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Jim And Penny Caldwell's Archaeological Findings:


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#1 BlackCat

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 07:37 AM

I watched their story on this youtube film about a year ago, and was so amazed I bought their book.  This youtube film covers their story in great detail and I would appreciate anyone's analysis of it.

 

 

It's quite a long video so if you watch the first fifteen minutes or so, you'll get an idea of whether you'll want to watch it all.

 

They believe that they have found archaeological evidence to support  some events as described in the Bible.  They seem to be a lovely sincere couple and the film was very enjoyable to watch (for me anyway). 

 

Margee- I would particularly welcome your opinion on this.  I am struggling to 'let go' of my former Bible beliefs, and this couple's story is very compelling???

 

 

 

 


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#2 Guest_Babylonian Dream_*

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 09:16 AM

I didn't have to get far into it to not see them as being sincere. The documentary itself seems a bit old, so its value isn't much, especially since the data they present isn't seen the way they see it by those in the field.


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#3 bornagainathiest

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 10:10 AM

Hello BlackCat,  smile.png

 

http://www.squidoo.c...module151936399

 

The above link might be of interest to you.

 

But may I sound a tentative note of caution here?

 

Do you remember this...?  http://en.wikipedia...._for_Noah's_Ark

Specifically, the claims about the Ark made by the very same Ron Wyatt who's contributed to the search for the 'real' mount Sinai?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Wyatt

 

Wyatt had no formal training in archaeology, forensic science, dating techniques or ancient Middle Eastern history and culture. That's why his claims are classified as Bible-related pseudoarchaeology by bona fide archaeologists and other accredited experts.  Another very important point to heed is that Wyatt was not an unbiased and impartial observer.  He was very definitely working according to a religious agenda.  The above facts should sound very loud warning bells and caution us to take his claims with extreme skepticism.

 

http://splitrockrese...ontent/Welcome/

 

Far be it for me to gainsay the Caldwells, since I've only jouneyed to Israel and Jordan, not to Saudi Arabia.  However, I do feel that the same measure used to judge Wyatt's claims should also be applied to Jim and Penny.  Are they professionally trained to do the following?

 

* Make a proper and thorough inspection of an archaeological site.

* Apply the accepted and tested techniques of forensic examination to what they find

* Apply the accepted and tested procedures for recording and archiving what they find.

* Make a proper and thorough geophysical inspection of the site, taking into account it's geological and climatic history.

* Draw professionally-acceptable conclusions about the geology of the site, based upon their training in desert geology.

(Please note that Petrology [the branch of geology used in the oil industry] is not applicable here.  So unless Jim has re-trained, any Petrological expertise he might have is of little practical value.)

* Draw professionally-acceptable conclusions about any of the human artefacts (petroglyphs, stone circles, etc.) they find.

* Draw professionally-acceptable conclusions about the historical and cultural context of any artefacts they find.

 

If the answers are in the negative, then I strongly caution the same degree of skepticism that Wyatt's claims attract.

 

Also, are the Caldwells dispassionate, impartial and neutral observers of what they've seen or do they harbor a similar agenda to that of Wyatt?  Specifically, can we trust them to adequately and professionally distance themselves from their religious beliefs, when they draw conclusions about this site?

 

Again, if the answers are in the negative, then caution and skepticism are strongly advised.

.

.

.

.

Finally, there is an important theological point I'd like you to consider, please BlackCat.

 

Even if every aspect of their claims can be matched up with passages from the Bible, does that therefore mean that the Bible is exactly what Christian evangelicals/fundamentalists say it is?  That is, the true Word of God?  The sensible and considered answer is, of course, No.  I write this with absolute confidence because the Old Testament events which the Caldwells and Wyatt are trying to validate here do not occur in a vacuum.  They are part of a wider narrative of the entire Old Testament.  These Sinai-related events take their cue from the events of the Book of Genesis. 

 

Unless Adam and Eve's Fall from Grace was a real and historical event, why was there any need for Moses and the Israelites to be protected from seeing God?  You see how one set of events can't be taken out of context from the preceding ones?  The events detailed in the Books of Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus and Deuteronomy draw their meaning from Genesis.  So, a vital question for us to ponder (before we give any credence to the Caldwell's claims) is this...

