EDWARD T. BABINSKI SAID:
Steve, Whether the story is about a person taken up to heaven in the spirit in a vision or in a physical body, the point is that they are taken UP. (While Paul tells us that he believed in beings that exist "under the earth.") That's three-tiers.
i) Yeah. Three “visionary” tiers, rather than three actual tiers. The upward motion doesn’t depict real space. So how does that somehow falsify Scripture?
ii) Paul is using picture language. It trades on the imagery of burial.
Try not to be quite so dense.
As for the earth's shape,
and its immobility ("it shall not be moved") that God ensures by His power,
and the earth's movement depicted only as having been "shaken" directly by God as in an earthquake (shaken, not stirred, not whirled round), a God who not only holds the flat earth firmly in place so that it cannot be moved, but who also shakes it from time to time via an earthquake, both being praised as direct applications of His power to make immobile and to shake,
i) You haven’t shown that God holds the “flat” earth firmly. Rather, the absence of seismic activity is picture-language for the stability of life on earth–while the presence of seismic activity is picture-language for divine judgment.
ii) Likewise, earthly “immobility” isn’t immobile in reference to other celestial bodies. The contrast is not between the mobility of the sun and the immobility of the earth, but between stable ground and earthquakes.
Try not to be quite so dense.
and add to that the verses that assume the relative nearness of God's heavenly abode above the earth,
That’s part of the same picturesque metaphor, Ed. Sometimes Scripture portrays God nearby, but at other times far away. Read the Psalms.
and the creation of the earth prior to the creation of the sun, moon and stars which are secondarily made and set in the firmament above it, in order to light the earth below, and placed there to set up periods of time between religious ceremonies/festivals,
i) Well, Ed, don’t the sun, moon, and stars shine down on us from the viewpoint an earthbound observer? Isn’t that something we customarily see what we…you know…look up? How does that select for flat-earth perspective rather than a spherical earth perspective? Isn’t the phenomenology the same in either case? Or do you think Aussies walk around their continent upside down?
ii) As for the order in which things were made, how is that relevant to the shape of the earth? That’s a question of temporal relations rather than spatial relations.
and the power of God in moving many objects above the earth, from clouds to lightning bolts to constellations…
Is it your position that clouds and lightning bolts are actually static? That Bible writers were wrong to describe these phenomena in dynamic terms?
Do you think clouds are actually glued to the sky, like papier-mâché? Is that your idea of a truly scientific description–unlike the "primitive" viewpoint of Scripture, what with its moving clouds and all?
…and also praising God for being able to "stop the sun" if He so wishes. . .
i) Suppose, for the sake of argument, that Joshua was a geocentrist. How would that falsify Scripture, exactly? Inerrancy doesn’t entail the truth of whatever a recorded speaker says. It is first and foremost the book of Joshua, and not the person of Joshua, that is inerrant.
The book inerrantly records what he said, which doesn’t mean what he said is ipso facto inerrant.
ii) Incidentally, back when I was a boy, I used to notice that the sun didn’t rise or set in the same place along the horizon throughout the year. During winter, sunrise and sunset were closer together, not just in time, but in space. During summer, sunrise and sunset were further apart, not just in time, but in space.
Notice that this didn’t take any scientific instrumentation to register. Just attentive naked-eye observation, plus a decent memory.
But if the earth were flat, how would we account for that seasonable variation? Do you imagine that folks who rose with the dawn didn’t ever stop to ask themselves these elementary questions?
how do you put all of that information together from my chapter and conclude that so many Bible scholars who are experts on ANE cosmology, along with several respectable Evangelical Christian OT scholars who are likewise learned in ANE cosmology, are all missing out by not adopting your lame excuses?
i) Well, since I already wrote a lengthy critique of your precious chapter, that question answers itself.
ii) Expert opinions are only as good as the supporting arguments they adduce.
iii) But since you bring it up, let’s take John Walton. You cite five of his books.
Yet Walton draws a firm distinction between “material ontology” and “functional ontology.” He regards the cosmography of Scripture as “functional” rather than “material.”
But if that’s the case, then even if Scripture did depict a flat-earth or triple-decker world, that would merely be a “functional” flat-earth or “functional” triple-decker” world rather than a real flat-earth or a real triple-decker world.
So even if we did accept his “expert” opinion on the issue at hand, how does that falsify Scripture?
But thanks all the same. We can always count on you to keep reminding us that there’s absolutely no correlation between infidelity and high IQ.