Ezekiel 20:25-26 and How to Investigate Biblical Translation Issues

The following are rough notes from a Twitter discussion I had on the translation and meaning of Ezekiel 20:25-26. It was claimed God gave “bad laws” to the Israelites (eg. child sacrifice) because they wouldn’t follow His good laws. This is obviously problematic as its relates to the Goodness of God. These are my tweets and notes from that discussion.

– “nâthan, naw-than’; a primitive root; to give, used with greatest latitude of application (put, make, etc.)”

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H5414&t=KJV

– “Your reading, if true, is delightfully illogical. The people are so disobedient that god gives them different laws, which they suddenly and cheerfully obey, like the obedient followers they aren’t. And that cheerful obedience mirrors the disobedience of their ancestors.”

– Vs 23 God swore to disperse Isrealites to the nations around them (who didn’t have God’s Law), because they had not obeyed the Law (Vs 24), “So I gave them other statutes” meaning the statutes of the nations He dispersed them to (vs 25)

“23 Also with uplifted hand I swore to them in the wilderness that I would disperse them among the nations and scatter them through the countries, 24 because they had not obeyed my laws but had rejected my decrees and desecrated my Sabbaths, and their eyes lusted after their parents’ idols. 25 So I gave them other statutes that were not good and laws through which they could not live;”

– Verses 30-38 continue this idea of dispersing to the immoral nations and bringing them back home where they are still doing immoral things they brought with them (Vs 32 ‘we want to be like the nations).

Tweet Thread

Okay, continuing the Ezekiel 20:25-26 thead here. I’m going to talk about 3 main points I’ve come across so far from, in my opinion, the least convincing to the most convincing why this could be better translated ‘I gave them [over to] statutes’ instead of ‘I gave them statutes’.
– https://twitter.com/shovas/status/1017610935618465793

1. Translation for the word “gave” from: “nâthan, naw-than’; a primitive root; to give, used with greatest latitude of application (put, make, etc.):” () Note wide usage of meanings. It can’t categorically be said to be wrong to use “gave over” here.
– https://twitter.com/shovas/status/1017613563605716993

See translation of whole verse here: https://t.co/XW4vCFizeq
– https://twitter.com/shovas/status/1017613689388720130

2. Logical Consistency of Argument (): Israelites so disobedient God gives them other laws…which He expects them to obey??! Infers wording does not indicate bad laws from God – because they wouldn’t obey anyway. Maintains logical consistency of argument.
– https://twitter.com/shovas/status/1017614811616686080

Did you read the link? It’s quite clever in its simplicity as an argument: From your side, you’re admitting the Israelites didn’t want to folllow God’s statutes so…God gave them more statutes…to follow? It’s not logical. It breaks the meaning of the passage.
– https://twitter.com/shovas/status/1018211081569951744

3a. Immediate Context Makes It Obvious (): *head hanging in shame* I should have read the chapter much sooner *sigh*. Cont’d…
– https://twitter.com/shovas/status/1017615444579102720

3b. Vs23 God swore to disperse Isrealites to the nations around them (who didn’t have God’s Law) because they had not obeyed the Law (vs24), “So I gave them statutes” meaning the statutes of the nations He dispersed them to (vs25). He claims ownership of statutes… Cont’d…
– https://twitter.com/shovas/status/1017616152980320256

3c. God claims ownership of the statutes by way of the dispersion resulting in them acquiring those statutes from the evil nations around them not in the giving of the statutes.
– https://twitter.com/shovas/status/1017616394551222273

3d. This is the most convincing to me because it’s right there in the text and it just follows so immediately one verse to the other, sequentially, and it maintains its internal consistency. It’s so powerful because it’s so simple.
– https://twitter.com/shovas/status/1017616911683768320

Answering Genesis 1 and 2 Contradiction Claims

Update 2016-04-06: A month or so ago, in the middle of a few comments on other things, I let Tyler know I wanted to see a reply to this post. He had just had a son, so I expressed understanding if he didn’t have the time. After all, it took me three months to write my own. He didn’t express anything to the effect that he would. He remarked something about it being too long-winded. At any rate, I often comment on his Facebook posts, acting the Devil’s Advocate to his Theistic-Evolutionist posts, and soon afterward I noticed my recent comments weren’t there. In fact, they were all gone. I couldn’t find a trace of them, not even in my own activity log. I also noticed I can longer comment on any of his posts. I suppose he got tired of someone raining on his parade and bringing up unfortunate points that he’s not willing or able to deal with (backup link). Touche. As I told Tyler many times, you can’t just keep making bold claims without backing it up. He has another post, “10 theological questions no young-earth creationist can answer” (backup link), which sparked my interest. I started to write a response to that while I waited for him but it turned out there are two other very involved write ups on it (here and here) that Tyler did not officially respond to. Surprise, he prefers to respond in the comments ensuring his readers never have to bother with the icky details of the back and forth all truth discovery requires. Tyler fails to see the need to backup his large claims in a studious, rigorous and repeated manner. This post, then, stands as a testament to Tyler’s unwillingness to argue for his position in a way that all could make up their minds in an objective manner which claims were right and which were not. I will, however, be happy to continue our back and forth should Tyler ever wish to respond to this post on his own blog.

Answering Genesis 1 and 2 Contradiction Claims

I’m continuing the back and forth I’ve been having with Tyler, of God of Evolution.com, and his article on supposed Genesis 1 and 2 contradictions to which I’ve responded over here. As we had discussed, Tyler responded to my piece with a follow up entitled Continuing the discussion about Genesis 1 and 2 contradictions. The following are a collection of his claims, attempting to prove Genesis 1 and 2 are mutually distinct and mutually contradictory creation accounts, with which I take issue and present responses to each.

Toledoth

Claim

“There are seven (not 10, as the CMI article claims) uses of this particular form of the Hebrew word in Genesis. In six of these cases (5:1, 6:9, 10:1, 11:10, 11:27 and 25:19), it introduces a genealogy. The only time the word doesn’t introduce a genealogy is — you guessed it! — Genesis 2:4.

The point being, there is nowhere else in Genesis that this word does what YEC proponents claim it does, that is, introduces a more “zoomed-in” retelling of a story that was told (and completed) immediately before it.” -Tyler of God of Evolution.com, Continuing the discussion about Genesis 1 and 2 contradictions

Tyler claims toledoth always introduce their section and that they do not conclude what came before. This is important because the Genesis 2:4 toledoth appears to introduce what follows as “the generations”, or ‘the account‘, with the apparent implication that it is a distinct and authoritative narration of the process of creation. This brings in contradictions between the Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 creation narratives that are not present when the Genesis 2 account is understood as a more detailed look at day 6 of Genesis 1.

Response

“These [are] the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.” Genesis 2:4‘generations’, a toledoth

Regarding the toledoth point, Tyler said the toledoth issue is “an unpersuasive point to begin with.” Initially, I was tempted to agree, but having put considerable time into researching what views are out there, I’m inclined to believe this is perhaps one of the most important points in support of interpreting the Genesis 2 account as a supplemental history to Genesis 1 and not a stand-alone account. I will attempt to show why this is a better take below.

Continue reading “Answering Genesis 1 and 2 Contradiction Claims”