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Posted by Gregory Koukl on September 24, 2012 at 03:30 AM in :Greg Koukl, Apologetics, Tactics, Theology, Video | Permalink
Great point. I've come across this objection from some Christians, albeit rarely, and have felt the need to defend the talking serpent just in the playing field of Genesis. But when you broaden the horizon and lump it in with any supernatural occurrence (miracles), it becomes harder to knock down. I was just thinking, for the Christian who rejects the snake talking, do you also reject Jesus' resurrection? Thanks so much for this video! You've got the wheels of my thinking spinning!
Quest The Wordsmith |
September 24, 2012 at 04:08 AM
"...nor can donkeys for that matter, but that's another issue."
Greg, I think you miss the point of the talking snake/talking donkey objection. It is supposed to show that the Christian's religion has pitted him squarely against the most basic common sense. Snakes and donkey's don't talk. The idea that they sometimes DO talk is utterly ridiculous, and deserves all the criticism and scorn it gets.
It's not about materialism or naturalism. You don't have to be a physicalist to understand that snakes and donkeys don't have conversations with humans. Rather, it's about using one's own best judgment: If your best judgment fails to tell you that snakes don't talk back to people, then I'm afraid your judgment has failed you quite spectacularly.
Now, if you want to complain that appeals to common sense and best judgment aren't an argument, fine. You don't have to use your common sense or your best judgment if you don't want. But some of us appreciate the fact that we don't have to spend a lot of time mulling over the notion of talking snakes and donkeys in order to know that these stories are made-up nonsense.
September 24, 2012 at 05:25 AM
You say that these stories are made-up nonsense, but you have given no proof that they have to be made up. You just don't agree based on your judgement and common sense. My judgement as a Christian is that your judgement is nonsensical because of what I believe. I will call it faith, but I don't feel that you would call your belief faith. Miracles do run counter to the part of nature that most of us have encountered and that is why they are miracles. To say that miracles are impossible is to say that you know everything about all the possible outcomes in nature. Basically I think you are just saying that your opinion is that snakes and donkeys can't talk. If it's only your opinion then that has limited value in the world of truth.
September 24, 2012 at 08:39 AM
Snakes don't talk.
Donkeys dont' talk.
Virgins don't get pregnant.
Energy is not eternal.
Something never comes from No-Thing.
Contextual Logic leaves room for round squares some-where in some-context, as it is void of the end of ad infinitum.
You must be careful that you do not allow your Logic to make any All-Context statements.
There is the end of adfinitum, in which all contexts are touched. Logic and Love reach there, but only on certian conditions. Conditions which I believe you have rejected.
September 24, 2012 at 09:33 AM
It seems God speaks through whatever and whoever He wishes. Whores. Prophets. Thiefs. Bushes. Animals. Weather. Clouds. Bastards. Rain. Wind. He even reverses it: Word is made Flesh.
None of this seems odd, given what God is and what Nature is in the Context of God-Is. These are not the important questions and are not difficult, given what the Derived is in the Context of the Un-Derived and Immutable Eternal that is God. The important questions lie in the direction of Logic and Love and the end of ad infinitum.
September 24, 2012 at 09:48 AM
Yep, basic commen sense, matter does not change into minds, frogs do not change into Princes, and matter and energy cannot come from nothing. The miracle of a talking snake is pretty tame compared to believing they can.
September 24, 2012 at 10:27 AM
it makes the story better
September 24, 2012 at 11:05 AM
"Snakes and donkey's don't talk. The idea that they sometimes DO talk is utterly ridiculous, and deserves all the criticism and scorn it gets."
Says the man that believes something came from nothing.
John Willis |
September 24, 2012 at 11:05 AM
It is not a Donkey talking. No one here believes animals talk. We do believe God talks. It is God talking through any part of His Creation He pleases. It's that simple, really. Your view of God is quite small, if you have a view of Him at all. Can we know what He cannot do? How?
Tell me, Ben, which of these do you, the Finite and the Derived, forbid the Infinite and Underived to talk either to or through?
And then, lest we forget, if you would forbid Him this: Love manifests. Word is made Flesh.
September 24, 2012 at 11:16 AM
These are not the important questions and are not difficult, given what the Derived is in the Context of the Un-Derived and Immutable Eternal that is God. The important questions lie in the direction of Logic and Love and the end of ad infinitum.
September 24, 2012 at 11:19 AM
But, of course, as noted earlier, no one here believes that animals talk.......
September 24, 2012 at 12:17 PM
Big bang cosmology does not imply that the universe came from nothing.
