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Can God add (Numbers 3)?

Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 4:25 pm
The book of Numbers gives the a count of Levite males a month and older by three clans or houses.
Verse 22 7500
Verse 28 8600
Verse 34 6200
Then a total is given in Verse 39 as 22000. But these numbers total 22300!
And if you say it is a scribe's error, than how can I trust anything in the Bible that we have today?

Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 4:50 pm
Here is another I came across:
Ezra 1 9-11.
Items enumerated: 30+1029+30+410+1000=2499
Total given: 5400.

Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 5:04 pm
I looked through my notes and some of the original manuscripts for verse 28 have 8,300 instead of 8,600. The 22,000 would work with that answer.

The Ezra numbers don't present any real issue to me: basically there's a list of stuff, and then they say "This is the total amount of stuff they took", with the implication there were other odd pieces thrown in that they didn't need to list.

Re: Can God add (Numbers 3)?

Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 8:51 pm
Tom Mazanec wrote:The book of Numbers gives the a count of Levite males a month and older by three clans or houses.
Verse 22 7500
Verse 28 8600
Verse 34 6200
Then a total is given in Verse 39 as 22000. But these numbers total 22300!
And if you say it is a scribe's error, than how can I trust anything in the Bible that we have today?
Looks to me like they just rounded to two significant figures.

Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 8:55 pm
Tom Mazanec wrote:Here is another I came across:
Ezra 1 9-11.
Items enumerated: 30+1029+30+410+1000=2499
Total given: 5400.
I think the last figure given is the value of what was taken, not the total number of items. I mean, they're very different items. Either that, or there may have been other items and they only listed the most important ones.

Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 11:02 pm
It's not like the ancient scribes had cross-check sums.

More seriously questionable is the stuff in Kings and Chronicles where the same histories are repeated but with differences in reign lengths, manner of deaths, and such-like.

Or the Noah's Flood tale, which flies in the face of biology (several times over), ecology, chemistry, physics, geology, meteorology, marine engineering, and animal husbandry. Not to mention 'where the heck did the water come from and vanish to?'

Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 11:33 pm
Kerry Skydancer wrote:Not to mention 'where the heck did the water come from and vanish to?'
Back in Physical Geography class, I had to do a report on the answer to that. Basically, a scientist pointed out that there was over 10x the volume of Earth's oceans sitting in the mantle and core as steam. And no, the information didn't come from a creationist website.

Posted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 2:49 am
There's also the question of biodiversity. I have little doubt that the Noahic Flood occurred, I just question WHEN. Unless animals speciate at an INCREDIBLE rate, there is little way they could become what we have today. Not to mention that the Ark would really not be big enough to hold all the animals, including insects, we have today. Not to mention the spread of animals. I don't recall a Jaguar having the ability to swim across from the Middle East to South America.

Also, can someone explain to me what the number here are about? I'm no Biblical Scholar so this eludes me.

Posted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 5:29 am
Well, I gave the verses, and you can look them up in the Bible. In my NAB version, such things are given in the notes as "corruptions" (like in Ezra) or as figurative language (the Numbers quote gives a "corrected" figure, as opposed to nearly every other version, including Catholic ones). The Church basically taught me that the Bible is infallible in matters of Faith and Morals, not in arithmatic or astronomy (I think they learned their lesson with Galileo). It does not matter to our Salvation whether the Earth was created in six literal days, it does matter whether Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead. I chose arithmatic as examples because they are in one place (you don't have to go to several books to see that King Whosis reigned 5 years in one and 10 years in another) and even a child can figure them out. Perhaps it would help if Kerry Skydancer would give some of his examples for us to consider.

Posted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 12:51 pm
As for Noah, there appears to have been more than one Ark; almost every culture has a flood story.

Numbers, interestingly enough, finds its flaw in Letters; specifically, Hebrew letters, which were also used as numbers. It's generally supposed that one letter was accidentally changed; not bad, over this length of time, for such a low number of transcription errors.

Yours truly,

The research-loving,

Wanderer

Posted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 2:04 pm
Wanderwolf wrote:As for Noah, there appears to have been more than one Ark; almost every culture has a flood story.
Or they could all be the same...

Posted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 5:29 pm
[...unWARP!!!]

Good evening.

It's likely that individual species were not represented in the ark, but rather, either a Family or Genus representative: i.e., a wolf pair for all canids, and then, a pair of wolf cubs.
As for the jaguar swimming across the Atlantic, well, I'd give you my opinion on continental drift, but that would be opening another can of worms.

