Did God really say _____ ?

bible.jpgYes.  Yes, He did. 

OK, you have to listen to the rest of the question to know the real answer, of course.  There are areas of legitimate debate.  But the pet theological liberal trick is to undermine the authority of the Bible so it is easier to ignore parts they don’t like.  The theological liberal mantra seems to be to constantly call into question what a plain reading of the Bible says. 

It is a classic Dalmatian Theology trick – implying that the Bible is only inspired in spots, and that the liberal theologians are inspired to spots the spots.  Thanks anyway, but I’ll continue to treat the whole book as inspired. 

They miss the irony of their theme being straight from Satan in Genesis 3:1, perhaps because they are so quick to dismiss Genesis in general.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

Yes, He really said that Jesus was the only way, that Jesus is God, that marriage is for one man and one woman, that you shouldn’t kill innocent human beings, that we are all sinners in need of a Savior, that there is a Heaven and a Hell, that there is Truth, and so on.

78 thoughts on “Did God really say _____ ?”

  1. Neil said: No. You are reading your presupposition into the text. It is like the “Jesus Seminar” apostates / non-believers: They approach the text with their bias and assume miracles can’t happen (among other things). So every time they read anything miraculous they rationalize it away.

    Cliffe> Your presupposition is that it is all literal fact. Other than circular arguments that says that the Bible proves itself how can you prove that? (rhetorical question). The difference is that my presupposition is based on a contemporary world view.

    Neil said: That is not my presupposition. I’m a contextualist, not a literalist.

    And I don’t see how presuppositions being in line with “contemporary world views” is persuasive. Seems like my worldview is contemporary, since I’m living now. Or do you mean that the majority rules with respect to which worldview is accurate?

    I don’t use circular arguments to support the authority of the Bible. I’m not sure where you got that idea. I focus on the manuscript evidence, the archeological support, the accurate transmissions of the texts, the fulfilled prophecies, the reliability of the authors, and more. You might be interested in some of the apologetics links to the right (Christian Apologetics and Research, Tektonics, Stand to Reason, Apologetics.com, Please Convince Me, and more).

    Back to the ascension example; why would Jesus fly up (so that he could sit at the right hand of the Father) to where heaven was thought to be in the sky, if heaven was not in the sky? Was he looking around for it? Or did he know all along, but was playing to the crowd (of less than 12) because he didn’t want to describe where heaven was?

    Neil said: I’m not sure. I don’t see how that matters. It is you who are hung up in the literal “in the sky” bit.

    If you think that Jesus knew everything how do you explain incidences such as
    “Who touched my clothes?”(in Mark). Jesus wasn’t bothered by slavery. He said that the apocalypse would happen within the current generation. The list could go on.

    Neil said: Ever heard of rhetorical questions? He probably wanted the woman to announce herself instead of “outing” her.

    Jesus was most bothered by your slavery to sin, which He came to free you of if you would trust in him. But oddly, while you describe yourself as a Christian, you have a poor and mocking understanding of the primary texts that teach us about him. There are answers to the apocalypse and all your other questions if you are really interested. My experience with people who say the things you do is that you aren’t interested, but I could be wrong. Keep searching.

    The Bible doesn’t contain all of Jesus’ words (John 21:25), so saying he wasn’t bothered by slavery is wrong on a couple levels. It is an argument from silence (using your logic, Jesus wasn’t against pedophilia, drunk driving, wife beating, etc., since He didn’t specifically mention those). He did command us to love our neighbors as ourselves, among other things, and that alone militates against slavery.

    Neil said: No, Jesus came back to see Paul. I highly encourage you to study the Book of Acts; it will give you a rough timeline of events.

    Cliffe> Why not just stick around then? Does he ever pop back in to visit us? How do you know? Paul describes his experience as being spiritual rather than physical, yet makes not distinction between his experience and that of the disciples.

    Neil said: I’m not sure why He didn’t stick around. But just asking a question about a text or offering some scenario without evidence does nothing to discredit the text.

