Premier Thought for the Day 4 – The Bible – How do we know the Truth?

How do we know the Bible is true?  How do we know what truth is?

Here is this weeks Premier thought for the Day – Another one based on Magnificent Obsession.

The Bible was “put together by crude, uncultured human mammals” (Christopher Hitchens,

41Ui+9ZycNL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_Jesus’ teaching is not the product of human learning, of whatever kind. It originates from immediate contact with the Father, from ‘face-to-face’ dialogue – from the vision of the one who rests close to the Father’s heart. It is the Son’s word  – Pope Benedict

“Jesus said great things so simply that he seems not to have thought about them, and yet so clearly that it is obvious what he thought about them. Such clarity together with such simplicity is wonderful.” Pascal.

“If people do not believe the word of Scripture, then they will not believe someone coming from the next world either. The highest truths cannot be forced into the type of empirical evidence that only applies to material reality” (Pope Benedict).

And for those atheist friends who keep sneering that they don’t follow a 2,000 year old book – your words will disappear into the Internet vapour and be forgotten tomorrow…but….

Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will never pass away. (Jesus Christ) (Matthew 24:35).

john-p-52
A 2nd Century fragment of the Gospel of John

Premier Thought for the Day 3 – Miracles

13 thoughts on “Premier Thought for the Day 4 – The Bible – How do we know the Truth?

  1. Ouch! Should I call the burn unit!

    You know you don’t really believe, David. Not deep down . You are far too cynical and ”modern” for that. You are simply clinging on for dear life here.
    Go read some of the testimonies from those who joined the Clergy Project.
    Maybe they will make you feel quite not so guilty about carrying on this nonsense.

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    1. Now you add omniscience to your self-proclaimed skills! You don’t know my heart but I know what I believe – why would I put up this fgarbage if I didn’t?! And I have read the clergy project…hypocrites all. Taking money for preaching something they don’t believe – and you cite them as examples!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Based on some of the testimonies I have read they originally believed everything they preached. It seems that along the way they discovered the facts and realised they could no longer perpetuate a lie.

        Currently, you have no such qualms and are adamant, just as those former clergy were as well, no doubt.
        Maybe you won’t be quite so sure in the future? Who can tell?

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  2. If we put aside Christian and Atheist apologetics both of whom have an agenda, scholarship has provided the evidence that Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy were written by four different authors during the Persian and Greek/ Hellenistic periods – about 450 BC to 300 BC. No one knows who the authors were.
    The Creation stories, man created in the image of God, and Noah’s Flood were developed from the older Mesopotamian Creation and Flood Myths.
    The Books of the Prophets were influenced by the apocalypticism of the Persian religion.
    Ecclesiastes, Job, Esther, and Jonah were written during the Greek/ Hellenistic period between about 300 BC and 150 BC as (especially Ecclesiastes) they were heavily influenced by Epicurean Greek philosophy. Daniel was written after 164 BC.
    The ideas of a Messiah, the apocalypse, angels, demons, the Devil, entered the Hebrew Bible during the Persian Conquest.
    The Gospels were anonymous and don’t claim to be eyewitnesses, and were written between AD 70 and AD 100 – Matthew and Luke copying most of Mark which doesn’t claim to be an eyewitness. Professor Bauckham has suggested that they may be based on eyewitness accounts but hasn’t gained widespread scholarly support because he relies on Papias who is highly unreliable (Papias suggests that Judas exploded because he was so fat!) and because the gospels are interested in theology not history.
    Matthew and Luke copied Mark but changed his gospel to suit their own theological needs, resulting in many contradictions such as the difference stories of the death of Judas, the different nativity stories, and so on.
    The Sermon on the Mount shows the same Stoic and Cynic Greek Philosophical teachings as those taught around 300 BC. The Gospel of John with its Logos is heavily influenced by Platonism and was written about AD 100.
    The ideas of an afterlife, the existence of a soul which didn’t exist in early Judaism was the result of the Greek/ Macedonian conquest between 330 BC and 30 BC.
    Acts was written about AD 100 and was an attempt to unite two different Christian factions of Paul and James.
    Seven Letters of Paul were written by him, though they may be compilations of earlier letters.
    The other letters of Paul were not written by him, the letters of Peter, James, John and Jude were written about AD 90 to AD 110. No one knows who the authors were.
    Christian apologists have attempted to refute these arguments but basing it on faith rather than evidence. They decide the conclusion and then look for evidence to support it, rather than the other way around. As one prominent Biblical Scholar pointed out, Christian apologists put forward arguments that convince people who want to be convinced.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Steve – thats a neat trick but one that just doesn’t work.. You state ‘scholars have said’ and then finish with if you don’t agree its because you just want to be convinced of your own position. The same could apply to you….scholarship has not proved that the Pentaecuh was written by four different authors, that the Gospel of John was a Platonist document written in 100 etc. It seems to me that you are just doing the old trick of citing what you have googled in order to confirm your own opinion…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. So, as a professional one would expect that you wold be fully conversant with these texts than the average layman. Therefore, who were the authors of the Synoptic Gospels, then David?

