the need for a bible

Discussion about scientific issues as they relate to God and Christianity including archaeology, origins of life, the universe, intelligent design, evolution, etc.
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the sleep of reason
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the need for a bible

#1

Post by the sleep of reason » Tue Dec 18, 2007 3:16 am

i dont know if this is the right place, but here goes:

first a little about me: i'm what would best be described as an OEC. i believe a creator God and observable science can be easily reconciled. i do NOT believe the bible gives any irrefutable evidence or even viable conjecture as to the age of the planet. i think the genealogy debate for the age of the planet is very flawed, the product of mass groupthink.

that being said, i'm trying to reconcile my belief in the bible itself. my problem is that any book that was written by MAN, which claims to be by divine guidance, and in itself warns of the fallibility of man and against putting faith in man, for this reason is a book that is self-referentially contradicting. if men are flawed and men wrote the book then the book can't be infallible truth.

i've grown up protestant christian, the son of a preacher. my education has opened my eyes to other religions and science, but i have yet to find anything to even remotely sway my belief in God. however religion is something i'm skeptical of, and it makes me doubt the bible.

so my question is: how can the bible be absolute truth if it was written by men, while inside itself it tells us that having faith in man is the way of death?
how important is it to have a text of absolute truth in order for the ONE TRUE GOD to still exist?

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Re: the need for a bible

#2

Post by Silvertusk » Tue Dec 18, 2007 3:22 am

the sleep of reason wrote:i dont know if this is the right place, but here goes:

first a little about me: i'm what would best be described as an OEC. i believe a creator God and observable science can be easily reconciled. i do NOT believe the bible gives any irrefutable evidence or even viable conjecture as to the age of the planet. i think the genealogy debate for the age of the planet is very flawed, the product of mass groupthink.

that being said, i'm trying to reconcile my belief in the bible itself. my problem is that any book that was written by MAN, which claims to be by divine guidance, and in itself warns of the fallibility of man and against putting faith in man, for this reason is a book that is self-referentially contradicting. if men are flawed and men wrote the book then the book can't be infallible truth.

i've grown up protestant christian, the son of a preacher. my education has opened my eyes to other religions and science, but i have yet to find anything to even remotely sway my belief in God. however religion is something i'm skeptical of, and it makes me doubt the bible.

so my question is: how can the bible be absolute truth if it was written by men, while inside itself it tells us that having faith in man is the way of death?
how important is it to have a text of absolute truth in order for the ONE TRUE GOD to still exist?

The way i look at it is - you have to take the bible as a whole. What you have here is a 3-4000 year old book that over the period of 2000 or so years has 40 or so authors that all seems to flow together in harmony to tell His story. The truths in the book are outstanding, archeology has yet to refute any historic data in the Bible, countless predictions have been made in the Bible which have come true and the book itself has radically changed history. Surely something that was inspired by God would have that impact?

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Re: the need for a bible

#3

Post by the sleep of reason » Tue Dec 18, 2007 3:49 am

i disagree. not about the validity of the book itself, but of the truths lying therein. there's a ton of stuff in the bible that has been historically disputed--for instance there's no evidence pointing to a perfect-truth of a global flood. local floods, yes--but keep in mind there's a flood story in almost every culture. that's a different subject, but i defy anyone on this planet to calculate the square footage of 2 of each specie of each animal and insect standing in a pile, and don't forget SEVEN of each CLeAN animal. see if that number of physical mass would fit in 400 cubits of boat. you'll find it cannot.
this, like many other parts of the bible, has to be taken on faith and faith alone, because science and history cannot factually back it up. there are no historical documents outside the bible of humans being able to live inside whales for days at a time.


plenty of the bible is simply a matter of faith. the bible itself attests to the importance of faith as a fundamental in belief.

and finally, the biggest problem is massive massive interpretations and language barriers. from the Hebrew meaning, so much of the bible means totally different things in English. that's another HUGE reason to be wary of the infallible truth of 'man.'

but the question remains: if a book is irrefutable truth, why would it admit to being written by MAN while demanding us to not have faith in man? that's a contradiction.

my question into the need of a sacred text is more like this: if someone found a way to prove the bible is NOT true, would that disprove the existence of a one true GOD? i don't think it does. i think it's blasphemous for Christians to rant about the power of their GOD ALMIGHTY, all while insisting He exist within the confines of their King James Bible. that's really micronizing God. it seems to be a conflict.

how do you reconcile the discrepancies in the four gospels? and other contradictions?

i guess my thing is i NEED for the bible to be God's indisputable word. but i cant find that it is. i've started to research the Tora, and let me say it's fascinating to see the complexity of the Hebrew version of the bible and patterns found there. mathmatically, it's a thing of beauty.
but the biggest bone of contention the bible creates for me is the fact that EVERY religion outside christianity is doomed to hell. biblically, God Himself seperated us humans by culture and laguage, not to meantion geographically, and it is by these same standards that different religions flourish. so many Abrahamic religions are fundamentally the same--but each claim to be the one true path. My God is bigger than any man-made laws or pillars. why would he make us all so different if we only have one shot at heaven?
futhermore, didnt God himself create the need to 'spread the gospel' by excluding people from this gospel? how is that the loving God christians teach of? doesnt that make some people geographically more likely to make it into heaven than others?