    Neil said: I’ve been a good sport about leaving your non-sequitor plugs for your songs up. How about if that is the last one?

    Cliffe> no worries 🙂

    Neil said: Says who? I mean, I believe all that, because I have confidence in the texts. But you are just picking and choosing what you like and haven’t offered a logical foundation for your choice. You say you are baffled by my interpretation. I’m baffled by yours as well.

    Cliffe> Well I don’t really consider your perspective as having a logical foundation.

    Neil said: OK.

    I am not picking and choosing literal facts from the Bible. I am simply seeing it for what I believe it is; a spiritually rich document written over thousands of years by people grappling with their own spiritual journey. The NT is written by the early Christian community to try and explain who this person was in whom they saw God.

    You are choosing which parts of the bible you believe are literal. Mathew was very much from a Jewish perspective, no hints are made that Jesus intended Christianity to become a separate religion, or that we should abandon any Jewish traditions in their scriptures (the Torah). Do you believe in a 3 tier universe? No. Do you believe that epileptic fits are demon possession? No.

    Neil said: Jesus was the fulfillment of the Jewish religion, just as predicted throughout the OT.

    I believe that demon possessions are demon possessions, and that epileptic fits are epileptic fits.

    Neil said: Why do you believe that? You have demonstrated that you believe that at best the writings about Jesus are full of errors, and at worst that He was a liar.

    Cliffe> Not errors or lies but a different frame of reference and a more metaphorical way of thinking and describing. (See midrash as a writing technique, which is also used in Matthew and Luke)

    Neil said: Why believe God is love? I could make a compelling (though out of context case) that He isn’t love at all.

    Cliffe> For a traditional Catholic perspective you could check out the Encyclical Letter from the current Pope “Deus Caritas Est” (God is Love). For a more liberal understanding you only have to look at Jesus and his actions and interactions and compare them with the form of Judaism he was protesting against. Look at the commandments Jesus gives.

    Neil said: Thanks – I ‘ll take a look at those commandments sometime ;-).

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  2. “With all due respect, that sounds like postmodern gobbledygook.”

    That’s not really a helpful argument.

    Neil said: Sorry about that, you are right. Ignore that and consider the rest: “Using that reasoning there is no way for me to understand what you just wrote. It is just a bunch of words.”

    Words mean things. We take a lot of things into account when we read different things – the newspaper, the Bible, books, etc. But that doesn’t mean we can never understand what something means or that everyone gets their own version of the facts. If people believe the opposite of that then it would not be very productive to try to communicate with them, because by their own words we’ll never really know what each other means.

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  3. Cliffe,

    Drs. Boyd and Eddy deal quite effectively with the midrash technique, in their books. Suffice it to say, that there is significant reason to believe that the gospels are not examples of a midrasic writing technique.

    Sorry, to keep bring this up but they so thoroghly deal with this it seems a shame not to reccommend their book.

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  4. Cliffe said “Cliffe> Why not just stick around then? Does he ever pop back in to visit us? How do you know? Paul describes his experience as being spiritual rather than physical, yet makes not distinction between his experience and that of the disciples.”

    I think the answer is that Jesus came the first time to offer us grace and mercy, to be our Savior and Redeemer by His perfect life and atoning death on the cross for our sins. The next time He comes, He will come as Judge.

    He has sent us His Holy Spirit who is with us always. He doesn’t need to “pop in and out” since The Spirit is here calling those who would believe to Jesus. When the last child of God is brought to Himself, be assured Jesus Christ will show up in all His glory, physically, in a twinkling of an eye, and judge the world.

    How will He judge you?

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  5. On the other hand, there are those who believe that if Jesus comes again it will be the Third Coming.

    I mean those who view tghe events of Acts 2 as fulfilling his self-prophecy to return.

    And I mean those who believe the Body of Christ itself — that is, all believers everywhere, stretching across the ages, enlightenened and ennobled by Grace — represents the Second Coming.

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  6. Neil said: I don’t use circular arguments to support the authority of the Bible. I’m not sure where you got that idea. I focus on the manuscript evidence, the archeological support, the accurate transmissions of the texts, the fulfilled prophecies, the reliability of the authors, and more.

