Further definition on tap for Adventist fundamental belief on creation

Educate Truth shares the following article from the Adventist News Network as a service to readers

25 May 2011, Silver Spring, Maryland, United States
Elizabeth Lechleitner/ANN

Members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s newly formed Fundamental Beliefs Review Committee are expected to meet in June, the next step in a five-year process to clarify the denomination’s biblical understanding of origins.

Last year, delegates of the 59th General Conference Session in Atlanta voted to reaffirm the church’s belief in a “literal, recent, six-day creation.” The vote formally endorsed a document drafted at the International Faith and Science Conference in 2004 and later that year affirmed by the church’s Annual Council business meeting. The move addressed questions from some Adventists regarding interpretation of the denomination’s Fundamental Belief Number 6.

The Reaffirmation of Creation statement specifies that the seven days in the Genesis creation account are “literal 24-hour days” and tags creation as “recent,” while the existing fundamental belief reads, in part: “In six days the Lord made ‘the heaven and the earth’ … and rested on the seventh day of that first week.”

Because the Adventist Church cannot hold two official statements on the same belief, Session delegates also voted to grant top church administration what world church General Vice President Artur Stele called a “mandate” to merge the two statements’ language and intent into one comprehensive fundamental belief.

The move is also expected to close what some Adventists claim is an interpretative loophole that hypothetically allows theistic evolution to explain the Genesis origins account, said Angel Rodriguez, director of the church’s Biblical Research Institute (BRI) and Fundamental Beliefs Review Committee co-chair with Stele.

Theistic evolution posits that evolution is a natural process of creation, overseen by God, and seeks to make the biblical creation story compatible with natural evolution.

“We as the Adventist Church strongly believe that the Lord is our creator. If you take that away — it’s such a foundational belief — or even compromise it, then there is an effect on other beliefs,” Stele said.

Because theistic evolution stretches each creation day into epochs, many Adventists fear the theory threatens another of the church’s core beliefs: observance of the seventh-day Sabbath as a celebration of the creation week.

While amending the church’s fundamental beliefs might seem exceptional, it’s neither unprecedented nor unsolicited. The preamble to the church’s 28 Fundamental Beliefs invites revision as the church’s understanding of truth expands.

“We state, ‘This is how we understand Scripture,’ but we also state that if we find a better expression or better wording — or if our understanding is broadened — then we will be open to change,” Stele said. “We don’t have doctrines like some other denominations — unmovable, unchangeable.

Why not?

Early Adventist Church leaders were adamant that the emerging church not be corralled by creeds. “Making a creed is setting the stakes, and barring up the way to all future advancement,” church co-founder James White said during a discussion in 1861. “Suppose the Lord … should give us some new light that did not harmonize with our creed?”

Ten years later, the then Review and Herald magazine published a list of “Fundamental Principles,” drafted by early church leader Uriah Smith. They were printed with a disclaimer that sought to allay any remaining unease: “We have no articles of faith, creed or discipline, aside from the Bible. We do not put forth this as having any authority with our people, nor is it designed to secure uniformity among them as a system of faith, but is a brief statement of what is, and has been, with great unanimity, held by them,” Smith wrote.

Those core beliefs shifted in number and content over the decades, but were never officially voted by the church until 1980.

Two years before the 1980 GC Session in Dallas, Texas, a few church administrators at church headquarters wrote a preliminary draft of what would become the Fundamental Beliefs. Shortly afterward, scholars and theologians at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in Berrien Springs, Michigan, participated in rewriting the beliefs, launching a revision process involving academics, administrators and church members.

What emerged were a set of beliefs that condensed and codified key Bible-based principles universally held by the church.

“A major reason we’ve been able to achieve widespread agreement among Adventists worldwide is because the Fundamental Beliefs keep very close to the wording of Scripture. They either quote Scripture directly or paraphrase it,” said Bill Johnson, who was among the group of scholars and theologians at the Seminary tasked with rewriting the preliminary draft.

How a belief is changed

The Fundamental Beliefs were first formally changed to accommodate the “Growing in Christ” belief voted in 2005 at the 58th GC Session. During that same Session, church administrators also voted to adopt a protocol guiding any further changes to the Fundamental Beliefs.