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    2. “If we put aside Christian and Atheist apologetics both of whom have an agenda”…

      It’s simply disingenuous to suggest that the arguments made by secular scholars are any less coloured by their worldview than those of religious scholars. If a secular scholar (or a scholar who is simply pro-LGBT+) comes from the point of view that they would really rather prefer that they could re-interpret Levitical law to say that it was in fact originally pro-homosexuality, then is it not even remotely possible that their own views could guide their hermeneutics and how they choose to construct their arguments?

      (For example, c.f. this critique of Idan Dershowitz doing just this – https://albertmohler.com/2018/07/23/leviticus-new-york-times-whats-real-story/)

      To take David’s argument further – rather than simply deciding that you can come to whatever conclusion you want about scripture based on your worldview (you to yours and David to his), I would want to argue that not only is it possible to come to two different ‘interpretations’, but there is an a priori truth to be found. Despite our current zeitgeist of a ‘post-truth’ culture of a meleé of ‘fake news’, the authorship (and reliability) of the Christian scriptures can be established based on empirical truths.

      To do this, you can look at scholarly research and then weigh their arguments based on the facts they present. The converse to seeing that there are many variants and making an argument that they speak to unreliability and editing of an original text is to see that the large number speaks to the incredible historical authority of the scriptures – the number of early gospel manuscripts outweighs the evidence for the existence of Julius Caesar by an incredible factor! Likewise, if you look at scholarly research on what the differences in the variants actually are, the manuscripts are incredibly consistent given their number and differences are most often caused small transcription errors which don’t affect the meaning of the underlying texts.

      If the fact that he helped teach me to drive (and that he’s a respected and well-published religious scholar in both Old and New Testament) isn’t held against him, then I’d recommend viewing of lectures Dr. Peter J. Williams has given on the reliability of the Christian scriptures, one good example would be this:

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  3. Given all this revealed evidence about the history of the bible narratives and how really it ought to be on the same shelves as the brothers Grimm, I wonder that there is no neat explanation provided to the Holy Spirit’s work amongst people – the unrehearsed revivals, the divisiveness of scripture, to suggest some other areas learned scholars might put us right about. “Heaven and earth shall pass away but my words shall not pass away” (Matt 24:35).

    I love the mystery of God; I love His graciousness and His mercy, His love even for those who spit in His face and shake their tiny God-made fists at Him. The awareness of knowing God in my life is something I can barely apprehend, not because of doubt but because my understanding of His vastness is so limited. I’d prefer to investigate Him more rather than turn away from Him. I can’t possibly understand why He wanted to create except that it was His idea in the first place. It doesn’t require a shift in credulity for me to understand that I can’t understand His purposes – I admire science and creation both, it’s beautiful and for those who can’t see the connection with the two, well I don’t understand that either. I don’t disbelieve because I know I believe in God’s presence, so to disbelieve in God surely presupposes something which you don’t know. That something you don’t understand. That shouldn’t and doesn’t deny ever knowing that entity but maybe you who disbelieve are being shielded from knowing God. I wouldn’t dismiss God out of hand as you might be surprised, one day. I hope so.

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  4. ….and yet Christians are forever clamouring for empirical evidence to “prove” the existence of their god…claiming that the Shroud of Turin has been scientifically dated to the correct timeline that proves it’s authenticity, still actually trying to find the remains of Noahs ark, trying to claim that the very existence of mathematics proves the existence of God, that DNA is evidence for the Christian god…..for something that apparently beyond the reach of human learning it’s rather cute how they just keep on trying to find some.

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