The followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a deity created by Bobby Henderson to mock other deities, claim there is no evidence for religious belief.
I don’t claim to speak for all religions, but I am a Christian, and I feel I need to defend Christianity against claims such as this, which declare that there is no reason to believe in any religion:
“Nonbelievers get hung up asking for evidence when really we should be looking at why does [sic] religion thrive despite evidence?”
I don’t believe Christianity thrives “despite evidence.” There is ample evidence for those who are willing to seek it out and think about it. This article will be long, but it could be MUCH longer if I listed all the proofs, and not just samples of each proof. Christianity is alone among the religions of the world in being able to demonstrate the reality of its claims. Some of these wonderful proofs include:
- fulfilled prophecy
- fulfillment of the Old Testament law
- abundant typological fulfillments
- archaeological proof
- historical proof of Jesus’ existence in ancient texts
- changed lives
- the heroic impact of Bible-believing Christians on history
–Isaiah prophesied 700 years before Christ that the messiah would come as a baby and grow into a man who would be mocked, spit upon, rejected and killed. Micah prophesied that the messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Zechariah said he would be sold for 30 pieces of silver. There are dozens of other prophecies which Jesus fulfilled and many more that are yet to be fulfilled at his second coming. No other religion can claim even one prophetic fulfillment!
–Jesus said that he not only came to fulfill the “prophets,” but also to fulfill “the law.” What does this mean? The Old Testament law was an intricate system of rituals and sacrifices which seem senseless to the uninformed onlooker, but to those who have sought to understand the significance of Jesus’ statement, an amazing and wonderful picture of Jesus begins to arise. The most obvious fulfillment was proclaimed by John the Baptist when he declared: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29).” Jesus was the sacrificial lamb of God who took away the sins of the world! The law required that a lamb be sacrificed for the forgiveness of sins and Jesus fulfilled this once and for all! He was also the scapegoat which had to be sacrificed outside the city. He was crucified outside Jerusalem, just as the law required, and on Passover, just as the law required. He became the high priest in the order of Melchizidek who is now the “one mediator between man and God (1 Tim. 2:5).” There are so many ways that Jesus fulfilled the law that multitudes of books could be written about the subject (and have been).
–Jesus also fulfilled the “types and shadows” that the writer of Colossians and Hebrews spoke about. For example, Moses was given the pattern for the tabernacle (portable temple in the wilderness) as a model of the true sanctuary in heaven. While the high priest could only enter the earthly tabernacle and carry out his ritual duties of blood sacrifice, Christ (our high priest) entered the heavenly tabernacle and sprinkled his own blood once and for all for eternal redemption. (Hebrews 9:12) The lamb was a “type” of Christ. The high priest was a “type” of Christ. The tabernacle was a “type” of the heavenly sanctuary. The Old Testament was supernaturally designed to point us to the true messiah. Who could have ever imagined such an amazing plan? What other religion can make this claim? NONE!
How could one man coincidentally, or even purposefully, fulfill all of these requirements in order to be the messiah? (There are MANY, MANY, MANY more than what I mentioned above.) I don’t think anyone could have even thought that a man could somehow “fulfill the law,” yet Jesus declared that was why he came! (Matthew 5:17) Even if someone human wrote this story, he would have had to make Jesus fulfill ALL of these requirements of the law and the prophets. Is anybody that capable?
Even so, we know the record of Jesus’ life was written by men who lived at the same time he lived, so he was a historic person, not a myth, which makes the fulfillment of all these details even more miraculous since they didn’t exist in a contrived story, but in a life that was lived in reality! We also know the Old Testament was written by many different people over hundreds of years making it very difficult to give credit to one man as a designer/author. To this day, the church continues to mine the Bible to discover new ways that Christ fulfilled his Word. The depth and beauty of this mining endeavor is unbelievably amazing. The Bible and Jesus have a supernatural source. There is no other explanation.
–Archaeology is also a source of evidence for the biblical record. The following is a long paragraph from my book, The Narrow Way, which reveals that the biblical record is trustworthy. Skeptics may bring up Kathleen Kenyon or Israel Finkelstein, whose efforts have been used to discredit the Bible by questionable dating of pottery (Kenyon) or the use of domesticated camels (in the case of Finkelstein), yet they overlook the vast amount of evidence which supports the truthfulness of the scriptures. Some of this evidence includes:
. . . references to the “House of David” and the “king of Israel” on the Mesha Stele; the Behistun Rock, which helped to translate Near-East inscriptions that over and over have confirmed the Bible; Hittite monuments and documents (historical critics had always pointed to the Hittites as biblical “myths”); the Lachish Ostraca, which confirmed the truth of the Babylonian captivity; 17,000 cuneiform tablets at Elba which confirm the existence of writing before the time of Moses (critics had said Moses couldn’t have written the Pentateuch because writing wasn’t in existence; razors found in Egyptian tombs that proved Joseph shaved (when critics scoffed at Genesis 41:14 saying that it wasn’t possible for Joseph to shave because razors didn’t exist); cuneiform records from the excavated libraries of Assyrian kings which confirm the biblical record of the thirty-nine kings of ancient Israel and Judah; a clay prism describing Sennacherib’s campaign against Judah; the discovery of the Egyptian cities Pithom and Ramses (whose buildings have a layer bricks that have less straw in them, just as Exodus 5 claims); four clay cylinders in the city of Ur which confirm the existence of the Israeli King Jehu; the Siloam Tunnel Inscription which confirms the biblical story that a reservoir was constructed in anticipation of the siege of Assyria; the Cyrus Cylinder; the Dead Sea Scrolls; the excavation of Gezer; the historical accuracy of Luke; worldwide flood accounts and geological evidence that supports a worldwide flood.
–The existence of Jesus is also confirmed independently of the Bible by outside sources. The Jewish historian Josephus Flavius wrote in his Antiquities:
Now, there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works–a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles.
Pliny the Younger wrote about the dilemma of how to deal with the Christians and how he resolved it by interrogating the followers of Jesus, executing them if they remained resolute that they were Christians. The Roman historian Tacitus wrote in his Annals about how Nero tried to blame the Christians for setting Rome on fire.
To get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite torture on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate, and a most michievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome . . .
Jesus was also mentioned by Lucian, a second century playwright, in his play, The Passing of Peregrinus, where he makes fun of the gullible church, whose leader was crucified in Palestine.
–There are millions of people whose lives have been changed by following Jesus. One person that comes to mind is John Newton. He was a slave trader who turned to Christ and penned the words to the song Amazing Grace. After his conversion he influenced William Wilberforce, a member of the British parliament, who worked tirelessly (and successfully) to abolish slavery in the British Empire.
There are also countless cannibals who have come to Jesus! One of them was featured in the film, End of the Spear. His name was Mincayani and he killed a missionary who came to his tribe. Later, he received Jesus and became like a family member to those whose loved ones he had killed.
A modern day conversion can be found in the story of Joshua Blahyi, an African warlord who was also known as General Butt-Naked because he and his tribe fought in the nude, thinking it would somehow make them impervious to bullets. Blayhi disappeared and when he came back he was a Christian. He began a ministry where he sought forgiveness and reconciliation with the families of the 20,000 people he had killed. He had also committed human sacrifice for a number of years. Yet Jesus made him a new man.