Suggested changes to the church’s beliefs must be rooted, the protocol states, in a “serious concern” for the “well-being of the world church and its message and mission,” as well as be Bible-based and “informed” by the writings of church co-founder Ellen G. White.

A suggestion can come from the world field or world church headquarters. In this case, then newly elected world church President Ted N. C. Wilson called for revision of the church’s belief on creation, responding to challenges to the church’s interpretation of origins.

Protocol states that once a revision is entertained, world church headquarters should create an ad hoc committee to “coordinate” the revision process — this time, the Fundamental Beliefs Review Committee, co-chaired by Stele and Rodriguez.

Joined by Adventist Review Editor and Publisher Bill Knott and BRI Associate Director Gerhard Pfandl, Stele and Rodriguez will draft the first revision of Fundamental Belief Number 6 in the coming months.

Cue church administrators, theologians, scholars and local church members, all of whom will review the suggested draft as it circulates church business meetings at headquarters and each of the church’s 13 world divisions. Later, to solicit feedback from members worldwide, the draft will appear online and in the Adventist Review, which historically published the church’s beliefs as they evolved over the years.

“We want to make it as accessible to as many people as possible,” Rodriguez said. “The committee will set up criteria by which to evaluate [the suggestions], trying to be as objective as possible.”

Ultimately, the church’s Annual Council will vote whether to add the revision to the agenda of the 2015 GC Session in San Antonio, Texas, where a final vote would occur.

Related article:

A little-known history about belief 6

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29 thoughts on “Further definition on tap for Adventist fundamental belief on creation

  1. From Cliff Goldstein:

    SpectrumMagazine.org – Mon, 05/30/2011 – 03:16

    The church has been pushed into doing this for one reason: the lack of moral integrity and honesty from those who claim to be Seventh-day Adventists, and who even take paychecks from the denomination, and yet who hold views that anyone with a modicum of intellectual honesty knows flatly contradict what it means to be a Seventh-day Adventist.

    How much simpler can it get?




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  2. Ultimately, the church’s Annual Council will vote whether to add the revision to the agenda of the 2015 GC Session in San Antonio, Texas, where a final vote would occur.

    Based on the wording at the 2010 session – I do not see how it is even possible to keep this from going to the 2015 session for a vote.

    The complicating factor is that the Church manual is at the same time being chisled into stone as it were – as though it too is its own voted statement of beliefs and it requires that the doctrinal statements of the church be used as a standard for determining issues related to church discipline at the local congregational level.

    This combination makes our voted statements of belief (be they the 1980 list or more recent ones) a litmus test for members.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  3. We aren’t talking about Church attendance or even membership here. We’re talking about being a paid representative of the SDA Church.

    The only real reason why those in this forum oppose the proposed change to the wording of FB#6 is because they somehow think it leaves room for those who believe that life has existed and evolved on this planet over billions of years of time to teach this message in our classrooms and preach it from our pulpits. Even liberal scholars of Hebrew do not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis intended to convey anything other than the concept that the creation week was in fact a literal 6-day event. One would be hard pressed to better express the literal nature of the creation week than how it is already described in Genesis. Therefore, those who argue that the proposed changes to the wording of FB#6 are “extrabiblical” simply aren’t reading the account as it was obviously intended to be read by the author(s) who wrote it.

    As Cliff pointed out, a change in wording wouldn’t be needed if professors working in our schools had not taken it upon themselves to attack the fundamental position of the SDA Church on this issue – on a doctrinal belief that forms the very basis of the name Seventh-day Adventist. Why should the SDA Church pay anyone to attack its most historically-cherished bedrock doctrinal beliefs? Even if the Church really is nuts, out of touch with reality, etc., what gives anyone the right to expect to be paid by the very Church that one is actively attacking in a very decided and fundamental manner? Here we have professors, as paid representatives of the SDA Church, telling their students that those who believe in the Church’s position on a literal 6-day creation week are part of the “lunatic fringe” and are like the ones who “fly airplanes into buildings.” Yet, these same people think to hide behind the supposed vagueness of the current wording of FB#6? Please… how disingenuous can one get?

