarenes "the time of the Gentiles" with Daniel chapter 2. However, the word kairous (times) occurs only once and then only in relation to Gods ability to change "times." (Daniel 2:21). The city of Jerusalem is not mentioned in Daniel chapter 2 so there is nothing here to relate to "the times of the Gentiles."
Another chapter where "the times of the Gentiles" is highly associated by some is Daniel chapter 4. Here kairoi does occur three times in the Jewish Greek Septuagint, and each time in the single phrase "seven times." (epta kairoi = Daniel 4:20, 22, 29 in the Greek Septuagint; Daniel 7:16, 23, 25, 32 in the Hebrew text) The word kairoi was understood by the Jews and the Chaldeans to mean "years." To whom do these "seven times" or seven years apply? Do they here in chapter four of Daniel apply to Jerusalem, or even to Gentiles nations? Let us compare these. In the New World Translation "seven times" occurs in verses 17 and 23, both, "until seven times themselves pass over it." The "it" being the "tree" of Nebuchanezzars dream. In verses 25 and 32, the phrase is changed to "and seven times themselves will pass over you." Thus, the "seven times" deal with the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar.
Is this the conclusion of Daniel himself? We note the word "interpretation" occurs six times. In Daniel 4:6, 7 the king states that his own priests could not make know the interpretation of his dream. In Daniel 4:9 the king asks Daniel for the interpretation. After hearing the king repeat his dream of a great tree cut down and banded for "seven times," or seven years, the king asks Daniel for the interpretation in Daniel 4:18. In response Daniel says: "O my lord, MAY THE DREAM APPLY TO those hating you, and its interpretation to your adversaries." (Daniel 4:19 NW) Is it fair to suggest that the prophet himself gives the interpretation as something which will affect the enemies of the king?
Did "seven years" befall king Nebuchadnezzar in fulfillment of his own dream? We note with great interest Daniel 4:32, 44: " ... and seven times (years) themselves WILL PASS OVER YOU, until you know that the Most High is Ruler in the kingdom of mankind, and that to the one whom he wants to he gives it.'
AT THAT MOMENT THE WORD ITSELF WAS FULFILLED upon Nebuchadnezzar, and from mankind he was being driven away [for seven times]." (NW) Then at the conclusion of these seven years, the king says, "And at the end of the [seven years of] days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up to the heavens my eyes, and my own understanding began to return to me. .. and I was reestablished upon my own kingdom." (Daniel 4:33, 36 NW)
What was the lesson this whole experience was supposed to impress on the Babylonian king and those who would later read his story? He states it at the end of chapter four: "Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, am praising and exalting and glorifying the King of the heavens, because all his works are truth and his ways are justice, and because those who are walking in pride he is able to humiliate." (Daniel 4:37 NW) This is Gods own lesson to us, "those walking in pride God is able to humiliate." Is it possible, while seeking some larger meaning to this chapter of the Bible, we end up really missing the point?
Based on the above consideration of the context of Daniel chapter 4 is it fair to conclude that these "seven times (kairoi) deal with Nebuchadnezzar in a literal fulfillment during his seven years of madness? Is there another way we can determine exactly what "the times of the Gentiles" are? What can be the source of Jesus words?
When we return to Luke 21:24 and read the precise context of the Nazarenes answer, we note Luke 21:20, 22, 23:"Furthermore, when you (apostles) see Jerusalem surrounded by encamped armies, then know that the desolating of her has drawn near. ... Because these are days for meting out justice, that all the things written may be fulfilled. .. For there will be great necessity upon the land and wrath on this (Jewish) people." Rather than putting it this way, the Gospels of Matthew and Mark borrow words from the prophet Daniel and also include Jesus words: "When you see the sign of the refuse of desolation, as spoken by the prophet Daniel, accumulating in the holy place ... then let those who are in Judaea, flee to the mountains." (Matthew 24:15, 16 The New Testament From Aramaic by George M. Lamsa)
Can we find a place in Daniel where this "disgusting thing" (bdelygma) causing "desolation" (eremoseos) is related to Jerusalem in a precise kairoi or "times"? We find the exact thing in the Book of Daniel. First we note that Daniel 9:27 foretells "on the Temple (in Jerusalem) shall be the abomination [bdelygma] of desolations [eremoseon]; and at the end of the time [kairou] an end shall be put to the desolation." (LXX) Here we see the same words used by the Nazarene in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke: bdelygma, eremoseon, and kairou. Can we know how long this period of "desolation" covers with a final "end ... to the desolation"?
In the end of chapter eleven in Daniel (Daniel 11:40-44) the prophet foretells an attack against Jerusalem and Judea (NW: the land of Decoration; LXX: land of beauty) described as "a time of tribulation" (kairos thlipseos) in Daniel 12:1. This later phrase in Greek is the same one used by Matthew 24:21 (thlipsis megale) and Mark 13:19 (thlipsis). So, here we have more language identical to that of the Nazarene in his answer to his apostles about the end of Jerusalem and her Temple.
Can we know the exact length of this "time of tribulation"? No doubt for the benefit of Jewish disciples of the Nazarene, the prophet Daniel asked about the horrible prediction spoken by the angel: "How long to the end of these awful things?" (Daniel 12:6 Jewish Publication Society) With great excitement we also want to know "how long" this "time of tribulation" will be?
The answer comes in Daniel 12:7, 11 incorporating all the words used by the Nazarene in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke while telling us exactly how long "the times of the Gentiles" are. Consider these: "For a time [kairon], times [kairon], and half a time [kairou]; and when the breaking of the power of the holy people comes to an end, then shall all these things be fulfilled. ... From the time [kairou] the regular offering [at the Temple] is abolished, and an appalling abomination [bdelygma eremoseos] is set up --- it will be a thousand two hundred and ninety days." (JPS; with Greek words from the Septuagint)
The phrase used by the angel, "time, times, and half a time" is a Hebrew way of saying three and a half years of 1,260 days. The same phrasing is used in Revelation 12:6, 14 to mean 1,260 days, or precisely three and a half Jewish lunar years. Thus, "the time of the tribulation" is three and a half years, or a total of 1,290 (1,290) days. Is it fair to conclude from these verses in Daniel that "the times of the Gentiles" was, not seven, but three and a half years?
Is there further proof of this period of time as the length of "the times of the Gentiles"? Yes, there is at Revelation 11:2 where one of the apostles present on the Mount of Olives when Jesus gave his answer to their question records what amounts to a strong allusion to Luke 21:24. We follow this apocalyptic verse with interest: "The courtyard outside the Temple is given to the Gentiles and they will trample on the holy city forty-two months." Forty-two months is the same as three and a half years, or 1,260 days!
Here in Revelation 11:2 we discover several words identical to Luke 21:24 to remove any doubt "the times of the Gentiles" are three and a half years long. Revelation 11:2 uses ethnesin [Gentiles, nations], patesousin [trample on] just as Luke 21:24 does: " ... and Jerusalem will be trampled on [patoumene] by the nations [ethnon]." Can anyone in all seriousness argue "the times of the Gentiles" is not three and a half years in length?
What confirms this is the correct understanding is the actual length of the "time of tribulation" (Daniel 12:1 LXX) against Judea and its capitol Jerusalem with its holy Temple is the historical evidence this covered the years 66 to 70. The first century Jewish historian, an eyewitness to the destruction of Jerusalem, in his Jewish Wars, gives the details to this period of time.
However, we wonder why the Romans minted at least five coins to commemorate their victory over the Jews? There is another startlingly prophecy in the Book of Daniel. It is Daniel 8:9-14, 19: "And out of one of them there came forth another horn [Rome], a small one, and it kept getting very much greater toward the south and toward the sunrising [Palestine] and toward the Decoration [Judea]. And it kept getting greater all the way to the army of the heavens [Jewish soldiers], so that it caused some of the army and some of the stars to fall to the earth, and it went trampling them down [Luke 21:24]. And all the way to the Prince of the army it put on great airs, and from him the constant [feature] [the daily Temple sacrifice] was taken away, and the established place of his sanctuary was thrown down [Luke 21:6]. And an [Jewish] army itself was gradually given over, together with the constant [feature], because of [Jewish] transgression; and [Rome] kept throwing truth to the earth, and it acted and had success." And I got to hear a certain holy one speaking, and another holy one proceeded to say to the particular one who was speaking: "How long will the vision be of the constant [feature] and of the transgression causing desolation [eremoseos - Matthew 24:15], to make both [the] holy place [Temple] and [the] [Jewish] army things to trample on [Luke 21:24; Revelation 11:2]?" So he said to me: "Until two thousand three hundred evenings [and] mornings; and [the] holy place will certainly be brought into its right condition [from Gods standpoint; Luke 21:6]. ... And (the angel) went on to say: "Here I am causing you to know what will occur in the final part of the denunciation, because it is for the appointed time [kairou] of [the] end." (NW) Interestingly, the period from the fall of the year 66 to the spring of 73 when the Romans finally conquered Masada was almost exactly 2,300 days! In Daniel "the time of the end" is the end of Jerusalem and her Temple. This explains the five or more Romans coins celebrating the Jewish wars which lasted more than six years. [For more details see the September 1997 Nazarene Saints newsletter.]