In Hebrew, "D" and "R" were sometimes confused (like "t" and "x" could be confused here depending on your handwriting). "Aram" (Syria) was sometimes confused with Edom ( 'RM - 'DM ). The words in question don't seem to alter any specific message of the passages, but if you do want additional accuracy, try finding an Aramaic Bible. Aramaic was spoken in Cannan before Hebrew split off from it.

If you still have doubts, Tom, just look up Matthew 7:15-20

¡Zacatepóngolas!

Until next time, remember:

I

AM

THE

J.A.M. (a.k.a. Numbuh i: "Just because I'm imaginary doesn't mean I don't exist")

Good evening.

[WARP!!!]

Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 10:25 am
Kerry Skydancer wrote:It's not like the ancient scribes had cross-check sums.

Or the Noah's Flood tale, which flies in the face of biology (several times over), ecology, chemistry, physics, geology, meteorology, marine engineering, and animal husbandry. Not to mention 'where the heck did the water come from and vanish to?'
((Longsuffering sigh))
To save time I refer you ALL to http://www.answersingenesis.com , and their presentation on the Flood.... start here at http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/faq/noah.asp

Would that you lot would all stop trying to outsmart yourselves...

As to where the water came from and vanished to.... as described, the massive worldwide flood was a phenomenon of massive tectonic and atmospheric upheaval. The general model given is that due to a massive earthquake, subterranean deposits of water exploded up through fissures in the earth ("and the fountains of the deep were opened...") this weren't no drizzle, folks.... we're talking every major disaster film of the 70's rolled into one and hopped up on crack.

As to where it WENT, afterwards, firstly you have the polar icecaps, and secondly you have the aforementioned tectonic upheaval--- which would have dropped the ocean floor while raising the landmasses. Result: the waters drained off the landmasses and into the now deeper oceans.

Now, I'm curious where you're getting "ecology, marine engineering and animal husbandry?"

I'm assuming your argument is "oh the ark would never hold all those animals" for ecology or marine engineering....

My first question is "how large do you think the Ark was?"
Followed shortly by "how many animals do you think Noah took on that ark?"

Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 11:24 am
I would like Ralph's reply to the additions I showed, as well as K.S. list of varying king reigns/deaths (and Ralph's reply to THESE)

Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 2:38 pm
RHJunior wrote: I'm assuming your argument is "oh the ark would never hold all those animals" for ecology or marine engineering....

My first question is "how large do you think the Ark was?"
Followed shortly by "how many animals do you think Noah took on that ark?"
Nnnot entirely. The simplest ones I could think up are the following:

-How did the animals survive afterwards? Plants don't survive 40 days without oxygen or sunlight. All trees, shrubs, grasses... All dead. Some may survive, yes, but only a few species alive today could do that under VERY specific circumstances, and not the floods of Noah.
-The amount of biodiversity around today wouldn't be possible with the noahic flood, let alone the regional spread. Animals like the Jaguar would have to have travelled across Israel, then swam to South America and adapted to it. Last I checked, no Jaguars in the Bible either.
-The sheer numbers of this are also mind boggling. There is an old theory that states for any species to survive in the short term it requires 50 creatures, and in the long term requires 5000. Two of every animal would decrease the Genetic Diversity so much, every animal would be a clone of its forbears or a horribly deformed mutant

Those aside, the cubits-by-cubits thing of Noah's ship are also in question. I suggest you look at an Elephant and try and tell me how you can, well, in the first place get it IN the Ark, but then get it to sit peacefully in a special chamber for 40 days. Otherwise, inevitably the animals will tear the ship apart as predators hunt prey and wipe out each other.

And as to how many animals? Man has observed around 1.6 million species, at least half of which are on land. That's 1.6 million animals (2 of every kind), plus himself and his two children. And keep in mind 1.6 is just the number cataloged; there are estimated anywhere from a conservative four to a liberal thirty million species on the planet.

Also, doesn't the Bible speak out on incest? If so, would you care to explain how Cane and Abel had children? And how Noah's sons had children? If I recall, in both cases, only one woman was available at the time...

Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 2:57 pm
[...unWARP!!!]

Good evening.

Very briefly, Axel:

Seeds.
Again, do you want me to go into an explanation of continental drift? You'll probably hate me if I do.
Genetic diversity wasn't a problem. Creation had happened only 1,600 years earlier, and with the water canopy above the Earth protecting the biosphere, UV rays could not get through to damage DNA. However, it seems that Noah, when he brought in the cheetah, he brought in twin brother and sister, instead of two from unrelated families.
An adult elephant is huge. A baby elephant isn't. And baby animals normally get along with other baby animals.
How many animals? I already gave an answer to that.
Yes, it speaks out against incest. Incest was impossible to avoid during the first generations, but given that their DNA was practically perfect, inbreeding was impossible. Also, Noah's sons had wives of their own.

