The Eighth-day Adventist Church proposal

As a thought experiment, imagine a person with considerable wealth and/or vast unfettered access to professional printing services, to the point where this person can print up professionally-bound books of any desired content. This person prints up a (nearly) word-for-word copy of the New International Version of the Bible, with a few minor changes to Chapters 1 and 2 of the Book of Genesis, such that creation takes seven days and…

*Gen 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

2:2 By the eighth day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the eighth day he rested from all his work.

2:3 Then God blessed the eighth day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.*

This would not be difficult at all to compose. Perhaps the creation on the fifth day, which in the NIV described God creating sea creatures and birds, gets spread out so on Day 5, it’s fish, and on Day 6, it’s birds, to be followed on Day 7 by land animals and humans, and Day 8 to rest.

Now, that person begins printing and distributing his new bible, handing it out for free, sending them by the tens of thousands all over the world without fanfare. Biblica incorporated may (and probably would) object as they are the copyright holders on the NIV, but beyond that what argument could anyone make that the seventh-day version is better than the eighth-day version? What evidence can they bring to bear, even hypothetically, that supports such a claim? And suppose a child in Peru or Gambia of Tasmania gets one of the new bibles as their first bible and accepts the eighth-day creation. What arguments can use to convince them they are wrong, assuming they are wrong?

In contrast, the person might also produce, say, a chemistry textbook which is in all respects identical to a standard textbook, except that in the new book’s periodic tables, gold is element #80 while mercury is element #79, a reversal of the standard. Now, objectors have an avenue of evidence - they can subject gold and mercury to various experiments (indeed recreating the experiments that placed gold and mercury in the periodic table originally) and demonstrate that the new chemistry text is indeed in error.

In general terms, which beliefs, if any, within the western religions (by which I mean Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and if anyone can suggest a better term to cover the faiths that revere Genesis, they are invited to do so) are not subject to casual substitution? If one produces a bible in which “God” is replaced by a pair of cooperating gods who always work together and are never mentioned separately, and all text accordingly altered ("… have no other gods before us…"), does that bible have more objective merit or less objective merit than a standard version?

And even more generally, what aspects of religious mythology are not arbitrary? If all bibles were lost, what process could one hypothetically use to recreate one, as one might use a scientific process to recreate the periodic table if all chemistry textbooks were lost? If the recreated bible has a few minor differences (or a lot of minor differences, or a few major ones), how could one prove it?

How are you going to convince them that there are eight days in a week?

Regards,
Shodan

Isn’t this basically how it all started?

Play a ton of The Beatles.

heretic!

I think the OP is less a thought experiment than a restatement of the histories of all the world’s major religions. You have to remember that “the Bible” isn’t a monolithic document but a collection of books that have undergone schismatic, independent and ecumenical revision and addenda throughout the course of Christianity.

I’d say your scenario of the 21st Century Peruvian accepting an eighth day adventist revision is no different than a 4th Century Roman embracing the Nicene Creed.

:smack: Gotcha there, Ekers! A hrr hrr hrr.

People would be able to produce convincing evidence that the Eight-Day Bible had been changed, and that the Seventh-Day Bible was the “original”. The Gideon Bibles at the local motel, family bibles that had been around for generations, Gutenberg Bibles in museums, the Vulgate, the Septuagint, and probably the Dead Sea Scrolls–stuff from as far back as the late BCE, over 2,000 years old–would all contain the seven day language. So, your advocate of the Eight-Day Bible would clearly have the burden of proof if he was claiming that the original Bible said “eight days” and it somehow got screwed up or mistranslated along the way.

Of course, if he just said God had changed His mind last Tuenesday about the length of the week, it would basically turn into an argument along the lines of [one guy]“Did too!”, [2 billion other people]“Did not!”.

I asked Brian to start this thread and hoped he’d set stricter parameters.

Let’s eliminate the easy answer, can we Brian, by supposing that an archeologist simultaneously uncovers two equally apparent ancient documents and one claims 7 days and one claims 8?

Brian, to clarify, is this the ONLY thing that is changed in your experiment, the genesis account from 7 days to 8 days, and no other text?

Although I would take issue with this part of your statement, Buckner.

I will wait and see what further parameters Brian wishes to set before I explain why, however.

The correct comparison is not to science, but to history (since, after all, the issue is simply what happened in the past). Say you print a badzillion textbooks saying that Henry IX (rather than Henry VIII) founded the Church of England. How could anyone prove you wrong? What experiment could you do? None; you could only refer to older manuscripts — ideally contemporary ones, but for older history, not so much — to see that it was, in fact, Henry VIII. This is precisely the same as what you would do in objection to the 8-days claim; refer to older texts and say, “Well, this claim was clearly made up well after the fact, the earlier sources were saying something different”.

