Letter to the Editor – Weinberg’s Myths

[SRB here: If you have any suggestions for improvement, please share them. I’ll submit this Monday. Thanks.]

Dr. Harold Weinberg addressed three alleged Biblical myths pertaining to the global flood in his article from May 18, 2012. I’m confident that Weinberg is an intelligent man, but he has not shown himself to be much of a Bible scholar to date. His introduction offered one definition of “myth,” but I’d like to provide another from dictionary.com: A myth is “an imaginary or fictitious thing or person.” His recent article contains a strong imaginary or fictitious component; namely, that the Bible contradicts itself! Allow me to explain.

First, Weinberg attacks what he claims to be a contradiction about the number of animals brought on the ark. A careful reading of Genesis 6:19 says “bring two”; it does not say “bring only two,” which is what Weinberg would need to prove a contradiction with Genesis 7:2,3. Noah did bring two of each sort of animal into the ark, and of the clean animals he brought even more so that some could be sacrificed later without causing extinction. The only “myth” here is the careless Biblical interpretation grounded in the fictitious Documentary Hypothesis to which Weinberg evidently subscribes. The Bible has not been edited, let alone by imaginary redactors like J, E, P, D, or any other letter of the alphabet! Jesus taught that Moses wrote the Pentateuch; that’s good enough for me.

Weinberg questions why the animals even needed to be saved from the deluge since God could simply have created more. I’m not in a position to question why God did or did not do certain things—and neither is Weinberg. I’m content to take God at His word, however, knowing that His ways and thoughts are far above my own (Isa. 55:8,9) and that there are some things He has not chosen to reveal to humanity (Deut. 29:29).

Second, Weinberg is confused about how long it rained during the global flood. Initially, it rained continuously for 40 days (Gen. 7:4,12). But, the rain that fell from above was not the only source of the rising flood waters. Water also came from below (i.e., the fountains of the deep were broken up). I don’t find anything contradictory about stating that it rained for 40 days straight but the water levels may have increased for 150 days total; that is, until the fountains of the deep were stopped and any further intermittent rain ceased temporarily (Gen. 8:2). Certainly more detailed information is desired, but there is no contradiction or myth here. The interested reader is encouraged to read my other comments pertaining to the flood at: www.Flood.AudioEvangelism.com.

Third, Weinberg is mistaken about the depth of the flood waters. Genesis 7:20 does not state that the flood waters had a total depth of 15 cubits but that “the waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward” (in other words, the water covered or “prevailed” over everything by at least 15 cubits of water). Some balk at this view because of the amount of water that would be required to cover Mt. Everest, for example. This problem is easily dismissed, however, when one realizes that the global flood itself radically changed Earth from what was likely a single continent tropical paradise into what remains today—seven continents and a much harsher environment. The tectonic activity related to the flood could have produced our modern mountain ranges. There is no proof that there were tall mountains prior to the global flood.

On a closing note, it is interesting to observe that every ancient culture has a flood story of some sort (e.g., Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Hittites, Chinese, etc.). Surely this lends credibility to the factualness of the global flood. As always, I would enjoy discussing these matters in more detail with any interested party.

  • Stephen R. Bradd, Clinton Church of Christ

#flood, #letter-to-the-editor

What the Bible teaches about Lent [letter to the editor]

[any suggestions/corrections are welcome; I’ll be submitting this later today -SRB]

Dr. Weinberg addressed the subject of Lent in his column from April 13, 2012. I learned some things from his article and wanted to comment on a couple points that really caught my attention in his piece.

First, I noticed that Weinberg didn’t refer to a single Bible verse about Lent. He didn’t cite any commands from God regarding Lent or any exhortation from an apostle. Of course, one cannot blame Weinberg for this—the Bible is silent about Lent! That’s right, Lent is not mentioned in Scripture. Some may not be troubled by this fact, but this is a significant matter, however, for a true Bible believer (i.e., one who looks to the Scriptures for his authority and not man-made traditions that have evolved over centuries). All Scripture is given by God, and God has given us everything we need to be equipped to live righteous lives for Him (II Tim. 3:16,17; II Pet. 1:3). Furthermore, Jesus promised that the apostles would be guided into all the truth (John 16:13). I believe they were guided into all the truth and wrote down everything we need today religiously. Yet, they were silent about Lent and there is no evidence the apostles observed Lent. If the apostles didn’t observe Lent, why should anyone today do so? Paul stated a concern of his in Galatians 4:10,11 that is applicable here – “You observe days and months and seasons and years [in a religious sense, -SRB]. I am afraid for you, lest I have labored in vain.”

Second, I must disagree with one comment Weinberg affirmed: “Since the earliest times of the Church, there is evidence of some kind of Lenten preparation for Easter.” The Bible records that Jesus’ church came into existence in Acts 2 (note 2:47), which was approximately AD 30. There is no record of anyone keeping Lent until the second century. So, for about 100 years or more, no Christian observed Lent. The apostles certainly never did. Since several generation of Christians did not observe Lent, it is not the case that Lent has been observed “since the earliest times of the Church.” Lent is a man-made religious tradition.

