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Archive for May, 2012

Most of my posts on the Script don’t stand alone. It would be best for someone reading this to also read the previous post. This is a complex subject, yet I’m trying to keep my work confined to written communication because of time constraints. The preparation of charts and such would mean staying on this one subject, which I can’t afford to do right now.

I have also noticed a few mistakes and disagreements among the charts that I’ve consulted on this. Some charts also create extra numbers in places where there are none in a particular manuscript. They obtain their number by adding the two other numbers together, but doing so can make the number of differences between the manuscripts appear larger. It would take a careful study to determine which charts are correct.

The numbers given in various manuscripts for chapters five and eleven of Genesis point to one source. That is probably one of the most important points. It means that honest people have attempted to preserve this information for us the best they could. Even where there’s disagreement in the manuscripts on some numbers, you can easily see that most of them are yet related to each other.

To begin with, the total length of the lives of Adam through Mahalalel are the same in the Hebrew, the Samaritan Pentateuch, and the Septuagint. That agreement is another important point. The Hebrew and Septuagint are in total agreement on Jared, but the Samaritan is different. It gives Jared’s age at the birth of Enoch as 62 rather than 162 (100 less).

Until we get to Jared, the Samaritan agrees with the Hebrew on all numbers; the age of the man when a certain son was born, the years from then until his death, and the total years of his life. The Septuagint has each of these men being 100 years older at the son’s birth, and living 100 years less afterward, leaving the total years of their life the same.

It appears as if the years lived after the birth of the sons may have been adjusted to fit the total years. Each of these numbers being seven hundred and something could be the actual reason this version was called the Septuagint. When we get to Jared, it is the Septuagint that is in total agreement with the Hebrew.

Giving three numbers instead of one or two was a good plan. It makes a number sentence, so that if one number became unreadable, it could yet be determined from the other two. My opinion is that, if for any reason two of those numbers could not be understood, they should never have been guessed at. It looks as if that has happened in some of the manuscripts, but there’s another possible explanation.

If you mistook one of the numbers or symbols from the previous word for something else, you might record that which you thought was the correct number; filling in the blank for the second number would then be more understandable. Two or three other solutions would be needed to solve the mystery of the 100’s. I see several possibilities, but they all basically involve changes in expression, and number order over a period of time.

At times like this, I wish there was an English version of the Bible that actually translated the Hebrew word for word, with no change in the word order. Yes it would be difficult to read, but it would simplify some types of study. If the earliest Hebrew that we now have is true to the original language, Genesis 5:3 would read, “And lived Adam thirty and a hundred years and fathered a son…”

The word “one” doesn’t seem to be there. Numbers seem to have been written with first the one’s given, then the ten’s, and then the hundreds. There may have been some exceptions; the number in Genesis 6:3 is written “a hundred and twenty years,” instead of “twenty and a hundred.” “Hundred,” in that verse is spelled “Mah,” instead of “Mat.” “Mat,” could have originally been “Math,” since the symbol for “t” also represented “th” before the invention of the Hebrew vowel indicators.

Another exception is, the first time 200 is written in Genesis 11:19, it is not written “two hundred,” but “hundred doubled,” with a shortened form of the word “two” attached to end of the word for hundred. Somewhere, in the mind-numbing story of math, there’s a good explanation for the differences in the manuscripts. I am confident that the good Lord will give us the full explanation someday.

Can you imagine the shame that a college professor will feel who has used this sort of thing to undermine some young person’s faith. There’s nothing here that should disturb anyone. The closer I look at the Script, the more confident I am that it can be trusted.

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I gave this post its name because history in this precise area is very sketchy. The era we’re dealing with predates Babylonian mathematics, which we do know something about. This history is from a time long before Egypt existed. The chronology given in the fifth chapter of Genesis, and continued in Genesis 11:10-32, predates Babel, where the different languages originated. It’s no wonder there’s disagreement among the manuscripts over some of the numbers.

The great age of the mathematical system of the early Genesis genealogies is likely the main reason for the disagreements. Those who are critical of the Bible point to the slight disagreements as evidence against its authenticity. That’s why I think it’s important to investigate this. I’ve called the problem with the numbers “slight,” because the accumulative effect only adds up to a few hundred years.

