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Re: Bible Difficulties?
The following e-mail exchange is discussing my Newsgroup Post Bible Difficulties?. The e-mailer's comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red.
>Dear Gary, I check out your page at least once a week (more like once a day!) and always find interesting and enlightening articles and updates. I am also encouraged by the Christ-like manner in which you address opposing viewpoints; you address the issue and not the person. Praise God for your Internet presence!<
I am very flattered that you find my site so helpful to visit it so often. Thank you.
>I am always amazed at critics who like to question the validity of the Scriptures because of alleged "difficulties". Actually, it is these difficulties that attest to the true historicity of the Bible. If every account from every writer lined-up perfectly, that would be grounds for questionable truthfulness. If three crime suspects are brought into police headquarters and interrogated about the details, and each suspect recites word-for-word the exact same details, one would quickly assume that they had planned ahead of time to agree on their "story" and repeat it verbatim. This would lead the inspecting officers to suspect a conspiracy.
God, in His perfect knowledge, allowed each Biblical writer to write under inspiration but not under Divine dictation. Therefore each writer was free to write the truth as he historically perceived it. While a word-for-word agreement does not necessarily guarantee conspiratorial writing, original accounts and "difficulties" witness even more so for historical truths.<
I basically agree with what you have to say here. I was thinking of adding something to this effect somewhere in my Newsgroup post. The only qualifier I would make is, though it is true that reports of the same events from different people can give different perspectives, they should not be contradictory. It should be possible to produce a harmony of events from the different accounts.
It just did this with the six different accounts of the events from early the first Easter morning through the Ascension. If you have not seen it yet, it is located at: Easter Harmony.
>My professor of Apologetics at Liberty University is the well-known apologist, Dr. J.P. Moreland. He tells of an interesting experience he had when in grad school. It seems that, while he was in the library at USC, he came across a Jewish grad student from UCLA who was reading New Testament literature. Dr. Moreland, seeing this man reading New Testament writings, approached him and asked what his interests were. He said that he was a grad student at UCLA, was earning his Doctorate in Mythology, and had spent 5 or 6 years reading and studying mythology of all sorts. His focus was Greek mythology, so he recently was reading the New Testament in Greek to brush up on his Greek, and became fascinated with the NT.
Dr. Moreland asked why and this man said, "Because of how the NT reads. I have read hundreds of examples of mythology for many years, it is my specialty, and when I read the New testament, it was evident that this was NOT mythology! Now I must decide if I am going to make this man Jesus Christ my Lord!" it turns out that this man did become a Christian. Why? Because he understood what mythology was: elaborate and incredible tales of man-gods and hard to believe stories. The New Testament does not read like mythology; it reads like eye-witnessed history. Conspiratorial writers do not recount events like fleeing in mindless fear, outright doubt and disbelief of their "Hero", and inconsistencies of their stories.<
Very interesting. C.S. Lewis made a similar observation. He wrote about Biblical critics, "If he tells me that something in a Gospel is a legend or romance, I want to know how many legends and romances he has read, how well his palate is trained in detecting them by the flavour; not how many years he has spent on that Gospel."
After mentioning some events in the Gospel of John, Lewis then comments, "I have been reading poems, romances, vision-literature, legends, myths all of my life. I know what they are like. I know that not one of them is like this" ("Modern Theology and Biblical Criticism" in The Seeing Eye. Ballantine Books: New York, 1967, pp.206-207).
>Critics of the NT also forget a major point about the NT writers: their complete Jewishness. These are not Anglo-Saxon converts prostelatyzing heathens. These are fully committed, Jewish cultured Hebrews. For them to risk offending Jehovah God by preaching and claiming Christ risen, was heresy, and risking of death, which all but John eventually suffered. They also give the testimony of women as the first to find the tomb empty: and women's testimony was inadmissible in Jewish law. If they were going to conspire to lie (in and of itself impossible for the above reasons) why in the world would they claim the first witnesses to be women, which they knew would not be acceptable to the Jewish leaders? The only reason they give this detail, and the other details about disbelief, fleeing, etc., is because they are historically true.<
Very true observation. If I get to writing articles defending my above mentioned harmony, I will probably mention this point. It will be in regards to why the Gospels record the appearances of the resurrected Jesus to the women but Paul does not (in 1Cor 15:3-8). The Gospels writers are recording historical events so they mention the women. Paul, however, is giving "evidence" for the resurrection. Since women were not considered reliable witnesses, he does not mention them.
>God Bless, Gary.
Thank you. And God bless you too.
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