We believe the above is enough to confirm that the length of "the times of the Gentiles" is three and a half years and was fulfilled in the years 66 to 70 AD in fulfillment of Jesus prediction in the "little apocalypse" of Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. In this regard does the Nazarene have a special warning for us today as we approach the year 2,000?
"DO NOT FOLLOW THEM!"
Some, though agreeing with the above, will insert that these seven years were only a "type" of something "anti-typical" to follow. That is, Nebuchadnezzar and the tree were only a minor fulfillment pointing as a shadow to a major fulfillment. This is, of course, easy to say. How does one go about proving such an assertion to be the case? Is there an inspired interpretation somewhere else in the Christian Bible where Daniel chapter 4 is quoted and so applied? Look as we may we find no allusion or quotation by the Nazarene or his disciples to this particular chapter of the Bible. The Nazarene and his beloved apostle John do reference other chapters of Daniel, such as 7, 8, 9, 11, and 12. Indeed, the Book of Revelation makes over four dozen allusions to the Book of Daniel, but never to chapter four.
It is easy for commentators with hidden agendas -- some even they may not be aware of -- to pass the magic wand over a verse and sprinkle fairy dust and then say, "This verse means this." And, there will always be those who will believe this. If a person wants Christ to return while he is alive and has been raised to think in these terms, it is not a big step to try to find an argument which will reinforce this hope. Unfortunately, this kind of Biblical exposition has been going over for centuries.
The mistake the flock which follow these men make is forgetting what the Nazarene warned his own disciples immediately following their question. He understood their need -- from their own personal perspectives -- to want to know how this affects them. They wanted to know when this desolation of their Temple would occur because such a thing had powerful implications to them.
The first sentence out of the Nazarenes mouth was:"Look out that you are not misled; for many will come on the basis of my name, saying I am he, and, saying, The due time has approached. DO NOT GO AFTER THEM." (Luke 21:8 NW) Jesus strictly warns his apostles that "many" will appear on the scene claiming his authority and thus saying they were some appointed spokesman as a channel from God. Their central theme would be, "The due time [kairos] has approached." This phrase reads in the Byington version, "the time is at hand." (Compare also AMP and NAS) Thus, our own Lord cautions his disciples not to follow -- or, "join" (NJB) -- those who would proclaim "the time is at hand."
In this phrase "the due time has approached" the Greek is again kairos or "appointed time." (NW) Jesus goes on to make very clear that his disciples cannot make some calculation to prophetically determine certain times or seasons. Note in Mark 13:32, 33:"Concerning that day or the hour nobody knows, neither the angels in heaven nor the Son, but the Father. Keep looking, keep awake, for you do not know when the appointed time [kairos] is." (NW)
However, some will argue that though we could not know "the day or hour" we could know the "season." (Matthew 24:32) Though this idea appeals to some, what does the Nazarene again say over one month later shortly before his ascension to heaven? His apostles asked him a question similar to the one they had asked in Matthew 24:3, "Are you restoring the kingdom to Israel now?" The Risen Christ answered them:"It does not belong to you to get knowledge of the times [chronous] or seasons [kairous] which the Father has placed in his own jurisdiction." (Acts 1:6, 7 NW; compare KJV, BER) Or, as the Williams version puts it: "It is not your business to learn times and dates."
How could a Christian teacher be so "presumptuous" to claim to know more than the angels and Christ (Matthew 24:36) by predicting the end of "the times of the Gentiles" were fulfilled in 1874, or 1914, or 1948, or 1967, or any other date in the future? Deuteronomy 18:20-22 gives Moses ancient warning: "However, the prophet who presumes to speak in my name [Jehovah] a word that I have not commanded him to speak ... that prophet must die. And in case you should say in your heart: How shall we know the word that Jehovah has not spoken? when the prophet speaks in the name of Jehovah and the word does not occur or come true, that is the word that Jehovah did not speak. With presumptuousness the prophet spoke it. You must not get frightened at him.' (NW)
Moses said we need not fear any such "presumptuous" prophet as if they had some kind of authority from Jehovah or His Son Jesus. The Nazarenes warning to his apostles still gives us inspired direction with regard to those who would preach, "The time is a hand!" --- DO NOT FOLLOW THEM! (Luke 21:8) What we need to do is follow the counsel of our Lord:"But what I say to you (apostles) I say to all, KEEP ON THE WATCH!" (Mark 13:37 NW)
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DO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCES
POINT TO A CREATOR OR TO CHANCE?
Is it proper for Christians to spend their time in understanding scientific discoveries? David hints at a positive answer to this question in Psalm 19:1, "The heavens declare the glory of God!" There is so much to learn about our Fathers meticulous care in providing us a place to live in this universe. The exciting part is that the facts concerning our dwelling place tell us of Gods glory in many different ways. The writers of the bible spent a great deal of time pondering nature and how it shows Gods mighty power and glory. Consider the following scriptures:
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world." (Psalm 19:1-4)
"Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you." (Job 12:7-8)
The following is a list of scriptures that tells us that we can learn from Gods creative works:Job 10:8-14, Psalm 104, Job 12:7, Psalm 139, Job 34:14-15, Proverbs 8:22-31, Job 35:10-12, Ecclesiastes 3:11, Job 37:5-7, Habakkuk 3:3, Job 38-41, Acts 14:17, Psalm 8, Acts 17:23-31, Psalm 19:1-6, Romans 1:18-25, Psalm 50:6, Romans 2:14-15, Psalm 85:11, Romans 10:16-18, Psalm 97:6, Colossians 1:23, Psalm 98:2-3
However, it is easy to be intimidated by astronomical and scientific claims. Many Christians feel this way because of the conclusions trumpeted by people all over this world that seem contrary to believing in a creator. However, we do not have to shut our ears to theories and evidences from astronomic and other scientific disciplines. More and more scientific facts indicate design and of course by extension, a designer. Even computer simulations about how the universe and our solar system were formed point to intricate fine-tuning as well, as we shall see later. This fine-tuning is making more than a few scientists speculate about the existence of a creator. One of the most famous quotes from a self-proclaimed agnostic astronomer that is often quoted by Christians states:
"For the scientist who has lived his dream by faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries."(God and the Astronomers by Robert Jastrow, W. W. Norton & Company, second edition, page 107)
Chance or Design
Many people believe that we exist by the good fortunes of chance and that our universe exists because there are billions of universes are popping into existence every moment. The substance behind such a theory is that perhaps one of these universes will be lucky enough to have conditions where life to evolve and exist. The reasoning of such thinking is more fascinating than first meets the eye. Almost all scientists have discarded the idea of a universe did not have a beginning. The good news is this conclusion begs the question, "how was the universe created?"
This question leads us to another questions of "who created the universe?" The only hope left for a non-created universe comes from theories based on quantum mechanics. Quantum Mechanics allows for theories stating that a universe can pop into existence at any given moment. While this can never verified through observation or experimentation, it shows how weak arguments against a creator have become, at least in the authors opinion. If the bible is true, then time and evidence is on Gods side. The more universal facts are uncovered, the more they will point to evidence for the God of the Bible. For now, let us examine the evidence that points to extremely sophisticated design for our universe.
Many brilliant agnostic and atheistic minds have pondered the implications of how the universe came into being. To give you an idea what some of these great minds of our time think about this fine-tuning and its implications, read on [Editors note: some atheists and agnostics object to quoting other atheists and agnostics in the context of this article. These are presented as admissions and acknowledgements despite their theology or lack there of.]:
"The laws of science, as we know them at the present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electron charge of the electron and the ratio of the masses of the proton to the electron... The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to
"A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question."(Fred Hoyle, astrophysicist)
"The scientist is possessed by the sense of universal causation. ... His religious feeling takes the form of rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals the intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection." (Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist, agnostic)
Parameters worth consideration
What shines out like the sun at noonday to us who believe is the tender, thoughtful care that God has taken to make us a possible place to call home. You may be amazed at the inflexible intricacy of many parameters of physics it takes to have a world that is inhabitable for human life. Here are just a few:
The Expansion rate of the Universe
If the expansion rate of the universe had been smaller by just one part in 1055, the universe would have collapsed back on itself before it reached its present state. If larger, galaxies would not clump together since the effects of gravity would be overwhelmed. If you don't appreciate 1055 then this is the actual number. Expansion =
10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 to 1.