 

What about the historicity of the Book of Genesis?

 

Please think carefully about this before making any kind of hasty decision about the 'truth' of the Bible.

 

Thanks,

 

BAA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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#4 stryper

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 01:10 PM

BAA, you just can't take anything on faith can you. ;)


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#5 BlackCat

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 04:26 AM

Thanks for the feedback so far guys.

 

Babylonian Dream- you said:

 

''The documentary itself seems a bit old, so its value isn't much, especially since the data they present isn't seen the way they see it by those in the field.''

 

Do you have any links regarding this? 

 

Bornagainatheist- I appreciate your comments and I've checked out the links.  I'm aware of Ron Wyatt's supposed discoveries and it is even claimed he has falsified some stuff, but I haven't checked out those claims.  Unfortunately, the Caldwells seem to be tarnished with the same brush.   I am going to email Penny Caldwell with the points you list and I'll let you know if she replies.  I emailed her yesterday, incidentally, to see if they might be visiting the UK, and she replied quite quickly, so hopefully she'll address the points you've made.  Did you watch the film?  It's the combination of their experiences (e.g the star shaped snow flakes which you can see a film of on their web site, to which you provided a link) as they investigated the mountain, as well as their findings, that present a compelling case.  When the Caldwell's visited the 'accepted' Mount Sinai, they could see clearly without needing any kind of professional training, that the traditional area cannot accommodate the millions of people that the biblical account claims.  It would be interesting to find 'expert' opinions of the Caldwell's 'findings' (and previously Ron Wyatt's) and to establish if their understanding of the sites, are plausible.  

 

I agree that all this has theological implications regarding the Genesis account but less so if parts of Genesis (and other parts of the Bible) are written in a 'parable-like' fashion, in order to convey an idea rather than a literal occurence.  When I was a believer, I never really believed in demons.  I think they are the misunderstandings of the people at that time, and recorded as such.  They didn't know about certain mental conditions.  It's also possible that the Bible is full of 'errors' and not this inerrant book that is claimed by Christendom.  

 

Thanks again for your time and help in this matter.       


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#6 Margee

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 07:53 AM

 

Margee - I would particularly welcome your opinion on this.  I am struggling to 'let go' of my former Bible beliefs, and this couple's story is very compelling???

 

Welcome BlackCat! I just noticed this! I'm sorry hon, I haven't been posting on the forums very much due to time factors. I will try to watch this and get back to you as soon as I can!  Glad you're here with us! 

 

Hug today!


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#7 bornagainathiest

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 08:07 AM

 

Bornagainatheist- I appreciate your comments and I've checked out the links.  I'm aware of Ron Wyatt's supposed discoveries and it is even claimed he has falsified some stuff, but I haven't checked out those claims.  Unfortunately, the Caldwells seem to be tarnished with the same brush.   I am going to email Penny Caldwell with the points you list and I'll let you know if she replies.  I emailed her yesterday, incidentally, to see if they might be visiting the UK, and she replied quite quickly, so hopefully she'll address the points you've made.  Did you watch the film?  It's the combination of their experiences (e.g the star shaped snow flakes which you can see a film of on their web site, to which you provided a link) as they investigated the mountain, as well as their findings, that present a compelling case.  When the Caldwell's visited the 'accepted' Mount Sinai, they could see clearly without needing any kind of professional training, that the traditional area cannot accommodate the millions of people that the biblical account claims.  It would be interesting to find 'expert' opinions of the Caldwell's 'findings' (and previously Ron Wyatt's) and to establish if their understanding of the sites, are plausible.  

 

I agree that all this has theological implications regarding the Genesis account but less so if parts of Genesis (and other parts of the Bible) are written in a 'parable-like' fashion, in order to convey an idea rather than a literal occurence.  When I was a believer, I never really believed in demons.  I think they are the misunderstandings of the people at that time, and recorded as such.  They didn't know about certain mental conditions.  It's also possible that the Bible is full of 'errors' and not this inerrant book that is claimed by Christendom.  

 

Thanks again for your time and help in this matter.       

 

Hello again BlackCat and thanks for your reply.

 

I'd like to respond to your message with two points.

