Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Out of Eden

I’ve been asked to answer the question, why has no one discovered the tree or life or the cherubim who were stationed at the entrance to the garden of Eden (Gen 3:24)?

There are many interrelated reasons why this is so.

1.We need to locate the garden in time and space. The narrator situates the garden somewhere in Mesopotamia (Gen 2:10-14). And, indeed, a river valley would be a logical place for God to plant a garden, since the river system would supply a natural irrigation system.

But where in Mesopotamia? Upper or lower Mesopotamia? The natural landmarks are a bit difficult to pin down at this distance in time.

Rivers can change courses or dry out over time. Natural resources can become depleted. Place names can change.

Some scholars locate Eden in lower Mesopotamia. Indeed, they place in what is today the Persian Gulf.

It that event we couldn’t find Eden because Eden is under water!

The alternative location would be somewhere around modern Armenia.

2.On a traditional dating scheme, Eden was planted about 6000 years ago.

For an explanation of how that ballpark figure is calculated, see here:

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2006/11/biblical-chronology.html

In the 19C, W. H. Green famously argued that the genealogies have missing links. See his “Primeval Chronology”:

http://www.geocities.com/athens/thebes/7755/PrimevalChronology.html

If you find his exegetical argument plausible or persuasive, that would extend the timeline to some degree, although—even if you think the genealogies have gaps—it would violate the narrative viewpoint to turn Adam into a caveman living in Lascaux or Kenya 200,000 years ago.

OECs also extend the timeline by challenging the diurnal sequence of Gen 1 in various ways. That’s not my own position, but I’ll take a rain check on that debate for now. For some counterarguments, see here:

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2006/11/days-of-creation.html

What all can happen in thousands of years?

3.Since Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden, it went untended. What happens to a garden when it’s left untended? It becomes overgrown. Reverts to a state of nature.

Eden would eventually blend into the surrounding wilderness, like those ancient, Mesoamerican ghost towns which were reclaimed by the forest—only Eden had no permanent structures.

4.In a fallen world, nothing lives forever. Trees die. Even redwoods and bristlecones have a finite lifespan.

5.Parts of the Middle East have become desiccated over the millennia. A forest can turn into a desert.

6.Then there’s whatever impact the flood would have had. How much of the flora could survive submersion for a year?

The loss of groundcover could also mean the loss of topsoil when the floodwaters began to recede.

And if Eden was located in the highlands of Armenia, it might also be subject to considerable erosion.

52 comments:

  1. Steve,

    Kenneth Kitchen has an interesting discussion on the location of Eden, and archaeological evidence to support his position in the last chapter of his book "On the Reliability of the Old Testament".

    Blake

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  2. if it was in the persian gulf or armenia then what of the fact that science has shown the first humans came from africa

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  3. Anonymous said:
    "if it was in the persian gulf or armenia then what of the fact that science has shown the first humans came from africa"

    That goes back to the creation/evolution debate, and the voluminous literature on that subject.

    For a sophisticated YEC approach, read the books by Kurt Wise.

    I'd just note in passing that the identification of the "first humans" with African hominids assumes that you can establish lineal descent despite the fact that fossil finds are widely separated in space and time.

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  4. what about the magic angel with the light saber? I assume he didn't drown!!!!

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  5. Anonymous wrote:
    ---
    what about the magic angel with the light saber? I assume he didn't drown!!!!
    ---

    This is a fine example of someone who reads without the ability to discern anything.

    Since the purpose of the angel was to keep man out of the Garden, if the Garden was removed there would no longer be need for the angel at the garden.

    It's not that complicated.

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  6. As an addition, anonymous's comments make about as much sense as me saying: If Alcatraz was a real prison, then why aren't there any guards there now?

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  7. The Clarifier2/07/2007 5:24 PM

    I think that anonymous was pointing out the silly nature of the story...having a superhero with a super weapon guarding the garden from would be interlopers.

    Its a stupid story.

    Hope that helps.

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  8. Clarifier said:
    ---
    I think that anonymous was pointing out the silly nature of the story...having a superhero with a super weapon guarding the garden from would be interlopers.

    Its a stupid story.

    Hope that helps.
    ---

    In this case, anonymous is the stupid one because he can't even state the above without your help to clarify it.

    Anonymous asked a specific question, which was answered specifically. If anonymous did not mean his/her question, then s/he ought not to have asked it.

    On the other hand, how is this a "stupid" story? Spell it out.

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  9. Calvin Dude,

    It would not be a stupid story if the angel and his sword had evolved by beneficial genetic mutations. If we could add that story then the angel would be easier to swallo. Everything is easier to swallo if you add billions and billions of years to it.

