Jonah and the Big Fish

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Terry_Herrington, Oct 23, 2003.

  1. Terry_Herrington

    Terry_Herrington
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    Recently there was a thread where the main point was whether or not Jonah was swallowed by a fish or a whale. That is NOT what this thread is about.

    Because of the threads concerning God using evolution as a means of creation, a theory which I totally reject, I was curious how many people here think that the bible account of Jonah is also just another place where God was speaking metaphorically.

    BTW, I believe that God had a sea animal literally swallow and then, three days later, vomit Jonah out on dry land.

    What do you think. I especially want to hear what those who believe in evolution think about this, but I would welcome any comments. Thanks.
     
  2. Johnv

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    The story of Jonah has nothing to do with the accounts of Gen 1. It's a completely separate story.

    In and of itself, I believe it's possible for the fish (not whale) account to be an actual event.

    But what concerns me is that many Christians spend countless hours debating the fish thing, even though this is only one small part of the story. When we read the whole story, the whale section is almost insigificant compared to the message found in the rest of the story.
     
  3. Terry_Herrington

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    I never even implied that this thread had anything to do with the thread on evolution.

    I am only curious if those who do hold to evolution have a problem with believing that the incident of Jonah was an actual historical event.
     
  4. Paul of Eugene

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    The bit about the fish? A trifle. Not a problem for anyone who believes in the power of God.

    The whole city repenting in sackcloth and ashes?

    Now THATS a difficult item to believe! :eek:
     
  5. Daniel Dunivan

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    My rejection of the historicity of the book of Jonah is unrelated to my acceptance of evolution. The only connection comes in my respect for the literary genres of both Genesis and Jonah. Both seem to be theological treatises. Especially with Jonah, I don't think the writer ever intended for it to be taken as a historical account--instead it should be read as a novella.

    In neither case does the question revolve around a limitation in God's power, but only in what God actually chose to do (if the evidence points in one direction, then the answer is likely to be found in that direction).

    Grace and Peace, Danny [​IMG]
     
  6. Steven O. Sawyer

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    Being a "literalist" YEC, I believe the book of Jonah is as much an historical narrartive as it is allegorical and prophetic. In fact, when Jesus talked about the "sign of Jonah" was He speaking of resurrection? In other words, does anyone believe that the miracle of Jonah and the fish was not that Jonah lived for 3 days in its belly but that he was resurrected from the dead after being deposited on dry land?
     
  7. Helen

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    Just a couple of quick points:

    1. Whales were classed in with fish because they swam. Most older cultures, at least those who classified animals at all, classified them by locomotion. They made no distinction between mammal and fish in that regard.

    2. Jonah's story is not the only one about a person surviving being swallowed by a very large fish or sea animal. There are several other stories having to do with this which have come down in time from the South Pacific islands in particular.

    And, actually, the story of Jonah is quite relevant to the creation/evolution issue. Jesus treated it as historical fact in the same way He treated Adam and Eve as historical fact as being 'from the beginning.' There is no difference in the way He refers to either that one might say, from His words, "Ah, this one is metaphorical and that one is true history!"
     
  8. Watchman

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    Jesus recounted the story of Jonah and He would know better than anyone. "...just as Jonah..." speaks of it as being fact, that is how long He was in the grave and, I hope, very few would dispute that.
    The story of Jonah was an actual event.
    By the way, Jesus, in Matthew 12: 39-40 said it was a whale.
     
  9. Artimaeus

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    Actually Jesus said it was a "ketos" (a huge fish), our frinds of the King James English provided us with the word "whale". God prepared it especially for this purpose. It could have been a giant guppy. It doesn't have to be any particular fish and certainly doesn't have to be one that exists today since it was especially prepared by God.
     
  10. Steven O. Sawyer

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    Again, as Helen pointed out, the term "fish" applied to all creatures which swam (the Hebrews did not have Linnaeus’s classification system back then). It could have been a giant fish that is known or unknown to us today, or it could have been a shark (which is not a true "fish" as it does not have a true backbone), or a whale... we just don't know.

