Barry and Helen Setterfield, October 2008
This has been written in response to Donald Morgan’s objections about the Bible as found here:
As time permits, we will respond to some of his other ‘problems’ with the Bible, many of which involve him judging God, taking material out of context, not liking the way the Bible describes things (no one ever called it a “G” rated book!) and evidently purposely ‘misunderstanding’ material. In the long run, each person has a choice – accept or reject the truth. Morgan has, at least so far, rejected it. For the sake of some who may be confused by some of his accusations regarding the Bible, we offer the following responses. Our responses are in bold print.
Morgan: GE 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heaven(s) and the earth." (One might ask what "existed," and where God dwelt, before he created heaven and earth. Of course, if God were pure spirit the question could be considered moot, but inasmuch as the God of the Bible allegedly participated in a wrestling match, ate solid food, was seen face to face, spoke with Moses, etc., it would seem that he possesses physical attributes, including form.)
We live in a time/space/mass continuum. Time as we know it is measured only because of space and mass. Mass as we know it certainly cannot exist without space, and if you consider the fact that mass as we know it is dependant upon the movement of atoms, and that is time-related, then mass also cannot exist without the other two: space and time. And space? What is interesting is that the common conception of mass is of ‘nothingness,’ whereas space as we know it is jammed full of something called the Zero Point Energy. There is, quite literally, in our creation no such thing as a physical nothingness.
This is all we know. This is what we know. To try to presume that God, who created the time/space/mass continuum must be bound by it in any way is nonsense. If I paint a picture in which all shadows point toward the lower left hand corner of the paper, I am in no way bound by that ‘rule’ I created where my own life is concerned. In fact, that creation of mine and my own existence are so far apart that even if that paper had some kind of mind it could not in the least comprehend me.
We are in that relation to God. We know only what He has chosen to either show or tell of Himself through creation and/or revelation. The one other way we have of knowing His character is through Jesus Christ.
The Bible tells us that the creation was the direct work of the Son, Jesus Christ. He referred to the first person of the Trinity as the Father, and stated quite simply to the woman at the well in John 4 that “God is spirit.” However Jesus did assume some kind of physically discerned presence several times through history before the Incarnation and, as such, interacted directly with a number of people.
[Morgan:] (Note: Some biblicists contend that biblical chronology fixes the date of creation at 4004 B.C. thereby making the earth about six thousand years old. Some present-day creationists stubbornly adhere to a young earth timetable in spite of overwhelming evidence that the earth is actually billions of years old.)
Those ‘biblicists’ are depending upon the Masoretic text, which is the result of some deliberate changes made by Rabbi Akiba about 100 A.D. We have clear evidence of this. The most reliable of the Old Testament versions is probably the Alexandrian Septuagint. This was translated by Jewish scholars from ancient paleo-Hebrew to classical Greek about three hundred years before Christ. Other versions called ‘septuagint’ are translations from Hebrew to Greek made from the Masoretic text, and after 100 A.D. These ‘septuagints’ were mostly instigated by Origen.
The Alexandrian LXX indicates the creation is a little over 8000 years old at this point.
The ‘overwhelming evidence’ that the earth is billions of years old lies in a number of faulty dating assumptions and interpretations. It is assumed the rate of radio decay has remained constant through time. It hasn’t. It is assumed that ice core layers are annual. That is also a faulty assumption. Judging the past by the present is a trap many have fallen into, despite the clear evidence in the geological layers themselves of several world-wide catastrophes which would have affected climate variations. The concept of gradualism, in line with a lot of what we see today in terms of change, is a faulty foundation to build on, not only considering the changes we see locally as a result of local catastrophes, but the radical changes we see between basic ‘epochs:’ Archaeozoic to Paleozoic, then Paleozoic to Mesozoic, and, finally Mesozoic to Cenozoic. Evidence in changes of rock types as well as fossil types are clear evidence of some rather startling changes, the likes of which we have not seen in our time.
Morgan: GE 1:3-5, 14-19 There was light ("night and day") before there was a sun. (Note: If there were no sun, there would be no night or day. Also, light from the newly created heavenly bodies seems to have reached the earth instantaneously though it now takes thousands or millions of years.)
The sun is not necessary for night and day. Only a light source is. That, with a rotating earth, is what is required for night and day. Interestingly, if one examines the interactions of plasma filaments in the lab as well as in outer space, we see a fragmentation of a major filament into a number of daughter filaments, bound together like a big cable by its own magnetic field. When a pinch occurs, the outer daughter filaments pinch first, forming ‘balls’ and the last thing to form is the central ball which then lights up. This is exactly what happened biblically. The planets were formed before the sun lit. The Bible knows what it is talking about.
Because in the first moments and days after creation the Zero Point Energy was low, although building fast, virtual particles were also few per any unit of space volume. This meant light had almost no impedance in its journey towards its final point of destination. Thus the light from the early quasar which was in the middle of our galaxy (as there is one in the middle of every galaxy we see as we look out into deep space/back in time) would have reached the earth in a few seconds the first few days of creation. So, while not instantaneous, the light did reach the earth very quickly, and this is what resulted in the first days and nights.
Morgan: GE 1:12, 16 Plants began to grow before there was sunlight.
The plants had the light they needed before the sun lit. See the response immediately prior to this one.
Morgan: GE 1:29 Every plant and tree which yield seed are given to us by God as good to eat. (Note: This would include poisonous plants such as hemlock, buckeye pod, nightshade, oleander.)
We know from the fossil record that there are a lot of plants which do not exist now which existed before. There is no reason at all to suspect that mutations after the first creation did not cause the problems we see in plant life now. In addition, our own mutations may have made us subject to their effects whereas we might not have been before. Again the idea of judging the past by the present is not a good foundation to build on.
Morgan: GE 2:15-23, 3:1-5, 1TI 2:14 Eve was created after Adam had already been given the prohibition about eating the forbidden fruit. Eve believed the serpent (the craftiest of all of God's wild creatures) when he assured her that she would become wise and would not die if she ate the fruit. Eve has been blamed for causing Adam to fall, and ultimately for the fall of mankind. (Note: Prior to eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve would have had no knowledge of right and wrong; they would not have known that it was a sin to disobey God or to obey the serpent. After they ate the forbidden fruit, God placed a guard around the "Tree of Eternal Life" to keep them from eating its fruit. He could have done the same for the "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil" before Adam and Eve disobeyed. In addition, even though the prohibition regarding the forbidden fruit was made to Adam before Eve came on the scene, Eve has been blamed for the Fall; 1TI 2:14 says: "... Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.")
There is no place in the Bible where it says Eve caused Adam to sin. That is first. Morgan needs to pay more attention to what the Bible says before he makes statements like that. It does not, by the way, matter what people say the Bible says – it matters what the Bible itself says. It nowhere blames Eve for Adam’s sin.
Nor does it say they had no knowledge of right and wrong. This is another twisting Morgan does. The Bible says the tree would give them the knowledge of good and evil. They did know right and wrong. Right was obedience to God and wrong was disobedience. That definition has held throughout history. They knew good as well. They knew God, and, as Jesus said, "God is good" -- He is the definition of good. It was evil God did not want them to know about. Evil is the result, the consequence, of disobedience to God (sin).
If there had been no possibility of disobedience to God, then obedience would have meant nothing. Jesus defined loving God as obedience to Him. When asked what the most important commandment was, Jesus said it was to love – first God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and then to love your neighbor as yourself. We were created to love. But if love is programmed in, it is not love, for love is a choice, a decision, to commit to another and to care for the other at least as much as you care for yourself if not more. Therefore, if Adam and Eve were to have the opportunity to love God, they had to have the choice involved. Thus, the tree. One thing in their entire world that God said ‘no’ to, simply so that their love and obedience would have meaning.
Morgan: GE 3:1-5 The serpent speaks human language (presumably Hebrew).
We do not know exactly what ‘serpent’ means here, actually. The root of the word simply means to hiss or whisper. In Ezekiel 28 we read an interesting passage where God is clearly addressing Satan through the King of Tyre, saying he (Lucifer/Satan) was in the Garden of Eden and was a guardian cherub. Whether this took a physical form or not, we don’t know. The reference crawling on his belly is interesting. The word translated as ‘belly’ is used only two times in the Bible. It comes from a primary root, “goach” meaning “to gush forth, to break forth, to labor to bring forth, to come forth, to draw up, to take out.” So we have been at the mercy of translators where this is concerned. This guardian cherub – whom Eve probably knew and had learned to trust – hissed or whispered to her and as a result was condemned to gush forth or break forth and eat dust. Was it a serpent that lost its legs? That is the tradition. It is not necessarily the original meaning. As far as speaking a human language goes, one would expect that of a guardian cherub.
