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Monday, December 11, 2006

Ezekiel 29 - Bible prophecy

Ezekiel 29:8-14-

" 'Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will bring a sword against you and kill your men and their animals. Egypt will become a desolate wasteland. Then they will know that I am the LORD.

" 'Because you said, "The Nile is mine; I made it," therefore I am against you and against your streams, and I will make the land of Egypt a ruin and a desolate waste from Migdol to Aswan, as far as the border of Cush. No foot of man or animal will pass through it; no one will live there for forty years. I will make the land of Egypt desolate among devastated lands, and her cities will lie desolate forty years among ruined cities. And I will disperse the Egyptians among the nations andscatter them through the countries.

" 'Yet this is what the Sovereign LORD says: At the end of forty years I will gather the Egyptians from the nations where they were scattered. I will bring them back from captivity and return them to Upper Egypt, the land of their ancestry. There they will be a lowly kingdom."


Commenters have used this passage as "proof" that Bible prophecy is not accurate and challenged me to disagree with them evidentially.


Prophecy and visions in the Bible


First, it is important to understand how prophecy works in the Bible. God would use poetic language full of figures of speech when making prophetic utterances. For instance, when God declares that stars will fall to the earth, we know quite well that just one star would burn the earth to a crisp before it ever managed to "fall" on us. I also mentioned that God doesn't actually "walk" on the "wings of the wind", but rather this is poetic language. We use such language ourselves: my heart is breaking (no, it's not) or, I would move heaven and earth (you'd do good moving a 200 pound boulder, dude!).

Such language is not just used in the Old Testament, but also in the prophetic portions of the New Testament such as Revelation:

Revelation 6:14 - "Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. "

Like so often happens in prophecies, they come to the writer in the form of a symbolic vision, just as this passage in Revelation, in which John is relating a vision given him while on the Isle of Patmos. The reader is to understand that the sky isn't going to actually roll up, etc. but that this rather symbolizes a complete upheaval and drastic change. Reading the entire book of Revelation reveals the nature of the changes and the who, what, when, where, why and hows of it all.

(The Bible devotes an entire chapter to the interpretation of two specific prophetic dreams, in Genesis chapter forty. Joseph listens as the head butler and baker to the pharoah relate troubling, prophetic dreams and then interprets them.)

The Book of Ezekiel begins with the author describing the beginning of a vision given him by God. The reader then understands that the language will be poetic and often the vision will be symbolic in nature. Yet the meanings are quite clear when you read Ezekiel 29. Egypt's Pharaoh is going to be conquered and the land emptied.

History - the stories begin to fade away

Second, as they always say, history is written by the victor. It is also true that the farther away we get from an event, the more our history becomes a form of shorthand. This is also why people were dogmatically declaring that Egypt was not conquered and made uninhabitable and that the Bible was obviously wrong, because modern historians have paid little or no attention to the event that took place in approximately 571 BC. But reliable historical documentation certainly exists and we will now go there.

The Annals of the World

James Ussher finished this massive volume in 1658 (English version. The Latin version was produced 1650-4.) He had at his disposal myriad sources. The publisher now says of this work:

"Considered not only a classic work of literature, but also esteemed for its preciseness and accuracy, The Annals of the World has not been published in the English language since the 17th century. Almost completely inaccessible to the public for 300 years, this book is a virtual historical encyclopedia with information and footnotes to history that otherwise would have been lost forever. Covering history from the beginning through the first century A.D., Ussher relates both famous accounts and little known events in the lives of the famous and infamous including pharaohs, Caesars, kings, conquerors, thieves, pirates, and murderers. He tells of the rise and fall of great and not-so-great nations and gives accounts of the events that shaped the world. (960 pages - hardbound)"

(Larry Pierce, and Marion Pierce presided over the 2003-4 revision and re-release into English of this tome. They had help, but I have to say that this was a staggering undertaking and I remain in awe of their dedication!)

Ussher combed through the historical accounts of Josephus, Herodotus, Xenophon, Plutarch and hundreds of others, his bibliography being a veritable hall of fame of historians now passed. He researched in order to produce the best possible dates for the events listed. Yes, he did use the Bible as one of his sources and to this day archaeologists use the Bible in their research, as a handbook to help find ruins and identify newly discovered cultures. Ussher included over twelve thousand footnotes and over two thousand quotes from the Bible and Apocrypha as part of his work.

