Lot's wife

(Daren L McClellan) #1

My son is talking with a classmate in high school about Jesus. The classmate says he does not believe because the Bible says Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt. He claims material objects don’t change their make up.
What is the best way for me to help my son in this conversation with his classmate? Thank you.

(Matt Western) #2

An interesting question. Out of all the Bible passages that a young person could pick out to reject the Bible, I wonder why this particular one.

Jesus turning the water in to wine, the first miracle, was a material object changed by God in it’s very material (molecular) essence of level. I’m sure there are others.

Material objects change their make up all the time, when acted upon by an outside force. Is the objection as to whether the outside force was God’s judgement to her (turning her into a pillar of salt), or whether she was further back behind Lot as he fled the city, and the fire and brimstone consumed her also. The verse in Genesis doesn’t say either way in the account so you could speculate in either direction. Is the text supposed to give us a moral lesson, rather than a scientific fact? There is plenty of other things in the account in Genesis 19 to really ask about from a logical point of view, so I wonder why this particular one. .

Perhaps, the question to consider is, what is underlying assumption that your son’s friend has based his objection on. Is it a moral question (God’s judgement), or is it a scientific one (has Science disproven the Bible?)

Is your son’s friend an atheist/agnostic, or from another religion, or a young person searching for answers? It would make a difference as to how you would respond. I suppose a basic train of thought might be:

  1. Material objects do change their properties when acted on my an outside force (either in a chemical process, or a physical process)
  2. the question then is, what was the outside force that turned Lot’s wife to salt (God directly, or she got caught in the destruction of fire and brimstone as she was lagging behind)
  3. Jesus turned water into wine, changing the waters molecules fairly basic structure (H20), to a much more complicated grape juice molecule; and he did this from a distance as the servants poured the water into the jars. Where did this extra information stored in the grape molecule come from, as well as the matter itself?
  4. The question perhaps is; the Bible claims that Jesus, being God, performed miracles. God also was directly involved in the Genesis account in judgement on the city, which directly or indirectly effected Lot’s wife.

I have a 15 year old daughter, so I’m trying to think how I might word it to her. I think curiosity is a great way to reach young people, ask some simple questions that they have to go away and think about themselves.
Perhaps a scientific starting point to raise the curiosity of high school students is the Fine tuning argument for God’s existence? This starts them thinking from the scientific point of view. The animated ones from William lane craig’s channel are quite good.

I really like Lennox’s books, and his latest ‘Can science explain everything?’ is very good, and comes with a great interview and a debate. I do wonder whether mid-high schoolers would persist with a book until the end.

(Dean Schmucker) #3

Could the Bible be using figurative idiom here? Perhaps looking back at all she had lost caused her such grief she had a stroke.
I really am just speculating, though.

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(Matt Western) #4

Been pondering this a little and perhaps a more succinct logical response that leads back to the origin question might also be:

  • Matter can’t change its own make up (by itself), except its acted on by an outside force (a cause).
  • how then, do you explain the origin of the universe from an atheist perspective : as that position suggests a self-creating universe. Isn’t this a logical impossibility as Lennox points out.

You might steer the conversation more gently that this of course, but if the question could get back to one of the big 4 questions (The origin category) this might provoke further thought in the young curious mind. Hope that helps. :slight_smile:

4 worldview questions.

How do you think the universe came into existence?
How do you think human life began?

What is the purpose of human life?

How do you determine good and bad?

What will happen at the end (at death)?

(Daren L McClellan) #5

Thank you Matthew. I had the beginning of these thoughts, but was having difficulty fleshing them out to make them reasonable and logical.
Yes, the young man does have a scientific objection. But if the universe is an open system, there is not an objection to an outside source of information and power cause a material change.
Just last night I came across the explanation of Lot’s wife lagging behind and destroyed by the same cause of Sodom’s destruction. I am finding this a plausible explanation.
Thank you again.

(Shara Craig) #7

Of course! Scripture is filled with stories that would be considered crazy if God wasn’t behind them. A talking snake, Lazarus coming back to life, Joshua making the sun stand still, Jonah living inside a fish, Elijah calling fire down from the sky. If scripture was only made up of these claims, it would certainly be rejected.

There are two angles I would approach this question from. First, there are several instances where the Bible was right, which add validity to these other difficult claims. For centuries astronomers thought there were less than 3000 stars in the sky. Scripture has recorded as far back as Genesis that the stars in the sky numbered as many as the sand on the sea shore. Scripture has explained Earth’s water cycle, ocean currents, and the fact that blood is the lifeforce of a creature. All of these things have just been discovered within the last few hundred years, but the Bible has always recorded them against the conventional wisdom. The earth is round and floats in the middle of empty space, etc…

We could also look at the impossibility of the many prophetic predictions of the Bible. The method of Jesus’ death was predicted in the Psalms 600 years before crucifixion was even invented. The rise and fall of Alexander the Great and the creation of the Roman empire was predicted by Daniel 200-300 years in advance. We have tons of archaeological discoveries that support scripture, and none against it. These instances where the Bible shines through will help to legitimize the other claims such as a woman turning into salt.

Second, it sounds like the other kid is having a difficult time rationalizing the Bible’s claims that seem to go against science. If he truly believes material objects don’t change their make up, then he should certainly throw out the ideas that matter came from emptiness, and organic life came from inorganic material. Both of those are scientifically impossible changes, which brings us back to God.

There are plenty of things that science can’t explain. Logic and math cannot be explained by science because they must preexist to validate science, otherwise science is arguing in a circle.

Morality and our sense of justice can’t be explained by science. We cannot scientifically prove that Hitler did anything wrong.

Aesthetic judgments can’t be proven. Beautiful things don’t carry scientific proofs, but everyone accepts them.

Metaphysical truths can’t be explained. There is no way to prove that we aren’t plugged into the matrix right now. It’s highly unlikely, but not provable.

Finally there are aspects of science itself which can’t be proven by science. We have no way of measuring the speed of light in a one-way direction. It’s possible that we do have the correct measurement, but we can’t guarantee it scientifically. We assume it and accept it.

God doesn’t contradict science, because He can transcend science. It is because we believe in God that we accept a woman turning into salt. If the first verse of the Bible is true, then all the others are at least possible.

(Matt Western) #8

@SharaCraig Yes, such a great response, and it is precisely the orderedness of the universe that we are able to do science in the first place. If the laws of nature changed every time you wanted to look at something or repeat an experiment then science would be impossible. Miracles are when God suspends those laws for a second, inputs some new history/event/information and then normality resumes.

I did find the video from pragerU on the so called 4 big bangs of interest as well when I stumbled on it a while back.

@manbooks. Hmm I suppose this might be a possibility, although a from the high schooler the next question might be; how do you know the pillar of salt is figurative, and the angels appearing as literal men (being desired by Sodoms men, speaking to Lot, striking the men of Sodom with blindness), and the fire and brimstone judgment being litteral. I guess you’d have to research ancient Hebrew idioms further…

Jesus in Luke 17, says ‘remember Lots wife’, but doesn’t mention the salt part, as part of the chapter on His second coming. I’m happy with a litteral event, but a moral lesson, rather than a scientific fact too worry to much about… :slight_smile:

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(Shara Craig) #9

I love this video. I have just started using Prager University as a source. Thanks for this!

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