    If anyone really thinks the SDA Church is out to lunch on its very decided and very fundamental position on a literal 6-day creation week, by all means, join another Church that is more in line with your own views on this and other doctrinal beliefs. No big deal. As some in this forum have pointed out, this isn’t an issue of salvation in and of itself. This isn’t inherently a moral issue. However, taking money from an employer who has requested you to do one thing, but you decide to do the complete opposite, is a moral wrong. Regardless of how crazy you think your employer is, attacking your employer’s clearly-stated goals and ideals on the employer’s dime is still stealing. Stealing from crazy people is still stealing – a moral wrong in anyone’s book.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  4. For those who will no doubt argue that I’m mistaken in my suggestion that many liberal scholars of Hebrew support a literal interpretation of the Genesis narrative, consider the following comments from James Barr, late Professor of Hebrew at the University of Oxford:

    “Probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1–11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that: (a) creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience (b) the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies provided by simple addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story (c) Noah’s flood was understood to be world-wide and extinguish all human and animal life except for those in the ark. Or, to put it negatively, the apologetic arguments which suppose the “days” of creation to be long eras of time, the figures of years not to be chronological, and the flood to be a merely local Mesopotamian flood, are not taken seriously by any such professors, as far as I know.”

    Letter from Professor James Barr to David C.C. Watson of the UK, dated 23 April 1984.

    James Barr also takes conservative evangelicals and other conservative scholars to task for insisting on a literal interpretation of Scripture but then abandoning it when it comes to the creation story in Genesis. Barr explains, in his work entitled Fundamentalism that, “as the scientific approach came to have more and more assent from fundamentalists themselves, they shifted their interpretation of the Bible passage from literal to non-literal in order to save… the inerrancy of the Bible. In order to avoid the consequence of an errant Bible, the fundamentalist “has tried every possible direction of interpretation other than the literal.” Yet, Barr rightly continues by noting that “in fact the only natural exegesis is a literal one, in the sense that this is what the author meant.”

    James Barr, Fundamentalism, Philadelphia, PA: Westminster 1977, p. 42

    Some criticize use of these quotes because Barr did not himself believe in the historicity of Genesis. But, that is precisely why his statement is so interesting: he believed the author(s) of Genesis got it wrong. With no need to try to harmonize Genesis with anything, because he does not see it as carrying any authority, Barr is free to state the clear intention of the author. This contrasts with some ‘evangelical’ theologians who try to retain some sense of authority without actually believing Genesis says much, if anything, about real history…

    Hebrew scholar Dr Stephen Boyd has shown, using a statistical comparison of verb type frequencies of historical and poetic Hebrew texts, that Genesis 1 is clearly historical narrative, not ‘poetry’. He concluded, ‘There is only one tenable view of its plain sense: God created everything in six literal days.’

    Stephen W. Boyd in chapter 6, “The Genre of Genesis 1:1-2:3”

    Form critic Hermann Gunkel concluded long ago, “The ‘days’ are of course days and nothing else.”

    Hermann Gunkel, Genesis übersetzt und erklärt (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1901), 97.

    This refrain can be continued with many additional voices, sharing the same non-concordist position. Victor P. Hamilton concludes, as do other broad concordist neoevangelical scholars, “And whoever wrote Gen. l believed he was talking about literal days.”

    Victor P. Hamilton, The Book of Genesis: Chapters 1-17, The New International Commentary of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, Ml: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1990), 54.

    John H. Stek, another broad concordist, makes a number of points in his support for literal “days”:

    Surely there is no sign or hint within the narrative [of Genesis 1] itself that the author thought his ‘days’ to be irregular designations — first a series of undefined periods, then a series of solar days — or that the ‘days’ he bounded with ‘evening and morning’ could possibly be understood as long aeons of time. His language is plain and simple, and he speaks in plain and simple terms of one of the most common elements in humanity’s experience of the world…. In his storying of God’s creative acts, the author was ‘moved’ to sequence them after the manner of human acts and ‘time’ them after the pattern of created time in humanity’s arena of experience.

    John H. Stek, “What Says Scripture?” Portraits of Creation, 237-238.