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Re: the need for a bible

#4

Post by Kurieuo » Tue Dec 18, 2007 5:55 am

the sleep of reason wrote:that being said, i'm trying to reconcile my belief in the bible itself. my problem is that any book that was written by MAN, which claims to be by divine guidance, and in itself warns of the fallibility of man and against putting faith in man, for this reason is a book that is self-referentially contradicting. if men are flawed and men wrote the book then the book can't be infallible truth.
There are Christians who do not necessarily believe the Bible is 100% truth.

The crux of Christianity revolves around Christ. So begin with the basics. What can we know about Jesus even if we accept Scripture may not entirely reliable? Since the hope we have as Christians is dependent upon Christ's resurrection are there good reasons for believing it to be true?

There are many good Christian apologists who discuss this, however I prefer Habermas as he builds a case from the ground level up working with what skeptics accept and without presuming the infallibility of Scripture. A good starter would be http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmunYrMV ... re=related or a different and longer interview at http://www.4truth.net/site/c.hiKXLbPNLr ... ection.htm

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Re: the need for a bible

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Post by frankbaginski » Tue Dec 18, 2007 10:01 am

Do not try and reconcile science with scripture. It is like you say there are many interptretations out there. If you follow the other post you can find find several subjects dealing with this issue. I myself am a YEC but do not try and convert people to this way of thinking. It is like others have said, that is not the important issue. The issue is a relationship with God. So your basic question is why the Bible and not some other religious doctrine. This is a good question.

There are two things in the Bible that allow us to verify that it is indeed the Word of God. The first of these is prophesy. Here is a sample of prophesy. There are thousands.

Nebuchadnezzar's dream

Nebuchadnezzar was the King of Bablylon from 605 — 562 BC he fought against the Egyptians around 605 BC and defeated the egyptian army. He conquered the area of Syria and Palestine and accepted the surrender of Jerusalem. He took hostages from Jerusalem and among them were Daniel and his three friends.

And the king said to them,
“I have had a dream, and my
spirit is anxious to know the
dream.” Dan 3:3

As a test to his wise men he charged them to supply the interpretation of the dream without hearing what his dream was. He figured if someone could tell him what his dream meant he could also tell him the dream. If the king did not get his interpretation he was going to kill all of his wise men. Daniel was in this group so he prayed to God to receive the interpretation so they (he and his three companions) would not perish.

Daniel receives a night vision that tells him of the king's dream. He then goes before the king to tell him the interpretation of the dream.

“But there is a God in heaven
who reveals secrets, and He has
made known to King
Nebuchadnezzar what will be in
the later days. Your dream, and
the visions of your head upon
your bed were these: Dan 2:28

Daniel tells the king that his dream was of a great image of a man. The image had a head of gold, its chest and arms were made of silver, the belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, and its feet a mixture of iron and clay. He then saw a stone cut without hands which struck the image. The image was struck at the feet. The whole image became like dust and blew away. The stone that struck the feet of the image became a mountain and filled the whole earth.

Daniel tells the king that the head of gold is his Babylonian empire. The gold represents the quality of the empire. However, in time his empire will fall. The new people are represented by the silver. They will stand for a time and then will be replaced by another represented by the bronze. They also will be replaced by yet another represented by iron. The iron is not replaced but breaks apart as represented by the feet of iron mixed with clay. He further tells him that God as represented by the rock will establish a kingdom on earth and it will last forever.

Needless to say the king was greatly impressed.

Later Daniel receives additional visions that further give details to the gold, silver, and bronze empires. The silver empire is the Persians. It is represented by a ram with two horns. One larger than the other. The larger horn is the king who united the Medes and Persians. Horns on animals are a common method to show the power division in a kingdom. Daniel sees a vision of a he goat with one horn that comes from Greece and tramples the ram. That one horn is Alexander the Great. The horn breaks and four horns grow in its place. These are the four kings that split the empire into four parts. The Greek empire is the bronze part of the image. So how do we know that the horns are the kings?

