To what extent is the Bible infallible and inerrant?

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by Plain Old Bill, Nov 29, 2004.

  1. Plain Old Bill

    Plain Old Bill
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    When it speaks of creation,prophecy,science,& how to live can we rely upon the Bible?Do archeological discoveries prove or disprove the Bible?Is it just that science and archeology have not caught up with the Bible yet?
     
  2. OldRegular

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    The Bible, in its original autographs, is inerrant in all that it addresses. This does not mean that the Bible does not record things that are untrue, it means that the Bible gives us a true record. An example is that the Bible truly records the lie which Satan told Eve.

    Science and archeology have not caught up with the Bible. At one time archeologist declared that the Hittites did not exist, they were wrong.

    When I went to college some years back physicists thought that matter was composed of three elementary particles, neutrons, protons, and electrons. They now state that there are numerous other particles.

    For those with a technical background there is a excellent book out by physicist D. Russell Humphreys, PhD entitled Starlight and Time. This book presents an interesting explanation for the long times required for starlight to reach the earth, based on Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, all within the framework of a 6 day creation. It can be purchased from Christianbook.com.
     
  3. robycop3

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    I believe science hasn't caught up with Scripture. For example, a recent discovery is the remains of Gomorrah, complete with fragments of melted rock. Another is the walls of the version of Jericho that fell for Joshua.(Jericho has been built and rebuilt many times, as was Troy!)

    A little older is the discovery of the remains of Tyre, which was destroyed by Alexander The Great. In a SDA book, I saw a picture of modern(1940s) fishermen spreading their nets to dry and be mended upon the flat rocks where part of Tyre once stood...EXACTLY AS PROPHESIED!(Ezekiel 26:5)

    I fully believe GOD used our military to stop Saddam's rebuilding of Babylon.

    And I do NOT believe God allowed us to discover the processes of the building of sedimentary rock, the discovery of fossils, the speed of light, and the undeniable evidence of extensive glaciation of North America, and strong evidence that both the magnetic and physical poles were not always at their present locations, just to CONFUSE us. After all, He is NOT the author of confusion. We've discovered that for an animal to have been fossilized, it must have been buried deeply into certain types of mud or silt and lain undisturbed for a LO-O-ng time.

    I believe we'll someday have all the answers, in God's good time, either in this world or the next one. That will leave us only the rest of the universe to explore.
     
  4. Charles Meadows

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    Whenever it makes a statement the Bible is inerrant. The "errors" come in when people put words in the mouths of the Biblical authors.

    For instance I don't think that the Bible is making any scientific claims about how the earth came about - rather that it emphasizes that God caused it TO come about. So when people say, "well the Bible says the earth is 6000 years old" they are interjecting their own opinions and stamping Biblical authority on them.
     
  5. Daniel David

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    Charles, you are masking a figurative view of Genesis in those words of yours.

    If everything in Scripture is absolutely true, and Christ and Paul spoke of Adam as a literal person that we only know about through the Genesis record, then the Genesis record must be literally true.

    Paul said that death entered through sin. That alone rules out every kind of evolution thinkable.
     
  6. OldRegular

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    I believe that Adam was a literal man created by God and Eve was a literal woman. I also believe in a 6 day creation period and a relatively young earth. There have been some studies correctly using "carbon dating" that show a young earth. However, nothing in Scripture states that the earth is 6000 years old. That was calculated by Bishop Usher.
     
  7. Daniel David

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    I agree that Scripture does not give the age of the earth. That wasn't my point.
     
  8. Craigbythesea

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    ABSOLUTE NONSENSE! :eek: (And that is speaking politely for those with sensitive ears.)

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Charles Meadows

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    DD,

    I never said that man simply evolved. But that doesn't change the fact that WE have decided that Genesis 1 must be literal. What would make anyone think that Moses' main purpose in writing the creation narrative was to give a scientific account of things?
     
  10. Bluefalcon

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    1 Kgs 4:26: And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen.

    2 Chr. 9:25: And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; whom he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem.

    Codex Vaticanus (that "corrupt ol' manuscript") actually has the original "four thousand" in 1 Kings 4:26, and so does one Hebrew MS. Errors occurred in the Hebrew manuscript tradition, and these should be corrected back to the presumed original in our translations. Errantists claim that a scribe or two saw an error in 1 Kings 4:26 and corrected it to "four thousand", but given other manifest and obviously ancient errors by scribes in the Hebrew MS tradition, we should not rely on it alone even if all Hebrew MSS agree on a reading. 2 Sam. 21:19 = 1 Chr. 20:5 is a good case study on this in Hebrew.

    Yours,

    Bluefalcon
     
  11. Bluefalcon

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    Oops, I just saw that the NIV and NLT actually read "four thousand" in 1 Kings 4:26 -- way to go!

    Yours,

    Bluefalcon
     
  12. Helen

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    The Bible, or Scriptures, is/are inerrant in the original manuscripts. There HAVE been some changes and additions through time, some inadvertantly and some with the express purpose of confusing things (thanks, Origen!).

    However, even in the modern translations (1500 on), the message of salvation and God's relationship with man has not changed -- and that is primarily what the Bible is for.