Morgan: GE 3:14-16 God curses the serpent, Eve, and Adam for what they have done. (Note: This is inconsistent with God's omniscience; God should have known full well, ahead of time, what the outcome would be. Since God created the three as well as the Tree of Knowledge, he is ultimately responsible for the Fall.)
Again Morgan is sadly deficient in Bible knowledge. Nowhere are Adam and Eve cursed. Satan is cursed and the ground is cursed, but Adam and Eve are not cursed. However the consequences of their actions are made known to them, which is very different.
Did God know ahead of time? Of course He did. In Revelation 13:8 we read that Christ is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. It was simply acted out in time here on earth. So why the Fall? When Christ was asked what the most important command was, in an effort to trap Him, He replied that it was to love God with everything in you and to love your neighbor as yourself.
And that tells us also why we were created. We were created to love and be loved, but love is not love if there is no choice. That is because love is not a feeling, but a decision to commit to the welfare of another. It does not always feel good, but it always looks for the good for the person who is loved.
If we were created to love, to be able to make that decision, then it was necessary that we could also choose otherwise: we could choose to ignore God or deny Him. We could choose to obey or to disobey. We are not robots. And so Adam and Eve, like all of us, had that choice. Yes, God knew what would happen, and so the cure was in place before the problem began.
What Jesus did on the cross was to pay the penalty for all sin for all time. No one goes to hell because of his sins. That has been taken care of. It was a legal thing, the Atonement. But the personal relationship with God is just that, a personal thing and a choice. It would not be possible without the Atonement, but because of the Crucifixion, we each have the option of choosing for or against our Creator and Redeemer who is also our Judge.
So yes, God knew it all ahead of time, and had the escape from our own foolishness in place before that foolishness happened.
Was God responsible for the Fall? No more so than a parent is responsible for a child stealing a cookie from the cookie jar. In fact, the parent holds the child responsible and may either reprimand or punish the child, as the parent sees fit.
Morgan: GE 3:14 The serpent eats dust for the rest of his life (by command of God).
See the above response on Genesis 3:1-5.
Morgan: GE 4:15 A mark is placed on Cain as a distinctive identifying symbol when there were only three (known) persons on earth.
Only three persons on earth? Morgan has not even read THIS part of the Bible. Cain was complaining that anyone who saw him would kill him, and afterwards he built a city. Quite remarkable if there were only three people on the earth at that time!
The fact that Cain was working as a farmer and Abel as a rancher indicates both were grown men at the time of the murder. Not only had Eve had other children, both Cain and Abel had married and had children by then, and possibly grandchildren. Seth was born when Adam was 230 years old (according to the more ancient texts) and he was called a replacement for Abel. That means that Cain and Abel were probably more than 200 years old at the time of the murder. Plenty of time for quite a few people to have been born, grown, and had children of their own.
And yes, Cain most probably married a sister. The first humans were genetically perfect and mutations would not have made close family marriages dangerous. It was not until the time of Moses that incest was biblically defined and prohibited. Before that time the idea of marrying within the family was not only allowed, but preferred. Abraham married his half-sister, Sarah. When they wanted a wife for their son, Isaac, a servant was dispatched to the old family area to find a relation for him to marry. The same held with their son Jacob. In fact, when Jacob’s twin brother Esau married outside the family clan, the parents were quite upset.
The practice of close family marriages, although biblically forbidden after Moses, was nevertheless carried down into modern cultures in several places. The intermarriages among European royalty are a famous example, and they led to the haemophilia which was directly responsible for the Russian revolution and other problems. In Hawaii, a king or queen had to be the result of an incestuous relationship between a full brother and sister of the last reigning monarch. In ancient Egypt the same applied: a ruling monarch had to be the progeny of a close family relationship, to ‘concentrate’ the divine line. So this idea of family marriages has a very long history, going back to the beginning when it was safe.
Morgan: GE 4:17 Cain builds and populates a whole city in only two generations.
There were already quite a few people around by the time Cain killed Abel. They were obviously adults with professions (farmer and rancher, respectively) and Cain’s reference to ‘anyone’ indicates the population was already sizeable.
Morgan: GE 6:4 There were giants on the earth at one time. (Note: No evidence exists to supports this assertion.)
Wouldn’t it be lovely if Morgan bothered looking up the words he is quibbling about? The word translated ‘nephilim’ or ‘giants’ is a word meaning “bully, tyrant.” We still use the word ‘giant’ euphemistically in similar ways when we say “He was a giant of a man,” referring to his accomplishments. Again, using traditional interpretations to criticize the text itself is not good scholarship.
Morgan: GE 6:5 God is unhappy with the wickedness of man and decides to flood the earth to eliminate mankind. All living things including plants, animals, women and innocent children are also exterminated. (Note: This is like burning down a house to rid it of mice.)
If Morgan reads the text, he would find that the earth was FULL of violence. “The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” This means the children themselves would have had no chance but to be first victims, and then perpetrators, of this violence. So God called a halt to it. The children may have suffered momentarily, but in terms of eternity, they were safe.
In addition, if God’s plan were actually to eliminate mankind, then God would not have instructed Noah to build the Ark to save his family. Nor would God have told Noah and his family to repopulate the earth afterward. When we look at the actual results of the Flood, it may well have been that the primary purpose was to alter conditions and so limit men's lifespans. This is clearly indicated in the genealogy sections of Genesis.
Morgan: GE 6:15 The size of Noah's Ark was such that there would be about one and a half cubic feet for each pair of the 2,000,000 to 5,000,000 species to be taken aboard.
AGAIN, Morgan is flying off without knowledge. First of all the Bible says that the animals were taken on by KIND. This is not the same as species. The Biblical ‘kind’ would be far more similar to today’s taxonomic classification of family or sub-family: canine, feline, bovine, equine, etc. Thus we are talking about a few thousand animals, not a few million. Granted, that is a lot, but certainly not impossible. Keep in mind as well that the animals that were to be taken on were only the beasts with nephesh, or the breath of life, and the flying creatures. Amphibians, fish, insects, other bugs – not included. Individuals from these groups survived either in the water or on floating vegetation mats which were ripped loose during the initial outpouring of waters from under the crust of the earth. We see similar, but much smaller, vegetation mats ripped loose during both tsunamis and the annual monsoons in SE Asia.
Morgan: GE 7:17-19 The flood covered the entire earth at the same time. (Note: There is no evidence of a worldwide flood, but rather of many, widespread, but local floods.)
Yes, it did. You can find clear evidence of it below the Cambrian strata. Especially in evidence in the Adelaide hills and Flinders ranges of South Australia where the tilting of strata has exposed Precambrian strata, you will find Sturt tillites about 300 meters feet thick. They are composed of a variety of rocks and boulders cemented together by a type of limestone which can only form in warm water (which we would expect from waters exploding from under the crust of the earth – Genesis 7:11). Above this formation is 2.5 kilometers (2,500 meters) of finely layered, carbon and kerogen –rich layers, all quite black. These layers are quite well-defined and can be found around the world in various places in the Precambrian position, giving clear testimony to a violent, world-wide water catastrophe. Some photographic evidence is in our Snowball Earth article.
Morgan: GE 7:19-20 The flood covered the earth with water fifteen cubits (twenty plus feet) above the highest mountains.(Note: This would require steady, worldwide rainfall at the rate of about 6 inches per minute, 360 inches per hour, 8640 inches per day--for 40 days and nights--so as to cover the entire earth with an endless ocean 5 miles deep, thus burying 29,000 ft. Mt. Everest under 22 ft. of water. How did the author know the depth of the water? Did Noah take soundings? And where has all this water gone?)
The high mountains we know now came after the Flood. Not before it. However, the rate of ‘rain’ was pretty immense, since ALL the fountains of the earth exploded at the same time, indicating a critical point had been reached in the heating of the waters under the surface. Many ancient stories recall the Flood waters as being scalding, which would be exactly what we should expect. This ‘rain’ was not only the scalding waters falling back down, but the massive amounts of pulverized rock and earth they carried up with them also falling back down. Forty days and nights of this massive exploding catastrophe and resulting muddy, rocky, hot rain were something totally unknown either before or after. The most we have today are geysers, and we know to steer clear of them.
Since the vast majority of the waters were from under the crust, the collapsing of the crust in a number of areas into the voids left formed the basins into which the waters drained.
Morgan: GE 8:20 Noah's first recorded action following the flood is to sacrifice one of every clean animal and bird. (Since so few animals were saved, this could be considered rather wasteful and defeating--especially given that the stated purpose of taking the animals aboard the Ark was to keep them alive [GE 6:20]. To see a discussion of the various ways this verse can be interpreted, and in turn the different ways to approach the Bible generally, see addendum.)