–Finally, it’s impossible to talk about Jesus, the “Light of the World,” without mentioning how wonderful the impact of his Word has been on history. Where do I even begin? Slavery was prevalent in the Roman Empire until, through sheer moral force, it was abolished in the years after Christ. Christians used their money to purchase slaves in order to set them free. Christians traded places with slaves, redeeming them with their own body. They also cared for the poor and sick in heroic ways, even during plagues.
It was Luther, a Bible-believing Christian, who was finally able to break the stranglehold of power that the Catholic Church had on society during the middle ages. Wycliffe, Huss, and Tyndale also acted heroically to oppose the Inquisition. This opened up the world of science, education, political freedom, human rights, medical advances, and so many other blessings they can’t be listed here.
As mentioned before, it was the Christians (in particular the Clapham Sect) that worked to abolish slavery in the British empire. Christians also worked to abolish American slavery. The great abolitionist, William Lloyd Garrison, was a committed Christian. So were Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman. The first antislavery tract in America was written by the Christian, Samuel Sewall. Even Thomas Paine, who believed in gradual emancipation, was inspired by the scriptures in his stand against slavery.
Christians formed the only organized opposition to Adolph Hitler. Early on they wrote the Barmen Declaration to oppose the rise of Nazism. The Pastor’s Emergency League was made up of over 1000 evangelical pastors who were almost all arrested and imprisoned. Among them were Karl Barth, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Martin Niemoller. Bonhoeffer assisted the Jews, opposed Hitler and ended up being hanged in a concentration camp. Corrie ten Boom hid Jews in her home until she was arrested and sent to Ravensbruck with her sister who was also a Christian.
Christians around the world spent the 20th century opposing communism and tyranny. They were sent to gulags and mental hospitals because they believed in God, while Marx, a student of Ludwig Fuerbach, believed that man created God out his own mind. (The same position as Flying Spaghetti Monster creator, Bobby Henderson!) Millions were killed under these atheist dictatorships, yet Christians such as Richard Wurmbrand, the founder of The Voice of the Martyrs, would openly oppose communism in the name of Jesus. As a result of his obstinance, Wurmbrand would spend years in a Romanian prison.
Those who followed Jesus and his gospel were the heroes of history! Yet, I wonder if Bobby Henderson realizes that his tactic of saying that God is a creation of man’s mind has been tried before . . . and it contributed to the suffering of millions! I feel so frustrated when people just play with words as though they have no consequence. The Flying Spaghetti Monster may seem like a funny and harmless ploy useful in discrediting Christians, but all ideas have consequences!
If the Pastafarians (followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster) were honest, they would have to admit that the supernatural existence of their god is questionable. There is no evidence at ALL to support their claim to its deity. Christians, on the other hand, have mounds and mounds of evidence to support their claim!
I challenge the Pastafarians to provide even one evidence for their faith!
Does the Flying Spaghetti Monster have any prophecies which foretold his birth hundreds of years beforehand which included the city he would be born in and intricate details of his life, such as his betrayal and his death? Does the Flying Spaghetti Monster have a sacred book which was written by dozens of authors from different times and places, yet all point to him–or was he merely a creation from somebody’s mind? Does the Flying Spaghetti Monster have a city/place of birth or do his followers have to resort to co-opting the birthplace of Jesus–as the picture below shows?
Has the Flying Spaghetti Monster ever inspired anybody to sell his own body to redeem another who was in slavery? Did the Flying Spaghetti Monster ever influence the greatest scientists in history such as Newton (the Father of Physics) and Boyle (the Father of Chemistry)? Have the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s scriptures (Does he have any?) ever been confirmed by archaeological digs? Has the Flying Spaghetti Monster ever infused anybody with new life-changing power to help overcome addictions, hatred, fear, racism, and many other crippling lifestyles, attitudes, and emotions, only to become people of love, courage, forgiveness, and strength? In fact, even making these people the greatest heroes of history?
It’s difficult to show any type of evidence if your deity is made up in your mind, but it’s not difficult to show evidence for the historical Jesus who interjected himself into human history in order to reveal that there is Someone in the universe that is trying to communicate with humanity in an amazing way . . . a person who is so loving and kind that he was willing to pay the penalty for our sin rather than leave us hopeless. This is the God I love. This is the God I serve. I’m honored to follow in the footsteps of others who also loved and served Him–Isaac Newton, Francis Bacon, Martin Luther, John Huss, William Wilberforce, Richard Wurmbrand, William Booth, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King, Jr., and all the other great heroes of history.
Sorry for the long comment. And sorry that it’s slightly patronising. But most of the arguments you’ve presented are bad. I’m looking up the archaeology bits in more detail after I post this. If it turns out you have a really good point, I will post an apology.
In the first Book of Twilight it is predicted that Bella will change to a vampire. In the last book she does. This does not make the Twilight trilogy a factual book. That is why Bible prophecies that are both predicted and fulfilled in the Bible do not cut it.
That knocks your first three arguments over.
If in 1,000 years archaeologists try to discern the truth of the film Johnny English, we should be most sceptical of an archaeologist that sees every bit of evidence of a royal family, prisons and French people as proof for the film. Remember Homer’s Odyssey helped us unlock massive amount of the original Latin language, and that doesn’t make the Classical Greek stories true either.
We may have been wrong about whether or not people could shave back then, but that doesn’t stop people writing about what they know; think about how much of works of fiction are actually real: real places; real technology. The existence of an Audi proto-type car does not make iRobot a actually accurate film.
When it comes to archaeology it is also noting all the times we’ve been wrong: a global flood, Noah’s arc (it’s been found numerous times, in different places. Apparently, everything is Noah’s arc), the Walls of Jericho (they think they found Jericho – no walls at all.)
There were many men named Jesus (actually, his name was Yeshua). Just like there are many people named Jesus in Mexico right now. Some of them are wise, some of them (one of them) claims to be the son of God right now. Some of them get the death penalty (just like Jesus of Nazareth). Prove he walked on water, cured the blind, turned water into wine and absorbed all our original sin and suddenly we have a very different conversation.
Those conversion stories exist in all religions. And it doesn’t prove anything other than that coming to believe certain things can affect what you do. This is true of all beliefs (and I’m not surprised by the absence of abortion doctor murders and Crusaders and Witch hunters that somehow don’t get included in the list of people whose lives have been changed by faith).
Gandhi was a good guy too, so were his followers. Same can be said in Buddhism. Niceness does not equate to truth.
Some Christians may have opposed Hitler, but the Catholic Church supported him.
I’m a little offended (on behalf of humanity) that you think the Christians that did nice things needed Christianity to be nice. I think you should try to be more open to the idea that people of all religions (and those of us without religion) can be, and are, just as nice. Because the latter part of your argument entirely relies on that not being the case. Otherwise your argument would boil down to ‘some Christians act like human being’. Well, my my.
Also, Islam has been in better support of science through-out its history than Christianity, and neither have really done all that good by science.
Also, the Flying Spaghetti Monster explains the absence of pirates and gravity. So there’s that.
The Flying Spaghetti Monster also symbolises a movement towards freedom from religion. Religion has been one of the most socially divisive and warmongering ideas on the planet – it has lead to genocides, wars, genital mutilation and racism; it condones slavery and treats the human sacrifice of Jesus Christ like it is actually effective; it excuses blocking scientific research, even in medicines that could save lives. Pastafarianism is a way out of that. That is as good as any social movement Christianity can be held accountable for. Pastafarianism is also absent of the atrocities Christianity can be held accountable for.