 

Firstly, please understand that I wasn't trying to tar the Caldwells with Wyatt's brush. 

My concern isn't about the genuineness and honesty of the people making the claims, but their lack of training and qualifications to do so.  Let's suppose for a moment that the Caldwells are being totally honest about everything they've found.  Does that mean they are therefore drawing the correct conclusions?  Unfortunately not.  It takes a trained eye, years of experience and the professional input of many experts to draw useful conclusions about archaeological matters. The history of archaeology itself is (sadly) littered with many examples of hasty and un-tested conclusions being drawn - either by people who didn't know better or by professionals should have.  Here are just three.

 

http://en.wikipedia....rich_Schliemann

Schliemann extracted a gold necklace from the dirt where he was excavating, called his wife to him and placed it around her neck, exclaiming in a loud voice, "You are wearing the necklace of Helen of Troy!"  Now, I don't doubt Schliemann's enthusiasm and dedication BlackCat, but what I do question is the quality of his training, his procedures and his conclusions.  His character is not in question - his objectivity and his professionalism are.

 

http://en.wikipedia....ram_Bingham_III

The same question applies to Bingham.  He discovered a site in the Peruvian jungle (Espiritu Pampa) but didn't appreciate it's significance.  Later on, when he found Machu Picchu, he drew the incorrect conclusion that this was Vilcabamba, the fabled lost city and final refuge of the Incas. http://en.wikipedia....ilcabamba,_Peru  Bingham was wrong.  Espiritu Pampa was Vilcabamba.  He'd discovered it, excavated it, surveyed it and explored it, yet failed to correctly identify it.  Once again, I'm not calling Bingham's honesty or dedication into question - only his judgement and abilities.

 

http://en.wikipedia....i/James_Ossuary

The inital translation of the text on this artefact was performed by Andre Lemaire, who went public with the claim that this ossuary contained the bones of..  "James, the son of Joseph and the brother of Jesus"  Lemaire was a respected and trusted scholar who had also translated artefacts such as the Mesha Stele.  http://en.wikipedia....iki/Mesha_Stele

Yet, he was caught out by a modern forgery.  The lesson in this case is that he let his emotions get the better of his professional objectivity.  What he should have done was to check with other experts in other fields of archaeology to see if they could confirm his findings.  Now Lemaire has to live with his error of judgement. 

 

So you see BlackCat, in the absence of a tried-and-tested, rigorous, professional and disciplined archaeological assessment of their findings, the Caldwell's case (imho) can only be considered 'compelling', from an untested, unverified non-archaeological p.o.v.  I hope that you will heed my call for caution in this matter.

 

My second point is a theological one.

 

You might be prepared to see parts of the Book of Genesis in a 'parable-like' fashion, but there is a critical problem with this approach - if you are also prepared to accept that the Caldwell's claims relate to places, people and events that they deem to be REAL.  In a nutshell, they are claiming that their discoveries confirm that the Bible gives a true and accurate report of real and historical events and places.

 

Not parables.  Not allegories.  Not symbolic stories.  Not metaphors. 

Real facts.  Real people.  Real places.  Real events.  Real miracles and therefore... a Real God.

 

Do you see the difference and the problem?

 

If we accept Exodus onwards as real and true and historical, then we must also accept Genesis to be just as real, true and historical.  One demands the other.  If we treat one differently from the other, then we are committing a grave error of context.  We are mixing oil and water.  We are giving ourselves leave to pick and choose which parts of Bible we want to accept as historical and which parts we don't. 

 

As I mentioned in my earlier message, the events in Genesis (the Fall and the Flood) define the context in which Moses, Aaron and Joshua led the Israelites out of Egypt and into the Promised Land.  Genesis also defines the proper context for the incarnation of God in the shape of Jesus Christ.  The Apostle Paul treats the Genesis characters that he lists in Hebrews 11 as real and historical too. What the Apostle John wrote in the Book of Revelation only makes proper contextual sense in the light of a real and historical Fall from grace. 

Please take the time to look up Revelation 22 : 1-3 and take note that the Tree of Life, first seen in Genesis 2:9 and 3:22 is there, in the New Jerusalem.  Please also note that the curses which God laid upon Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:16-19 are lifted by God in Reveleation 22:3.  None of these future events make any kind of sense unless the past events of Genesis 1-3 also happened.