¡Zacatepóngolas!

Until next time, remember:

I

AM

THE

J.A.M. (a.k.a. Numbuh i. "Just because I'm imaginary doesn't mean I don't exist")

Good evening.

[WARP!!!]

Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 3:17 pm
The JAM wrote: [...unWARP!!!]
Seeds.
Merciful... Frak... I just said that this is, once again, not possible. Take an apple and place it underwater for forty days and shake the tank vigorously constantly over this time (I recommend a paint shaker). Cover it in black paper as well. Then, periodically stab it to simulate a fish bite. After this time, then take the apple seeds and plant them, and see if anything grows. Will it? The answer is, of course, no.
The JAM wrote: Again, do you want me to go into an explanation of continental drift? You'll probably hate me if I do.
If continental drift worked at the rate you suggest it supposedly did, it'd mean there'd be Jaguars in Israel anyway, for starters, and second, it'd mean that today the continents would be shifting so fast they'd be crashing together EVERY FEW YEARS. And don't say "They slowed down", as it'd still mean they'd be crashing together back then as well. I don't recall Moses having to wear cleats to keep himself from getting tossed about.
The JAM wrote: Genetic diversity wasn't a problem. Creation had happened only 1,600 years earlier, and with the water canopy above the Earth protecting the biosphere, UV rays could not get through to damage DNA. However, it seems that Noah, when he brought in the cheetah, he brought in twin brother and sister, instead of two from unrelated families.
An adult elephant is huge. A baby elephant isn't. And baby animals normally get along with other baby animals.
... Ok, let's go over this niiice and sloooow. Genetic Diversity increases constantly from the reproduction of cells. As cells change, DNA is mis-copied, if you will, resulting in new DNA. This, over time, creates changes in DNA. Those whose DNA changes are favourable mate more, and those that aren't mate less, until there is either a split, or the weaker one dies off. This process is known as evolution and is a constant and unstoppable process observable at a Bacterial level today. Now, let us go over the clone thing. If DNA wasn't, as you say, damaged, at this point, that would mean Adam and Eve's children would be perfect clones, now wouldn't they? Therefore, by this point, there would be no Mongoloid, Caucasian, or Africanized peoples. Unless, of course, you explain this by evolution, which you claim against, it just doesn't happen.

Also, baby animals thing, that means Noah went around killing animals to steal their babies. Once again, doesn't seem like a very nice thing to do.
The JAM wrote: How many animals? I already gave an answer to that.
The JAM wrote: Yes, it speaks out against incest. Incest was impossible to avoid during the first generations, but given that their DNA was practically perfect, inbreeding was impossible. Also, Noah's sons had wives of their own.
But then there'd be, once again, a limited combination of features. And if they had wives, descendants of Adam and Eve, they'd be clones. No DNA diversity, no change, no difference in features. But then, if incest was wrong, why would God put people in a situation that He would allow it to happen in?

Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 6:01 pm
*warning: non-regular poster*

I think it's worth mentioning a few things:

1) precision and attention to detail are A) not equally possible and B) not equally valued at all times in all places. This can explain differing numbers in a great MANY ancient texts.

2) Tom wrote:

"Then a total is given in Verse 39 as 22000. But these numbers total 22300!
And if you say it is a scribe's error, than how can I trust anything in the Bible that we have today?"

Which is a very fair question. Where does one "draw the line"?

Imagine a teacher told me in school that the distance from Mars to the Sun was 155 million miles, and today, I discover on wikipedia that it is 154,863,553 mi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars). Would you expect me to view everything he said with distrust? No.

Now let us say it was a more egregious error. Would you expect me to say that he was questionalble in matters of astronomy? Most definitely yes.

But in matters of ethics? No.

A simple inconsistency in a biblical census does not the Gospel undermine.

... wow, that sounds bad. *shrug*

anyway,

3) One can always find holes. The question is not: what's wrong with this picture? It's "what would you accept as evidence FOR xyz...."

"Neque enim quaero intelligere ut credam, sed credo ut intelligam. Nam et hoc credo, quia, nisi credidero, non intelligam." ("Nor do I seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe that I may understand. For this too I believe, that unless I first believe, I shall not understand.")