Now, if niceness proves trueness Pastafarianism is drawing with Christianity. If I can expand the ‘niceness proves trueness’ premise to also include ‘badness proves falseness’, Pastafarianism wins hands down.
That is the single biggest reason not to hold up nice things Christians have done to prove the validity of the Bible.
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Thank you for taking an interest in my post about the Flying Spaghetti Monster! As you may have noticed, this is a new blog, so you are the first person to ever comment and it’s very exciting for me. I pray that you will desire TRUTH more than anything. Jesus said, “Seek and you will find (Matthew 7:7).” If you find anything in my response that is a lie, please let me know.
1. I would like to take issue with your comparison of the Bible with the Twilight series. They’re not the same. The Bible is a not only a sacred book, it’s also a document recording the history of the Jewish people. It tells about their deliverance from Egypt, their kings, their wars, their exile to Babylon, their occupation by the Romans, their temple, their genealogies, and many other facts that have been confirmed by archaeology. If Stephenie Meyers, author of Twilight, lived hundreds of years ago, and wrote about a girl named Bella who would one day really be born in a certain city and really live a certain life and die a certain way, and then miraculously become a real vampire, then it could be the same, but Meyers wrote her fantasy book in 2005, and there is no real Bella. The Jews are real, though. As I show in my section above on archaeology, there’s much evidence to support their reality . . . even beyond the fact that the Jewish people still actually EXIST in the world today.
2. If you’re trying to say that the Jesus mentioned by historians as the one who was crucified by Pontius Pilate (as the Bible also records), was a “doer of wonderful works (as the Bible also records),” started a religion in Palestine which included both Jews and Gentiles (as the also Bible records), and whose followers willingly died rather than deny him (as the Bible also records), isn’t the Jesus of the Bible, and is merely another Jesus who did these things, then how do you prove this other Jesus existed? Do you have any evidence that someone who was so notable that he was mentioned by historians, and started a huge movement, is somebody other than the Jesus of the New Testament?
3. There is extensive evidence for Noah’s flood. A few points:
Evidence #1—Fossils of sea creatures high above sea level due to the ocean waters having flooded over the continents.
We find fossils of sea creatures in rock layers that cover all the continents. For example, most of the rock layers in the walls of Grand Canyon (more than a mile above sea level) contain marine fossils. Fossilized shellfish are even found in the Himalayas.
Evidence #2—Rapid burial of plants and animals.
We find extensive fossil “graveyards” and exquisitely preserved fossils. For example, billions of nautiloid fossils are found in a layer within the Redwall Limestone of Grand Canyon. This layer was deposited catastrophically by a massive flow of sediment (mostly lime sand). The chalk and coal beds of Europe and the United States, and the fish, ichthyosaurs, insects, and other fossils all around the world, testify of catastrophic destruction and burial.
Evidence #3—Rapidly deposited sediment layers spread across vast areas.
We find rock layers that can be traced all the way across continents—even between continents—and physical features in those strata indicate they were deposited rapidly. For example, the Tapeats Sandstone and Redwall Limestone of Grand Canyon can be traced across the entire United States, up into Canada, and even across the Atlantic Ocean to England. The chalk beds of England (the white cliffs of Dover) can be traced across Europe into the Middle East and are also found in the Midwest of the United States and in Western Australia. Inclined (sloping) layers within the Coconino Sandstone of Grand Canyon are testimony to 10,000 cubic miles of sand being deposited by huge water currents within days.
Evidence #4—Sediment transported long distances.
We find that the sediments in those widespread, rapidly deposited rock layers had to be eroded from distant sources and carried long distances by fast-moving water. For example, the sand for the Coconino Sandstone of Grand Canyon (Arizona) had to be eroded and transported from the northern portion of what is now the United States and Canada. Furthermore, water current indicators (such as ripple marks) preserved in rock layers show that for “300 million years” water currents were consistently flowing from northeast to southwest across all of North and South America, which, of course, is only possible over weeks during a global flood.
Evidence #5—Rapid or no erosion between strata.
We find evidence of rapid erosion, or even of no erosion, between rock layers. Flat, knife-edge boundaries between rock layers indicate continuous deposition of one layer after another, with no time for erosion. For example, there is no evidence of any “missing” millions of years (of erosion) in the flat boundary between two well-known layers of Grand Canyon—the Coconino Sandstone and the Hermit Formation. Another impressive example of flat boundaries at Grand Canyon is the Redwall Limestone and the strata beneath it.
Evidence #6—Many strata laid down in rapid succession.
Rocks do not normally bend; they break because they are hard and brittle. But in many places we find whole sequences of strata that were bent without fracturing, indicating that all the rock layers were rapidly deposited and folded while still wet and pliable before final hardening. For example, the Tapeats Sandstone in Grand Canyon is folded at a right angle (90°) without evidence of breaking. Yet this folding could only have occurred after the rest of the layers had been deposited, supposedly over “480 million years,” while the Tapeats Sandstone remained wet and pliable.
4. I agree that niceness does not prove the existence of God, yet I would be very pleased if you would look over this article about what the world would be like without Jesus.
The B.C. world was a horrifying world of cannibalism, human sacrifice, infanticide, slavery, blood sport, widow burning, tribal warfare, barbarianism, and many, many more forms of shocking inhumanity. It stayed that way until the gospel was spread to each people group or tribe by missionaries. Even up to the 20th century these conditions continued UNTIL missionaries came to them and shared Jesus. The evidence for this is overwhelming!
5. I also realize that the Catholic Church supported Nazism, but if you’ll notice, I’m not a Catholic; I’m a Bible-believing Christian. I would have been burnt at the stake by the Catholic Church during the Inquisition, just as the Bible-believers John Huss and William Tyndale were. The Catholic Church is not a Bible-believing institution. They co-opt any belief they want and blend it in with Christianity any time they want. Perhaps you would be interested in this article on the battle between Bible-believing Christians and those who create their own religion:
6. I have to dispute your statement about the influence of Christianity on science. Christianity gave birth to modern science! Please see these articles for more information:
7. Jericho’s walls have been discovered.
Archaeologist were initially skeptical of the existence of Jericho, let alone the Biblical story of the fall of the wall of Jericho. However, archaeologist have since discovered the city. Along with the city, archaeologist found one of the walls of the city had fallen outward, away from the city.
Consider these 2 quotes:
Archaeological quote dismissing the Fallen Wall of Jericho (1957):
“It is a sad fact that of the town walls of the Late Bronze Age, within which period the attack by the Israelites must fall by any dating, not a trace remains … The excavation of Jericho, therefore, has thrown no light on the walls of Jericho of which the destruction is so vividly described in the Book of Joshua.”
Dame Kathleen Mary Kenyon, Archaeologist – Digging Up Jerichoondon: Ernest Benn. 1957) p. 267-62
Archaeological quote confirming the Fallen Wall of Jericho (1999):
“Three major expeditions to the site [Jericho] over the past 90 years uncovered abundant evidence to support the Biblical account.”
Dr. Bryant Wood, Director of the Associates for Biblical Research – The Walls of Jerichoible and Spade 12:2, 1999)
8. I would like to explain that there is a difference between niceness and heroism. The point I tried to make is that the greatest heroes of history were more often than not those who loved Jesus and his Word in some way. Even secularists/humanists have a difficult time listing the heroes of history without listing Bible-believing Christians. In fact, it’s very difficult to name many atheist heroes at all. I discuss this in this article:
When I think of heroes I think of those who made the world a better place through their courageous acts. For example, I consider Harriet Tubman to be a hero for guiding slaves on the Underground Railroad. I also consider John Huss to be a hero for standing up to the Catholic Inquisition even though it meant he would be burnt at the stake. The actions of both of these people made the world a better place, eventually leading to the downfall of the Catholic empire and the abolition of slavery.