The fact that these differences exist between the Septuagint, other ancient manuscripts, and the Hebrew Old Testament manuscripts, doesn’t mean that our Bible is wrong. If God himself had personally written every word in the Bible, we would still have problems in certain areas with it today because of translation and copying difficulties. The variations we see today are indications that the system of numerical notation in use in early Genesis, whatever it was, changed over time. Some of those who updated, or translated, copies of the Script apparently weren’t sure what to make of the math.

The biblical book of Genesis is an accurate history.  Indirectly, it gives us clues and understanding relating to all subjects, including math. If the discrepancies were due only to deterioration of the previous manuscripts, they should appear to be more of a random nature. Instead, besides a few that do appear random, there are patterns to the variations. It is the patterns that make me so curious about these numbers (more on this later).

I’m sure the Bible bears a true record, and if it does, that would mean that the genealogies would have been compiled over a long period of time. There’s around two thousand years from Adam to Abraham. If the record was pieced together over that length of time, there would have been great changes in language and writing over that period. Look at the changes in the English language over the last four hundred years. Few people today could read more than a few words from the first English translations of the Bible. There is evidence within the Bible, especially in the Hebrew, of these sorts of changes over time.

Some Bible versions today have taken time to harmonize the spellings of names of people from the times of the Old Testament to New Testament. It makes for easier reading, but obscures the history. No doubt, some of that sort of thing has occurred in the manuscripts.

I’m going to give just a few generalities for now, and try to go into more detail in my next post. The numbers may have originally been written as numeral symbols. The Hebrews used letters of their alphabet as numeral symbols, besides having a name for each number which could be spelled out. Using letters in two different ways could lead to confusion, and their alphabet also changed over time.

I don’t know how the numbers were communicated in Paleo-Hebrew writing, and I don’t know if we have any fragments of Genesis written in Paleo-Hebrew. The Hebrew manuscripts today, as far as I know, all have the names of the numbers spelled out. That method would make for a little less confusion.

We don’t know how old the idea of writing the numbers out is. Did this come about as an attempt to standardize a way of communicating numerical information to a broader audience? Many ancient clans and families seem to have fostered local variations in symbols. The original manuscripts of the Bible, written in classical Hebrew, had no capital letters, no spaces between words, no vowels, and no punctuation. Some Hebrew letters are shaped differently when they are the last letter of a word, but we don’t know exactly when that method came into use.

There are variations in the spelling of words also, besides the standard variations of masculine spellings, feminine, plural, duel, and others. To me, the use of “constructs” in some of the Hebrew spellings of “hundred,” is interesting because most of the differences between the numbers in the manuscripts are exactly one hundred.

The patterns don’t hold true throughout the entire genealogies however. Some of the numbers are the same in most manuscripts, but I’ll have to continue this later. Ancient Hebrew would have been very hard to read, and to translate, but that doesn’t mean that what we have isn’t the true story. These things are the marks of authenticity, and not the other way around.

I feel like I have to apologize for the complexity of this post, but I also feel like it’s necessary. If I can inspire someone to take a close look at the Script, rather than dismissing it prematurely, then I have accomplished my purpose. Those who look into it deeply, and into their own soul, come to believe in it.

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If you could take away personal opinion and subjectivity from every scientific discipline, you would see that our archeological time frame would be thrown into disarray, and “evolution” would vanish. You would find that Evolutionists have been spending more time in the realm of faith than have Creationists.

There are many gaps that exist in our fields of knowledge, and we have to try to fill in the blanks in order to make sense of life. There are different ways of filling in the pieces, and misunderstandings of all sorts happen when thought and theory are substituted for missing information. It may seem to make sense from a particular point of view, but yet may be distorted by all kinds of fears and folly.

The way we fill in the blanks is very important to God. Do we want to see him in the picture, or do we want to paint him out of it? I believe that the best interpretation of the evidence places God right in the middle of the picture.

How do we react when we don’t have a completely satisfactory answer? Being trusted is as important to God as it is to us. Time doesn’t always exist to give the complete reason for something, and we need someone to trust us for the moment.

Will we reject God because someone puts the puzzle together wrong? There are a few mysteries in the Bible that might seem impossible to solve. If that is true, I will trust Jesus about it because I’ve found him to be absolutely trustworthy. I have found though, that in case after case of dealing with Bible difficulties, that solutions are there if we’ll do the necessary research.

