As promised, here is the thread where we can discuss Biblical inspiration. In your post to me on the other thread, you made three main points:
1. Names of places and people in the Bible can be shown to have actually existed. Also, some of the historical events in the Bible are corroborated by outside sources, such as the Nabonidus Chronicle.
2. The Bible is scientifically accurate on some matters. You point to the phrase "the cicle of the earth" or "hanging the earth upon nothing" as examples of this. Circumcision was instructed to be performed on the 8th day, when (you say) clotting factor levels are the highest in the baby's life. And the Bible contains good rules for sanitation.
3. You suggest that the Bible contains true prophecy, such as naming the person who would destroy Babylon, and some details about Jesus' life.
Here are my responses.
On the first item, let's say that each and every time the Bible refers to a historical event, person, or place, it is accurate. Would this be proof that God inspired the Bible? Not really. It's easy to write down things that actually happen. Newspapers do this every day. Can you see how this is not convincing evidence?
Let me explain a bit more clearly. Let's say that 2000 years ago someone living in Palestine started writing down stuff that was going on. He named rulers, talked about current wars, and named specific places. Years later this document is discovered and, lo and behold, it contains accurate history! Would you say that this is proof that God inspired the document? Or would you just say, "Wow, he accurately reported current events"?
As it turns out, there are many places where the Bible is not historically accurate. But let's not get into those right now. Mainly, I want you to understand how simple historical accuracy doesn't mean anything. Otherwise every single copy of the New York Times is also inspired by God.
On the issue of scientific accuracy, let's take a look at your examples.
On the shape and position of the earth, I have two problems. The Bible does not accurately describe the earth as a sphere, but as a circle. These are totally different. A hula hoop is not the same shape as a beach ball. But even if it we are generous and we say that the ancient Israelites really knew that the earth was spherical, they weren't alone in that. Lots of other people had figured it out too, including Greeks and other Mesopotamians. All you have to do is look at the moon, and especially look at the earth's shadow cast on the moon during a lunar eclipse, and you can connect the dots. So again, unless you suggest that the other nations were also inspired by God, this is not strong evidence.
On the position of the earth, the phrase is "he is hanging the earth upon nothing." But in the very same verse, it says that God is stretching out the heavens like gauze, which you would probably not take literally. This is a piece of poetry which, by chance, happened to somewhat match the reality. There are lots of other places which describe the earth as having unshakable foundations. But in this case, Witnesses say, "Well, that was metaphorical." So you're picking and choosing which descriptions are metaphors and which were to be taken literally, when the fact is that they were all poetic descriptions. So I don't think you have a very strong case in saying the Bible was accurately describing the earth's position in space. You're just picking one of the many descriptions of the earth which happens to basically match reality.
As to good sanitation, instructing the Israelites to cook their food properly and bury their excrement is not exactly breakthrough science. Yes, there were some cultures that used excrement in medicines, etc. But not everyone did this. Excrement is among the most disgusting things on earth to most people, so the concept of burying it comes pretty naturally. Certain animals, such as cats, bury their excrement. So again, I can't say I'm terribly impressed by this.
As to the issue of circumcision on the eighth day, I was unable to find any reference supporting the idea that clotting factor is at its highest point on the 8th day. I did find a resource (http://aish.com/literacy/lifecycle/bris_milah_beautiful_or_barbaric$.asp) which states that on the 8th day, clotting factor is finally up to normal levels, after being very low for the first few days after birth.
I think there are several easy explanations for this. The seen-day week had special significance to Israelites, with their concept of sabbath, and with their teaching that the world was created in seven "days." The fact that they settled on the 8th day (one week from birth) to do the circumcision, isn't particularly surprising. The fact that this happened to match the day that clotting factors stabilize was probably accidental. However, I will give you this: Of all the evidence you've offered so far, this one has at least some merit.
Regarding prophecy, there are basically two types of prophecy in the Bible: 1) Extremely clear prophecy (for example, the kind where names are named), and 2) Poetic prophecy, where you don't really know it's supposed to be prophecy until after the fact.
Here is the problem with this type of evidence. The extremely clear prophecy (such as the one that names Cyrus as the destroyer of Babylon) is neat and all, but there is no evidence at all that it was written before the fact. How do you know Isaiah was written back in 740? Because it says that it was? There are no manuscripts earlier than the Dead Sea Scrolls, so there is no real proof that it was written before the fact. And there is evidence (based on the style of writing, grammar, spelling, etc) that it was written after the fact, so this is a much more logical conclusion.
With regard to the poetic prophecies about Jesus, to me these are unconvincing because they are like fortune cookies. You've got a whole mountain of poetry in the Psalms and minor prophets, etc. It's easy to find a few verses that seem to be talking about Jesus, after the fact. None of it explicitly claims to be talking about him (except perhaps Isaiah 53). Most of the superscriptions say that the poem is about David or Solomon. Christians, of course, say that Jesus is the "greater Solomon," etc, but the supposed prophecies themselves don't contain any ideas like that.