If this number seems outrageously large to you, you are correct. Try playing the lottery with these odds. For instance, in 1997, the Illinois Lotto odds of winning the jackpot were = 12,913,583 to 1. The chances of hitting the lotto using the odds for this expansion rate are in reality, impossible.
The Electromagnetic Force determines molecular bonding. If this force were just slightly stronger, the atoms would not release electrons. If just slightly weaker, atoms would not hold on to electrons at all. We can conclude that unless this force is delicately tuned, chemical bonding for life chemistry could never take place.
The Strong Nuclear Force
The strong nuclear force governs the degree to which protons and neutrons stick together in atomic nuclei. If .3% stronger, all protons and neutrons would never break apart and there could be no hydrogen, and thus no stars. If 2% weaker, protons and neutrons would not stick together, leaving us with only helium in the universe. Once again star formation would be impossible. (Source: The Creator and the Cosmos - Hugh Ross, page 112-113)
The Small Excess of Matter over Antimatter
"If there had not been a small excess of electrons over anti-electrons, and quarks over anti-quarks, then ordinary particles would be virtually absent in the universe today. It is this early excess of matter over antimatter, estimated to be as one part in about 1010, that survived to form light atomic nuclei three minutes later [after the Hot Big Bang], then after a million years to form atoms and later to be cooked to heavier elements in stars ultimately to provide the material from which life would arise."(Stephen Weinberg, "Life in the Universe," The Scientific American, October 1994, pg. 45)
New Parameters Being Discovered
When I was asked to write this article I was humbled that God brought unsolicited information, so quickly to my attention. Here are some excerpts from Sky and Telescope Magazine.
Question: What would have happened if the matter from the creation event had been a little lumpier or a little smoother?
Implication: "...a ten times lumpier "soup" would have former a universe with dense super-massive galaxies. In such galaxies, Tegmark and Rees found, frequently stellar encounters would disrupt planetary systems before life could evolve."(Sky and Telescope, February 1998, pg. 20)
It is a good thing that the lumpiness of galactic evolution was tuned to what it was or no life can exist. Here is another quote concerning the importance of having Jupiter in our solar system.
"The near circular orbit of our largest planet, Jupiter, actually promotes the stability of circular orbits among the other eight planets, simulations have found. If Jupiter were in an eccentric orbit, Earth and Mars would have been flung out of the solar system long ago.... The existence of intelligent lifemay depend on Jupiter and Earth being in mutually stable orbits." (Sky and Telescope, March 1998, pg. 37 -- Italics added)
"Furthermore, the Moon kept the earths rotation relative stable. Studies have shown that without the Moon, the tilt of Earths axis would vary chaotically between 0 and 85...their report in the September 1997 Icarus reveals that if the Earths axis tipped...and evolution of an ecosystem would face catastrophic changes every few tens of millions of years. Life would repeatedly have to reassert itself...These resultsseem to provide additional constraints on the likelihood of life elsewhere in the universe. It could be that planets need an axis-calming satellite to ensure climatic stability." (Sky and Telescope, March 1998, pg. 21 -- Italics added)
Not a good hope for life elsewhere in the universe, is it? Obviously we are "fortunate" to have the moon regulating tidal flows and axis stability
Summary for Fine Tuning
Astronomer Hugh Ross in his book "The Creator and the Cosmos" has compiled an extensive list of parameters that are needed to have an habitable planet. He lists 41 known factors it takes to have a place in this universe that allows life (and thus humans) to exist at all. By lumping all the probabilities together, he concludes that the probability (odds) of all 41 factors occurring together would be 1051 (10 with 51 zeros after it). I know of no gambler who would takes those odds on a bet. It is hard to fathom why anyone would anyone stake their existence on these odds. It seems certain folly, does it not? Science is showing us more clearly what we already believe by faith about our creator; That he is an awesome, caring God who took great measures to ensure us a place to live. Praise his holy name!(Source: The Creator and the Cosmos - Hugh Ross, pg. 143-144 ) [Recommended reading: God --- The Evidence and Nearer My God]
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September newsletter subjects:
1. Was Jesus Raised in a Fleshly Human Body?
2. Does God Exist?
4. Perfecting the Christian Character: Forgiving & Non-adversarial
5. Faith Perspectives: Conviction versus Dogmatism
6. Ante-Nicene Fathers -- Justin Martyr
7. Why God Permits Wickedness?
Please feel free to forward as a post this newletter or particular articles which may be of interest to friends and relatives. You are at liberty to make reproductions of this material as free gifts to friends and relatives.
Welcome a new "research associate" Greg Jones
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PERFECTING THE CHRISTIAN CHARACTER:
[The following is taken from the online publicationNazarene Community available at www.nazarene-friends.org ]
CHARACTERISTIC #21 -- THINK FIRST.Romans 12:17b reads in the King James Version: "Provide things honest in the sight of all men." This phrase reads literally in Greek, "take fore thought for good things before all men" (UBS) and "thinking beforehand fine things in sight of all men." (KIT) The phrase is variously rendered: NW: provide fine things in the sight of all men; RSV: take thought for what is noble in the sight of all; BER: determine on the noblest ways in dealing with all people; GDSP: see that you are above reproach in the eyes of everyone; NJB: bear in mind the ideals that all regard with respect. Some versions note the phrase in Greek is the same as that found in the Septuagint at Proverbs 3:4, "do thou provide things honest in the sight of the Lord (YHWH) and of men." (Compare WEY)
Though the above versions vary a bit in some of the details the thrust of Pauls point has to do with "thinking ahead" in regard to dealings with others so that a good and honest reputation results. Paul lists "a fine testimony from the outside" as a requirement for an "overseer." (1 Timothy 3:7) Peter writes, "Your conduct among the surrounding peoples in your different countries should always be good and right ... (that) they see how well you conduct yourselves." (1 Peter 2:12 PME)
Christians live in all parts of the world with a wide variety of social and cultural environments. Pauls words would encourage disciples of the Nazarene to behave in such a way, though there may be no direct Scriptural principles involved, that local peoples will not find fault with these honest Saints.
When Paul says "all men" he means Christian and non-Christian. This is the foundation of a good reputation. (Ecclesiastes 7:1) This amounts to "recommending ourselves to every human conscience in the sight of God." (2 Corinthians 4:2) Whenever or wherever, this harmonious individual is known as a decent and well-mannered person, even if enemies give respect begrudgingly. True Christians are praised world-wide for their conduct, behavior and attitude.
This requires thinking ahead, or thinking first, before speaking or acting. How will my speech and conduct affect others? Will others be led to Christ because of the type of person they behold?
NAZARENE SAINTS ASK THEMSELVES: How do my neighbors view me? Do I have a good reputation among the people of my community?Do I think before I speak or act out of concern for the view people will have of me?
CHARACTERISTIC #22 -- PEACEABLE.Romans 12:18 reads in the King James Version: "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men." The phrase is variously rendered: PME: as far as your responsibility goes; ASV: be at peace with all men.
Pauls words echo the Nazarenes Mountain Teachings:"Blessed are the peaceable that they will be called Sons of God." (Matthew 5:9) Paul counsels Timothy, "It is binding a slave of the Lord not be a fighter but be gentle toward all." (2 Timothy 2:24) "Seek eagerly for peace with everyone." (Hebrews 12:14 BER)
A peaceable person is harmonious -- not adversarial, confrontational or martial in nature and disposition. Such a Christian seeks good relations. Such a saint wants unity, tranquillity and good relations between all. Indeed, peace is a synonym for harmony and there should be peace before worship as shown by Jesus. (Matthew 5:24) There are rare occasions when this is impossible due to the wicked inclination of hateful men as David learned. (Psalm120:7)
Because of the egocentric nature of people there is a tendency to react first in a fighting mood which never makes for peace. The peaceable Christian has trained mind and heart to always respond in a peaceable manner no matter the provocation. Often this is a matter of hesitating for a moment before speaking or taking action --- the proverbial count to ten --- and so the characteristic of peaceableness is related to the previous one. To behave peaceably there must a degree of inner tranquillity.
