Alright, I can start getting back into this a little bit. Looks like I have quite a bit of catching up to do.
[quote name='Darryl A. Armstrong' date='16 February 2011 - 02:01 AM' timestamp='1297850510' post='244088']
[quote name='Persiflage' date='15 February 2011 - 11:18 PM' timestamp='1297829899' post='244071']
[quote name='tenpenny' date='14 February 2011 - 07:12 PM' timestamp='1297739555' post='243906']
1) Why then does God say to man [all biblical passages are from TNIV], "but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will certainly die" and not "but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for if you do, I will withhold from you the tree of life" [Gn 2:17]?[/quote]
Because both those statements mean pretty much exactly the same thing. It's perfectly clear that the only reason Adam and Eve are alive in the first place is by God's power. He's telling them that if they rebel, He will take away the power He's given them to be alive. That's simple enough.[/quote]
Actually, I would argue there is quite a bit of difference between those two statements. It's the bit of difference that makes man become mortal because he ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge or
because he disobeyed God.[/quote]
Difference? So you're saying the difference
God making man mortal because he ate of the tree AND
God making man mortal because he disobeyed God? How are you saying there's a difference between those two again?
[quote]All that's clear is God says Adam shouldn't be allowed to eat of the tree, and so Adam isn't allowed to eat of the tree. Exactly the mechanics of how the tree works is not relevant to the point of the story, and thus left out.[/quote]
Well, mechanics do become relevant once you ask: If man is ignorant of good and evil, how can he disobey? If eating from the tree of knowledge bestowed the knowledge of good and evil but also made man mortal, then eating from the tree of life bestowed immortality but would also... leave man ignorant of good and evil?[/quote]
By mechanics I was referring to the mechanics by which God decided to use the tree (did He actually put magical powers in the tree that would poison the life in Adam and Eve? did He simply put a tree there for Adam and Eve's will to be free, and then just withdrew eternal life from them after they rebelled? who cares?). Man could disobey because he had something called free will. He was told not to do something and then did it (while he was free to either do it or not do it). Again, getting down to particulars not specified in Scripture seems like a useless activity to me. Did the fruit specifically and magically instill knowledge of good and evil inside the brains of Adam and Eve? Or did the mere act of disobeying God instill the knowledge of evil inside the beings of Adam and Eve, and it was from that possibility that the tree derived it's name? If we're brainstorming, I can speculate till the cows come home about how precisely an infinite and sovereign God decided to do what He said He would do.
[quote]Does anyone here know if in the original Hebrew "tree" was referred to specifically twice in this: "In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?" If it's not, and the second "tree" is a translation artifact, I think Shestov's argument (as interpreted by tenpenny) is strengthened.[/quote]
The Hebrew word for tree is "ates
" (Strong's Number 6086) and it does indeed appear twice in Genesis 6:9, once for each separate tree.
[quote][quote]But nowhere is the writer of Genesis logically contradicting himself or being inconsistent. It only says that they were allowed to eat of any tree (including the tree of life) except one, and then they were forbidden to eat of the tree of life after the Fall. There is no need to make any further assumption that God warned Adam against eating from some other
tree, before the Fall, that God simply does not warn Adam against in these chapters of Scripture.[/quote]
I believe the writer of Genesis is indeed inconsistent. In Genesis 3:2-3, Eve tells the snake (emphasis mine), “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it
...'" This whole touching restriction is not what we were told God said. If Eve made that part up, she's lying, and since this is before any fruit has been eaten, we must assume she can't be. So the writer, we must conclude is inconsistent in the relating of this story.[/quote]
An elementary rule of hermeneutics is that twice or thrice told tales in the Bible do not have to be literally word-for-word-detail-for-detail EXACTLY the same. And if they aren't, that doesn't necessarily demand logical contradiction. Some people take this to mean that the Four Gospels contradict each other. ("But ... but ... Matthew says the 2 Marys found the empty tomb, while Mark says the 2 Marys and Salome found the empty tomb ... AH HA!"
) In this case, I'd suggest that Eve can be mistaken without lying, and that being led into sin is a process, her thinking gets more confused the longer the devil questions her.