    That being said, it is also accurate to say that any facts given in the Bible regarding history or science are correct, and validate the Bible's accuracy. There is one proviso here, and that has to do with numbers themselves. There are a number of places where ciphers were evidently dropped and this can cause confusion (best example is the Masoretic dropping ciphers for '100' in Genesis 5 and 11).

    The other thing which has not changed at all is the direct and absolute denial of the possibility of evolution. THAT takes enormous twisting of words and straightforward meaning.

    And the Bible does give the approximate age of the earth, but, because of the dropped ciphers in the Masoretic, it is not Usher's 6000, but much more close to 8000 years old.

    This ends up falling right in line with the correction to atomic dating provided by the redshift curve, so that the geological ages we see in the rocks match exactly with the patriarchal ages, and the catastrophes of the Deluge, Babel, and Peleg match also exactly with the three main divisions in the geologic record:
    Archaeozoic/Paleozoic, Paleozoic/Mesozoic, and Mesozoic/Cenozoic.

    http://www.setterfield.org/timeline.htm
     
  13. Artimaeus

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    Gen 5:3 And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth: 4 And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters: 5 And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.

    What part of this is not true?
     
  14. robycop3

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    God has allowed us to discover how to measure the approximate distances from earth to the "local" stars/galaxies.

    The farthest object we can see with the naked eye is the Andromeda galaxy, over a million light-years from us, and ten times the size of the Milky Way. Not even the Hubble scope can make out any individual stars within that galaxy, but by magnifying a picture of it, we can make them out as little "fuzzballs", so we know A is made of billions of stars as is the Milky Way.

    The Andromeda and Milky Way are part of a "local group" of 17 galaxies all within 2 million light-years of each other. Astronomy cannot even begin to count the number of galaxies that can be seen with telescopes, each of them consisting of at least a hundred million stars.

    In size ratios, our entire solar system, compared to the known universe is approximately equivalent to one quark compared to the entire solar system.

    But I'm getting off the subject. God has allowed us to measure the speed of light fairly accurately. Light travels slightly faster in space than it does through any transparent matter such as air. Scientists have managed to slow light to approx. 38 MPH by passing it through a certain kind of transparent jelly, but it instantly regains its full velocity when it emerges from the jelly. Science has NOT succeeded in speeding up light beyond approx. 186K miles per second, & more than one mathematician and more than one physicist believes light simply cannot go any faster. Electricity travels at the same speed, and is slowed only marginally when passing through a semiconductor.

    Unless man discovers light CAN travel faster than what we've been able to measure, we must accept the fact that the physical universe is billions of years old.
     
  15. Paul of Eugene

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    Some have tried to say that perhaps light traveled faster in the past than it does today; and this makes it possible for the light to have travelled a mere 6 to 10 thousand years instead of the billions of years that would otherwise have been necessary. But all such theories are firmly ruled out by the observation of the content of the starlight from distant places. Any such slowing of the light speed from prior times to the present would be manifested in a corresponding slowing of all processes that light shared with us, including, for example, the rotation of the galaxies. Galaxy rotation rates remain constant across the known universe, as do the cycling rates of cepheid variables, orbiting stars that eclipse each other, and any other time-dependent action. This is proof that light has not varied in its speed by any signifigant amount for the past 10 billion years.
     
  16. UTEOTW

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    Let's put a formula to go with Paul's claim so you can see what he is talking about.

    Now, if you assume that the galaxy is not rotating at relativistic speeds and you only consider the velocity vectors directly towards and away from you, the formula for doppler shift reduces to

    (velocity of object)/(speed light) = (change in wavelength) / (wavelength)

    Now if you solve for the change in wavelength, you will see that it is inversely proportional to the speed of light. So if you take a given situation, plug though the change in wavelength with a higher speed of light to get the change in wavelength, then go back through with today's speed of light, you will see that your speed measured will be off by exactly how much the speed of light has changed. The exact same thing will happen if you use frequency instead of wavelength.

    Take M31. It is about 2 million light years away so light would have been necessary to have been traveling at least a few thousand time faster when it left than now to get here in 6000 years. This means that the measured speeds of rotation are off by at least three orders of magnitude. And M31 is the nearest large galaxy. The problems get much worse at greater distances. We will need a lot of dark matter to hold these systems together!

    If light was travelling faster in the past then the doppler shift we measure because of the rotation of the galaxies should be tiny compared to what we actually measure as can be easily seen in the formula. It is a simple ratio. Instead, the doppler shifts are what you would expect based on how quickly we think galaxies rotate and the speed of light being the same in the past. To match our observations with faster light travel, the velocity of the rotation of the ga;axies would need to be enormous. Near light speed or beyond.
     
  17. robycop3

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    Back to the topic:

    Is there any statement in the Bible that's been proven wrong? I'm not talking about versional nuts & bolts issues issues, but statements of history.