Lest I be misunderstood, I am certainly not against an individual choosing to fast or examine his or her spiritual life in order to make changes for the better (Matt. 6:18; II Cor. 13:5). The problem comes when such is regulated and even mandated. To do such is wrong because it adds to God’s word (Rev. 22:18,19). If God wanted us to observe Lent, He would have instructed the apostles (who were guided into all truth) about the matter in the first century. Jesus warned about the error of vain worship. When one teaches “as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matt. 15:9), vain worship is the result. It would be my pleasure to discuss these matters in more detail with any interested party.
-Stephen R. Bradd, Clinton Church of Christ

#lent, #letter-to-the-editor

Letter to the Editor: Theistic Evolution & the Bible–Like Oil & Water

[Fellows, Weinberg had a friend reply to my rebuttal of his Dec 2nd article. I just finished another reply which I will submit soon. If you have any suggestions for improvement, please share them ASAP. Thanks! -SRB]

I enjoyed reading Paul Williams’ piece in the “Speaking of Religion” section from December 9th. Williams made some good points and is correct is noting the complexity of the issue, but he made some fatal assumptions on the way to his conclusion.

Williams stated: “Let us assume God chose to use both Creation and Evolution…” That’s a rather significant assumption, don’t you think? We should ask two questions here: (1) Is it possible? Sure it’s possible. God could have used evolutionary processes if He desired. (2) Is it probable? In order for something to be probable, there must be some evidence to suggest it as the most likely explanation. I do not believe the evidence warrants the conclusion that macroevolution has happened at all—either orchestrated by God or by chance, random processes.

Williams concluded by saying: “The point of this argument was to prove that God is not limited in his selection of methods for advancing his plans.” I agree with the conclusion, though not with the reasoning he used to arrive at it. God could have used whatever method of creation He wanted, but this doesn’t dismiss the fact that He said He created everything out of nothing in six days (cf. Exodus 20:11), and I believe Him! It’s not a matter of me lacking the humility to embrace a form of theistic evolution. If the Bible affirmed it, I would believe it. I am glad Williams’ believes in God, but he must not believe in the God of the Bible to argue as he has. If the Bible is true (and there is much internal and external evidence to show that it is, which I’d be glad to consider with anyone—Stephen@AudioEvangelism.com), then what it records about origins is correct. There is simply no way to insert any form of theistic evolution into Genesis 2:7 – “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Man become a living being when God breathed into his nostrils, not when an ape mutated into a human! Either we accept the Bible or we don’t.

Finally, one cannot believe in Jesus as the Son of God and bringer of truth if Williams’ form of theistic evolution is correct. Jesus stated in Mark 10:6 – “From the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female.” The word “beginning” is critical here. I believe that mankind has been around since the end of the very first week of the Earth’s history (day 6, to be specific). Thus, humans have been around “from the beginning,” as Jesus taught. Williams, on the other hand, has humans arriving millions or billions of years after the beginning (via some form of evolution). Under his current assumptions, Williams cannot affirm that humans have been around “from the beginning” of creation. So, who is right? I’ll stick with Jesus and the Bible every time.

Stephen R. Bradd
Clinton Church of Christ

#letter-to-the-editor, #theistic-evolution

Letter to the Editor – The Origin of Religion

[submitted to our local paper today]

The Origin of Religion – Not so Complicated

Dr. Weinberg’s December 2nd article regarding the origin of religion is far more complicated than it needs to be. It’s no surprise that those who adhere to evolutionary philosophy would advocate that the first religion “evolved.” But it’s simply not true.

Consider the wonder of the human body. Who can rationally argue that eons ago life sprang forth from non-life or that a single-celled organism mutated in a beneficial way to produce increasingly complex organisms (millions of times along the way)? Who would believe that a digital camera could have just “happened” on accident due to random, chance processes? No one! Cameras manifest evidence of design, and where there is a design there must be a Designer! Our best cameras are still inferior to the marvelous human eye. So, if a camera cannot “happen” on accident, how can a human eye “happen” on accident since it is superior and much more complex? Yet this is what evolutionists must affirm.

Is it not more reasonable to simply believe that there is an all-powerful Supreme Being who has always existed and that He chose to create the Universe and everything within it? Since such a Being must exist, is it reasonable to believe that He would reveal Himself to His creation? Indeed it is. The God of the Bible is the only true and living deity. There are many evidences that can be set forth to prove that there is a God and that the Bible is His word. I would enjoy sitting down with anyone to explore these evidences in detail (call me anytime – 217.935.5058).

Since the Bible is true, we can trust what it says regarding the “origin of religion.” The first human beings, Adam and Eve, knew God in a personal way. They conversed with Him in the Garden of Eden less than 10,000 years ago. God communicated His expectations to them regarding proper religion. They fell into sin and over time most of the human race drifted far from the true God and began embracing many false ideas about religion and the existence of other gods. Monotheism came first, and mankind perverted it into polytheism relatively quickly. Today Jesus has instructed us: “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). The church of Christ endeavors to do just that—worship the one, true God “in spirit and truth.”

Stephen R. Bradd, Clinton Church of Christ

#letter-to-the-editor, #origin-of-religion