9. Finally, I would like to invite you to join the greatest underground movement in history. If you want to be a part of opposing tyranny in all forms, become a Christian. Who opposed the Roman Emperors? Christians, living underground in the Roman catacombs to avoid arrest. Who opposed the Inquisition? Christians! Who led the opposition against slavery throughout history? Christians! Who opposed Nazism? Christians! Who opposed communism and had to go underground in order to avoid arrest (such as in China)? Christians! At one time it was illegal to not worship the Roman emperor, not bow to the Pope, hide slaves, worship God in atheist nations, and hide Jews, yet Christians broke all those laws in order to do the right thing. They were inspired by Jesus and his Word.
Wouldn’t you like to be a part of this heroic movement?
(I appear to have written GGG where I meant to copy a link. So you can disregard the other form of this comment, as this is the one I mean to send.
I’m going to jump around your comment in the order I think is the most interesting.
I’m not even going to address what you deem to be evidence for Noah’s flood, else to say the single word “tectonics”. Tectonics explain the most majestic of the evidences you presented.
I’ve written a post (http://allalltor.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/noahs-global-flood-it-simply-couldnt-happen/) that addresses the question of Noah’s flood in better detail. But here are some of the key questions that surround it:
Where do land plants (and as a result, functioning ecosystems) come from? Nothing can account for the survival of land plants. They’d die under the water. On the Biblical account they cannot be evolved from marine plants. On the naturalist account they simply haven’t had the time to evolve. So they simply shouldn’t be. But they are.
How come we have developed soil (and as a result, functioning ecosystems)? Soils take thousands of years to develop, but after the flood they were just fine. This makes no sense.
How did the animals survive after the flood? I’ve already established that there are no ecosystems for them to live in. There’s also no food source: they can’t eat each other else all the populations would be extinct; they can’t eat plants, there can’t possibly be enough to sustain any one species, let alone all.
How did Noah, after the flood, manage to settle all animals into the correct bio-geographical region? I mean, he would have had to traversed the globe and swum the oceans to do that.
The appropriate conclusion, thus, is that the evidences you cited have a different explanation.
Noah’s flood also works to question the validity of the Bible. Much like Inglorious Basterds is factually accurate in places, it does not make the rest of the film correct. You cannot extrapolate some truths to mean all truths. So archaeology can prove all of the naturalistic things it wants. Until it proves a man walking on water and absolving us of sin, and feeding thousands of people with a bit of bread and some fish then what you have is something about equivalent to a book form of Inglorious Basterds.
My point about Jesus was not that he was (or wasn’t) a great man, or that you’ve got the wrong Jesus. My point was simply that you can prove a man named Jesus existed all you want, I know there was. There still is. Many of them have the same characteristics you attribute to Jesus of Nazareth. What you need to demonstrate is that he is the son of God (and hence, there is a God). Remember the following that Harold Camping got? People died for his cause. What about Sai Baba (alive today) who has all the claim Jesus had in his life time equally verified today by eye witnesses (the issue of miracles: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqjB31xiE9k)
Christians that opposed that things about equal those that supported them, both are dwarfed by the Christian apathy to most of the issues. But they’re not issues of truth, so I don’t care.
The quality and morality of life has increased in much closer correlation to social issues like wealth and women’s rights and technology than the spread of Christianity. Also, I don’t see how Christianity set up modern science. The Church has tried to block and deny aspects of astronomy, cosmology and evolution.
Does Marie Curie not count as a hero in your eyes? Albert Einstein (not technically an atheist, I know. But certainly not a Christian either)? Benjamin Franklin…? Again, not an issue of the truth of your claim. But still…
As a Bible believing Christian (who rejects out-of-hand any Catholic as a Christian), I’m sure I should ask you how you feel about the relationship between stones and the gays; stones and adulterers; stones and cheeky children; rods and children; people and their ownership… Because I know what your Bible says should happen. And I know Jesus says to stick to all of the old Testament laws (Matthew 5, Luke 16, 2 Peter).
First of all, ALLALLT, thank you for continuing to respond to me!
I will respond to all of your concerns soon, but if you’ve read anything about me, you may have noticed I’m a mom of a lot of kids and my life can be hectic.
While I was reflecting on your latest comment, I had a thought. I wondered if you could accept that any life exists beyond our planet?
I think life on other planets is a possibility. There are plenty of planets that are within the natural tolerances for life as we know it: the ‘Goldilocks zone’.
One of the greatest complaints of atheists is that God demands blind faith in order to believe in him, but this is false! The evidence is all around us. One way atheists try to discredit Christians is through the use of science. Because Christians reject Darwinism, we are considered to be “anti-science.” Yet before Darwin even cut his teeth, it was Christians who were the leaders in the advancement of science. In a previous reply you stated:
“Also, I don’t see how Christianity set up modern science. The Church has tried to block and deny aspects of astronomy, cosmology and evolution.”
If you’ll indulge the long comment, I will use a portion of my book, The Narrow Way, to explain how Christianity, and in particular, Calvinism, “set up modern science.” If you find any falsehood in any of this — PLEASE POST IT!
The most important aspect of Calvin’s theology was that it moved Western civilization away from the monastic/mystical views that were prevalent in Catholicism. The monastic view insisted on isolation and separation from an evil world of temptations. The mystical view was that God could be found in ecstatic attempts to accomplish divine union through contemplative activity. But Calvin insisted that Christian living should occur in the real world. Abraham Kuyper offered this explanation for the change in attitude toward the new emphasis on the physical realm:
“For this reason the clergy, severing the earthly tie in celibacy, rank higher than the laity, and again, the monk, who turns away from earthly possessions also and sacrifices his own will, stands, ethically considered, on a higher level than the clergy. And finally the highest perfection is reached by the stylite, who, mounting his pillar, severs himself from everything earthly, or by the yet more silent penitent who causes himself to be immured in his subterranean cave. Horizontally, if I may use this expression, the same thought finds embodiment in the separation between sacred and secular ground. Everything uncountenanced and uncared for by the Church is looked upon as being of a lower character, and exorcism in baptism tells us that these lower things are really meant to be unholy. Now, it is evident that such a standpoint did not invite Christians to make a study of earthly things.”
The Scientific Revolution:
This belief that a Christian was to live in the real, material world, rather than try to escape to otherworldly experiences would also contribute to the phenomenal growth of science. The Catholic church had insisted on blending the Scriptures in with the Greco-Roman view of the universe when it came to scientific opinions. But the Reformation allowed for the Scriptures to be a source for scientific discovery without the fetters of classical thought holding them down. Calvin reminded us that Christ is the Lord over all creation, not just the Church. The slide toward a Gnostic view of the universe through contemplative mysticism caused the Church to forget that God looked at what he created and said it was good. Calvin would specifically encourage Christians to find proof of God in creation: “In attestation of his wondrous wisdom, both the heavens and the earth present us with innumerable proofs not only those more recondite proofs which astronomy, medicine, and all the natural sciences, are designed to illustrate, but proofs which force themselves on the most illiterate peasant, who cannot open his eyes without beholding them.”
