Tuesday, April 23, 2013

God as a Historical Character

Acts 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.

   Many times in religion verses secularism, we assume an even playing field.
We think that there is no objective record of God and that everything about God must then be blind faith.
   When we look at the scriptures, they are automatically seen as myth, with no historical basis.  But in reality the Bible is not just some book fairy tales and fantasy and the authors of scripture had no intent of believing fantasy either.

2Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Colossians 2:18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,
Titus 1:13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;

14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.
Galatians 1:11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.  12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

 So if a myth was ok in the minds of the apostles and prophets to make up.... Why would they tell people that myths are wrong? And Why would they be believed?  People at the time knew about myths and that they should be rejected.   The Greeks eventually rejected mythological answers for the beginning of the world.
"Pre-Socratic philosophy is Greek philosophy before Socrates (but includes schools contemporary with Socrates which were not influenced by him[1])."
"The Presocratic philosophers rejected traditional mythological explanations of the phenomena they saw around them in favor of more rational explanations. These philosophers asked questions about "the essence of things":[4]

From where does everything come?
From what is everything created?
How do we explain the plurality of things found in nature?
How might we describe nature mathematically?"
Wikipedia pre-socratic philosophy
   So if the pagan histories were admitted to be myth.  Then the only History left is the biblical record.

   Now many in the past have argued that Genesis was nothing more than a myth.  Yet these arguments did not happen until the modern era.

Luke 3:38 Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.

  Here we have a genealogy, which list God at the head of it.  This is important, as the Bible has now concluded God to be manifested immanently in space and time.

Acts 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.

  So here Paul gathers pagan confirmation of the historicity of God.  If mankind is the offspring of God then He is a historical character.

In fact God interacts with historical characters
Genesis 2:16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
 So, here we see God in the process of communicating to Adam

Genesis 2:2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

  Here we see God as a male person.  This means that God is personal. if you are a person, you are either male or female. "It" is not a person.  God needs to be personal to interact with humanity and be part of history.

Genesis 3:8 And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.
9 And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
13 And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
14 And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
  This is a very interesting account because it not only has God acting, but it has him dialoguing with 3 persons.

So how long is the day?
2 Peter 3:But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. 8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

  Many interpet this passage to apply to genesis concerning the length of days.   However the context is not creation but future judgement.  The day is a thousand years comment is refering to the fact that God transcends time.  It is explaining why God can wait for mankind to repent before He delivers Judgement to us all.  It is not concerning History.
 However while God is transcendent, He is also immanent.  No better proof can be seen but that which is in christ.
Colossians2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily
John 14:7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.

  So God acted immanently in the process of creation; and he was an immanent historical character.

Did the Jews really think this was historical?
Here I see confirmation in the writings of the jewish historian Flavius Josephus.
"At that time all living creatures spoke a common language, and a serpent maliciously lured a woman into tasting of the tree of wisdom, promising a blissful existence equal to that of a god.  She tasted the tree's fruit, and persuaded Adam to do so also.  Now aware that they were naked, they covered themselves with fig leaves.  When God entered the garden, Adam tried to excuse himself by blaming Eve, and she accused the serpent.  God told Adam that the earth would no longer produce anything of itself except in return for grinding toil.  He punished Eve through childbirth, and deprived the serpent of speech, putting poison under it's tongue.  He also removed it's feet so that it would have to wiggle along the ground.  Then God removed Adam and Eve from the garden to another place."   Jewish Antiquities: Beginnings  trans. Paul L Maier 
Obviously, Josephus assumed this to be true history and assumed Genesis to be a historicasl record,

What about the pagan record of Adam and Eve?
 Paganism started after the tower of Babel incident, which proceeded after the Worldwide Flood.  Virtually every ancient society has a story of some sort about the worldwide flood.  Also every ancient secular human history is typically about 5,000 years while the Biblical history is 6,000.  This millenia is because the Bible has the historical record of creation and the world prior to the flood.