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  10. The reason the story is stupid is because it's about a fairy god getting a magic angel with a shiny sword to stand guard outside a garden containing magic trees because a talking snake tricked two naked people into eating some fruit

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  11. kind of like the blind forces of evolution turning one-way lungs in to two-way lungs, and bringing about life from non-life.

    Kind of like the fairy tale about "Once upon a time a frog turned into a prince?"

    Take our "magic" and exchange "random beneficial mutations over billions of years" and then you don't have a "silly" story anymore.

    God can't change water into wine immediately because that's silly, but "mother nature" can turn lizards into birdies over millions of years.

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  12. TreeOfLeaves2/07/2007 9:14 PM

    I love it when Christians fall back on the old "Your stories are silly too!" defense.

    they know that stories of talking donkeys, snakes, and plants are silly. Somehow, saying that unregenerated unbelievers believe "silly" things too makes it OK.

    So, both sides are 'silly.' Awesome defense.

    I'm willing to change my beliefs based on new evidence and information. Are Christians?

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  13. The Christian argument was like this: If you think are view is silly, then you must think yours is, you do not think yours is, therefore you shouldn't think ours it.

    It wasn't at all how you characterized it.

    The reverse doesn't work because we don't think "blind, random forces," can do all the work you want them to do.

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  14. tsopknarp said:
    ---
    The reason the story is stupid is because it's about a fairy god getting a magic angel with a shiny sword to stand guard outside a garden containing magic trees because a talking snake tricked two naked people into eating some fruit
    ---

    A) The use of the words "fairy" and "magic" is pejorative.

    B) This still does not constitute "stupidity." All it establishes is that you don't believe it.

    Fine. So what?

    treeofleaves said:
    ---
    I love it when Christians fall back on the old "Your stories are silly too!" defense.
    ---

    You love having your hypocrisy demonstrated?

    In any case, I have not fallen back on that, although I certainly could. A supernatural God acting in His own creation is far more credible than a bunch of random accidents that cause everything for no reason.

    tree said:
    ---
    I'm willing to change my beliefs based on new evidence and information.
    ---

    Except you do not will your beliefs. For instance, if I ask you to will yourself to believe that if you jump off a building you'll fly, you will never be able to do that. Your beliefs are not formed by what you will; what you will is formed by your beliefs.

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  15. “After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life”

    This, pure and simple, sounds like fantasy. I mean, why not just destroy the “tree of life” if the intent was that mankind was to be cut off from it? It clearly does not exist today, so what happened to it? There are no cherubim to be observed. At what point did said cherubim leave his post and why did he do so? What makes his presence unnecessary today?

    Moreover, if a cherubim were to be found today in Mesopotamia, his presence would certainly be a boon for Christ’s “Great Commission”.

    For those of us who remain incredulous, his absence is decidedly inconvenient…not to mention suspicious.

    To me the idea of a cherubim and a flaming sword just seems fantastical. Not that all this couldn’t be true (just about anything is possible). It is just that it smacks of “literary license” on the part of the author.

    The clear issue for me is the decided lack of continuity between the mundane and ordinary that we are steeped in today and the extraordinary claims of the first 11 chapters of the Bible.

    Had I been a contemporary of Adam, I’d have been able to see this angel. Likely I’d have been blown away and awe inspired by the sight. Why would God deny me this benefit today?

    anon

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  16. if you traveled back in time and told Adam about cars would he laugh at and mock you? would that "seems fantastical" to him? Would he think you lived in "extraordinary times?"

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  17. "if you traveled back in time and told Adam about cars would he laugh at and mock you? would that "seems fantastical" to him? Would he think you lived in "extraordinary times?""

    I doubt Adam would laugh. After all, he's already seen God walking around, and been able to 'name' all of the animals, and had a sex partner created out of his rib, and seen the old magic angel with light saber...

    Cars would seem pretty mundane to old Adam.

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  18. Anonymous said:
    "This, pure and simple, sounds like fantasy. I mean, why not just destroy the “tree of life” if the intent was that mankind was to be cut off from it? It clearly does not exist today, so what happened to it? There are no cherubim to be observed. At what point did said cherubim leave his post and why did he do so? What makes his presence unnecessary today?

    The flaming angel represents God's displeasure with, and heavens enmity against, man/Adam. In Adam's fallen state he was severed, severed utterly, from God and was subject to God's flaming judgment. God's sword was *against* him. Through the 'seed' (mentioned in the curse on the serpent/Satan) Adam was given the messianic hope of redemption from slavery/captivity (symbolised in the Babylonian captivity and the escape from Egypt) to the devil, sin, death and hell. If we hope in the 'seed of woman', Christ, the 'last Adam' who didn't fall (looking forward in Adam's case, looking backwards for us) then we *now* have free access to the tree of life.