“The ram which you saw, having
the two horns — they are the kings
of Media and Persia. Dan 8:20


The Book of Daniel was part of the Hebrew scripture when the Greeks took over the known world. All of the Hebrew scripture was converted to Greek in 275 BC. This document is called the Septuagint. Which means seventy. It is called this because seventy scholars were brought together to create the document. What is important for us is that the Greek language is very precise. So the translation at 275 BC is important because it very accurately sets the Word and allows today's scholars to read the original text. It also sets a known date so we know anything prophesied in the Septuagint that came true was not written after the fact. The current Old Testament translation comes from many sources but most Christian scholars use the Septuagint to obtain the original meaning.

So this prophesy came true as well as many others. Since man cannot predict the future, we know that the inspired Word of God came from outside of time. Time was created as part of the universe, Einstein showed us this relationship. So the Creator is apart from the creation so is outside of time.

The second way we know that scripture is the Word of God is buried codes that are beyond a man to do. Here are a couple examples.


In the beginning was the word,
and the word was with God,
and the word was God. John 1:1

This was written in Greek as was the rest of the New Testament. In both Hebrew and Greek the alphabet can be numbers or letters of a word. If you take and perform the following calculation;

The number of letters (times) The product of the letters Divided by The numbers of words (times) The product of the words

You get 2.7183 (times) 10 (to the 65 power)

Looking at the digits we see 2.7183 which is "e". "e" is a very special number. It was not discovered until the 17th century.
e=2.7182818285 approx

As an exponent it is the only function having a rate of growth equal to its size. In calculas it is only function having a derivative equal to itself. This number shows up in many areas of mathematics. What is important is that this number is unique and important.

In the beginning God created
the heaven and the earth.
Genesis 1:1

This was written in Hebrew in the Old Testament. If you perform the same calculation;

The number of letters (times) The product of the letters Divided by The numbers of words (times) The product of the words

You get 3.1416 (times) 10 (to the 17 power)

Looking at the digits we see 3.1416 which is Pi to a very close approximation. This is the number you get when you divide the circumference of a circle by its diameter. This number is used all over mathematics. Again what is important is that the number is unique and important.

Let us look at another example of a Bible code. This one deals with the Torah which is the first five books of the Bible. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. These books were written in Hebrew. If you look for the word Torah (Torh) (vowels left out in ancient Hebrew) in the first book you can find it encoded by looking for the first letter of the word and then skipping 49 letters and then 49 letters and then 49 letters. 49 is seven times seven, the number seven shows up everywhere in the Bible. In the second book, Exodus doing the the same thing you get Torah as well. Going to the third book Leviticus the word Torah does not show up. Going to the fourth book Numbers and using the same spacing you get the word Torah but it is spelled backwards "hrot". The same is true of the fifth book. The word Torah is spelled backwards "hrot". If you consider a word as pointing then a backward word would point in the opposite direction. It appears that the words in the first two books point forward to the third book and the fourth and fifth books point also to the third book. As it turns out The third book does has a word encoded in it as well in the first sentence. Using a letter skip of 7 and 7 and 7 and 7 the word is YHWH which is Hebrew for Yahwah which is one of the names of God.

Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers Deuteronomy
Torah Torah Yhwh haroT haroT
-----> -----> <----- <-----

This pointing of the words is interesting. What is also interesting is that the major written languages seem to point to Jerusalem. Languages west of Jerusalem are written left to right and languages east of Jerusalem are written right to left.

There are many more codes in the Bible. I am sure there are many that have not been found yet. There are some books out there that talk about Bible codes and are written more for marketing rather than verification of scripture. The codes are to be used for verification not for prophesy. If you are interested in this then a good book would be "Cosmic Codes" by Chuck Missler.

The Glory of God is the keeping
of a matter secret, and the glory
of kings is the searching through
a matter Proverbs 25

If you keep seeking for it as for
silver, and as for hid treasures
you keep searching for it, in that
case you will understand the fear
of Jehovah, and you will find the
very knowledge of God Proverbs 2

Carefully concealed in him (the word)
are all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge Colossians 2

I will detail another code. It deals with the number 7 which appears everywhere in the Bible (heptadic structure). But before doing that let me talk about a man that found many of the codes. His name is Doctor Ivan Panin and he was born in Russia in 1855. He immigrated to Germany and then the U.S. He graduated from Harvard in 1882 with a Phd in mathematics. He spent fifty years studing the scriptures and generated 43,000 pages of discoveries. He died in 1942.