Which person?
  At this time I have not exhaustively studied the doctrine of God in the Old Testament.  The difficulty comes in deciphering when the title God(elohim) is used in this immanent way, which person is being referred to.(Is He the Father or Word in the Garden?)  Typically scholars have taught that when God is physically manifested(for instance... the fiery furnace of shadrach,Meshaach and abedneggo)  that this is a christophany( pre-incarnate manifestation of the Son/Word).  Also many scholars teach that when "God" is used as a singular person then that refers to the Father. (the Son and the Ghost are only described as god)
 I could speculate about the usages but prefer to wait until the time I have exhaustively studied this issue.  In the meantime I have simply focused upon the term "character"

  Of course, the main objection with God as a historical figure is naturalism.  The idea that there is nothing supernatural.  Therefore every record of anything either miraculous or out of the ordinary is mythological.
  While there are indeed many myths and while nature indeed runs it's regular course, people in the ancient times recognized this.
Ecclesiastes 1:4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.

5 The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.
6 The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.
7 All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.
   However, that does not prove that the system can not be interrupted.  More telling is the fact that the modern mind lives in a fallacy concerning the past.  It assume things were always the way that they are right now.  Yet we live in a world that is constantly and drastically changing.  What foundation do we have to think that the past was not also drastically different?
We assume that the supernatural is impossible.  When we do not have the omniscience required to make such a declaration. Not to mention the fact that we have not personally investigated every one of the millions of claims of some type of supernatural or paranormal activity.  If we could prove this much we would still be incapable of refuting the fact that it happened in the past.
  Besides if naturalism were true, wouldn't we see such pure skepticism throughout history of the supernatural?  Why would it take several millenia to come up with a rule?
   So in effect, this is evidence for God's existence.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Manuscripts, Translations and the "Perfect Bible".

1Corinthians 13:For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

  Now in terms of meaning, I have interpretted the perfect to come as the second coming of Christ. After all, the scriptures are able to make the Christian wise unto perfection even before the completion of the canon.
Colossians1:28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
  Perfect, here meaning "complete" btw. However, there is still an implication regarding the scriptures from this passage.
  For the scriptures often have implications, and we know there is a spiritual presence of christ with the church.
Ephesians 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Ephesians 3:21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
  So, Christ will be preserved in his congregation.
1 timothy 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
  Here we see that the church is supposed to be pillar or base of truth. How do we preserve the truth.?
Hebrews 10:7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
  This gives us a clue.  Christ which is with his body will be with us in the volume of a book.
    So Now we see that the "Logos/Word of God" is manifested in a single book.  This is a prophecy of the day when their would be such a thing as 1 volume books.

There are many positions on how to understand the preservation of scripture.

A. The Bible is not verbally inspired and simply the product of religious men.
  These men coming out from the anglican church were known as rationalist.  They, following the philosophy of david hume, debunked classic apologetics.  Then they developed a theory of form criticism espousing a form of textual evolution as the bi-product of religious evolution.
This would result in a series of conspiracies in order to prove that the Bible was purely a fictional account.  This theory is in conformity with evolutionary philosophy though not the darwinian model.

This view is found sorely lacking intellectually for the following reasons.
A. lack of proof of the evolving jewish religion.
Judaism is unique among the ancient cultures for it's strict adherence to monotheism
Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD
  "The existence of a particular god named El is not only important for the origins of the religion of Israel but it raises the problem of a primitive Semitic monotheism formerly defended Renon.  The thesis of an original monotheism has been upheld more recently and with more convincing arguments by scholars of such varied outlook as Andrew Lang, N. Soederblom, R. Pettazoni, Father W. Schmidt and Geo Widengren, Upsala and finally, and on the particular grounds of the religion of Israel, I. Enguell believes that El, the supreme god of the canannites ; was a "high god" who was worshipped in the whole of the west Semitic world under the names El shadday, El Elyon, Shaelem, and Hadad." (E. Jacobs, Theology of the Old Testament, 1958, pp.44f.)

B. Archaelogical evidence for the history of recorded events in line with the scripture.    These early skeptics have been humiliated by the advances of modern archaeology.  Many places that they assumed fictional were factual.  The most well-known being the existence of the Hittite Empire.  Though many skeptics went so far as to even deny the exodus and the jewish stay in egypt altogether.
"I know of no finding in archaeology that’s properly confirmed which is in opposition to the Scriptures. The Bible is the most accurate history textbook the world has ever seen." - Dr Clifford Wilson, formerly director of the Australian Institute of Archaeology (quote obtained from: Archaeologist Speaks Out) http://www.creationwiki.org/Biblical_archaeology_quotes

