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Old 03-13-2001, 10:20 AM   #1
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Post The bible is The Word Of God?

We often hear Christians say that the bible is the “Word Of God”. I would ask: On what basis?

There are statements in the bible like “…and god commanded Noah…”. How does anyone know what, if anything, god said to Noah? The bible does not say, “My name is Noah, and god told me to make an ark. When I was on the ark for forty days and forty nights I had a lot of time to kill, so I thought I’d write down what god told me about why he destroyed everything and everyone”.

Moses went to the mount and got a bunch of guidelines from god. Did Moses write to tell us what god said? No, Leviticus did. Old Levi wasn’t on the mount with Moses; at least he doesn’t imply that he was. So how did Levi know what god said?

Even the NT stories about the resurrection are second or third hand accounts at best.

In a travelogue an author may say: The waterfall was stunning and the guide said to us “There is a cave hidden behind the waterfall”. This is a first person account. We have the author’s account of what he saw (a stunning waterfall) and the author’s account of what the guide said to the author.

We also have a style of writing known as fiction. We might come across a sentence that says: The waterfall was stunning and the guide said to us “There is a cave hidden behind the waterfall”. This is obviously not a first person account; it is part of a story that is intended to entertain us.

Another form of entertainment is the so-called docu-drama. Usually a docu-drama is based on an actual historical event. One example might be Lindbergh’s flight across the Atlantic. There are visualizations of Lindbergh taking off on a rainy morning. There are also quotations of conversations between Lindbergh and others. Some of the quoted dialogue may be the actual thing one person said to another, some is made up to give the reader a sense of what is going on. In the case of most docu-dramas there is a lot of corroborating evidence. If the docu-drama were stretching the truth too much, it would become obvious and take away from the finished product.

What is the bible? It certainly is not a first person account. It doesn’t have corroborating evidence like a docu-drama. That only leaves fiction.


 
Old 03-13-2001, 01:03 PM   #2
Ernest Sparks
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You might be tempted to correct them by saying, "It appears to me to be a whole lot of Words of God". But you have to understand their lingo. In fact, they should be more specific, because if I'm not mistaken, they are in fact proclaiming that the Bible is the incarnate Son of God, Jesus Christ. (Gospel according to John, chapter 1)

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Old 03-13-2001, 06:18 PM   #3
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by ecco:
We often hear Christians say that the bible is the “Word Of God”. I would ask: On what basis?</font>
Good question. My guess is that it's probably a derivative from the Greek word Logos meaning word/message/concept/idea. When talking about the Bible we are using 'Word' to mean 'message'.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">There are statements in the bible like “…and god commanded Noah…”. How does anyone know what, if anything, god said to Noah? The bible does not say, “My name is Noah, and god told me to make an ark. When I was on the ark for forty days and forty nights I had a lot of time to kill, so I thought I’d write down what god told me about why he destroyed everything and everyone”.</font>
The biblical view is that Moses wrote the story of Noah. He may have asked God about it, or he may have had access to old records, or both.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Moses went to the mount and got a bunch of guidelines from god. Did Moses write to tell us what god said? No, Leviticus did. Old Levi wasn’t on the mount with Moses; at least he doesn’t imply that he was. So how did Levi know what god said?</font>
Old Levi??? This is getting imaginative...

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Even the NT stories about the resurrection are second or third hand accounts at best.</font>
This is just wrong. The Christian view is that Matthew and John were both eye-witnesses. Whether or not you agree with this opinion it still exists, 'at best' therefore they are first hand.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">What is the bible? It certainly is not a first person account. It doesn’t have corroborating evidence like a docu-drama. That only leaves fiction.</font>
I suggest you read some of the writings of C S Lewis, he answers this question well.
 
Old 03-14-2001, 08:40 AM   #4
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The Bible: an ethnocentric saga of the Jewish nation, beginning with a Hebrew creation myth (cp Enuma Elish) and a flood myth (cp Gilgamesh), linking to the patriarchs of the nation, to the covenant of the nation with the Sky-God YHWH. Collection of histories (Kings, Judges) and politico-theological essays (Prophets) and further ramblings (Ecclestiastes, Job etc).

The ethnocentricity of the Bible can be seen from following facts: Shem, Ham and Japheth account only for the Semitic, Hamitic and Indo-European races - no account of where the Chinese and Amerindians came from. The Mediterranean Sea is called the Great Sea - I dare say the Atlantic is much greater.

