John Lennox Responds to Stephen Hawking

John LennoxDr. John Lennox, a math professor at the University of Oxford, visited Seattle recently to respond to Stephen Hawking’s recent The Grand Design (co-written with Leonard Mlodinow).  I’ll give a brief summary of the main points Lennox made with a few comments.

In his book, Hawking says:

Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.

Christian apologists like to focus on the beginning of the universe, sensing a weakness in the naturalistic model. When asked about what came before the Big Bang, Science simply says, “I don’t know.” This is neither a weakness nor a reason for embarrassment. Instead, it points to those areas in science where more work needs to be done. But this statement by Hawking gives at least one resolution to the question.

Lennox spent much of the lecture criticizing this one claim.  His concerns:

1. Hawking says: “the universe can and will create itself from nothing.”  But the law of gravity is not nothing.

2. “… The universe creates itself from nothing.”  But “I explain X because of X” (that is: the universe creates itself) is Alice-in-Wonderland thinking.

3. A law of nature (like gravity) depends on nature existing.

He calls Hawking’s statement “nonsense.”

Let’s accept Lennox’s claim: Hawking’s claim is clumsily worded.  But it’s just a few sentences from a 200-page book.  What about the rest?  Might that clarify and defend this claim?

This is a caltrop argument—a defensive argument that doesn’t address a question but dismisses it.  Lennox doesn’t respond to the claim but rather spends much of his lecture arguing that he doesn’t have to.  Weak.

I’ll gives the highlights of some of his other arguments and observations.  He says that religion can answer the big questions.  Sure, but so can anyone.  Just because religion has an answer doesn’t make it right (and Lennox made no attempt to pursue this).

He pointed out the limitations of Science.  Sure, but don’t imagine that Christianity has anything better.

He said that Hawking makes a God of the Gaps argument—as the explanation “God did it” gets crowded out of different fields of science, God has no place to reside but in the shrinking gaps between knowledge.  Lennox argued that this isn’t the God of Christianity.  Sure, then seize the opportunity to side with Hawking and agree that Christians shouldn’t use this kind of thinking.

He pointed out what he saw as a false dichotomy popular among atheists when they demand: choose God or science.  He responded that these two are complimentary, not contradictory.

Lennox’s argument was something like this.  Imagine someone saying, “Henry Ford or mechanical engineering caused the Model T car.  Pick one.”  Of course, the Model T was caused by both Henry Ford and mechanical engineering; it makes no sense to demand that only one can be a cause.  Similarly, only a faulty understanding of God makes the “pick one” dichotomy make sense.  For example, Isaac Newton happily accepted both gravity and God.

To me, this sounds quite different from Stephen Jay Gould’s model of Non-Overlapping Magesteria (NOMA).  The different viewpoints could be: (1) Gould’s NOMA, where science and religion don’t overlap, (2) Lennox’s view, where they overlap contentedly, and (3) Richard Dawkins’ view, where the overlap but science trumps religion.

Laws describe and predict but don’t create anything.  Consider “the sun rises in the east,” the law of gravity, or M-theory that Hawking refers to in his book.  These can’t create anything.  So what created gravity?  My response: Science doesn’t know.  But if Lennox can rest easy with no explanation for where God came from, surely this scientific puzzle doesn’t trouble him.

Nearing the end, he touched on the Design Argument and Fine Tuning Argument without defense.  He said that God is a threat to atheists (so are atheists hedonists then??).  He said that a multiverse model, in which vast numbers of other universe exist alongside ours, doesn’t exclude God (OK, but “you haven’t excluded God” is hardly strong reason to believe it!).

The Discovery Institute was a sponsor of the event, and Lennox recommended their books.  Et tu, Professor Lennox?  What does it say that evolution denial is almost a requirement for speaking in a church in America?

His last argument compared a single universe created by God to the multiverse.  He said that the former is simpler.  That’s hard to swallow, given that “God” is about the boldest assumption possible, and he’s made that assumption without evidence.

In his last broadside against Hawking, he said that Hawking’s atheism undermines the foundation of science.  “Atheism is a fairy story for those afraid of the light,” he said, to enthusiastic applause.

Lennox started the lecture with science, but it devolved into a sermon at the end, including a long quote from the gospel of John.  To be sure, the lecture was held in a church, but let’s make a clear distinction between a scientific lecture versus a sermon to like-minded believers.  We can have Professor Lennox, famous Oxford mathematician, speaking in the domain of science and reason, or we can have John Lennox the Christian preaching to the choir.  Trying to have both undercuts the scientific platform IMO.

This summary is of the John Lennox lecture “Do the Laws of Physics Make God Unnecessary?” at University Presbyterian Church in Seattle, WA on 8/19/2011.  

Photo credit: Wikipedia

About Bob Seidensticker
  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

    Just seeing how this new comment system works …

  • Brandon Roberts

    but the universe is too complex and hawkings does not know everything but he is i.q smart. but i.q don’t mean shit i still remain a creationist because it makes sense too me. and i respect hawkings right to believe what he believes. but i’m not going too ban an entire belief system on a quadrapalegic no offense to quadrapalegics

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Both Hawking and Lennox accept evolution!

      Creationism makes sense to me? The people who actually understand the biology have a clear consensus that evolution is the best explanation. You, by contrast, don’t understand the biology. And you set yourself up as Judge of Science?

      i’m not going too ban an entire belief system on a quadrapalegic no offense to quadrapalegics

      Much offense taken, I’m sure, both by anyone affected by ALS or interested in common civility. I’d explain it, but why waste my time?

      • Brandon Roberts

        i’m sorry i did not mean it that way i was just pointing out that hawking is in a wheelchair and ok that they do and look i’m special needs i would never purposely insult anyone with disabilities and look i should not have assumed lennox was a creationist so i sincerely apologize if i offended you

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Are you saying that we give Hawking a pass for his so-so physics because he’s in a wheelchair? He held the frikkin’ Lucasian chair of mathematics at Cambridge.

          Now that we’ve established that both Lennox and Hawking accept evolution, will you be revisiting your position on that subject?

        • Brandon Roberts

          1. about evoloution sorry no i just don’t believe it i have no problem with those that do i just don’t personally believe it. 2. no not at all hawkings should not get a pass just because he’s in a wheelchair he should be treated no better or worse than anyone else. 3. i’m probaly not going to change my mind just because two scientists accept it (well 93%) bye.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          1. Do you accept quantum physics? I assume you have no problem with it. But did you evaluate it beforehand? I bet not. I bet you simply accepted the scientific consensus.

          I recommend that you do the same for other branches of science, evolution included.

        • Brandon Roberts

          ok your right i didn’t and i have no problem with science it’s neccesary for certain things but i’m not going to accept something simply because science says so and yes science has done a lot of good medical’crime solving etc. but i don’t have to believe something cause hawkings and lennox says it happened i realize your simply trying to inform me but i just don’t believe it ok

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          No, I certainly would never say, “Lennox and Hawking accept it and they’re smarter than you, so therefore you must accept it as well.”

          I’m saying something far more sweeping: laymen like you and me must yield to those who understand the science. When there is a scientific consensus, we have no intellectual ground from which to reject that consensus. Evolution is the consensus; not being a biologist, you have no grounds by which to reject it.

        • Brandon Roberts

          that’s a good point but i honestly don’t think i have to accept it because biologists believe it and by that logic we the laymen have no grounds to reject the bible because we were not alive at the time and we’re not pastors or experts of that. field. now i’m not saying you have too believe anything and i don’t have any real evidence or expertise in evoloution so i can’t say for sure it never happened but it really does not make much sense to me ok

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          What I’m saying applies to science only. There is no religious consensus! The parallel claim simply doesn’t apply within religion.

          I can believe evolution doesn’t make much sense to you. Couple of thoughts:

          (1) Have you seriously studied evolution? Learn about it and then give your critique.

          (2) You say that it doesn’t make much sense. Who cares? You should care least of all since you best know your own limitations within Biology! Your gut reaction to evolution is meaningless. So what if it doesn’t make sense? You haven’t studied it seriously!

        • Brandon Roberts

          ok your right and look i had some people explain it too me but i went over it in my mind and it does not seem too make such sense it’s kinda like how a god creating the world may not make sense to you. and finally calm down i understand where your coming from but not everyone is automatically believe what you do i came across a guy that spent 2 and a half years studying it and did not believe it and i’ve checked out some websites. but just learn that even when i seriously check it out it might not change my mind and so i have to blindly follow science but the same doesn’t follow to religon.fair enough

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You could accept evolution with much effort, and I’m not suggesting that you do so. I’m simply asking that you acknowledge your limitations. You are in no position to judge correct science from incorrect science.

          If you cling to Creationism for emotional reasons, whatever. I’m simply asking that you not delude yourself that you have any intellectual grounds for doing so.

        • Brandon Roberts

          oh no i don’t a lot of my reasons coming from the planets the size of earth is perfect to sustain this kind of atmosphere. the perfect distance from the sun. and in genesis the bible points out the earth hangs on nothing and everytime i told god do such and such if your real it happened(simple stuff like walk a few steps or make me move to such and such place) and your right i can’t judge whats correct from incorrect science and i don’t know everything no one does. and i just cannot accept that it could all happen by accident. and i see a lot of biblical prophecy coming true natural disasters the worlds moral decay (no offense i’m not implying your immoral) and nasa backing up the 4 blood moons with the solar eclipse. so have a happy life a good day and wish you luck in everything you do

        • MNb

          Well, with a gazillion planets around in Universe chances approach 100% that there must be at least one such planet around. After all on a regular base someone wins the first price of the lottery as well.
          At the other hand it’s rather overkill if your god created the entire Universe just with the purpose to have a life sustaining planet in some remote and obscure spot of that Universe. You are like the fly landing on the White House concluding it has been specifically designed to offer you a nice resting place. At least the White House isn’t regularly threatened with destruction by bulldozers, while that so called perfectly designed Earth is regularly threatened to be destroyed by huge meteorites. I guess this is a small slip from your god or something.

          “i just cannot accept that it could all happen by accident”
          Your lack of imagination is very human, hence understandable and forgiveable. It’s also silly though.

          “nasa backing up the 4 blood moons with the solar eclipse”
          Not exactly a unique phenomenon …. I have a prophecy for you as well. If you drop a stone tomorrow (and you may decide yourself when exactly tomorrow will be) it will fall downward, not upward.

        • Brandon Roberts

          ok fair enough but maybe god put it here to show how great and mighty it is and your opinion as well as mine is worthless but we will find out who’s right when we die (hopefully not for a long time)

        • avalpert

          Geeze, if he just wanted to show off how great and mighty he is it would have been a lot more sensible to just challenge everyone to an arm wrestling match.

          That god guy is clearly not too bright if he thought creating a big universe that his favorite creation couldn’t even see for the first few hundred thousand years of their existent was a way to show off strength – just a waste of resources.

          And unfortunately you won’t find out you were wrong when you die, you know because you will just be dead.

        • Dr. Arthur Frederick Ide

          Well put, well said, well written!

        • Brandon Roberts

          true.

        • Dr. Arthur Frederick Ide

          Why does your god have to constantly prove and re-prove “how great and mighty” it (congratulations! no more “he”) is That is as absurd as your god needing to be told in prayer and praise how glorious it/he is and to have his faithful on their knees to sing throughout eternity. Those lines in the bible come from Hittite and Akkadian sources and are a part of a writing of prostitutes on administering oral sex to the king and his temple priests who, like ancient Apiru (Hebrews) worship with Kadesh (קָדֵשׁ‎: dog priests) that originally was a city where the pharaoh (a word for the house of the rulers of Egypt, not the title of the rulers) who conquered Megiddo that formulated the myth of Armageddon.

        • Brandon Roberts

          fair enough. but i don’t know

        • Al

          Again, show us that the writers of Scripture came from “Hittite and Akkadian sources”?

        • Dr. Arthur Frederick Ide

          well written!

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Blood moons? Are you talking about John Hagee’s bizarre imagination? I poke holes in that hallucination here.

          But perhaps you understand the thinking better than I do. I don’t see where the solar eclipse fits in. Do you?

        • Brandon Roberts

          yeah i do the sun shall turn dark. and yes look we’ll see who’s right when we’re dead (hopefully not for a long time)

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So we’re talking about Hagee’s “blood moons” that start a week from tomorrow? Do you think anything interesting will happen as a result?

        • Dr. Arthur Frederick Ide

          Are you referring to the poem in Acts 2:20:
          The sun will be turned to darkness
          and the moon to blood
          before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.

          as I hope you know it was plagiarized from the poem in Joel 2:31

          The sun will be turned to darkness
          and the moon to blood
          before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

          that was, in turn, plagiarized by the mad man John of Patmos (Patmos was a Roman island for the insane) in his horror fiction Revelation 6:12:

          I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red,

          All of these were plagiarized from ancient Egypt that took them from far old African legends. If you wish, I can give them to you in the Aramaic, Hebrew, and Greek and the languages of ancient Africa for your verification.

        • Al

          Ok. So you have evidence that Luke ” old African legends”? I sure would like to see this and how you know Luke was aware of this and had read these accounts.

        • hector_jones

          There are 170 billion galaxies in the observable universe. Each of those galaxies contains 10 million to 100 trillion stars. Think about that when you try to argue that the odds of our planet being the way it is are too low without God. Belief in God is a failure of the imagination.

        • Brandon Roberts

          i know but still it makes no sense too me that this was all just dumb luck and that means we’re all genetic worthless accidents and the only meaning of life is death don’t say that’s not true because it is sorry but the truth hurts

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          It makes no sense to you? Why–should it? Do you think you’ve studied enough for the science to make sense? And if you haven’t, then don’t be surprised when it’s still a mystery.

          My suggestion: leave the nice scientists alone and let them continue to discover new truths about reality and improving our lives as a result.

          You find your own meaning to life. You don’t need someone else to assign it for you.