NAZARENE SAINTS ASK THEMSELVES: Do people know me as confrontational or adversarial? Or does peace and tranquillity characterize my personality?
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FAITH PERSPECTIVES: A Forum for Free Expression of ViewsDaddys Girl
There has been a studies undertaken on the subject of family relationships, mostly centered on the husband and wife. Given the divorce rate in America there should be a lot of attention given to the improvement of the rocky marriage. Perhaps lost in all the attention of family interaction is the Father/Daughter relationship. Not much is said or written about this subject and when you find something in print, you will probably find a woman author. Most fathers dont pursue interaction with their daughters, for the unwritten rule is "sons are for dads, girls are for moms." It probably isnt as important to figure out why this is the prevalent attitude exists as it is to shatter this fallacy in our own family.
Have you ever noticed a teenage girl refer to her father as Daddy? The very word implies an a deep flowing affection that has been cultivated from early childhood. Listen for this word from teenage girls or even from married women. If a warm understanding Father/Daughter relationship provokes your interest, pursue conversation with a father or daughter whom this phrase has been used or used on. You will most likely learn volumes on how healthy relationships work.
However, on the darker side of this issue resides the likely low self esteem of a daughter who never received her fathers approval or never heard the words I love you! The house where criticism abounds will inevitably find children who long for the peace of heart that only the father can give. Boys growing up into manhood generally gravitate towards fulfillment in the work arena. Girls seeking their fathers golden touch will generally seek approval from another man, usually from a man just like my dad. The tragic result is this pursuit usually leads to a compromising of moral standards for the hope of unconditional acceptance from the man they love. Rarely will they find what the approval in this search and come back to seek it from their father once again, only to find that the father is enraged about this fellow. So the despondency grows in the daughter, as well as the ache in her heart.
In order for a father to cultivate a Godly relationship with his daughter he must confess that he is completely inadequate to the task, and to ask for Gods enlightenment from his living witnesses and Gods word. The effort to improve the relationship must be made by the father for the daughter is almost always waiting for dad to make that first step. The father holds all the power since it is he that holds the jewel that his daughter longingly seeks to adorn herself with. A jewel she will show off to any how express even remote interest. How can fathers do this? The first step is a simple yet extremely hard decision to make, and even harder to live up to, that is decide to believe that my daughter is more important than any activity in my day other than prayer and meditation upon his heavenly fathers word. Once this state of mind solidifies, action will become easy when his little girl asks to spend some time with him.
You might not be able to imagine the delight of his little girl when daddy drops what he is grossly involved in just to have a tea party with her. I notice a very dramatic change in my daughters demeanor then I help her set up the saucers and tea cups. I also see the instant degradation of her spirit when I have "needed to finish" what I was doing. I know that most fathers would never play tea party because many men laugh and playfully ridicule me when I tell them about this scene. Their laughter has no impact on me because I know that I will be long forgotten by them when my little girl recalls the experience when she is in her 20s. I know that when she dances with me as her prince she will someday walk over to me and hug me not recalling a reason to do so but just because she knows that I love her with all my heart.
Perhaps the most obvious yet most overlooked way for a dad to win their daughters heart is just to look into her eyes and tell her that they love her. Men may never understand how this simple and sincere action stills any stormy waters in her heart but it happens. It seems those three words are the most powerful that daddys little girl will ever hear. It will give her the confidence to face many of lifes challenges because if my daddy believes in me, then I can overcome this present obstacle. Be sure to tell her you love her and prove your love by active involvement in her expanding life. Fathers, look each day for tasks or works that your daughter has done and tell them what a great job they did. They will live higher on that compliment than a days worth of food.
Hold on loosely but dont let her go
All fathers admit the difficulty in understanding their precious girl whose hormones have kicked in. After all no man would claim (at least in from of a woman) that they understand women. So why should they be mystified about not understanding their daughter who is turning into a young woman. Hopefully by now the father has realized the wisdom of gradually granting his daughter freedom to be her own person. I believe most father/daughter disputes rise from the fact that fathers unknowingly hold on so tightly in protecting their children from harm that the children crave freedom to the point of rebellion. Fathers, have you ever thought about extending the curfew for your daughter by a half an hour per year or two. Else disputes over the 10:00 curfew will escalate until the unacceptable 10:30 comprise is reached only to broken by an hour and a half anyway.
Dads must let their trust be known. Dont be afraid for them to make mistakes and certainly dont be afraid to let them know that you fear for their well being but that you trust them to grow and decide things for themselves. It is the hardest thing for parents to say I am no longer in complete control of my child but it is better to let go in small increments than to face rebellion and have them rip control away in fits of rebellion
Remember to hold on loosely and you will never have to fully let go because daughters who know their fathers trust will never be far from her daddys heart. Dont drive them away in with an angry yet yearning heart, for the consequences may be very high for both Father and Daughter. Let love and trust be a mantle piece over the doorway to your soul.
Reproduced with permission
© 1997 Christian Millennial Fellowship
Her Daddys Love
Daddy your the man, in your little girls dreams
You are the one, that she longs to please
and theres a place in her heart, that can only be filled
with her Daddys love
But if you dont give her the love she desires
She try someone but they wont satisfy her
If your little girl rose up without your Daddys love
She may feel empty and its only because
Her Daddys love that shes looking for
Dont send her away to another mans door
Nobody else can do what you do
She just needs her Daddys love
And someday if you hear that here purity is gone
She may have lost it trying to find
What she was missing at home
Let the heavenly father heal where you fail
He can forgive you and help you
Give her Daddys love that shes looking for
Dont send her away to another mans door
Nobody else can do what you do
She just needs her Daddys love
Lyrics © 1995 by Stephen Curtis Chapman
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WHAT IS THE "HOLY SPIRIT"?
THE MEANING OF THE WORD "SPIRIT"
In English copies of the Bible, the word "spirit" occurs about 823 times. Its first occurrence is Genesis 1:2. "Spirit" occurs most often in the Old Testament book Isaiah and the New Testament book Acts. The Hebrew word translated "spirit" or "breath" is ruach. The Greek word is pneuma.
Regarding the English word "spirit" THE ROOTS OF ENGLISH, page 229 says: "[Latin SPIRARE, to breathe." Thus it equals both the Hebrew (RUACH) and Greek (PNEUMA) for "breath." The phrase "spirit of God" is reasonably rendered "Breath of God" or "Wind of God." The word "spirit" has taken on a corporeal tone like the word "ghost." Likely, if the word PNEUMA had been rendered "breath" or "wind" in English the Holy Spirit would not have developed so strongly in English as a Person part of the Trinitarian Godhead. Some translators actually do render RUACH as "wind" in Genesis 1:2. (NJB: a divine wind)
Note the parallels between spirit and breath (wind) in poetic verses. Psalm 18:10, "Yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind (RUACH / PNEUMA)." (KJV, ASV, JPS, NEB) Psalm 33:6: "By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath (RUACH / PNEUMA) of his mouth." (KJV, NJB) Psalm 104:30: "Thou sendest forth thy spirit (RUACH / PNEUMA), they are created." [NJB: you give breath]
THE SPIRIT OF GOD AS THE MIND OF GOD
Paul quotes Isaiah 40:13 from the LXX at 1 Corinthians 2:16 using the exact phrasing: "For who has come to know the mind [Grk = noun] of the Lord? But we have the mind [noun] of Christ." The Hebrew version uses not "mind" but "Spirit [ruwach]." (Compare KJV, NAS, NIV, etc) Would this not indicate, in harmony with Paul, that the Jews in rendering the Hebrew to Greek thought the Spirit to be "mind"? In Isaiah the context of Yahwehs creative power (i.e. the Spirit) is explained (verse 26): "Who brings out their host by number? By greatness of His Might, for that He is strong in power [dynamic energy]." In Hebrew here the word "power" is from KOWACH meaning "force." (Strongs # 3581) Since this is unseen it is an "invisible force" like wind or breath emanating from the Mind of The God.
What "the spirit of God" is can be understood by comparing it to the "spirit of man." Many score times does the Bible speak of mans inner attributes or dispostion of mind which may be vented by his breath such as in anger. This "spirit" is not another person but part and parcel of the person himself. Thus, the "spirit of God" is also that inner attribute of the Divine Mind which the Creator can project from Himself to accomplish His will. The two cannot be separated. Thus, if a person sin against the spirit of God it is the same as sinning against God. (Numbers 12:1-16; Acts 5:1-4) If one blaspheme the spirit of God it is the same as blaspheming God, but not necessarily the Son. (Matthew 12:31, 32)
To explain what the spirit is consider the following:
The Absolute Being thought as an attribute of His Divine Mind.