In any event, here is what Ussher says about this portion of Ezekiel, noting that Jeremiah made a similar prophecy concerning the same coming event:

3433 AM, 4143 JP, 571 BC

"(reference number 881) After Nebuchadnezzar conquered Egypt from Syrene to the very ends of the land, he made havock of the Egyptians and of the Jews who lived there. Some he killed and the rest he led away into captivity, in accordance with Jeremiah's prophecies. (Jer 43:1-44:30 46:1-28 Eze 29 1-31:18)

Pharoahhophra, or Apries, was forced to retreat into the country of Thebes. It seems that Nebuchadnezzar made Amasis his viceroy over all Egypt. Though Herodotus did not know of this, Scaliger observed in his notes Ad Fragmenta:


"The priests of Egypt told Herodotus of such things as he desired to know. They spoke only of things that glorified their country, but concealed the rest. This showed their cowardice and slavery, by concealing the payment of tribute they made to the Chaldeans."

Thus was the first portion of the prophecy fulfilled. The Babylonians conquered the land and either killed or took captive all the inhabitants. It was typical, not just of Nebuchadnezzar, but of many of the empires of this time frame that, when conquering a land, they would empty it of people and domesticated animals. Many would be killed and many taken into captivity as slaves or, in the case of the best candidates, trained and groomed to be assimilated into the victor's society. This is what happened to Daniel, by the way, who was taken as a youth to become part of the Court and eventually came to be the right hand man of the King himself, a defacto ruler over all of the empire. But that's another subject.

For now, we then go forward forty years in the Annals and find this entry:

3473 AM, 4183 JP, 531 BC

"(reference 958) Amasis, it seems, defected from Cyrus. The people of Egypt, who had previously been carried away by Nebuchadnezzar, were now being sent back again by Cyrus into their own country, after forty years in exile. They returned to their own kingdom toward the end of the life of Amasis. Egypt was once again a kingdom, very old and ancient, it is true, but the least significant of all of them and no longer of much use to any other country. (Eze 29:11-16 Jer 46:26) (Xenophon, Cyropedia 1.8. c.8.s.1.6:439) Xenophon, in the prologue to his whole work, stated that Cyrus had Egypt in his possession, (Xenophon, Cyropedia 1.1.c.1.s.4.5:7) while all authors agree that it was later subdued by his son Cambyses. Hence, we conclude that in the intervening time they enjoyed their freedom."


Thus, Ussher records the forty year exile did take place, as predicted in both Ezekiel and Jeremiah. Forty years would be a pretty average lifespan for people of this time so that, when a nation would take another into captivity for forty or more years they would be putting a practical end to the government and leaders of that nation. Peoples taken into captivity in such a manner would later return having been stamped with the culture of their captors. Egyptians would go on being Egyptians, but with a great deal of Babylonian influences and the loss of a tremendous amount of historical documentation of their culture and times.

The Jews were unique in that they were so dedicated to the preservation of their scriptures, genealogies and culture that even being taken into captivity on more than one occasion was not enough to significantly alter their inherent "Jewishness" or obliterate the scriptures.