The idea that it does is mere apologetics.
I have never seen any evidence that snakes can in principle talk. If such evidence existed, I think I would know. This is a reason to believe no snake has ever talked.
That evidence, and not a commitment to a 'worldview', makes me think that it is very unlikely (not impossible) that any snake ever talked.
An isolated story that looks like a mere story can't begin to balance such evidence.
September 24, 2012 at 03:12 PM
There are other possibilities to understanding this.
Wouldn't taking this as a reference to Satan make more sense than understanding it as an actual talking reptile?
The story later mentions the snake cursed to eating dust as well as losing it legs (which would have made it essentially a lizard).
Donovan Winterberg |
September 24, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Donovan Winterberg ,
Yes,and how did -
- the lepoard get its spots?
- the camel get its hump?
September 24, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Ron we all no Nothing is not the origin. That's the problem.....for the Materialist, at least.
September 24, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Ron physicists think "everything" was in one spec & then the BB?
September 24, 2012 at 05:02 PM
We're told Moses saw God's back. What do you suppose Christians make of that & God's anatomy?
September 24, 2012 at 05:05 PM
scbrownlhrm, Big bang cosmology does not imply that the universe came from nothing. That's the problem.
September 24, 2012 at 05:12 PM
No one said it did Ron. The statement is the reverse logic of the Materialists problem which you ignored. Why?
September 24, 2012 at 05:15 PM
2:15 in the video
September 24, 2012 at 05:21 PM
RonH have you considered the idea that the BB is but a blip on the surface of a far "larger" some-thing? If this "everything" we call the universe could not self-account would such philosophy trump physics? Chemistry?
September 24, 2012 at 05:37 PM
I'm a bit off topic I suppose. Perhaps some talk of Hebrew imagery & Old Testament writing........... Hebrews are odd wordsmiths who hold God is Spirit yet write of His rhomboid muscles.......perhaps God has scapula too.
September 24, 2012 at 05:50 PM
On the video, do you agree that the BB classically taught that "everything" was in that spec, as Greg stated?
September 24, 2012 at 06:02 PM
I'll save us time. That is classic BB. He stated it correctly. It seems to be falling out of favor. You may want to consider why.......
September 24, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Our Hebrew wordsmith, I believe, also in that passage speak of God's hand covering Moses as He passed by.... this God Who is spirit. RonH we do hope He trimmed His nails.......Is it Revelations that speaks of that old serpent, Satan......that same Satan who is an angel...... I do hope snakes don't have wings. Whatever shall we do with all these Words?
September 24, 2012 at 06:26 PM
C.S. Lewis speaks of this. He reminds us of the imagery of harps and crowns in Heaven and of other verses like these. He states that people who can't get the obvious ought not read books written for grownups.
Then there is, layered over that, the question toward Ben of donkeys & whores & wind & clouds & so on.
September 24, 2012 at 06:37 PM
I contradicted your man. If you want to say something about it then show I'm wrong.
September 24, 2012 at 06:37 PM
As I heard it he said BB / everything had a beginning. That is how I learned it years ago. That spec blew up and our universe began. Did I miss the word No-Thing...? I might have....or are you inserting that word? I'm inserting "spec" as that is classic BB, and from there it all "began".
September 24, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Is the word No-Thing there? I'll go listen again......
September 24, 2012 at 06:46 PM
September 24, 2012 at 06:52 PM
By the way do you still believe in the BB? Everything in that spec?
September 24, 2012 at 06:56 PM
There are those who hold that the Big Bang argues that No-Thing made Every-Thing. No one believes that and Hawking, though tempted to go there and tell us “laws” give birth to everything, knows he can’t pull it off and so does not quite go “that” far. In fact the BB may be but a blip on a far larger bubble. The problem of an uncaused cause leads us to believe that there are other, perhaps larger, realities outside of or beneath or behind our own universe, as physics “here” finds uncaused causes difficult, and probably impossible, to empirically verify.