If you look at the Book of Matthew (in Greek) and look at the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:1-11) you will find the following all divisable by seven:

Number of words
Number of letters
Number of vowels
Number of consonants
Words that begin with a vowel
Words that begin with a consonant
Words that occur more than once
Words in more than one form
Words that occur in only one form
Number of nouns
Only seven words not nouns
Number of names
Only seven other kinds of nouns
Number of male names
Number of generations

At some point the odds that this could happen by chance just become impossible. By the way this is a partial list.

The old testament in hebrew and the new testament in greek contains many coded words. Similar text in hebrew and greek do not contain coded words beyond what you would find by chance. I believe these coded words are verification of the Word. I invite you to check out more of the codes. A good book would be "Yeshua" by Yacov Rambsel.

These are but a few examples. There are thousands more contained in the Bible. I find it interesting that the Bible is coded. But then I realized that all of creation is coded as well. We see repeated patterns in all of nature. Look at the fern leaf uncurl, then a wave curl before breaking, a spiral galaxy, the spiral of seeds in a sunflower, and many more. All fingerprints of a common Designer.

Now God created the universe and He created us. His creation is beautiful to behold. Did he design us so we would appreciate his creation or did He create beauty and we just recognize it. To me it does not matter I just enjoy it.

I would recommend that you pick up a copy of the Septuagint and not use a modern Torah. It was changed in 300 AD and the errors were found when the dead sea scrolls were uncovered. I started with the Old Testament and studied prophesy before going to the New Testament. I enjoyed it.

You will be confused and puzzled about many things that happen in the Old and New Testament. This is very normal. Only once you wrap your arms around the whole Bible does the picture come into sharp focus. I would suggest some good Bible commentaries to help. Just as we don't start from scratch with science, we learn about all of the existing discoveries before moving forward, the same is true of the Bible. I would recommend, Perry Stone, Chuch Missler, and John Haggie as good sources. Good luck and this board can be very helpful as well.

One more thing, some people can't figure out why God hides from us at this time. I have a post in the scripture section titled "The time of the Gentiles" that addresses this point.

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Re: the need for a bible

#6

Post by Canuckster1127 » Tue Dec 18, 2007 11:38 am

Sleep,

In terms of the source of the Bible, yes man was involved in its transmission. Inspiration is an important element. I don't understand entirely how God did it. Some take a view of man operating as a scribe while God dictated the exact wording, but as a student of the Scriptures who has worked with the original languages I have to tell you there is very clear evidence that the personalities, vocabulary and idioms of the writer are very clearly involved. I believe in a form of inspiration called a plenary view which in effect says that God worked through the person utilized to protect the original manuscripts from error while still transmitted through a person which reflects the personality and indiosyncracies of that person.

That brings the next element in though which is difficult for many to work through.

We don't have the originals. What we have are extensive copies from different times and textual traditions or families. There are errors in some of these texts. Some are the result of innocent transcriptions. Some are suspected by some scholars to be purposeful manipulations by later editors or redactors.

Anyone who examines the Bible in the form we have it and are intellectually honest has to recognize and account for these factors. The good news, from my point of view, is that the sheer number of manuscripts we have and the precision that scholarship is developing to identify those elements combined with the vast majority of the text that is clearly indisputed means that the text we have today, we have with the highest element of confidence that we have ever had.

Yes it is faith, but it is a reasonable faith supported with competent scholarship and work that support what we have reflects the originals very well and the message is intact.

That reflects the issues in transmission.

Second are the issues in interpretation. Language wise in translation there are always issues of idiom, histrorical context and how to convey thoughts in a translation that equate to how the original audience would have understood them.

Christians often time mistake doctrine for the inspired word of God and stake themselves to interpretative renderings of what the text means to them and fail to appreciate that they can be wrong and the Word of God still right. That is where wisdom and humility are so important.

Hope that helps some. They are good questions and there are good answers but they require patience, thought and prayer, is my experience and I haven't got it all figured out by any means. But I know who does. ;)

Bart
Dogmatism is the comfortable intellectual framework of self-righteousness. Self-righteousness is more decadent than the worst sexual sin. ~ Dan Allender

//bartsbarometer.com/

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Re: the need for a bible

#7

Post by phiver4 » Tue Dec 18, 2007 12:50 pm

Canuckster,
I have spent a lot of time lately studying and looking for the answers to many of the more pressing questions and issues the skeptics pose in relation to the accuracy of the Bible. I am doing this to satisfy my own self in order to feel "safe" in what the Bible teaches. I want to be sure that what I am using to guide me and that which has told me that I will have eternal life and Salvation through Jesus Christ is God inspired and error free.