        • Brandon Roberts

          fair enough but i only responded to him because he did too me

        • MNb

          Then you shouldn’t have called yourself 000.
          Apparently you prefer “eye for an eye” to “turn the other cheek.” Essentially you say “f**k Jesus.” Weird how many christians do.

        • Brandon Roberts

          this was awhile ago and i let my temper get the best of me

        • hector_jones

          Did you cut and paste that 000 comment from somewhere? There’s no way you actually wrote it because it’s grammatical and doesn’t have spelling errors. And I don’t believe for a second that you studied biology for the last 6 years.

        • 000

          Sir you’re a dick. Do you get satisfaction out of doing what you’re doing? I have spent the last 6 years studying biology and have heard every pro evolution arguement and every pro creation argument. I hate to break it to you, but both sides are inconclusive and both resort to circular reasoning explaining the beginning of the universe. No matter which side you choose, the comfort of going to “heaven” or feeling like you are superior to your peers because of your grasp of evolution, you are putting faith into the hands of another. Face it, the human race ..scientists.. pastors .. None of us have a clue about the universe around us

        • MNb

          Mister, you’re an empty barrel. A lot of noise, little content.

        • Dr. Arthur Frederick Ide

          If you are a “Christian” why is it you do not understand the words of Matthew 7:1 μη κρινετε ινα μη κριθητε (or do they not apply to you)? Of all the Christians who I have met, I never found one who had even the slightest acquaintance with the words allegedly spoken by Jesus.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          I don’t think Jesus spoke Greek.

        • Dr. Arthur Frederick Ide

          Nor did “Jesus” read or write Greek or any other language. That would have been rare, and it is doubtful if any of his mythical disciples (70 or 72 according to Luke 1, depending on what mangled translation you are reading), read, write, or speak Greek. At best it was Aramaic, but there is no record of it as there was no eye witness account: all testimony was written no less than one generation to four generations after the alleged death of “Jesus”. At best only one “apostle” (Matthew) would have been semi-literate as tax collectors by Roman law were required to be able to cipher (write) and read a smattering for their profession, so, if anything “his” gospel could be considered…. but not really as the epistles were written first between 107 and 255 CE, and then the gospels that were added to fill in the details of a life few agreed with, words allegedly said, and miracles performed that there is no recorded evidence for.

          The bible is made up as is the fantasy of a Jesus. If you would like to review my articles on the psychology of Jesus, etc. please visit my blog. I use the Greek as it is the closest record we have but that does not appear until 385 when the Arian bishop sent 50 bibles to the Eastern “churches” (they were tribunals) on order of the emperor.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Point me to your article that justifies these dates for the authorship of the epistles and gospels.

        • Pofarmer

          Early Christian Writings has some discussion about early and late authorship.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Early Christian Writings: The Apostolic Fathers (Penguin, 1987)?

          Looks interesting.

        • Pofarmer

          Thinking more along the lines of

          http://earlychristianwritings.com/

        • MNb

          Eh? I’m not a christian by any means. How did that idea pop up under your skull? I haven’t even been baptized.
          That said I quite like Matthew 7:1. But my comment above is not a judgment, it is an observation wrapped as metaphor.
          Perhaps you were addressing the comment of 000? Underneath he admitted he was Brandon Roberts and kind of withdrew his words, so I’m done with it. He wrote

          “i let my temper get the best of me”
          and that’s good enough for me. I don’t know about BobS, but that’s up to him.

        • Valentin

          You obviously do not meet much Christians :), or the ones you meet are probably Lutherans. You have a limited knowledge of Christianity, but you quote Scriptures. This is what I call insolence. Stick to science!

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Anonymous Sir, thank you for your condescending remark. Now I’m all ears to attend to and learn from your thoughtful critique.

          I get satisfaction out of making a clear point about some aspect of Christian apologetics, atheism, or Christianity’s impact in modern society.

          I hate to break it to you, but evolution is the scientific consensus. Those people qualified to evaluate the evidence (that is, not you or me) have concluded that evolution is the best provisional explanation for why life is the way it is.

          And evolution has nothing to say about the beginning of the universe.

          I have no faith in anything (though I do trust in many things, based on evidence).

          Scientists indeed do have a substantial clue, which contrasts strongly with Christianity, which has contributed zilch to our knowledge of nature and reality.

        • Al

          Wow. Your not qualified to evaluate the evidence yet you know the evolutionist is right. Coming from you this is mind numbing.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          I dunno why this is a puzzler for you. My rule: accept the scientific consensus as the best provisional explanation.

          That’s how you do it (except perhaps for when the scientific claims are uncomfortable). You got something better for the layperson? Show me.

          Your desperate attempt to show some sort of contradiction on my part fails, I’m afraid.

        • hector_jones

          You aren’t qualified to evaluate the evidence either, but you know it’s wrong.

        • Philmonomer

          Sir you’re a dick. Do you get satisfaction out of doing what you’re doing? I have spent the last 6 years studying biology and have heard every pro evolution arguement and every pro creation argument. I hate to break it to you, but both sides are inconclusive and both resort to circular reasoning explaining the beginning of the universe. No matter which side you choose, the comfort of going to “heaven” or feeling like you are superior to your peers because of your grasp of evolution, you are putting faith into the hands of another. Face it, the human race ..scientists.. pastors .. None of us have a clue about the universe around us

          Here’s what I hear you saying:

          “I have nothing interesting or worthwhile to add to this discussion.”

        • Dr. Arthur Frederick Ide

          It is impossible for me to consider you as having “spent the last 6 years studying biology” and have such limited knowledge as you portray here. Did you study it daily or once a month? Were your studies guided or free-spin? What did you read and who was your mentor or what were the mentor’s credentials. I have studied many subjects, but with experts and in depth and I do use my knowledge daily for regular publication and lectures.

          Your vanity outweighs your words when you speak pontifically about inclusiveness: “None of us have (sic) a clue about the universe around us(sic)”(.) Hawking has, Dawkins has, and I like to flatter myself by claiming I have as I have studied it for 35 years.

          Faith is always put into the hands of “another”–as that was the message Jesus allegedly gave to his disciples: “Go forth to all nations”. Faith has only grown through the misinformation of missionaries who obfuscate reality in quest of a opiate that does not exist–on the nature of Thomas More’s Utopia (the word translates as “nowhere”).

        • Kara Connor

          You appear to have not paid much attention for the last 6 years then

        • 90Lew90

          Did you study biology under Ken Ham at Answers in Genesis? I mean, I don’t claim to have studied biology outside of having read some popular science books and even I can see that you’re talking out of your hat. For a start, there is nothing in evolutionary theory which has anything — at all — to say about the beginning of the universe, and neither does it have anything concrete to say about the origin of life. Creationism — the clue is in the title — does. And it’s plainly pie-in-the-sky. The only mild controversy among biologists on evolutionary theory (as far as I’m aware but I would reiterate that I’m not a biologist) is *how* natural selection works, not *if* it’s sound theory. It is unassailably established. You must have spent six years asleep at your desk.

        • Dr. Arthur Frederick Ide

          Those who are afraid to admit that evolution is not planned but “just dumb luck” are in fact afraid to consider that homo sapiens are not that wise and mortals do not have all the answers. Everything does die, and what dies decomposes and the decomposition eventually takes a form of dust and even that disappears (go visit some medieval graves). I do not fear death as it is a part of living.

        • Dr. Arthur Frederick Ide

          Do you really believe that the bible is infallible and without error? There are so many contradictions within the bible that many books have been printed enumerating them and showing their fallacy; consider the contradictions just in the creation story: First Account (Genesis 1:1-2:3), Second Account (Genesis 2:4-25).

          There is nothing true about a planet being “a perfect size to sustain this kind of atmosphere” as atmosphere depends on numerous factors including gravity. Why “can’t” you accept the reality of accidental happenings–even NASA has excellent videos on YouTube detailing the evolution of planets–and NASA will provide you details of numerous planets in various solar systems that can sustain life as we know it. The problem is that the human species on the water planet we call Earth, are to smug and feel they are somehow superior to other species–a grave fallacy.

        • Dr. Arthur Frederick Ide

          Be careful of websites, as the internet is not known for veracity. Look at Wikipedia: anyone can edit it, change it, etc. and anyone can be an editor of it (I toyed with it for a short time to find out). Try to find caches to see what were earlier comments. I used Wikipedia to learn more about the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. Wikipedia noted the two Americans who created it (for business reason). Now their names and contributions are no longer presented. I taught IB at San Agustin’s in Peru–along with other “native-English speakers” who had a difficult time creating a sentence with more than one adjective and did not know that know that there are eight distinct groups of adjectives. I then taught the First Certificate of English (FEC) which ends with a test, but at the Universidad César Vallejo, one profesor (it means teacher, it is not an academic title), and the Directora both passed it with a score of 70 and promptly advertised they were fluent in the language. Sadly, neither could write a simple essay that I was required to judge. Other universities around the world where I have taught are like Texas Tech University and have no books in their libraries but depend on the internet–and the information is wrong. Hacking and Cracking are regular stumbling blocks.

          My suggestion is you read verified books and engage in scholarly discussions. To accept something off the internet is as wasteful of your time as is accepting the bible as being a serious work. Both are polemic rags.

        • Dr. Arthur Frederick Ide

          Science has far more fields than merely “medical’crime (sic) solving” as it is in all fields, including mine in philology, and document analysis, etc. Science tells me that something is authentic based on provable criteria, or exposes it as a fraud. Faith, belief (frequently interchangeable) and religion is not scientific as they either do not allow or are not scientifically investigated by any means. Faith is an act of those who do not want to search out, inquire, compare, and so forth as faith requires blind obedience. Science seeks results by opening itself to investigation and refutation. It is never absolute.

  • Dr. Arthur Frederick Ide

    A professorship, even tenured or endowed, does not mean that the professor has absolute knowledge as there are no absolutes. At the same time, a degree in one field does not presuppose that the professor cannot be versed in other topics. Lennox is trying to disparage Hawking who has far greater credibility and yet Hawking is measured in his statements while Lennox jumps to a wild ontological summation that is not in his alleged field. The same is true with Stephen C Myer of the Creation Institute and author of the laughable Intelligent Design advocacy–yet Myer does have a Ph.D. in history and philosophy of science in 1991 at the University of Cambridge and advocates what few of his professors found to be a real science. Scholarship is the positing of an argument, research and investigation with verification, and constant retesting as there is no absolute truth as absolute does not and cannot exist. That is why the gods change regularly depending on their popularity or productivity according to their priests and patrons.

    Born an atheist, I grew up a Lutheran and converted to atheism before I returned to atheism in my thirtieth year. It was a quest to find answers that do not exist–all I could encounter were possibilities and they were fragile and flimsy and so returned to atheism as the idea of a god having a backside that he showed to Moses, or sitting on a planet with his feet on the moon as Myer advocates. This is as ludicrous as imaging a god with gender. Why does He need testicles and a penis? this only suggests that it was he who penetrated the virgin (young girl).

    I reject the Bible based on my studies of philology, linguistics, textual criticism, etc. I definitely do not find evidence for any of the alleged authors of any tract in the New Testament. If anyone had a paucity of education it would have been Matthew as Rome required tax collectors to be somewhat literate (read and write, count and add). I reject that all, as all indicators are that the epistles were written before the gospels as I argue in my book and on its serialization on my blog. The gospels were necessary only because there is scant attention to the life, words, or ministry of Jesus with over emphasis on a Christ that is an invention parroted by the epileptic who had a seizure on his way to Damascus. I do not accept the historical existence of a Jesus, Peter, Paul or any Apostle much less the 70 (72 in some editions) disciples noted in Luke 10:1.

    The church was not founded by Jesus, and the early christians were not persecuted but were persecutors using the Codex Theodosius, etc. To claim absolute knowledge of any subject with only a veneer of information as offered by Lennox does a disservice to scholarship and I question his. Who in his right mind can make the absurd claim that “god is a threat to atheists” when atheists do not see, accept or believe in any god. Lennox suffers from wishful thinking.

    • Paul Mellan

      Dr. Ide, could you please give me one, just one vertical, transitional form ever discovered which demonstrates macro evolution (species to species transitions)? Please, don’t give hasty generalizations; give only specifics. I am asking for just one indisputable fossil discovery of any transitional forms for species to species, which is necessary, if macro-evolution is true. Also, please don’t deny the existence of macro-evolution. Reputable scientists believe in micro-evolution (change within species, which is all Darwin discovered on the Galapagos Islands), but these same scientists reject out of hand macro evolution ( for example a reptile changing into a bird).

      What is interesting to me is in your reasons why you reject the Bible, you commit the fallacy of hasty generalizations. For example, you say you don’t accept the historical existence of Jesus. What is today’s complete date, prey tell? If you used 2015 in your answer, which is mandatory, 2015 what? I hope your answer is 2015 a. d. ( in the year of the Lord). Our dating system is predicated on the historical evidence of Jesus’s existence. Secondly, F. F. Bruce, a rank historian, in his wonderful book The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable , which I recommend you read, provides irrefutable historical evidence for the historical reliability of the New Testament. Please produce any archaeological find that has ever contradicted anything historically in the New Testament. You haven’t provided one shred of evidence for your denial of the historicity of the New Testament and your arguments are purely based on your anti-supernatural presuppositions apriori, not on any historical facts.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        I am asking for just one indisputable fossil discovery of any transitional forms for species to species

        Creationists reject what they don’t like, regardless of the evidence. Whatever fossil anyone points to, you can find a Creationist “scientist” who doesn’t like it. And you win!

        I’m a layman, and evolution is the scientific consensus. Give me an argument by which I can reject the it.

        AD = “year of our Lord.” Yep, that’s true. I prefer “CE” (Common Era). How about that?

        What could the use of AD demand? Presumably, it’s the same as the use of the months of May and June (named for two Roman goddesses) or the days Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (two Norse gods and one goddess).

        I suspect that Bruce’s argument is laughable, but I don’t want to judge it without seeing it. Give us a summary.

