Thursday, January 07, 2010

Were Ancients Logical?

An argument is made by some that the people of Bible times were not logical like we are and therefore were more gullible and susceptible to claims of miracles. Therefore, the argument goes, the stories and traditions that they recorded should not be taken seriously.

However, it’s easy to show that this is not true. Take the example given in Isaiah 44. Here the prophet ridicules a man who cuts down a tree. Out of half of it he fashions an idol in the shape of an image which he then worships. He prays to this god and asks it to deliver him. He uses the other half for fuel for a fire which keeps him warm. The prophet laughs at the stupidity of asking for help from the same piece of wood that was turned to ashes in his fire pit! Now don’t tell me that these people didn’t know what makes logical sense and what doesn’t. There have always been people around who could expose faulty thinking.

Here’s the incident as recorded in Isaiah 44:14 ff.

He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. 15 Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. 16 Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” 17 And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!”
18 They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand. 19 No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, “Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?” 20 He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”

The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001, S. Is 44:14-20

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