Matthew 7:15 (NIV) “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

Matthew 24:11: (NIV) “…and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”

2 Timothy 2:23 - 25 (NIV) - 23Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

And the Sun Stood Still, and the Moon Stayed

Joshua 10:12-14 - Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.13And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.14And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the Lord fought for Israel. 

Usually after insisting that I must believe all the scripture or none of it, and after telling me to tear out pages that contain anything I don't believe, the fellow Christian will then ask me: "Well, what part of the Bible don't you believe?"  I've already shared two of those parts with you in earlier blog posts: The Tower of Babel, and The Pompous Ass Speaks. Now, I will share a third such story. And remember, my point is not to attack scripture or doubt God's miracles.  My point of this blog is to call out charlatans and fundamentalists that are lying about God.  One way they do that is to insist that a man, woman, or child must believe the Bible is inerrant while demanding that you must believe it all or none in order to place your trust and faith in Jesus Christ for your salvation

That is not historical Christianity and is not the Gospel. Please don't turn your back on Jesus just because some charlatans and fundamentalist religious fanatics are demanding your loyalty to every single word and story in an ancient text; to the Catholic church; to a local Protestant church; or to some holy man of God who gets paid to tell you what the Bible says and what it means. Jesus said "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."  He didn't say the scriptures can get you to the father, or that the church can get you there. He certainly didn't say religion could do it.  He actually spent a lot of time calling out the religious leaders and religious practices of his day.

First, let's deal with the book of Jasher.  Ever heard of it? God refers to it twice in Holy Scripture, so it must be true and legitimate god-breathed scripture, correct? God himself says in verse 13 of Joshua 10 that the sun stood still, the moon stayed AND then he confirms his own words by the Socratic method, which is asking the rhetorical question: "Is not this written in the book of Jasher?" Then God says again, after that reference to Jasher, the sun stood still and didn't go down for a whole day. The second place where we see God tell us the book of Jasher contains truth is in 2 Samuel 1:17-18: "Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Jasher." 

I've already written a post about how religious men picked and chose which books you would be calling inerrant and infallible, but I encourage you to research the Book of Jasher because your Bible expressly mentions that book twice, once in the Old Testament and once in the New Testament.  But I digress.  The focus of this blog post is to give my next example in answer to the sincere questioner who asks "What part don't you believe?'

Second, let's look at whether this passage is true. The scripture speaks for itself. Do you really need me to tell you that the earth revolves around the sun (about once per year) while spinning on its axis (one rotation per day).  Do you need me to tell you that if the earth stopped spinning on its axis, gravity would cease to exist?  If your religion requires you to believe that the earth stopped spinning on its axis in order to help an Israelite army win a battle, then you need to examine what you believe and why.

As an engineer and a teacher of physics and electronics, I'm familiar with God's laws he has set in place in nature. I have studied them and applied them for decades. They are consistent and are measurable. Could God suspend the laws he put in place?  Absolutely yes, by most definitions, God can do anything. However, if God DID decide to halt the spinning of the earth to "hold the sun still", he would cause unimaginable destruction the likes the world has never seen.

Let's be good Bereans and consider this scripture to see if it is trustworthy. We can do this by using some simple math (We can trust those atheist scientists that tell us that 2+2 = 4 correct?) and use some simple science.
    At the equator, the circumference of the Earth is 40,070 kilometers, and the day is 24 hours long so the speed is 1670 kilometers/hour (1037 miles/hr).
In basic physics, we teach about a concept called "momentum" and "inertia". Anything that has mass, has inertia. Inertia is the tendency of a mass once in motion to stay in motion unless a force acts on it to change its velocity. And a moving mass has momentum. So every object on the surface of the earth is moving at 1000 miles per hour just from the rotational action of the earth (ignoring the velocity from the earth's movement revolving around the sun!) If God stopped the earth from spinning, everything on the earth that is moving at the same speed would keep moving. The air would keep moving and relative to the surface of the earth we would have winds of 1000 miles per hour. The oceans would keep moving and would wash onto land. All creatures on the earth would be propelled at 1000 miles per hour from the earth into the atmosphere. A similar more observable concept is the injury that occurs in a car crash.  If you drive into a tree at 40 mph, the car stops immediately while your body continues forward at 40 mph. You then impact with the interior of the car or tree and can be seriously injured or killed.