I assert that the prophetic predictions of Ezekiel concerning Egypt did in fact occur and that the Bible did predict what was going to happen and for how long.

~~~~~~~

Concerning Genesis and the authorship of the Pentateuch: Just because there was an addendum added concerning the death of Moses doesn't mean he didn't write the rest of the books. But some have written concerning dual accounts of events in Genesis and when I addressed one of them, they asked about the rest. Okay, get specific. What story in particular do you wish to investigate? I await responses.

Note that next post we will go back to the creation-evolution debate with what I think will be the start of a lively discussion. Cheers!

30 comments:

cranky old fart said...

Radar,

You're joking, right? The House of Ussher? You resurrected Vincent Price for this pathetic attempt to uphold this prophecy silliness?

For those not aware, Ussher was an Anglican Bishop of the 17th century who is credited as father of the YEC movement.

He actually figgered out that the universe was created on 1:00 a.m. in October in 4004 B.C.E., and that the Flood happened in 2349 B.C.E., so he's the one to go to for accurate date fo sho!!!

Finally, isn't just like you to go all symbolic and poetic on us when that literal reading is just a bit too silly, or too easily contradicted by facts.

radar said...

Cranky,

Bad form! You are attempting to mock the source so that you don't have to deal with the evidence. You have any historical documentation to refute the 571-531 BC exile/massacre? If not, shut it!

Secondly, your mocking and ignorant take on prophetic language is yet another lame attempt to avoid a real dialogue about prophecies. You like to mention facts and yet, unlike myself, you present none yourself...Guess you just don't have any?

Anonymous said...

"God would use poetic language full of figures of speech when making prophetic utterances. For instance, when God declares that stars will fall to the earth, we know quite well that just one star would burn the earth to a crisp before it ever managed to "fall" on us. I also mentioned that God doesn't actually "walk" on the "wings of the wind", but rather this is poetic language. We use such language ourselves: my heart is breaking (no, it's not) or, I would move heaven and earth (you'd do good moving a 200 pound boulder, dude!). "

But when the Bible talks about the world being created in six days, you decide that poetic language is simply not possible in this case - oh no, in this case it has to be literal 24-hour periods, right?

-- creeper

cranky old fart said...

Radar,

First of all your Mr. "Universe was created after last call on Oct. 23, 4004 BCE" didn't say Egypt was drained of all people and animals for 40 years, so you still owe me a source, not visa versa.

Second, as creeper and I remind you above, you are Mr. "the Bible is literal", so don't suddenly give me all this symbolic stuff on something as straight forward as:

"No foot of man or animal will pass through it; no one will live there for forty years"

Third, we note that Ussher was working in the 17th century. The rosetta stone wasn't even discovered until the 19th. Poor Bishop Ussher was working 200 yars before the dawn of Egyptology and the mountain of new resources that have been brought to the table. All modern sources clearly describe a 26th dynasty in Egypt that, of course, has no 40 year lifeless gap predicted by Ezekiel.

Finally, your souce says all the world was wiped out in 2349 BCE, so, in any case, ya gotta question his dating of Egyptian history which goes back, according to most every modern historian, to at least 3000 BCE.

Looking forward to your next rationalization.

radar said...

The Egyptian dates you use, Cranky, are just wrong as we discussed earlier in the year. The "modern sources" are a joke as far as I'm concerned. What sources are these revisionist Egyptologists using, eh?

Of course, I would expect you to have difficulty with prophetic language. But when Ezekiel and Jeremiah said it, believers believed it and there weren't many believing Jews hanging around when Nebuchadnezzar showed up. The apostate Jews that didn't believe got captured and killed along with all the other Egyptians.

Bible students learn early on about prophetic language and when it is used in the Bible. Thousands of Bible scholars, even ones I disagree with, understand this simple foundational part of interpreting scripture but that is okay. You can remain deliberately ignorant about prophetic language and apparently happily so. Enjoy, for they say ignorance is bliss.

It remains true that the Bible foretold the emptying of Egypt for forty years and historians much, much closer to that time frame confirm it. I could care less that a few hundred years later some liberal historians cook up some stories to try to change history. After all, Xenophon and Herodotus and other ancient historians, heck, they are so last week, we shouldn't pay any attention to them. Ussher may have been an incredibly gifted and dedicated historian but we don't like his conclusions so let's make fun of him instead. Let's make up our own histories, hurrah!

xiangtao said...

"You can remain deliberately ignorant about (evolution) and apparently happily so. Enjoy, for they say ignorance is bliss."

radar said...

Xiangtao said...

"You can remain deliberately ignorant about (evolution) and apparently happily so. Enjoy, for they say ignorance is bliss."


Oh, I am so going to enjoy feeding those words back to you, my friend...beginning this evening!

highboy said...

"But when the Bible talks about the world being created in six days, you decide that poetic language is simply not possible in this case - oh no, in this case it has to be literal 24-hour periods, right?"