    "This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent" (John 17:3)

    Although our spirits have been set free, our bodys still groan in bondage to sin, because the redemption of the world comes in stages. At the final resurrection the world will be restored to the Edenic paradise it once was (read Isaiah 40-55 for a summary)

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  19. Anonymous said:
    ---
    This, pure and simple, sounds like fantasy.
    ---

    That's because your worldview will not allow you to accept it as truth. But the Bible wasn't written with your worldview. People who believe the Bible don't have your worldview either. So the mere fact that it "sounds like fantasy" to you doesn't mean anything.

    Nor does it mean it's "stupid" to believe in the story. It's only stupid if your worldview turns out to be right; but if the Christian worldview is right, who's the stupid one then?

    Anonymous said:
    ---
    I mean, why not just destroy the “tree of life” if the intent was that mankind was to be cut off from it?
    ---

    That was the stated intent, but that doesn't mean it was the sole intent. It's not like this depiction happened in a vacuum. The Jews who read it for the first time already had the oral context; we have the written context of the rest of Scripture. This one event is not a stand-alone thing.

    Furthermore, even if you reject this story as truth, you still have to ask why it would be the case that a human author penned this, instead of something else. All this demonstrates is that an intelligent being (whether God or the author of a piece of fiction) chose one thing instead of another.

    In that regard, it's like asking why the Interstate Highway goes through this plot of land when it could have gone through that plot of land. Why one instead of the other? Perhaps there are good reasons (in the example, one plot of land might be more stable than the other). In Scripture, God never does anything simply for the sake of doing something; He has a purpose for what He does.

    So ask yourself what this story tells us about God that He posts an angel with a sword rather than destroying the tree immediately. Perhaps you'll learn something.

    Anonymous said:
    ---
    It clearly does not exist today, so what happened to it?
    ---

    This was what the original post addressed in the first place.

    Anonymous said:
    ---
    At what point did said cherubim leave his post and why did he do so? What makes his presence unnecessary today?
    ---

    This also has been addressed already, by my specifically. I said: "Since the purpose of the angel was to keep man out of the Garden, if the Garden was removed there would no longer be need for the angel at the [G]arden."

    Anonymous said:
    ---
    Moreover, if a cherubim were to be found today in Mesopotamia, his presence would certainly be a boon for Christ’s “Great Commission”.
    ---

    Really?

    I think it more likely you would have an alternate explanation. After all, Genesis explains that the Garden of Eden was near the Euphrates, which currently exists, yet which does not make you believe the Bible.

    Nature is full of odd-looking creatures. Naturalists would have simply come up with a way of explaining away what has always been there.

    So, knowing that, what purpose would it serve to keep the angel there after the original purpose was no longer a factor?

    Anonymous said:
    ---
    For those of us who remain incredulous, his absence is decidedly inconvenient…not to mention suspicious.
    ---

    But for the incredulous, his existence would likewise be decidely inconvenient...not to mention suspicious. "This story is simply patterned after a pre-existing phenomenom; it is no evidence of the supernatural."

    Anonymous said:
    ---
    Had I been a contemporary of Adam, I’d have been able to see this angel. Likely I’d have been blown away and awe inspired by the sight. Why would God deny me this benefit today?
    ---

    William Paley asked the same question about the clock-work (or shall we say "watch-work") nature of Nature; Dawkins, for one, seems to have not been "blown away and awe inspired by the sight." The fact that you can look at the magnificance of nature already and not see God tells me that God could appear personally in front of you and you'ld still come up with a rationalization. Maybe you hallucinated it. Whatever the case, you could come up with an explanation.

    The problem isn't evidence or lack of evidence; it's a heart issue. Romans 1.

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  20. At this rate I can retire to Tahiti while Calvindude slays all comers in the combox.

    Peter, you have a standing invitation to join T-blog whenever you want.

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  21. Calvindude writes:

    "But for the incredulous, his existence would likewise be decidely inconvenient...not to mention suspicious. 'This story is simply patterned after a pre-existing phenomenom; it is no evidence of the supernatural.'"

    Excellent observation. I appreciated this remark (and the whole response).

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  22. Wow, I'm honored Steve!

    I'd be more than happy to join. Let me know whatever details I need to know, etc. My e-mail is cd (at) mywebsite's domain :-)

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  23. Can I join T-blog too? I contribute quite a bit to the combox, and I also believe in the veracity of ALL of the Bible's claims, not just the warm and fuzzy ones.