    Cliffe> Seams circular to me. How does any of that prove it to be the literal Word of God? Because it says so in the Bible?

    Neil said: Cliffe, you aren’t listening. I listed various lines of thinking and encourage you to research them more. Your response was what we call a straw-man argument, which is a misrepresentation of my views. I didn’t say, “Because it says so in the Bible.” In fact, I said the opposite of that. But you keep trying to put those words in my mouth. It is not productive, so please don’t do that.

    N: I’m a contextualist, not a literalist.

    Cliffe> Checked that post out and it seams very similar to what you call “dalmatian theology”. You are still taking as literal everything you possibly can while ignoring the most startling of contradictions.

    Neil said: Nope.

    Neil said: I’m not sure. I don’t see how that matters. It is you who are hung up in the literal “in the sky” bit.

    Cliffe> it matters because it is a perfect example of you still taking literal something which clearly was not.

    Neil said: No, you are taking it too literally and saying He must have just continued up in the sky indefinitely.

    Neil said: you have a poor and mocking understanding of the primary texts that teach us about him. There are answers to the apocalypse and all your other questions if you are really interested.

    Cliffe> Different perspective but I would not say poor.

    Each Christian has a slightly different perspective and interpretation of the Bible. And they range from orthodox to liberal to evangelical, Catholic to Protestant. Do you draw lines which cannot be crossed in your rational thought process? If there was only one true path to follow there would be no way for you to know if your opinion is the “correct” one. Unless you use a circular argument which proves it using your own interpretation of the Bible. 😛

    Neil said: Ah, there’s that straw-man again.

    I’m pretty liberal on most topics within Christianity (baptism, communion, etc.). But when people teach the opposite of the essentials I think it is fair to ask if they are really Christians.

    This is going nowhere. Please join in another thread if you like.

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  7. “Using that reasoning there is no way for me to understand what you just wrote. It is just a bunch of words… But that doesn’t mean we can never understand what something means or that everyone gets their own version of the facts.”

    I agree that “it doesn’t mean we can never understand something.” But I do think that it means we all get our own version of the facts. That, for instance, two persons can disagree on a Biblical text, or any text is enough evidence for me.

    Neil said: Of course people may disagree. But, for example, Jesus either rose from the dead or He didn’t. There is no possibility that He rose from the dead and didn’t rise from the dead. What people believe about that doesn’t change what really happened.

    Especially because a person can disagree with an author over what the author wrote. For instance, I take into account, Robert Frost’s being interviewed about his poem “Stopping by the woods on a snowy evening.” Many readers thought that his line “and miles to go before I sleep.” Was a comment on death, Frost however contended that it wasn’t about that at all, but that he literally had miles to go before he could get home lay down and sleep.

    Even though Frost said this, does not mean that his poem cannot be interpreted in a different way and remain internally consistent. And many people, to this day, still believe that the meaning of that line is about the distance in life until death. I don’t think the facts are obvious, or that we all get the same set of facts. Certainly we get the same set of objects (and by objects here I am referring to the word as written text, or spoken) but the meaning and interpretation is always multifarious.

    Neil said: Interesting illustruation – my wife wrote a paper on that in High School. But again, people may think they know what he meant, but if he didn’t mean death then he didn’t mean death.

    With this in mind, I think I heartily disagree any person’s claim to having “the correct interpretation.” Certainly we are all looking at the same words (depending on the translation) but those words as symbols of meaning vary in their significance to each reader. Thus I have a hard time with defining “orthodoxy” as the middle chapters of Romans. The middle chapters of Romans (even with historical help) widely varies in its meaning, according to who you are and how your life has been shaped by experiences.

    I cannot make the leap that the objective can be grappled with rationally without becoming the subject of a subjective thinker. Like I said, if you can help me out of this one, I would really appreciate it. But until someone can help me out of this one, I think this is the only reasonable place to rest.