 

So, the bottom line is this, BlackCat.

 

If you accept the Caldwell's claims about the mountain, the split rock, the petroglyphs, the cave, etc. as proofs of the historcity of scripture, then you must also accept that the Genesis events that preceded them are just as real and historical.  Anything less is contextual chicanery.  Anything else is just picking and choosing to suit ourselves.

Now, in the light of all the scientific evidence for a 13.72 billion year old universe, can you accept what the Bible says and believe that it's only about 6,000 years old and was spoken into existence over a period of 144 hours?

Do you accept that we are all descended from a dirt-formed Adam and his 'rib' wife Eve, or did we evolve from the primates over the past 2-3 million years?

Is all of the suffering in the world down to the words of a talking snake?

Did Methuselah really live to the age of 969?

Does Jesus really trace his ancestry back thru Methuselah and Noah to Adam?

Was the world population reduced down to just eight people by a global Flood, as the apostle Peter says?

 

If you can't accept these half-dozen questions as pertaining to real and historical events, then can you really accord any validity to what the Caldwells are claiming about the Exodus narrative?

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

To answer you question BlackCat, no, I haven't watched the film. 

I may do in the future.  However, I don't need to watch it to change my p.o.v. on the Bible and the existence of a Christian God.  I don't need to watch it, other than to see what other people think is 'history'.

 

Instead, I apply to myself the same theological standard that I've outlined above.  If Genesis isn't historical, then it doesn't matter if the Israelites thought it was.  If Adam and Eve didn't exist, then it doesn't matter if the Israelites thought they did.  All that matters is the historicity of that book. 

 

And all the scientific evidence tells me that Genesis isn't historical, isn't true and isn't real.  Astronomy, Physics, Geology, Palaeontology, Archaeology and many other branches of science agree that Genesis is NOT a true and reliable description of the origins of anything except the supernatural beliefs of a minor ancient Middle Eastern culture.

 

I do hope that the tone of this message doesn't come across as antagonistic or overly-challenging.  It's simply my wish that you pause and carefully consider what the Caldwells are saying in the full context of history.

 

Thanks,

 

BAA.


Edited by bornagainathiest, 14 December 2012 - 08:14 AM.

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#8 BlackCat

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 11:33 AM

Margee, thanks for the hug.  A big hug back. 
 
Bornagainatheist- you make some great points and you have reminded me of the unwelcome theological implications all this has.  I'm busy over the weekend, so I'll come back to you in the next few days. 


Edited by Ouroboros, 15 December 2012 - 02:30 PM.
(Fixed the strikethrough typeface for you)

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#9 BlackCat

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 11:33 AM

I don't know why my reply has a line through it????


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#10 Joshpantera

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 08:23 PM

You just have to check the claims out BlackCat.

 

For instance, around 50:00 the Caldwell's are showing the images of Bulls carved on the granite stones and then logic leaping to conclude that this must be the alter to the Golden Calf, but, of course they're cave painting-like images that date to the neolithic period, and they're also in the plural of many cattle from time when the land was favorable for cattle, not to a single Golden Calf or an Alter built by Aaron himself, alone, as the Bible claims:

 

http://www.biblearch...udi-Arabia.aspx

 

What are we to make of this “evidence”? First, the Bible clearly states that Aaron, not the Children of Israel, made the altar before the golden calf (Ex. 32:5). I find it hard to believe that he could pick up these giant boulders and put them in place to make an altar! Cornuke believed that this “huge mound of stacked granite” (Cornuke and Halbrook 2000: 64) was built by “workers skilled in the art of building cities and moving mountains” (Cornuke and Halbrook 2000: 65). This view is contrary to the Scriptures. Aaron built the altar, not the Israelites.

 

Second, one Saudi archaeologist who did his doctoral thesis on Saudi Arabian rock art dates the “patched bovine” to the Neolithic period (Khan 1991: 115; plate 1). The Neolithic period is considerably earlier than the Late Bronze Age and the date of the Exodus from Egypt. Thus, it has nothing to do with the livestock the Israelites brought out of Egypt (Ex. 12: 38; 17:3; Num. 20:19; 32:1; Deut. 3:19).