C.Lack of evidence as far as intermediary texts
    They have yet to find any text which is the "Elohist" or "jehovist" or deuteronomist.  They are all fantasy text.
   So basically if we have no record of this as a real text then the whole JEDP theory is fantasy.
"The higher criticism of an awakened critical faculty to a particular kind of material, and was encouraged by the achievement of the faculty to form it's bold conclusions.  If the biologist, the geologist, the astronomers, the anthropologist had not been at work, I venture to say that the higher critics would have been either non-existent or a tiny minority in a world of fundamentalist." F.M. Powicke Modern Historians and the study of history

D. unexplained testimony of apostles at the cost of life.
 This argument is typically brought for the resurrection, but is generally true of the New Testament.  The 12 apostles were mostly uneducated, only a few( matthew for instance had an education) were literate. They even admit that after the resurrection they had gone back to fishing.  If they were not inspired of God and actually witnessed Christ Resurrection, what would have made them do this? It was not for money because they had next to nothing.  They also would die gruesome deaths and none confessed to such a conspiracy.  Many other "messiahs" popped up in that century and the followers always scattered and settled down. What would make you die for nothing?  Unless you die for something you to be true?

E.Jesus as lord, liar or lunatic (trilemma)
  Who was Jesus christ?  If he was an angel why would he call himself God? If he was a teacher why would he call himself God?  If he was an angel why would he call himself God?

John 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?
10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.

  If he was a lunatic could he have impressed the pharisees?
Luke 2:45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.
46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.
47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.
48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.
49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?
   Reknowned thinkers across the world and even many across the religious spectrum recognize the moral truth of Christ. 
Even political leaders like Ghandi.  Ghandi was a reknowned moral leader who though a pagan, drew upon the teachings of christ to inspire his philosophy of non-violence which won the independence of the nation of India.
  The Christian minister Martin Luther King Jr. drew the same inspiration from christ to have african americans granted equal rights in America.
However, christ would be practically maniacal to lead millions of souls into a lie for their eternal destination.  And His teachings are all based on His identity as the Christ and God in human flesh.
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
F. pre-nicene testimony to the canon) The Bible emerged naturally as churches prefered the writings of the various books individually.  Even more than a century prior to the council of Nicene the montanists, such as tertullian, affirmed the entire canon of scripture. 

G. fulfilled Bible prophecy) This could go on and on. But here is an example text.
Isaiah 53:1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?
2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
   This passage is referring to Jesus for the following reasons
       a.  he was despised and rejected. ( pharisees and his trial)
       b.  born our greifs (the story of lazurus and the resurrection)
       c.  wounded for our transgressions (the evil court system and it's a authority the roman empire the civilized world)
      d.  lamb to the slaughter (connections with passover)
      e.  stripes (flogging with the cat of nine tails)
      f.  he opened not his mouth( at the trial)
      g.  prison and judgement (before herod and pilate)
      h. grave with the wicked (cross)
      i.  rich (joseph of arimathea)
      j.  he shall bear our iniquities. (forgive them father they know not what they do; My God My God why has thou forsaken me?)

B.  The Bible was verbally inspired but not preserved.
This is a very popular position today in New Evangelicalism.  It was birthed by academic fundamentalist at the turning of the 19th and 20th century.  It assumed the modern sciences and scholarship to be accurate on the issues of textual criticism.  At least on the issues of lower criticism.  Since the Lower criticism of Westcott and Hort was not nearly as brutal an attack as higher criticism.

"Before the printing press, the New Testament (and all other) documents were copied by hand.  People are not capable of copying a lengthy piece of written material without introducing some errors.  This is easily proved.  Sit downand copy out the gospel of John(from whatever translation you like). After you have finished, read it through and correct it. Then give it to two or three friends and have each one of them  correct your correction.  No more evidence will be needed."
      This position rest upon a liberal empirical epistemology(the study of the authority of knowledge. How do we know what we know?).  In other words, it assumes that scientific knowledge can render the revelation of God subordinate to a greater authority. 
Since the printing of Carson's book there have been several major translations and several new editions of the Greek New Testament.
  So the if the eternal revelation of God is the Words of scripture.  Then God's eternal Word can indeed be altered.
    The other positions
C. The Bible was verbally inspired and generally preserved within the Byzantine family. and possibly the masoretic text.