    The above, is why I originally said that both conservative and liberal theologians, unless you go against common sense as a whole and interpret thing completely literally (which I don’t even think can happen), use “dalmation” theology to interpret the Bible.

    This subject/object divide cannot be crossed by merely “thinking” you have the “right” interpretation. It seems to me to be very arrogant to think that you do, especially since these texts have been around for so many thousands of years. If the truth could have been arrived at, you think that it already would have, and if it had been arrived at in a verifiable way, we wouldn’t even quarrel about it.

    But, Biblical interpretation, like faith, is a leap over this subject/object divide. And seeing as how that leap cannot be made en masse, that is to say communally, I think we should stop being so arrogant with the way in which we interpret the Bible (especially those who say “their is only this one way, and this is the true way.”)

    Neil said: Not sure where you are going with the arrogance thing. You seem pretty sure of your overall assessment, but I don’t think that makes you arrogant.

    My Dalmatian Theology point is simply this: If you claim that the original writings were inspired by God, that is one thing to defend. If you say that only parts of them were inspired, then I contend that your degree of difficulty in defending your views just went up dramatically. I didn’t say that you had to agree with a particular interpretation, just that you now need to make a case for why some passages are inspired are some are not. You’ll also have to convince me why your inspiration about what is inspired is more authoritative than the original canonization process.

    It seems to me, that trusting in God, in this way, is more faithful than the need for certainty when looking for “the right way” to do it.

    Neil said: How did you come to that conclusion and why should I adhere to your view as being the “right” way?

    Like I said, if you can help me cross the subject/object debate, then you will have in fact solved the entire problem of verifying the truth of the Bible in a single “right” interpretation.

    Neil said: Not sure where things went off track, but I never claimed to have the single “right” interpretation. There is plenty of room within orthodox Christianity for healthy debate on particulars of communion, baptism, eschatology, etc.

    But it is a different thing when it comes to essentials (e.g., the exclusivity and divinity of Jesus, the authority of the Bible, etc.). Those are worth dividing over. For example, when the Bible teaches directly and indirectly in 100 passages, for example, that Jesus is the only way to salvation, then I think it is fair to expect Christians to hold that view.

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  8. On that last line: Yes. But the diasagreement comes on this: There are many ways to Jesus. And, more than a few Christians believe that “accepting Jesus as Lord and savior,” “saying the Sinner’s Prayer,” and such have zilch to do with it. You know, I alwaus say, if asked, yes, I was saved at age 8, back in ’72. But nowadays I think it’s closer to the truth to say, in ’72, at age 8, I learned that Jesus had saved me.

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  9. I don’t follow that as being disagreement. If you are saying that people come to learn of Jesus in different ways, that is fine. If you are saying that following the Koran until the day you die gets you there, that would be mistaken.

    I agree that the power is not in the words we say (pressing people to say a specific prayer is not a Biblical motif).

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  10. Whoa. Re, ” If you claim that the original writings were inspired by God, that is one thing to defend. If you say that only parts of them were inspired, then I contend that your degree of difficulty in defending your views just went up dramatically. I didn’t say that you had to agree with a particular interpretation, just that you now need to make a case for why some passages are inspired are some are not.”

    Is that what you think I do? I believe the Bible, as a whole, is inspired. I also believe other Christian writings, but relatively few, are almost if not totally equally inspired, and authoritative.

    So, it turns out that we disagree on the definition of “inspired” and, probably, the direction of it.

    Even were I to believe that the Scriptures were “God-breathed,” to me that means that God breathed God’s Spirit into the witnesses to history and interpretation, which was commingled with the holy but “fallen” breath of the men themselves, and then breathed out and into the words they wrote. Commingled. Fouled.

    So the writings are inspired, but not perfect, not infallible. But authoritative because they are what they are.

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  11. Er,

    Nice post, but you didn’t really address the point of the previous comment. Either the entire scripture has equal authority, or some sections have more authority. If you assert the latter, then the burden of proof gets tougher. The disagreement is not necessarily on the definition of inspired, though that may be a disagreement, but on how much is inspired. So, if it’s not all equally inspired, who gets to decide what’s in and what’s out.