The thought was not without Purpose or Reason.
This Thought as an attribute of Divine Mind exerted an intellectual Pressure to realize the Original Purpose or Primal Reason.
This Intellectual Pressure from the Divine Mind is called Pneuma (Spirit, Wind, Breath) -- projected Thought-Energy. Since Pneuma originates from the Most Holy it is called "holy Pneuma" as an attribute of The Absolute Beings Divine Mind. This Pneuma is not another Person but the Intellectual Energy of the Divine Mind flowing as a force of Intellectual Energy to accomplish the Divine Will or Reason.
The First Creative, or Original Primal Thought of The Absolute Beings Divine Mind, was to create or beget an only-begotten Son as the first-born of all creation to follow. This new Being was to be the Only-One genetically related to the Father. (John 1:18)
The Second Creative Thought originating from the Divine Mind exercised Pressure as holy Pneuma through the instrumentality or agency of the Son (the Word, a second God) in order to create everything else, whether celestial or terrestrial. (Colossians 1:15-20; Proverbs 8:22-30)
Thereafter, all Creative Thought as the Pneumatic Pressure (force of holy spirit) of the Divine Mind, was channeled through the Son as the Logos, the second God. (John 1:2, 3; Colossians 1:15-20; Hebrews 1:2, 3; Proverbs 8:22-30; Genesis 1:26)
Thus, originally, or in the beginning of material creation, there were two Gods: the only-begotten God as the instrument of creation facing toward The Absolute Being, the Unbegotten God. (John 1:1, 18)
What do scholars and Bible commentaries have to say about the subject of the "holy spirit"? Consider several:
The New Catholic Encyclopedia: "The O[ld] T[estament] clearly does not envisage God's spirit as a person . . . God's spirit is simply God's power. If it is sometimes represented as being distinct from God, it is because the breath of Yahweh acts exteriorly. ... The majority of N[ew] T[estament] texts reveal God's spirit as something, not someone; this is especially seen in the parallelism between the spirit and the power of God. ... On the whole, the New Testament, like the Old, speaks of the spirit as a divine energy or power. ... Nowhere in the Old Testament do we find any clear indication of a Third Person."
The New Catholic Encyclopedia admits: "The majority of N[ew] T[estament] texts reveal God's spirit as something, not someone; this is especially seen in the parallelism between the spirit and the power of God." (1967, Vol. XIII, p. 575) It also reports: "The Apologists [Greek Christian writers of the second century] spoke too haltingly of the Spirit; with a measure of anticipation, one might say too impersonally."-Vol. XIV, p. 296.
Catholic theologian Edmund Fortman: "The Jews never regarded the spirit as a person; nor is there any solid evidence that any Old Testament writer held this view. . . . The Holy Spirit is usually presented in the Synoptics [Gospels] and in Acts as a divine force or power. ... Although this spirit is often described in personal terms, it seems quite clear that the sacred writers [of the Hebrew Scriptures] never conceived or presented this spirit as a distinct person." (The Triune God)
The words of church historian Neander --- of whom McClintock and Strong's Cyclopędia describes as, "Universally conceded to be by far the greatest of ecclesiastical historians" --- wrote: "In A.D. 380, great indistinctness prevailed among the different parties respecting this dogma so that a contemporary could say, 'Some of our theologians regard the holy spirit simply as a mode of divine operation; others as a creature of God; others as God himself; others again, say that they know not which of the opinions to accept from their reverence for Holy Writ, which says nothing upon the subject.'"
THE DICTIONARY OF NEW TESTAMENT THEOLOGY (Vol 3, pp.689-701) -- "Spirit ... denotes dynamic movement of the air. ... Holy Spirit denotes supernatural POWER. ... This is nowhere more clearly evident than in Acts where the Spirit is presented as an almost tangible FORCE, visible if not in itself, certainly in its affects. ... For the first Christians, the Spirit was most characteristically a divine POWER manifesting itself in inspired utterance. ... The Spirit was evidently experienced as a numinous POWER pervading the early community and giving its early leadership an aura of authority which could not be withstood. (Acts 5:1-10) ... It is important to realize that for Paul too the Spirit is a divine POWER."
"The Holy Spirit is a DYNAMIS [power] and is expressly so called in Lk (24.49) ["Look, I am sending forth upon you that which is promised by my Father. You, though, abide in the city until you become clothed with power from on high."] and DYNAMIS HYPSISTOU, Lk (1.35) ["Holy spirit will come upon you, and power of the Most High will over shadow you."]. ... In some pass. the Holy Spirit is rhetorically represented as a Person." (Thayers Greek Lexicon, page 522) (Compare Ac 1.11; 5.11, 55)
Theological Workbook of the Old Testament, Vol 2, page 836-7: "The basic idea of RUAH (Grk pneuma) is air in motion. ... "The RUAH spirit of God is in my nostrils. (Job 27.3) ... The breath of God may be a strong wind. (Is 40.7) ... His spirit may indicate no more than active power. (Is 40.13)"
Regarding the masculine gender PARAKLETO(S, N) [Paraclete, Comforter, Helper] --- The dictionary defines "personify" as, "to think or speak of a thing has having life or personality ... as, we personify a ship by referring to it as she." This personification of abstractions or powers is shown from Genesis 4:7 The New English Bible (NE) says: "Sin is a demon crouching at the door." Proverbs chs 1 and 8 compare Wisdom (SOPHIA) to a woman. Jesus says: "Wisdom is vindicated by all her children." (Luke 7:35 RSV) Paul has "sin" and "death" as kings who "rule" and possess "desires." (Romans 5:14, 21; 6:12) He has the "higher powers" as "she." (Romans 13:3, 4)
Does patience work and is it a she? James 1:4, "But let patience have HER perfect
work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."
Can you "lie" against the truth? James 3:14, "But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth."
Unlike English many languages have verbs with gender. Though PARAKLETOS is masculine, PNEUMA (Spirit) is not, it is neuter, or "it." This is seen in Romans 8:16 where the United Bible Societies interlinear renders: "Itself (AUTO) the spirit witnesses with the spirit of us," or, "the spirit itself bears witness." The Catholic New American Bible admits this regarding John 14.17: "The Greek word for 'Spirit' is neuter, and while we use personal pronouns in English ('he,' 'his,' 'him'), most Greek MSS [manuscripts] employ 'it.'"
Other abstractions are given personality. Note the Nazarene at John 3.8: "The wind [PNEUMA, neuter "spirit"] blows whereit chooses [wishes, wills, pleases]." Compare 1 John 5:6-8: "There are three that testify [John 15:26] the spirit, and the water and the blood."
When Jesus speaks of the neuter PNEUMA as a masculine PARAKLETOS is he using a "metaphor" (RIEU), "similitude" (UBSint), "figure of speech" (NASB), "proverbs" (KJV), "parables" (KNX), or "comparisons" (NWT) and not literally? (John 16:25, 29)
Do you agree with the Nazarene? Is the Sender "greater" than the one sent? "A slave is not greater than his master, nor is one that is sent forth greater than the one that sent him." (John 13:16) Is the Holy Spirit "sent" or not? (John 14:26)
Jesus also compares the holy Pneuma to the "finger of God" not a person but a digit of the Almighty. (Matthew 12:24-29; Luke 12:15-23)
IS THE HOLY SPIRIT EVER CALLED "GOD"?
Regarding the holy spirit speaking in Acts 13.1-4:
Note the context, for the first verse mentions "prophets and teachers" in the Antioch ecclesia. Then following this it states: "The holy spirit said: 'Separate to me Barnabas and Paul.'" Does it not seem that the one who really spoke would be one of the prophets? So "the God of our Lord" used His own power and influence (the holy spirit) to speak through such prophet?
The work THE PEOPLE'S NEW TESTAMENT WITH NOTES (B. W. Johnson), page 470, footnote #2: "The Holy Spirit said. By an inspiration given to some one of these prophets." This is consistent with examples in the OT where the NT says the spirit said something when it was the prophet. Note Jeremiah 31:31-33 and Hebrews 10:15, 16: "Moreover the holy spirit also bears witness to us, for after it has said: 'This is the covenant ... "
The Holy Spirit -- holy Pneuma -- is not a person but the force and pressure of Gods mind as He wills something to be accomplished.
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WAS THE FLOOD LOCAL OR GLOBAL?