        • Paul Mellan

          Evolutionists do not like specific science. You say I reject what I don’t like, providing no evidence to substantiate what you say-a hasty generalization and begging the question-what evidence do you have that I am rejecting evolution only because I don’t like it. Incidentally, the fossil record is scientist evidence immensely against evolution and favors creation- abrupt appearance of life with no intermediates! What does this have to do with what I like? It is encumber upon you to demonstrate scientifically in the fossil record that evolution happened. You are proving your irrational thinking, which is anything but scientific! I say let the evidence speak for itself.

          You then say that whatever fossil anyone points to, I could find a creationist scientist who doesn’t like it. That is convenient as well, although extremely unconvincing! First, I could say the same about your view of the fossil record, which is tainted by the atheistic views of evolutionists, although since this is such poor propaganda, I will stick to the facts. I once again ask for just one fossil of a transitional intermediate form. Dr. Michael Denton, a Ph.D. in micro-biology says there are no transitional forms in the fossil record. Please refute him. If he is so unscientific, prove it. He is not a creationist, incidentally, but he has all the credentials of any living scientist. His book, which was published in 1985 is called Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. Have you ever read this book? I challenge you to read it, if you haven’t. You know how weak the fossil evidence is and that is why you want to avoid discussing it and come up with this unfounded claim that I accept it only because it is what I like. I could say the same about you. You don’t want a creator to answer to so your atheism is your crutch to avoid being accountable to a holy and righteous God! Therefore, you rationalize, not using science, but using only volition that somehow evolution explains away God! You are wrong!

          I dismiss what isn’t factual, whether I like it or not! Are you willing to go through the fossil record to substantiate your evolutionary assumptions? If evolution is true, there should be thousands and thousands of the intermediates the record, but as Michael Denton said said-all the missing links are still missing. Colin Patterson of the Brittish Museum of Natural History said evolution in anti-knowledge. I don’t believe he is a creationist either. It shouldn’t matter what view the scientist holds. What matters is the evidence! I will only talk science here and sound, rational argumentation!

          You are welcome to use of the Common Era, while the rest of us use a. d. What does that prove? You did not refute the accuracy of the dating system’s historical evidence for the life of Jesus of Nazareth. I challenge you to refute the historicity of the Julian Calender.

          How could you suspect anything without reading it first? Bruce is a man of letters I would be interested in you reading his book. You can’t refute something you don’t know! You totally ignored the challenge to find one archeological discovery that shows the Bible is not historically accurate. Have you read F. F. Bruce’s work? I suggest you also read Gilbert West and Lord Littleton’s marvelous work on the Histories and the Evidrnce for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. These men were Oxford scholars, who like you were disbelievers that were converted by the evidence for the voracity of Christ’s claims and His resurrection. In the twentieth century, Frank Morrison wrote a fascinating book called Who Moved the Stone? He was a lawyer who also set out to disprove the resurrection and finished a book that historically defends the fact of the resurrection of Christ. The First chapter is very interestingly titled “The Book that Refused to be Written.” We can’t intelligently discuss, this if you are unfamiliar with any of these writers.

        • Paul Mellan

          Excuse me, Patterson said evolution isn’t anti-knowledge it is no-knowledge!

        • Greg G.

          Isn’t Denton the one who refuted himself in his second book after the errors in his first book were pointed out to him?

          The horse series is pretty good. The line of whales is fairly complete all the way back to land animals covering 50 million years. The human line goes back about 4 million years. The different schools of paleontologists were known as 3 it her lumpers or splitters as the lumpers allowed a wider range of variation and lumped similar fossils into one group while the splitters wanted to name new species over any variation. We don’t hear the terms so often as the line of fossils have smoothed out. They were walking upright long before the brain size began to increase. But for a million years, the brain size gradually increased by 200 ccs, until a quarter million years ago when the brain size of our ancestors and the brain size of Neanderthal ancestors increased by 250 ccs in 200,000 years. Since the Neanderthals went extinct, the human brain has shrunk slightly.

          Now, can you trace a single family line all the way back to Noah? That should be much easier than what you are asking for.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You say I reject what I don’t like, providing no evidence to substantiate what you say-a hasty generalization and begging the question-what evidence do you have that I am rejecting evolution only because I don’t like it.

          I wasn’t talking about you specifically.

          But if my characterization of how you’d respond to a fossil was wrong, set me straight. Tell me that you’d be delighted to accept such a fossil that passed muster with most evolutionary biologists.

          Incidentally, the fossil record is scientist evidence immensely against evolution and favors creation- abrupt appearance of life with no intermediates!

          Oh? That surprises me. So what you’re saying is that if you asked biologists about the Cambrian Explosion, say, they’d have nothing but handwaving to justify their position—is that right? No substantial arguments to defend evolution?

          It is encumber upon you to demonstrate scientifically in the fossil record that evolution happened.

          Yeah. Done. Read an evolution textbook. Did you know that it’s the consensus?

          I say let the evidence speak for itself.

          Sure, that’s a nice platitude. I’m not sure how it actually applies, since you’re not qualified to evaluate it.

          You then say that whatever fossil anyone points to, I could find a creationist scientist who doesn’t like it. That is convenient as well, although extremely unconvincing!

          Yes, precisely my point. Is it possible we agree? When the consensus says one thing, and you can find Jonathan Wells (say) or some other ID proponent to argue against it, picking the outlier’s position against the consensus is ridiculous.

          Dr. Michael Denton, a Ph.D. in micro-biology says there are no transitional forms in the fossil record. Please refute him.

          (1) I’m unable to. I’m not a biologist.

          (2) The biology community already has. They say that there are transitional forms. Since you’re an outsider to this community, why (besides personal preference) would you say that Denton wins the argument?

          His book, which was published in 1985 is called Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. Have you ever read this book? I challenge you to read it, if you haven’t.

          Which reminds me: you dodged a key challenge in the previous comment: “I’m a layman, and evolution is the scientific consensus. Give me an argument by which I can reject the it.”

          You know how weak the fossil evidence is and that is why you want to avoid discussing it and come up with this unfounded claim that I accept it only because it is what I like. I could say the same about you.

          You imagine there’s symmetry here? Wrong again. I go with the consensus—makes things easy.

          How about you? You go with the science, too, or do you just pick and choose your science like a buffet?

          You don’t want a creator to answer to so your atheism is your crutch to avoid being accountable to a holy and righteous God!

          Golly—it’s like you can see into my very soul.

          Or not.

          I dismiss what isn’t factual, whether I like it or not!

          Sounds very, very doubtful so far.

          If evolution is true, there should be …

          Ah, so you are the guide to science. Fuck all those eggheads with the “PhDs” or whatever the heck they have in “Biology.” Who needs ’em? You’ve got Jesus to guide you.

          Colin Patterson of the Brittish Museum of Natural History said evolution in anti-knowledge.

          You mean the one who said this? “Because creationists lack scientific research to support such theories as a young earth … a world-wide flood … or separate ancestry for humans and apes, their common tactic is to attack evolution by hunting out debate or dissent among evolutionary biologists. … I learned that one should think carefully about candor in argument (in publications, lectures, or correspondence) in case one was furnishing creationist campaigners with ammunition in the form of ‘quotable quotes’, often taken out of context.”

          You are welcome to use of the Common Era, while the rest of us use a. d. What does that prove?

          Precisely. Your argument is meaningless.

          You did not refute the accuracy of the dating system’s historical evidence for the life of Jesus of Nazareth.

          Huh? Jesus was born in 4BCE. Maybe. Yes, our calendar was sort of based on his life. It could’ve been the birth of Rome instead. Or something else arbitrary. “Historical evidence for the life of Jesus”?? What is this supposed to mean? Using AD is no argument at all for your position.

          How could you suspect anything without reading it first?

          Because I’ve read much already and haven’t been surprised by a new argument in a very long time. Duh.

          You can’t refute something you don’t know!

          … which is why I invited you to summarize his argument.

          You totally ignored the challenge to find one archeological discovery that shows the Bible is not historically accurate.

          (1) Meaningless. That the Bible is accurate in the geography, cities, and kings that it names gives zero credence to the point of the book: all the supernatural stuff.

          (2) Evidence for the Exodus is not in the Sinai. QED.

          I suggest you also read Gilbert West and Lord Littleton’s marvelous work on the Histories and the Evidrnce for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

          How about you look through the posts I’ve written (“All Posts” above), find the several that respond to evidence for the resurrection, and then argue directly against what I’ve said. Show the holes or errors.

          We can’t intelligently discuss, this if you are unfamiliar with any of these writers.

          So then inviting you to summarize arguments is just a nonstarter? Too bad—that would seem to be the easy way.

        • Paul Mellan

          Your consensus argument is specious, fallacious, irrational, illogical and presents no evidence for your case. It is known as the ad populum fallacy in logic commonly called the “bandwagon argument.” Here is proof of it in what you said:

          “But if my characterization of how you’d respond to a fossil was wrong, set me straight. Tell me that you’d be delighted to accept such a fossil that passed muster with most evolutionary biologists.”

          This is a classic case of ad populum. Your addition of the adjectives “most evolutionary” makes this type persuasion ad populum- especially the word “most.” Why didn’t you just say “scientists” instead of “evolutionary scientist?”

          Most scientists during ancient Greek history believed there were only about 150 stars in the heavens-wrong! Also, for centuries scientists believed in the Ptolemaic view of the universe (geo-centric), until Copernicus discovered helio-centrism. The majority thinking in science was wrong again. I am not impugning science, either, because science has made tremendous strides throughout history! Although based on this evidence of the majority being wrong at times, I certainly do not have to accept evolutionary thinking merely because it is the consensus of scientific thinking as you say so much, Redundancy is no cogent argument either . The evolutionary scientists are wrong here, too, as the Ptolemaicists were! Incidentally, more and more scientists every day are rejecting macro evolution in favor of special creationism, although that doesn’t add more voracity to my view. You are also once again not providing evidence for the truthfulness of your assumptions-the evidence skirted again. I will quote from a bedfellow of yours about using such egregious arguing:

          “The ad populum fallacy is the appeal to the popularity of a claim as a reason for accepting it. The number of people who believe a claim is irrelevant to its truth. Fifty million people can be wrong. In fact, millions of people have been wrong about many things: that the Earth is flat and motionless, for example, and that the stars are lights shining through holes in the sky.

          The ad populum fallacy is also referred to as the bandwagon fallacy, the appeal to the mob, the democratic fallacy, and the appeal to popularity.

          The ad populum fallacy is seductive because it appeals to our desire to belong and to conform, to our desire for security and safety. It is a common appeal in advertising and politics. A clever manipulator of the masses will try to seduce those who blithely assume that the majority is always right. Also seduced by this appeal will
          be the insecure, who may be made to feel guilty if they oppose the majority or feel strong by joining forces with large numbers of other uncritical thinkers.

          Examples of ad
          populum appeals:

          “TRY NEW, IMPROVED
          [fill in the blank with the name of any one of innumerable
          commercial products]. EVERYBODY’s USING IT!

          “Gods must exist,
          since every culture has some sort of belief in a higher
          being.”

          “The Bold and
          the Listless must be a great book. It’s been on the best
          seller list for 8 weeks.”

          “Arnold
          Killembetter’s movie “True Garbage” is the greatest movie of all time. No movie has made as much money as it did.”

          “The fact that the
          majority of our citizens support the death penalty proves that it is morally right.”

          This definition is from from The Skeptic’s Dictionary and was written by Robert Tod Carrol at: http://skepdic.com/adpopulum.html.

          One of his best statements was ” The number of people who believe a claim is irrelevant to its truth.” Right next to this was: “lso seduced by this appeal will
          be the insecure, who may be made to feel guilty if they oppose the majority or feel strong by joining forces with large numbers of other uncritical thinkers.” This is certainly the case when it comes to the truthfulness of macro evolution! You used the language ” a fossil that past muster with most evolutionary biologists.” This is also an example pure bias, too! You reject any anti-evolutionary science only because of your bias against this view, certainly not because of science. I’m sure you learned when you were a child the fallacious basis of this type of argument. “Mom could I go out with my friends tonight? Answer from mom is: No. My friends are going. Mom says so if your friends jumped over a bridge, would you?” She had me there. The logic is impeccable. A first semester logic student knows enough not to use this form of arguing.

          I will answer the other statements later. You have to admit the bandwagon is the worst kind of reasoning you could use.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Your consensus argument is specious, fallacious, irrational, illogical and presents no evidence for your case. It is known as the ad populum fallacy in logic commonly called the “bandwagon argument.”

          No, I don’t use the bandwagon argument, but thanks for playing.

          “But if my characterization of how you’d respond to a fossil was wrong, set me straight. Tell me that you’d be delighted to accept such a fossil that passed muster with most evolutionary biologists.”

          This is a classic case of ad populum.

          No, this is a classic case of misdirection. I invited you to prove your point by stating that you’d follow the consensus of the people who know. You changed the subject. Oops—getting a little too hot in here, is it?

          If I understand your position, you’re saying that “laymen should accept the scientific consensus” is the ad populum argument. It’s not. If you honestly can’t see the distinction, I can explain further, but I’ll give you the chance to have a go on your own.

          Why didn’t you just say “scientists” instead of “evolutionary scientist?”

          Because the topic is evolution and we only care about biologists. (Trick question, perhaps?)

          The majority thinking in science was wrong again.

          So therefore, what?

          I certainly do not have to accept evolutionary thinking merely because it is the consensus of scientific thinking as you say so much

          I assume you don’t have a doctorate in biology. Given that, you have no grounds by which to reject the consensus of the people who actually understand the evidence. (Pretty ridiculous concept, right? You, a layman who can’t understand the evidence, declaring that as Judge of All Science, he’s going to give evolution a thumbs down?)

          The evolutionary scientists are wrong here, too

          Fascinating. Just cuz?

          more and more scientists every day are rejecting macro evolution in favor of special creationism, although that doesn’t add more voracity to my view

          No, don’t sell yourself short. That adds plenty of voracity.