    Sorry Neil, didn’t mean to step on your toes.

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  12. Well, the sections that have the most historicity have more authority. I don’t know why that seems so difficult. It’s not a burden of “proof,” either, it’s a matter of explanation.

    Take John, for example. The Gospel is almost entirely a work of interpretation.

    Neil said: Huh? What is your defense for that truth claim? So John was lying in chapter 21 verse 24?

    As such, it is authoritative as a primary source for how some believers interpreted their experience with Christ. And, it’s there for our instruction, our edification and as an example.

    But that doesn’t mean it’s all “factual” in the sense that people mean that word today. And, it’s value plummets unless one sees it as an apologetic piece of interpretative writing — not as a news report or strict account of “history.”

    And I’m quite comfortable giving serious heed to what Christian scholars have to say about the origins, authorship and historicity of the Scriptures, for the same reason I give heed to modern cosmology and not so much to the assumed three-tiered universe — heaven up there, hell down there, us right here — in the Bible.

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  13. Good points, Craig.

    ER, I’ve noted this before and never gotten a reply from you. Your argument seems to be the following:

    Premise 1: Men wrote the Bible.

    Premise 2: Men make mistakes.

    Conclusion: The Bible has mistakes.

    But that is faulty reasoning. It assumes that just because people sometimes make mistakes that they will always make mistakes. But lots of things get done without mistakes – perfect scores on tests, 300 games in bowling, diseases cured, etc. If God was involved then an error-free Bible would be expected.

    Please explain if I have mischaracterized your view. If not, please explain why it would be impossible for God to reveal himself perfectly in the original writings of the Bible. Could He not inspire the writers to get one word right? How about two?

    Also see http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2006/11/20/men-wrote-the-bible-so-it-must-have-mistakes/

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  14. “But that is faulty reasoning. It assumes that just because people sometimes make mistakes that they will always make mistakes. But lots of things get done without mistakes – perfect scores on tests, 300 games in bowling, diseases cured, etc. If God was involved then an error-free Bible would be expected.”

    I hate to put it bluntly, ok–no I don’t, but that’s awful reasoning.

    If there is an “error-free” Bible, then why not an “error-free” world. If God was involved then a sinless (or utopian) would would be expected.

    dumbfounding.

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  15. Dave, according to your reasoning, and ER’s, what you just wrote is in error because people always make mistakes. And you made another error, conflating the inspriration of the Bible with the general problem of a fallen humanity where we may make mistakes but we don’t always make mistakes.

    So try again: Do people always make mistakes? Yes or no.

    If yes, then your response was a mistake, along with everything else you write, so don’t bother commenting further. I don’t think it is productive to dialogue with folks who insist that everything they write is incorrect.

    If no, then If God wanted to inspire people to record his intentions properly, could He do so? If not, why not?

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  16. No, you’ve characterized my view pretty fairly. But you draw wrong conclusions.

    Re, “If God was involved then an error-free Bible would be expected. ”

    No, it wouldn’t.

    Re, “If not, please explain why it would be impossible for God to reveal himself perfectly in the original writings of the Bible.”

    I didn’t say it was impossible. I say God didn’t, because for God to have done so would have gone against just about everything that seems generally attributable to God — such as it’s the journey of faith that is important, not just the crossing of the finish line; it’s the working out of one’s salvation, not just the thoughtless “accepting” of it; it’s persisting in faith when draped in questions and doubts, not strutting around decorated in “knowledge.”

    Man. You’d make a great modern-day Southern Baptist, Neil. 🙂

    Neil said: Once again you make emphatic truth claims about God and what is attibutable to him right after you have knocked out the foundation of how we know about him. Otherwise, your “faith experience” is about as valid as all the demon possessed people out there – just making it up as you go along and putting your “insights” above the word of God.

    How did you come to the conclusion that you know that He didn’t reveal himself perfectly?

    Saying, “not strutting around decorated in “knowledge”” seems ironic after that string of unsupported truth claims.