Morgan may not have been pleased with this, but the Bible says God was. Either seven or seven pairs of clean animals were taken on the Ark. In addition, it was known since the first sin that there would have to be a blood reckoning for sin, and all sacrifices looked forward, as types, to the final sacrifice of God Himself on the cross, to cover our sins forever. Noah, knowing this, shed the blood of some of those precious animals not only for that reason, but possibly also as a sign of absolute trust in God to continue taking care of them.
Morgan: GE 8:21 The odor of Noah's sacrifices was pleasing to the Lord.
Morgan: GE 9:12-16 God first creates the rainbow. (Note: Apparently the laws having to do with refraction of light were null and void prior to this time.)
I wish Morgan would pay attention to what the Bible says. God placed the rainbow in the sky after the flood, in the clouds. It does not say the rainbow was not known before. Any spray of water in the sun would have created one, just like now. But the indication about the rainbow in the clouds is a very interesting bit of science, actually, because it indicates there had been an axis tilt of the earth. This would create the jet streams which drive the rain clouds over land during the day, so that rain came during the day – thus resulting in rainbows when the clouds cleared.
This ties in with the declaration that summer and winter, seedtime and harvest, would now be the rule. Seasons were new after the Flood. Before, without an axis tilt, although water would have evaporated during the day, the only rains would have been after the sun set, either on land or water, as a result of simple condensation with the cool. So there would have been no rainbow seen in the clouds. We need, in other words, to read what the text actually says and not what tradition says.
Interestingly, evidence of the earth having at one time not having a tilt exists, for our moon is the only non-captured moon in the solar system which is not circling on the equatorial plane. So either the moon was jerked way out of position, or the earth’s axis was tilted at the time of the Flood. At any rate, the Bible simply says that the rainbow was placed in the clouds after this event, not that it was invented.
Morgan: GE 18:1, 7-8 God eats solid food with Abraham.
Appearances of Christ before the Incarnation are called theophanies. He was certainly able to form a body for Himself when He chose, in order to interact with men. He ate enough during the Incarnation for His detractors to call him a glutton!
Morgan: GE 30:37-43 Jacob alters the genetic characteristics of cattle by letting them view a striped rod. (Note: His purpose in doing so was to fleece Laban of his cattle.)
If Morgan reads the Bible, I think he will find the fleecing was the other way around. Laban had cheated Jacob of his wages numerous times. Also, one does not need to change genetics to get spotted animals – it is a natural variation. Whether there is a natural explanation such as a chemical in the wood or whether God was simply honoring Jacob and doing it Himself, we don’t know.
Morgan: GE 32:24-30 God takes part in a wrestling match. He wins by injuring Jacob's hip.
The NIV notes here are actually quite good. Here: “God wrestled (ye’abeq) with Jacob (ya’aqob) by the Jabbok (yabboq) – the author delighted in word play. Jacob had struggled all his life to prevail, first with Esau, then with Laban. Now, as he was about to reenter Canaan, he was shown that it was with God that he must ‘wrestle.’ It was God who held his destiny in his hands. God came to him in such a form that Jacob could wrestle with him successfully, yet he showed Jacob that he could disable him at will.”
Just as a note it should be said that God approaches us each individually, in terms we, individually, can understand. In this way there is no excuse for those who choose to reject Him. There will never be one person, including Morgan, who can finally say, “I didn’t know….” The Old Testament, and all of our everyday lives, in fact, is full of physical pictures of spiritual truths. We all wrestle with God, usually in early adulthood, trying to come to terms with the reality of Him and His character.
Morgan: GE 38:27-29 Twins are being delivered. One puts out his hand and the midwife binds it with a scarlet ribbon to identify him as the firstborn. But he draws back his hand, and his brother is born first (thereby obtaining the rights of the firstborn son).
Evidently Morgan disagrees with a cultural tradition and the decisions involved.
Morgan: EX 4:24 The Lord sought to kill Moses (one of his own prophets.)
Moses had to understand, absolutely and thoroughly, that the result of disobedience to God is death. Physical death is simply a picture, in this case, of eternal separation from God. Most of the Old Testament contains ‘types’ or explanations of the spiritual truths Christ expounded on in the New Testament. This is one of them.
Morgan: EX 12:30 The Lord kills all the first-born of Egypt and there is not a house where there is not at least one dead. (This means that there was not a house in Egypt that did not include at least one first-born---a most unusual situation.)
In extended families, which were the norm then, there were a number of children involved in one household from the different marriages. It would have been quite unusual to NOT have one eldest child in an extended family! It should also be noted that the term translated 'firstborn' also translates 'pre-eminent.' The choice of which to use was the translators'.
Morgan: EX 12:37, NU 1:45-46 The number of men of military age who take part in the Exodus is given as about 600,000. Allowing for women, children, and older men would probably mean that a total of more than 2,000,000 Israelites left Egypt at a time when the whole population of Egypt was less than 2,000,000.
And his reference for Egypt’s population at this time is…..?
In contrast to Morgan’s assertion, there is this information:
“At the beginning of the early dynastic period, a population of two million or more is not unreasonable.” (B.G Trigger, B.J. Kemp, D. O’Connor, A.B. Lloyd, Ancient Egypt, a Social History, Cambridge University Press, 1984, p. 51.)
Early dynastic means the first or second dynasty. Moses lived at the time of the close of the Thirteenth Dynasty, just before the Second Intermediate Period. There were a lot more people in Egypt at that time (about a thousand years later) and Egypt had also conquered much more territory than it had started with. The two million who left Goshen was a sizeable hunk of the population, but certainly not even the majority of it.
Morgan: EX 17:14 God says that he will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek.
DT 25:19 "... you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you must not forget."
(That remembrance is now permanently preserved in the Bible.)
Can you please tell me who they were, what their culture was, or who their descendants are? Apart from the word itself, they have been blotted out, just as God stated would happen.
Morgan: EX 28:34-35 Entering the holy place without wearing bells can result in death.
Again, Morgan has misinterpreted. Throughout the times of the Temple services, when the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies, only he was to go in. The tinkling of the bells on his robes assured those outside he was still alive. A rope was tied to the High Priest so that if the sound of the bells ceased, they could check to make sure he was still alive. If he had passed out for any reason, he could be pulled from the Holy of Holies without desecrating it by others entering it. That is what the reference to death means. The Jews understood it; it’s too bad Morgan didn’t bother to do the research to find out about it. As it is, this information is in the notes of a good many study Bibles today, so it doesn’t take that much to check and see what this verse is talking about.
Morgan: LE 11:20-21 There are winged creatures (birds or insects) that go around on all fours. (Note: There are no birds that go around on four legs, and all insects have six or eight legs.)
We have a tendency to be extremely ethnocentric in our time. The ancients had different ways of classifying organisms. They were classified primarily, and first, by their method of locomotion. Thus if it swam, be it whale, dolphin, octopus, or minnow, it was a fish. If it flew, be it bird or bat or even pterodactyl, it was a bird. But a lot of bugs also flew. So if it flew and did not have two feet, meaning it was a bird, then it had more than two feet, which classified it as a bug or insect (we are the ones who have specifically defined insects as having six legs; they didn’t). A simple expression for more than two feet was simply ‘four feet.’ Six, eight, ten, a hundred – the actual count was not the point. The point was that it was not a bird and that it had more feet than a bird. “Four feet” was the term they used. People may not like it, but it would be at least decent to respect the choices other cultures make in their classifications of the plants and animals.
Morgan: LE 11:6 (States, incorrectly, that the rabbit, or hare, chews its cud.)
If one defines cud as the product of a ruminant’s first stomach, then Morgan is right. But if cud means incompletely digested food which is re-eaten, then the rabbit, or hare, does chew its cud. It does not regurgitate it the way a goat or cow does, but rather passes it through the rectum. These green pellets are quite different from feces, which the rabbit will not eat. Here is a good explanation from the net:
"Rabbits have a very large blind sac called a cecum that is located where the small intestine and the large intestine join together. This would be in the same place as our appendix, but in the rabbit this organ is very large and contains a wonderfully diverse population of healthy bacteria, yeast, and other organisms working to help the rabbit digest his food.
When the food in the small intestine reaches the cecum and large intestine, the gastrointestinal tract knows which materials to divert into the cecum for further breakdown. The materials that were already digested in the small intestine and that don't need to make this little side trip to the cecum pass directly into the large intestine as waste. This leaves the body as the little round droppings you see in your rabbit's litter box.