D. The Bible was lost but recovered. (usually in the Ruckman KJVonly)

E.  The Bible was verbally inspired preserved perfectly within the Textus receptus and Hebrew Masoretic text.

The Ehrman challenge to innerrancy: Ehrman is an admitted apostate.  He claimed the "born-again" experience and went to a conservative bible college(moody) as well as a evangelical school (wheaten)  and through the realization that the original autographs are lost  after many years of schooling left the position of innerrancy and eventually came to the point of becoming an agnostic.  Showing that with no originals the competing manuscripts can not be reconciled.

The Geisler response:( I had only accessed this by video, so I am simply summarizing)
Manuscript differences show us the historical nature of the text and gives us more valid witnesses
evidence of revelation etc.
   Geisler diffused the alarm of the counting of the manuscript differences because the differences were counted among every existing manuscript.  Geisler pointed out that ehrman had around a dozen grammatical errors in his book, which when counted among the copies turned into thousands.
   If there are so many thousand differences then we have so many separate witnesses.  Meaning each one had to choose to prepare the manuscript as they did. Also, the variety of manuscripts reveals which manuscript is most likely to be off and which ones are more accurate.  Because now, we can draw concensus

  On the external level Geisler refuted Ehrman;  certainly within 6,000 Greek and 24,000 total manuscripts we should have the original manuscripts.  Plus the Bible is certainly preserved better than any other ancient writing. (more copies and the authorship was closer to the accounts.)
  However there is a small virus of doubt left in Ehrman's attack.  Because while Ehrman is no longer evangelical, he was at one point.  The outside religious world has no business in determining the specific scripture which evangelicals will cling to as the Word of God.  They can only react after the fact.  Yet the case is different within the evangelical community.

Why do we need an atomic clock?
  In other words, why do we need absolute certainty?  Now as many know, science thrives off of the study of time. And so we ultimately have an atomic clock which gives us the most precise measurements possible.  Although it should be clear that we do not all run on the atomic clock.  Frankly, most of us do not care if we are off by a second.  Many people don't care if we are off by a minute or two.  But indeed there are some people who have higher responsibilities and authorities to know the exact time and ultimately based there author on the standard of the atomic clock.  Should christianity have such a standard?
1 timothy 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
John16: 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
We see here the promise of God to the church to Have God's objective truth.
    We need to have a manuscript to declare the inspired Word of God. Otherwise how can we have absolute certainty?  If we do not posess such certainty then how can sola scriptura be true?  How can scriptural knowledge be any great than any other discipline?
  This is a dagger hurled straight into the heart of protestantism.

Why not the earliest manuscripts?
The problem in this philosophy is the assumption that we have a perfectly accurate dating system.
The eternal word of God is relying upon a date.
 But if we get the date wrong or find an earlier manuscript then the word of God has to change. Yet if we find a manuscript, no matter how old, is it guaranteed to be the original?  It could be the same time period, if the copyist wanted to take credit for the real author.

This is a terrible epsitemology.  Dating is part of the science of archaeology; and yet archaeology is a soft science.  Because science is only an observation of the present.  But history is the record of the past, so wouldn't it be a superior source of knowledge on the subject. So history is more certain than science.
Now the alexandrine text type gained it's authority on it's age, matched with the theory known as lucian recension.  In other words, the idea that this manuscript is smaller because there was an organized effort to conflate or add more scriptures to the Bible
"Before the middle of the third century, at the very earliest, we have no historical signs of the existence of readings, conflate or other, that are marked as distinctively Syrian by the want of attestation from groups of documents which have preserved the other ancient forms of the text.  This is a fact of great significance, ascertained as it is exclusively by external evidence, and therefore supplying an absolutely independent verification and extension of the result already obtained by comparison of the internal character of readings as classified by conflation."
"we are led to conclude that the hypothesis  provisionally allowed [i.e. that where the Syrian text differs from all other extant ancient text, it's authors may have copied some other equally ancient and perhaps purer text now otherwise lost] must now be rejected, and to regard the Syrian texts as not only partly but wholly derived from other ancient texts.  It follows that all distinctively Syrian readings may be set aside at once as certainly originating after the middle of the third century, and therefore, as far as transmission is concerned, corruptions of the apostolic text." 
 F.J.A. Hort Introduction pg. 115-119 9gathered from "The Byzantine text type & New Testament Textual Criticism by Harry A. Sturz)