So unknown at the time to the writers of this book, this event is physically impossible and almost incomprehensible to consider. So either the writers were ignorant, or they were mistaken, or the God that inspired them was wrong. That's an easy choice. The writers, not God, were clearly wrong. Same as if they had written 2 + 2 = 5. But, I can't blame the writers and centuries of subsequent scribes, because they had no idea they were flying through space on a ball that was spinning on its axis at 1000 mph while revolving around the sun.

I CAN, howver, blame modern day fundamentalists who still insist that it is true AND that I have to believe it to be a Christian.  Let me be clear: I don't believe this particular event ever happened. God hasn't given me the grace or the faith or whatever you want to call it, to believe this story. Maybe it is a story that can teach us about God wanting to help his people - but can't I learn something from the STORY without having to actually believe it happened? Do I have to believe in a literal fox and grapes to learn from that well known fable? What is more important, the teaching of the story, or winning the argument as to whether it is historically accurate? Forcing the next generation of Christians to believe this or they can't believe in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, is hurting the cause of Christ, hurting the gospel, dividing denominations and churches, harming the fellowship of Christians, and hurting families.

Again, why wouldn't God just strike the other army dead as he is so capable of doing with a single word? This type of story makes no sense, is unnecessary, and is not part of the saving faith a man, woman or child must have to come to Jesus Christ in repentance of sins for salvation.  Please don't tie the gospel message or being a Christian into believing this type of nonsense.  It only hurts the gospel message and turns people away who need Jesus in their lifeShame on you. Stop it.


Ramesh said...

Fair enough. I follow your logic of the impossibility of the above happening.

Not in this case but in Revelation Wade explained that starry heavens falling were symbolically meant for the Jewish people of that time to denote the collapse of Jewish temple and their practices. At least that is what I remember from Wade's message.

I also find the core Christian beliefs as in virgin birth and resurrection to be scientifically unexplainable.

But I am willing to believe on faith that both virgin birth and resurrection took place. Also due to multiple accounts that they took place.

Of the three examples you gave I can disbelieve the last one mainly due to global implications of effects. The donkey talking could be believed either literally or figuratively. The tower of Babel could also be believed either literally or figuratively.

Not questioning my own faith and scientific curiosity. But these things are unexplainable rationally.

Anonymous said...

I can't help but be both puzzled and amused that you base your disbelief of this story on the fact that it defies the known laws of physics and astronomy. Well, then why don't you disbelieve the Resurrection because it defies the known laws of biology?

It's perfectly reasonable from an objective standpoint to disbelieve something in the Bible because it defies known scientific laws. However, it is logically inconsistent for you to discredit these stories on that basis while at the same time professing a belief that Jesus defied scientific laws by rising from death. To say that you believe in the Resurrection is necessarily to say you believe that supernatural events occur. At that point you logically lose the ability to argue against the supernatural because it is contrary to science.

Anonymous said...

"However, if God DID decide to halt the spinning of the earth to "hold the sun still", he would cause unimaginable destruction the likes the world has never seen."

Um, Tom, if you acknowledge that God can suspend His own laws of nature, then I think you pretty much have to acknowledge that He can also suspend any natural consequences that a scientist would expect to ensue if the law were suspended. So I'm totally nonplussed with your argument to the effect that"we know this story is not true because the earth wasn't destroyed."

Tip: once you acknowledge that the supernatural is possible, as you have unequivocally done, then don't argue that anything is impossible because it would defy the laws of nature. The fallacy of this should be obvious.

Anonymous said...

"Again, why wouldn't God just strike the other army dead as he is so capable of doing with a single word?"

Why hell, I don't know why God does a whole lot of things the way He does them! Quite candidly, in my flesh I'm no fan of many of the things He does, and in my flesh I'm confident I could do His job a hell of a lot better than He does.

If you get hung up on trying to base Christian belief on logic and reason you're going to be frustrated right out of the gate. Why didn't God just create a world where there was no pain and suffering? Why not just create a perfect world where everyone is happy all the time? What was the point of creating a humanity that would have to be redeemed? I don't know!