I suggest you take some courses in poetry, parallelism, and narrative. Its not a matter of belief creeper, its a matter of simple structure in literature. Hebrew poetry, Biblical or no, and likewise prophecy, is poetry replete with parallelism, and a very abababa style structure.

"It remains true that the Bible foretold the emptying of Egypt for forty years and historians much, much closer to that time frame confirm it. I could care less that a few hundred years later some liberal historians cook up some stories to try to change history."


What is interesting about this is that they try to discredit the Gospels by saying no historian or scholar close to the timeframe of the Gospels recorded anything about Jesus. Now they want to take the words of modern historians hundreds even thousand of years after the fact, instead of those who were closer to the actual time frame of events.

xiangtao said...

"Oh, I am so going to enjoy feeding those words back to you, my friend...beginning this evening!'

I look forward to that as well. My words are tasty, especially with wasabi!

cranky old fart said...

"Now they want to take the words of modern historians hundreds even thousand of years after the fact, instead of those who were closer to the actual time frame of events."

I believe what good historians do is keep an open mind and continue to look at new evidence as it emerges.

As noted above, Egyptology didn't really even begin until the early 19th century with the deciphering of Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Now if you think it's better to just shut off your learning at the 17th century and leave out the contemporaneous writings of the natives, new archealogical finds, etc. well, it would explain a lot.....

highboy said...

"I believe what good historians do is keep an open mind and continue to look at new evidence as it emerges."

What new evidence?

cranky old fart said...

"What new evidence?"

Yes, Tim, all learning stopped in the 17th century.

Sheesh.

No wonder we've still got folks who credit Bishop Ussher and his 2349 BCE flood nonesense.

You do understand the significance of the Rosetta Stone, no?

"For example, in 1652, the German Jesuit priest Athanasius Kircher published a dictionary of allegorical interpretations entitled OEdipus aegyptiacus, and used this to produce a series of weird and wonderful translations. A handful of hieroglyphs, which we now know merely represent the name of the pharaoh Apries, were translated by Kircher as: "the benefits of the divine Osiris are to be procured by means of sacred ceremonies and of the chain of the Genii, in order that the benefits of the Nile may be obtained". Today Kircher’s translations seem ludicrous, but their impact on other would-be decipherers was immense. The Jesuit priest was widely acknowledged to be the most respected scholar of his age - he wrote a book on cryptography, constructed a musical fountain, invented the magic lantern (a precursor of cinema) and lowered himself into the crater of Vesuvius earning himself the title of the Father of Vulcanology - and consequently his ideas were to influence generations of future Egyptologists."

www.simonsingh.net/Hieroglyphs.html

scohen said...

"What new evidence?"

Imagine, if you will, that it's 5000 years in the future and the United States and pretty much every other recognizable country from this era does not exist. English has been lost for over a thousand years, and while archaeologists unearth many books, papers and inscriptions on buildings, none of them are readable.

Then, one day, they find an intact Chinese to English dictionary. Chinese, being a language studied by classics professors, is widely understood, enabling the archaeologists to go back and translate all of this old English text.

Imagine how much better the future archaeologists' understanding of our society would be after being able to read all of our documents. Heck, if they engineer our computers, they might even be able to read this conversation.

That's the new evidence cranky was talking about.

highboy said...

"leave out the contemporaneous writings of the natives, new archealogical finds,"

You need a lot more than the rosetta stone if you are going to attempt to discredit the ancient historians from the time period. You implied that there was enormous amounts of evidence to refute Ussher. And like I told creeper, you too apparently need a course in Bible study, unless you want to remain ignorant in this debate. You keep pointing to radar's intepretation of Genesis as literal, therefore you assert that his interpretation of the whole Bible has to be literal to be consistent. This is why radar keeps telling you to get educated about Hebrew prophecy/poetery, which is replete with metaphor and parallelism, unlike the Genesis narrative.

Your dating of the Egyptian time period is also hardly as conclusive as you try to make it, and is still largely in question. From Wiki:

"The origins of the unified Egyptian state are unclear. There are no contemporaneous sources, and later sources are unclear and contradictory. Around 3100 BC a king unified the whole of the Nile Valley between the Delta and the First Cataract at Aswan, with the centre of power in Memphis."

So let us point out this inconsistency again:

You reject the Gospels because of the lack of contemporary sources, yet any argument (such as Egypt originating around 3100BC) that contradicts a Creationist persepective, regardless of the fact that said argument (like dating Egypt's origination at about 3100BC0 has the same problems, you seem eager to cling to. I'm wondering why. However, there are arguments that the "might men of old" (Genesis 6:4) were the antediluvian Egyptians.

Also very telling is that the ancient Egyptians are the only Egyptian culture without a flood legend.

cranky old fart said...

"You reject the Gospels because of the lack of contemporary sources"

I said that? When?