          (1) No one cares about “scientists”; we only care about biologists.

          (2) Show me how more and more biologists are jumping ship

          (3) If this movement is as dramatic as you imagine, you’ve got nothing to worry about. The consensus will change on its own and I’ll change along with it. You’ll have won—yay! So sit down, shut up, and let the science to the work. You’re just bungling it.

          I will quote from a bedfellow of yours about using such egregious arguing:

          “The ad populum fallacy …”

          Fabulous. I’m not making that fallacy.

          You have to admit the bandwagon is the worst kind of reasoning you could use.

          I don’t know why it’s the worst—explain that to me.

          Anyway, irrelevant—I didn’t do that.

          More here.

        • MNb

          “Your consensus argument is specious,”
          How is it specious?

          “fallacious, irrational,”
          How is it irrational? Especially if you claim that BobS is guilty of a logical fallacy? See, logical fallacies are rational as well. They are invalid (they don’t even have to be erroneous – you can nicely use logical fallacies for correct conclusions), but that’s not the same as irrational.

          “illogical”
          How is it illogical?

          “and presents no evidence for your case.”
          So you don’t know what the word evidence means; makes me wonder if you’re able to recognize logical fallacies as you claim.
          Evidence consistst of empirical data. The empirical data say that the vast majority (more than 95%) of all scientists and all evolutionary biologists accept Evolution Theory. What BobS adds is that in such a case amateurs like you and me better accept it. You may argue that it’s a weak argument (I for one am not particularly impressed and have told BobS so) but that doesn’t make it specious etc.

          “It is known as the ad populum fallacy in logic ”
          Nope, it isn’t an ad populum, because there is an additional assumption the argument is based on: that the members of the relevant population (ie amateurs like you and me are excluded) know what they are talking about, because they have thoroughly studied the issue.

          “This is certainly the case when it comes to the truthfulness of macro evolution!”
          The way you use the word “truth” is irrelevant for science, hence for Evolution Theory. The simple fact is that there are tons of empirical data confirming it.

          “You reject any anti-evolutionary science.”
          There is no anti-evolutionary science. But you’re invited to try to present some. I’m always in for fun.

        • Greg G.

          Why didn’t you just say “scientists” instead of “evolutionary scientist?”

          Scientists are laymen outside of their fields. When discussing evolution, evolutionary scientists are the go-to people. Appealing to scientists in general is an ad populum fallacy. Notice the reference to “uncritical thinkers” in the definition you provided? Scientists are the most critical thinkers in their fields.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Our old buddy Paul M. is probably thinking of the Disco Institute’s “A SCIENTIFIC DISSENT FROM DARWINISM.” He’s dying to trot that out, though he knows that pretty much zero of the scientists are biologists.

          And now you’ve just further pissed on his parade. I hope you’re satisfied.

          But since you’ve broken the ice, I’ll do the same by pointing Paul to the NCSE’s Project Steve, which lists support from 1350 scientists who are just named Steve (in honor of Steven J. Gould).

          I realize you know about Project Steve, though I’m guessing Paul doesn’t.

        • Greg G.

          I know. He wants a list of scientists that includes dentists.

        • MNb

          And lawyers! Don’t forget the lawyers! Or they would have been robbed of the great Philip E Johnson.
          While checking the credentials of some prominent iDIots I ran across an interesting name:

          http://www.discovery.org/p/85

          I can’t bring myself listening to it but perhaps somebody else likes to find out if WLC is an IDiot as well?

          http://www.reasonablefaith.org/triumph-of-michael-behe

          Behe is the guy who at the famous Kitzmiller trial had to admit that according to his definition astrology would be science as well.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          WLC doesn’t hammer on evolution denial like some of his compatriots, though he does reject it. If you’re asking for a link to show this, I can probably find one.

        • MNb

          I would love it. An IDiot who worships an immaterial Hitler and is a prominent apologist, it hardly can’t get better. I mean, my compatriot Emanuel Rutten (apologist and mathematician) doesn’t go further than Fine Tuning (and gets laughed at).

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          WLC curiously puts evolution denial down his list of priorities. Maybe he realizes that this isn’t something to trumpet. Getting the serious rejection of evolution is easy with Koukl, Jim Wallace, Turek, and others. Anyway, here are some quotes from our ol’ pal WLC.

          From here: “I am not yet convinced that the mechanisms posited by the current evolutionary paradigm are adequate to explain the biological diversity that we observe today.” “it seems to me that we haven’t been shown any good reason to think that the neo-Darwinian mechanisms are sufficient to explain the evolution of the extraordinary diversity of life that we see on this planet during the time available.”

          That page also says what he does prefer, “progressive creationism,” which is evolution with God nudging it as necessary.

          From Reasonable Faith podcast for 9/5/12 (@2:00): “When evolutionary biologists use the word ‘random,’ they do not mean ‘by chance’ or ‘without purpose’ or ‘without design.’ … Rather, what they mean by ‘random’ is that these mutations do not occur with the benefit of the host organism in view; they happen irrespective of any benefit (or detriment) they might bring to the host organism. Now that puts a totally different perspective on evolutionary theory, because what that means is that evolutionary theory is completely compatible with God’s directing the course of evolutionary development toward his previsioned ends, and therefore it is not purposeless….”

          Another source here: “Why Is Evolution So Widely Believed?

        • MNb

          The last link I already had read. None is enough to qualify as a creationist (or IDiot – all IDiots are creationists too). See, there are three features creationists have.

          1. They reject Evolution Theory;
          2. They use the God of the Gaps argument in one form or another;
          3. They use Paley’s false Watchmaker argument in one form or another.

          WLC doesn’t qualify. Especially the last sentences of the second quote make clear he has adopted theistic evolution.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I agree that he’s not a Creationist. He’s an evolution denier in the sense that he picks and chooses his science. I suppose he accepts speciation by evolution.

          His “progressive Creationism” presumably is just a rebranding of theistic evolution, as you note. Perhaps to make it more palatable to other evolution deniers in his group.

      • MNb

        “species to species transitions”
        You ask, science provides (and conclude that you’re not capable of googling “observed speciation”).

        http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html
        http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/speciation.html
        http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/science-sushi/evolution-watching-speciation-occur-observations/
        http://www.darwinwasright.org/observations_speciation.html
        http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/news/100201_speciation

        Now let us see if you’ll put your money where you mouth is and admit that species to species transitions totally happen in real time. My bet is you will weasel out and start babbling about “but that’s not what I meant with species!”. That will only demonstrate you ignorance.

        http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/evo_41

        You will start babbling about “kind to kind” transitions”, without defining “kind” (no creationist ever did). You will also start dancing the micro-macro mambo.

        https://sensuouscurmudgeon.wordpress.com/2013/03/23/discoveroids-dance-the-micro-macro-mambo/

        without defining the barrier between mico- and macro-evolution. Because you will do anything to avoid what even remotely might confirm Evolution Theory – ‘cuz god.
        But make me happy and prove me wrong. Admit that speciation totally happens.,

      • MNb

        “Please produce any archaeological find that has ever contradicted anything historically in the New Testament.”
        Why not the Old Testament? Is that one suddenly not divinely inspired anymore?

        Anyhow, archaeological finds determine topography and topography in the Gospels is rather messy.

        https://www.sbl-site.org/assets/pdfs/presidentialaddresses/JBL60_1McCowan1940.pdf

        Btw Bruce was not a historian of antiquity. He was a biblical scholar. Plus he has been dead for a while – historical research has advanced since his work.

        http://www.livius.org/articles/theory/maximalists-and-minimalists/

        • Paul Mellan

          Why are you assumimng I don’t believe the Old Testament isn’t inspired by God? I don’t think you read the full thread on this one or if you did it was skimming. I believe the full inspiration of both the Old and New Testament. I was speaking of the accurate historicity of the New Testament to substantiate the historical existence of Jesus of Nazareth.

          Next, that article that you sent me to read : Gospel Geography: Fiction, Fact, and Truth.is anything but a scholarly treatise on archaeology, topography, and the Gospels. The major problem is no historical data is given to substantiate this gentleman’s views. He is guilty of sophistry. Here is an example: “The particular movements of Jesus during all of this period are without specific aim so far as Mark seems able to say. In many instances the evangelist does not know where the incident took place The particular movements of Jesus during all of this period are without specific aim so far as Mark seems able to say. In many instances the evangelist does not know where the incident took place. Jesus is represented as desiring to reach as large a number as possible.” How does he know the movements of Jesus during this period are without specific aim, as far as Mark seems to say? Mark never says this. It is his anti-supernatural presuppositions which deduce this, not one shred of historical evidence! Sophistry is even more obvious when he says Mark in many instances the evangelist does not know where the incidence took place. Now he is a mind reader of Mark or maybe he personally spoke to Mark to learn this. You have to admit this is merely a know -it-all approach to writing about the accuracy of Mark, and providing no proof of what he is saying. His presupposition is that Mark’s topography is shoddy and that is his reason that Mark’s topography is shoddy. This is circular reasoning. The major flaw here is he writes about certain sections in Mark’s topography and then only states his opinion of what Mark knew and wrote. Therefore, this is no a study of history it is mere conjecture based solely on his presupposition.

          Finally what you say about F. F. Bruce is fallacious!. Bruse did his undergraduate work in the classics and New Testament Document study-incidentally, real historical data, not sophistry. I would put him up against the writer I just critiqued any day of the week.. What do you mean historical work has advanced since Bruce died? Can you find one mistake he made historically in his analysis of the New Testament documents or anything he wrote? Just give me one, because you are a very weekly trying to impugn Bruce’s work using hasty generalization. You are also showing your ignorance of the vast historical research that has been done vindicating the absolute historical accuracy of the Bible. You need to do more homework on this subject!

        • MNb

          “Why are you assumimng ….”
          Why are you beating your wife? You aren’t. Neither am I making that assumption. I asked a question and provided a possible answer. Thanks for providing another one.

          “anything but a scholarly treatise”
          Of course it isn’t. Nothing that deviates from your view is.

          http://www.jstor.org/stable/543732?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

          “The major problem is no historical data.”

          Eeehhhh …. the location of topographic locations totally are historical data …. or do you assume that places like Capernaum like to wander around in the Holy Land like Jesus did?
          You probably will understand that after this howler I couldn’t bring myself to read your comment any further. In my experience after such one it only can get worse.

        • Greg G.

          Why are you assumimng I don’t believe the Old Testament isn’t inspired by God?

          Probably because you specified the New Testament instead of the whole Bible. They used to call archaeology in that area “Biblical Archaeology” but they have gone away from that because so much has been disconfirmed.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          “The particular movements of Jesus during all of this period are without specific aim so far as Mark seems able to say. In many instances the evangelist does not know where the incident took place The particular movements of Jesus during all of this period are without specific aim so far as Mark seems able to say. In many instances the evangelist does not know where the incident took place. Jesus is represented as desiring to reach as large a number as possible.” How does he know the movements of Jesus during this period are without specific aim, as far as Mark seems to say?

          I’m missing the problem. Mark does indeed have just a collection of incidents with little indication of the timeline or (often) location. You could jumble up the order of events, and nothing would be lost. It’s not as bad as a sayings gospel like Thomas, but it certainly doesn’t have the time/location information that a reliable biography would have.

        • Greg G.

          You are also showing your ignorance of the vast historical research that has been done vindicating the absolute historical accuracy of the Bible. You need to do more homework on this subject!

          Except that the Exodus never happened. You can toss out Genesis and all the stories of the genocides, too.

          From http://www.truthbeknown.com/bibleflunks.htm

          “And that would explain how their pottery is so similar to the Canaanites’, and their architecture, their script,” [Amy Dockser] Marcus said.

          [Israel] Finkelstein makes the same argument: “Archaeology has shown that early Israel indeed emerged from the local population of late Bronze Canaan.”

          In addition, he said, archaeology has turned up no physical remains to support the Bible’s story of the Exodus: “There is no evidence for the wanderings of the Israelites in the Sinai desert.”

          From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_archaeology

          One of the world’s leading biblical archaeologists, William G. Dever contributed to the article on “Archaeology” in The Anchor Bible Dictionary. In this article he reiterates his perceptions of the negative effects of the close relationship that has existed between Syro-Palestinian archaeology and biblical archaeology, which has caused the archaeologists working in this field, particularly the American archaeologists, to resist adoption of the new methods of “processual archaeology”. In addition he considers that: “Underlying much scepticism in our own field [referring to the adaptation of the concepts and methods of a “new archaeology”], one suspects the assumption (although unexpressed or even unconscious) that ancient Palestine, especially Israel during the biblical period, was unique, in some “superhistorical” way that was not governed by the normal principles of cultural evolution”.[25]

          Dever found that Syro-Palestinian archaeology had been treated in American institutions as a sub discipline of bible studies. Where it was expected that American archaeologists would try to “provide valid historical evidence of episodes from the biblical tradition”. According to Dever “the most naïve [idea regarding Syro-Palestinian archaeology] is that the reason and purpose of “biblical archaeology” (and, by extrapolation, of Syro-Palestinian archaeology) is simply elucidate facts regarding the Bible and the Holy Land”.[26]

          Dever has also written that:

          “Archaeology certainly doesn’t prove literal readings of the Bible…It calls them into question, and that’s what bothers some people. Most people really think that archaeology is out there to prove the Bible. No archaeologist thinks so.”[27]

          From the beginnings of what we call biblical archaeology, perhaps 150 years ago, scholars, mostly western scholars, have attempted to use archaeological data to prove the Bible. And for a long time it was thought to work. William Albright, the great father of our discipline, often spoke of the “archaeological revolution.” Well, the revolution has come but not in the way that Albright thought. The truth of the matter today is that archaeology raises more questions about the historicity of the Hebrew Bible and even the New Testament than it provides answers, and that’s very disturbing to some people.[28]

          Dever also wrote:

          Archaeology as it is practiced today must be able to challenge, as well as confirm, the Bible stories. Some things described there really did happen, but others did not. The biblical narratives about Abraham, Moses, Joshua and Solomon probably reflect some historical memories of people and places, but the ‘larger than life’ portraits of the Bible are unrealistic and contradicted by the archaeological evidence….[29] I am not reading the Bible as Scripture… I am in fact not even a theist. My view all along—and especially in the recent books—is first that the biblical narratives are indeed ‘stories,’ often fictional and almost always propagandistic, but that here and there they contain some valid historical information…[30]

          Tel Aviv University archaeologist Ze’ev Herzog wrote in the Haaretz newspaper:

          This is what archaeologists have learned from their excavations in the Land of Israel: the Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel. Perhaps even harder to swallow is that the united monarchy of David and Solomon, which is described by the Bible as a regional power, was at most a small tribal kingdom. And it will come as an unpleasant shock to many that the God of Israel, YHWH, had a female consort and that the early Israelite religion adopted monotheism only in the waning period of the monarchy and not at Mount Sinai.[31][32]

          Professor Finkelstein told the Jerusalem Post that Jewish archaeologists have found no historical or archaeological evidence to back the biblical narrative on the Exodus, the Jews’ wandering in Sinai or Joshua’s conquest of Canaan. On the alleged Temple of Solomon, Finkelstein said that there is no archaeological evidence to prove it really existed.[33] Professor Yoni Mizrahi, an independent archaeologist who has worked with the International Atomic Energy Agency, agreed with Israel Finkelstein.[33]

          Regarding the Exodus of Israelites from Egypt, Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass said:

          “Really, it’s a myth,”… “This is my career as an archaeologist. I should tell them the truth. If the people are upset, that is not my problem.”[34]

          End quote from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_archaeology

          Judging a book by the cover, Israel and the Nations: The History of Israel from the Exodus to the Fall of the Second Temple by F.F. Bruce and David F. Payne fails halfway into the title. There was no Exodus.