 

Third, during the Neolithic period there was much more rainfall in Saudi Arabia than at the present (Ingraham 1981: 62). Thus there would be ample grazing places for cattle then. One does not have to make the assumption the Israelites drove the livestock to Saudi Arabia.

 

Fourth, let’s assume for a minute that this was the site of the golden calf (However, I do not believe it is). Moses destroyed the golden calf because it was an idol. He would also have erased the petroglyphs of the bovine because they were graven images. Petroglyphs would be totally contrary to the Law that Moses had just received from the Lord on Mt. Sinai (Ex. 20:4).6  To answer Cornuke’s question, “Had we really stumbled upon the altar of the golden calf?” (Cornuke and Halbrook 2000:67). The simple answer is no.

 

This has all been thoroughly refuted here as well: http://againstjebela.../jebel-al-lawz/

 

Wyatt (now dead) was an SDA crack pot who lectured about some of these findings @ camp meetings. I saw him lecture on this material as an SDA youth here in Florida, in Orlando, our central meeting location for the state. He claimed the chariot wheels in the Red Sea as evidence of the Exodus and went so far as to claim the discovery of Noah's Ark while he was at it. I remember wondering why this huge world changing break through proving the Bible literally true wasn't on every news station around the world?

 

Later it became obvious that that's because none of it's true. The whole thing is psuedo-archaeology at best, which, makes perfect sense because there's zero evidence in Egypt of the Israelites as slaves in the first place, nor any credible evidence of that many people wandering around in the dessert, and on top of it all Canaan was ruled by Egypt at the time that they would have been arriving there for the conquest of Joshua, full of Egyptian authorities with out posts all around the region. Israel Finkelstein covers this extensively in "The Bible Unearthed," which you should refer to for a better understanding of the actual archaeology verses the psuedo-type you find coming from Biblical literalists, such as Wyatt and crew...

 

And back to BAA's main point, of course this doesn't add up literally because Genesis doesn't add up literally by any stretch of the imagination. And so why in the world would Exodus add up literally? The simple truth is that it doesn't....


Edited by Joshpantera, 15 December 2012 - 08:30 PM.

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#11 ficino

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 05:57 AM

When I was a Christian I was told (don't remember by whom) that each Israelite had 90 donkeys carrying plunder from the Egyptians when they left Egypt.  The estimate was some millions of donkeys on the journey.  Is that in Exodus or is it a later Talmudic legend?  Either way you'd think that such a huge train would leave traces.  Plus, how to feed all the animals if it's in the desert.  I don't recall Exodus saying that the livestock ate manna from heaven.


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#12 Akheia

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 10:52 AM

If these weirdos had managed to find something that epochal, that ground-breaking, and it was really legit, you have to stop and wonder why mainstream science hasn't leaped all over it. It's not like there aren't believers among the ranks of real scientists and archaeologists. It's not like they're suppressing it or somehow keeping it from getting to all those.. wait, who? All those Christians filling the Western World who'd LOVE to see this all be true? Like with "intelligent design" (0 for 2 with the name there, eh?) and the anti-vaccination movement, it's just a bunch of charlatans and pseudo-scientists snowing the shit out of the uneducated. I know it's enticing to think that a moldy book of fairy tales has actual history in it, and who knows, some of it might be true in the most metaphorical sense. But metaphor is all it is. I saw something the other day about a Black Sea flood that might have been so bad it was remembered in folklore for YEARS among many different peoples in that area, explaining why so many different ancient cultures from that general area have flood myths. Metaphor only--certainly the flood wasn't worldwide or caused by a god (or goddess, and I'm looking at you, Inanna) getting tetchy and throwing a fit. As BAA's so ably noted, even if there had been a worldwide flood, that opens a floodgate of other theological issues that must be confronted head-on. And weirdly, nobody in any credentialed field seems to be doing that.

 

Be real careful when you go hunting for evidence. WHO is presenting the evidence is as important than WHAT is being presented, to a great extent. It's not that untrained historians, archaeologists, and amateur scientists can't make discoveries, not at all! But that we must be really leery of "discoveries" that are not confirmed by established procedures and bodies of real historians, archaeologists, and scientists. You may be falling into a postmodern trap of not knowing how to ascertain what is and isn't actual science and what is and isn't trustworthy. There's a lot of noise out there, but very little signal, and the further you get from actual credentialed sources and actual established procedures, the more noise you're going to hear. Without the discernment to figure out what sources you can trust, you'll get overwhelmed by noise--as you did here.

