Mark:
If the walls of Jericho did not fall as described in the Bible, then in
what way were the covenant people successful?  If the Red Sea did not part
then in what way can we say that God's power is great and that He led the
Israelites?  In what way can it be said how willing and capable God is in
helping you succeed in following His commandments?

Dan:
They overcame the people of Jericho. I do not question that the city of
Jericho, or the people of Jericho were destroyed by the Israelites. God
promised that He would give that land to the Israelites if they would only
follow His commandments. They moved in, conquered the people that were
there, and God's promise was realized. _That's_ the principle, and the fact
that they lived in the area afterwards is the event that proves the
principle.

Mark:
The events prove the principle.  If the events did not happen we are left
without any proof at all.  How much faith would you have in a God who said
"Trust me" but who never did anything that showed He was trustworthy?

Dan:
But isn't faith supposed to be the belief in something _without_ physical
evidence that it exists? To insist that the walls of Jericho _had_ to fall
a specific way or else all faith is void, sounds very similar to the
demands of the Pharisees that a sign was necessary before they could
believe that Jesus was the Christ. I'm sure that's not how you meant it,
but it could be understood that way.
How much faith should I place in a God? If I want to accept Him as _my_
God, that faith should be total - whether He does anything in this mortal
realm for me or not.

Mark:
So far as I can recall off the top of my head, very, very few of the events
described in the scriptures were just symbolic.  They all happened.  God
really did create the world, create the Garden of Eden, place a truly and
actually naked Adam and Eve there who did eat a fruit that physically
changed them, etc.

The rib and the serpent may be symbolic, but I cannot think of much else
that was.  The flood, the tower of Babel with its confounding of languages,
the Jaredite barges - all real events.

Dan:
And if that fruit actually turned out to be a hostess twinkie, would your
faith be destroyed? Should it be? I don't question the existence of this
world, or the garden, or the lives of Adam and Eve, or that the Israelites
made a covenant with God that He did keep. I'm saying that if the
description of some ancient event turns out to have been symbolic in
nature, it would not affect my testimony of the principles involved.

Mark:
It's just as John said: real events can be symbols themselves.  But they
would have no power as symbols if they were not real.

Dan:
The flow of current in a metallic conductor is an actual, measurable event.
It's also understood that this current is the result of electrons passing
from one molecule to another. 'I' is the conventional symbol for this
current flow, which is understood to flow from positive to negative. But
electrons _actually_ flow from negative to positive potentials in a
metallic conductor. So the conventional symbols are wrong for the case of
metallic conductors; yet we continue to use them. Why? because the
conventional models hold true for _all_ conductors regardless of whether
the current flow comes from negative or positive charges.
The symbols of the conventional current model hold a lot of power for those
who use them - even when they don't really match what's physically
happening circuit-wise.

The tumbling of the walls of Jericho can be seen the same way; it doesn't
particularly matter whether they fell as described, or the Israelites
pushed them down after conquering the city. The fact is that Jericho was
conquered by the Israelites as God promised them they could.

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