You just have to resign yourself to believing that His ways are higher and that you have finite understanding.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 4:26: Jesus could be resurrected from the dead without stopping the earth from spinning on its axis. Why do you keep trying to weaken my faith in his resurrection?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

anon 4:48: I think some supernatural events are possible and make sense to the plan of salvation. Talking donkeys, the tower of babel and the sun standing still are nonsense I will never accept. Please don't paint your faith into that corner by trying to convince me that since all of that is nonsense, therefore, Jesus is nonsense too. I'm not there yet. Are you trying to help me get there?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

anon 5:03 - We will address some of those other things you refer to that God does in future posts. (Genocide, infancticide, favoritism, lack of justice, lack of equal protection, etc.) I know Christianity is not based on logic and reason. We all know that! However, charlatans and fundamentalist trying to ram their dogma and theology down my throat or I can't be a Christian, is only hurting their own cause. And is driving away the next generation of Christians. And they are blaming it on the Supreme Court. I don't know that the resurrection didn't occur. In faith, I believe it did. But I do know when a preacher is lying about tithing, works, inerrancy, etc. That is why you haven't seen me challenge miracles in general or the virgin birth or resurrection for example. Those are matters of faith. Talking donkeys, and the sun standing still and different languages because men were going to reach heaven by building a tower, are not matters of faith. They are nonsense.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

anon - Okay. I think we may be agreeing on more than we initially thought. I agree the resurrection is a supernatural event that, like you, I believe based on the objective evidence surrounding it, as well as it being a matter of faith. I still maintain that I don't have to believe every other event that is unexplainable if I believe in the resurrection. I think that is where the charlatans and con men and religious fanatics come in. They argue that if you believe in something as supernatural and miraculous as a virgin birth and resurrection from the dead, then you have to also believe all the other nonsense they build their particular brand of religion around.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon - My post directly above was in response to your latest post, which I did read, but for some reason was lost when I tried to publish it. Sorry about that. I did not mean to delete it.

Tom Kelley said...

It's absolutely true that one does not have to believe in inerrancy to be a Christian, as salvation is based solely on faith in Jesus Christ.

I do think it is reasonable to consider whether questioning the reliability of some events recorded in the Bible might also call into question the reliability of passages of the Bible that teach about Jesus (especially miracles directly associated with salvation, like His resurrection). But if one's faith in Christ is not shaken by such questions, I think that can be a sign of a strong and healthy faith in Him.

I also think that for anyone who believes in Jesus it is just as reasonable to believe in all of the Bible, even those events that seem implausible or impossible, as a God who can create the world is surely capable of doing any of the other things attributed to Him. But, again, being a Christian does not require believing in a particular doctrine about the Bible (inerrancy) or anything other than the most basic teachings of the gospel (who Jesus is and what He did to secure our salvation). Indeed, anyone who says otherwise is misleading people.

One correct on the science part, though. gravity is a result by an object's mass, not it's rotation. If the Earth stopped rotating, it would still have gravity. But concerning the main point, yeah, if the Earth suddenly stopped rotating, the expected impacts would be catastrophic, based on the laws of nature.

(However, when one is talking about a supernatural event, it is by definition a suspension of the laws of nature. Surely, if He wanted to, God could stop the Earth from rotating and also stop the normal consequences of such an event. For that matter, surely He knows how to make the sun "stand still" without stopping the Earth's rotation. I realize that just because He could do it, that doesn't mean He actually did do it. And it doesn't matter to me if a person believes He did do it or not, in terms of that person's salvation or their personal devotion to Jesus. I'm just saying it that, for me personally, having already accepted the idea of an all-powerful Creator who came to Earth as a man to die for my sins and be resurrected so I could have eternal life, it doesn't take any more faith to believe that God somehow made the sun and moon "stand still," or that He made a donkey talk, or that a snake talked to Eve, or that an ax head floated, or that people all spoke one language and tried to build some sort of tower sand God confused their languages, or anything else in the Bible.

Tom Kelley said...

On another one of your favorite topics, here's a story that you might find interesting. Some poor doctrines can actually be deadly...

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Tom, I think we're in agreement here, but the point remains: there is no evidence to suggest the "sun stood still", and the consequences of such a deceleration - consequences we understand now that the writer surely did not - suggest the narrative is a complete fable. If doubt in this story causes someone to doubt their faith in Jesus, then, well, they have little faith I suppose.

Thanks for the correction on reference to gravity - yes, of course, the spinning has nothing to do with the existence of gravity, except that those on the earth would feel the effects of their kinetic energy and momentum propelling them on a tangent off of the earth when God stopped it from spinning. They would still feel the effects of attractive gravitational force between them and the earth as defined by Newton's universal law of gravity.

Ramesh said...