From the Apologetic Press:
"Of all the challenges to a Christian's faith, surely one of the most troubling in this day and age is skepticism's charge that the Bible is filled with various discrepancies and contradictions. If true, such a charge (which is occurring with increasing frequency) certainly would serve to negate the inerrancy and inspiration of God's Word. It is a simple matter for an unbeliever to hurl a barrage of alleged discrepancies and/or contradictions at a believer, but it is not always a simple task for the believer to respond quickly and effectively. This is the case because many of the so-called discrepancies and contradictions cannot be answered adequately via a “quick wave of the hand,” but instead require in-depth, painstaking research in order to craft a reply that can dismantle each one on a case-by-case basis. "

You stated:
"We don't have the originals. What we have are extensive copies from different times and textual traditions or families. There are errors in some of these texts. Some are the result of innocent transcriptions. Some are suspected by some scholars to be purposeful manipulations by later editors or redactors.

Anyone who examines the Bible in the form we have it and are intellectually honest has to recognize and account for these factors. The good news, from my point of view, is that the sheer number of manuscripts we have and the precision that scholarship is developing to identify those elements combined with the vast majority of the text that is clearly indisputed means that the text we have today, we have with the highest element of confidence that we have ever had."

How can you admit that there are errors in some of the text and purposeful manipulations. Then how are we to determine what the truth is? How are we to know which is in error and which is not? How then could the Bible be God breathed,

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
2 Tim 3:16-17.

Please take this as a sincere question because I am desparately searching for answers in regards to my faith.

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Re: the need for a bible

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Post by the sleep of reason » Tue Dec 18, 2007 1:29 pm

i dont have a lot of time to post, but for now i want to ask:

frank--
bible code? are you getting this info from a king james bible? an english bible? i refuse to believe there's anything sacred or preserved in an english bible.
i do, however, find the Tora to be fascinating insomuch as its mathmatical precision and other things that lend to it being divine.

i think if Isam gets anything at all right, it's the fact they lessen the significance of the Qua'ran once it's been translated from the holy scripture. that's why it becomes the Koran in english, it's a lesser text because it's been sullied by translation. the BIBLE doesnt connote these ramifications, but SHOULD.

i dont believe in the bible code. it has been proven you can apply the bible code to other long books, like moby ****, and find the same magic patterns. however i've been studying mathmatical patterns in the hebrew text and it's more peculiar and seems more valid.

i think it's VITAL to understand and account for the face the bible wasnt written in english, and also you have to keep in mind religion was a tool of social control during middle ages and before, and after. the king james version of the bible was a standardisation by MEN.

how can this book still be considered the infallible word of GOD after it's been messed with so extensively?

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Re: the need for a bible

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Post by Canuckster1127 » Tue Dec 18, 2007 1:42 pm

Phiver,

I do take your question seriously and I hope you gather from my response 2 things:

1. I believe in the inspiration of the Bible and it's reliability.

2. I recognize and am willing to address the questions that arise in this area directly and without evasion.

So you understand a little of where I am coming from in this regard, I'll tell you somethings about myself that may help.

I am an evangelical Christian. I do not currently serve as a pastor, but I am ordained as a pastor in an ecangelical denomination and in good standing should I be called into direct service again.

I have the equivilent of a degree in Biblical Literature and have dealt with many of the textual issues in more detail than the average Christian or skeptic.

You ask 2 questions of me:

1. How can you admit that there are errors in some of the text and purposeful manipulations.

I would be a fool to deny this. If you look in any modern English Translation of the Bible you'll find textual notes that address this clearly, as they should. The Bible has more manuscript support for itself than any other document of comparable age and more is constantly being discovered. The "science" of textual criticism has done an excellent job of grouping and cataloguing these families of documents and it is pretty easy to see for a trained eye where some of them crept in. Imagine, in the days before the Printing Press a roomfull of scribes sitting at desks with one person in the front with an original reading it out while the scribes copy. Can you see where small errors could creep in unintended?

The Bible had better quality control than most documents because every completed scroll underwent in many context a very close scrutiny to catch these types of errors and when they were caught the entire document would often be destroyed.

Most "errors" in the manuscripts are this type and they are not hard to spot and the modern translations have very high confidence in their rendering and mention these in the textual comentary or apparatus so that people know they are present and have been examined and the original pretty easily determined.

The more difficult areas are those few passages where scribal manipulation to intentionally add or change a passage were made. The earlier these took place in the line of progression, the harder it is to spot them using textual comparisons from earlier documents. They are not that hard to spot however using other methods and most modern Bibles point them out as well. Sometimes commentary was written on the side of a scroll (just like we sometimes will put notes in our Bible of our thoughts or sermon notes) and a subsequent scribe would mistake the note for the text and include it.