Some believe the Bible teaches a global flood while others hold that such a flood was a localized affair. A variety of scientists have tried to interpret geology, archeology, and anthropology as evidence of a global flood. The majority of scientists reject the Biblical idea of a flood altogether while agreeing there have been majority cataclysms with global affects. For example, most agree in massive glacial ice ages which scoured across the earth. Others have more recently come to believe a large comet, or comets, struck the earth during the period of the dinosaurs and completely wiped them out.
World-wide there are huge stores of oil and coal. These are virtually global and represent enormous masses of animal and plant life collected and converted by age and/or pressure into essential carbons.
However, our question as Christians is a Biblical one? Does the Bible itself teach a global or earth-wide flood. Or, does it teach, as some hold, something "local." How scientific minds will interpret the earth-wide data will be a subject of debate for years to come just as they have in the past. Those who simply reject the idea of a Biblical flood will read the evidence as it suits there own personal philosophies.
Before we examine possible evidence of a global flood, let us focus our attention on what the Bible itself says.
In this regard several words will become the focus of debate. Some of these words will be earth, dry land, and seas. Happily these are mentioned and somewhat defined in the very first chapter of Genesis. Let us compare these.
"EARTH" AS THE GLOBE
Genesis 1:1, 2 -- "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth proved to be formless and waste and there was darkness upon the surface of the watery deep; and God's active force was moving to and fro over the surface of the waters." Scholars are divided whether the word "heavens" means the entire celestial universe or something of an atmosphere limited to the earth. The word "earth" here is `erets (possibly, "firm") and may mean merely "land" though in some places in may refer to the world or the globe. The Jewish Greek version (LXX) used for `erets the word gen (or, ge). From this word we get geology and geography.
The `erets or gen is described in verse two as "formless and waste." This phrase is variously rendered: JPS: unformed and void; IB: without form and empty; NJB: a formless void; LXX: unsightly and unfinished. Judging from the context which follows does this first verse mean only dry land? It would not seem so for in Genesis 1:6 we get the picture of a watery globe with no "dry land" (Genesis 1:9) appearing anywhere as yet. The second day God makes a separation between waters above and waters below, where the middle portion is called "heaven" or the atmosphere where birds will later fly. (Genesis 1:20) Thus "earth" (`erets/ge) in verse one of Genesis is likely the globe for no dry land yet existed.
"EARTH" AS DRY LAND
On the third day, God commands: "Let the waters under the heavens be brought together into one place and let the dry land appear." (Genesis 1:9) Is fair to conclude here that up to this point on the third creative day no "dry land" has been visible on this watery globe? This word for "dry land" is not `erets but yabbashah. The account continues: "And God began calling the dry land [yabbashah] Earth [`erets; or, ge] , but the bringing together of the waters He called Seas." (Genesis 1:10) Does it seem fair to conclude that these "seas" (Hebrew yam) were in "one place"? There is some evidence that the Northern and Southern American continents once joined the European and African continents and drifted apart over time.
Since this "dry land" (yabbashah) did not exist in Genesis 1:1 and thus the "earth" (`erets/ge) was a watery globe. With Genesis 1:10 for the first time "dry land" is also called "earth." That the entire globe may be called "earth" is strongly inferred by Genesis 1:1. This idea of a circular orb is seen also in other Bible texts. Consider Job 26:7, 10: "(God is) hanging the earth upon nothing ... He has described a circle upon the face of the waters." The Jewish Tanakh versions reads: "(God) suspended earth over emptiness."
"EARTH" AS A CIRCULAR ORB
In the Jewish Greek version (LXX) this later phrase is rendered from the Greek egyrosen which infers a gyrating orb, the root being "rotate." A literal reading could be "rotating light after darkness" indicating a spinning globe. [NOTE: Job 27:7, 10 is variously rendered: ABPS: empty space; BAS: in space; NJB: the void; NEB: suspends earth in the void; NJB: He has traced a ring on the surface of the waters at the boundary between light and dark.
Additionally, Isaiah 40:22, "It is (God) who comprehends the circle of the earth." This is the reading in the Jewish Greek Bible (LXX) where the word gyron is used of the earth, that is, a rotating orb. Thus, right from the first words of the Bible the word "earth" may be used of the globe itself or just the dry land.
Further verses in Genesis chapter one and two show grass growing from the earth. (1:11) Birds fly in the atmosphere (heaven) "over the earth" but it is not disclosed they fly over the seas. (1:20) Animals of all kinds appear on earth. (1:24-26) Finally, the supreme earthly creation, Man, is made from the "dry land." (1:28; 2:7) According to Genesis 2:2-8 Adam, the first man, was created at a time when "God had not sent rain upon the earth (and) ... no shrub of the field was yet on earth and no grasses of the field had yet sprouted." After Adams creation he is placed in a garden planted by God toward the east of Eden. Later, Cain is a wanderer in the earth. (Genesis 4:12, 14)
THE "EARTH" IN NOAHS DAY
With this background, we turn our interest to that world of Noahs day. We wonder if the foretold deluge is a localized affair or something far-reaching requiring special measures for survival.
The account in Genesis tells us what takes place on that "dry land" part of the earthly globe. Rebellious angelic "sons of God" leave their proper dwelling and begin to corrupt the earth. (Genesis 6:1-5; compare Jude 6; 2 Peter 2:4) By "earth" is it fair to assume this is that habitable (and therefore corruptible) part of "earth"? Genesis 6:11 states the "earth" became ruined because of violence and immorality. Because of this condition God limits how much longer Yahweh will "act toward man." This phrase is rendered by the Tanakh, "My breath shall not abide in man forever." "Man" has increased in obedience to Genesis 1:28. Obviously this started out from Eden but was confined to that portion of habitable earth which was still likely all surrounded by the Seas.
The exact length of time for divine tolerance is given as 120 years. Genesis 6:3 records "After that Jehovah said: My spirit shall not act toward man indefinitely in that he is also flesh. Accordingly his days shall amount to a hundred and twenty years." This is a considerable length of time. We wonder: if Gods tolerance was to end in a local flood this would seem a sufficient time for Noah and his family to just move out of the area. Since a local flood would not really affect all animal life, there would be no need whatsoever to gather such into an "ark." Sufficient numbers of species would survive elsewhere on earth.
The Genesis record continues: "Consequently Jehovah saw that the badness of man was abundant in the earth and every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only bad all the time. And Jehovah felt regrets that he had made men in the earth, and he felt hurt at his heart. So Jehovah said: "I am going to wipe men whom I have created off the surface of the ground, from man to domestic animal, to moving animal and to flying creature of the heavens, because I do regret that I have made them." But Noah found favor in the eyes of Jehovah." (Genesis 6:5-8) Does God seem to have only a portion of mankind in mind? Yahweh regrets He "made men in the earth." This seems a reference back to Genesis 1:28 and 2:7.
How can we know if the "men" here are limited to just one portion of the "dry land" or include all living men no matter where they reside on the Earth? Fortunately we have inspired interpretations in the words of Jesus and Peter. Consider Luke 17:26:"Moreover, just as it occurred in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of man: they were eating, they were drinking, men were marrying, women were being given in marriage, until that day when Noah entered into the ark, and the flood arrived and destroyed them all." And later, in the same context the Nazarene compares Noahs day to "the days of the Son of Man." Note Luke 21:34, 35: "Suddenly that day be instantly upon you as a snare. For it will come in upon ALL THOSE dwelling upon the face of ALL THE EARTH." Is it fair to conclude that this statement by the Nazarene has in mind a global affect? In Matthew 24:37-39 these words are added right here in this same prophetic context: "For just as the days of Noah were, so the presence of the Son of man will be. For as they were in those days before the flood, eating and drinking, men marrying and women being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark; and they took no note until the flood came and swept them all away, so the presence of the Son of man will be."
If the comparison with Noahs cataclysm appears to involve "all those dwelling on the face of all the earth," the parallel looses much of its force if the Noachin deluge only affected a portion of the earth while others were unaffected.
Peter also comes to our aid in understanding whether the flood was local or global. "(God) did not hold back from punishing an ancient world, but kept Noah, a preacher of righteousness, safe with seven others when he brought a deluge upon a world of ungodly people." (2 Peter 2:5) Two things catch our attention: a) Peter uses the Greek kosmos or "world"; and, b) he indicates only eight persons were brought safely through the deluge (Greek cataclysmos) The Fisherman has already mentioned this rescue in 1 Peter 3:20 in which only "eight souls" were saved through the waters of the deluge.