So, when it comes down to it, the only piece of evidence that has any weight at all to me is the circumcision thing, but it's not hard to believe that that is simply accidental. Babies are in a state of flux when they first get born. New to the world, eyes welded shut - no one is going to circumcise a newborn. It makes sense that they would wait a week. That happens to be about the time the baby's immune system and other systems are coming online. That seems like a much more logical conclusion to me.
Anyway, I hope this helps you understand where I'm coming from.
For sweetscholar: Is there proof that the Bible is inspired by God?
I'm glad you agree with me that the circumcision thing is a strong type of proof. I red in a number of places that the 8th day after birth is not just "normal level" but the HIGHEST of the male's ENTIRE life. and then goes down on the 9th day after birth and stays pretty steady. something that simply could not be known back then. coincidence? some coincidence. also, I agree with you that simply reporting good factual history "Belshazzar, Pilate, Cyrus, Artaxerses" etc, does not make a book inspired, but my point is that IT LENDS WEIGHT to that notion. the Koran has glaring historical and scientific mistakes all over the place. and not just "metaphorical" things. but actual historical inaccuracies. Moses and Abraham did not live at the same time. And Abraham did not go into Saudi Arabia. and Samaria as a nation did not exist at the time of Moses and Aaron. that is documented, that Samaria was formed hundreds years after Moses' death. which I can get more into at another time.
and there's certain evidence to indicate that Isaiah was written before Cyrus's birth. the Dead Sea Scrolls indicate manuscripts 1000 years before Christ's birth, for the scroll of Isaiah. the "earth hanging upon nothing" was not a common belief or notion at the time of Job. no one ever even said things like that metaphorically or in any sense. the sockets thing though (written in the very same book of Job) obviously like "sun rising" is figurative. and from the standpoint of how humans would perceive it. the Bible was NOT written as a science textbook, per se, it must be remembered, but mainly as a spiritual, religious, prophetical guide. and as a profound History Book from God. A Divine Chronicle and Record. also a Doctrinal Guide. written in such a way so as to test men's hearts. after the Fall of Adam, and after sin entered, etc.
and as far as excrement, well yes the only use for that (even that has a use) is for fertilizer. which is why flies love it so much. and burying it is the most sensible thing to do. not everyone did that necessarily though. but I agree that alone would not be solid proof by itself that the Bible is from God. but one of a number of things to point to that direction.
but to reiterate. the circumcision on the 8th day is one major proof that I use, cuz Moses had no microscope or modern laboratory to know and perceive that on his own. trial and error arguments don't cut it. (pardon the pun) because it's too perfect and coincidental. and it's not just "normalizing" of the vitamin k quantity but actually the HIGHEST LEVEL on the eighth day. so fitting. and that does seem to fit in a way, divinely though, with the 7th day and day after point.
all I'm saying is to be at least open to the idea that the Bible just MIGHT be divinely authored and not just work of human genius. (another point is that the Bible is remarkably candid about the mistakes of its "heroes". David, Solomon, Noah, Peter, Paul, Barnabas, Manasseh. something that Egypt did not report of their kings and "heroes". covering up embarrassing things and failings was the practice of the pagan nations and their chroniclers. not a conclusive proof I'll grant, but just one other thing to put on the scale of evidence.
Thank you for your response. I appreciate your willingness to see things from my point of view.
I'd be interested in whether you can find any authoritative evidence to back up your claim about the clotting factor. Just because many people say something doesn't make it true, especially if the people saying it are interested in backing up the Bible. So a neutral source, such a a medical web site, would be helpful.
I think you're mistaken about the Dead Sea Scrolls. The documents are from the first and second centuries BCE. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_sea_scrolls)
When I was a Witness I searched high and low, but I could never find any evidence that Isaiah was written any earlier than the second or third century BCE.
(happy "new" birthday ;) 2 whole years free. woot woot.
Thanks, chrissy! I almost forgot. I always think of it as September 5, because that's the day everything clicked in my mind. But you are right, in formal terms, December 6 is it! Thanks!
Well, I'm off on a three-day trip, so I won't be able to respond to this thread during that time. Talk to you later!
circumcision thing is a strong type of proof. I red in a number of places that the 8th day after birth is not just "normal level" but the HIGHEST of the male's ENTIRE life
I've never heard of this before and cannot find any evidence for this (which don't mean much).
If it is true couldn't it have been thru experience? You can imagine a very experienced circumciser who notices that babies tend to heal better and don't bleed as much if you circumcise on the 8th day and it finds it way into the lore. Nothing inspired there.
Wouldn't most ancient medical treatment have been found thru trial and error? To a degree I suppose it is still the same today.
God is the reason we have a Bible. Keep the faith.
"Trust in Jehovah and keep his way"
el don...you realze you're speaking to many apostates here...right?
under is that ANY way to treat a guest?