This newfound respect for the material world, coupled with the thought that God had revealed himself through his creation, opened up a whole universe filled with excitement and new revelations as men now attempted to find God in the world around them. In this, the Scriptures didn’t act as a hindrance, but a help.
Francis Bacon, who developed the scientific method of using experiments, observation, and induction from the data, rather than Aristotelian deduction, would declare: “There are two books laid before us to study, to prevent our falling into error; first, the volume of Scriptures, which reveal the will of God; then the volume of creatures [his creation], which express his power.”
Johannes Kepler, who was a Lutheran, was excommunicated by the Catholic church in 1612. He discovered the laws of planetary motion because he wanted to understand the mind of God, and he was thrilled to find out that God was a designer! “We see how God, like a human architect, approached the founding of the world according to order and rule and measured everything in such manner.”
Robert Boyle, whose Skeptical Chymist would become the foundation of modern chemistry, and who was a charter member of the Royal Society of Great Britain (whose motto was “Nullius in Verbia” which means “nothing in word,” emphasizing the importance of experimentation), would overturn the Aristotelian viewpoint that all things were composed of the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water. He rejected the Hellenistic basis for science and preferred using a truthful method of experimentation in order to know how God designed the universe, saying, “I ignore not that not only Leucippus, Epicurus, and other atomists of old, but of late some persons, for the most part admirers of Aristotle’s writings, have pretended to be able to explicate the first beginning of things, and the world’s phenomena, without taking in or acknowledging any divine Author of it.”
John Ray, one of the earliest biologists, opposed the Aristotelian concept of spontaneous generation, saying: “My observation and affirmation is that there is no such thing in nature.” He said it was “the atheist’s fictitious and ridiculous account of the first production of mankind and other animals.”
Louis Pasteur, the founder of modern medicine and one of the founders of microbiology, who developed the process of pasteurization and a cure for rabies, is also known for discrediting spontaneous generation. His attempt to stop milk from spoiling came as a result of his desire to prove that “life could only come from life.” Consequently, he invented a way to heat liquids enough to kill the bacteria and then not let them be exposed to the air where bacteria would thrive. He was a Christian who was inspired to find God’s handiwork in nature, and he said, “The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator.”
Joseph Lister, who developed a method of sterile surgery, would also disprove Aristotle’s belief in spontaneous generation by stopping infection through a combination of the use of carbolic acid (which kills bacteria without being too harsh on the skin) and covering the wound with bandages. He also introduced the use of sterile catgut, allowing the thread to dissolve without having to upset the abrasion. Lister was a Quaker who gently affirmed: “I am a believer in the fundamental doctrines of Christianity.”
Attempts to associate the origins of the Scientific Revolution with the Renaissance or Enlightenment periods are disingenuous. The Renaissance was a rebirth of the Aristotelian worldview, which had been recovered as a result of contact with the Muslim scholar, Averroes, but science didn’t advance as a result of this knowledge. In fact it was stunted as the medieval Church attempted to blend this knowledge in with the Scriptures (just as they had also blended Greek philosophy in with the Scriptures and formed medieval scholasticism). Instead, it was the direct attempt to overthrow Hellenism by men of the Reformation that led to the explosive growth in science. And the Enlightenment was a consequence of the Scientific Revolution, particularly as found in the work of Isaac Newton.
It was Isaac Newton’s belief in the First Cause that led to deism and Enlightenment philosophy. But Isaac Newton was not an atheist. He was a believer who said that he was motivated by a desire to prove the existence of God when he wrote Principia Mathematica, saying, “When I wrote my treatise about our Systeme I had an eye upon such Principles as might work with considering men for the beleife of a Deity & nothing can rejoyce me more then to find it usefull for that purpose.” He was inspired by his desire to know the mind of God (much as Stephen Hawkings is) and believed that “this most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent Being.”
Modern day skeptics point to the trial of Galileo as evidence that having faith in God is a hindrance to science, but the truth is that the Scientific Revolution was precipitated by men of faith. It was their desire for truth based on physical evidence, rather than philosophy or reason, which led them to discover and understand the workings of the universe—from the smallest atom to the limitless galaxies. Because the Scriptures told them that God was a God of order, not confusion, they began to search for that order, and as a result of their studies, Isaac Newton, for one, could confidently assert: “He is a God of organization not of disarray.” The list of scientists who would declare that it was their faith in God that led them to their scientific knowledge could read like a virtual Who’s Who of Scientific Advancement and Discovery.
Antiseptic Surgery—Joseph Lister
Calculus, Dynamics—Isaac Newton
Celestial Mechanics—Johannes Kepler
Chemistry, Gas Dynamics—Robert Boyle
Comparative Anatomy—Georges Cuvier
Computer Science—Charles Babbage
Model Analysis, Dimensional Analysis—Lord Rayleigh
Electronics—John Ambrose Fleming
Electrodynamics—James Clerk Maxwell
Electromagnetics, Field Theory—Michael Faraday
Entomology of Living Insects—Henri Fabre
Fluid Mechanics—George Stokes
Galactic Astronomy—Sir William Herschel
Glacial Geology, Ichthyology—Louis Agassiz
Hydrography, Oceanography—Matthew Maury
Isotopic Chemistry—William Ramsey
Natural History—John Ray
Non-Euclidean Geometry—Bernard Riemann
Optical Mineralogy—David Brewster
This list could go on and on. Recently, a scientist who helped to decipher the genetic code through the Human Genome Project, Francis S. Collins, explained that he felt as though his work was like learning the language of God. He declares in the introduction of his book, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, that “belief in God can be an entirely rational choice and that the principles of faith are, in fact, complimentary with the principles of science.” His faith didn’t hinder his scientific work. It motivated him and filled him with awe. This was a common experience of believing scientists. Isaac Newton said that his work was like child’s play. “I was like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”
To these great scientists, unlocking the secrets of the universe was like an adventure. It inspired wonder and respect for the sheer genius and elegance of the Creator. Is there not magnificent order in the universe? And is it not governed by powerful and dependable laws such as the point at which water freezes or the gravitational pull necessary to keep things in place? The Scientific Revolution was an attempt to discover evidence for God in the material realm. And scientists’ efforts have blessed humanity in ways too numerous to count.
You asked what was supernatural about the Bible.
I could write out some of these things, but I found this article that could give you some things to chew on:
Can you think of any book that even begins to compare to the Bible?
I understand that both the content and the tone of my comments can be very off putting, and I apologise for that.
I’m ignoring the aliens things for now (although I have answered – I just don’t care much, it’s basically impossible for us to get here).
Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I am sorry if I have offended you, and that I am looking forward to your response.
I’m not easily offended by anyone! 🙂 I’ve just had some health issues I’ve been dealing with and have been back and forth to a lot of doctors recently. I’m so sorry for the delayed response. You have nothing to apologize for.
I was asking about the alien thing because I think that if it’s possible for you to believe in life outside of this planet, then perhaps you could believe in God. How do you know how an alien life form might choose to communicate with this planet? And how do you know that there are no bigger issues in the galaxy that might be addressed by a religion of this planet?