However, it is 2 Peter 3:5-7 which clarifies for us whether he understood this deluge to be a local matter. Note how he describes this period: "For, according to their wish, this fact escapes their notice, that there were heavens from of old and an earth standing compactly out of water and in the midst of water by the word of God; and by those [means] the world of that time suffered destruction when it was deluged with water. But by the same word the heavens and the earth that are now are stored up for fire and are being reserved to the day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men." Peter describes an "earth standing compactly out of water." Would this "earth" only be a localized "land" or is it that Earth described in Genesis 1:10 where grass sprouted, animals roamed, and man had his primeval Edenic home? Peter does not say a certain "land" suffered destruction but a "world." Peter again uses the Greek cosmos.
The Nazarene himself uses this word by means of his apostolic translator John. John 1:10 reads: "The world came into existence by his agency." And in prayer, he says:"Father, glorify me beside yourself with the same glory I had beside you before the world was." Jesus does not seem to mean a "world" of only a limited "land." Indeed, elsewhere he states this "world" had its beginning or founding with the first child born to Adam. (Matthew 23:35; compare Luke 11:50, 51)
With this inspired background in mind we return now to Genesis 6:11, 12: "And the earth came to be ruined in the sight of the [true] God and the earth became filled with violence. So God saw the earth and, look! it was ruined, because ALL FLESH had ruined its way on the earth." According to Peter, what "earth came to be ruined"? The "world of ungodly men." This "earth" included "all flesh" as the ancient "world." It is "all flesh" God is going to destroy, not just a limited group of people living in a localized portion of the earth. Genesis 6:13 puts it: "The end of ALL FLESH has come before me, because the earth is full of violence as a result of them; and here I am bringing them to ruin together with the earth."
God commands Noah, "Make for yourself an ark." (Genesis 6:14) Jesus, Paul, and Peter believed in such an "ark." Paul writes in Hebrews 11:7, "By faith Noah, after being given divine warning of things not yet beheld, showed godly fear and constructed an ark for the saving of his household; and through this [faith] he condemned the world, and he became an heir of the righteousness that is according to faith." We note, like Peter, "the world (COSMOS) was condemned."
How extensive or wide-spread would this cataclysm or deluge be? Genesis 6:17 records, "And as for me, here I am bringing the deluge of waters upon the earth to bring to ruin ALL FLESH IN WHICH THE FORCE OF LIFE IS ACTIVE from under the heavens. Everything that is in the earth will expire." This has the clear tone of a global affair. "All flesh" is clearly defined as "everything in the earth." What "earth" could this be but that "dry land" surrounded by the Seas of Genesis 1:10?
When the above verse says "from under the heavens" which would these be? Is it fair to conclude this is that atmosphere or sky which is that space between the waters above and the waters below? Jesus uses a similar phrase in Mark 13:27 which implies the whole globe. Paul indicates the spread of the gospel as not something localized but, "in all creation that is under heaven." (Colossians 1:23; compare also Luke 17:24; Acts 2:5; 4:12)
The dimensions of the ark vary according to scholars but it has been reckoned by some as 450 in length, 75 feet wide and 50 feet high -- a floatable box with the volume of 500 railroad boxcars. This seems of enormous size -- over-kill on Gods part if you will -- for something needed in a localized flood. That this is a global catastrophe is seen by the next verse: (Genesis 7:4) "I will wipe every existing thing that I have made off the surface of the ground." The Jewish Greek Bible reads: "I will blot out every offspring which I have made from the face of all the earth." The Jewish Tanakh renders this passage: "I will blot out from the earth all existence that I created."
Of course the story of Noah leading all the animals into the ark is well-known. If the flood is local then taking animals into the ark is completely unnecessary. Many object to the idea that this ark could have contained all the animal species necessary to repopulate the earth. Those who do not believe in a global flood will never be convinced by any statistics or studies on this subject. Those who do believe God brought a global flood will have no difficulty in imagining what He could accomplish.
Genesis 7:17-24 describes the extent of the deluge: "And the deluge [Greek cataclysmos = wash down + much] went on for forty days upon the earth [`erets/ge], and the waters kept increasing and began carrying the ark and it was floating high above the earth [`erets/ge]. And the waters became overwhelming and kept increasing greatly upon the earth [`erets/ge], but the ark kept going on the surface of the waters. And the waters overwhelmed the earth [`erets/ge] so greatly that all the tall mountains that were under the whole heavens came to be covered. Up to fifteen cubits the waters overwhelmed them and the mountains became covered."
The record states "all the tall mountains" and qualifies these as "under the whole heavens." In Genesis 1:8 these "heavens" are global, not just covering a localized area. How tall mountains were at this time no one knows. Some estimate the draft of the ark to have been fifteen cubits, designed so it would not go aground on a mountain. Regarding these "mountains" the Psalm describes the Flood: "You made the deep cover (the earth) as a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. They fled at Your blast, rushed away at the sound of Your thunder --- mountains rising, valleys sinking --- to the place You established for them. You set bounds they must not pass so that they never again cover the earth." (Psalm 104:6-9 JPS)
Many scientists will argue this process took untold millions of years. The Bible, however, would seem to indicate these massive upheavals, including perhaps the shifting of continents, took much less time.
HOW MANY DIED?
Peter says "a world" or cosmos as affected. Genesis 7:21-24 continues: "So ALL FLESH that was moving upon the earth expired, among the flying creatures and among the domestic animals and among the wild beasts and among ALL the swarms that were swarming upon the earth, and ALL MANKIND. EVERYTHING in which the breath of the force of life was active in its nostrils, namely, ALL that were on the dry ground, died. Thus he wiped out EVERY EXISTING THING that was on the surface of the ground, from man to beast, to moving animal and to flying creature of the heavens, and they were wiped off the earth; and ONLY Noah and those who were with him in the ark kept on surviving. And the waters continued overwhelming the earth a hundred and fifty days."
People who have experienced small localized floods, include great tidal waves, know the destructive force of water and mud. Objects of enormous size are hurled and carried long distances. What would be the affects of such a global deluge? What could we expect? Certainly we can envision great walls of water scraping and scooping up enormous masses of vegetation and animals of all kinds. Do we find coal and oil, as well as gases, stored in unfathomable caverns all over the earth? Today men drill and dig for oil and coal in global locations. In addition huge carnal houses of preserved animals are found throughout the earth -- all buried in mud, some quick frozen so that in some locals the meat is still eaten. These animals were not slowly pushed away by snail-paced glaciers, but buried and frozen almost instantly so that vegetation is found in their teeth and undigested in their stomachs.
Would we also see evidence of the action of water over the surface of the globe: deep canyons carved out quickly and whole land masses showing the wave action of a great flood?
The account continues: "God caused a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters began to subside. And the springs of the watery deep and the floodgates of the heavens became stopped up, and so the downpour from the heavens was restrained. And the waters began receding from off the earth, progressively receding; and at the end of a hundred and fifty days the waters were lacking. And in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. And the waters kept on progressively lessening until the tenth month. In the tenth month, on the first of the month, the tops of the mountains appeared." (Genesis 8:1-5) What would be the geological affects of such drying? The Psalmist described it above as "mountains rising and valleys sinking." Today there is evidence of great sea creatures high on mountain tops and miles thick limestone layers high on Mount Everest. Additionally there seems evidence of deep ocean canyons once at sea-level or above.
Today no one seems to argue that some single great cataclysm or catastrophe wreck global havoc on Earth. Whether this was a comet impact or great glaciers, the only disagreement is length of time. The notion of the slow moving glaciers is loosing ground against a sudden impact of a comet with global consequences.
GODS GLOBAL PROMISE
"And God went on to bless Noah and his sons and to say to them: "Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth (`erets/ge). ... And it shall occur that when I bring a cloud over the earth, then the rainbow will certainly appear in the cloud. And I shall certainly remember my covenant which is between me and you and EVERY LIVING SOUL AMONG ALL FLESH; and no more will the waters become a deluge to bring ALL FLESH to ruin. And the rainbow must occur in the cloud, and I shall certainly see it to remember the covenant to time indefinite between God and every living soul among ALL FLESH THAT IS UPON THE EARTH." And God repeated to Noah: "This is the sign of the covenant that I do establish between me and all flesh that is upon the earth." ... These were the families of the sons of Noah according to their family descents, by their nations, and from these the nations were spread about in the earth after the deluge." (Genesis 9:1, 14-17; 10:32)
Gods promise to Noah and "all flesh" was not to just a localized people dwelling in just one area of the earth, but those who would people the entire globe. Paul makes this same reference to the Greeks in Athens: "(The God) made out of One every nation of men to dwell upon the face of all the earth." He then quotes a Greek poet, "For we are also His progeny." (Acts 17:26, 28)
The prophets were to mention Noah and the global deluge. Isaiah 54:9 says: "For this to Me is like the waters of Noah: As I swore that the waters of Noah never more would flood the earth." (Ezekiel 14:14, 20)
There are questions those who believe in only an isolated local flood which did not affect other wide regions of the earth. When they argue for a "local" flood, exactly what are the boundaries of this flood? Can they present proof regarding the territory this flood covered?