    Sinners gonna burn!!!

    Dragons!!! Snakes!!! Beasts!!!

    :::YAWN!!!:::

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  24. Anonymous wrote,

    "I doubt Adam would laugh. After all, he's already seen God walking around, and been able to 'name' all of the animals, and had a sex partner created out of his rib, and seen the old magic angel with light saber...

    Cars would seem pretty mundane to old Adam."


    Actually, how would you know? The things you mentioned didn't seem extraordinary because that's all he knew. If you experienced what Adam had, you wouldn't think it extraordinary. Way to beg the question.

    Conversly, the things seem extraordinary to you because its not part of your normal experience. But cars and planes and TVs and skyscrapers and paved roads are part of your every day experience. You were born into a world like that. Try explaing them to an indian in the deep jungles of the Amazon rain forrest, let alone Adam.

    So, the fact that Adam would think the above extraordinary compared to *his* mundane life, does not mean it would be irrational for him to believe in cars, planes, TVs and the like. To use *your* mundane life as the standard of extraordinariness and mundaneness seems a bit arrogant and overbearing. Fact is, your objection was ridiculous.

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  25. Come on... does it really even matter how long the angel stayed at the garden? The atheists are just looking for things to complain about.

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  26. "Peter, you have a standing invitation to join T-blog whenever you want."

    This invitation is past due in my opinion. Calvindude will be a nice fit here at T-Blog.

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  27. Craig, you're slightly off. The "atheists" are simply making fun of the ridiculous story of the magic being with the light saber guarding the magic tree in the magic garden.

    Not complaining...just mocking.

    Carry on.

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  28. And what does your mocking prove if not that you can't engage in real argumentation, so you have to resort to name-calling and mockery?

    Anybody can mock a worldview. My 4-year-old step sister can mock a worldview. But not everyone can prove a worldview to be false, as we continually see here from the non-Christians. I'm sure it's just a matter of time until we see another helpful :::YAWN!!!::: from somebody to help stimulate some meaningful discussion.

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  29. Oh Craig, you guys love the fact that poor unregenerate "atheists" think your ideas are silly.

    It helps to validate your worldview after all.

    Those poor vessels of wrath, created for destruction, are simply acting out the plan that Sovereign God has put in place.

    Rejoice!

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  30. Anonymous said:
    ---
    Oh Craig, you guys love the fact that poor unregenerate "atheists" think your ideas are silly.

    It helps to validate your worldview after all.
    ---

    And yet it does nothing positive for your worldview.

    I can't believe for you, and I'm not responsible for you either, so you're not going to hurt my feelings by your mockery. I'm neither surprised nor dishearted by it because, as you pointed out, it still demonstrates that my position is the one that's true.

    Anonymous said:
    ---
    Those poor vessels of wrath, created for destruction, are simply acting out the plan that Sovereign God has put in place.
    ---

    And how do we know whether you are a vessel of wrath or not? We do not know whom God has chosen (you don't either). That's why we present the Gospel to all.

    I, for one, do rejoice that God uses me to share the Gospel. If you end up believing, then I will rejoice with you. If not, I will rejoice with God anyway.

    But you, on the other hand...where is the rejoicing? If you're right, we all die anyway. This life is full of meaningless pain (if you're right). What's to rejoice about in it?

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  31. calvindude said:

    "If you're right, we all die anyway."

    I'm pretty sure I'm right on this one...people die. Yep, just checked, and I'm correct.

    "This life is full of meaningless pain (if you're right). What's to rejoice about in it?"

    Life is filled with meaningless pain no matter which of us is correct. You are forgetting that we BOTH could be wrong. Maybe naturalism is wrong. Maybe Christian Theism is wrong. And maybe...BOTH are wrong.

    I rejoice that I am alive, enjoying life, and can have such a good time interacting with bronze-age simpletons like yourself.

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  32. but anonymous, you're fogetting that we've already shown naturalism to be wrong, you haven't done so with christianity.

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  33. If you're right, we all die anyway. This life is full of meaningless pain (if you're right). What's to rejoice about in it?

    Don't descend into which "worldview" (gods do I hate that word) is more pleasing to our delusions of cosmic importance. You're just a peon on God's ant farm, and I'm just a collection of atoms amongst a vast (possibly infinite) expanse of others.

    But, we both enjoy the sun on our face and fine wine and food. Well...at least I do.

    Even Paul recognized that you could enjoy life given the falsity of the resurrection: eat, drink and be merry.

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  34. Anonymous 1 said:
    ---
    Life is filled with meaningless pain no matter which of us is correct.
    ---

    Thanks for proving yet again that you have no clue about Christianity. Pain has a purpose in Christian theism.