Inspiration of the original doesn't preclude this from happening.

Denying that is a strategy some well-meaning but misdirected Christians use. Some do it by picking a particular translation like the King James Version and calling it inspired in its translation. That's convenient, but it is intellectually dishonest and makes it easy and justifiable to some extent for honest seekers and skeptics to claim Christians are intellectually dishonest or inconsistent. They're right, at least in terms of the Christians who do that sort of thing.

2. Then how are we to determine what the truth is? How are we to know which is in error and which is not?

You have to look at the scope of the problem to put it in perspective. The vast majority of textual errors are of such an obvious nature that they are very very easy to spot and generate very little controversy deciding what the original text says. The number of textual variants where there are true controversies over which readings are very small. In most of those cases, there are parallel passages in the case of the synoptic Gospels, or other passages in the Bible where there is no controversial options that make it pretty clear what the original must have been if we accept that the originals were inspired and that the entire Bible in its original form was internally consistent.

So the answer is, that we determine the truth by careful and prayerful study relying upon the same Holy Spirit who resides within us, who also inpired and transmitted that word in first place. Sometimes it is hard work and sometimes we have to exercise humility and admit we don't have all the answers.

From my perspective I see that as a plus in some ways. As Christians we can become tempted to elevate the written "Word" of God up to a pedestal and worship it (sometimes this is called Bibliolatry and noted as a form of idolatry) and fail to recognize that the Bible as written revelation is only part of God's revelation. The other element is the living "Word" which is Christ Himself and we believe He is risen and His Spirit, the Holy Spirit is alive and dwells in us. It's not one or the other. It is both.

I encourage you to continue to pursue and work this out. I will confess it is difficult. It was much easier as a young Christian for me to accept things uncritically. More education and especially addressing the textual support for the Bible made me have to rethink and rework many things I though I "knew." The bottom line for me, is that if the Bible is true it will stand up to that examination. I believe it does and I have my eyes wide open to the challenges out there. It's faith, but it is not a blind faith.
phiver4 wrote:Canuckster,
I have spent a lot of time lately studying and looking for the answers to many of the more pressing questions and issues the skeptics pose in relation to the accuracy of the Bible. I am doing this to satisfy my own self in order to feel "safe" in what the Bible teaches. I want to be sure that what I am using to guide me and that which has told me that I will have eternal life and Salvation through Jesus Christ is God inspired and error free.

From the Apologetic Press:
"Of all the challenges to a Christian's faith, surely one of the most troubling in this day and age is skepticism's charge that the Bible is filled with various discrepancies and contradictions. If true, such a charge (which is occurring with increasing frequency) certainly would serve to negate the inerrancy and inspiration of God's Word. It is a simple matter for an unbeliever to hurl a barrage of alleged discrepancies and/or contradictions at a believer, but it is not always a simple task for the believer to respond quickly and effectively. This is the case because many of the so-called discrepancies and contradictions cannot be answered adequately via a “quick wave of the hand,” but instead require in-depth, painstaking research in order to craft a reply that can dismantle each one on a case-by-case basis. "

You stated:
"We don't have the originals. What we have are extensive copies from different times and textual traditions or families. There are errors in some of these texts. Some are the result of innocent transcriptions. Some are suspected by some scholars to be purposeful manipulations by later editors or redactors.

Anyone who examines the Bible in the form we have it and are intellectually honest has to recognize and account for these factors. The good news, from my point of view, is that the sheer number of manuscripts we have and the precision that scholarship is developing to identify those elements combined with the vast majority of the text that is clearly indisputed means that the text we have today, we have with the highest element of confidence that we have ever had."

How can you admit that there are errors in some of the text and purposeful manipulations. How then could the Bible be God breathed,

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
2 Tim 3:16-17.

Please take this as a sincere question because I am desparately searching for answers in regards to my faith.
Dogmatism is the comfortable intellectual framework of self-righteousness. Self-righteousness is more decadent than the worst sexual sin. ~ Dan Allender

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Re: the need for a bible

#10

Post by Gman » Tue Dec 18, 2007 1:52 pm

More on Bible codes here: http://discussions.godandscience.org/vi ... f=3&t=2104

Bible claims that Noah's flood was local here: http://discussions.godandscience.org/vi ... f=6&t=2551

Bible claims that it wasn't written by man but was inspired by God here: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?bo ... text=verse

My response is that the Bible does not have all the answers. Also it contains many figures of speech, idioms, allegories, and orientalisms that are hard to interpret with our western minds. The framework is still there though... The basic message being is that God loved the world so much that he died for it. Something no other faith has claimed...
The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects as false - Galileo