    Numerous scholars and commentators, regardless of whether they are concordist or non-concordist, have concluded that the creation “days” cannot be anything but literal 24-hour days. They are fully aware of the figurative, non-literal interpretations of the word “day” in Genesis 1 for the sake of harmonization with the long ages demanded by the evolutionary model of origins. Yet, they insist on the ground of careful investigations of the usage of “day” in Genesis 1 and elsewhere that the true meaning and intention of a creation “day” is a literal day of 24 hours.

    In short, there are very few if any liberal scholars of Hebrew (who have no inherent need to harmonize Scripture with mainstream science) who would support the idea that the author(s) of the Genesis account intended to convey anything other than a literal historical narrative of events. Now, there are many, if not all, liberal scholars who don’t believe the Genesis author(s) got it right, but arguing that the author(s) got it wrong isn’t the same thing as arguing that they didn’t intend to write a literal narrative of actual historical events.

    In any case, it is and has always been the position of the organized SDA Church that the author of Genesis did in fact intend to convey to his readers a literal historical account of real events. For the Church to take a stand on a concept that forms the very basis of its name, a concept that is also well defended by many well-known liberal scholars of Hebrew (and the Church’s own prophet to boot), should not be surprising to anyone – especially when this fundamental position of the Church starts to become the target of determined attack by paid representatives of the Church (i.e., professors within the Church’s own schools). It is because of the boldness of their attacks against the Church’s historical position on origins that the Church is trying to make it very clear that such attacks will not be tolerated on the Church’s dime – that no one can continue to hide behind what some amazingly claim to be the vagueness of the language of the Bible or of FB#6 on this topic as a basis for their attacks while on the payroll of the SDA Church.

    Sean Pitman, M.D.
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  5. This process reminds me of politicians milking out their legislative work ensuring that they have plenty of work and the paychecks to follow. Essentially, our Creation belief is already clear, and the Bible in Genesis 1 and 2 is very clear indeed. Add to that what Ellen White says about creation that sheds light upon God’s Word.

    If any Adventist doubts God’s Word, it is because he/she has shut their eyes to the truth choosing to believe lies. For this reason, I sincerely doubt a 5-year process will cause any to believe the truth. It is not the GC that creates truth; but God Himself.

    Exo 20:11 “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: why the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it” (AKJV).

    Had God chosen to take 6000 years, or 6 million years to create the earth, He would have said so.

    1Co 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.




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  6. Steve Billiter: This process reminds me of politicians milking out their legislative work ensuring that they have plenty of work and the paychecks to follow. Essentially, our Creation belief is already clear, and the Bible in Genesis 1 and 2 is very clear indeed. Add to that what Ellen White says about creation that sheds light upon God’s Word.If any Adventist doubts God’s Word, it is because he/she has shut their eyes to the truth choosing to believe lies. For this reason, I sincerely doubt a 5-year process will cause any to believe the truth. It is not the GC that creates truth; but God Himself.Exo 20:11 “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: why the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it” (AKJV).Had God chosen to take 6000 years, or 6 million years to create the earth, He would have said so.1Co 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

    Steve, I agree with you completely. The idea that we will somehow clarify our meaning of Belief #6 by changing some wording is pure Pollyannaism.

    Those that believe God’s Word believe it now, with the current statement. The Bible is clear except to those who choose to deny its truth. Those who choose secular humanistic beliefs will never change their opinion,no matter what words are used,




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  7. Hello all

    Interesting development on the revision of FB#6. Started to make me think about the original origin of the 7 day week in history. From my ‘brief’ research, it looks like the Babylonians were using it before the Bible was written. Comments?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  8. Babylonians, egyptians, Chinese — all came from Noah in the world wide flood that happened about 4500 years ago. (8 people got off the boat, not a million and 8).

    Moses wrote Genesis about 1000 years after the flood.

    It is certainly possible that the Chinese and the Babylonians were also writing at that time – although for the longest time skeptics kept complaining about the bible record because they insisted that nobody was able to write at the time Moses lived.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  9. BobRyan: Babylonians, egyptians, Chinese — all came from Noah in the world wide flood that happened about 4500 years ago. (8 people got off the boat, not a million and 8).Moses wrote Genesis about 1000 years after the flood.It is certainly possible that the Chinese and the Babylonians were also writing at that time – although for the longest time skeptics kept complaining about the bible record because they insisted that nobody was able to write at the time Moses lived.in Christ,Bob

    Exactly Bob. The 7 day week has no “objective” reason (compared to months, years, etc.)for existence.