    The story does indicate that Jonah was swallowed by some creature that swam in the sea and three days later was vomited onto dry land in order for him to preach jugement to the great Ninivites whom all repented... at least temporarily (their kingdom was later overthrown just as God said in the next generation which did not honor God).


    The question was whether or not the story was a true historical event and whether or not those that believed in evolution as God's method of "creating" man held this story to be history or metaphor.

    As I have already indicated, I am a YEC and I take the story to be history.

    There is a story that a simple country woman once told a famous liberal preacher that she would believe the Bible even if it had said that Jonah had swallowed a whale. [​IMG] I guess that could be a topic of something later.


    So far, those that take the story non-historically or non-literally appear to be in the evolutionary camp (somehow, that is not surprising to me).
     
  11. post-it

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    I give a wide latitude to stories like this one in the OT. I don't think it was any kind of living entity. It could have been a ship with a fish like carving, etc. He could have been held captive in the belly of the ship for 3 days, then he escaped when they docked. Story tellers like to add a little puff and this is what you get from Jewish mothers handing down stories. Skip forward another 2 thousand years and you have the young man growing his nose longer when he tells a lie.

    There is no real reason that such a miracle would be wasted in that part of the story. Does this lessen the power of God? No... it just exemplifies that myth etc can be found in some parts of the Bible. It just seems strange that God could have preformed a miracle of substance like in other stories. My faith is mainly in the NT with only a few ties to the old. I'm not Jewish and have little use for the OT with its compound myths, useless laws, and strange mysteries that mean very little to us today. I get more usable moral lessons in one chapter of the NT than the whole of the OT.

    My last reading of the OT felt like I was reading Mother Goose. Can we learn from the OT? Let's be honest, most of it is useless to us today. It is interesting to read from a historical perspective, but overall... very dull and not practical for today's Christian. What lesson/info is there in the OT that is not better formed in the NT? The Jewish/Muslim God of the OT and the Christian God of NT seem different enough to make a distinct difference in what we should spend our time reading. But I'm getting off topic.

    No, it wasn't a fish or a whale or a wasted miracle from God. I vote... in the belly of a ship.
     
  12. Helen

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    Maybe it's useless to you, sir, but every time I read it, I learn more and appreciate it more.

    It was a large sea creature. Just like the Bible says. Ships don't vomit.
     
  13. ChurchBoy

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    Wow post-it!!!,

    You're the first Christian I've met that completely disregards the OT. Just when I thought I've seen or heard everything from Christians I get surprised!
     
  14. post-it

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    I've seen ships vomit out the contents of their belly; usually large amounts of fish they caught while at sea. They are thrown out onto dock and sold off.

    But I've never seen a fish vomit. :confused:
     
  15. post-it

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    I don't completely disregard it, and I still read many parts of it (mainly for research). It is just the vast majority is totally useless. When was the last time you salted down your Big Mac before eating it? Or asked a woman if she was on her period before shaking her hand? Or stoning to death your cousin Bob for disrespecting your Aunt?
     
  16. just-want-peace

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    Terry_Herrington sez:
    Well Terry, any surprises so far? The answers are more predictable than the sun-rise!! :D ;) :rolleyes:

    'Course a few have been so far out in left field, that I wonder why they are posting on a "Baptist" forum; more so why on a Christian forum?? :confused: :confused:
     
  17. Johnv

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    Believing in a literal six day creation is neither a prerequisite of being a Christian; nor is it a prerequisite of being a Baptist.
     
  18. LadyEagle

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    Amen! [​IMG]
     
  19. Helen

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    Thanks, SheEagle.

    John, you wrote, "Believing in a literal six day creation is neither a prerequisite of being a Christian; nor is it a prerequisite of being a Baptist. "

    But it actually is a prerequisite for putting God's word ahead of the human mind -- which has a lot to do with one's relationship of trust where God is concerned.
     
  20. ScottEmerson

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    That's silly. It seems that what you are saying is that a person's theology must be completely correct before he or she can trust God with his or her life. I have absolutely no doubt that some of the CHristian evolutionists on this board trust God completely. They just don't agree with you as far as what that looks like as far as GEnesis 1 and 2 are concerned.
     

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