I say a religion because all religions believe different things, so they can’t all be true. I believe the true religion is the one that follows the Bible as the truth because of all the reasons I listed in the above article on the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
One day, according to the Bible, there will be an alien invasion (the return of Jesus in the clouds). Jesus and the prophets told us to look for certain signs that would precede his coming. Some of these signs are the restoration of the nation of Israel (Ezekiel 36-38), the “falling away” of the Church from the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:3), the rise of a global government and leader who will control buying and selling with a type of mark (Revelations 13), the formation of a global religious body that is unfaithful to Jesus and actually persecutes the body of Christ (Revelations 18), the roaring of the seas, earthquakes in strange places, fearfulness and perplexity in the hearts of men, and rioting and commotions by the people. There are many, many more prophecies, but I list a few just to show you that the Bible, which perfectly fulfilled dozens of prophecies concerning Jesus’ first coming, will also fulfill hundreds of prophecies concerning his second coming. Some of the prophecies Jesus fulfilled were:
The Messiah must…
Be born in Bethlehem Micah 5:2 Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:4-7
Be adored by great persons Psalms 72:10-11 Matthew 2:1-11
Be annointed with the Spirit of God Isaiah 11:2, 61:1 Matthew 3:16; John 3:34; Acts 10:38
Be hated without cause Isaiah 49:7; Psalms 69:4 John 15:24-25
Be undesired and rejected by His own people Isaiah 53:2, 63:3; Psalms 69:8 Mark 6:3; Luke 9:58; John 1:11,
Be plotted against by Jews and Gentiles together Psalms 2:1-2 Acts 4:27
Be betrayed by a friend Psalms 41:9, 55:12-24 Matthew 26:21-25, 47-50; John 13:18-21; Acts 1:16-18
Be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver Zechariah 11:12 Matthew 26:16
Have his price given for a potter’s field Zechariah 11:13 Matthew 27:7
Be forsaken by His disciples Zechariah 13:7 Matthew 26:31, 56
Be struck on the cheek Micah 5:1 Matthew 27:30
Be spat on Isaiah 50:6 Matthew 26:67, 27:30
Be mocked Psalms 22:7-8 Matthew 27:31, 39-44
Be beaten Isaiah 50:6 Matthew 26:67, 27:26, 30
Be thirsty during His execution Psalms 22:15 John 19:28
Be given vinegar to quench that thirst Psalms 69:21 Matthew 27:34
Be considered a transgressor Isaiah 53:12 Matthew 27:38
Be buried with the rich when dead Isaiah 53:9 Matthew 27:57-60
Be sought after by Gentiles as well as Jews Isaiah 11:10, 42:1 Acts 10:45
Be accepted by the Gentiles Isaiah 11:10, 42:1-4, 49:1-12 Matthew 12:21; Acts 10:45; Romans 15:9-12
How do you know that an alien life form hasn’t chosen to communicate with us through the Bible in order to assure us of his truth and goodness before he reveals himself to us? After all, if I saw an alien, I think I would fear it. I wouldn’t know whether to trust it or not. But I would trust Jesus because I know all about him and his goodness. I know that those who loved his words became the best that humanity had to offer. And those who perverted or hated his words (such as many of the Popes, Hitler, Stalin, or Marx) became the worst humanity had to offer. I am attracted to the love and kindness of Jesus, aren’t you? After all, the Bible says he died for us!
Could there possibly (I ask this in all seriousness) be a great epic story going on in the universe, of which we on the planet earth may be playing a part? Can you honestly claim to know for sure that there isn’t? If there was a life form in the universe, how would you expect him to communicate with us? And can you dismiss the possibility that God is another name for an alien life form out of hand so easily when you look at the supernatural perfection of the Bible? What other book is there like it?
In response to your comment:
“I’m not even going to address what you deem to be evidence for Noah’s flood, else to say the single word ‘tectonics’. Tectonics explain the most majestic of the evidences you presented.”
I would like to refer you to this article on plate tectonics:
It would take the best part of forever to explain why plate tectonics don’t help explain the flood; the essay, although stands as evidence for good reason, isn’t that good factually. It glosses over some major issues, especially how massively different tectonic speed has been since records began, and what is needed for the article have a point (Geography, incidentally, is my degree).
The extract you sent over-plays the significance of certain people in the birth and development of certain disciplines. For example, if you were to Google “Father of Chemistry” Boyle does come up, but he’s far from the top of the list: the debate is much bigger than that. In your defence, however, most people in the debate are religious. But so was everyone else at the time (or at the least has to pretend to be).
I’m not so sure their religion was important though. Pasteur, for example, stumbled across his first discovery by accident. Human curiosity lead him from there.
There are so many social, linguistic and psychological reasons most early day enlightenment scientists called upon God: there are few other ways to express amazement at nature; people expect there to be a God; the times demanded everything came back to God somehow (look at the Galileo trials, or the tribulations of Darwin’s life, or how Hawkins was told by the Pope to simply stop looking at the moment of creation).
Every discovery can be held up as a glorification of God if your mind wants it to. But that ignores what each discovery actually finds: one less reason to think a thing is supernatural.
But even if I let that go, we’re left with the big issue: does that make theism right? No. Motivating someone to do something brilliant does not make the motivation right. The theistic beliefs of some great scientists (and many of them were truly great scientists) cannot be given extra credit because of their scientific greatness.
And that neatly brings me to the point that most interests me: is it correct? You say the evidence for God is everywhere. But I say there is nothing anywhere I have seen that is unique to the God hypothesis; it has not been validated.
This point works this way. There are two general world views: the natural world view and the supernatural world view. Both of these can be seen as hypothesis-generating; you can make guesses about what you should see if each hypothesis were right.
Here is where it gets interesting: only hypotheses unique to one of the world views can be considered validation of one view over the other. I outline unique hypotheses from the God hypothesis in a few posts on my blog, each one is not found.
I also outline some unique natural hypotheses: imperfect biology, truly pointless suffering, an imperfect universe, an imperfect geography… these are all found.
This should have stood as strong validation of the natural world view, and invalidation of the supernatural world view. But hundreds of years of apologetics, pseudo-science (like the article you sent of tectonics) and bad philosophy have tried to square these things. Apparently a perfect God can give us an imperfect world. Apparently evolution fits perfectly into the theistic world view. Apparently the supernatural world looks a lot like the natural one.
As for the aliens thing, I do not need a reason to not believe it. I need a reason to believe it. It seems unbearably far fetched, it certainly needs more reasoning than ‘but isn’t it possible? Just remotely?’
Lastly, I have only a question. What is supernatural about the Bible?
Well, Tyre was not left to stand desolate, and Tyre was destroyed by Alexander the Great (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Tyre, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyre,_Lebanon#History). I don’t know how much leeway you give a prediction before you say it failed, but that seems like two pretty big failures.
If fulfilled prophecies prove the Bible to be supernatural, what exactly do you make of unfulfilled prophecy?
http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/farrell_till/prophecy.html (this is a long essay, apologies)
Not to mentions the Bible’s outright weird ideas, like that a bat is a bird: Leviticus 11: 13-19
1 Kings 7:23-26 – apparently pi = 3?
If the city of Tyre wasn’t left desolate, why hasn’t it been rebuilt? In fact, just to insure that it not be rebuilt, the World Heritage Committee is in the process of considering Tyre to be added to its list of treasured sites that have Outstanding Universal Value, meaning that its ruins will be preserved. There is a city built up around the site, called Sour, but the ruins of Tyre are still intact and have never been rebuilt. Here are some pictures of Tyre’s ruins found at the UNESCO website:
Nebuchadnezzar fulfilled part of the prophecy and Alexander the Great fulfilled great details of the prophecy. The point is that the Bible prophesied that Tyre, one of the greatest ancient cities would be destroyed and never be rebuilt. The ruins of the city remain as a testimony to the truth of that prophecy.