What is happening in the cecum? The multitude of microorganisms are breaking down the indigestible fiber and turning it into digestible nutrients. In order for the rabbit to use these nutrients he must take this material and move it through the digestive tract one more time. So, at certain times of the day (which coincides with several hours after a rabbit eats a big meal) the material from the cecum is packaged up into small round moist pellets called cecotropes. The rabbit gets a signal in his brain about when these little delicacies are ready to be passed out of the body; he eats them the minute they emerge. Your rabbit will often look like he is grooming his hind end, but actually he is taking in these nutrient-rich cecotropes."
From Exploring a Rabbit's Unique Digestive System
Morgan: LE 14:33-57 God himself believes that a house or clothes can have leprosy and he details the remedy.
Although the old King James uses the word ‘leprosy,’ that is giving us an incorrect understanding of what was meant. The NIV and many other newer translations use ‘spreading mildew.’ And yes, we do know that houses can not only be infested with this, but that some kinds can be quite dangerous to us, even lethal. It should be noted that in that culture, though, the term ‘tsara,’ the root word, could mean any kind of a surface ‘scourge.’ The term was quite ambiguous and not as narrowly defined as we do today. It would cover any kind of mold, fungus, mildew or any other destructive surface infestation. Leprosy itself as we know it would be covered by this as it appears on the surface of the skin, eating it away, in the same way many mildews and molds eat away at what they are living on.
Morgan: LE 14:49-53 The cure for leprosy involves incantations and the blood of a bird.
If Morgan bothers reading the verses before that, he will find that this is done as a ritual cleansing after the house itself has shown no more signs of infestation.
Morgan: NU 11:31-33 A "wind from the Lord" brings such an abundance of quail that "he who gathered the least gathered ten homers," or about 62 bushels. Altogether, this would have been enough to fill several thousand boxcars. Unfortunately, it was immediately followed by a great plague (food poisoning?) from the Lord. *see email response
There is a giant quail migration across the Sinai each spring and fall. When quail are migrating, for some reason they are toxic. You might be interested in the thoughts of the person looking at this incident in the Bible here: The Exodus' "Poisonous Quail" of Kib`roth-hatta`avah
So what was the point of this? Those of us who are believers know very well that we are to be content with the situation the Lord has put us in, for He has a reason for us to be here and to have what we have. To want more distracts from the purpose of our lives. Jesus taught us to pray, “…and give us our daily bread….” Not steak, not lobster, not quiche….just bread to keep us going. Yes, we will get what we need of other nutrients, too, but one major lesson God teaches all who are His is to depend on Him and be content in our circumstances.
Morgan: NU 22:21-30 A donkey sees an angel, recognizes it as such, and then speaks in human language (presumably Hebrew) to his master.
The donkey was smarter than most people – it knew what it saw. Aside from that, miracles are miracles.
He meant it, too.
That’s a lot of people. The Lord means what He says and their children had to understand that.
Please note these words from Deuteronomy 7, which helps explain all this:
“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands. But those who hate him he will repay to their face by destruction; he will not be slow to repay to their face those who hate him.” (vv 9-10)
Morgan: DT 7:15 Moses promises his people that the Lord will take away all sickness.
…if they obeyed Him.
Morgan: DT 25:5-9 A man has an obligation to produce a child with his brother's widow. If he refuses, his sister-in-law is to spit in his face in front of the elders.
We’re assuming Morgan doesn’t like the idea of family inheritance staying within the family. Morgan may not understand other cultures, but that does not invalidate them.
Morgan: JS 10:12-14 God obliges Joshua by making the sun and moon stand still (so that he can finish his battle by daylight).
That is certainly how it looked from the earth. The fact was, though, that the earth wobbles on its axis and every once in awhile the wobble produces a much larger wobble. This produces a day or a night of very long length, or, as recorded in other cultures around the world, a time when the sun rises, sets, and rises again or the reverse. We see the effects of this wobble again at the time of Hezekiah and on the day of the Crucifixion. It has happened since then as well. Somewhere between 750 and 800 A.D. the British Astronomical Handbook of the late 1960’s mentions that there were three concurrent events. In Europe, it was described as a ‘strange, dark day.’ In England it was described as a dark morning. In Africa, it was described as ‘the time the night came twice.’ In 1516 Thai pottery show that there were some unusual changes in the earth’s magnetic field that were temporary. This was reported in the University of Sydney News, vol. 16. no.4, for 6th March, 1984. There appears to be a mathematical sequence to this. Joshua was around 1500 B.C. Hezekiah was about 710 B.C. The Crucifixion was about 32 A.D. The ‘strange dark day’ was about 775 A.D. and the Asian pottery event was about 1516. Thus we are seeing about a 740-770 year break between these events. We will probably not be alive when the next one occurs. But this ‘extreme’ wobble is a real thing and it does make it look like the sun and the moon are doing strange things from our perspective.
The Greek historian Herodotus recorded that when he visited Egypt, the priests there showed him an ancient manuscript that told the story of a day that lasted twice as long as a normal day.
Several North American Indian tribes have accounts of long nights. The Ojibways, Wyandots and the Bungees tell of a long night. The Omahas tell of the sun being caught in a rabbit's trap and only released just before dawn. The Dogribs tell of the sun suddenly becoming dark at noon. The Mexican Indians tell of a long night. The Aztecs recall the sun not appearing for a long time, and thus sacrifices were made. The Quiche Mayans of Guatemala recall “They did not sleep; they remained standing and great was the anxiety of their hearts and their stomachs for the coming of the dawn and the day.” In Peru the memory is of the time the sun was hidden for twenty hours. And in west Africa there is a story of a long night – a night which lasted too long because the owl overslept and did not waken the sun.
Greek mythology also has the story of Phaeton losing control of his father’s sun chariot.
From New Scientist, 11 Sept. 1999, p.16, in an article entitled “Double Dawn,” there is the ‘explanation’ of the double dawn remembered by the Chinese as something that had happened in their past. The article attributes this to an eclipse in 899 BC. This is a presumption of the date as well as of the cause. It may not be what the Chinese were remembering.
In other words, in the western hemisphere, the memory is of the long night. In the eastern hemisphere, the memory is of a long day. Interesting….
Morgan: JG 3:21-22 (KJV) "Ehud ... took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly. And the haft also went in after the blade; and the fat closed upon the blade, so that he could not draw the dagger out of his belly; and the dirt came out."
“Dirt” here is a combination word of unknown meaning in the Hebrew. It seems to be related to the word meaning ‘straddle’ and, therefore, a reference to the crotch. The Hebrew version does not have “and the dirt came out.” The Alexandrian LXX also does not have any reference to ‘dirt’ coming out. I am not sure what later version seemed to have added that in which the King James translators had to deal with. All versions are specific about the fat closing in over both the blade and the haft, however. The king was obese in the extreme.
Morgan: JG 7:12 The camels were without number as the sand of the sea.
There were a lot of them. The Midianites were famous for their camels, by the way. We use similar euphemisms: “I’ve told you a hundred times….” “I have tons of those things….”
Morgan: JG 16:17-22 Samson loses his strength as a result of having his head shaved. (Note: This is not psychosomatic since he began to lose his strength while he was still asleep.)
There are consequences to breaking one’s vows.
Morgan: JG 20:16 There were seven hundred men who were left handed and could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.
The Bible makes a point of mentioning that this was a select group, specially chosen. These men, by the way, were supplemented by 26,000 from the tribe of Benjamin.
Morgan: 1SA 5:8-9 God causes "emerods" (hemorrhoids or tumors) amongst the Philistines (who have captured the Ark of the Covenant, where God was thought to reside).
God was not thought to ‘reside’ there. However, He certainly can do what He wants and this outbreak of some kind of growth or tumors was certainly coincidental to the time, wasn’t it?
Morgan: 1SA 13:5 The Philistines had "... troops like the sand on the seashore in multitude."
There were a lot of them.
Morgan: 1SA 16:14-23 Evil spirits can come from God (and be exorcised with God's help).
When a person rejects God over and over again, He can and does give permission to an evil spirit to take over the person. Anyone who rejects the truth and prefers the lie will get his preference. Satan is the father of lies and evil spirits are certainly following his lead. However they can do nothing outside of God’s permission. The first chapter of Job indicates this, as does Jesus’ handling of the demon-possessed men in the cave. When He commanded them to leave, they had no choice.
Paul makes the very strong comment in Romans 1 that those who consistently suppress the truth they know, preferring the lie, will get what they have chosen: “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie.” God has given man the freedom to choose, and choices have consequences.
Morgan: 1KI 3:12, 16-28 Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived, can think of no better way to determine the natural mother of a child in dispute than to threaten to divide the child in half. (Note: This does not take into account the possibility of mental derangement on the part of the natural mother.)