    But, virtually all mankind accepts it and uses it. A fluke?! I don’t think so.




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  10. Re Ron’s Quote

    “But, virtually all mankind accepts it and uses it. A fluke?! I don’t think so.”

    Hi Ron

    Thanks for your comments.

    I think you are right. 7 days is an odd number and if different cultures in the same part of the world were using it one may have borrowed from the other. Which raises the question, who was using it first and who borrowed from whom?

    From my brief reading I understand that the Babylonians and Sumerians were using the 7 day week before the Hebrews. Also it seems the Babylonians were celebrating the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th days as ‘holy’ days. Compared to the Hebrews this may not be a fluke as well.

    Do we have any Adventist historians out there who could weigh in on this interesting topic of the origin of the 7 day week? Fascinating stuff, especially the cross cultural similarities of holy days falling on the 7th day increments.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  11. Some suggest a 7-day week is an imprecise quarter of a lunar cycle, which is 29.53 days from new moon to new moon. A quarter of a lunar cycle would be 7.38 days, so it is very imprecise! The Wikipedia account for “week” lists many cultural variations for the number of days in a week. But the 7-day weeks seems to be the oldest.




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  12. Ken: From my brief reading I understand that the Babylonians and Sumerians were using the 7 day week before the Hebrews. Also it seems the Babylonians were celebrating the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th days as ‘holy’ days. Compared to the Hebrews this may not be a fluke as well.
    Do we have any Adventist historians out there who could weigh in on this interesting topic of the origin of the 7 day week? Fascinating stuff, especially the cross cultural similarities of holy days falling on the 7th day increments.

    Given that the 7 day week started in Genesis 2 long before there was a Babylonian and that at the flood Noah carried the 7 day week into the post-flood world (pop. 0000008) – then it is not possible that there is a record of Abraham (who came from Urr of the Chaldeans) “not keeping a 7 day week”. Or that Jacob on the land of Caanan “did not keep a 7 day week”.

    So without some kind of “Babylonian kept a 7 day week – and Abraham or Isaac did not” how in the world could we argue that Babylon had one before Abraham or Isaac?

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  13. Re Bob’s Quote

    “Given that the 7 day week started in Genesis 2 long before there was a Babylonian and that at the flood Noah carried the 7 day week into the post-flood world (pop. 0000008) – then it is not possible that there is a record of Abraham (who came from Urr of the Chaldeans) “not keeping a 7 day week”. Or that Jacob on the land of Caanan “did not keep a 7 day week”.

    Hi Bob

    Thanks for your comments.

    Don’t Sumerian and Babylonian tablets ( evidence of the 7 day week) pre date the writing of Genesis? Moses didn’t write it before the Sumerian and Babylonian civilizations did he?

    I understand your point that according to the Bible, Genesis 2 pre – dates the Babylonian civilization, but it does so retroactively doesn’t it? Moses did not actually live during the time set out Genesis 2 did he?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  14. What is even more interesting is the failure of all attempts to substitute a “week” of different duration. The biblical origin of the 7-day week was not lost on atheistic regimes such as the French revolutionaries and the Soviets, and they tried to substitute different cycles. All such attempts have failed, and the seven day week is now nearly universal.

    The stage is slowly becoming set for a worldwide showdown on which day is the proper day of rest.




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  15. Re David’s Quote

    “The biblical origin of the 7-day week was not lost on atheistic regimes such as the French revolutionaries and the Soviets, and they tried to substitute different cycles.”

    Hi David

    Thanks for your comments.

    As I previously stated, my brief reading indicates that the Bible was not the original source of the 7 day week, but rather it was being used by the Sumerians and Babylonians prior to the rise of the Hebrew civilization. Am I wrong on this point?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  16. Ken: Re David’s Quote“The biblical origin of the 7-day week was not lost on atheistic regimes such as the French revolutionaries and the Soviets, and they tried to substitute different cycles.”Hi DavidThanks for your comments.As I previously stated, my brief reading indicates that the Bible was not the original source of the 7 day week, but rather it was being used by the Sumerians and Babylonians prior to the rise of the Hebrew civilization. Am I wrong on this point?Your agnostic friendKen

    I’ve read a number of sources on the “origin” of the 7 day weekly cycle, and none claim to actually know how it got started.

