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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pi and the Sea of Solomon's Temple revisited...Featuring Daniel Gracely and friends

Back in April I devoted a post that largely concentrated on debunking the claims of Atheists about the "Sea" in Solomon's Temple.

It isn't hard to do.   More often than not Atheists are pretty ignorant of the Bible and make very simplistic claims.  Kind of like not knowing much about money and being given the choice between a nickel and a dime and choosing the nickel because it is bigger?   There are many explanations for the measurements given in the Bible.   Here is an excerpt:


"When I worked in the automotive industry, we had differing requirements for various parts depending upon their purpose.   Some measurements were critical and some were not.  We had variations built in to the requirements for padding and sound deadening parts that allowed for a good bit of variation, as they were not critical parts of the automobile.   But some parts had to be made exactly right, enough so that they would fit precisely on a "buck" and their dimensions and the spacing of punched holes or added pieces of metal all hit the exact mark.   The same was true in the steel industry.   There were many items that had to be measured by a caliper to fit within a very narrow band of acceptable readings.   In all of these scenarios, I was part of the production team and was following specific instructions.

In I Kings, however, the Temple is being described.   Therefore I can assert that no matter how they described the measurements of the sea, it does not tell us precisely how, where, and with what requirements such measurement were made.   Since it is descriptive of a building and features, precision would hardly be expected.   The scribes would not write that the sea was 9.82 cubits across, for instance.   In fact, in descriptive mode it would be highly unlikely that a general description of such an object would be particularly precise.   So those who claim that the Bible is wrong here are over-reaching terribly.   Now, if God had instructed someone to make a precise sea of thirty whatevers around and ten whatevers across and demanded precision, then the builders would have had a problem.  But this is not a blueprint, it is a kind of feature story of the unveiling of the new temple.

Nevertheless, there is an article, below, which gives us a logical explanation for the measurements.   I agree with the author in that it was an Oriental/Middle Eastern culture that first came up with the Pythagorean Theory, it was that culture that adopted the modern numerical system that is far superior to the awkward Greco-Roman system, it was the Jewish peoples who first had a system of writing (actually no doubt carried on from the pre-Flood culture) found by archaeologists.   If you know the Bible you have to know that writing and using numbers predates anything we have recovered from the past.

I suggest that you go to the site and read the article there to get the links and other information but I am presenting it in plain text here.


Also, as part of the article I posted information from:

Worth reading!   After I made this post,  a commenter called Aleksandr Sigalov gave us a link I thought was interesting, with very good graphics on The Desert Tabernacle 

The Moderator made some comments and shared a page on Bible Lands and Cities.   I have not gone all through it yet, but go see...

So now a reader, Daniel Gracely, has posted information that I found very interesting and it is applicable so I am posting his comments as a "guest post" below:

Daniel Gracely said...

About 30 years ago my brother, David, discovered an interesting connection between the length of the sacred cubit and the biblical bath. Following the work of Piazzi Smyth, John Taylor, Albright, David Davidson, and Isaac Newton (who wrote an entire monograph on the subject of the length of the biblical cubit), David assumed the sacred cubit was around 25”. Specifically, he believes it to be 25.0265” or 1/ 10,000,000th polar radius of the earth.

Out of curiosity David plugged this number into the measurements of Solomon’s Sea to calculate the volumetric capacity for the biblical bath. He assumed the 2,000 baths and 3,000 baths mentioned in I Kings and II Chronicles were the water-fill mark and the Sea’s fullest theoretical capacity, respectively. He also accepted Josephus’ description that the Sea was hemispherical (this is the only historical description we have, biblical or extra-biblical). The resulting calculation was 22.4149 liters. This was a remarkable result, for being a math/science type guy, David realized this number was also the volumetric capacity of a molar volume of gas (i.e., the standard unit of measure for gas, being the volumetric space of one mole of gas at an ideal temperature and pressure). Furthermore, since the book of Ezekiel states that one ephah (standard unit of dry measure) equals one bath (standard unit of liquid measure), the conclusion is that Solomon’s Sea demonstrates the same volumetric space for liquid, dry, and gaseous measures, i.e., the three forms of matter.

Consequently, one must either mark all of these calculations down to freakish mathematical coincidences, or else consider that a Common Designer used the same basic unit of measurement for liquid, dry, and gaseous measures. The latter means taking the Bible seriously when it tells us that God gave Solomon’s father the divine pattern for the construction of all artifacts pertaining to the First Temple.

However, when I discussed my brother’s findings with him this past summer, I felt there was one problem. My brother had assumed the 30-cubit line which compassed the bowl was a line below the rim, and that the 10 cubit diameter implied pi and thus a circumference at the brim of 31.4159+ cubits. But then what was the 30-cubit line? I asked him if it might be the fill mark. He said, no, that that was 30.6. He admitted this problem had baffled him for 30 years. This nettled me, for I wished to share his findings online with some atheists, but I knew they would claim my brother was assuming pi for the brim’s circumference because of his agenda of wanting a sacred cubit length of 25”. Thus they would argue the measurements for Solomon’s Sea were merely rounded off (9.65 for the diameter, yielding a 30.30 circumference). Finally, after talking to my brother further about this problem, I suggested he see if the 30-cubit line might have something to do with the golden mean (a.k.a., golden ratio). I had once been a graduate student in art history and knew the importance of the golden mean especially in Classical and Renaissance art, but suggesting the golden mean was a guess on my part. Nevertheless, the next morning, David called excitedly and told me that, yes, the 30-cubit line did represent the golden mean, when placed outside upon the bowl. The margin of error was only 1 in 3400, well within an acceptable margin of error. We concluded this line divided the two rows of carved gourds, one above it, and one below it. This written description of the golden mean predates Pythagoras by 300+ years, and is the earliest written description of the golden mean we know of.

Unfortunately, when, about 10 years ago, my brother shared his initial findings with John Morris (whom you quote in your article), Morris’ reply, while cordial, showed he was unimpressed with my brother’s findings. Instead, Morris apparently followed the shorter-cubit assumptions of men like Ritmeyer et al (i.e., Bahat, Sagiv, Kaufman) based on their assumptions that the Second Temple was located on the Dome of the Rock, despite the Bible stating that the Temple was located at the Gihon Springs, which is about 1,000 yards south and outside the current city walls.

Frankly, the demonstration of the golden mean in conjunction with the Sea’s demonstration of a unified field of measures ought to convince anyone, at least any Christian, of the real facts about the measurements of Solomon’s Sea, and what they mean. No longer do we need to rely on flimsy explanations like rounded off numbers or a ‘flared-brim’ design. But, you know, my own experience is that a Christian layperson who makes a discovery often receives no more encouragement from Christian academicians than he presumably would from their secular counterparts. And thus if we solve one problem, we nevertheless raise another of why that should be?

Incidentally, since the Sea was a handbreadth thick, and since a handbreadth is 1/7th of a cubit, it does not matter what length the cubit is in terms of the golden mean, since all measurements are relative to the cubit."