We learn from history that we do not learn from history - Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. -Philippians 4:8

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Re: the need for a bible

#11

Post by phiver4 » Tue Dec 18, 2007 2:52 pm

Canuckster, Thank you very much for responding so quickly to me.
You wrote:
"I encourage you to continue to pursue and work this out. I will confess it is difficult. It was much easier as a young Christian for me to accept things uncritically. More education and especially addressing the textual support for the Bible made me have to rethink and rework many things I though I "knew." The bottom line for me, is that if the Bible is true it will stand up to that examination. I believe it does and I have my eyes wide open to the challenges out there. It's faith, but it is not a blind faith."

I would most definately agree that it was much easier many many years ago. Maybe God feels since I am now more mature in my thinking, it was time to draw me back to Him. I have never had this strong of a desire to learn anything as much as I do this. Studying the Scriptures has been a passion for the past 3 months. I know this is not a lot of time but I have learned so much in such a short period. The doors keep opening in front of me. I try and take 3 topics a week and research each so called "fallacy or descrepency" until I am convinced I have the answer.
I am a Senior Underwriter by trade so my thought process involves looking at things in a "black and white" manner. I know that is not always the case here but I can say that I have found answers to 98% of the so called "fallacies" others have claimed exist in the Bible. I know that I do not have the intellect of you and most of the people that post here but these are answers that are acceptable to me.

I apologize for mis-reading your post. I do understand complelety what you meant and I appreciate you revealing your background and knowledge in this area.

By the way, I am currently having a blast with the Census of Quirinius.
Thanks again.

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Re: the need for a bible

#12

Post by Canuckster1127 » Tue Dec 18, 2007 3:05 pm

No apology necessary. Sometimes what I write comes across to others poorly and if you don't ask I can't correct it.

I shared my background not to stop conversation but to give some context to what I was saying. I'm not the authority by any means, but I have looked at it hard and continue to do so and I thought maybe you were reading something more there perhaps than what I was trying to say.

I understand the Black and White thinking. In my other life I am a government consultant dealing with program underwriting and so I have some of the same thinking.

The truth is that there is a little grey in some spots where we have to look and admit the answer isn't in a neatly tied package.

Your figure of 98% that is black and white is pretty close to what I'd state in terms of the textual issues in the Bible. 98% is pretty easy and straight forward to address. The 2% left is tough. Skeptics point to that 2% and claim that Christians have to have it all wrapped up perfectly or else it isn't valid. This despite the fact that they don't have their act together to that degree, but then they claim they aren't making any claims themselves; other than their implicit claim that they possess authority to tear down any absolutes. Most won't embrace the nihilism that is the logical conclusion of some of their approached though.

Glad to hear you have a passion for this. God may be preparing you for something special for which this is preparation. Keep at it.

Blessings,

Bart
phiver4 wrote:Canuckster, Thank you very much for responding so quickly to me.
You wrote:
"I encourage you to continue to pursue and work this out. I will confess it is difficult. It was much easier as a young Christian for me to accept things uncritically. More education and especially addressing the textual support for the Bible made me have to rethink and rework many things I though I "knew." The bottom line for me, is that if the Bible is true it will stand up to that examination. I believe it does and I have my eyes wide open to the challenges out there. It's faith, but it is not a blind faith."

I would most definately agree that it was much easier many many years ago. Maybe God feels since I am now more mature in my thinking, it was time to draw me back to Him. I have never had this strong of a desire to learn anything as much as I do this. Studying the Scriptures has been a passion for the past 3 months. I know this is not a lot of time but I have learned so much in such a short period. The doors keep opening in front of me. I try and take 3 topics a week and research each so called "fallacy or descrepency" until I am convinced I have the answer.
I am a Senior Underwriter by trade so my thought process involves looking at things in a "black and white" manner. I know that is not always the case here but I can say that I have found answers to 98% of the so called "fallacies" others have claimed exist in the Bible. I know that I do not have the intellect of you and most of the people that post here but these are answers that are acceptable to me.

I apologize for mis-reading your post. I do understand complelety what you meant and I appreciate you revealing your background and knowledge in this area.