    I believe some of the things some people discuss in either trying to prove every word of a given BV is right, or that a given version, or Scripture in general is rife with mistakes, are discussed with a distinct lack of knowledge. Let's take the size of armies, for example. I believe most of the time, the scribes, Scriptural or not, guestimated their numbers. For example, the Persian army Leonidas stalled at Thermopylae was guestimated at over a million soldiers by several chroniclers of those events. Now, we know the Persian army was 250 K at the most, but to someone looking at that sea of Persians from a hilltop, far as they could see being covered with Persians & their tents & animals, they could easily have imagined there were a million of'em.

    The last large army to have traveled by ancient methods was the Army of the Potomac in the American Civil War. Counting all the "camp followers" & auxiliaries that have been a part of every army since time immemorial, there were about 500K souls and half that many animals. This army never strayed far from a river, as otherwise there simply wasn't enough water for all the people & all the animals. There was a large and constant "supply train" bringing tons & tons of food & other supplies every day. And they dug miles of latrines weekly.

    Most ancient armies were broken down into smaller units that stayed several miles apart so as not to overtax the local resources, such as the 6K-man Roman legions.

    God had repeatedly warned Israel not to take censuses to measure their potential military might. Therefore the writers of Scripture most likely guestimated the numbers in theirs and the enemy's armies. maybe they used the cutting-edge method used by the USAAF in guestimating the # of Japanese soldiers on Okinawa...counting the number and lengths of their latrines. The USAAF missed their guestimate by 1/3-they guessed 80K while there were over 120K dead counted when the battle ended.(The Japanese managed to land some 15K troops after the battle began.)

    No DOCTRINE is affected whether there were 100K or 500K troops in a given battle.

    Same with the large basin in the temple. What doctrine is affected by how much water it held, or how much may have been in it at any time? To me, it's a waste of time to argue over whether it held 2K or 3K baths, or whether either of these amounts were its capacity or the amount of water in it at a given time. NO DOCTRINE IS AFFECTED!

    However, HISTORICAL FACT is something else. The remains of Gomorrah were found after its location was pinpointed from an ancient Egyptian traveling salesman's map, recently discovered and interpreted. There is evidence of a great conflagration and melted rock there.

    The Bible calls the Amelekites first among the nations at one time,(Numbers 24:20) while for years historians reckoned them to be a local desert tribe. Now it's known that they WERE a great people, that they'd had covetous eyes upon Egypt, that the plagues of Egypt had struck them as well, and that when they saw Egypt was greatly weakened from these plagues & that their ruler was dead, they marched into & occupied Egypt. One small unit of them traveling to Egypt happened to brush against Israel, whom they attacked. The Amalekites have been identified as the Hyksos who ruled Egypt until the time of Saul.

    Some people believe Saul destroyed almost all the Amalekites, but Scripture shows there were still quite a few of them around in David's day. However, when saul destroyed their main city-fort at Auris, Egypt, their power was broken and the Egyptians were able to kill or expel the rest of them. However, not long after David's time, there were no more Amalekites; they had either died or were absorbed by the peoples among whom they lived, as the remaining Jebusites were by the Jews. God said Akalek would end, and it DID...by the hand of Israel, also as God said.

    Every nation and every city Scripture said would vanish DID vanish. However, the Jews, who, by human reasoning, should have vanished long ago, are still here as Scripture said they'd be.

    Again, is there any Scriptural narration of history shown incorrect?
     
  18. robycop3

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    UTEOTW, I don't believe God has allowed us to discover these things to give us meat to develop incorrect suppositions, but He's permitting us to have a glimpse of how He actually shaped the universe, and of the history of earth before He made man. There's simply no justification, Scriptural or otherwise, for a "young earth" view.

    God has allowed us to find that fossilization takes certain conditions and LOTS of time. Again,He didn't do this to give us grist for making an incorrect conclusion.

    I can't remember the mathematical formula used to approximate the distances from here to the "local" stars, but I remember astronomers find the absolute position of the object star in relation to that of earth, then find it again exactly 6 months later, thus making a triangle with one side being the diameter of the earth's orbit and another being the differences in the observed absolute positions of the star 6 months apart.(This does NOT take into account the earth's other movements through space nor the movements of the star being observed.)

    At any rate, God wants us to know the TRUTH, but he reveals it in HIS good time, no matter how much of a hurry WE'RE in.
     
  19. Charles Meadows

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    "Again, is there any Scriptural narration of history shown incorrect?"

    That depends on whom you ask. If you ask many geologists, astronomers, biologists, archeologists (albeit secular ones) you will likely get the answer, "yes, multiple times".

    I don't have enough knowledge of these respective fileds (excpet maybe some molecular biology) to critique them properly.

    But we still try to prove the bible is "true" by means which it was not meant to be measured.

    Why is it that we must see the Bible as being full of future predictions - as if this is a means to see if it is really from God? If that's the case then why were all of these "prophecies" more clearly stated? Why is it that we're so intent on proving that each historical event described must be proven to be completely historically accurate?

    The Bible is a (fairly) short book giving us God's message of salvation. It was not meant to be a history book or a science book. There is not error in any assertion made in the Bible - only in the human doctrines which come from it.
     
  20. UTEOTW

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    I think we are in agreement, robycop3. It is God that has given us the ability to figure out how He did things and has left a record of that in His creation.
     

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