Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Eye of Reason – Part II

Continuing with the fact that whenever Theorists write about the Jaredite barges, whether members or critics, they seem unable to think beyond the words written. They neglect the very important instruction we have been given to read, ponder and pray about the scriptural accounts. In the last post we discussed one of Kent Ponder’s forty critiques of the Jaredite barges. Below are some others: 
   And what about seeing? Is it sensible that the workmen could have finished all eight interiors without noticing that there was insufficient light to see -- no windows? How could they have worked inside without seeing?”
What should be obvious, but not to the casual reader of the scriptural record, is that the brother of Jared, throughout construction of the barges, knew exactly how they would be used and how they would be built. The record itself tells us the Lord told him that they would be “airtight” and “water tight” so much so that they would be capable of holding water (Ether 2:17). Obviously, the brother of Jared did not think they would have openings in them, nor did he expect to see from the light of the Sun in them—he knew they would be submerged from time to time. 
    What he was asking the Lord is what kind of artificial light would they use, hoping the Lord did not intend for them to travel across the ocean in pitch darkness (Ether 2:22). He knew they would be “many times buried in the depths of the sea,” which they were (Ether 6:6), and he knew they were totally dependent upon the Lord for their ability to make it across the sea, which they were (Ether 2:25).
    When the barge—like a submarine for it would have to withstand being “above the water and under the water” (Ether 6:10)—was completed per instruction, the brother of Jared approached the Lord hoping there would be instruction on providing light so they would not be in darkness inside the barges. The idea of spending a long time in total darkness, sometimes beneath the water, without being able to see one another, take care of family responsibilities, prepare and eat meals, and care for the animals, would surely not have appealed to anyone.
    In response, the Lord reminded the brother of Jared what he undoubtedly already knew—they would not be able to have windows; however the idea of windows was not new to the Jaredites. The Lord instructed Noah: “A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it” (Genesis 6:16).
Anciently, before glass was invented, window openings in warm climes (Mediterranean) had no coverings; in colder climes (England), they had wood shutters that were closed at night or in inclement weather. In Old Norse they were called vindauga ("vind" for wind, "auga" for eye). While glass was not used in such openings until 100 A.D., beginning in Rome, openings for air, ventilation, and light have always existed, though glass in windows of ordinary homes did not become common until the 17th century
    In an interesting comment on this by Ponder (his comment #4), he states: “Dashed in pieces? Dashable (shatterable) windows were not invented until thousands of years later, by a different civilization. How would Jared's brother have been able to understand the Lord's reply? Why would a deity have said something that would have had no meaning for Jared's brother?
    First of all, the word ‘”dashed” used in the scriptural record is defined by Webster in 1828 as: “DASH'ED, participle passive Struck violently; driven against; bruised, broken or scattered by collision; besprinkled; mixed or adulterated; erased, blotted out; broken; cast down; confounded; abashed.” Note that not one reference is made to “shatter,” or “shattered,” which is Ponder’s basis of his comment. In fact, the word “dash” has twenty different meanings as illustrated by Webster in 1828, however, not one includes “shatter” or “shattered.”
    The basic meaning of “dashed” is listed as “to strike suddenly or violently,” “to break or scatter,” “a violent striking of two bodies,” “to break, to destroy,” “to break by collision.” As can be seen from these, there is no reference to anything suggesting glass or the shattering of glass. Thus, the idea of the anachronism of glass windows existing long before they were invented is simply a moot point, and nowhere inferred in the scriptural record; however, since once something gets into the public conscience, it is likely not to be removed simply because it is in error—people, especially critics, like to hold on to those points they favor, whether correct or not.
    Ponder also wrote: “Remember that these shipbuilders were experienced. They had already built very similar people/animal/cargo-carrying boats just four years earlier.”
Barges built to transport animals, supplies and people by various early peoples. A barge could be any type of vessel, even a log raft, canoe, or flat-bottomed carrier
    This is not the case at all. What the Jaredites built over four years earlier were barges meant to cross “many waters,” not great seas or deep oceans. Nor were they capable of being submerged. They obviously were more like rafts meant to transport people, supplies and animals across shallows, such as marshlands, rivers, ponds and lakes strung together in one large body requiring barges (a flat- or shallow-bottomed boat for carrying freight) for transportation from one end to the other.
    The scriptural record is quite clear on this: “the brother of Jared did go to work, and also his brethren, and built barges after the manner which they had built, according to the instructions of the Lord” (Ether 2:16). The “manner which they had built” was “according to the instructions of the Lord.” These were not similar barges in their design and use, but similar in their being built after the manner the Lord instructed them. That is, as they had done before, they built barges after the manner the Lord instructed them—earlier they were crossing “many waters,” that is, lots of waters joined together; and later they were crossing the Great Sea that divided the land or continents. That is, they were different barges, each similarly constructed by following the Lord’s instructions.
    Another example of assumptive reasoning is seen in Ponder’s statement (comment #15), “"They did lay snares and catch fowls of the air." (Also see 6:4: "fowl that they should carry with them") Birds are the first animals to die from inadequate oxygen, canaries in coal mines being a famous example. How were the birds to notify Jared that they "suffered for air?" While Ponder’s question sounds reasonable, it is based on an inaccurate assumption since it is simply a matter of inserting an out-of-context meaning to a scriptural passage.
The fowls the Jaredites carried, along with all the animals, bees and fish taken with them were part of the repopulating of a distant land after the Flood. It was one of the first things the Lord told them, for they “went down into the valley which was northward…with their flocks which they had gathered together, male and female, of every kind. And they did also lay snares and catch fowls of the air” (Ether 2:1-2). These fowl were still with them when they boarded their barges to cross the Great Sea: “when they had prepared all manner of food, that thereby they might subsist upon the water, and also food for their flocks and herds, and whatsoever beast or animal or fowl that they should carry with them—and it came to pass that when they had done all these things they got aboard of their vessels or barges, and set forth into the sea” (Ether 6:4).
    The birds were not included in any references to having breathable air, or stopping or unstopping the ventilation openings. This idea is strictly Ponder’s inclusion.
    In addition, whenever Theorists and critics write about the Jaredite barges, whether members or detractors, they seem unable to shake their belief in the command the Lord gave to the brother of Jared in regard to solving the problem of breathable air for the journey across the Great Sea. It seems no matter how many times this answer is discussed and set forth, many still have problems with it because they cannot see another meaning for the terms “top” and “bottom” regarding the holes cut in the barges.
(See the next and final post on this series, “The Eye of Reason – Part III,” for another explanation for these terms and their meaning as used by the Lord in telling the brother of Jared how to solve the ventilation problem)

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