There is an interesting aspect to this passage in Genesis. We have seen two differing revelations, both of the same reality. Both reveal that the purely physical element is malleable by the immaterial element. Spirit derives matter, impacts matter, and can even move within, or in, or on either side of, matter (String theory anyone?). But from that singular starting point we find a split in the road. We find that God Who is Love, the Underived, on His own whim, speaks either to or through such things as wind, rain, animal, cloud, cosmos, storm, and even Persons such as prophets, thieves, prostitutes, bastards, men, women, and children. In these descriptions it is worth noting there seems to be no slaves where the Persons are concerned. He does not possess them and run them off a cliff; rather He speaks to them, pours into them, and leads them to go and do likewise with His Words. Word begets Words, and this with Agency, Personhood, intact. On the other side of the coin we find Satan, also Spirit, but this Spirit possesses both Man and Beast in Slave-hood and violates Agency, Personhood, and we find this Love-Less side of things throwing men down against the ground and beating them, throwing herds of pigs off of cliffs, and other such things. It is an interesting difference we see there, between Love Himself and Satan.
In none of these things does anyone believe that clouds or animals talk. In none of these things have we heard a defense by our critics in which the Finite and the Derived successfully forbids the Infinite and Underived to talk either to or through elements of His creation and in none of these things have we heard the critic deal with that aspect of slave-hood and possession from that other, fallen, Spirit. In none of these things have we heard the Finite and Derived successfully forbid Underived Love from reversing this: Love manifests and Word is made Flesh.
I hint at a description of things that seems to disagree with the OP in that I infer that the serpent in Genesis is Satan, as we find God speaking of the future Seed bruising his head and also there is some talk of Hebrew imagery & Old Testament writing and in fact the Hebrews are odd wordsmiths who hold that God is Spirit yet write of His rhomboid muscles which pass by Moses: perhaps God has scapula too? And our Hebrew wordsmiths, also, I believe, in that passage speak of God's hand covering Moses as He passed by, this God Who is spirit. Does He then have fingernails? Revelations brings it full circle and speaks of that “….old serpent, Satan……” which is that same Satan who is a fallen angel. Do snakes then look like serpents or do serpents look like angels? How silly. C.S. Lewis speaks of these kinds of verses and other such things like Jesus telling us to be as doves, and then having critics argue that verses like that infer we ought to lay eggs. He comments of such word-smithing and states that people who can't get the obvious ought not read books written for grownups.
No one here believes animals talk. We do see many instances of the Immaterial manipulating the Material, and that in multiple and varied aspects, though one fallen spirit makes of things slaves while Another Spirit Whose name is Love makes Ex-Slaves out of slaves. It seems worth repeating that these are not difficulties, given what the Derived is in the Context of the Un-Derived. The more interesting questions lie in the direction of Logic and Love and the end of ad infinitum.
September 25, 2012 at 03:42 AM
At 2:15 in the video Koukl makes the rather obvious observation that the Christian story explains BB cosmology. Genesis 1 claims the universe had a beginning, so does BB cosmology.
Ben's story is that the universe had a beginning, but also that nothing preceded the something that appeared after the BB.. Most thinking people are skeptical of something coming from nothing. Myself included.
John Willis |
September 25, 2012 at 08:28 AM
That is not a rather obvious observation.
Whether BB says there is a 'beginning' depends on what you mean by beginning.
Listen again: The 'beginning' Koukl refers to at 2:15 is one where 'everything came into existence'. If everything came into existence at this 'beginning' then what existed before that? Nothing.
This may come out of John 1:3.
But it does not come out of BB cosmology.
I'm going to skip your last paragraph.
Look, this is not hard. I am contradicting Koukl and y'all can show me wrong: Just show why BB cosmology entails a creation from nothing.
If you succeed, pass on your info to WLC because he's made a career partly on the strength of the same false claim.
September 25, 2012 at 08:59 AM
1) Something from nothing: this makes no sense given what we know of physics.
2) Uncaused Cause. This makes no sense given what we know of physics.
BB does not claim 1. It does claim 2. Thus, Materialism and Physics are at odds one with the other. Thus the philosophy of physics now emerging.
RonH, do you still believe in the BB? You know, that "everything" was there in that tiny dot?
September 25, 2012 at 09:18 AM
I don't plan on replying to responses that don't seem aimed at showing me wrong (and Koukl right).
September 25, 2012 at 09:46 AM
An Uncaused Universe
But the more important point is this: not only is there no evidence for the theist's causal assumption, there's evidence against it. The claim that the beginning of our universe has a cause conflicts with current scientific theory. The scientific theory is called the Wave Function of the Universe. It has been developed in the past 15 years or so by Stephen Hawking, Alex Vilenkin, Andre Linde, and many others. Their theory is that there is a scientific law of nature called the Wave Function of the Universe that implies that it is highly probable that a universe with our characteristics will come into existence without a cause. Hawking's theory is based on assigning numbers to all possible universes. All of the numbers cancel out except for a universe with features that our universe possesses, such as containing intelligent organisms. This remaining universe has a very high probability - near 100% - of coming into existence uncaused.