Investigation takes time though, and that’s where a huge problem lies. It’s easier for the believer to simply make decrees than to find the reason for things, and to explain them. That makes it easier for the atheist to simply dismiss the Bible.

My writing is intended to show that the Bible holds clues relating to all the mysteries of life, and that there is good reason to trust it. Because of my particular study of the Bible, and my interest in science, I may recognize a reason that some others might not. That is true the other way around also, and not only true of the Bible, but to all life.

I read of a chemist connecting a passage in an ancient book with a method of extracting lead ore from rock. The passage in the book had made no sense to scholars until someone happened along with the right information. The metallurgical method had been rediscovered, and the chemist knew about it.

Another example, straight from the Bible, is that of Noah freeing a raven and a dove near the end of the flood. At one time, that didn’t make any sense to me, though a little thought should have answered the question. Later on, I happened to read that sailors in ancient times freed birds to determine if land was anywhere close. With good eyesight, and a vantage point high in the air, a bird would head for land that a sailor from the top of a mast could not see.

I’m getting to one of those difficult areas of the Bible where more information is needed to really understand. It’s one of the areas that “theologians” in liberal universities, along with atheists, use to undermine faith in the Bible. I don’t want to skip over it for that reason. I’m using this post to buy a little time as I study the information that I do have. I’m also praying about it. In essence, like Noah I’m sending a dove to look for ground that’s a little more solid than what I see at the moment. I believe that it is there.

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Civilization, and the “Stone Age,” have always existed simultaneously in different areas. In certain parts of the world, there are people living in the “Stone Age” even today. That’s the way it has always been. A group of modern people, forced out into a wilderness area with no provisions, would immediately resort to the use of stone tools. With no help from outside world, it would take decades to develop even simple technologies. You would first use sticks and stones as you found them. Then you would chip the stones to sharpen them when you could find time to do so. Even if you already knew the basics, progress would be very slow.

I have had a lot of hobbies and interests, and I have experimented with making stone tools enough to know there are many factors involved. Time, and immediate needs are factors, as well as materials on hand. The condition and shape of a shard of flint affects the final product. It’s somewhat similar to the art of sculpture.

The prevailing belief is that certain types of tools represent a certain era of time. When similar tools are found in different areas, it is assumed they are from the same time. That isn’t necessarily true. It isn’t likely that many bands of people scattered around the world would graduate from simple tools to more complex simultaneously. These bands of people have existed at all times, and much would depend upon contact with others. Some people do better work than others also, and crude tools are often in use at the same time as more refined ones.

At this point in time, evolutionary dogma has permeated every scientific discipline to the degree that there’s little hope for scientific objectivity. The existing mindset pushes ancient objects and events back as early as possible, even though all dating methods depend somewhat upon one presupposition or another. Creation scientists have pointed out many of the flaws in evolutionary logic, but I’m afraid it is “too little, too late.”

In general, there is an attempt to make disagreements with Bible chronology appear as large as possible. Mainstream science has in effect closed its eyes, and shut its mind against the greatest of all discoveries; the discovery that man was created. The first humans had at least some contact with a far more advanced society than ours today; that of God and the angels. Language was given to man by God. Beyond that, we don’t know how much man learned from his creator. Man probably learned from God how to kindle fire and to make tools. We’ve learned harmful uses of all things on our own.

After killing Abel, Cain moved eastward into an area called the land of Nod. The word “Nod” means wandering. It’s likely that Cain lived as a hunter-gatherer for a time, but as soon as possible, he would have made use of his agricultural knowledge. At some point he actually founded a “city” and named it after his first son (Genesis 4:17). It should be noted that some descendants of Cain were named the same as descendants of his younger brother Seth. There were men named Enoch, and Lamech, on both sides of the family. Genesis 4:20-22, mentions some of the achievements of Cain’s descendants. Metalworking is listed among those achievement.

It’s impossible to say how much knowledge and technology was lost in Noah’s flood. The flood probably set mankind back several thousand years. If the remains of Noah’s ark could actually be found, we might find clues about the antediluvian world that would greatly surprise us.

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