It worked, didn’t it?
That wisdom was from the Lord, who knew the hearts and the minds of the mothers. Solomon himself wrote, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despite wisdom and discipline.” Proverbs 1:7.
In addition, the wisdom of Solomon in this case has been actually quoted in some legal papers. So Morgan doesn’t like it, but quite a number of others through time have been impressed with this solution, in which love was differentiated from coveting and jealousy.
Morgan: 1KI 4:29 God gave Solomon wisdom as measureless as the sand on the seashore.
Wisdom is from God. Evidently Morgan is somewhat allergic to euphemisms. I hope he never says anything as absurd as referring to the sun rising and setting. The scribe who wrote 1 Kings was describing the fact that Solomon’s wisdom astounded them all and that there was no way to measure it.
This included those working in the quarries, in transportation, in dressing the stones, etc. It also included those cutting the timber, transporting it, and finishing it. The goods were not delivered to the site as per sale from the nearest hardware store....
Morgan: 1KI 6:38 It took seven years to build.
The work was done carefully.
Morgan: 1CH 22:14 ~7,500,000 lbs. of gold and ~75,000,000 lbs. of silver were used.
That's right. About 3 3/4 tons of gold went into the plating of a good deal of the interior and the fixtures. And about 37,500 tons of silver were used. There is a reason the Babylonians wanted this stuff.
Morgan: 1CH 23:4 24,000 supervisors and 6,000 officials and judges were employed to manage it. (Note: Inasmuch as there seems to be uncertainty as to the exact weight of the biblical talent, some estimates place the weight of gold at more than 13,000,000 lbs. and the weight of silver at more than 116,000,000 lbs.)
This is David's request to Solomon, his son. Morgan forgot the four thousand who would be gatekeepers and the four thousand who were to praise the Lord on musical instruments. Unlike today, these men were also responsible for the agriculture and livestock in their own families, and therefore these jobs were not full time, but rather rotating. All temple service was this way. David himself established the ‘courses’ for the priests, or the series of two week rotations for high priestly duties which was observed down to the time of Jesus at least, as we read in Luke.
Morgan: 1KI 10:24 The whole world sought an audience with Solomon to hear his wisdom.
This really needs explaining? People from all over the world who heard about Solomon came to listen to his wisdom. This would have included people from the Orient, Asia proper, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe at the least. For those in the eastern hemisphere, that would have been the whole world.
Morgan: 1KI 17:2-6 The Lord commands ravens to bring bread and meat to Elijah.
And Elijah appreciated it very much. Ravens are known for carrying things around, picking them up and dropping them other places. It’s an ordinary state of affairs. That God used their natural tendencies to help Elijah is what this story is saying.
Morgan: 1KI 18:33-38 Fire consumes wet wood, stones, and dust, and "licks up" water.
When the Lord chooses to, He can certainly circumnavigate the physical laws He Himself created. The implication here was that this fire was extremely hot.
Morgan: 2KI 6:5-7 An iron axe head "swims" (or floats).
That was a miracle and a grace from God. The man who had lost it would have been imprisoned as the ax head was borrowed. God intervened.
Morgan: 2CH 9:23 All the kings on earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom.
This really seems to bother Morgan….
Morgan: 2KI 13:21 A man who is being buried comes alive after touching the bones of Elisha.
The historian who wrote this simply told what happened. We have records in the news rather consistently of people who were thought to be dead ‘waking up.’ One, recently, became conscious at the beginning of his autopsy! No explanation is given in the Bible and the identity of the man is never given, so we can only accept the account or, as Morgan has done, simply reject it out of hand.
This is a known copyist error which has been corrected in modern versions.
Morgan: 2KI 19:35 (KJV) "...the angel of the Lord...smote...an hundred four score and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning ... they were all dead...."
“Angel” means “messenger.” Note Hebrews 1:7 – “In speaking of the angels he says, ‘He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire.’” We don’t know exactly what happened to those men, but it killed them. En masse.
Morgan: 2KI 20:11 The shadow on a sun dial moves backwards.
See the note on Joshua's long day.
These sacrifices provided food for all the people who were there for the celebration. There would have been quite a few priests doing the killing. Slaughter houses today do much more in a must faster time in much less humane ways.
Morgan: 2CH 21:20, 22:1-2 Ahaziah was forty-two when he became king; he succeeded his father, who died at the age of forty. Thus, Ahaziah was two years older than his father. [Note: Some translations use "twenty-two" here in an attempt to rectify this discrepancy. The Hebrew is clear, however, that 2CH 22:2 is 42. The Hebrew words involved are Strong's H705 and H8147, "forty" and "two," respectively.]
There aren't too many copyist errors, but this is another of them which has also been set right in modern texts which had the more ancient manuscripts to refer to. To think that any scribe or original historian would make that kind of mistake and people as intelligent as the Jews would sort of ‘miss’ it for a few thousand years is quite an insult to them.
Morgan: 2CH 13:3 Abijah sent 400,000 men into battle against Jeroboam's 800,000 men. This is a total of 1,200,000 men, all of them Jews. (Note: Assuming one additional woman per man of fighting age, plus two persons per man [either older persons or children] would put the Jewish population of the surrounding area at a minimum of 4,800,000 persons; hardly feasible.)
It’s quite feasible. There were two million or so of them when they left Egypt. The adults died in the wilderness but that would have been less than half the population. By this time, there had been about 600-700 years since they arrived in the area after the escape from Egypt. That is plenty of time to have built up a population of 5 million or more.
Interestingly, the word used for ‘thousand’ here is ‘elep.’ The original meaning of this word was ‘a family, or someone in charge.’ It later came to be known as a number. So the actual original meaning of the words MAY have been that Abijah went into battle with 400 in charge, or captains, rather than 400 thousand fighting men. Jeroboam then would have had double that amount of captains, and perhaps not 800 thousand fighting men.
Either way of looking at it is feasible, however.
Morgan: 2CH 13:17 500,000 Israelites are slain in a single battle. (Note: This is more than were lost in any single battle of World War II, and even exceeds the number of deaths that resulted from the dropping of the atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.)
Again, if the word ‘thousand’ is simply referring to ‘captains,’ then the loss of 500 captains would be a tremendous loss. Or it could actually be half a million lost in battle. We simply don’t know. It is important to keep in mind, however, that these accounts were written by the historian scribes of the day, and if the accounts were falsified they would have been rejected by the priests as being inspired. So while our understanding of the actual words used may or may not be accurate, the accounts as they were written and understood at the time were accurate.
Morgan: ES 6:6, JB 19:27, PS 7:9, 16:7, 73:21, PR 23:7, 16, IS 10:7, JE 11:20, 17:10, 20:12, MT 9:4, LK 2:19, 9:47, AC 8:22, RO 10:9-10, HE 4:12, RE 2:23 (See KJV especially.) Thought occurs in the heart. The kidneys ("reins") are the seat of conscience.(Note: This is not merely a poetic use of these terms, as is now claimed. In early times, it was actually believed that various body organs other than the brain were responsible for our thoughts, feelings, actions and the like. The heart was believed to be the seat of thought processes and beliefs, while the kidneys were thought to be the seat of conscience.)
Let’s look at these verses:
KJV: So Haman came in. And the king said unto him, what shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour? Now Haman thought in his heart, To whom would the king delight to do honour more than to myself?
NIV: When Haman entered, the king asked him, “what should be done for the man the king delights to honor?”
Now Haman thought to himself, “Who is there that the king would rather honor than me?”
It seems the interpreters of the more modern version understood completely the meaning of the passage, as Morgan evidently does not.
KVJ: …Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another, [though] my reins be consumed within me.
NIV: I myself will see him with my own eyes – I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!
The word used for ‘reins’ or ‘heart’ here is kilyah. It can be translated ‘kidneys, heart, mind, inmost being, or even spirit.’ The words ‘reins’ was chosen because it was an old English use and the KJV was translated at that time. The reins were what controlled the horse, as they are now, and the term was also used for the thought processes and feelings which controlled our actions. A typical usage today is what we find in the NIV: “mind and heart” which gets the same idea across. What is happening with Morgan is that he is trying to find anything possible to discredit the Bible and, in the process, it seems, is showing his own ignorance of an awful lot of available research in history, culture, and linguistics.
KJV: Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins.
NIV: O righteous God, who searches the minds and hearts, bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure.
KJV: I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.
NIV: I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.
KJV: Thus my heart was grieved; I was pricked in my reins.
NIV: When my heart was grieved, and my spirit embittered…
KJV: for as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee, but his heart is not with thee.