Note: I first thought that the questions tenpenny and Shestov were asking about the details in the story of the Fall were an off topic rabbit trail. After further consideration, turns out HOW you interpret Scripture is dependent on your philosophy, and there is definitely an Existentialist approach to interpreting Scripture that Shestov has used here, and that I've seen others like Barth use elsewhere. I'm even tempted to say that this discussion is illustrative of the anti-rationalist Existentialist approach to Scripture, because it allows for more reading your own personal meanings and inferences into the text, instead of just letting the text say what it says, period.
[quote name='M. Leary' date='16 February 2011 - 05:55 AM' timestamp='1297864522' post='244094']
No, there is a nice repetition in the verse. All the trees... the tree of life... the tree of the knowledge of good and evil...
And also germane to the above, the Hebrew word here sometimes translated "middle" is less definitive than a geometric point. It often just means "amidst" as if the trees were there in the garden, but are not located specifically by the author. Their prominence derives from their unique designation by the Creator rather than their location in the garden. I think some translations choose "middle" because the narrative here may grant the word a more particular force, as if the author wants us to picture these trees at the center of this garden. But it isn't necessary from a lexical standpoint. I find it far more intriguing to think that these trees did not have any special place in the garden, but were simply there among the rest of the trees that were good for seeing and eating. It was only God's command that gave them an aura of significance among the arboreal splendor of the new world.[/quote]
M. Leary is, right here, 100% correct.
[quote name='M. Leary' date='16 February 2011 - 09:47 AM' timestamp='1297878475' post='244120']
[quote name='Persiflage' date='16 February 2011 - 12:54 PM' timestamp='1297875298' post='244114']
Biblicist? Isn't a Biblicist one who interprets Scripture literally?[/quote]
He defines what it means for his own method here
on pages 11-12. These pages in Barth are among the finest responses to the excesses of that era of historical criticism, and they still work in many quarters today. I would love to see Barth and Bart Ehrman have a conversation.[/quote]
So, for example, when Barth explains his interpretation method -
[quote]Strictly speaking, no single verse seems to me capable of a smooth interpretation. There ‘remains’ everywhere, more or less in the background, that which subtly escapes both understanding and interpretation, or which, at least, awaits further investigation. But this cannot be thought of as a ‘residuum’ simply to be put on one side or disregarded. It is my so-called ‘Biblicism’ and ‘Alexandrianism’ which forbid me to allow the mark of competent scholarship to be that the critic discloses fragments of past history and then leaves them - unexplained. I have, moreover, no desire to conceal the fact that my ‘Biblicist’ method - which means in the end no more than ‘consider well’ - is applicable also to the study of Lao-Tse and of Goethe. Nor can I deny that I should find considerable difficulty in applying the method to certain of the books contained in the Bible itself. When I am named ‘Biblicist,’ all that can rightly be proved against me is that I am prejudiced in supposing the Bible to be a good book, and that I hold it to be profitable for men to take its conceptions at least as seriously as they take their own.[/quote]
- why is it so hard to understand his position? It seems vague and unclear. I've never understood why Bible interpretation is supposed to be so very hard and mysterious. Yes, we need to study Scripture and the Holy Spirit works to help us understand how to apply it to our own lives better. But interpreting the meaning of Scripture, in and of itself, is simply an intellectual exercise in following the certain rules of Hermeneutics. Getting the meaning of the words is easy, it's figuring out how to grow in and more fully understand the depths of God's character and truths that the words reveal to us that is the hard part. Barth plays with the label "Biblicist" like it doesn't mean anything to him, unless he gives it his own meaning himself. But I'm trying to understand why he still sounds so hesitant. It's like he's trying to communicate what he believes about the Bible, but finds it difficult. When ever I read writers who are trying to make an argument but are hesitant about actually claiming much of anything, it gives me a pain. Just let it out, dude, say something more like "When I am named 'Biblicist,' all that can rightly be proved about me is that I have become convinced that the words of Scripture are true, that Scripture acts like a sword dividing our false conceptions & desires away from us and leading us to salvation in Christ, and that it contains special revelations that we will never find in Lao-Tse or Goethe."