        • Greg G.

          How does he know the movements of Jesus during this period are without specific aim, as far as Mark seems to say? Mark never says this. It is his anti-supernatural presuppositions which deduce this, not one shred of historical evidence! Sophistry is even more obvious when he says Mark in many instances the evangelist does not know where the incidence took place. Now he is a mind reader of Mark or maybe he personally spoke to Mark to learn this.

          A key phrase is “as far as Mark seems to say.” You answered your questions with “Mark never says this.” It is not that Mark doesn’t know, he just doesn’t show us he knows or cares where the event was. To refute it, all you have to do is show where Mark shows he knew it. Mark used the Omniscient Narrator mode often enough:

          Knows Thoughts, Feelings, and Plans
          ◾Mark 1:34
          ◾Mark 1:41
          ◾Mark 2:6-7
          ◾Mark 2:8
          ◾Mark 3:5
          ◾Mark 5:28
          ◾Mark 6:2
          ◾Mark 6:6
          ◾Mark 6:19
          ◾Mark 6:20-26
          ◾Mark 6:34
          ◾Mark 6:49-52
          ◾Mark 8:2
          ◾Mark 8:11
          ◾Mark 8:14
          ◾Mark 8:17
          ◾Mark 8:25
          ◾Mark 9:6
          ◾Mark 9:32
          ◾Mark 10:2
          ◾Mark 10:14
          ◾Mark 11:12
          ◾Mark 11:18
          ◾Mark 11:21
          ◾Mark 12:12
          ◾Mark 12:34
          ◾Mark 14:4
          ◾Mark 14:35-36
          ◾Mark 14:40
          ◾Mark 15:10
          ◾Mark 15:15
          ◾Mark 16:8

          ◦Knows About Secret Meetings
          ◾Mark 3:6
          ◾Mark 6:21-29
          ◾Mark 14:1-2
          ◾Mark 14:53-72
          ◾Mark 15:1-19
          ◾Mark 16:1-8

          Mark 14:53-72 is the trial of Jesus before the Sanhedrin intercalated with Peter’s denials to show simultaneity. Jesus is being slapped around and ordered to prophesy while his earlier prophecy is being fulfilled. But nobody was in both places to verify that they were simultaneous events. It is a story-telling technique, not a historical narration.

          Mark had based Jesus prophecy of Peter denying Jesus on 2 Kings 2:2, 4, 6, 11 where Elisha promised Elijah three times that he would stay with him but then a chariot of fire took Elijah away and left Elisha by himself. Mark has Peter make one promise and break it three times.

          John uses the same story and the same intercalation technique. Since Mark invented the story, we can know John used Mark.

        • Paul Mellan

          First of all, I appreciate your attempt to refute what I said previously. I knew you would hop on “as far as Mark seems to say”and I am glad you did. I actually led you there. Just because the writer says this does not undermine his premise, namely that the movements of Jesus are without particular aim. Also, using language such “as far as Mark seems to say” demonstrates exactly what I said before which is he is using conjecture rather than historical evidence. Using words like “seem” or “maybe” are unconvincing and show that the writer has no real substance at this juncture. Secondly, Mark definitely never said he had no particular aim in what he wrote, nor did he ever “seem” to say this. This is merely a ruse to manipulate language so he does not have to produce the history to substantiate the statement. Please show me where Mark seems to say that he was showing the movements of Jesus are without particular aim. You can’t. What was Mark’s aim? His aim was to give an accurate account of the servant/savior Jesus Christ in regards to his life, death, burial, and resurrection.

          Contrary to what you say, Mark does exactly show us he knows where the events are and he does care where it was. You really are showing biblical illiteracy here. Mark’s gospel as you know was not the only one written. All four of them should be discussed together and in context, because all four of them present the events of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection kaleidoscopically. They all together give the complete history of the events as they unfolded, although none of them have any historical or geographical errors. If you, two of your friends, and I honestly report events as eyewitnesses, certainly each account will accentuate certain things the others don’t. There will be differences, but no discrepancies. John, who wrote a gospel, said in 1st. John 1:1-3: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our own eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched-this we proclaim concerning the word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we, and we proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim what we have seen and heard, so that you may have fellowship with us.” The reason I quoted these verses was to show you that John said that these gospel accounts ( we, the other gospel authors, proclaim) are eyewitness evidence of the life death, burial and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Notice John said: “ we have heard and we have seen with our own eyes.” He stated that it was with their own eyes that the reporting of these events are based and they herd them, too. Greg these verses were written for you, an unbeliever. Here God wants Greg to know that these are absolutely eyewitness accounts, therefore trustworthy history. Now you have to disprove the voracity of their statements found in the gospels and you or no one else can. Even the Encyclopedia Brittanica, a secular source, said these apostles were the most honest men of history. Therefore, this is how anyone who wants to can know Mark cared about the history he wrote and recorded the events he wrote about accurately, without any flaws! John corroborates Mark’s message as being an eyewitness account. Also, in 2nd Peter 1:16, Peter said: “ For we did not make up cunningly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” This is further corroboration of what John said! God knew you would come along along with your fallacious “fable” explanation for the historically accurate message in the scriptures. If you chose not to believe the historicity of any of the scriptures, especially the gospels, it is because of willful ignorance, and nothing else.

          Where does Peter fit in? There is powerful historical evidence that Peter was Mark’s mentor and helped Mark write his gospel. Here is the historical proof of this: The very early church fathers taught this:

           

          Bishop Papias of Hierapolis (60-130AD) repeated the testimony of the old presbyters (disciples of the Apostles) who claimed Mark wrote his Gospel in Rome as he scribed the preaching of Peter (Ecclesiastical History Book 2 Chapter 15, Book 3 Chapter 30 and Book 6 Chapter 14). Papias wrote a five volume work entitled, “Interpretation of the Oracles of the Lord”. In this treatise (which no longer exists), he quoted someone he identified as ‘the elder’, (most likely John the elder), a man who held considerable authority in Asia:

          “And the elder used to say this, Mark became Peter’s interpreter and wrote accurately all that he remembered, not, indeed, in order, of the things said and done by the Lord. For he had not heard the Lord, nor had followed him, but later on, followed Peter, who used to give teaching as necessity demanded but not making, as it were, an arrangement of the Lord’s oracles, so that Mark did nothing wrong in thus writing down single points as he remembered them. For to one thing he gave attention, to leave out nothing of what he had heard and to make no false statements in them.”

          Irenaeus said Mark wrote his Gospel from Peter’s teaching

          In his book, “Against Heresies” (Book 3 Chapter 1), Irenaeus (130-200AD) also reported Mark penned his Gospel as a scribe for Peter, adding the following detail:

          “Matthew composed his gospel among the Hebrews in their own language, while Peter and Paul proclaimed the gospel in Rome and founded the community. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, handed on his preaching to us in written form”

          Justin identified Mark’s Gospel with Peter

          Early Christian apologist, Justin Martyr, wrote “Dialogue with Trypho” (approximately 150AD) and included this interesting passage:

          “It is said that he [Jesus] changed the name of one of the apostles to Peter; and it is written in his memoirs that he changed the names of others, two brothers, the sons of Zebedee, to Boanerges, which means ‘sons of thunder’….”

          Justin, therefore, identified a particular Gospel as the ‘memoir’ of Peter and said this memoir described the sons of Zebedee as the ‘sons of thunder’. Only Mark’s Gospel describes John and James in this way, so it is reasonable to assume that the Gospel of Mark is the memoir of Peter.

          Clement said Mark recorded Peter’s Roman preaching

          Clement of Alexandria (150-215AD) wrote a book entitled “Hypotyposeis” (Ecclesiastical History Book 2 Chapter 15). In this ancient book, Clement refers to a tradition handed down from the “elders from the beginning”:

          “And so great a joy of light shone upon the minds of the hearers of Peter that they were not satisfied with merely a single hearing or with the unwritten teaching of the divine gospel, but with all sorts of entreaties they besought Mark, who was a follower of Peter and whose gospel is extant, to leave behind with them in writing a record of the teaching passed on to them orally; and they did not cease until they had prevailed upon the man and so became responsible for the Scripture for reading in the churches.”

          Eusebius also wrote an additional detail (Ecclesiastical History Book 6 Chapter 14) related to Mark’s work with Peter.

           

           

          “The Gospel according to Mark had this occasion. As Peter had preached the Word publicly at Rome, and declared the Gospel by the Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark, who had followed him for a long time and remembered his sayings, should write them out. And having composed the Gospel he gave it to those who had requested it. When Peter learned of this, he neither directly forbade nor encouraged it.”

          This additional piece of information related to Peter’s reaction to Mark’s work is important, because it demonstrates that Clement is not simply repeating the information first established by Papias, but seems to have an additional source that provided him with something more, and something slightly different than Papias.

          Tertullian affirmed Peter’s influence on the Gospel of Mark

          Early Christian theologian and apologist, Tertullian (160-225AD), wrote a book that refuted the theology and authority of Marcion. The book was appropriately called, “Against Marcion” and in Book 4 Chapter 5, he described the Gospel of Mark:

          “While that [gospel] which Mark published may be affirmed to be Peter’s whose interpreter Mark was.”

          The Muratorian Fragment confirmed Mark’s relationship to Peter

          The Muratorian Fragment is the oldest known list of New Testament books. Commonly dated to approximately 170AD, the first line reads:

          “But he was present among them, and so he put [the facts down in his Gospel]”

          This appears to be a reference to Mark’s presence at Peter’s talks and sermons in Rome, and the fact that he then recorded these messages then became the Gospel of Mark.

          Origen attributed Mark’s Gospel to Peter

          Eusebius (Ecclesiastical History Book 6 Chapter 25) quoted a Gospel Commentary written by Origen (an early church father and theologian who lived 185-254AD) that explains the origin of the Gospels. This commentary also attributes the Gospel of Mark to Peter:

          “In his first book on Matthew’s Gospel, maintaining the Canon of the Church, he testifies that he knows only four Gospels, writing as follows: Among the four Gospels, which are the only indisputable ones in the Church of God under heaven, I have learned by tradition that the first was written by Matthew, who was once a publican, but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, and it was prepared for the converts from Judaism, and published in the Hebrew language. The second is by Mark, who composed it according to the instructions of Peter, who in his Catholic epistle acknowledges him as a son, saying, ‘The church that is at Babylon elected together with you, salutes you, and so does Marcus, my son.’ 1 Peter 5:13 And the third by Luke, the Gospel commended by Paul, and composed for Gentile converts. Last of all that by John.”

          An Anti-Marcionite Prologue affirmed Peter’s connection to Mark

          There are three Gospel ‘prologues’ that appear in many Latin Bibles from antiquity. Known as the “Anti-Marcionite Prologues”, they date to the 4th century or earlier. The prologue for the Gospel of Mark is particularly interesting:

          “Mark declared, who is called ‘stump-fingered,’ because he had rather small fingers in comparison with the stature of the rest of his body. He was the interpreter of Peter. After the death of Peter himself he wrote down this same gospel in the regions of Italy.”

          Now, it can be argued that Papias’ description of Mark’s collaboration with Peter in Rome is the earliest description available to us. In fact, skeptics have tried to argue that later Church sources are simply parroting Papias when they connect Mark to Peter. But there is no evidence to suggest that Papias is the sole source of information related to Peter and Mark, particularly when considering the slight variations in the subsequent attributions (such as Clement’s version). The subtle differences suggest that the claims came from different original sources. In addition, Justin Martyr’s tangential reference to the ‘sons of thunder’ strengthens the support for Peter’s involvement coming from a source other than Papias (who never makes this connection). In essence, a claim of dependency on Papias lacks specific evidence, and even if this were the case, there is no reason to doubt the accuracy of Papias’ original claim in the first place. The consistent record of history identifies Mark’s Gospel as a memoir of Peter’s life with Jesus.”