NIV: for he is the kind of man who is always thinking about the cost. “Eat and drink,” he says to you, but his heart is not with you.
KJV: Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things.
NIV: my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right.
KJV: Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few.
NIV: But this is not what he intends, this is not what he has in mind; his purpose is to destroy, to put an end to many nations.
KJV: But, O LORD of hosts, that judgest righteously, that triest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have I revealed my cause.
NIV: But, O LORD Almighty, you who judge righteously and test the heart and mind, let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you I have committed my cause.
KJV: I, the Lord search the heart, I try the reins even to give every man according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doings.
NIV: “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.
KJV: But, O LORD of hoses, that triest the righteous, and seest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have I opened my cause.
NIV: O LORD Almighty, you who examine the righteous and prove the heart and mind, let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you I have committed my cause.
KJV: And Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?
NIV: Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why doyou entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?”
KJV: But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.
NIV: But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
KJV: And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child and set him by him.
NIV: Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him.
KJV: Repent, therefore, of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
NIV: Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart.
KJV: That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
NIV: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
KJV: For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
NIV: For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
KJV: And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
NIV: I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.
So while we are sorry Morgan has a hard time understanding the idioms which are still in use today, the rest of us probably don’t.
Morgan: JB 9:6 (KJV) God shakes the earth out of its place and makes its pillars tremble.
Job is describing God’s power. We all understand ‘shaking the earth out of its place’ as we have seen what earthquakes can do. There is also the possibility that there has been a slight change in the rotation or orbit of the earth due to meteorite impact storms. What about the pillars? Pillars hold up what is ‘on top.’ In the center of the continents are the massive cratons, or great pillars of rock around which the continents are built. Job’s description is actually quite accurate here.
Morgan: JB 9:7 God can make the sun not rise and seal up the stars.
Yes, He’s God and He created them. He is certainly capable of doing that.
Wisdom is different from knowledge. Anyone can, and does, obtain knowledge through living, learning, listening…
But wisdom is how you use that knowledge. As Morgan has pointed out, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, and Isaiah all caution that wisdom comes from being in absolute awe, or fear, of the Lord. Knowing that He is the Judge to whom we are all accountable in the long run does tend to give those who take that seriously a bit of caution at the least, and that caution is at least some part of wisdom.
Morgan: PS 58:8 Slugs and/or snails melt as they move.
This is something Morgan has not seen? I suggest he gets a slug on a warm summer’s day and puts it on a rocky place and watches it ‘melt,’ or lose so much moisture that it shrivels up and dies.
Morgan: PS 121:6 It is apparently possible to suffer moonstroke as well as sunstroke.
The Bible was way ahead of science here. The words “lunacy” and "lunatic" come from the observation that during times of a full moon, as well as sometimes during a new moon, people’s behavior can be altered. The reason has only recently, in our generation, been discovered. At times of full moon, the sun, earth, and moon are aligned. At times of new moon, the sun, earth, and moon form a line, in that order. What happens at these times is that the gravitational affect of this lineup distorts our atmosphere and ionosphere. The earth to ionosphere cavity (where the majority of our air is) rings like a bell, or has a natural frequency like a bell. At times of new moon and full moon the tidal motion sets this ‘ringing’ into action. The frequency of the earth to ionosphere cavity is seven cycles per second. This is also the natural frequency of the alpha wave pattern of our brain. As a result, when the ‘ringing’ starts, our thought patterns and behavior can be affected, some more severely than others.
Solomon was passing his wisdom on to his son. This is what he had found in his own life. Let’s look at what these verses say, though:
Verse 23: The fear of the LORD leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.
The meaning of this is that life is with God, and nowhere else. And although there may be trouble around, it will not hurt that relationship you have with God. Do not separate the two halves of this passage, for they go together.
Proverbs 22:4 – Humility and fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and life.
Let’s look at that verse with the verses that come before and after and let Bible explain Bible:
A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.
Humility and the fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and life.
In the paths of the wicked lie thorns and snares, but he who guards his soul stays far from them.
Wealth, riches: oser – from a root simply meaning accumulations. Thus it can mean other than physical riches. It can mean riches of wisdom, riches in relationships, riches of knowledge, etc. It is really necessary to look at the words used in the original to see how broad the meaning is.
Morgan: PR 20:30 Blows that wound cleanse away evil.
That is one of the purposes of punishment, isn’t it? When a person is afraid of being punished, especially again, that person watches their actions a lot more carefully and is far less likely to engage in harmful, evil behavior.
Look at this verse another way as well. Look at it from the point of view of the person who has been offended. Seeing the punishment of the offender brings justice and a sense of closure. The evil is cleansed away and the person who has been offended feels some degree of rest from the anger and bitterness that the offense caused.
Here is the verse in the NIV:
Blows and wounds cleanse away evil,
And beatings purge the inmost being.
Morgan: IS 30:26 The moon will someday be as bright as the sun now is. (Note: Until relatively recent times, the moon and the planets were thought to give off their own light.)
Here is the verse, with the verse before it as well:
In the day of great slaughter, when the towers fall, streams of water will flow on every high mountain and every lofty hill. The moon will shine like the sun, and the sunlight will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven full days, when the LORD binds up the bruises of his people and heals the wounds he inflicted.
What is happening and has been happening over the last century, is that the sun’s heat and light output has been steadily increasing. We see this happen in other stars, and know that our sun is not immune from the same process. As this process continues to its maximum phase, the sun’s brightness will increase dramatically, which means that the moon will also become brighter as a consequence, since it reflects the sun’s light. We read in Revelation that men will blaspheme God because of the heat, so the Bible is quite consistent with informing us that within the lifetime of the human race, the sun is going to become much brighter and much hotter. Keep in mind, however, that seven times brighter does not mean seven times hotter, although heat will increase. The heat part of the spectrum is on the ‘tail’ of the curve of the sun’s emitted radiation, not at the peak.
Morgan: IS 38:8 The shadow of the Sun is made to move backwards.
That is exactly what happened, as related to Joshua's long day.and the axis tilt of the earth. If you notice a gyroscope as it spins, touch it slightly and it begins to wobble a little. Then, suddenly the wobble becomes a large circle and then it steadies to go back to a minor wobble again. The earth has done the same thing with its axis tilt and magnetic field. At the time of Joshua, the time of Hezekiah (noted on this objection) and on the day of the Crucifixion, that rather giant circle interrupted the smaller wobble, causing a radical difference in the day and night sequence for 24 hours. This has also happened twice since then. Once around 800 A.D. where in Europe it was called “a strange, dark day,” in England it was a “strange, dark morning,” and in one area in Africa it was called “the time the night came twice.” The second time was in 1516. It was recorded as a change in the magnetic field in the pottery of that time. In the University of Sydney News, vol. 16, no. 4, 6th March, 1984 has an article about this event based on the research of Dr. Mike Barbetti.
When the dates of these interruptions are calculated, it appears there are about 740-772 years between them. The next would be expected about 2250-2280.
Morgan: IS 40:22 The earth is a circle. (Note: The earth is really a sphere, not a circle, and this verse does not imply a sphere as some believers like to infer.)
When you are standing on a high mountain (which was possible then) or even up in a plane (which was not possible then), the earth indeed looks like a circle.
HOWEVER, let’s look at the words used. The normal Hebrew word for circle, as in sitting in a circle, is sabab. That is NOT the word used in the Isaiah passage, however. The word used there is chuwg, meaning “circle, circuit, compass.” It is used only three or four times in the Bible and is translated variously as circle, horizon, vaulted. It is also used as ‘sphere’ in Proverbs 8:27, where the literal translation reads, “…he made a sphere of the face of the deep.”
So first, yes, it can indicate a sphere. But second, if Morgan’s objections are centering around the way things are described in the Bible, and for this reason he is rejecting what it is saying, all that does is show a rather pathetic and profound ethnocentricity which has no intention of looking for what was actually being said.
The choice of the translators in choosing ‘deceive’ in the verse in Jeremiah is regrettable. The word itself is ‘pathah,’ from a primary root meaning ‘to open.’ It’s primary meaning then is to open the mind, or to entice or persuade. Thus, Jeremiah 20:7 should read, “O LORD, you persuaded me, and I was persuaded; you overpowered me and prevailed.”
The example given in Ezekiel, however, is very different. Here, in order to understand what is happening, we need to read it in context. Here it is from the KJV:
For anyone of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn in Israel, who separates himself from me and sets up his idols in his heart and puts before him what causes him to do iniquity, then comes to a prophet to inquire of him concerning me, I the LORD will answer him by myself. I will set my face against that man and make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people. Then you shall know that I am the LORD.