 

In conclusion: David "WTF" Barton.


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#13 bornagainathiest

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 09:39 AM

(Snip)

 

 I saw something the other day about a Black Sea flood that might have been so bad it was remembered in folklore for YEARS among many different peoples in that area, explaining why so many different ancient cultures from that general area have flood myths. Metaphor only--certainly the flood wasn't worldwide or caused by a god (or goddess, and I'm looking at you, Inanna) getting tetchy and throwing a fit. As BAA's so ably noted, even if there had been a worldwide flood, that opens a floodgate of other theological issues that must be confronted head-on. And weirdly, nobody in any credentialed field seems to be doing that.

 

(Snip)

 

Here's something else that should sound alarm bells, Akheia.

 

Looking thru scripture we see that Paul and Peter treat Noah's flood as a real and global event, not as a metaphor nor as a regional flood, either.  (Hebrews 11:7, 1 Peter 3:20 and 2 Peter 2:5)  Ok, they can be forgiven for thinking the flood was real and global.  After all, they were just fallible men who earnestly believed the stories they'd been told.  So far, so good.

 

But you'd think God Himself would know the truth, wouldn't you?

After, He foresaw it, before the universe was created, right?  He's the one who carried it out, right?  So, surely he'd tell the Israelites the truth, wouldn't he?

 

And He does...

 

Isaiah 54:9

 “To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth.

So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again."
 

Matthew 24:36-39

36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.

38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark;

39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man."

 

 

So there we have it!

From out of the mouth of the Old Testament god and from the lips of His New Testament Son.  (See also Luke 17:26 & 27.) Noah's flood was not a parable or metaphor, nor was it limited to the Black Sea region.  God toe's the Genesis line.  Noah's flood was worldwide and spared only 8 people.  And in case we're in any doubt over this, read on...

 

Hebrews 6: 16-18.

16 People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument.

17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath.

18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged.

 

Therefore, all the scientific evidence that says otherwise must be Satanic lies.

 

'nuff said? wink.png

 

BAA.


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#14 Akheia

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 10:00 AM

PRECISELY. The evidence suggests that there may indeed have been a bad flooding of the Black Sea. But that is not a worldwide flood by any means. To the people affected it might have seemed so, and it took on its bigger form in their stories and myths. But in reality it was not. So why would God's word have said it was? And not to put too fine a point on it, but pretty much every body of water floods at some point, so it's pretty safe to assume that yes, at some point the Black Sea flooded really bad. No, the only way to take any of it is on a "germ of truth" metaphorical way, not in any sort of literal way. We do these and other cultures' myths a disservice by trying to "prove" them correct or incorrect. They're not meant to be history. It wasn't until fairly recently that Christians even thought that; the Jews certainly don't think their Torah is an accurate telling of history.

 

I've seen some progressive Christian blogs that are moving away from a literal reading of the mythic-history presented in the Bible and think they're heading in the right direction there. It's admirable to see, even though I know how much pushback these people are getting by doing it. After all, if there was no Fall of Man, as you've said, BAA, then how in the world is a Redemption significant? I think the literalists know that and fear the house of cards falling down.


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#15 Joshpantera

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 03:48 PM

The Bible does portray these events as if they were literal history, and yet, at least in the case of Origen, you can see how they were not received as literal history by those who understood the mythological symbolism aspect of what was written:

 

 

Origen of Alexandria (185-254AD): http://www.newadvent...thers/04124.htm
De Principiis (Book IV) 16. Now who is there, pray, possessed of understanding, that will regard the statement as appropriate, that the first day, and the second, and the third, in which also both evening and morning are mentioned, existed without sun, and moon, and stars— the first day even without a sky?
 
And who is found so ignorant as to suppose that God, as if He had been a husbandman, planted trees in paradise, in Eden towards the east, and a tree of life in it, i.e., a visible and palpable tree of wood, so that anyone eating of it with bodily teeth should obtain life, and, eating again of another tree, should come to the knowledge of good and evil?
 