Bryan is spelled with a Y, damn YOUR IMPRECISIONS TO THE PITS OF HELL! [hard slap across the face]

Anyhoo…

I don’t see why this is necessary, unless someone can prove a bible written centuries ago has more evidentiary support than one written last week, but fine - let’s assume someone makes (or claims to have made) a discovery comparable to that of the Dead Sea Scrolls which includes a eight-day version of Genesis.

Yes. Later text still includes references to every seventh day being a sabbath and day of rest, etc. That this does not line up nicely with the earlier chapters of Genesis is not commented on or explained. If this apparent inconsistency (and it’s not even that big a deal, I figure - God rested on the eighth day, but he wants humans to rest every seventh day - I don’t see this as a contradiction) is a “deal-breaker” that demonstrates eight-day bibles to be incorrect, I’m curious why other, much more significant inconsistencies in the NIV do not call it into question.

Sorry about the Y, Bryan.

Ok parameters are set.

(BTW as far as translations go I don’t much care for the NIV either)

Alrighty, then, Exodus 31:17 is inconsistent with Genesis in the 8th day version and the 7th day version is not, therefore, because of internal consistency, the 7th day version is more relaible.

“It [is] a sign 226 between me and the children 1121 of Israel 3478 for ever 5769: for [in] six 8337 days 3117 the LORD 3068 made 6213 heaven 8064 and earth 776, and on the seventh 7637 day 3117 he rested 7673, and was refreshed 5314.”

(The numbers refer the word to Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon)

But let’s say also that all other accounts in the bible of creation and its time periods also claim 8 days in the 8 day version, shall we?

I disagree in that this particular proposed alteration is not simply a restatement of human history, i.e. changing the name of someone who did something, but is quite specifically about the creation of the universe and the life within it, something which (I would think) would touch on the fields of physics, cosmology, paleontology, chemistry, biology, evolution, what have you. Is there any conceivable test one could run that would support or disprove either version of Genesis? Is there any conceivable test that would demonstrate one version as “better” than the other? Does a person who grew up reading a seven-day version have any advantage over one who grew up reading an eight-day version?

If the 7 day version claims to be originally ancient, and it does, and the 8th day version also makes the claim, the fact that there are ancient copies of the 7 day version and none of the 8 day version tends to prove the 7 day version is the reliable version.

Is internal consistency important? Heck, the NIV version of Genesis isn’t even consistent with itself. What I guess would be needed would be independent corroboration, and I’m curious what form this might take.

Sure. A muscled-up search-and-replace operation in which any reference to seventh-day rests and/or seventh-day sabbaths is modified for eight. The hypothetical publisher described in the OP could probably accomplish this over a weekend and start the presses rolling.

If you mean a scientific test, I do not see what could be devised.

Does age alone convey reliability? Something simply being ancient doesn’t mean it is correct, is it?

Mere age alone does not make it correct, this is true, but we are comparing one document to another to determine which one is more likely true.

When both documents claim age, and one can back it up but the other cannot, this makes the one consistent with the ancient copies more reliable than the one without, because there is evidence of the claim of age for one and none for the other.

This is where it gets interesting, and far more difficult, but the easy to prove debates are also the dullest, eh? Or the most frustrating when ideology gets into the way.

Now we have a question of whether the bible otherwise, outside of the creation story, treats the number seven in a differing way to make it stand out from other numbers.

I suggest we disregard any numbers that are used in ordinary counting of ordinary subjects, such as Methusaleh lived to X number years, the census of the tribe of Judah was x hundred thousand, and the like, as it does not reveal much. But the counting of some things is important, so its not the mere counting we eliminate (lest we eliminate any debate over numbers in the bible at all) its the counting of mundane things.

Let’s say that we attempt to find if there is any attachment to the concept of holiness for the number 7 vs. the number 8.

Take a moment and check out Blue Letter Bible, do a search for the written seven and then for the written eight (not numerals 7 and 8).

http://www.blueletterbible.org/

there are 463 occurences for seven and 80 for eight, but that includes mundane usage. so we know so far that seven appears about 5.75 times more often than eight.

I’m not finished, but I’ll be back, I have band practice and some other stuff to do, so if you’re willing, skim through some of those search results.

Yes, consistency is important. But let’s debate what all is inconsistent or not in the bible some other time.

To demostrate the importance of consistency:

A history book claims a person took action A on X date. In another paragraph it denies that he did A on X date and instead claims he did B on Y date. Then later on it claims he did A on Y and denies he did B on Y. Then it denies all the foregoing and claims he did C on Z.

In contrast, another history book claims that a person did A on X, mentions it several times and never changes that claim, it is consistently the same claim, he did A on X date.

Which one, based on this alone, would you choose as the accurate history book?