By the way, I am currently having a blast with the Census of Quirinius.
Thanks again.
Dogmatism is the comfortable intellectual framework of self-righteousness. Self-righteousness is more decadent than the worst sexual sin. ~ Dan Allender

//bartsbarometer.com/

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Re: the need for a bible

#13

Post by the sleep of reason » Tue Dec 18, 2007 6:19 pm

i'm going to try to rope this thread back on track because i dont feel like my questions are being addressed.

here's how i see it: if ANY parts of the bible can be considered 'iffy' or 'dubious' or in any way questionable as infallible truth, then that opens the door for ALL of it to be questioned. now, i'm not looking at this from a strictly christian perspective. personally i cannot consider myself strictly christian due to the fact i dont believe all islamic or judaic people are doomed to hell. western american prodistantism maintains they simply go to hell, no matter how much they worship or live for God, simply because of the jesus issue.

i see judaism as the old testament, christianity as the new testament, and islam is the NEW new testament. all are abrahamic. all derived from the same starting point. semantically different but fundamentally the same. how can one be 'righter' than the others?

a few posts have said the book is flawed but the message is valid--God is great. that's not in debate, GOD is real, God is wonderful, but that doesnt mean any religion is right. the simple fact remains the bible says do not have faith in man, that men ARE intrinsically evil in their hearts, but also insists upon its man-written self as being infallible. that's a massive contradiction.

i dont care how inspired someone is by God, they are still men and still prone to mistakes. furthermore, english bibles are so waterd down that a lot of value is lost. how can you reconcile what 'truths' are dubious and which are vitally important? you can say "ok that whole meat on the sabbath thing is negligible but you HAVE to worship a trinity or else you're doomed to hell."
it's a conflict for me. it's a conflict that that science of the bible is impossible, and it's a conflict that we dont have any way to confirm these things.

my point is i just simply do not know how else to believe in ANYTHING, at all, unless GOD is real and GOD is love, and LOVES everyone, and is transcendent of ALL
MAN
MADE
RELIGIONS
including that juggernaut we call christianity. for anything to make sense to me, GOD has to transend that simple book, christians simple ideas. YES jesus was real, he served as a passion play, a manifestation of God's love. i believe that--but does a fundamental acceptance of THIS story and ONLY this story get you to heaven?
i cant say it does. i cant see how a loving God would willfully seperate our languages and cultures if in the end we dang well better learn christian english ideas or we're doomed to hell. that's unfair to pre-columbian indians, that's unfair to somalians or turks. and if some kind of 'ingnorance loophole' exists for them that will save their mortal soul, then the rules cant be applied in any standard way across humanity. can they?

i dont feel like i'm making sense so i'm gonna stop rambling...
but i will reiderate: ALL religions were outlined by men. men wrote rules, and my goodness christianity has been so convoluted by time and politics. the inquisition, the crusades. it's been such a tool of social control that it's nearly impossible for me to have faith in it.

so, for the sake of this conversation, lets assume God DID inspire the words of the bible, we'll accept that as truth, and God DID inspire the outline of christianty when paul made the rules.

doesnt that fact open the possiblity GOD could inspire other men as well? for other religions? and other sacred texts? the Torah and the Qua'ran both say "this is the word of God and is absolute truth" same as the bible. does that make it so?

i'm to the placei believe it's personal, it HAS to be personal, between everyone and their maker. all of this is me trying to find peace in that assumption.

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Re: the need for a bible

#14

Post by Canuckster1127 » Tue Dec 18, 2007 6:27 pm

Sleep,

Obviously you are going to have to ask yourself what you believe is true and what you consider is sufficient foundation to your faith.

What are the unique claims of Christ and the Bible that to your mind would offer sufficient grounds when compared with other religions? Are you shooting for something or just questioning everything?

Bart
Dogmatism is the comfortable intellectual framework of self-righteousness. Self-righteousness is more decadent than the worst sexual sin. ~ Dan Allender

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Re: the need for a bible

#15

Post by the sleep of reason » Tue Dec 18, 2007 6:40 pm

no i'm definately seeking some truths here. all questions posed are real ones i'd like you all to at least try to answer. if my post was too obtuse i can filter the questions into a new post, if you'd like.

i know i commune with God. but how selfish would it be to say "i know in my heart i'm on track with God, good luck the rest of the world?' i cant do that. our purpose is fellowship and i'm trying to find a way to do that. i've not been able to go to church for a while because church has turned into an esoteric assertion of 'christian' rules and truisms shouted down on the congregation without a proper forum for idealogical discourse. that's not fun. i live in the bible belt. most churches around here teach that everything in the bible is historical fact. people live in whales, all the animals in the whole worlds were miracled to the middle east and miracled to fit on a boat. dinosaurs never existed/were killed by the flood/are a trick God uses to mess with unbelievers/dont matter because giraffes arent in the bible, either.

these questions create a roadblock for fellowship. so i'm seeking a way to find a balance in what i believe as 'truth' from holy texts, if any holy texts even exist, if one does, which it is.

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