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  17. “Not my reasoning, Dave, according to your reasoning, and ER’s, what you just wrote is in error because people always make mistakes.”

    Well, not according to my reasoning. You just conflated ER and me. I think in probabilities. Could an error free document occur, yes? Is it likely that the hundreds of Biblical manuscripts in existence, which are compiled in different ways, and cross-referenced in others to translate the Bible into English error-free, I doubt it.

    Neil said: Just for the record, I am speaking of the original texts. While they have been transmitted to us in a highly accurate manner, such that we can discern what the originals said, claims of inerrancy are only for the originals. Otherwise an atheist could deliberately miscopy something to “prove” it was in error.

    Where as bowling a perfect score is possible, the process is much less involved and strung out over history than say…Biblical manuscripts.

    I tell you what, if you can read the entire Bible straight thru without making a mistake, or copy it with pen and paper without misplacing a single dot of an i, props. But the history of Biblical manuscripts and the construction of the canon seems to be a bit more complicated than that.

    Do I think that the probability of making a mistake rises with the complexity of the task? Yes.

    Do I think that a person makes a mistake in every thing that they do, no. Do I think a person will probably make atleast one mistake in a lifetime, of course.

    But my point remains, if God could make an error-free Bible, then why would God not make an error-free (sinless) world?

    Neil said: You’ll have to read the Bible to find out! Seriously, if you want to know what a sinless world looks like, put your trust in Jesus. Then you’ll experience it for eternity. For his good purpose God gave us the freedom to choose evil, and we did.

    There is no reason that God couldn’t inspire the original texts to read exactly as he wanted them to. I mean, look at the complexity of the universe. If He can create that I think He could accurately inspire a mere 31,173 verses to use.

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  18. Oh and a word on inspiration. It occurs to me that inspiration is not having every single word or action dictated to you from a divine source, but rather like a musing thought, an impulse or impetus to be creative.

    I feel inspired to write all the time, and perhaps that is a gift of God, but God certainly does dictate to me what to say, it seems rather that my existence as shaped by my faith drives me to write.

    It wouldn’t be inspiration, rather it would be despotism, if God were to dictate (like a tyrannical dictator) to me what I were to say. I would be nothing more than a robot echoing God, and that is not the free existence that have been demonstrated in the teachings of the Gospels. (Free will and all that jazz)

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  19. Dave, that is a good distinction about dictation vs. inspiration. There are different views on that. There is a fancy church word that escapes me at the moment, but it basically means that God used the real personalities and experiences of the writers in his perfect timing so they would record just what He wanted. It was a joint effort in that sense. That is why it doesn’t read like dictation and why the personalities come through.

    I do think Biblical inspiration is more than how we tend to use the word “inspired,” though. I think a more literal translation is “God breathed.” Also see 2 Peter 1:21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

    Some times people are flippant about saying that God “inspired” their sermon, writing, song or some such thing. That might be true, but it seems to leave one open to hearing, “Really? Because if God did it I think it would turn out better than that!”

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  20. ER,

    Sorry, but you’ve just moved the target. Now it is a question of who decides historicity. The question still remains, how does one choose when there are mulitiple scholars who come to different conclusions on histroicity. Or to rephrase my previous response either the entire scripture has equal historicity or ot doesn’t, since we weren’t there it still comes doen to someone deciding what’s in and what’s out.

    When you say “And I’m quite comfortable giving serious heed to what Christian scholars have to say about the origins, authorship and historicity of the Scriptures,” you obvioulsy don’t mean all scholars. Because there are a significant number who would disagree with the view you are putting forth. The question remains, which scholars get the responsibility of deciding what’s historical and what’s not?

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  21. Sigh. This is why this kind of thing drives me nuts.

    Re, “Once again you make emphatic truth claims about God ”

    NO. I’m offering my opinion. Perhaps I’m being forceful in my claim that my views should be takehn seriously. But hell no do I insist that my views be accepted as “right” — only close.

