I thought everyone might find this amusing. This is the email correspondence I’ve had with “Stephen” following yesterday’s podcast…
First, I wrote:
I had asked for one, and you gave me one (James 5:17). Be sure to listen to today’s podcast…and let me know which city you live in (can just be your zip code if you’d like).
To which Stephen responded…
So your proof that the author of James was citing good science is:
1: The author of James didn’t actually mean what he wrote. Earth really means Israel. Can you give me a link where the Greek word for Earth used in James is used to mean Israel? I’m open to the possibility, but I’m of the mind you just made that up.
2: There was a period where there was no rain or dew in Israel for three and a half years. Even granting your leap that we need to disregard what the Bible actually says in favor of an imaginative fundamentalist fiction, it’s bad science to say there was no rain in Israel for three and a half years. Referencing a desert on the other side of the world is a silly trick common among creationists trying to fool children.
3. Finally you go after science saying it presupposes naturalism. No kidding. Of course science presupposes naturalism just like religion presupposes supernaturalism. That’s why religion is bad science.
I can’t believe you thought that was a good rebuttal. You did both the things I predicted. You used a whacky reinterpretation of the Bible that would be rejected by any serious scholar and tried to redefine science.
I wish I could say it was a nice try but its just more juvenile apologetics.
So I responded by saying:
Again, the Bible isn’t intended to be a textbook on science. Let’s look at some Biblical examples of how the term “earth” doesn’t always refer to the literal whole earth…
Genesis 1:10 And God called the dry [land] Earth
Of course, the oceans and other bodies of water comprise the earth as well…
Genesis 4:14 Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth.
Of course, Cain remained on the earth…but in a DIFFERENT LOCATION. This is a similar usage of “earth” as a figure of speech (in comparison to James 5:17).
Exodus 9:15 thou shalt be cut off from the earth.
Again, the “earth” is a figure of speech for a particular region.
Some New Testament examples…
Matthew 25:18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth
Does this mean that he dug in all of the earth or in a particular region? C’mon, Stephen…I know that you know the answer to this one. 😉
Matthew 27:51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
Again, is this a region, or the whole earth? Why do we call it an EARTHquake when the whole earth doesn’t shake, Stephen? Could it be…a figure of speech?
Luke 11:31 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon [is] here.
Does this mean that she came from all over the earth, or do you think it refers to a particular region?
Do you need more examples?
I think we both know I’ve got you in checkmate here, bro. And I didn’t really think you’d be a man of your word, Stephen…but let me know if I was mistaken about that. That’s one thing I’d love to see you prove me wrong about. And I will publicly apologize in both of my podcasts next week if you do show yourself to be a man of your word.
So he wrote back…
Genesis 1:10 And God called the dry [land] Earth
So by your theory land that is not Israel is not Earth? What did God call that? Also this is Hebrew not the Greek used by the Author of James.
The entire verse is: (KJB) Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.
Genisis 4:12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.
Obviously this can’t be a reference to Israel because there was no Israel yet. Also read in context “driven from the face of the earth” means he can’t grow crops. Are you suggesting he can’t grow crops in only one location? Not much of a curse. And when he becomes a vagabond in the earth is he only a vagabond in one location? In context he is saying he’s lost YHWH’s protection.
Here once again the entire verse is: For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth.
I believe we can comfortably say that the term “cut off from the earth” means not being able to grow crops.
Exodus 9:14 Now I will send plagues that will affect you personally as well as your officials and people. This is how you will know that there is no one like me anywhere on earth.
So by your theory there may be other Gods like YHWH in other lands.
It may be a figure of speech, but not how you’re trying to spin it.
Please. He dug a hole in the earth. The ground. Now there is a new hole in the planet. Do you really think this supports your argument?
“parts of the earth”
My final email to him:
You’re really stooping on this, Stephen. You can see as clearly as I can that the term “earth” is a figure of speech which refers to a region in general (not just Israel, but any region…it represents Israel in 1 Kings because that’s where 1 Kings was written).
But it is now clear to me that you have no interest whatsoever in truth. Like I said, I didn’t really expect you to be a man of your word. Instead of being honest with yourself (and me), you’ve resorted to playing a silly game of semantics. How do you function in society without being able to identify figures of speech or other non-literal forms of communication? When you see a stop sign, do you just sit there until it tells you to go? Or maybe you don’t believe everything you read, so you just keep on going when you see a stop sign? 😉 That’s an old Steven Wright joke…man, that guy was classic! 🙂
But anyway…I’ll be posting our dialogue here on the website.
So who’s your favorite football team? Or do you follow football at all?
Too bad we couldn’t have a rational conversation. He escapes reason, I escape wrath.
PLEASE KEEP PRAYING FOR STEPHEN!
Remember…it’s not about winning arguments – it’s about winning souls.
The moment you realize that someone is longer willing to think and converse rationally, change the subject!
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