Dude, I'd be the last one to claim the Bible is literal. That is radar's position, except when it's not.

BTW, the flood is less contradicted by the age of Egypt (since the 2349 thing is just hilarious on its own) than by the lack of physical evidence.

highboy said...

"Dude, I'd be the last one to claim the Bible is literal. That is radar's position, except when it's not."

No its not. You made that up, which is what I was pointing out "dude". Radar's position is that the historical account in Genesis is literal, not every single line of the Bible, especially prophecy and Hebrew poetry. Radar explained this himself.

"BTW, the flood is less contradicted by the age of Egypt (since the 2349 thing is just hilarious on its own)"

More like not contradicted at all by the age of Egypt.

"than by the lack of physical evidence."

Please. Radar has posted a mountain of evidence pointing to the Deluge. I'll leave that to him.

xiangtao said...

"Please. Radar has posted a mountain of evidence pointing to the Deluge. I'll leave that to him."

Actually, radar posted a mountain of assertions which were never backed up with any real evidence.

Hawkeye® said...

Hey Radar,

What a coincidence! I was just having lunch a few days ago with a friend of mine who is an Egyptian Coptic Christian. He's been studying this very same passage. Kind of a "Roots" thing I guess.

Regards...

creeper said...

"Radar's position is that the historical account in Genesis is literal"

Radar's position has also been that the Bible needs to be literally true as a historical text because otherwise the moral precepts it teaches would have no value - another instance of the fallacy of composition in action.

Radar is right in that the Bible includes figurative language. Why should Genesis 1 and 2 be exempt from that?

radar said...

Creeper is being deliberately obtuse. You know, the Bible is even divided into sections? The New Testament is generally divided into the Gospels and the Epistles but the divisions beyond that are not significant. The Gospels and Acts are primarily historical whereas the rest of the books are doctrinal. The only prophetic book in the New Testament is Revelation, the last one.

The first section of the Old Testament is historical and includes Genesis. Bible students read these books as literal history. There are also the books of Poetry (and wisdom), such as Psalms and Proverbs. These books are not historical, often use poetic language, but focus on transmitting the character of Godliness. There is a section of books known as Prophets. These books contain the prophecies, using prophetic language. Any high school Bible student and certainly any college-level student of the Bible is taught about these divisions at the beginning of a course of study of the Bible. Indeed, the Bible is published with the books in the aforementioned order!

No Bible student has any problem understanding where prophecies are located and where the historical narratives are found. Only someone with a great lack of Bible knowledge would have the idea that there could be any confusion involved.

creeper said...

No, Radar, I'm not being deliberately obtuse. In your acknowledgment that the Bible is not uniformly literal (thank you for that, you've taken a valuable step there), you leave out the Christian codification of older myths that are included in Genesis. It's not like there is only prophetic and historic (with regard to time, that is - I know you mention other categories like poetic).

"No Bible student has any problem understanding where prophecies are located and where the historical narratives are found."

Tim, since you either currently or in the recent past visit(ed) a seminary, could you tell us whether all of Genesis is uniformly taught as literal, historical truth in Bible schools? I'm inclined to be doubtful about this, and Radar has a habit of taking extreme positions on such matters without being able to back them up.

radar said...

Creeper,

Good, glad we are going to have an intelligent dialogue on this point. Note that by saying all of the Bible language is not literal is not the same as saying that it is not true. Prophetic language must be interpreted, but it is always done the same way throughout the Bible and the prophecies wind up coming true, or in most cases now they have already happened.

On the other hand, no myths are included in Genesis. I asserted strongly that Genesis is an historical document that is reliable and I stand by that. It is difficult to prove much of that history and it is certainly impossible to disprove, so one must decide whether to take it on faith, or not. Faith is a component that separates those who go deep into the Bible and find understanding and those who prefer to stand on the outside and doubt. It is entirely up to each individual.

By faith I have studied the Bible cover-to-cover and yet if I had twenty lifetimes I would still find nuances worth contemplation. I think it is one of the great wonders of the world that 66 books written over multiple centuries by the hand of dozens of authors would make one whole document that hangs together and stands as one. In my opinion, only God could have caused this to happen and it happened because God wanted the Bible to be His message to mankind in written form.

I came to be a believer from the position of a skeptical agnostic who was a devout evolutionist. I was not indoctrinated into Christianity as a child or teenager but rather came to faith in my twenties. I'd been to secular colleges, been in the military, married and fathered a child. In fact, I was pretty much a drunk and a druggie, a party animal who'd recently become the lead singer of a grungy rock band and was probably six months from divorcing my wife and abandoning my child when God stepped in and changed everything.