           

          Since Peter helped Mark write and Peter was certainly there for his own denial knowing Jesus was on trial simultaneously. There is no problem here, unless you already harbor a bias against what is written in Mark’s gospel. Peter would have known about the trial happening from previous events. Therefore, Mark recorded these simultaneous historical events very accurately! Incidentally, why do you people, who deny the historical creditability of the Bible treat it differently than other pieces of literature, such as atheistic, evolutionary literature? You will give your writers the benefit of the doubt all the time, but the Bible never gets this treatment from you. You definitely don’t treat it as you treat all other literature. This is a blatant double standard. You are not willing, keyword here (the will), to give Bible writers the benefit of the doubt, as you do others, but purely because of anti-supernatural presuppositions and bias you vehemently attack the Bible!

          By the way, all the verses you quote from Mark substantiate not an omniscient man, but an omniscient God who wrote through this man ( 2nd Peter 1:19-21)

          Lastly, where in the world in the gospel of Mark does he say that he based Jesus’ prophesy of Peter’s denial on 2nd Kings 2:2-11? I read through Mark many times and never came across this. I just reread the account of this prophesy in Mark 14:27-31, and what you say is not there. From whence does this flow? Since it is not in Mark, why does it need to be refuted? This is blatant, egregious eisegesis, not exegesis!

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You really are showing biblical illiteracy here.

          You may have picked the wrong guy (Greg G) to slap with this particular gauntlet. Even I can make hash out of your arguments.

          none of them have any historical or geographical errors

          How about logical errors? John has a different day of the crucifixion (with respect to the Passover) than the synoptics.

          John, who wrote a gospel, said in 1st. John 1:1-3

          Some scholars doubt that the author of the gospel wrote the epistles. And there is little reason to say that a guy named “John” wrote the gospel.

          The reason I quoted these verses was to show you that John said that these gospel accounts ( we, the other gospel authors, proclaim) are eyewitness evidence of the life death, burial and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

          Cuz if it says so in a 2000-year-old document, it must be true? You’re more trusting than I am. Anyway, that’s a claim about that epistle only.

          Greg these verses were written for you, an unbeliever.

          How does that help? I wasn’t there to witness any of this.

          Ask Jesus to come back and do it again.

          Here God wants Greg to know that these are absolutely eyewitness accounts, therefore trustworthy history. Now you have to disprove the voracity of their statements found in the gospels and you or no one else can.

          I fear the burden of proof is on your powerful shoulders.

          Even the Encyclopedia Brittanica, a secular source, said these apostles were the most honest men of history.

          Huh?

          in 2nd Peter 1:16, Peter said…

          2 Peter is pseudepigraphical. Do your homework.

          As for the authorship of the gospels, I’ve written more about this flimsy story here.

        • Greg G.

          Is Paul Mellan ever coming back to release me from his trap or did his head explode?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I guess you got your ass handed to you, eh?

        • Greg G.

          If I were me, I would repent so fast it would make my head spin, if I knew what was good for me.

        • Ron
        • MNb

          The sad thing is that these geographical errors have been pointed out 100 years ago or more – by christian scholars.

        • Greg G.

          Disqus pasting errors: re-editing

        • Paul Mellan

          I did show you where what Mark wrote was not conjecture based on what John said, in 1 John 1:1-3. I admit Mark was not an eye-witness, but Peter certainly was and I provided you with substantial historical evidence form church history that Peter was Mark’s mentor. If you deny that history, it is with no grounds other than pure bias. Therefore, whatever Mark wrote would be one hundred percent accurate. I also told you what Mark’s aim was-namely to present Jesus of Nazareth as the son of man who is also God the Son. The report of Christ’s miracles and more importantly in Mark 2: 1-12, Jesus forgave a paralytic’s sins-an indirect claim to being God. Only God can forgive sins. Mark then goes on to explain events that led to Christ’s crucifixion, death, and resurrection. This was his aim in sharing what took place with Jesus.
          In the McCown essay, page 3, McCown said Mark shows that Jesus’ movements are without specific aim. I suggest you read your “scholars more carefully!
          “The particular movements of Jesus during all of this period are without specific aim so far as Mark seems able to say. In many instances the evangelist does not know where the incident took place The particular movements of Jesus during all of this period are without specific aim so far as Mark seems able to say.”
          Mark clearly did have a definite purpose and aim, as I stated previously. Reading and studying it with the other gospels will bare this out. Just because Mark omits details that one of the other Gospel writers mentions does not mean he had no aim. Also, on what basis do you conclude that in many instances Mark does not know where an incident took place? Of course you give no specifics of this blatant example of sophistry. Mark certainly did know where all the incidents he writes about took place. I explained this earlier, too! It is easy to make such an assertion, but an entirely different thing to prove it. You seriously need to take a basic course in critical thinking and logic because you violate almost every law of logical thinking in what you say. Next, you say: “Even if Mark was following the itinerary of Jesus, there is a bunch of gallavanting around Galilee with no particular aim, then a journey to Jerusalem.” Now you are saying it and so please don’t accuse me of making things up! You don’t use “as far as Mark seems able to say.,” either. Also, there is no question you are jumping to a conclusion here, with no evidence. Just because you say this does not make it so. Also, Jesus travels to other places besides Galilee in Mark and He’s not just “gallavanting around Galilee.” He is performing miracles (waking on water, healing the sick, and raising the dead). Mark’s aim is to show the deity of Christ shown through the power He demonstrated. What is wrong with this as an “aim?” You say that Mark has Jesus moving around Galilee with no aim, without basis. You haven’t produced one text to prove your point! Also, refute what I said Mark’s aim is. Prove me wrong from the Gospel. Basically it (his aim) boils down to the cross and the resurrection-Jesus dying for your sins and mine. Actually, almost half of the Gospel is Christ’s last week, before His death and resurrection. Miracles occur prior to this to show that Jesus is almighty and has the authority of God. Therefore, contrary to what you say, Mark’s aim is crystal clear and I have demonstrated it! Rid yourself of your anti-supernatural bias and it will be clear to you as well! Just because you don’t accept what Mark says doesn’t change the fact that He said it and that it is the truth!

          Isn’t it interesting when you write about an event, for example the day of the crucification took place, you draw a conclusion, but you don’t print out the verses you are speaking of. Are you afraid of them? You are proving my point that you have an unfair bias against the Bible and assume discrepancy, without studying the verses in their context, original language, and culture. You are unwilling to give these writers the benefit of the doubt as you do give the the liberal theologians you quote so much as well as their sources. Here is your answer to the alleged discrepency, on what day Jesus was crucified:

          According to Matthew, Mark, and Luke, before His crucifixion, Jesus sent disciples to prepare the Passover meal, killing the Passover lamb. They note that this task was completed on “the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,” the 14th of Nisan on the Jewish calendar, the day before Jesus’ crucifixion (cf. Matthew 26:17; Mark 14:12; Luke 22:7)—identifying for us that the meal was prepared on a Thursday. In accordance with the Law of Moses, Jesus then ate the Passover meal that evening—Thursday night to the modern mind, but the beginning of the Jewish Friday to the Israelite (the Jewish day began at sunset). Jesus’ crucifixion then occurred the next day on Friday (the same day as the initial Passover meal to Jews), before the Jewish Sabbath Day began Friday evening (the Jews’ Saturday). [NOTE: While some believe the crucifixion, and hence the Passover meal, was earlier in the week, Mark 15:42, Luke 23:54, and Matthew 27:62 indicate that the crucifixion took place on Friday, “the day before the Sabbath,” with Jesus dying as “the Sabbath drew near.” Backing up through the synoptic narratives reveals Jesus being arrested the night before (Thursday night), while Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane immediately after His last supper with the disciples. The resurrection took place on Sunday, “three days” later, according to the Jewish idiomatic reckoning of the chronology (Mark 16:9; Matthew 28:1; Luke 24:1; cf. Lyons, 2004; Lyons, 2006; Bullinger, 1898, pp. 845-847; Robertson, 1922, pp. 289-291).] John, however, seems to indicate that Jesus’ crucifixion actually took place before the Passover even began (John 13:1; 18:28; 19:14). Thomas Nelson’s The Chronological Study Bible says, “The Synoptics [i.e., Matthew, Mark, and Luke—JM] present the Last Supper as being the Passover meal…. In John’s Gospel, the Last Supper was not the Passover meal” (2008, p. 1217). Jennifer Viegas, writing for Discovery News, said, “The synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) indicate that Jesus died before nightfall on the 15th day of Nisan…. John’s gospel differs from the synoptics; apparently indicating that Jesus died before nightfall on the 14th day of Nisan” (2012). Respected biblical scholar J.W. McGarvey highlights the debate over the matter stating that,

          [s]ince the second century a great dispute has been carried on as to the apparent discrepancy between John and the synoptists in their statements concerning the passover. The synoptists…clearly represent Jesus as having eaten the passover at the proper time, and as having been arrested on the same night, while John here and elsewhere…seems to represent Jesus as being arrested before the passover (2012, CXVIII, John 13:1-20, italics in orig.).

          Is this a legitimate discrepancy that can be levied against the Bible?

          First, what did the Law of Moses command concerning the observance of the Passover? In order for Jesus to be sinless (Hebrews 4:15), our spotless and unblemished Passover lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7), He had to keep the Law of Moses perfectly. If He violated the Law of Moses regarding the correct observance of the Passover, our hope is vain. The Passover lamb was to be killed at twilight (i.e., sunset) on the evening of the 14th day of Nisan, the first month of the Jewish calendar (Ezekiel 45:21). The lamb was then to be eaten that same night with unleavened bread (Exodus 12:6-8; Numbers 28:16-17; Leviticus 23:5-7), leaving none of it until morning—burning any remains (Exodus 12:10). Unleavened bread was then to be eaten every day until the 21st day of the month at evening (Exodus 12:18). No leavened bread was even to be in an Israelite house for that week, or those individuals would be “cut off from the congregation of Israel” (Exodus 12:19).

          The language of Matthew, Mark, and Luke leaves little doubt that the Passover lamb was killed by the apostles on Thursday afternoon of the crucifixion week, which was the 14th of Nisan, and that Jesus then immediately ate the Passover meal that evening on the 15th of Nisan in keeping with the Law of Moses (cf. Matthew 26:17-21; Mark 14:12,16-18; Luke 22:7-9). The apparent discrepancy comes when we compare various verses in the book of John.

          John 13:1-2 says, “Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him.” A straightforward reading of this passage leaves the impression that the last supper that the disciples ate with Jesus was not the Passover meal, but actually “before the feast of the Passover,” as though the Passover began the next day. This would contradict the synoptic Gospels’ clear claims and imply that either John taught that the last supper was not actually the Passover meal as the other Gospel writers claimed, or that Jesus was observing the Passover early—on a different day than was commanded by God. In truth, the alleged contradiction in this case is easily dispelled by understanding that the phrase “supper being ended” (NKJV) is properly translated:

          “during supper” (ASV; ESV; RSV; McCord, 1989), or
          while the “meal was being served” (NIV), “being prepared…or going on” (Jamieson, et al., 2012, John 13:2), or “was preparing” (Clark, 2013, John 13:2), or
          “while they were at supper” (Barnes, 2012, John 13:2), or
          “there being a supper made, or he being at supper” (Henry, 2014, John 13:2).

          In context, verse one of John 13 is a transitional verse, serving as a summary and wrap-up of the preceding section of John’s narrative (i.e., those events occurring “before the feast of the Passover”) leading up to the next critical section of his book, which covers the next seven chapters (an entire third) of the book, moving the reader through the final events of Jesus’ life. Verse two begins a new discussion concerning the Passover events—a narrative that begins “during” the Passover supper, or while it was “being served” or “prepared.” Greek scholar A.T. Robertson stated that “it is not certain that verse 1 is to be connected with verse 2. The best exegetes agree that a complete idea may be presented therein, either a general statement that Jesus loved his own before the Passover and until the end, or that he came into special consciousness of this love just before the Passover” (1922, p. 282). Respected biblical scholar Hugo McCord’s independent translation captures the portrait being depicted by John. “Before the Passover feast, Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. He loved his own in the world, and he loved them to the end. [Verse 2:] During supper (since the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him)” (John 13:1-2). Note the natural contrast that John is making between the words “before” and “during” with regards to that important feast.

          But what about John 18:28? “Then they [i.e., the Jews] led Jesus from Caiaphas to the Praetorium, and it was early [Friday] morning. But they themselves did not go into the Praetorium, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover.” This verse seems to indicate that the Jews had not yet eaten the Passover meal, which again leaves the impression that either the Passover had not yet begun, or that the Jews had failed to eat the meal at the proper time, which seems very unlikely. It is argued that “[i]n John’s sequence, the Last Supper was celebrated on Passover eve, and Jesus was tried the next day while the Jewish authorities themselves were preparing to eat the Passover meal (18:28)” (The Chronological Study Bible, p. 1217). However, a closer look at how the term “Passover” is used in the Bible, and especially by John, sheds light on this passage. Robertson notes that

          It is by no means certain that the phrase “eat the Passover” means simply the paschal supper…. [T]he word “Passover” is used in three senses in the New Testament, the paschal supper, the paschal lamb, or the paschal festival. The word is used eight times in John besides this instance, and in every case the Passover festival is meant. So we may fairly infer that the usage of John must determine his own meaning rather than that of the Synoptists (pp. 281-282; cf. Jackson, p. 176).

          Recall that the Passover festival lasted seven days, not merely the one night when the lamb was slain and eaten (Exodus 12:6-20). The Passover week had begun the night before with a feast and would continue over the following days with more feasting. The Jews, therefore, did not want to become defiled before the next unleavened meal of the Passover week.

          The verse that perhaps causes the most accusations against the biblical account of the crucifixion day regards John 19:14. Before the crucifixion, after scourging Jesus and allowing the Roman soldiers to mock Him, Pilate brought Jesus out to the Jews again. “Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, ‘Behold your King!’” Because of this text, some argue that John “suggests that Jesus was crucified on the day before Passover began—‘the Preparation Day of the Passover’” (The Chronological Study Bible, p. 1217, italics in orig.). Again, this would imply that the supper that Jesus ate the night before with His disciples was not actually the Passover meal—i.e., the synoptics are wrong.