No one, I think, can doubt that the statement that God walked in the afternoon in paradise, and that Adam lay hid under a tree, is related figuratively in Scripture, that some mystical meaning may be indicated by it. The departure of Cain from the presence of the Lord will manifestly cause a careful reader to inquire what is the presence of God, and how anyone can go out from it. But not to extend the task which we have before us beyond its due limits, it is very easy for anyone who pleases to gather out of holy Scripture what is recorded indeed as having been done, but what nevertheless cannot be believed as having reasonably and appropriately occurred according to the historical account.
 
The same style of Scriptural narrative occurs abundantly in the Gospels, as when the devil is said to have placed Jesus on a lofty mountain, that he might show Him from thence all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them. How could it literally come to pass, either that Jesus should be led up by the devil into a high mountain, or that the latter should show him all the kingdoms of the world (as if they were lying beneath his bodily eyes, and adjacent to one mountain), i.e., the kingdoms of the Persians, and Scythians, and Indians? Or how could he show in what manner the kings of these kingdoms are glorified by men?
 
And many other instances similar to this will be found in the Gospels by anyone who will read them with attention, and will observe that in those narratives which appear to be literally recorded, there are inserted and interwoven things which cannot be admitted historically, but which may be accepted in a spiritual signification.

spacer.gifspacer.gifspacer.gifspacer.gif


We could go further and ask the same question about all of the literal animals in the world crowding, two by two, into a literal ark?

 

Or about the Red Sea parting, a great multitude of Israelites wandering the desert with a cloud following them by day which turned into fire by night, blasting trumpets to bring down a city wall, etc. etc.

 

The Caldwell type of people in this world would just as soon go looking for a literal tree of the knowledge of good and evil, or a literal mountain in which all of the kingdoms of the world can be viewed. Typical fundy mind set. And they somehow miss the fact that they're moving away from anything spiritual by insisting on the literal historical reading of the mythological symbols. I think Origen caught that because he was from the Alexandrian school and knew good and well about mythologizing and how it works. Plus the mysteries were about metaphor and allegory and I assume that he recognized the Judeo-Christian mythos as a type of mystery school along similar lines as the Alexandrian varieties. That simple perspective outlines what these literalists are trying to do and answers why they keeping failing at it. They have no idea how to read and interpret mythological symbols...


Edited by Joshpantera, 18 December 2012 - 03:56 PM.

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#16 Akheia

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 10:45 AM

I'm starting to realize that a religion's "truth" depends not upon whether or not its mythology really happened but upon how well it works for an individual and a society, how well it breeds understanding and peace, and how it advances humanity rather than impedes it.

 

Even if the Caldwells and their ilk manage to find a literal Ark or a literal Flood or a literal Garden of Eden, they're still going to be left with proving how these things link to the existence of a god, then to the existence of their particular narrow-minded little tribal Middle-Eastern storm-god, then to Jesus Christ's literal existence and death, then to his literal resurrection, then to the Bible's accuracy in retelling his demands and lore, etc etc etc. There's no damn way they're going to be able to leap from OH YAY AN ARK to JESUS IS FO'REALSIES Y'ALL AND HE'S TOTALLY PISSED. And all the while the truth of their religion is that it breeds heartache in all but the top levels of its adherents; it brings all too much intolerance and inequality; and it actively impedes humanity's advances in philosophy and science.


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#17 bornagainathiest

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 12:08 PM

Just a quickie for BlackCat to mull over.

 

In the gospels, does Jesus treat the characters from Genesis as real people from Israel's history?

 

Please read Matthew 19: 1 - 12 and note that Jesus puts Adam and Eve (v. 4-6) on an equal basis with Moses (v. 8 & 9).  Jesus treats Genesis and Exodus equally.  Therefore, it is contextually dishonest to say that Exodus is historical, but Genesis is a parable.  So, applying the same standard, if the Caldwell's claims are historically accurate - so are all the events in Genesis.  You can't cherry pick!

 

Please read Luke 17: 28 - 37.  "Remember Lot's wife!"  Abraham, Sarah, Lot and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are ALL historical, according to Jesus.

