Is the Bible Credible?

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Many people point out the Bible discrepancies, and state because there are contradictions in the bible, it can't be viewed as a credible resource. Let's look at those contradictions.

1. What was written above Jesus's head when he was crucified. Matthew 27:37 says, “This is Jesus the King of the Jews.” Mark 15:26 says “The king of the Jews.” Luke 23:38 says, “This is the King of the Jews.” John 19:19 says, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”

If it actually said “This is Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews, ” then they all would be correct. We need to keep in mind that according to John 19:20 the sign was written in three different languages. It's not like the writing said it only said “King of the Jews.” .

2. How many angels were at Jesus's tomb after the resurrection? Matthew 28:2 mentions one angel. Mark 16:5 says there was a “young man” in the tomb. Luke 24:4 mentions two men clothed in dazzling robes.

3. How many blind men greeted Jesus outside Jericho? Mathew 20:30 says two (neither is named), Mark 10:46 mentions one named Bartimaeus.

4. How many demon possessed men did Jesus meet in the region of the Gadarenes? Mathew 8:28 say Jesus met two. Mark 5:2 mentions one.

5. How man donkeys did Jesus ride on as he entered Jerusalem?

Mathew 21:7 mentions two, a donkey and a colt. Mark 11:7 and Luke 19:35 only mention one, a colt. Speaking of that Zachariah 9:9 mentions both a donkey and a colt therefore supports Mathew but seems to contradict Mark and Luke.

In 2-5 we need to keep in mind that authors may have different levels of detail. If I say John Lennon was in the Beatles, and you say John Lennon and Paul McCartney were in the Beatles were are both correct. The person who says John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Star, and George Harrison were in the Beatles is the most accurate. However, none of us were wrong. It's not like we said, “Paul McCartney is the only Beatle.

6. Did the centurion outside Capernum ask Jesus to heal his servant, or was it someone else who came to Jesus?

Mathew 8:5 say it was the centurion. Luke 7:3-6 says the centurion sent two Jewish elders, then some friend to speak to Jesus on his behalf.

Today it is reported that a President of a country stated something. Many times this is a prepared statement that is delivered by a press secretary who said it on their behalf. In that scripture the centurion mentions how Jesus's power is much like other chains of command. He only need to “say the word” and those under his command do their bidding.

7. How did Judas die? Mathew 27:5 says he went out and hanged himself. Acts 1;18 tells us he fell and “his body split open, spilling out all his intestines.”

This is one of the most brought up contradictions. I can speak to this one personally. I work for a company that inspects properties for banks. In some cases the property is being foreclosed on. We find houses in really bad condition. In one instance the home owner had hung himself from a tree in the backyard. However, the inspector didn't see him (his backyard was very large and he was way off in the distance). However, gases build up in a body (especially one that is in the sun) and left alone the body exploded. Thus both these scriptures could be accurate. Other say that Judas hung himself over a cliff and the branch broke which would catapult his body down the cliff.

8. How was the bible transcribed?

Most of the newer translations like the NIV and others go back to the original documents with the best translators. So many people think of the “telephone game” where you tell one person a phrase who gives it to the other person, and the next, and the next and finally the last person states what they heard and you find out how much was lost in translation. This is not the case. We start at the original. We are not translating a translation.

The original documents were written by scribes. These were special people who were mind boggling exact. More than 5,600 Greek manuscripts contain pars or all of the New Testament an amount far beyond that of any other ancient book. Compare that the Honer's Iliad and only seven copies of Plato's writings. When you compare the copies of the New Testament the manuscripts are nearly perfect. Much more accurate of other writings.

If you look at the Hindu Mahabharata is approximately 260,000 lines and is 90% accurate. Homer's Iliad is 15,600 lines and is 95% accurate. The New Testament is 20,000 lines and is 99.98% accurate.

There was a Time Gap between when the items happened and when it was written. Here again the Bible is in better shape than other documents. The New Testament was written 50-100 A.D. and the earliest copy is 100-300 A.D. (30-250 years). Compare this to Homer, Plato, or Aristotle and you see a time gap of 500 (Homer) to 1,400 (Aristotle) years.

Authors of the New Testament wrote almost all of the New Testament  within 40 years of Jesus' crucifixion, and all within 65 years. Forty years is a long time to remember, but the authors were able to cross references each other and keep each other accurate.

Why are You Trying to Discredit the bible?

If you are a Christian, and someone says, “The Bible is full of contradictions.” First don't take it personal. Second, ask them for specifics. Ask, “Which on in particular do you find the most contradictory?” Another question you might ask is, “Is there something in your life that you’re afraid you’d have to change or give up if the Bible turns out to be what it claims—the Word of God?”

 

Seriously God?

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I entered my Ethics class at the University of Akron. Day one we had to get something out of the way. We needed to get God out of this discussion. After all, what does God know about Morals? Here was their excuse to get God out of the Ethics discussions:

1. There are so many denominations. If people can't agree on God then he doesn't exist.
2. There are universal truths (like don't murder). Did God invent these truths, or did he just relay them?
3. There are no hard facts that God exists. You can run an experiment in a lab and prove God.