          However, the phrase “Preparation Day of the Passover” is referring to the Sabbath Preparation Day that occurs during the Passover week—i.e., Friday. Matthew, Mark, and Luke, who as stated earlier in unison clearly portray Jesus as being arrested and crucified after the Passover meal, all also state that the “Day of Preparation” was the day of Jesus’ crucifixion. They simply make it clear in context that they apply that description to the Sabbath Preparation Day (e.g., Matthew 27:62). Immediately after Jesus’ death, Luke couples the Preparation Day with the Sabbath, noting, “That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near” (Luke 23:54). Mark defines his use of the term even more clearly, stating, “Now when evening had come, because it was the Preparation Day, that is, the day before the Sabbath” (15:42). Robertson notes that John also used “Preparation Day” as being coupled with the Sabbath. “John himself so uses the word in two other passages (19:31,42), in both of which haste is exercised on the Preparation, because the Sabbath was at hand” (p. 282).

          Biblical scholar Gleason Archer notes that the word translated “Preparation” (paraskeuē) was the actual word for Friday in the first century. “[T]he word paraskeuē had already by the first century A.D. become a technical term for ‘Friday,’ since every Friday was the day of preparation for Saturday, that is, the Sabbath. In Modern Greek the word for ‘Friday’ is paraskeuē…. [T]hat which might be translated literally as ‘the preparation of the Passover’ must in this context be rendered ‘Friday of Passover Week’” (1982, p. 375).Robertson agreed, explaining that “the term ‘Preparation’ has long been the regular name for Friday in the Greek language, caused by the New Testament usage. It is so in the Modern Greek to-day” (p. 282). Indeed, the NIV rendering of John 19:14 helps to clear the confusion by rendering the sentence, “It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour.” John simply does not contradict the synoptic Gospels regarding Jesus’ crucifixion day.

          But if Jesus was killed on Friday the 15th of Nisan, and the Passover lambs were killed Thursday the 14th of Nisan, how can He be our Passover lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7)? Gleason responded to that question, explaining, “It simply needs to be pointed out that the lambs referred to here [i.e., in 1 Corinthians 5:7—JM] are not those that were slaughtered and eaten in private homes—a rite Jesus had already observed with His disciples the night before…—but the lambs to be offered on the altar of the Lord on behalf of the whole nation of Israel” (p. 376, italics in orig.). Gleason proceeds to illustrate the distinction between the private sacrifices (e.g., Exodus 12:6) and the public sacrifices (Exodus 12:16-17; Leviticus 23:4-8; 2 Chronicles 30:15-19; 35:11-16). He notes, “These were all known as Passover sacrifices, since they were presented during Passover week” (p. 376). Jesus is the Passover lamb for all, and therefore, it makes sense that He would be sacrificed as a public sacrifice.

          Thus, as is always the case, a text which appears on the surface to contradict another biblical text, is found to harmonize perfectly with it. Amazingly, when studied further and treated fairly, alleged contradictions which are levied against the Bible are consistently found in the end to actually provide even more evidence that the Bible’s internal consistency is nothing less than supernatural. If God is indeed the Author of the Bible, as it claims (e.g., 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21), then that certainly should be the case any time the original rendering of a Scripture can be determined with confidence and translated accurately. John’s description of the crucifixion event provides even more evidence for the amazing accuracy of the Bible. [NOTE: See Butt, 2003 for further information.]
          REFERENCES

          Archer, Gleason, L. (1982), Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).

          Barnes, Albert (2012), Barnes’ Notes On the New Testament (Electronic Database: WORDsearch).

          Bullinger, E.W. (1898), Figures of Speech Used in the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1968 reprint).

          Butt, Kyle (2003), “What Kind of Bread did Jesus Use to Institute the Last Supper?” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=1196.

          The Chronological Study Bible (2008), (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson).

          Clarke, Adam (2013), Adam Clarke’s Commentary (Electronic Database: WORDsearch).

          Henry, Matthew (2014), Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (Electronic Database: WORDsearch).

          Jackson, Wayne (2011), A New Testament Commentary (Stockton, CA: Christian Courier).

          Jamieson, Robert, A.R. Fausset, and David Brown (2012), Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary: Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (1871) (Electronic Database: WORDsearch).

          Lyons, Eric (2004), “Did Jesus Rise ‘On’ or ‘After’ the Third Day?” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=6&article=756.

          Lyons, Eric (2006), “Reasoning About the Resurrection of Christ,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=228&article=3689.

          McCord, Hugo (1989), McCord’s New Testament Translation of the Everlasting Gospel (Henderson, TN: Freed-Hardeman College).

          McGarvey, J.W. (2012), The Four-Fold Gospel: A Harmony of the Gospels (Electronic Database: WORDsearch).

          Robertson, A.T. (1922), A Harmony of the Gospels (New York: Harper & Row).

          Viegas, Jennifer (2012), “Day of Jesus’ Crucifixion Believed Determined,” Discovery News, May 24, http://news.discovery.com/history/religion/jesus-crucifixion-120524.htm.”

          Differences in how writers write are not discrepancies. What you stated when you said: “If you say our event happened on Tuesday and I say it happened on Wednesday, that is a difference and a discrepancy,” did not happen in Mark as you can see in the information given above. The law of non contradiction states categorically that A cannot be non A at the same time. If what you say is correct, that would be a contradiction. This is not at all the case in the day Christ was crucified. The crucification happening on Friday is contextually, exegetically, and culturally correct, based on a sound study of the subject. The only reason you believe otherwise is that you want to believe it, not because of any evidence from the scriptures, the culture of the day, or anywhere else! Please, refute the above reconciliation of John with the synoptics.

          Your next contention is: “ John even has a different purpose for it. The Synoptics liken it to the sin offering while John goes with the Passover lamb motif.” This once again shows your biblical illiteracy and you are arguing from absence again. Also, John 3: 1-18 says:

          Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

          3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.[a]”

          4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

          5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You[c] must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”[d]

          9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

          10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.[e] 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,[f] 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”[g]

          16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

          Jesus is teaching Nicodemus how to go to heaven in these verses. In verse three He said Nicodemus must be born again to see the Kingdom of God. As the narrative continues, Jesus teaches Nicodemus being born again is a spiritual rebirth, not physical as Nicodemus thought. Notice the analogy Jesus uses in verse 14-15. Moses lifted a serpent on a pole and whoever looked up at it and believed were physically healed ( Numbers 21:9). Jesus is clearly making an analogy with this and His dying on the cross as a sin offering. He is trying to show Nicodemus that when He dies on the cross that He will be healing Nicodemus of his sin problem, which we all have. This is all in the context of the passage. John 3:16 says: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” John is teaching that Jesus crucifixion is the sin offering here, too! Verse 18, mentions the sin problem-people are already born condemned. Therefore, John agrees with the other Gospel writers. You also create a straw man argument at this juncture. The sacrificial lamb motif as you call it and the sin offering are one in the same. The sacrificial lamb offering of the Old Testament is a sin offering. I suggest you do an in depth study of the Book of Leviticus. Are you saying just because John doesn’t mention this when you want him to that he didn’t teach it? I suggest you read and do a serious study of the New Testament as well. You are showing, in what you write, your poor Bible knowledge. You condemn a book you know little about. It is sad!

        • Paul Mellan

          This is what you say next: “Mark 10:46-52 has Jesus meet Bartimaeus and explains his name mean “son of Timaeus”. Timaeus of Locri is portrayed as a Greek Pythagorean philosopher in Plato’s Timaeus, where discusses the “Soul of the Universe”. In Mark 14:36 , Jesus prays “Abba, Father” to teach his readers that “Abba” means “father”. (This phrase is used in Galatians 4:6 and Romans 8:15). So when we meet Barabbas in Mark 15:7, we know that Pilate is holding two men known as “son of the father”. That reflects Leviticus 16:5-22 about the scape goat where one goat is killed as a sin offering and the other is released in the wild. Their superstition was that sin could be transferred to one goat by killing it and that blood was a conduit that could transfer sin from one goat to another which carried the sin away.”

          Are you saying that the meaning of Bartimaeus’ name “son of Timaeus” in verses Mark 10:46-52 are borrowed from Plato and not original to Mark? If you are saying this, this is more blatant proof of your bias. Are you seriously trying to say that at least two different people could not have had the same name, namely Timaeus? It is a common tactic of Bible deniers to impugn Bible authors by accusing them of borrowing from ancient literature, especially myths. You produced no evidence to back this up, if you are saying this. Also you readily believe the voracity of the historical accuracy of Plato’s Timaeus, but not the Bible-curious! Please produce the historical evidence that what you mention from Plato was written in Plato’s time. From what year are the earliest manuscript copies of this Plato piece? In your last sentence you sneak in that the descendents of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in Leviticus were superstitious. Where is your evidence for this conclusion? You have no basis whatsoever to draw this conclusion and believe it merely because you are predisposed to by your prejudice against the Bible. They looked forward to the coming of Jesus as the perfect sacrificial Lamb. They did this in obedience to the Lord’s commands in the whole Pentateuch. It wasn’t “superstitious” at all. God commanded it. From the context of the New Testament and the Old, it is abundantly clear that these goats and Lambs could never forgive sin, but Jesus Christ could and did! In other words, the Old Testament believers trusted in the coming of the savior to forgive their sins. Conversely, the New Testament believers look back to the savior’s sacrifice for sin. This makes perfect sense and is only superstition in your mind, but not in reality!

          Next you say this: “But John’s idea of a Passover lamb is totally different as it was not a sin offering. The Passover lamb had to be killed the day before so that accounts for the discrepancy of the day Jesus was killed.” Where in the world does John say in his gospel that the Passover Lamb was not a sin offering? I want chapter and verse, please. I know you did not say John said this, but you say his idea is totally different. You can’t produce one verse to substantiate your contention. Your last sentence was disproved earlier. You have not shown any discrepancy in the day Jesus was killed, This is only in your mind, too. It is something you wish to be true, so you don’t have to answer to Jesus Christ. To say that you proved anything that shows a contradiction between John and the synoptic gospels is palpably false.

          Next you say:
          “You read too much into what 1 John says. He is talking about revelation. The epistles only refer to the earthly Jesus in Old Testament references and allusions. They heard these things and held the manuscripts and saw the words written in the manuscripts and read their revelations into the scripture. That is seen throughout the early epistles. When your refer to 2 Peter, you are quoting a 2nd century forgery but the verse you quote shows that there were people who doubted what the New Testament books were saying.”

          I just believe what First John says and take him at his word, that they were eyewitnesses. I am not reading too much into the text at all. Conversely, you deny what he is saying and you do not trust him, to your detriment! He is not talking about revelation. You are eisegeting and being grossly unfair to the context. Nowhere does John say in these verses or hint that it is revelation. He says they were there as eyewitnesses of Jesus Christ. The epistles were application of the Gospels for various churches and are historically accurate in all that is reported as well. They don’t only refer to Old Testament references and allusions, as you say. You need to read and study these, Greg; you are demonstrating your ubiquitous ignorance of the Bible. Think for yourself. You let your liberal writers do all your thinking for you. I challenge you to read the Bible in its entirety, giving its writers the benefit of the doubt.
          Where is your historical evidence that 2nd Peter is a forgery? It is one thing to make the statement, and another to prove it! I have enough historical evidence to sink a ship that all the New Testament was written in the 1st century. William F. Albright and a lot of other rank archaeologists have demonstrated this. The John Rylands Papyri is dated about a. d. 125. That is second century and it is a copy, which is about 25-30 years later than the last New Testament book was written. Therefore, the New Testament had to be written and completed in the first century a.d. Also,there are 24, 0000 extant manuscripts of all or portions of the New Testament (Josh MacDowell’s Evidence that Demands a Verdict). There is no other ancient work of antiquity that enjoys such a wealth of manuscript authority as does the New Testament. Also there is no other work of antiquity that has such close historical manuscript evidence to the original autographs. You are ignorant on the most recent archaeological discoveries, too! Your statement that the text proves that people in that I quoted believed Peter was a forgery is pure bias once again. Once again, prove it! Your hasty generalizations are found wanting-anothe example of sheer sophistry. Peter is saying the evidence disproves them! You are twisting words here.
          You say: “Irenaeus says Papias also said that Matthew wrote in Hebrew or Aramaic and the early church fathers thought that he meant the Gospel of Matthew that we have today. But that Matthew copied 90% of Mark and half of that was verbatim and Mark was written in Greek, so the Matthew we have received was originally in Greek, so the church tradition was wrong to name it Matthew on the assumption Papias knew what he was talking about.”

          Please cite your source where Irenaeus says this. I frankly don’t trust your supposed facts here, because your bias is so apparent. Incidentally, Matthew wrote in Greek and Mark in Aramaic (A. T. Robertson). You are dead wrong in that Matthew copied anything at all from Mark. There is absolutely no evidence that any of the gospel writers even saw what the other one wrote. These are unproven assumptions, more conjecture. Produce the evidence for what you are saying! You can’t! You are also assuming Mark’s gospel was written first. On what basis do you do this? You could trust Papias a lot more than your so called liberal scholars of higher criticism of the New Testament. Papias and Irenaeus were a lot closer to the source than these critics. You can take that to the bank. Also, the honesty of Irenaeus and Papias is impeccable! Your higher critic friends are dishonest in their treatment of the facts, especially Robert M. Price. He doesn’t present history; he presents his anti-supernaturalistic bias, but no historical evidence whatsoever! Pure bias is one of the worst form of argumentation!
          You further say: “Several scholars have independently identified Mark’s sources for various parts of his story. Robert M. Price collected and compiled them. The collection shows that Mark used the literature of the day including Jewish scripture, Greek literature such as Homer’s Odyssey, and Christian literature such as some of Paul’s epistles. See New Testament Narrative as Old Testament Midrash by Robert M. Price.”
          These scholars are liberal higher critics of the New Testament, who have the same bias you do. Price did not provide one shred of historical data to substantiate his presuppositions. Show me only history-not anti-supernatural bias. Mark relied only on the help of Peter. Prove what these “scholars” say. It’s funny that you give no specifics. What is the earliest manuscript copy we have of Homer, since we have no originals? The answer is 400 b. c., about 400 years after the source. How can you be certain of the accuracy of Homer? The New Testament is much more trustworthy in bibliographical evidence. Where did Mark “use” literature of the day like Homer’s Odyssey? How do you know Homer wrote this, if the earliest manuscript evidence is 400 years after the source? You have to specifically prove from the text of Mark how he borrowed from anybody! This is all conjecture and based not on historical proof but on biblical prejudice. It is a volitional choice, not based on evidence. Proof of this is you are willing to believe Homer wrote these things on far less evidence than there is for the historical voracity of the Bible and its writers. The manuscript authority of the New Testament dwarfs the manuscript evidence of Homer in the closeness of the manuscripts to the original and the number of copies of these manuscripts. In other words, what you believe takes a lot more faith than what I believe. You, therefore, are committing intellectual suicide. I won’t confuse you with the facts, because you already have your mind made up.