And if the prophet is induced to speak anything, I the LORD have induced the prophet, and I will stretch out my hand against him and destroy him from among my people Israel. And they shall bear their iniquity; the punishment of the prophet shall be the punishment of the one who inquired, that the house of Israel may no longer stray from me nor be profaned anymore with all their transgressions, that they may be my people and I may be their God, says the LORD God.
The key here is that the man’s actions are reflecting the condition of his heart and thus may be seen. So if the evil-doer and idolater goes to a prophet, his purpose is to get the Lord’s blessing. There are many places in the Bible where the Lord has promised to protect those who love and obey Him, so what is it with this prophet? There are also many places in the Bible where the Lord speaks out fiercely against false prophets. Which will this sinner go to for a blessing? He will go to the one from whom he has the most expectation of getting what he wants to hear. This is why the prophet will be punished – he already has a reputation for trying to please men more than the Lord. So this will be the last prophecy he will make and it will be the deception from the Lord that he has been preferring all along. This is again in line with Paul’s statement in Romans 1.
Morgan: EZ 37:1-10 Dry bones come alive.
This is a vision of the rebirth of Israel and their return to faith. We have seen the first part; the second part is still to come.
Morgan: AM 8:9 The Sun will be made to set at noon in "clear day."
That was the prophesy of the crucifixion and that is what happened.
Morgan: MT 4:8 There is a high mountain from which all the kingdoms of the world can be seen. (Note: This implies a flat earth.)
Since ‘all the kingdoms of the earth’ also implies the past and future, it is evident that the reference is not simply to a mountain. The word translated mountain, ‘oros,’ is from an unused root meaning to rear up or rise up. So there is the implication here of the spiritual being, Satan, demonstrating history from a high vantage point to Jesus, and telling Jesus that he, Satan, will give all this to Jesus if Jesus will worship Satan.
There is no indication of a flat earth here at all, by the way, as that would have been totally rejected by anyone living at that time. Israel was the crossroads of some very major trade routes and they knew the world was not flat! The flat earth thing was invented in the early 19th century. Even the Greeks knew the earth was round and actually had calculated its circumference rather closely.
Morgan: MT 4:23-24, 9:32-33, 12:22, 17:14-18, MK 1:23-26, 32-34, 5:2-16, 9:17-29, 16:9, LK 11:14, 4:33-35, 8:2, 27-36, 9:38-42, AC 8:7, 16:16-18 Both physical and mental Illness are caused by demon possession and can be cured by exorcism.
First of all, please do not confuse Roman Catholic exorcism with what Jesus or His apostles did. Second, it very well may be that a good part of mental illness and some physical problems are demonically induced. When a person has been in constant contact with evil, and even prefers it to God, why should not the effects of that evil, or those evil spirits, not be manifested in his mind and body? You will find numerous examples of this in other religions, such as Hinduism, where the theology itself promotes the practice of Yoga and other forms of meditation for the purpose of the person becoming a ‘home’ or habitation of a god or demon. This is no joke, as those who have had experiences in this area can testify.
The only cure for this type of thing is God Himself, who is accessible through prayer.
This is true, and it is two-edged. For those who seek self pleasure, that is all they will get. For those who seek God, that is what they will get. For those who ask for the truth, they will be shown it. For those who prefer the lie and ask for it, that is also what they will get. Be very, very careful what you ask for, and on which door you knock. This passage, as you can see if you read it in context, is not talking about physical things.
Morgan: MT 13:41 Jesus will send his angels to purge his kingdom of evildoers and sin. (Note: How did evildoers get into his kingdom in the first place?)
It is interesting that Morgan will not pay attention even to Jesus’ own explanation of this. Jesus clearly explains that the field of the parable is the world. This world will be His Kingdom during the Millennium and the promise from Jesus here is that evil will be purged from the world then. It is Bible that explains Bible.
When a person has faith in Jesus, that person is following Him and obeying Him in love. That means that anything Jesus asks, or leads the way to, is something He will empower the follower to accomplish. This is not a passage in which a person is told he has free rein to do what he likes and it will happen if he has ‘faith.’ Faith cannot be in faith itself, it must have an object. Faith in Christ means one’s life is in His control and one is indwelt by His Holy Spirit (Romans explains this well). Thus, as one follows Christ, anywhere Christ leads can be followed and anything Christ asks of us can be done.
Morgan: MT 18:19 If two [believers] agree about anything they ask, God will do it for them.
It’s very easy to take verses out of context and make claims for them. This one is often a victim of that, and not just among unbelievers. Here it is in context: “Again I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”
Jesus is speaking there and the key to understanding what He is saying is with ‘in my name.’ That does not mean J E S U S. That means in His character. We still use that meaning when we speak of someone having a ‘good name.’ We do not mean we like the sound or spelling of his name, but that he has a good reputation, a good character. What Jesus is saying here is that when two or three people are together as Christ followers, in the character of Christ, He is there, and thus it would be under His guidance that they agree about something and ask for it. This, again, is not a ‘carte blanche’ for believers to get together and treat God as a super Santa Claus in the sky. The entire purpose of being a Christian is to follow Christ, not order Him around.
The above two responses are applicable here.
Morgan: MT 24:29-30 Although the sun and the moon have been darkened and the stars have fallen from heaven, there is still enough light to see.
Morgan is intentionally ignoring the context. Immediately following that quote from the Old Testament, Jesus states, “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the cloud of the sky, with power and great glory.”
Thus, when the sun and moon and stars have become darkened, that is when the Shekinah glory cloud of heaven will be seen by all nations and usher in the arrival of Christ. It is the reference to this same event in Matthew 26:64-65 that caused the Pharisees and rulers to tear their clothes in fury at what they considered the ultimate blasphemy, for Jesus said that He would return that way, and they knew the resident of the Shekinah was God Himself.
Morgan: MT 26:52 All who take the sword will perish by it.
God’s promise that those who live by physical violence will die that way.
Morgan: MT 27:52-53 The bodies of dead saints arise and go in force in the city.
Evidently that is exactly what happened. Matthew simply reported it. Matthew also tells us ‘they appeared to many,’ not that they were seen by all.
Morgan: MK 11:12-14, 20-21 Jesus curses a fig tree for not bearing fruit out of season. (Note: Rather than cause the fig tree to wither and to bear fruit never again, he could have performed a miracle and made it bear fruit even out of season.)
Interesting that this bothers so many people. Yet we kill frogs and use them in biology classes to teach lessons. Jesus used the fig tree to teach a lesson. First of all, it should be noted that the fig tree was sometimes used as a symbol of Israel in the Old Testament. Neither the fig tree nor the nation of Israel were ready for the arrival of Christ. And thus, both withered. The lesson was clear. However, the dry bones of Israel, which was for all appearances dead, have been brought back together and the nation exists again, unlike anything else in history but exactly in line with biblical prophesy. The fig tree was the picture, the warning.
Morgan: MK 16:17-18 Those who believe are able to handle snakes and drink any deadly poison without suffering harm.
Here is the one place we are with Morgan, and the reason is that this section of Mark, from verse 9 on, was not in the early manuscripts, but was added some time later by someone else. The word use and grammar are different from Mark’s as is the message. This is the ONLY place in the Bible where baptism is related to salvation and this also shows that it was not part of the original writing. We suggest strongly that Mark 16:9-20 be discounted on the basis of both historical and theological evidence. This has also been noted in most of the current translations as being a spurious addition to the original.
Morgan: LK 1:39-42 The fetus in Elizabeth's womb jumps for joy when Elizabeth hears Mary (who is pregnant with Jesus).
Actually, it was Elizabeth’s interpretation of the strong movement of her baby that it “leaped for joy.” These were her words. Luke himself simply makes it clear that the baby ‘leaped’ or moved very strongly, in her womb. She was about six months into her pregnancy at this point, and the movements of the child can be felt rather strongly at this time, before he grows enough to become too crowded to move that much.
Morgan: LK 22:28-30 Jesus assigns each of his twelve disciples (including Judas, his betrayer) a place (or throne) in his kingdom.
Cross referencing to Matthew and John makes it clear Judas had already left the upper room by this time.
Morgan: JN 6:24-30 A large crowd of persons (probably several thousand) asks Jesus for a sign so that they might see and believe. This occurs immediately following the Feeding of the Multitude which should have been one of the greatest miracles and most convincing signs of all time.
People are strange, aren't they? We can look at beautiful architecture and remark on the design of it, and even give the architect an award. But we cannot look at the intricacy of the cell, alive and functioning, and attribute it to anything but time and chance, or mutations and natural selection. And then demand to find some kind of proof for God. Those people then were no worse than people now. Seems to us that people have not changed a bit.