    Anonymous 1 said:
    ---
    I rejoice that I am alive, enjoying life, and can have such a good time interacting with bronze-age simpletons like yourself.
    ---

    Let's parse it out then. You rejoice that you have something for a few years, that gives you a bit of pleasure, that will last for about a total of 80 years, and then you'll pass on into the nothingness you came from. Your life has no meaningful impact on anyone, and even if it did those you impact will pass on into oblivion too.

    You can rejoice about that, I suppose. I find your amusement rather empty myself.

    Anonymous 2 said:
    ---
    Don't descend into which "worldview" (gods do I hate that word) is more pleasing to our delusions of cosmic importance.
    ---

    You, at least, grasp the fact that the naturalist is deluded. The naturalist is deluded regardless of whether his view is right or wrong.

    The Christian, however, if right is not deluded.

    Anonymous 2 said:
    ---
    You're just a peon on God's ant farm
    ---

    Except that's not Christian theism you're parodying.

    See, this is the continual problem you atheists run into: the utter inability to grasp Christianity. You have to continually attack your straw men because you neither understand nor wish to understand Christianity itself.

    Anonymous 2 said:
    ---
    Even Paul recognized that you could enjoy life given the falsity of the resurrection: eat, drink and be merry.
    ---

    Oh really?

    Firstly, Jesus said quoted a parable where the object of the parable said: "'And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.' But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God" (Luke 12:19-21).

    Paul said: "If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied" (1 Cor 15:9). What else is there but to eat and drink?

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  35. calvindude states:

    "The Christian, however, if right is not deluded"

    But that is the rub...you don't KNOW that you are right. You have FAITH...you have HOPE...but you don't KNOW.

    there's always more options than the one you are holding on to. You can proclaim your blessed assurance all day, but you're still going on the faith/hope that you are right.

    Therefore...these silly stories of hell/damnation don't bother me in the least....as they're all based on your not even KNOWING if your storybook tales are true.

    whoop dee doo

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  36. Had I been a contemporary of Adam, I’d have been able to see this angel. Likely I’d have been blown away and awe inspired by the sight. Why would God deny me this benefit today?

    The enormous error here is that you assume that God owes you anything. He does not. He created you ultimately for His own purposes and not your own. In the end, if you believe, you will glorify Him in His mercy. If you rebell, you will still glorify Him in His justice. We all deserve His wraith.

    CD: ;-)

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  37. Anonymous wrote:
    ---
    But that is the rub...you don't KNOW that you are right. You have FAITH...you have HOPE...but you don't KNOW.
    ---

    Let's follow the train of Anonymous's thought here.

    He claims that Naturalists and Christians are equally deluded into thinking that man has some kind of cosmic meaning.

    I pointed out that Christianity is not equal to Naturalism for the simple reason that if Christianity is true, Christians are not deluded, whereas Naturalists are deluded regardless of the truth value of Naturalism.

    Anonymous responds by saying that I don't know that Christianity is true. Can you say "non sequitur"?

    The logic of my above argument doesn't depend on me "knowing" if something is true or not. It's really rather simple:

    1) Christianity makes a truth claim about man's "cosmic value" (to keep the same terminology Anonymous employed).

    2) If Christianity's claims are true, then man has "cosmic value."

    3) If the claims are not true, then the Christian is deluded.

    These things are all true statements and do not necessitate us knowing whether or not Christianity actually is true; if it is true, "then man has 'cosmic value'" is true.

    Anonymous's counter-claims do not address what I put forth; he merely seeks to change the subject because he realizes he is beaten.

    Anonymous said:
    ---
    there's always more options than the one you are holding on to.
    ---

    1) "There's always more options than the one you are holding on to" is itself an option.

    2) If 1), then there are other options besides 1).

    3) The only option possible other than 1) is "There's *NOT* always more options than the one you are holding on to."

    4) 3) contradicts 1).

    5) Therefore, it is irrational to hold to 1).

    Care to try again, anonymous? :-)

    Put another way, even if it's true that there are other "options" that doesn't mean other options are viable.

    (Keep everything base 10 in the following paragraph.) 2 + 2 = 4 is an option. So is 2 + 2 = 5. Only one of them is right. Just because you claim "2 + 2 = 4" doesn't mean you can know it's right, because you have to keep in mind the possibility of other options.

    Anonymous said:
    ---
    Therefore...these silly stories of hell/damnation don't bother me in the least....as they're all based on your not even KNOWING if your storybook tales are true.
    ---

    This doesn't even begin to make sense.