    The Bible does state how, so perhaps it is correct?




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  17. Ken: Don’t Sumerian and Babylonian tablets ( evidence of the 7 day week) pre date the writing of Genesis? Moses didn’t write it before the Sumerian and Babylonian civilizations did he?
    I understand your point that according to the Bible, Genesis 2 pre – dates the Babylonian civilization, but it does so retroactively doesn’t it? Moses did not actually live during the time set out Genesis 2 did he?

    Ken – Moses records a faithful list of followers including the fact that Abraham “kept God’s laws, and statutes” thus when the claim is made that Babylonians had a written record of a 7 day week being kept before Moses, you miss the target.

    Both the Bible and other sources are arguing that the Babylonians come from an ancient 7 day week keeping culture – since they come from the decendants of Noah.

    To show some kind of “borrowing” you would need to show something like a distinction. You cannot appeal to the common argument as a distinction for Babylonians.

    Those who wish to argue that Abraham and Moses do not come from an acient pre-Babylonian 7-day week culture – but the Babylonians do – would have to show something like historic evidence to make that case.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  18. Hi Bob

    Which was written first Sumerian writing or the writing of the Bible?

    Which was written first the Epic of Gilamesh or the Nochian Flood?

    Can something written earlier borrow from something later or can that only occur in time travel tales?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken
    Your agnostic friend




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  19. If Moses was on the internet reading whatever anyone ever wrote on these subjects in whatever land they lived in than we might expect a mere “repeat” of the Sumerian flood or the Gilgamesh flood.

    Hint: We do not find that in his writing.

    If Noah, the Sumerians and the mesopotamians are all descendants from the same famile – we “expect” similarities in their view of history. Obviously.

    hint – even Gilgamesh is believed to have been derived from Sumerian literature.

    The earliest Sumerian poems are “believed” to date (2150-2000 BC).

    How accurate that “belief” is – is another matter.

    Nothing says that Moses’ very different account could not have been given to him after a few centuries of corruption of the original account by other cultures.

    No “science in culture” would dictate that God must reveal the correct version to Moses before anyone had a chance to corrupt their own view of history.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  20. You see a small shiny pocket knife laying on the ground. Someone said “well a dog must have stolen it from his master and dropped it here”.

    Another said “no – clearly a crow dropped it here, they are attracted to shiny objects”.

    Another said “no a child dropped it here”.

    Another said “no a man dropped it here”.

    You cannot rule out one or the other – just be adding a new alternative, or without some specific data, or by saying “I am an atheist so I need this one to the real answer”.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  21. Re Bob’s Quote

    “Nothing says that Moses’ very different account could not have been given to him after a few centuries of corruption of the original account by other cultures.

    No “science in culture” would dictate that God must reveal the correct version to Moses before anyone had a chance to corrupt their own view of history.”

    Hi Bob

    Good comments.

    Certainly it is possible that Moses? came up with the account independently of the previous versions. But he, and others, may have redacted the original stories as well. That’s why I pointed out the interesting parallels with the use of the # 7 regarding holy days and the similarities of the flood stories.

    What’s pagan mythology vs. the inerrant Word of God? Why is the latter more sacred than the former from which it may have been redacted?

    Moreover was it Moses who actually wrote the Pentateuch, or a number of different authors( documentary hypothesis or supplementary model) , including Moses? If a number of different authors did so did they modify or adapt, the work of previous others , including Moses? Genesis by committee?

    In short what logic dictates the true version was revealed to Moses and Moses alone? I’m fine if the answer is pure faith, but if there is logic behind your conjecture, unfortunately I’m not understanding it.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  22. Re Bob’s Quote

    “Those who wish to argue that Abraham and Moses do not come from an acient pre-Babylonian 7-day week culture – but the Babylonians do – would have to show something like historic evidence to make that case.”