Skeptics can nitpick over things that can be explained if they would take the time to study them, but the bottom line is this: the prophecy was fulfilled with great accuracy, even fulfilling the fact that the city’s ruins would be thrown into the sea, which is what Alexander the Great did in order to build a bridge to reach the people of Tyre, who were finding refuge on an island off the coast. In fact, the causeway he built became a permanent fixture and actually merged the island to the mainland permanently. The causeway can still be found!
I don’t think the prophecy failed at all. If it failed, there would be no ruins and the city would have been rebuilt – which it obviously wasn’t and probably won’t be in the future since it may become a World Heritage Site.
The bat is a flying creature, like a bird. Just because the author of Leviticus didn’t understand our modern method of classification doesn’t mean he was a failure. After all, scientists developed the system of classification, and who knows if their system is completely accurate? After all, whales were once classified as fish.
Classification of living things is a transitory effort. It’s constantly changing and being challenged. Cut the ancients some slack for not knowing how people would organize creatures thousands of centuries later — an effort that may be laughed at by people who will live 5000 years from now!
This is one of the articles you have posted:
Why Bible have so much unfulfilled Prophecy and Historical error?
***UNFULFILLED PROPHECIES OF BIBLE:
1. Jeremiah 36:30 it says, ‘Jehoiakim in the father of Jehoaiachin..No one will be able to sit on his throne-the throne of David, no one will be able to sit after Jehoiakim.’
***Now please read 2 kings 24:6 it says that..’Jehoiakim after he died, later on Jehoiachin sat on the throne’ – Unfulfilled prophecy!
2. Ezekiel 26 chapter, it says that ‘Nebuchaderzzar, he will destroyed Tyre’
***We come to know that Alexander the great, was the person who destroyed Tyra and this is historical truth! – Unfulfilled prophecy!
3. “The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall shall be a ruinous help.” [Isaiah 17:1]
***Damascus is still inhabited today with over a million people, and hardly a ruinous help. – Unfulfilled prophecy!
4. “In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of Canaan, and swear to the LORD of hosts; one shall be called, the city of destruction.” [Isaiah 19:18]
***The Canaanite language has NEVER been spoken Egypt, and is now an extinct. – Unfulfilled prophecy!
5. “Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O zeon; put on thy beautiful garments , O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean” [Isaiah 52:1]
***There are uncircumcised people living in Jerusalem even today. – Unfulfilled prophecy!
6. “Behold, there I am against thee, and against thy rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste and desolate, from the tower of Syene even unto the border of Ethiopia. No foot of man shall pass trough it, nor foot of beast shall pass through it, neighter shall it be inhabited 40 years” [Ezekiel, 29:10-11]
***NEVER in its long history has Egypt ever been uninhabited for 40 years and this is proved by Archaeologist. – Unfulfilled prophecy!
***LIE, ABUSE AND MISTRANSLATION OF CHRISTIANS – regarding the Bible fulfillment prophecies:
1. Christians try to prove that they have many fulfillment prophecy but this is indeed false. here i can give you only one example –
>>> Isaiah 7:14 says, prophesying of..”The coming a person who will born to virgin- his name will be Emmanuel.”
***Here christian says it refer to Jesus Christ. Born to virgin- the Hebrew word there is “Alma” which means not “a virgin” always Alma mentioned “a young lady” the word for virgin in Hebrew is “Baitula” which is not there.
>>> And it says ‘He will be called “immanuel”.
***No where in the Bible is Jesus Christ called as Immanuuel. – Unfulfilled prophecy!
****HISTORICAL ERRORS OF BIBLE:
1. The story of Noah and the flood conflict with scientific evidence and archaeological data:
The Biblical description of the flood in Genesis chapter 6, 7 and 8 indicates that the deluge was universal and it destroyed every living thing on earth, except those present with Noah in the ark. The description suggests that the event took place 1656 years after the creation of Adam (pbuh) or 292 years before the birth of Abraham, at a time when Noah was 600 years old. Thus the flood may have occurred in the 21st or 22nd Century B.C.
***This story of the flood, as given in the Bible, contradicts scientific evidence from archaelogical sources which indicate that the eleventh dynasty in Egypt and the third dynasty in Babylonia were in existence without any break in civilisation and in a manner totally unaffected by any major calamity which may have occurred in the 21st century B.C. This contradicts the Biblical story that the whole world had been immersed in the flood water. – Historical error!
****CONCLUSION: This Bible is a man made book!
In response to the above article on historical errors of the Bible, further down in the article I thought Arch gave a pretty good response to the claims:
1. This was fulfilled. You are taking too short a view of prophecy fulfillment. While Jehoaiachin did reign briefly for 3 months, he was quickly overthrown by Nebuchadnezzar and his descendants were not permitted to reign.
More importantly, the Messianic line would not go through him. Rather, it went threw his uncle Jeconiah and his descendants(see Matthew Chapter 1). Thus the prophecy WAS fulfilled, just not in the narrow way you were expecting.
2. Your statement is only partly true. At http://www.padfield.com/1994/tyre.html there is a fairly comprehensive description of this. This website sites the book “Babylonian Life And History” by A. Wallis Budge as stating ” “Nebuchadnezzar took all Palestine and Syria and the cities on the seacoast, including Tyre, which fell after a siege of 13 years (573 B.C.)”
The article goes on to explain “The inhabitants of Tyre fled to a rocky island half a mile offshore. The walls on the landward side of the island were 150 feet high.” It was this island-bound version of Tyre to which Alexander the Great laid siege. But Nebuchadnezzar took the mainland Tyre, forcing the inhabitants to flee to the nearby island.
It should be noted that the aforementioned “rocky island” was already part of the city of Tyre and was well developed and even fortified. So, Nebuchadnezzar did take a good portion of the city. But notice that while the prophecy describes Nebuchadnezzar ransacking the city, it does NOT say that he DESTROYED it, only that he would PLUNDER it. This is what happened.
Furthermore, Ezekiel’s prophecy predicts HOW Alexander would later conquer the remaining island. It says, ” they will lay your stones, your timber, and your soil in the midst of the water.” This is precisely what Alexander did, thereby creating a bridge from the ruins of the mainland city to the island stronghold by which he took the island.
So, not only is the prophecy accurate as regards Nebuchadnezzar, it even foreshadows Alexander.
3. Yes Damascus is still a city … so far. I wouldn’t live there though. Isaiah 17 is not “unfulfilled”, it is YET TO BE fulfilled. It will happen one day. Patience. Patience.
4. Go to http://www.biblicalhorizons.com/biblical… . All is explained there.
Look, each of these should have been a separate question anyway. I think answer the first 4 pretty much shows that you haven’t really researched this nearly as thoroughly as you need to if you are going to make these kinds of pronouncements. Do some research and come back later and see if you can’t make your argument a little more accurately.
P.S. Your dating of the flood is highly suspect. “Immanuel” is a title, not a name, which means “God with us”, which is what Christians believe Jesus to have been. We call Him “Immanuel” every day, just in our own language when we say that He is God Incarnate.
In response to your comment:
“And that neatly brings me to the point that most interests me: is it correct? You say the evidence for God is everywhere. But I say there is nothing anywhere I have seen that is unique to the God hypothesis; it has not been validated.