Here is an interesting discussion that explores newton's contribution and other aspects: Science in the Dock, Discussion with Noam Chomsky, Lawrence Krauss & Sean M. Carroll.

Lot of what we think science is, is not.


Anonymous said...

What a weird little corner of the web this is.

Man! Haha!!!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Tom Kelly - I've read and re-read your comments. Very well done. As a matter of fact, if all Christians interacted like you, I doubt I would have ever needed to post these recent topics. Thanks for your well reasoned and considerate views.

Anonymous said...

I'm not nearly as hung up on "whether" these things happened as I am that God is ABLE to bring them about anytime, using anyone or anything, and in any way He chooses.

Beyond that, it accomplishes nothing (except fallout) for pulpiteers to try and use specific acts as a definer of faith or divider of believers.

Let God be God, and hold Him in the place of "otherness" from our nitpickiness.

Ramesh said...


The Govteach said...

No, this is not a weird's just saying a lot of stuff those of us stuck in fundamentalist areas of the South can't say without being called heathens or pagans....this is a place for thinking Christians.

Arce said...

I think it is important to remember that the Pentateuch was penned during the Babylonian exile, ca 500 BC +/-, after the destruction of the temple and its contents. That means that, at best, it was recreated from memory from earlier scrolls, and at worst was created whole cloth. I believe that the lack of memory is why Genesis suggests that people lived for multiple centuries, reproducing into their second century of life, etc. And the tales that are told are not unique to the Genesis account, but are similar to the creation stories extant at the time, attributable to other gods. The distinction is that the God of the Israelites was a god of love who cared for and interacted with his people and did not require human sacrifice.

Serena763 said...

Why do people keep taking the bible literally?? Whyyyyyy? lmao

Anonymous said...

I recall that historians did not believe Belshazzar was a real person, however archeologists discovered a golden chariot with his name on it not too long ago. Additionally, chariots have also been found in the Red Sea. Once one starts denying what is truth they become truths unto themselves. Let God be true and every man a LIAR!!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Are you saying you actually believe the sun stood still and the moon stayed? You believe that happened? Wow.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely. That is so simple when you compare the universe God made, the unique structure of human anatomy, the value that God placed on all mankind by dying in their place. The thread of the issue of blood throughout the Bible and that salvation is free especially during these last days. One last thing is the nation of is their land forever and has been for over 3000 years, but their movement back in May 1948 seals the prophecy. Faith can take you farther than you can imagine. Paul went from a killer of Christians to a disciple and follower like no other person. Yes. I'm a believer and also believe Jonah was swallowed by a whale.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

The "nation of Israel" has rejected Jesus as the Messiah and absolutely will never believe that he is Jehovah God, the great I Am, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. No one disagrees with your beliefs about Jesus more than the Jews. And it's "their land?" Tell that to the Palestinians who lived there for centuries and whose God told them its their land. Uh oh. "Leave your homes, land and businessess or die, our loving and just God says this is our land."

And just because there is obviously a Creator, it doesn't mean he/she is the God of the Muslims, or of the Jehovah Witnesses, or Mormons, or Catholics or fundamentalist Christians. You can believe anything you want about this Creator, but thankfully, it doesn't make it true. All those other faiths mentioned above, you and I don't believe everything they do. No matter how much they believe it or what their holy book says. And if you were born in Iran, there is a 99% chance you wouldn't be a Christian. Or if you were born in Spain, you'd probably be a Catholic. So stating what you believe, no matter how outrageous it is, does not "prove" anything or convince anyone but your small circle of like minded people, of anything. It's a religion. And it's brought nothing but harm to nations, cultures and families throughout history. No discoveries, no advances in medicine or technology, no roads, no transportation, nothing. But people do go to war over it. Literally and figuratively. Moderate Christians need to speak up before the fundies kill the entire faith and lose any and all credibility and respect they might still enjoy in society.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Let God be true and every man a LIAR!! Exactly. That's what this blog is all about. Those men up there preaching are lying about God and religion and the magic book.

Anonymous said...

Tom while the Nation of Israel may have rejected Jesus in the past and the present doesn't have anything to do with the future. It's their land as God gave it to them. They will accept Him when He returns.

Anonymous said...

Denominations are the problem. Why so many churches. Most are made up by men rather than God and that is why the gospel is not being spread as it was under Jonathon Edwards, Wesley brothers, Spurgeon and others who were not interest in fame and fortune!!! Where are the evangelists today???