    What I do or do not know has no bearing whatsoever on the Biblical text. It's not like my knowledge creates the text out of nothing. The Bible isn't hooked into my brain or anything, you know. It is as it is apart from what I might think or imagine or whatnot.

    Secondly, I've never concerned myself with whether you're "bothered" by these "stories" or not. I think you are bothered by them or you wouldn't spend so much time on them. But whether you are or not doesn't change my views at all.

    Thirdly, if you're basing your comfort toward a theory on MY knowledge of it, umm...well, have you considered psychotherapy yet? I mean, I don't know all that much about how cell phones work, for instance...and I would hate for you to doubt they'd work just because I don't know how they do....

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  38. Calvindude, you're missing the point. Regardless of how silly 'anonymous' arguments are, its pointless, because YOU don't know the veracity of your own claims.

    So, you bleat out babble...the evil atheist posters bleat out babble...but its all just words/sounds.

    Calvindude...you don't know for certain that your 'worldview' or bible or God are correct. You think you do, perhaps, but you don't KNOW for sure. So, that is why your arguments are silly, and not binding on all men...as the presupps love to say.

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  39. anonymous3 said:
    ---
    Calvindude, you're missing the point. Regardless of how silly 'anonymous' arguments are, its pointless, because YOU don't know the veracity of your own claims.
    ---

    A) How do you know what I do or do not know?

    B) I'm responding to anonymous's arguments. All you are demonstrating is that his arguments are bluster and insubstantive (I agree, by the way). In which case, why is anonymous making them?

    Anonymous3 said:
    ---
    Calvindude...you don't know for certain that your 'worldview' or bible or God are correct.
    ---

    How is this relevant to the arguments Anonymous made? They were his arguments and I addressed them. My worldview is irrelevant in addressing his claims.

    Furthermore, you hold this absurd concept of "for certain" there. What could you possibily know "for certain" about anything, Anonymous3?

    Do you know "for certain" that I am even here? You could be hallucinating me. It's not likely, but it's possible; and if it's possible, then you can't know "for certain" that it's not the case.

    But who cares? Why should I concern myself with knowing something "for certain"? If I were that way, I couldn't know anything. That method leaves only radical skepticism.

    A skepticism you don't hold to, I might point out...

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  40. calvindude said:

    "Do you know "for certain" that I am even here? You could be hallucinating me. It's not likely, but it's possible; and if it's possible, then you can't know "for certain" that it's not the case."

    EXACTLY!!!!!

    Insert Jehovah into the above equation, and you'll understand the point.

    "But who cares? Why should I concern myself with knowing something "for certain"? "

    EXACTLY!!!!

    So stop acting like your bleating sounds are any more useful than the bleats of the "atheists" you enjoying arguing with.

    You hold the same level of certainty as they do....which is....NOT MUCH!!!

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  41. CalvinDude said...

    "I pointed out that Christianity is not equal to Naturalism for the simple reason that if Christianity is true, Christians are not deluded, whereas Naturalists are deluded regardless of the truth value of Naturalism."

    CalvinDude, I'm not a philosopher and probably not smart enough to ever be one, but I'm having trouble undertanding this quote. Maybe I'm taking it out of context or it is dealing with one of the anons comments, I read all of them, but my memory isn't the best either.

    Isn't this quote, equivalent to saying "heads I win, tails you loose"? If the naturalist are correct, how are they deluded? If Christians are wrong, how are they not deluded?

    Hey, maybe Christians and naturalist are both correct in some regards?

    ReplyDelete
  42. anon2 from earlier2/09/2007 7:51 PM

    Shick said:
    The enormous error here is that you assume that God owes you anything. He does not. He created you ultimately for His own purposes and not your own. In the end, if you believe, you will glorify Him in His mercy. If you rebell, you will still glorify Him in His justice. We all deserve His wraith.

    CalvinDude, is this the non-strawman version of Xianity? Glad Shick cleared it up for me. Wow. You have so much to value.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Anonymous said:
    ---
    Insert Jehovah into the above equation, and you'll understand the point.
    ---

    It doesn't make any point at all. All this does is demonstrate that you personally have doubts. Again, your doubts have no bearing on me. I don't care what you do or don't doubt. It doesn't matter to me.

    You can doubt Jehovah while I don't do so. Just because you think you have reason to doubt does not mean I have reason to doubt.

    While this might make your statements "bleating" it certainly says nothing about mine.

    The other anonymous asked:
    ---
    CalvinDude said...

    "I pointed out that Christianity is not equal to Naturalism for the simple reason that if Christianity is true, Christians are not deluded, whereas Naturalists are deluded regardless of the truth value of Naturalism."