This point works this way. There are two general world views: the natural world view and the supernatural world view. Both of these can be seen as hypothesis-generating; you can make guesses about what you should see if each hypothesis were right.
Here is where it gets interesting: only hypotheses unique to one of the world views can be considered validation of one view over the other. I outline unique hypotheses from the God hypothesis in a few posts on my blog, each one is not found.
I also outline some unique natural hypotheses: imperfect biology, truly pointless suffering, an imperfect universe, an imperfect geography… these are all found.
This should have stood as strong validation of the natural world view, and invalidation of the supernatural world view. But hundreds of years of apologetics, pseudo-science (like the article you sent of tectonics) and bad philosophy have tried to square these things. Apparently a perfect God can give us an imperfect world. Apparently evolution fits perfectly into the theistic world view. Apparently the supernatural world looks a lot like the natural one.”
I don’t see a problem with the fact that the world is imperfect. The scriptures say that there was a “fall.” Sin entered the world and its corrupting influence even impacted nature. Pointless suffering and imperfection are explained by my theology.
Beyond that, the universe’s tendency to disorder is actually in agreement with the Christian view rather than the evolutionary view which argues that there needs to be a move towards a progressively higher order.
Well, no. Evolution is a uniquely biological phenomena, it is about increasing complexity over generations. The universe – not being biological – falls victim to heat death and entropy. The explanation for the universe is actually quite complicated. But it was science that revealed that for us, not religion.
In fact, I’d love to hear your explanation of why the eventual heat death of the universe is in keeping with your teachings. Not how it makes no odds, but how it is actually in line with your theology.
Equally, I’d love to hear how you take an interpretation of the Bible so literal that in includes the Fall – the whole of humanity being punish for one person eating from the wrong tree, or seeking Knowledge (depending on your interpretation) – but still allows God to be a moral, just character.
Allow me to expand on that: a child in Africa, right now, is starving to the point his digestive system is eating itself for calories. This child is in torment and is suffering deeply. Because Eve ate an apple, by executive decision of your God.
Your God knows all, has the power to change all and set up rules: God – according to your belief – is the character inflicting Earthly torment on people. And inflicting it again on people, like me, who are morally good in general but don’t believe.
I know the general response: have you ever told a lie? Then you are a liar; have you ever lusted after a woman? Then you are an adulterer; have you ever hated someone? Then you’re a murderer. I don’t accept that logic: thought crime is victimless and thus does not deserve punishment; one’s moral character is defined on balance, not on such totalitarian grounds; the punishment for a finite crime is infinite, it is disproportionate; God set a moral standard his creation could not maintain and chose to punish us for it; we are created sick and commanded to be well. So that’s my objection to the fall narrative as an excuse for evil in this world.
Notice, though, that natural evils are my biggest concern: famines, earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis… so no talk of ‘free will’ can actually account for this.
Let me also talk momentarily about Jesus dying for our sins. That is not justice. Yes, in our legal system you can pay someone else’ fine, but I am responsible for my actions. Jesus is not. Dying for my sins is a loophole, not morality.
The Scriptures say that one day there will be “a new heavens and a new earth,(Rev. 21:1)” so I’m not concerned about the universe “falling victim to heat death and entropy.”
Thank God that the Gospel teaches that God is not just a God of justice, but also of mercy and grace. Who among us could stand in perfection before God? The Bible teaches that the only one who could forgive us of our sins is the one who was willing to take the place for our sins. And only the judge himself could do that – because it would be horrifying for someone to place our judgment on another! But if the judge says he’s willing to pay because he has mercy and grace upon the defendent — that’s different! The defendent is still guilty, but the penalty was paid! I don’t think any Christian denies his sin, he just gratefully receives the payment for his penalty. Would you really want a world where there was no grace? Your little girl (hypothetically) stole a piece of candy — should the full penalty of the law come down on her? Is that what you are commending? Spiritually speaking, the law condemns all of us, and all of us probably deserve a punishment, but thank God that he provided a way for us to be forgiven and shown grace!
The Scriptures teach that we were all unrighteous and separated from God, yet he didn’t want to judge us, he wanted to be reconciled to us. He accomplished that through Jesus! He gave us a gift and all we have to do is say thank you and take it. At that time new life flows into us and instead of living a selfish life, we live a life of love, service, forgiveness, and heroism.
This new life is God’s heart expressed through us. It’s why the one caring for the little, hungry, African girl is almost always a Christian! The heart of God is not hard and unconcerned. It’s active and willing to go to the most desperate and needy. Google “African relief” and see how many organizations are Christian.
My theology also doesn’t teach that God created us sick and then commanded us to be well. It teaches that he gave us a free will and we all (not just Adam and Eve) continually CHOOSE to do wrong. Even in this, God provided a way for us to become a new creation after we do wrong. (2 Cor. 5:17) He doesn’t leave us hopeless! He provides a way to become new. Have you ever heard the testimonies of Christians who have been empowered to live a new life after being in bondage to alcohol, drugs, lying, cheating, etc . . . ?
The penalty for sin (for justice’s sake–as you acknowledge) is separation from God. If a person doesn’t want to be near God then they don’t have to. But since God is the source of life, love, joy, and light then they may not be in a place where there is an abundance of those things. Should God force himself into a place where he’s not wanted? Is His absence from their lives that much torment to those who don’t want him? Perhaps.
Finally, a free will is necessary in order to love or to feel guilt. Should God have created robots? If so we would be incapable of remorse or passion. What kind of world would that be? I hope that I will always feel convicted when I hurt somebody, that I’m willing to admit it when I’m wrong, and that I will always love and not hate.
Thank you, first of all, for being honest enough to essentially retract your claim; the heat death of the universe is not in-line with Biblical teaching, it just makes no odds.
But let us get to the point: is it moral that God has created a “justice” system where we are inevitably sinners (by our nature we lust, we desire and we hate; occasionally some of us even give into these and commit real crimes instead of thought crimes. Not only that, but we inherit sin because Eve ate the wrong apple – never let the disproportionate nature of that comment pass you by. We, all of humanity, are punished in Hell with eternal torture because Eve ate the wrong thing) and the way to salvation is not to make earth amends, and apologies and rectify the situations you have caused on this earth, oh no. The way to salvation is to pretend like a human sacrifice is an effective thing. “I forgive you if you believe the death of my son – who is also me – who didn’t die, but rather rose a few days later – can be an act of salvation”.
No. No moral thinking can lead you to believe this. Religious thinking can, but moral thinking cannot. Murderers do not have to try to make amends with victims families, or apologise… they just have to repent and accept Jesus. This is not morality.
My point about free-will, which I clearly spent too little time on, was that free-will is not a factor in naturally caused suffering. Famines and droughts, floods and storms, tsunamis and hurricanes – these are not the acts of human free will. If there is a God, however, they are acts of his. No moral God would randomly inflict that upon us and kill so many innocent people.
In regards to your statement,
” Murderers do not have to try to make amends with victims families, or apologise… they just have to repent and accept Jesus.”
I never said this. I said that Jesus will forgive them, but “repentance” (an ugly word to most) says that because a person is a Christian they have new life and are empowered to become good members of society. This means that they should make amends for what they did wrong. Did you ever read the story of Zaccheus? He was a tax collector who wrongly took others’ money. When he came to Christ he paid them all back.
Zacchaeus the Tax Collector
1 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”
8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
The scriptures never try to absolve us of our earthly responsibility, but they do claim that by receiving Christ our relationship with God can be restored.