 

Jesus may have used these Genesis characters in his parables, but that doesn't mean they were just myths to Him. 

 

The answer to the question must therefore be... 'Yes, to Jesus they were real and historical'.

 

Thanks,

 

BAA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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#18 sdelsolray

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 10:28 PM

Just a quickie for BlackCat to mull over.

 

In the gospels, does Jesus treat the characters from Genesis as real people from Israel's history?

 

Please read Matthew 19: 1 - 12 and note that Jesus puts Adam and Eve (v. 4-6) on an equal basis with Moses (v. 8 & 9).  Jesus treats Genesis and Exodus equally.  Therefore, it is contextually dishonest to say that Exodus is historical, but Genesis is a parable.  So, applying the same standard, if the Caldwell's claims are historically accurate - so are all the events in Genesis.  You can't cherry pick!

 

Please read Luke 17: 28 - 37.  "Remember Lot's wife!"  Abraham, Sarah, Lot and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are ALL historical, according to Jesus.

 

Jesus may have used these Genesis characters in his parables, but that doesn't mean they were just myths to Him. 

 

The answer to the question must therefore be... 'Yes, to Jesus they were real and historical'.

 

Thanks,

 

BAA.

Those stories don't need to be historical.  No such requirement exists.  Someone can certainly refer to an earlier fictional/allegorical story, particularly in their own allegorical story.


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#19 bornagainathiest

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 03:58 AM

 

Just a quickie for BlackCat to mull over.

 

In the gospels, does Jesus treat the characters from Genesis as real people from Israel's history?

 

Please read Matthew 19: 1 - 12 and note that Jesus puts Adam and Eve (v. 4-6) on an equal basis with Moses (v. 8 & 9).  Jesus treats Genesis and Exodus equally.  Therefore, it is contextually dishonest to say that Exodus is historical, but Genesis is a parable.  So, applying the same standard, if the Caldwell's claims are historically accurate - so are all the events in Genesis.  You can't cherry pick!

 

Please read Luke 17: 28 - 37.  "Remember Lot's wife!"  Abraham, Sarah, Lot and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are ALL historical, according to Jesus.

 

Jesus may have used these Genesis characters in his parables, but that doesn't mean they were just myths to Him. 

 

The answer to the question must therefore be... 'Yes, to Jesus they were real and historical'.

 

Thanks,

 

BAA.

Those stories don't need to be historical.  No such requirement exists.  Someone can certainly refer to an earlier fictional/allegorical story, particularly in their own allegorical story.

 

 

I happen to agree with you sdelsolray. 

I'm certain that the Genesis stories aren't historical.  My point was that Jesus thought they were - which tells me that He wasn't the Messiah, the Son of God, nor 1/3 of the Trinity.

 

Please read John 8: 48 - 59, which I contend, confirms my point.  Verse 56 reads... " Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”  That is not from anywhere in the Old Testament, nor is Jesus referring to Abraham as a fictional/allegorical figure.

 

He was telling the Jews that he knew Abraham personally. 

 

Thanks,

 

BAA.


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#20 bornagainathiest

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 10:05 AM

'nuther one!

 

Luke 10:18

 

"He [Jesus] replied, 'I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven."

 

Q.

When did Satan fall from heaven? 

 

A.

Not during the mortal lifetime of Jesus.

 

Orthodox Christianity asserts that the talking snake which tempted Eve was actually Satan.  Since he was practicing evil in Eden, he must have fallen from heaven before then.  It doesn't matter that Jesus claimed to have witnessed this event, when he clearly couldn't have.  What does matter is that Jesus thought and believed that the characters from Genesis were real.  Not symbols, metaphors, allegories or story-telling devices.  REAL PEOPLE.  REAL EVENTS.  REAL HISTORY.  This is what Jesus believed.

 

So you see sdelsolray, for Jesus to be the real and historical Messiah and Son of God, the Book of Genesis has to be history. There is an absolute requirement for this. This is also why Christianity can be so easily debunked and refuted. Genesis isn't history - it's fable.  Therefore, the rest of the Bible is built upon... a fable.

 

Thanks,

 

BAA.


Edited by bornagainathiest, 21 December 2012 - 11:40 AM.

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