Can they explain the dimensions of the Ark when a large canoe would have sufficed?
Why would Noah have to gather animals if the flood was local and these species would either escape or already lived in other regions?
Why is the Biblical account written the way it is if this flood was local?
What explains the complete disappearance of various animal types, like the dinosaurs? What explains the huge oil and coal reserves around the globe? What explains the enormous carnal houses of masses of species types buried in mud, frozen in ice, or petrified?
FLOOD TRADITIONS AND OTHER EVIDENCES
If such a global flood occurred we would be correct in stating that far-flung peoples would carry the memory of such an event. This would include those who would not have experienced a "local" flood. We would also expect certain similarities though time and myth may change other features. is this the case with those people around the globe?
Though those who believe in a local flood with the rest of the planet unaffected, the following sources and commentaries will have little affect. However, for hose interested in subject we provide a few references.
"The time came when God spoke to Noah about the coming end of all flesh ( all humankind )...Some have proposed that the flood was only a local flood in the Near East but The Bible's language seems too strong for that. The point is total judgment except for Noah and his family....God reemphasized that the destruction of all living things off the face of the earth, literally, from the face of the dry land. This indicates a universal flood, not just a local flood...The covering of the mountains also indicates a universal flood...It is possible new mountains arose and new ocean depths were formed, allowing the waters to go down. The deeps off Japan and the Philippines remain deep and are not filled with silt, indicating they are geologically recent....Noah undoubtedly let the smaller animals out before he released the larger ones. God wanted all the animals and birds to breed abundantly. This again implies a universal flood. If the flood were only local, they could have gone over the hills and brought in more animals and birds from the next valley... " (The Complete BIBLICAL LIBRARY)
The Saturday Evening Post noted: "Many of these animals were perfectly fresh, whole and undamaged, and still either standing or at least kneeling upright. . . . Here is a really shocking-to our previous way of thinking-picture. Vast herds of enormous, well-fed beasts not specifically designed for extreme cold, placidly feeding in sunny pastures . . . Suddenly they were all killed without any visible sign of violence and before they could so much as swallow a last mouthful of food, and then were quick-frozen so rapidly that every cell of their bodies is perfectly preserved."
Scientific Monthly observed: "In those days the earth had a tropical or sub-tropical climate over much of its land surface, and in the widespread tropical lands there was an abundance of lush vegetation. The land was low and there were no high mountains forming physical or climatic barriers."
Of the now-frigid Antarctic continent the French magazine Science et Vie, said:
"This inhuman land, this desert of ice, was once a green land where streams flowed among flowers, where birds sang in the trees."
Byron C. Nelson in his book The Deluge Story in Stone: "The way fishes by the millions are entombed in the rocks of England, Scotland, Wales, Germany, Switzerland, the American Rockies; the way elephants and rhinoceroses are buried by the millions in Alaska, Siberia, England, Italy, Greece; the way hippopotami are buried by the thousands in Sicily; the way reptiles are buried by the millions in western Canada, the United States, South America, Africa, Australia, to mention only a portion of such instances, absolutely require the explanation of great catastrophes for their elucidation."
William J. Miller, Emeritus Professor of Geology at the University of California at Los Angeles, notes in An Introduction to Historical Geology: "Comparatively few remains of organisms now inhabiting the earth are being deposited under conditions favorable for their preservation as fossils. . . . It is, nevertheless, remarkable that so vast a number of fossils are embedded in the rocks."
"Riddle of the Frozen Giants," The Saturday Evening Post observes: "The list of animals that have been thawed out of this mess would cover several pages. . . . They are all in the muck. These facts indicated water as the agency which engulfed the creatures. . . . many of these animals were perfectly fresh, whole and undamaged, and still either standing or at least kneeling upright. . . .
"Here is a really shocking-to our previous way of thinking-picture. Vast herds of enormous, well-fed beasts not specifically designed for extreme cold, placidly feeding in sunny pastures, delicately plucking flowering buttercups at a temperature in which we would probably not even have needed a coat. Suddenly they were all killed without any visible sign of violence and before they could so much as swallow a last mouthful of food, and then were quick-frozen so rapidly that every cell of their bodies is perfectly preserved, despite their great bulk and their high temperature. What, we may well ask, could possibly do this?"
B. Silliman, formerly head of the geology department at Yale University, said: "Respecting the Deluge there can be but one opinion: geology fully confirms the Scriptural history of the event."
"Even on the tops of high mountains, whole trees sunk deep under ground, as also teeth and bones of animals, fishes entire, seashells, ears of corn, etc., petrified"; which could never have come there but by a world-wide deluge." (Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge)
Myths of Creation, Philip Freund estimates that over 500 Flood legends are told by more than 250 tribes and peoples.
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says: "The universality of the flood accounts is usually taken as evidence for the universal destruction of humanity by a flood . . . Moreover, some of the ancient accounts were written by people very much in opposition to the Hebrew-Christian tradition." (Volume 2, page 319)
"The flood was the most important landmark in the history of the ancient world, and common flood legends suggest that the same event has been described in Indian, Hebrew, and Babylonian accounts," says The Vedic Age.
The book Sociografia del Inkario states: "All the traditions of the people of the Andean altiplano speak of a flood that had submerged the whole earth."
King Ashurbanipal of Assyria, who established a library of 22,000 clay tablets and texts, claimed: "I had my joy in the reading of inscriptions on stone from the time before the flood." (Light From the Ancient Past, by J. Finegan, 1959, pp. 216, 217)
"They were finding ice ages at every stage of the geologic history, in keeping with the philosophy of uniformity. Careful reexamination of the evidence in recent years, however, has rejected many of these ice ages; formations once identified as glacial moraines have been reinterpreted as beds laid down by mudflows, submarine landslides and turbidity currents: avalanches of turbid water that carry silt, sand and gravel out over the deep-ocean floor."
Biblical Archaeologist observed: "It is important to remember that the story of a great flood is one of the most widespread traditions in human culture . . . Nevertheless behind the oldest traditions found in Near Eastern sources, there may well be an actual flood of gigantic proportions dating from one of the pluvial periods . . . many thousands of years ago."
Geology professor John McCampbell once wrote: "The essential differences between Biblical catastrophism [the Flood] and evolutionary uniformitarianism are not over the factual data of geology but over the interpretations of those data. The interpretation preferred will depend largely upon the background and presuppositions of the individual student."
"Far from the Genesis Flood being an unlikely event in recent geological times it fits quite naturally into such a period . . . In fact it was the most likely period for such a rapid and violent upheaval."-The Flood Reconsidered.
"Archaeology has also unearthed other versions of the [Genesis] story of the Deluge . . . The similarities are more striking than the differences."-Digging Up the Bible Lands.
"A world cataclysm during which the earth was inundated or submerged by water [is] a concept found in almost every mythology in the world. . . . In Inca mythology it was provoked by the supreme god, Viracocha, who was dissatisfied with the first men and decided to destroy them."-Funk and Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend.
"Even greater similarities to the Genesis account are present in another Babylonian epic whose hero bears the name Gilgamesh. . . . It most likely came into existence around the beginning of the second millennium. . . . [Clay tablet XI] is virtually intact, thus providing the most complete version of the deluge story in cuneiform script."-Encyclopędia Judaica.
"Like the Hebrews, Babylonians, Greeks, Norsemen, and other peoples of the Old World, many Indian tribes of North and South America had traditions of the Deluge. . . . 'When the earliest missionaries came' . . . , the Reverend Myron Eells reported in 1878, 'they found that those Indians had their traditions of a flood, and that one man and his wife were saved on a raft.'"-Indian Legends of the Pacific Northwest.
One Bible scholar wrote: "The harmony between all these accounts is an undeniable guarantee that the tradition is no idle invention; a fiction is individual, not universal; that tradition has, therefore, a historical foundation; it is the result of an event which really happened in the ages of the childhood of mankind."
Prince Mikasa, a well-known archaeologist, stated: "Was there really a Flood? . . . The fact that the flood actually took place has been convincingly proved."
SUMMARY: We Friends of the Nazarene wish to express our conviction in a global Flood based, not on the opinions of Bible critics, but on what the Bible itself states.Back to the Top
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