I have yet to hear of a person argued into the Kingdom. Suffice to say, one can make a reasoned argument for Christianity, the Bible, etc. One can be a Christian and not and idiot, but one can also be not a Christian and not an idiot.

I encourage seeking proof before devoting oneself to Christ. But if you seek, what are you willing to accept as evidence?

Also, 'cause I can't resist: Biodiversity among humans (a very non-exhaustive look)

If Adam and Eve each have a wealth of genetic information, there'd be plenty for each of their kids to have different makeups. E.g., the families which seem to almost randomly have a black and a white child, or recessive genes such as red hair/blue eyes blah blah blah. I'm not worried about clones.

Moral: Episode II was bad. Someone should have killed Jar-Jar

Hugs,

Nemean

Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 8:37 pm
[...unWARP!!!]

Good evening.
Axelgear wrote:After this time, then take the apple seeds and plant them, and see if anything grows. Will it? The answer is, of course, no.
This is true for all seeds of all species for all combinations of salt water?
Axelgear wrote:If continental drift worked at the rate you suggest it supposedly did, it'd mean there'd be Jaguars in Israel anyway, for starters, and second, it'd mean that today the continents would be shifting so fast they'd be crashing together EVERY FEW YEARS. And don't say "They slowed down", as it'd still mean they'd be crashing together back then as well. I don't recall Moses having to wear cleats to keep himself from getting tossed about.
For starters, I haven't suggested a single number for this, but if you insist:
According to the US Geologic survey ( http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/dynamic/histor ... hor4833509 ) Pangea began to split 200 million years ago. Also according to them, not every plate boundary moves at the same rate, and it varies from 2.5 cm/year to 15 cm/year http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/dynamic/unders ... hor6715825.
Can we agree that the continents drift rate is not constant?
Given the geological upheaval of Noah's day, it took a bit for things to settle down, but, according to the Bible, the continents had already split a considerable distance. Some 130 years after Noah, in the days of Peleg, this was noticeable:
Moshe Bar Amram wrote:And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided.
Genesis 10:25
Axelgear wrote:If DNA wasn't, as you say, damaged, at this point, that would mean Adam and Eve's children would be perfect clones, now wouldn't they? Therefore, by this point, there would be no Mongoloid, Caucasian, or Africanized peoples. Unless, of course, you explain this by evolution, which you claim against, it just doesn't happen.
I believe there is a difference between perfect DNA, cloned DNA, and damaged DNA. Perfect DNA does not exclude variations, but it does exclude birth defects, being prone to diseases or degenerative syndromes, etc.
Axelgear wrote:Also, baby animals thing, that means Noah went around killing animals to steal their babies. Once again, doesn't seem like a very nice thing to do.
Point is irrelevant. I COULD say that animals did not become wild until after the Flood (Genesis 9) and so Noah had no problems bringing them in, but we'd just go around in circles with this point.
It's likely that individual species were not represented in the ark, but rather, either a Family or Genus representative: i.e., a wolf pair for all canids, and then, a pair of wolf cubs.
Stating once again, given the relative perfection of early DNA, genetic diversity was possible for a pair of wolves to bring forth all Canis species today. Note, however, that the canids were the final stop. There wasn't another animal that brought forth the wolves or any other canid.
Axelgear wrote:But then there'd be, once again, a limited combination of features. And if they had wives, descendants of Adam and Eve, they'd be clones. No DNA diversity, no change, no difference in features. But then, if incest was wrong, why would God put people in a situation that He would allow it to happen in?
Once again, perfect DNA allows for a great range of diversity within one species (if it were biologically possible, a pair of humans could theoretically have 2^23 = 8,388,608 non-twin/triplet offspring and they would all be genetically different from one another but still remaining as human beings)
Once the Second Law of Thermodynamics got a stronger hold of DNA, defects began to increase exponentially, and thus the law against incest was introduced.

Or, to make things easier for everyone here, you could simply say "Noah's Flood is not a historical/worldwide event", we (or I, at least) would respect your opinion, and let it go at that.

¡Zacatepóngolas!

Until next time, remember:

I

AM

THE

J.A.M. (a.k.a. Numbuh i: "Just because I'm imaginary doesn't mean I don't exist")

Good evening.

[WARP!!!]

Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 9:08 pm
The JAM wrote: This is true for all seeds of all species for all combinations of salt water?
No, but most of them it is. If even ONE species in this case dies out, it totally invalidates your theory, as it would mean what is here now wouldn't survive the flood, wouldn't it?
The JAM wrote: For starters, I haven't suggested a single number for this, but if you insist:
According to the US Geologic survey ( http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/dynamic/histor ... hor4833509 ) Pangea began to split 200 million years ago. Also according to them, not every plate boundary moves at the same rate, and it varies from 2.5 cm/year to 15 cm/year http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/dynamic/unders ... hor6715825.
Can we agree that the continents drift rate is not constant?
Given the geological upheaval of Noah's day, it took a bit for things to settle down, but, according to the Bible, the continents had already split a considerable distance. Some 130 years after Noah, in the days of Peleg, this was noticeable:
The rate of drift is not a constant, no. However, once again, for them to be as far apart as they are, they'd have to move so fast they'd affect the spin of the Earth, and they'd start moving at an INCREDIBLE pace. That, or have millions of years to move...
The JAM wrote: I believe there is a difference between perfect DNA, cloned DNA, and damaged DNA. Perfect DNA does not exclude variations, but it does exclude birth defects, being prone to diseases or degenerative syndromes, etc.
... Ok, let me point out a few things.

1. Perfect DNA. Doesn't exist. There is no "ideal" human. All humans are innately flawed, as are all things. Adam and Eve would've been created with the features that suited the region best.

2. Cloned DNA just means it's identical to its progenitor. That is why if a brother and sister have children with each other, and their children have children with each other, and so on, they'll be almost identical to their progenitor, except with obvious birth defects due to inbreeding.

3. Perfect DNA, if it existed, would exclude variations. We have two sets of each gene, that is it. If our DNA has changed then, that means it was more beneficial to have it, and therefore humans have evolved since this time, which means conceding to evolution, which eliminates the idea that the world is 6000 years old entirely.
The JAM wrote: Point is irrelevant. I COULD say that animals did not become wild until after the Flood (Genesis 9) and so Noah had no problems bringing them in, but we'd just go around in circles with this point.
True, that is an irrelevant point. Still, the number of animals out there even as babies wouldn't fit on a single ship. Also, where did all the Dinosaurs go by the way? The sea-based ones included, in fact.
The JAM wrote:
It's likely that individual species were not represented in the ark, but rather, either a Family or Genus representative: i.e., a wolf pair for all canids, and then, a pair of wolf cubs.
Stating once again, given the relative perfection of early DNA, genetic diversity was possible for a pair of wolves to bring forth all Canis species today. Note, however, that the canids were the final stop. There wasn't another animal that brought forth the wolves or any other canid.
That... Really doesn't make sense. The amount of genetic damage done and lack of diversity would turn all creatures into mentally and physically retarded, inbred wastes of beings.
The JAM wrote: Once again, perfect DNA allows for a great range of diversity within one species (if it were biologically possible, a pair of humans could theoretically have 2^23 = 8,388,608 non-twin/triplet offspring and they would all be genetically different from one another but still remaining as human beings)
Once the Second Law of Thermodynamics got a stronger hold of DNA, defects began to increase exponentially, and thus the law against incest was introduced.
Perfect DNA does not exist. Otherwise we would find it in our early ancestors wouldn't we? Fossils of humans from that period (After all, if a Fossil exists of hominids like Lucy, one would exist of a "Perfect Human" wouldn't it?) would contain this DNA, but surprise, surprise, their DNA is as imperfect as ours. If your theory was correct, the further back in time you go, the less genetic diversity there should be, but this is not true. Mutation is a constant, and right up until the progenitor itself, diversity abounds. Random mutation happens constantly; always has, always will. Perfection in physical form DOES NOT EXIST.
The JAM wrote: Or, to make things easier for everyone here, you could simply say "Noah's Flood is not a historical/worldwide event", we (or I, at least) would respect your opinion, and let it go at that.
That's the odd thing... I believe the Noahic Flood happened, I just don't believe it was worldwide. Highly localized events could clear out large cities, clearing out the sinful that angered God, but would leave other tribes and parts of the world untouched, allowing for both the Bible to be accurate and for untouched levels of biodiversity. I even think the Garden of Eden can be explained as the start of the First Society in Eastern Egypt. We know humans originated in Africa, and if God first communed with humans in that time, it would be consistent with many Creation Myths, including our own, for them to have recieved Communication with God in this region. After all, if you think about it, the Egyptian description of Osiris states there were people around before him but he was the first "Human", as he interoduced law and order and had a wife created just for him by "Ra". If you think about it, the concept of the first people to speak with God created specifically to bring order and the knowledge of the existance of God into the world makes a lot of sense.