Morgan: JN 8:51 Jesus says: "... if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death."
In the next verses the Jews questioned Him about that statement, too. They were also upset by it. That's when Jesus identified Himself as the "I AM," or God Himself.
Death is not unconsciousness, but separation. Physical death is separation from the body. In John 17:3 Jesus defined eternal life as knowing (in the sense of having an intimate relation with) the Father and the Son. Thus death is separation from God. Those who keep Christ’s word will never be separated from God.
Morgan: JN 12:34 A crowd of persons (speaking in unison?) asks Jesus a thirty word question.
KJV says ‘The people answered him,’ and the NIV says ‘The crowd spoke up.’ There is nothing about ‘in unison’ there. However, the crowd was responding to a sudden ‘thundering’ which some said was an angel speaking. Jesus tells them the voice was for their benefit and explains more. The crowd does not understand and the questions that follow are not necessarily in unison but came ‘from the crowd,’ – from various people talking and questioning.
Morgan: JN 16:23 Jesus says: "Whatever you ask in my name, my Father will give you."
Again, “in the name of Jesus” means in His character. When we pray as He would have us pray, the Father says, ‘yes.’ Anything asked in His character is from a born again believer indwelt by the Holy Spirit who is guiding the prayer.
That’s right. It is called the Gospel in the Stars, and Paul makes clear reference to that by quoting Psalm 19 in Romans 10:18. Here is the beginning of Psalm 19, which was being quoted in part:
The heavens declare the glory of God;
The skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
Night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.
And what is this knowledge? Paul clearly states in Romans 10:17 that the message is the “word of Christ.”
The Bible tells us that man named the animals, but that God named the stars. And the names have meaning. For instance, in every language, the constellation Virgo, whatever word is used, means “Virgin.” The brightest star in Virgo is Spica in Latin, or Zera in Hebrew. It means “seed.” Thus we have right there the seed of the virgin. In Genesis 3:15, that word “zera” was used in “seed of the virgin” as the first prophecy of Christ.
Gamma is another star in Virgo. It used to be called Al Tzemech. In Hebrew the word tzemech means ‘branch,’ in the same way the Latin ‘virga’ means ‘branch.’ However, in the Hebrew Bible, this word is used uniquely of Messiah. It is in Isaiah 4:2, Jeremiah 23:5-6, Jeremiah 33:15, Zechariah 3:8, 6:12.
Also in Virgo is Epsilon, which used to be called Al Muridin, from the Arabic, meaning “the sent one.” This is what Jesus claimed to be. In Chinese, this star was called Tsze Tseang, meaning ‘the second general,’ perhaps indicating Messiah as the second person of the Trinity.
Morgan: 2CO 12:2 There are at least three heavens.
And they are exactly the three we also refer to. The ‘first heaven’ being where the birds fly, or the atmosphere. The ‘second heaven’ being where the stars are, or outer space. And the Bible recognizes the ‘third heaven,’ the same way we do, as God’s abode, or His Throne. These are clearly defined throughout the Old Testament and Paul’s reference to the ‘third heaven’ here indicates he was ushered into the presence of God.
Morgan: 2CO 12:4 There are things which cannot be told--things which man cannot utter.
And the problem Morgan has with this is….?
Morgan: GA 1:8-9 An angel (from God?) who preaches a gospel contrary to that of Paul will incur Paul's wrath.
This passage has nothing to do with Paul’s wrath personally, for he indicates that even if he preaches other than the true Gospel, he would be condemned. Here is the passage:
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned.
Paul’s point is that there is only one true Gospel message and anything else is a lie. Those who preach a lie, especially ‘in the name of Christ,’ deserve eternal condemnation.
Morgan: 1TI 5:11 Younger widows want to marry because their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ.
Morgan disagrees with this? The point, by the way, that Paul is making to Timothy is that the younger widows should not be put on the list of those to be supported by the church.
“No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing he feet of the saints, helping those in trouble, and devoting herself to good deeds. As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. For when their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to marry.”
It’s great that anyone sixty and under is ‘young!’ We enjoy that. But the point of what Paul is telling Timothy is that it is the older widows who are known to be of good character who are eligible for church support. This does not exclude help for others, but does limit the ‘list’ of those for whom the church will provide total support.
Morgan: 1TI 6:10 The love of money is the root of all evil(s). (Note: Some translations emend the text to read, "The love of money is the root of all kinds of evils," or something similar, in an attempt to ameliorate an obvious problem. Those additional words are not there in the Greek of the oldest and most reliable manuscripts.)
The word Paul uses which is translated ‘love’ here is ‘philaguria,’ which comes from the root meaning ‘avarice.’ Interestingly, the word translated ‘money’ is also ‘philarguria.’ So the interpreters appear to have missed the wider meaning. It, in short, has nothing to do with money per se, but the inclusive meaning would be the intense desire to keep getting more and more is the root of evil. This is exactly in line with the last Commandment stating “Thou shall not covet.” Money is a means for getting more and more, but not the only means. This verse has been interpreted traditionally rather than paying attention to the words which are used.
Morgan: TS 1:12 "One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are always liars ...." (Figure the logic of this verse--if you can!)
Whoa, Morgan! Let’s read this one in context!
“For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group. They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake if dishonest gain. Even one of their own prophets has said, “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the commands of those who reject the truth.”
It’s so easy to make something mean what it does not mean when you take it out of context, isn’t it?
Morgan: HE 7:1-3 Melchizedek had no mother or father, no beginning or end.
He had no recorded history in the Hebrew chronologies. There is no record of when he was born or when he died or what his bloodlines were. Thus, he was simply a faithful believing priest and the bloodline was not important, as it was for the Aaronic priesthood.
Morgan: RE 14:1-4 Heaven is to be inhabited in part by 144,000 virgin men who have not been “defiled” by women.
These 144,000 are those from Revelation7, from the Twelve Tribes of Israel, who went through the Tribulation protected by God and who had been totally dedicated to Him. Because the marriage bed is considered holy (Hebrews 13:4), and a ordained by God (Genesis 2:24), this verse does not indicate the men were physically virgin. It says they did not DEFILE themselves with women (plural). In a physical sense, they therefore were either unmarried or virgin before marriage and faithful to one wife after. If the verse is indicating a spiritual condition, which it may well be doing, then it is referring to the fact that these men never swayed from their dedication to God. Throughout the Old Testament Israel’s idolatry is consistently pictured as adultery in their relationship with God. Thus, whether the meaning is physical or spiritual – or both – these 144,000 were faithful Israelites from all the tribes.
Morgan: RE 21:16 The city of New Jerusalem (where the residents of heaven reside) is only about 1500 miles square.
No, actually, it is a cube of 1500 by 1500 by 1500, or about a million cubic miles. Since this is part of a new creation, we will have to see exactly what this means when it happens.
(Morgan’s original criticism here was that heaven itself was only 1500 miles square. Someone must have told him to please read it again, but evidently he didn’t read it very closely.)
Donald Morgan has done an extremely sloppy job of trying to point out "flaws" or problems with the Bible. He has pulled verses out of context to try to show them wrong; he has missed obvious meanings; he has consistently ignored cross-referencing verses; he has ignored poetic uses. He has refused to consider the point of view of the authors in looking at their descriptions. His page is simply an exercise in ignorance and sarcasm. We would make the humble suggestion that if he wants to seriously critique the Bible, he ought to read it first, and he might also want to consider some of the multitude of material available presenting linguistics and theology which deal with these issues and many more.
His page is one more hammer, albeit a weak one, taking a swing at an anvil which has stood firm through many, many others -- most of which were far more formidable.
Barry and Helen Setterfield,
the following is an email we got from Phil Bulfinch which is interesting:
In reading some of your rebuttal commentary from Morgan, I thought you would like to see my math on his objection about NU 11:31-33 -- "62 bushels. Altogether, this would have been enough to fill several thousand boxcars."
My math shows this:
1 bushel is 2,150 cuin, or 1.2444cuft
62 bushels is 133,324.8 cuin, or 77.1556 cuft A standard boxcar is 40, 50 or 60 ft long, 10 feet high and 5 or 6 ft wide. Using this volume 50 x 6 x 10 I deduce the volume as 3000 cuft. The volume of 62 bu is 3% of the boxcar capacity and not the "several thousand boxcars" unless Morgan is accounting for all of the quail gathered by all of the people. Were that the case, and every person gathered 62 bushels, assuming all 2,000,000 people, there would be 829 boxcars of quail gathered. back to text
We think Phil has a good point here, but would like to point out that the two million number is the number of men in the population. However, the number might still be accurate as only one person from each family would be necessary to gather the migrating quail.