But I have wandered off-course. Creeper, can you point out a myth in Genesis that we should investigate as not being factual?

highboy said...

Creeper, I haven't the first friggin' clue as to how its taught in other Bible schools. (yes, I'm still in Bible college. Just started my Christmas break) I only know that Bethany Bible College teaches Genesis in as an historical narrative and a theological text. I have no idea if that helps you or anyone else at all, but there you go.

cranky old fart said...

"Prophetic language must be interpreted, but it is always done the same way throughout the Bible and the prophecies wind up coming true"

Speak to me of the consistent objective method of interpreting prophetic language.

The skeptic in me imagines that the "interpretation" has to do with "making it work".

restoring the gospel said...

Creeper said,

"Tim, since you either currently or in the recent past visit(ed) a seminary, could you tell us whether all of Genesis is uniformly taught as literal, historical truth in Bible schools"

It depends in what sense something is "literal". For example, in 1 John 4:8 when is says that "God is love" (o theos agape estin), the predicate noun (love - agape) is anarthrous, thus isn't equating God and love (God = love, love = God), but is qualifying God, thus is saying "it's God's nature to be selfless".

As a Bible believer/student I believe 1 John 4:8 is literal, but moreso according to the Greek grammar.

Also, with Gen 1-2 I believe it's literal that God created the universe in 6 days, but also that the length of a day ("yom") is silent in the passage. A "yom" can be an indefinite period of time, but also a literal 24 hour day. Context determines this, and I would argue with Hugh Ross that 24 hour days as we experience weren't even created until day 4, hence the sun being made then!

So I interpret Gen 1-2 as being literal, but clarify that I interpret literally according to what best fits the context (which is up for debate, and doesn't change the primary issue of the gospel either way).

Lastly, with prophecies, are they literal or figurative? The anser is "yes"! They are both. We can interpret them as being figuratibely literal. Just as in the prophetic book of Daniel, the dragons in Neb's dream are literal, but figuratively literal. They aren't puff the magic dragon, but are figures which point to literal truths. When Daniel interprets it he interprets the figures, not as puff the magic dragon, but as being kings or kingdoms.

So again, we interpret the Bible literaly, but not on a surface level like anti-Christ atheists prefer. Christians shouldn't interpret atheist's books that way, so they should return the favor when it comes to the Bible, considering they can put they anti-Christ bias aside, which according to Rom 8:6-8 will be a challenge.

radar said...

Most of the Darwinists are lost even discussing this subject.

As to yom, it is true there was no Sun before it was created, yet there was light and the terms "evening and morning." So who was God trying to fool with that language? Was He saying He was able to make the Universe in six days? I have pointed out that yom with that phrase or with numbered days always means a 24 hour day. Genesis one would be interpreted differently than the rest of the OT in that case. Why should we do that? Why deny that God could do exactly as He said?

restoring the gospel said...

radar,

I agree with Walter Kaiser (an OT professor) that evening and morning refer to a closing of the "yom", not a description of how long the time period is. There is no close on day 7, and Psa 95 and Heb 3-4 refers to us still being in the 7th day as we enter into God's rest, which is ultimately in Christ.

The Jew living before Christ wouldn't have realized that the true temple of God was ourselves. Does this mean God was "fooling" them until the apostles clarified? Of course not. Now that we have the completed canon, we must interpret all of Scripture with Scripture.

And it's a hermeneutical fallacy to assume that if the OT only uses wording a certain way, that therefore, it must always be assumed that way. Context drives the wording, not the other way around.

But Zech 14:6 and Hosea 6:2 do have yom with numbers and the contexts are longer periods of time.

"Why deny that God could do exactly what he said?"

1. This is begging the question that that's what he said. 2. I don't deny that God could have created the universe in 6 24 hour periods, or over over a much longer period of time.

This is all a secondary matter, which many need to repent of for making it a primary matter.

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AmericanVet said...

Those who are not Bible students and make comments on this subject are like kids who read the Cliff's Notes on War and Peace and then try to teach a class on the meanings, characters and nuances of the same. Duh.

Lately a couple of commenters have driven by to make comments, thank you. Bible study begins with some basic rules, one of which is that you let the Bible interpret the Bible. The way words are used in the Bible teaches us their meaning. If we fail to research the original language we can miss things.

Also, you must consider who wrote the book, when it was written, who was the intended audience and what kind of book is it? Historical like Genesis, Wisdom like Ecclesiastes, Prophetic like Ezekiel, Doctrinal like Galatians or songs of praise like Psalms. Prophetic books use powerful imagery that is not taken literally, while historical books are meant to take quite literally.

The completely unschooled and ignorant derision of atheists concerning the most read and published book in the world reminds me of little kids shooting spitballs at an armored Humvee with a 50 caliber or an MK-19 grenade launcher. Just be thankful God doesn't take you out for your insolence. He gives you an entire life to change your mind.