Hawking's theory is confirmed by observational evidence. The theory predicts that our universe has evenly distributed matter on a large scale - that is, on the level of super-clusters of galaxies. It predicts that the expansion rate of our universe - our universe has been expanding ever since the Big Bang - would be almost exactly between the rate of the universe expanding forever and the rate where it expands and then collapses. It also predicts the very early area of rapid expansion near the beginning of the universe called "inflation." Hawking's theory exactly predicted what the COBE satellite discovered about the irregularities of the background radiation in the universe.
September 25, 2012 at 10:00 AM
Some only care about Greg?
Do some here really think that gets them out of Materialism's problem?
Let's say this:
1) Greg believes X (since this matters more to them than science).
2) X is false.
3) Greg believes Y and Z.
4) Y and Z are also false.
This leaves us with a problem:
1) Something from nothing: this makes no sense given what we know of physics.
3) Laws do not create anything.
Hawking seems to claim 3. And, he seems to imply uncaused causes exist. Neither of these are very scientific. All three are at odds with what we know of physics "here" in this reality.
Thus, Materialism and Physics are at odds one with the other. Thus the philosophy of physics now emerging.
Do some here still believe in the BB? You know, that "every-thing" was there in that tiny dot? (We grant that Greg has many, many false beliefs, as that will satisfy their passion).
Now then, we have granted to them Greg's many imperfections.
They are right.
They are correct.
They are smart.
Well, then: will they reply now?
September 25, 2012 at 10:02 AM
"Their theory is that there is a scientific law of nature called the Wave Function of the Universe that implies that it is highly probable that a universe with our characteristics will come into existence without a cause."
Out of No-Thing?
September 25, 2012 at 10:24 AM
"Out of No-Thing?"
September 25, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Nothing. Well. Let's see. Nothing.
September 25, 2012 at 12:33 PM
What do you mean?
September 25, 2012 at 12:33 PM
If you don't know what "nothing" means I can't really help us here........
September 25, 2012 at 12:34 PM
You wont define it. How is that my problem?
September 25, 2012 at 12:38 PM
Sorry Mick. I guess it's my problem.
September 25, 2012 at 12:40 PM
And you would be correct. It is your problem because if I answer before you state exactly what you mean when you ask a question, it's difficult/nigh on impossible to answer?
Let's ask another, seemingly simple question: why do two magnets feel as though there's something in between them when they repel each other?
September 25, 2012 at 12:52 PM
Because Magnets are something. If there are no magnets........
Magnetic force, gravitational force, vacuum, and the like are caused. Not uncaused.
No magnets, no force.
September 25, 2012 at 01:06 PM
So because 'magnets are something' it feels like there is something between them when you push them together?
Really? How would you begin to find out what's going on in the magnets to make that happen?
September 25, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Just because one has never heard a snake talk before doesn't necessarily mean it has never happened. The problem here is that even if we did have evidence that the snake did talk, the atheist or naturalist would most likely come up with some "scientific" explanation. What I've noticed a lot lately is that some people don't want to have discussions, they just want to argue. I don't waste my time talking to someone who isn't open to the evidence. There is overwhelming evidence for the existence of God and the Resurrection. To quibble over a talking snake seems rather insignificant. If Jesus rose, and there is excellent evidence that He surely did, then a talking snake seems to be a much lesser miracle. Skeptics have nothing better to do than nitpick and deny what's right in their faces. I continue to pray for them because they are missing out on something extraordinary--and that is the Christian lifestyle. God bless.
John M |
September 25, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Mick if you mean to claim that magnetic force (or any force) can exist without magents (or without any cause), then that is okay. I can't spend time arguing that. I don't believe that is the case. If you do, then okay. I'll grant you that here. Magnetic forces, or forces in general, or vacuums in general, exist without causes. They are uncaused. Magnetic forces exist without magnets. Etc. Granted.
I don't believe that is true, but, I can't argue this all out here with you......
It's a time thing.
Here's a fun quote on force:
John Lennox quotes Tim Radford in this as I recall, ""....... M-theory invokes something different: a prime mover, a begetter, a creative force that is everywhere and nowhere. This force cannot be identified by instruments or examined by comprehensible mathematical prediction, and yet it contains all possibilities. It incorporates omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence, and it's a big mystery. Remind you of anybody?""
I'm sorry if I was too short or too sarcastic there. I think I was.
September 25, 2012 at 01:28 PM
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