The New Testament: a fusion of the Helleno-Persian myth of Mithra the god-man (born on Dec 25 to a virgin, the Saviour of mankind, his flesh symbolized by bread and his blood by wine), with the Hebrew saga (the Old Testament).

No scientific relevance. No theological relevance either. Just fantasies of pre-scientific folk.
 
Old 03-14-2001, 08:50 AM   #5
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Tercel stated:

“The Christian view is that Matthew and John were both eye-witnesses”

Matt.28
[1] In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
[2] And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

John.20
[1] The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
[2] Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.

Tercel,

These hardly seem like first person eyewitness accounts. Furthermore, it is my understanding that these books were written AT LEAST seventy years after the event described. Neither Matthew nor John indicates that the other eyewitness (John, Matthew) was there. Was John present when he reports:

[20:26] And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, THE DOORS BEING SHUT, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.

If you would have us believe that John was an eyewitness to the resurrection, then you would have us believe that John was an eyewitness to everything he wrote. This is clearly impossible from a logistical standpoint if nothing else.
 
Old 03-14-2001, 09:13 AM   #6
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"These hardly seem like first person eyewitness accounts. Furthermore, it is my understanding that these books were written AT LEAST seventy years after the event described. Neither Matthew nor John indicates that the other eyewitness (John, Matthew) was
there."

While I don't believe that the author of Matthew was himself an eyewitness, the scholarly consensus is that he wrote no later than 75-85 CE.

The evidence that John was an eyewitness, however, is very strong. The outside date for John is probably 95 CE.


 
Old 03-14-2001, 10:40 AM   #7
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Layman,

Assuming JC died around age 30 and Matthew and John witnessed the resurrection at age 20. That means Matthew was around 70 when he wrote it. John would have been 95. Sorry, but I can’t put much “faith” in something that a man of 95 wrote concerning events he “saw” at age 20. Especially when the average life span back then was around 50.


[This message has been edited by ecco (edited March 14, 2001).]
 
Old 03-14-2001, 10:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by ecco:
Layman,

Assuming JC died around age 30 and Matthew and John witnessed the resurrection at age 20. That means Matthew was around 70 when he wrote it. John would have been 95. Sorry, but I can’t put much “faith” in something that a man of 95 wrote concerning events he “saw” at age 20. Especially when the average life span back then was around 50.


[This message has been edited by ecco (edited March 14, 2001).]
</font>
As I said, I don't think Matthew was an eyewitness. However, church tradition holds that John was indeed rather old when he wrote his gospel. And perhaps I oversimplified the gospel of John's authorship. It was written earlier than 95 CE, but it appears that one of John's disciples edited it as late as 95 CE.

Hope that helps.
 
Old 03-14-2001, 11:42 AM   #9
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This obsession with whether the Gospels, which in any case are more than four in number, reflect eyewitness accounts is missing the point. The issue is the stories they tell. I can get on the net and download thousands upon thousands of eyewitness accounts of the miraculous and absurd, from Geller to Sai Baba to John Edwards. I can get eyewitness accounts from people who shot pterodactyls and who video'ed lake monsters on large US lakes. I can show strange objects removed by surgery from people who have been kidnapped by aliens. So what?

Even if M, Mt, L, or J were originally eyewitness accounts that would be meaningless as to their actual validity as far as them being accurate descriptions of events. The gospels are deliberate constructions for the promulgation of a set of beliefs, not attempts to write history with some dim idea that maybe it would good to try and find out what actually happened. Since they incorporate obvious fictions, such as miraculous events, as well as artificial structures and constructions (the 'seven signs' of John) and borrow heavily from each other, they are not useful testimony to the actuality of events.

Michael
 
Old 03-14-2001, 11:58 AM   #10
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Layman,

So now we are down to one eyewitness, John. You assert that one of his disciples “edited” the original “eyewitness” account. You provide no basis for that assertion. But, OK, for the sake of argument:
1.John was an eyewitness
2. He was well beyond his prime when he wrote it
3. It was edited by a disciple

Did the disciple have divine assistance when he did this editing? If so, how do we know this? If not, how are we to know if the editing was done correctly?

In any case, John could not have been an eyewitness to everything he wrote about (see my earlier post). Once again I must ask, was John divinely inspired? If your answer is yes, then I would ask on what you base your answer. If your answer is no, then I would ask, again: On what basis is the bible to be considered to be “The Word Of God”?

Regards,

ecco
 
 

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