However after there was a lack of historical evidence for such a conspiracy later alexandrine advocates gave up.
"The silence is inexplicable: it is not what one would expect.  It seems logical that there should be as great or greater reaction to the replacement of a people's whole Greek New testament(the original language) than there was to jerome's revision of the Old Latin(a translation)" Harry a Sturz The Byzantine text type & New Testament Textual Criticism

"I am not here arguing for or against a theory that sees the genesis of the Byzantine text as a systematic conflation of other texts, even though some conflation certainly occured." D.A. Carson The King James Debate pg. 51
"Any text type is either recensional or not recensional. By 'recensional' I mean that a text has come into being by conscious revision , editing, or conflation or by any change over a period of time as part of a directed developing process.  If this does not explain the genesis of a particular text, then that text is simply a copy of a copy: it is not a recension at all."D.A. Carson The King James Debate pg. 53

  So if the lucian recension gets shot down, there must not be much unity in the text for a large conflation.
"A better more cumbersome, way to describe the situation would be something like this: 100% of the MSS. agree as to, say, 80% of the text; 99% agree as to another 10%; over 95% agree as to another 4%, over 90% as to another 3%: only 3% (or less) of the text do less than 90% of the MSS agree."  Wilbur Pickering The identity of the New Testament Text  With this type of agreement it is hard to develop any theory of sporadic conflation.
  Yet historically, there was efforts made by heretics early in church history to cut verses out of the Bible.
"(1) In a work written by one of these authors against the heresy of Artemon, which Paul of Samosata again attempted among us, there was a narative well-adapted top the history we are now investigating...
"(3) 'They assert.' sadi he. 'that all these primative men and apostles themselves both, recieved and taught these things as they are now taught by them, and the truth and the truth of the gospel was preserved until the times of Victor who was the thirteenth Bishop of Rome from Peter. But that from his successor Zephyrinus, the truth was mutilated. (4) And perchance what they say might be credible, were it not that the holy Scriptures contradict them; and then, also, there are works of certain brethren older than Victor times which they wrote in defense of the truth, and against heresies then prevailing. I speak of Justus and miltiades, and tatian and clement, and many others in which the deity of christ is asserted...
"(13) To this, we will also add other extracts from the same writer respecting this sect: "The sacred scriptures," said he. "have been boldly perverted by them; the rule of faith they have set aside, Christ they have renounced, not inquiring what the holy scriptures declared, but zealously what form of reasoning may be devised to establish their impiety.
"(15) But as to these men who abused the acts of the unbelievers, to their own heretical views, and who adulterate the simplicity of faith contained in the Holy scriptures, by the wily arts of impious men; where is the necessity of asserting that they are not right in there faith?  For this purpose they fearlessly lay their hands upon the holy scriptures saying they have corrected them. (16) And I do not say this against them without foundation, whoever wishes may learn ; for should anyone collect and compare their copies with one another, he would find them greatly at variance among themselves. (17) For the copies of asclepiodotus will be found to differ from those of Theodotus. Copies of many you may find in abundance, altered, by the eagernessof their disciples to insert each one of his own corrections, as they call them, i.e. their corruptions. Again, the copies of hermophilus do not agree with these, for thethose of Apolonius are not consistent with themselves. For one may compare those which were prepared before by them, with those which they afterwards perverted for their own objects, and you will find them widely differing..
   "For either they do not believe that the Holy scriptures were uttered by the Holy Spirit, and they are thus infidels, or they deem themselves wiser than the Holy Spirit, and what alternative is there but to pronounce them demoniacs?"
Eusebius'  Ecclesiastical History Book 5 Chapter 28 (translated by C.F. Cruse)
   So here we have proof that there were organized efforts in the early era of church history to distort the text of the New Testament in the days of the alexandrine text and not during the production of the Byzantine manuscripts.  We know these texts to be spurious by the fact that they do not agree with each other.
"According to Herman C. Hoskier,[2] there are, without counting errors of iotacism, 3,036 textual variations between Sinaiticus and Vaticanus in the text of the Gospels alone, enumerated as follows:Matthew: 656

Mark: 567,  Luke: 791,  John: 1022" Wikipedia: Comparison of codices Sinaiticus and Vaticanus

Why the textus receptus and masoretic text?
1. Because these are the original languages which the prophets and apostles spoke in.

2. Because these are the traditional manuscripts.  Textus receptus means the recieved text. Masoretic means tradition.These are the manuscripts of tradition.