    Hi Bob

    They likely all did. Perhaps the notion of the 7 day week legend got passed down orally until the Sumerians first wrote about it on seven tablets. Thus subsequent cultures, including Hebrew, become imbued with the 7 day legend passed down from generation to generation and between different cultures living in proximate environs.

    For example look at the similarity between Greek and Roman Gods. Is it likely the Romans borrowed and modified the pantheon of Hellenistic deities?

    Interesting stuff.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  23. The Sumerians and the Mesopotamians were all plolytheistic religions.

    Moses was given direct revelation by God according to Numbers 12:6 and the text of Moses claims that “God is ONE”.

    There is no squabbling between gods lessor or greater in Moses’ account.

    There is no “Noah made immortal” in Moses’ account.

    There is no “seven day flood” in Moses’ account.

    Other then sending the birds out there is almost nothing that is the same or “redacted” except for the fact that the flood is “water”.

    By contrast there are several versions of the Gilgamesh story – modifications, additions, revisions in different cultures.

    This is a case of the One True God restoring an accurate record of the real account of both creation, the fall of mankind and the flood in the case of Moses.

    And Daniel provides a case of that One true God predicting over 2000 years of human history – all future to Daniel’s day.

    Not something that Gilgamesh was able to do as it turns out.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  24. Ken’s Question

    “In short what logic dictates the true version was revealed to Moses and Moses alone? I’m fine if the answer is pure faith, but if there is logic behind your conjecture, unfortunately I’m not understanding it.”

    Bob’s Answer

    “This is a case of the One True God restoring an accurate record of the real account of both creation, the fall of mankind and the flood in the case of Moses.”

    Hi Bob

    Thanks for your comments

    As a matter of your faith I have no problem with your answer.

    Do you think God revealed part of the truth to the Sumerians where the versions were similar or was the Sumerian version pure fiction?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  25. Ken: “In short what logic dictates the true version was revealed to Moses and Moses alone? I’m fine if the answer is pure faith, but if there is logic behind your conjecture, unfortunately I’m not understanding it.”

    1. It is logical to conclude that if a God exists that cares about humans – I will restore truth from time to time when it becomes obscured to a certain level.

    2. It is logical to conclude that the same God that can create the world and destroy it with a flood – can reveal truth to whomever He chooses.

    3. It is logical to conclude that a book capable of predicting over 2000 years of human history – may indeed be inspired by God.

    4. It is logical to conclude that some corruption of truth would precede the correction of that corruption.

    5. It is logical to observe that there are massive contradictions between Gilgamesh style myths and the bible account of the flood.

    6. it is logical to observe that the Gilgamesh mtyh has the same polytheistic, gods-at-war, petty-god-interactions as we see in Homer’s Illiad etc.. common to all pagan myths and legends.

    7. If it is logical to conclude that IF mankind acquired a downward-trending sinful nature at the fall – then cultures over time will tend to sink to common levels of degradation in their view of truth, and God and morality.

    Yes – I would argue that there is the faith element in my world view, but it is not devoid of logic.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  26. Ken: As a matter of your faith I have no problem with your answer.
    Do you think God revealed part of the truth to the Sumerians where the versions were similar or was the Sumerian version pure fiction?

    I think that it is logical to conclude that 3 cultures all descending from the same world view (Noah’s world view) would have similarities in their view of history even if by means of sinful nature, depravity, and separation they corrupt those stories.

    It is not an “accident” that almost all cultures have a story about a flood.

    The symbol for flood in the ancient Chinese script is the pictogram of a boat and 8 people.

    Abram’s Ur of the Chaldees was a Sumerian city – and Moses was told by God that God supernaturally called Abraham out of Ur to Canaan. While those around him were being corrupted – Abram was still holding true to worship of the True God and holding to the True world view. In essence Abram is the Sumerian you speak of –

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  27. It is not an “accident” that almost all cultures have a story about a flood.The symbol for flood in the ancient Chinese script is the pictogram of a boat and 8 people.in Christ,Bob

    Very true, Bob. This certainly is some kind of “evidence” that there was some “great flood” as the Bible describes.

    Who actually “wrote” or descibed it first is not of any value as to its veracity, as maybe we haven’t yet found the “oldest” version yet.




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