    CalvinDude, I'm not a philosopher and probably not smart enough to ever be one, but I'm having trouble undertanding this quote. Maybe I'm taking it out of context or it is dealing with one of the anons comments, I read all of them, but my memory isn't the best either.

    Isn't this quote, equivalent to saying "heads I win, tails you loose"? If the naturalist are correct, how are they deluded? If Christians are wrong, how are they not deluded?
    ---

    Yes, you do need to look at the context. Anonymous had said that both Christians and Naturalists err in making man more important than he really is. His/her exact quote was: "Don't descend into which "worldview" (gods do I hate that word) is more pleasing to our delusions of cosmic importance" (emphasis added).

    The word "delusion" was anonymous's word.

    Now this is important because it deals with the meaning of life. In naturalism, there is no actual meaning. The only possible meaning comes from various subjects (people) who live and project a facade of meaning; but this meaning isn't objective. It has no depth to it. It is a shadow in the mind of the one projecting that meaning.

    Thus, for a naturalist, as soon as one dies, his "meaning" dies with him. That a man fails to grasp this is only due to the fact that he must continually delude himself in order to refrain from killing himself over the sheer pointlessness of living in such a manner. After all, what's the difference if you live to be 100 years old and die or if you just pull the trigger at 30 while you still lack most aches and pains?

    Now obviously if naturalism is false then the one who would believe in naturalism is deluded. He believes a lie. In the same manner, if Christianity is false the man who believes in Christianity is deluded and believes a lie.

    But what happens when we consider if they are true?

    In the naturalist worldview, people must project a false sense of their importance to escape spiraling into nihilism and self-destruction. Thus, man must delude himself into thinking his life is more important than it actually is. (Think of how long a person has lived and compare it to how long naturalists say the universe has existed, or think of the size of man compared to the size of the universe, to get some sense of this.) Thus, if naturalism is true, then the naturalist must delude himself or else die.

    In the Christian worldview, however, man has "cosmic importance" since man was created in the image of God. Man has dignity and worth because God has dignity and worth. Thus, if Christianity is true, then man actually does have worth that lasts beyond the life of the individual. There is a transcendent meaning grounding the existence of God. If Christianity is true, therefore, then the Christian is not deluded in his understanding of his self-importance.

    This is only a sense of "heads I win/tails you lose" because the naturalists do not kill themselves. If they were to be consistent with their beliefs, they wouldn't be in the horns of this dilemma.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Calvin,

    Let's make this simple....

    Do you know with 100% certainty that Jehovah has created the universe, and holds you in His hand?

    Is there ANY possibility that you are wrong, and that there is another explanation besides this one?

    ReplyDelete
  45. Flapper,

    Let's make this simple. What difference does it make? You're asking a bogus question that's irrelevant to anything that has been said before now. You're changing the subject because that's the only thing you can do when you've been intellectually defeated.

    ReplyDelete
  46. That's cute Calvindude...you've been exposed.

    Case closed.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Calvindude said:
    “So ask yourself what this story tells us about God that He posts an angel with a sword rather than destroying the tree immediately. Perhaps you'll learn something.”



    I’m stumped. Please enlighten me. What was the purpose of the angel? Moreover, why couldn’t that purpose be an element of a fictional story meant to impress a theological point rather than an historical fact?

    anon

    ReplyDelete
  48. So I guess Lord Calvin doesn't know if he's right....

    shocker

    ReplyDelete
  49. ANONYMOUS SAID:

    "The clear issue for me is the decided lack of continuity between the mundane and ordinary that we are steeped in today and the extraordinary claims of the first 11 chapters of the Bible."

    This is, indeed, why many people don't believe the Bible today. Three points:

    1. The Bible doesn't cultivate the expectation that miracles happen all the time. In Scripture, miracles tend to cluster around turning-points in redemptive history.

    2. The evidence for God isn't limited to the spectacular or extraordinary. People like Dawkins, to take one conspicuous example, go to tremendous lengths to explain away the theistic appearance of the ordinary.

    3. Experience is person-variable. To an exorcist like Kurt Koch, there is no lack of continuity between the supernaturalism of Gen 1-11 and the supernaturalism of the modern age.

    And, at a less dramatic level, that is also true for someone like J. P. Moreland, who keeps a prayer journal.

    There's a self-fulfilling way in which many unbelievers ruthlessly avoid any Christian environment which might put them in a situation whereby they could ever have a spiritual experience, and then appeal to their self-enforced absence of spiritual experience to justify their disbelief.

    If you want to see the stars, you need to go out at night. If you want to see the ocean, don't live in the desert.

    ReplyDelete
  50. CalvinDude said...