3.  Because these are the manuscripts of the true church.  ( those with protestant and baptists theologies clung to these bibles)

4. Because the majority of Greek leans towards it.

5.  Because this text would become the Bible text worldwide for KJV and other translations.  It is the basis for most copies of the Bible all over the earth.

Why not the KJVitself?
 The "ruckmanite position"  holds that while the manuscripts were lost, they were reinspired through the work previous scholars and specifically the Authorised Bible translation team employed by King James.
This position tends to offend many but does have intellectual strength in the since that it admits to the subjectivity while also apealing to the conservative desire for a final authority and in america, being so easy a bible to access.
 Yet how could they get the translation perfect and not the manuscript?
Different words have different word pictures; different words can shift our philosophy.  Here is an example from Chinese turned christian philosopher Lin Yutang in his book "from Pagan to Christian" pg. 58
"There was something in the character of the chinese language which invisibly but most emphatically changed one's mode of thought.  The modes of thinking, the concepts, the images, the very sounds of words  are so different between the english language and the chinese.  Speaking english, one thinks in english, and speaking in chinese one thinks inevitably in chinese.  If I were to write two essays one morning on the same subject with the same ideas. one in english and the other in Chinese, the essays themselves would come out differently because of the flow of thought, following different imagery and allusions and associations, would automatically lead into different avenues.  man does not talk because he thinks, but thinks because he talks, because he has words to play with,and thinking is only the tumbling about of words.  The ideas themselves come wearing a different dress and complexion when one speaks a different language because the words have a different timbre and different associations."
We see famous ruckmanite teacher Gail Riplinger unwittingly prove this axiom
"The new spellings are not only strictly American, they are incorrect substitutions. It is important for printers of Bibles to retain the international British spelling seen in the KJV Cambridge and Oxford editions, so that their printings will be acceptable worldwide.  Many Bibles introduce marginal notes which, while pretending to update or define a word, merely introduce an imprecise substitute. Observe how the KJV's built-in dictionary accurately defines 'bewray,' 'broided,'
'ensue,' 'entreat,' 'prevent,' and 'alway,' proving the new versions and marginal 'updates' unnecessary and incorrect." pg. 80 The language of the king james Bible; Discover its hidden dictionary 
Gail Riplinger [a.v. publications corp 1998]
   So Gail states the case that the spelling should not be made even to an american grammer. Because there are idiomatic meanings and misunderstandings of the nature of words to readers in other countries.

Now... If perfect translation is impossible within the same language.  Then how is it possible with 2 different translations?

What about the LXX? (septuagint= 72)
a. hebrew)  The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew and has a much smaller canon of books than the LXX
b. hexapla) the Hexapla is a 6 column document owned by Origen that was used for altering the Greek Old Testament.  The hexapla is very condemning to the point where the argument fails.  The LXX is obviously not the original autographs.  Since it was doctored well after the time of christ.   The earlies copy of the LXX we have was after the writing of the Hexapla about in the 4th century.

What about the majority text?
The majority text provides us with a better argument.  But never the less it is not absolutely certain.

There are 2 texts that claim to have the identity of the majority text.  One is by Von Soden the other is hodges/farstad.  Neither text actually collates the majority.  Instead they worked with 500 manuscripts.  This is impressive, but it is still not 5,600.

Then there are the destroyed manuscripts.  How can we be objective when there are thousands of destroyed manuscripts?

Majority text advocates are starting to distance themselves from the Textus Receptus. claiming that the textus receptus is not byzantine.  Yet this is confusing specifics with generalities.
"The dominant of the TR were taken from the Byzantine tradition." D.A. Carson The King James Version Debate pg. 37
  Is it important that the TR be identical to the Byzantine manuscripts to be preserved? No, because the preserved text only has to be with us now.  We can have no certainty as to whether it was with us in the past. in other words it may have existed in a tradition that was destroyed by age or burning.       The fact is the existence of the byzantine manuscripts corroborates the likely hood of this being the case and the fact is that the TR is not so different as to be another manuscript type considering the range of 5,000 manusripts.

What should be our ultimate criteria for determining the manuscripts and the canon? The Bible itself.
  A. First recognize that the Bible will be preserved
psalm 12:6 The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
7 Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

psalm33:11 The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.

Isaiah 6:5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.
6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:
7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

Isaiah 59:21 As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever.

Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

luke 16:17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.
1 peter 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
2Peter 2:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

  These and other text show us that the Word of God will be preserved.  There is no greater authority than the Word of God.
Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

  In a cosmic debate between Satan and the Son of God  the highest authority used was the scriptures.  The scriptures are the Final Authority.  Certainly they have authority of textual criticism.

 B. Second determine which texts have been preserved through the centuries.
  C. Third, which of these texts is in the most use by New Testament christians(baptist evangelicals)
  D. Also which of these texts is the most productive.
  E. Finally if these texts can be rationally shown to have ancient roots.

At the end of the day The Textus Receptus and masoretic text fits the qualities needed.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Esau's Tears

Yea, I saw you down there shakin in your sandals

Knowing that you stole my blessing in a nasty lil scandal

But I couldn't help but weep to see this dear brother of mine

Boy you look scared! You'd rather fight God than look me in the eye!

So could you tell me again just how did you hurt your thigh?

Yeah, I been on my own,
Huntin alone like I wanted be!

People like what I hunt and I gained popularity.

But I couldn't help but weep to see this dear brother of mine

I know I gave away my inheretance for soup
But what you inherit I sure can't see
But I can trust in my hunger and I didn't want TA stoop

But then I saw that I lost my pa and I never felt quite right
Because you and maw went to fool him
So y'all got ahold of me birthright.

But I couldn't help but weep to see this dear brother of mine

Yeah I thought about killin you and rippin you limb from limb.
But when I got around hear, I started remembering

How you were my brother and all our history
And how all of my family used to mean so much to me.

I never got to see your babies or tell them about the time.
When their daddy was a little rascal
And the little brother of mine
I'll never understand you or God
And your people won't like mine
But I couldn't help but weep to see this dear brother of mine.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

B.H.S. Biblical Historical Science: My philosophy of science

    Over the years I have studied the creation evolution debate.  Now, I see how it is just tip of the iceberg of the naturalistic and judeo-christian worldviews. In this debate I have slowly developed my own philosophy of science.  I have studied three thinkers most for this subject.

E.Y.Mullins)  Mullins is a baptist theologian and philosopher,  he was the primary architect for the southern baptist denomenation. ( he drafted the 1925 Baptists Faith and Message, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary(30yrs), designed the International missions board, was president of the sbc and baptist world alliance)

Gordon H. Clark) was a philosopher and later a theologian. Considered one of the greatest philosophers in the 20th century.  He mentored later thinkers such as Carl Henry, Ronald Nash and John W. Robbins

Henry M. Morris)  Founder of the modern creation science movement.  A scientist in the fields of geology and hydrology. Later a decent bible scholar.

Edgar Young Mullins)  Mullins might seem an odd pick in the since that he was not a young earth creationist.  However Mullins specialty was in the field of religion.  He expounded the baptist religion better than any other in his book "the Axioms of Religion."  And it must be said that in the 20th century the SBC best survived modernity better than any other mainline denomination.
  Mullins had 2 major argument on the issue of science and faith.
A. The religious experience is an empiracle proof of christianity.  Thus showing religious knowledge as valid knowledge.
B. That the Bible doesn't use scientific language.
  On one hand Mullins was weak in the since of defending the finer points of scripture, and allowing liberalism to creep in the denomenation.(though it was without him already.)  However his empirical case for religion related well to the common man.(as the song goes "you ask me how I know He lives 'He live within my heart!)
  Also understanding that the language of the bible is not scientific might seem elementary to some.  But it is one of the primary tactic in indoctrinating young students into the idea of the Bible being contradictory. 
For instance in the torah moses teaches that a bug has four legs. (sounds rediculous right?)
But He also describes a spider when they use their hands.  So when they are saying an insect has four legs, it is because they classify the first two legs as hands.  Also a record number may be a recorded number; or it may be an estimate.  These linguistic issues must be instilled into people before they judge the scripture for disagreeing.