    Re, “right after you have knocked out the foundation of how we know about him …”

    What? The Bible? I reject that the Bible is “the foundation.” It is the main plank of the foundation, along with experience, through the ages, and prayer, through the ages, and thought, which explodes the thinking of the ages but is graced with Grace. The Bible is NOT the foundation. If it is THE foundation, it is THE foundation of a God who either quit speaking or died as the last books of the Bible were penned. But it is not.

    TO CRAIG:

    Re, “Sorry, but you’ve just moved the target. Now it is a question of who decides historicity. The question still remains, how does one choose when there are mulitiple scholars who come to different conclusions on histroicity. Or to rephrase my previous response either the entire scripture has equal historicity or ot doesn’t, since we weren’t there it still comes doen to someone deciding what’s in and what’s out.”

    You do. And I do. Because Jesus, as far as I know, never asks us to quit thinking. Where and when I came from, it was called the “priesthood of the believer.”

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  22. Sorry. Just saw this:

    Re, “So John was lying in chapter 21 verse 24?”

    The author of the Gospel of John, if he wrote that late verse — which, gosh, even in modern English reads like the sort of things that seem to have been added by scribes as the writings were transcribed over time — was asserting the TRUTH of the interpretive piece he’d written, yes — not the dang strict factual accuracy that your own wobbly faith seems to require.

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  23. Wobbly? I meant it! You act like if someone were to convince you that even one chapter of the Bible were “made up” (and more than one probably WAS), that your faith would collapse like a house of cards. … What the heck does that say about the foundation of your faith? That i’s not Christ at all — that it’s in the Bible and your understanding of it. WEAK, that last part. Mine, too.

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  24. ER,

    So is it you or is it scholars?

    It also seems like a fine line between how you state opinion and claims of Truth.

    “Take John, for example. The Gospel is almost entirely a work of interpretation. ” “As such, it is authoritative as a primary source for how some believers interpreted their experience with Christ.”

    That doesn’t sound like it is your opinion. It is possible to forcefully state opinion while still acknowledgeing it as opinion. Yet you don’t do that. You only state that it is opinion after you get called on it. You make the claim with nothing to back it up. Neil, have given plenty of reasosn/evidence for his position, you have given much less for yours. Many scholars would differ with your claim about John and yet you dismiss the entire gospel with a simple declaritive sentance. I’ve suggested some scholarship that might help, You could try something besides “Christian scholars”, it might be more helpful.

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  25. Hi, I just came across your website and I’m interested in exploring some questions. I guess my first two questions are: besides the bible, what proof do you have that God really said anything? Is there any scientific proof? Honestly, I’m not trying to be antagonistic, I’m just looking for some intellectual discourse on whether or not there is a God. Thanks for your time and I give you credit for putting so much effort into something you believe in.

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  26. Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your question and your tone. Coincidentally, I just posted a similar comment at a friend’s blog (http://djblackadam.typepad.com/damnitq/2008/11/are-science-and-spirituality-mutually-exclusive.html). He was addressing the same question.

    Here’s roughly what I mentioned there:

    The Bible is not a science textbook but is accurate in the scientific claims it makes or alludes to. For example, at a time when only a thousand or so stars were visible, Moses noted that God told Abraham that he would have as many descendents as grains of sand on the seashore AND as many stars are in the sky – i.e., billions. Now how did Moses know that?

    That is just one example.

    I also point out to people how the Bible applauds the use of reason and critical thinking. Examples:

    Acts 17:11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

    1 Thessalonians 5:21 Test everything. Hold on to the good.

    Somewhere in Isaiah: [God speaking] Come, let us reason together . . .

    Many passages in the Book of Acts where Paul reasoned with people from the scriptures when sharing the Gospel.

    This link has many examples as well: http://www.carm.org/issues/science.htm

    I hope that helps. Please keep in mind that the purpose of the Bible isn’t to give us science lessons. It does address the nature of God, our origins, who we are in relation to God, what our fundamental problem is, the cure for the problem, how God wants us to act, and more.

    Let me know if you have more questions.

    Peace,
    Neil

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