    The other anonymous asked:
    ---
    CalvinDude said...

    "I pointed out that Christianity is not equal to Naturalism for the simple reason that if Christianity is true, Christians are not deluded, whereas Naturalists are deluded regardless of the truth value of Naturalism."

    CalvinDude, I'm not a philosopher and probably not smart enough to ever be one, but I'm having trouble undertanding this quote. Maybe I'm taking it out of context or it is dealing with one of the anons comments, I read all of them, but my memory isn't the best either.

    Isn't this quote, equivalent to saying "heads I win, tails you loose"? If the naturalist are correct, how are they deluded? If Christians are wrong, how are they not deluded?
    ---

    Yes, you do need to look at the context. Anonymous had said that both Christians and Naturalists err in making man more important than he really is. His/her exact quote was: "Don't descend into which "worldview" (gods do I hate that word) is more pleasing to our delusions of cosmic importance" (emphasis added).

    The word "delusion" was anonymous's word.

    Now this is important because it deals with the meaning of life. In naturalism, there is no actual meaning. The only possible meaning comes from various subjects (people) who live and project a facade of meaning; but this meaning isn't objective. It has no depth to it. It is a shadow in the mind of the one projecting that meaning.

    Thus, for a naturalist, as soon as one dies, his "meaning" dies with him. That a man fails to grasp this is only due to the fact that he must continually delude himself in order to refrain from killing himself over the sheer pointlessness of living in such a manner. After all, what's the difference if you live to be 100 years old and die or if you just pull the trigger at 30 while you still lack most aches and pains?

    Now obviously if naturalism is false then the one who would believe in naturalism is deluded. He believes a lie. In the same manner, if Christianity is false the man who believes in Christianity is deluded and believes a lie.

    But what happens when we consider if they are true?

    In the naturalist worldview, people must project a false sense of their importance to escape spiraling into nihilism and self-destruction. Thus, man must delude himself into thinking his life is more important than it actually is. (Think of how long a person has lived and compare it to how long naturalists say the universe has existed, or think of the size of man compared to the size of the universe, to get some sense of this.) Thus, if naturalism is true, then the naturalist must delude himself or else die.

    In the Christian worldview, however, man has "cosmic importance" since man was created in the image of God. Man has dignity and worth because God has dignity and worth. Thus, if Christianity is true, then man actually does have worth that lasts beyond the life of the individual. There is a transcendent meaning grounding the existence of God. If Christianity is true, therefore, then the Christian is not deluded in his understanding of his self-importance.

    This is only a sense of "heads I win/tails you lose" because the naturalists do not kill themselves. If they were to be consistent with their beliefs, they wouldn't be in the horns of this dilemma.


    Thanks for clearing that up for me CalvinDude, I understand what you meant know.

    ReplyDelete
  51. steve said...
    ANONYMOUS SAID:

    "The clear issue for me is the decided lack of continuity between the mundane and ordinary that we are steeped in today and the extraordinary claims of the first 11 chapters of the Bible."

    This is, indeed, why many people don't believe the Bible today. Three points:

    1. The Bible doesn't cultivate the expectation that miracles happen all the time. In Scripture, miracles tend to cluster around turning-points in redemptive history.

    2. The evidence for God isn't limited to the spectacular or extraordinary. People like Dawkins, to take one conspicuous example, go to tremendous lengths to explain away the theistic appearance of the ordinary.

    3. Experience is person-variable. To an exorcist like Kurt Koch, there is no lack of continuity between the supernaturalism of Gen 1-11 and the supernaturalism of the modern age.

    And, at a less dramatic level, that is also true for someone like J. P. Moreland, who keeps a prayer journal.

    There's a self-fulfilling way in which many unbelievers ruthlessly avoid any Christian environment which might put them in a situation whereby they could ever have a spiritual experience, and then appeal to their self-enforced absence of spiritual experience to justify their disbelief.

    If you want to see the stars, you need to go out at night. If you want to see the ocean, don't live in the desert.


    Hey Steve, this touches slightly on something that I've had a lot of questions on. Are unclean spirits still operating in the same manner that they did during the first century? I realize that some of the people in the time of Jesus had mental ailmets that they were set free from, but unclean spirits were cast out of others. Do unclean spirits still possess people today? Why or why not? Is there anything in the Bible that can clear this up one way or the other?

    Thanks, Bro!

    ReplyDelete
  52. Oh, is Anonymous back with his same tired and worn objection.

    I've asked this guy probably 20 times to define how he's using 'know' in his argument.

    He refuses to do it.

    So, anonymous, please define how you're using that term.

    ReplyDelete