        • Greg G.

          Are you saying that the meaning of Bartimaeus’ name “son of Timaeus” in verses Mark 10:46-52 are borrowed from Plato and not original to Mark?

          Mark wrote in Greek, obviously to people who were literate in Greek, who would have learned to read from the writings of Homer and Plato. The Gospel of Mark shows a pattern of mimesis using Greek literature.

        • Greg G.

          EDIT: Corrected a huge copy/paste error.

          I admit Mark was not an eye-witness, but Peter certainly was and I provided you with substantial historical evidence form church history that Peter was Mark’s mentor. If you deny that history, it is with no grounds other than pure bias. Therefore, whatever Mark wrote would be one hundred percent accurate. I also told you what Mark’s aim was-namely to present Jesus of Nazareth as the son of man who is also God the Son.

          Several scholars have traced the roots of Mark’s writings. Most of the miracles are modeled on the miracles of Moses, Elijah, and Elisha. Mark also used the Homeric epics and flavored them with OT passages. Practically every passage in Mark can be traced to a mimesis of the literature of the day. It is allegorical literature. I gave you New Testament Narrative as Old Testament Midrash by Robert M. Price which explains nearly every passage.

          The report of Christ’s miracles and more importantly in Mark 2: 1-12,

          Healing the Paralytic (Mark 2:1-12 )As Roth (p. 56) shows, this story of a paralyzed man’s friends tearing the thatch off a roof and lowering him to Jesus amid the crowd seems to be based on an Elijah story in 2 Kings 1:2-17a, where King Ahaziah gains his affliction by falling from his roof through the lattice and languishes in bed. Mark’s sufferer is already afflicted when he descends through the roof on his bed (pallet). He rises from his bed because whatever sin of his had earned him the divine judgment of paralysis was now pronounced forgiven on account of his friends’ faith, though nothing is said of his own. King Ahaziah is pointedly not healed of his affliction because of his own pronounced lack of faith in the God of Israel: he had sent to the priests of the Philistine oracle god Baal- zebub to inquire as to his prospects. Elijah tells him he is doomed because of unbelief, a dismal situation reversed by Mark, who has Jesus grant forgiveness and salvation because of faith. Mark has preserved the Baal-zebub element for use in a later story (3:22).

          The reference Price gives for that is Wolfgang Roth, Hebrew Gospel: Cracking the Code of Mark. Oak Park: Meyer-Stone Books, 1988.

          Mark clearly did have a definite purpose and aim, as I stated previously. Reading and studying it with the other gospels will bare this out. Just because Mark omits details that one of the other Gospel writers mentions does not mean he had no aim.

          See The Motiveless Behavior of Fairy-Tale Characters.

          Isn’t it interesting when you write about an event, for example the day of the crucification took place, you draw a conclusion, but you don’t print out the verses you are speaking of. Are you afraid of them?

          They note that this task was completed on “the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,” the 14th of Nisan on the Jewish calendar, the day before Jesus’ crucifixion (cf. Matthew 26:17; Mark 14:12; Luke 22:7)—identifying for us that the meal was prepared on a Thursday.

          The Bible verses don’t help you.

          Leviticus 23:5 (NRSV)5 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, there shall be a passover offering to the Lord,

          Notice that at twilight, it becomes the fifteenth day of the month. That means Jesus was arrested after the passover meal in the Synoptics.

          Exodus 12:18 (NRSV)18 In the first month, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day, you shall eat unleavened bread.

          They ate unleavened bread all week but the feast was the first day, the 15th of Nisan at sunset.

          In John 18:27, the rooster crowed. In John 18:28, it was early in the morning and those who were taking Jesus to the Praetorium were worried about being defiled and not able to eat the passover.

          Exodus 12:10 (NRSV)10 You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn.

          As you can see, it was already too late for them to eat the passover if it had been the night before. John cleary meant that the arrest was before the passover. So the discrepancy remains. John disagrees with Mark, Matthew, and Luke. John’s theology is different than the Synoptics. But none of their theologies make sense. The crucifixion was supposed to be a sin offering like Leviticus 16:5-22 in Mark. John tried to make it more consistent with the passover but passover is not a sin offering.

        • Paul Mellan

          This quotation from the essay you quote is found wanting, lacking on iota of evidence. Writing presuppositions down with no proof is rampant in liberal theological thinking. Please, show me where this writer proved this.

          “The line is thin between extrapolating new meanings from ancient scriptures (borrowing the authority of the old) and actually composing new scripture (or quasi-scripture) by extrapolating from the old. By this process of midrashic expansion grew the Jewish haggadah, new narrative commenting on old (scriptural) narrative by rewriting it.”

          Also when he says, “The earliest Christians being Jews, it is no surprise that they practiced haggadic expansion of scripture, resulting in new narratives partaking of the authority of the old.” he is showing his bias in this commentary. This again is an unfounded opinion only!

          “The New Testament gospels and the Acts of the Apostles can be shown to be Christian haggadah upon Jewish scripture, and these narratives can be neither fully understood nor fully appreciated without tracing them to their underlying sources, the object of the present article.” Where can this be shown? The answer is only in his mind.

          Here is blatant example of the ad populum fallacy:

          “Christian exegetes have long studied the gospels in light of Rabbinical techniques of biblical interpretation including allegory, midrash, and pesher.”

          He is disingenuous here as well, because there is another vast area of Bible scholarship that disagrees with him-namely, conservative Christian exegetes. He should have written “Liberal exegetes,” if he were an honest scholar.

          “But the more recent scrutiny of John Dominic Crossan, Randel Helms, Dale and Patricia Miller, and Thomas L. Brodie has made it inescapably clear that virtually the entirety of the gospel narratives and much of the Acts are wholly the product of haggadic midrash upon previous scripture.”

          His dogmatism is nauseating at this point. No-Dominic, Crossin, Randel Helms, Dale and Patricia Miller and Thomas Brodie (all liberal theologians) have shown nothing which substantiates this view. Please prove what they say is factual!

          This next statement is pure bias against scriptures with not one scintilla of evidence to back it up:

          “And the more apparent it becomes that most gospel narratives can be adequately accounted for by reference to scriptural prototypes, Doherty suggests, the more natural it is to picture early Christians beginning with a more or less vague savior myth and seeking to lend it color and detail by anchoring it in a particular historical period and clothing it in scriptural garb.”

          It is not natural at all to picture Christians beginning with a savior “myth”! Once the testimony of the twelve Apostles was an appeal to eye witness evidence-not myth ( 2 Peter 1:16-For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.) You have to disprove what Peter said here and try as you might you can’t. His credentials are impeccable and history is on his side. As F. F. Bruce pointed out the New Testament Documents are undeniably historically accurate. Do a favor, please. Get Bruce’s book and prove him wrong (The New Testament Documents: are they reliable?) I can say much more about this article. All it proves is how prejudiced you and your ilk are toward the Bible! You don’t believe it for merely volitional reasons, certainly no intellectual reasons have been provided by you and your liberal bedfellow “scholars” Therefore, you “mimesis” argument is ludicrous, and illogical, because no facts support it.

          You say: “Several scholars have traced the roots of Mark’s writings. Most of the miracles are modeled on the miracles of Moses, Elijah, and Elisha. Mark also used the Homeric epics and flavored them with OT passages. Practically every passage in Mark can be traced to a mimesis of the literature of the day. It is allegorical literature. I gave you New Testament Narrative as Old Testament Midrash by Robert M. Price which explains nearly every passage.”

          You are disingenuous, too! You should have called them what they are: liberal scholars. Produce the earliest dates for the writings of Homer that Mark used. Earlies papyri date about second century B.C. These are very fragmentary. Therefore, I would be much more skeptical of Homer, than Mark, if I were you. Prove that Mark used these. Writing something down doesn’t make it so.

        • Greg G.

          This quotation from the essay you quote is found wanting, lacking on iota of evidence. Writing presuppositions down with no proof is rampant in liberal theological thinking. Please, show me where this writer proved this.

          “The line is thin between extrapolating new meanings from ancient scriptures (borrowing the authority of the old) and actually composing new scripture (or quasi-scripture) by extrapolating from the old. By this process of midrashic expansion grew the Jewish haggadah, new narrative commenting on old (scriptural) narrative by rewriting it.”

          This is not a controversial statement. Look at what the Haggadah is.

          Also when he says, “The earliest Christians being Jews, it is no surprise that they practiced haggadic expansion of scripture, resulting in new narratives partaking of the authority of the old.” he is showing his bias in this commentary. This again is an unfounded opinion only!

          Midrash is similar to Greek mimesis and imitatio. The New Testament was written in Greek so it should be no surprise that they used Greek literary techniques.

          When you say “This again is an unfounded opinion only,” you may have missed the rest of the article that shows exactly how the authors did it.

          He is disingenuous here as well, because there is another vast area of Bible scholarship that disagrees with him-namely, conservative Christian exegetes. He should have written “Liberal exegetes,” if he were an honest scholar.

          Conservative Christian exegetes are strongly biased as they come. Most “Liberal exegetes” began as conservative Christians and realized the position didn’t hold up to the facts.

          This next statement is pure bias against scriptures with not one scintilla of evidence to back it up:

          “And the more apparent it becomes that most gospel narratives can be adequately accounted for by reference to scriptural prototypes, Doherty suggests, the more natural it is to picture early Christians beginning with a more or less vague savior myth and seeking to lend it color and detail by anchoring it in a particular historical period and clothing it in scriptural garb.”

          Nearly every passage in Mark is shown to support the claim. It is not just a few cherry-picked passages.

          Therefore, I would be much more skeptical of Homer, than Mark, if I were you. Prove that Mark used these. Writing something down doesn’t make it so.

          It was not uncommon for the time when the Greek language was the lingua franca to write stories using parts of the Homeric epics. It is still done today, watch O Brother, Where Art Thou?. Mark used stories from Homer the way other authors of the day used Homer. There are plenty of places cited and explained. There are too many cases in Mark to explain away as coincidences. They form a pattern that must be explained.

          Don’t be afraid. Face the facts and drop the worn-out traditions.

        • Paul Mellan

          I don’t believe you read one word I wrote to answer this alleged contradiction between the synoptics and John, and you did not refute any of what I wrote previously about this. Your bias is very blatant, but scholarship lacking!

        • Greg G.

          I showed what the gospels say. You said “However, the phrase “Preparation Day of the Passover” is referring to the Sabbath Preparation Day that occurs during the Passover week”. You are twisting the clear wording of John to make it fit your preconception.

          You said, “Matthew, Mark, and Luke, who as stated earlier in unison clearly portray Jesus as being arrested and crucified after the Passover meal, all also state that the “Day of Preparation” was the day of Jesus’ crucifixion.” This is wrong. The lamb was killed on the day of Preparation, then eaten when the sun went down, which is the next day. Jesus was arrested later, tried, and crucified after the Passover meal, according to the gospels.

          But in John, the Jews were worried about becoming unclean and not being able to eat the meal but it would have already been too late to eat it according to Exodus 12:10 because they were required to burn the leftovers in the morning. That means that John had Jesus arrested after sundown that began the day of preparation.

          Your religious teachers are wrong. Consider that they may well be wrong about everything else.

      • Greg G.

        Please produce any archaeological find that has ever contradicted anything historically in the New Testament.

        Off the top of my head, Matthew 24:2; Mark 13:2; Luke 21:6 all say about the temple “there will not be left here one stone on another that will not be thrown down.” Yet the Wailing Wall still stands.

        Acts 17:23 says Paul found an altar that said “To an Unknown God” but archaeology has found only altars that say “To Unknown Gods” from that era. That doesn’t disprove that Paul didn’t see one but it makes it questionable.

        Luke 24:13 seems to have the wrong distance between Jerusalem and Emmaus.

        The New Testament doesn’t say much that can be evaluated by archaeology.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          In the OT, the Exodus is probably the biggest thing contradicted by archaeology.

        • Greg G.

          What about Genesis?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          There’s a lot of nutty stuff there, too, but I wouldn’t think of archaeology as being offended but more cosmology/physics (Genesis 1), biology (Garden of Eden), and geology (Flood). But I could easily have forgotten other stories–there’s a lot of nuttery there.

      • Ron

        “Our dating system is predicated on the historical evidence of Jesus’s existence.”

        Then our dating system must also be predicated on the historical evidence of the Greco-Roman gods’ existence. Because several months and all the days of the week are named after them.

        Which means that this year you’ll be celebrating Christmas in conjunction with the goddess Frige, and starting the new year (also of Frige’s day) honoring Janus (the god of portals, doors, and gates).

      • Andrea Fitzgerald

        Should be A.D. However, history, science, anthropology, etc. does not use this dating system anymore. It is now C.E., which means Common Era. B.C. has also been changed to B.C.E, which means before the Common Era. I am impressed, however, because this is a huge argument for xtians and you are the first one who I have read that has actually postulated this.

  • Chris Carr

    Dog just contradicted the crap outta himself with the Caltrop argument


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