Gordon H. Clark) Is both an influential and Isolated thinker.  His approach is more strictly philosophical. In his book "Religion, Reason and Revelation" Dr. Clark traces the history of Western Philosophy starting with the Work of Thomas Aquinas onward.  He evaluates each system since in light of the problem of authoritative certainty.  Whether it be Descarte,locke, Hume, Kant, marx, or neitzche every system of thought contradicts itself and is incapable of arriving at abosolute certainty.  Thus the worldview of nihilism envelops them all.  After the philosophical genocide, christianity is the only worldview left.
  In terms of the religion science debate. Clarks perspective is to philosophically disable the authority of science especially in terms of discussing eternal issues.
Clark's argument is as such. (my interpretation of clark anyhow)
A.  Our sense experience is limited.  We only observe so much.  We can not assume that everything is uniformly the same because we can not prove such an assumption. Even scientific law is waiting to simply be disproved. And on occaisions there are contradictions in assumed scientific knowledge.  Therefore, science simply does not have the authority to overturn scriptural eternal truth.(biblical revelation)
B. Clark would also spend time reconciling scriptural discrepancies.

The weakness of clark views comes in two areas.  It doesn't give a place for empirical truth. In other words there is no point of contact between the two systems. This is a common problem with presuppositional apologetics.  However, clark system is more rational than Cornelius Van Til's.(Van Til refuses to defend the bible against rational scrutiny.) Still there is a block as to how to get from a pagan world view to christian.  Certainly you could destroy the opposition, but that doesn't guarantee that they will affirm your view.  They will simply invent a new worldview.  Also Clark assumes religion to be his denominational creed.(Westminster confession of Faith)  When the christian world doesn't agree with this confession.(even fellow presbyterians)

Henry M. Morris) is not much of a philosopher as much as he is a biblical science ideolog.  Morris trust in two principles.  1st that the scripture is propositional truth. 2nd that general revelation will guide believers in affirmation of scriptural truths.
Morris has no handicapps that modern christians do when it comes to scientific objection.  He knows the evidence is out there, So he goes about gathering it.  While most Christians have to think inside the box, during the evolution debate, Morris is existing on a different plant putting the final pieces of the puzzle together.
Unfortunately Morris was not as strong in philosophically answering these issues.  While his creationist ancestors had a field day destroying evolutionary arguments,  they would often give up ground to the Intelligent design movement because they focus on their doppelgangers unique compromises. (paper beats rock!)

So Now I have tried to learn from these intellectual giants and gleam from them a more potent approach to the naturalistic worldview.  to add Mullins pragmatism with Clarks skepticism and morris' biblical science research and here is what I propose in B.H.S.
Biblical Historical Science

1.  The biblical Worldview is assumed as a result of the experience of the gospel through regeneration(born-again).
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

10 "Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?
11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?"

2. Philosophy is then armed with Biblical logic.  There is criticism of other forms of knowledge in contradiction with the scripture.  Since this knowledge contradicts scripture, which is objectively true, it will contradict the truth in other ways as well.
2Corinthians 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ

3.The first way is in epistemology,  where no secular system has yet to defend the notion of objective truth, which is the foundation for all knowledge.  Until secularism can cling to an objective authority, suspicion as to it's truthfullness is justified.

Job 38 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, 2 Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?  3 Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.  4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding."
Ecclesiastes 1:1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. 2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. 3 What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun? 4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever. 5 The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose. 6 The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits. 7 All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again. 8 All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. 9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. 10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us. 11 There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.

4.  When we looked to knowledge, the next valid form of knowledge is history.  History is superior to science in the sense that science is observation of the present while history is observation of the past.  Even present science will become history!
Ecclesiastes 12:11 The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd. 12 And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
  So scientific speculation of the past is inferior to historical record. Another point is that history must be utilized as evidence might be recorded which might not be revisited in the next generation or even impossible to reobserve.

5.  Scientific evidence is true.  However it is not objective knowledge. All interpretation of evidence is subject to revision.

6.  The softer sciences: metaphysics, psychology, religion, cryptozoology are understood as real.  Yet are not capable of full comprehension through scientific research.  These mysterious sectors should be left to revelation to interpret.

7. Politics should be informed through a biblical worldview.  In understanding a biblical Worldview, humanity has a natural antagonism towards the moral authority of Scripture.  As a result not only is this worldview rejected, but there is a great deal of propaganda used which christians should be wary to.
(darwinian fraudulent fossils, nazi/soviet corruption of science propaganda, environmentalist's global warming fraud, gay rights agenda(kinsey) etc.)
1Corinthians 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

8.  Creation Science evidences that are not directly referenced in the scripture are still subjective and can be overturned. (as well as theories may be altered) However established evidences which are overturned by a naturalist skeptic are subject to defense and/or further investogation.  Afterall their false presuppositions could be warping their acceptance or rejection.