No we don't want to put our faith into something we can't see. Yes God is all around. To start this podcast we first have to start where everything starts: God.

If I walked through the forest and found a watch, would I go, “Wow this dirt has turned into a watch! – Amazing!” No, I'd go, “Someone lost their watch.” It's obvious that somenoe created this watch. It didn't evolve over billions of years from a frog. It's to integrated. It's too intelligent. Even after billions of years, a watch did not evolve from a frog.

OK, I know this is dumb. There are birds who have had their beaks evolve over time. However, they are still BIRDS.

If we evolved from a big bang, and energy and matter just landed here and we arose from a bunch of goo, I say the complexity is to great. Christians look at God's designs and praise the creator. They put their faith in someone they can't see, but they can see a reflection of his mighty hand in his creations. A non believer puts their faith in time. How did this happen? Their answer is time. Over time everything “just happened.”

For today, let's just look at a few things. Let's cover how the planet got here. Let's go back to the beginning.
Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

Science wants to prove that you can create life by chance. One widely used example of how life could have formed by natural processes is the Miller-Urey experiment, performed in the early 1950s.

Miller’s objective was not to create life but to simulate how life’s basic building structures (amino acids) might have formed in the early earth. In the experiment, Miller attempted to simulate the early atmosphere of earth by using certain gases, which he thought might produce organic compounds necessary for life. Since the gases he included (water, methane, ammonia, and hydrogen) do not react with each other under natural conditions, he generated electrical currents to simulate some form of energy input (such as lightning) that was needed to drive the chemical reactions. The result was production of amino acids. Many textbooks promote this experiment as the first step in explaining how life could have originated. But there is more to this experiment than what is commonly represented in textbooks.

In the experiment, Miller was attempting to illustrate how life’s building blocks (amino acids) could have formed by natural processes. However, throughout the experiment Miller relied on years of intelligent research in chemistry. He purposely chose which gases to include and which to exclude. Next, he had to isolate the biochemicals (amino acids) from the environment he had created them in because it would have destroyed them. No such system would have existed on the so-called primitive earth. It appears Miller used intelligent design throughout the experiment rather than chance processes.

Now let's look at the Earth

The Earth…its size is perfect. The Earth's size and corresponding gravity holds a thin layer of mostly nitrogen and oxygen gases, only extending about 50 miles above the Earth's surface. If Earth were smaller, an atmosphere would be impossible, like the planet Mercury. If Earth were larger, its atmosphere would contain free hydrogen, like Jupiter. Earth is the only known planet equipped with an atmosphere of the right mixture of gases to sustain plant, animal and human life.

The Earth is located the right distance from the sun. Consider the temperature swings we encounter, roughly -30 degrees to +120 degrees. If the Earth were any further away from the sun, we would all freeze. Any closer and we would burn up. Even a fractional variance in the Earth's position to the sun would make life on Earth impossible. The Earth remains this perfect distance from the sun while it rotates around the sun at a speed of nearly 67,000 mph. It is also rotating on its axis, allowing the entire surface of the Earth to be properly warmed and cooled every day.

And our moon is the perfect size and distance from the Earth for its gravitational pull. The moon creates important ocean tides and movement so ocean waters do not stagnate, and yet our massive oceans are restrained from spilling over across the continents

It's hard to believe we evolved from “goo.”

Now Let's Look at Man

Evolutionary Developmental Biology
I am aware of Sean Carrol and his Pulitzer Prize winning studies where “modifying a single gene during a fly’s embryonic development could transform the insect’s body plan: Instead of becoming an antenna, a body extension could develop into a leg.” This does not answer the question, “Where did the DNA come from?” It also shows points to Carrol (by intelligent design) modifying the fly's gene. It also seems as if you end up with a five legged fly, but a bee.

In his book The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask: (With Answers) Mark Mittelberg states this:

Consider what you’d need for a protein molecule to form by chance. First, you need the right bonds between the amino acids. Second, amino acids come in right-handed and left-handed versions, and you’ve got to get only left-handed ones. Third, the amino acids must link up in a specified sequence, like letters in a sentence. Run the odds of these things falling into place on their own and you find that the probabilities of forming a rather short functional protein at random would be one chance in a hundred thousand trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion. That’s a ten with 125 zeroes after it! And that would only be one protein molecule—a minimally complex cell would need between three hundred and five hundred protein molecules. . . . To suggest chance against those odds is really to invoke a naturalistic miracle.

Looking at one cell there there is an identifying string is 3 billion letters long, and written in a strange and cryptographic four-letter code. Such is the amazing complexity of the information carried within each cell of the human body, that a live reading of that code at a rate of three letters per second would take thirty-one years, even if reading continued day and night. Printing these letters out in regular font size on normal bond paper and binding them all together would result in a tower the height of the Washington Monument.

God is saying “Hello?” Duh?

Psalm 19: 1 “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

When you walk out on a clear night and see the stars,  realize this is God's work. It didn't just happen. It is in fact God saying, “Hey! Look at me! I exist! It's impossible to deny!”

 

Sources:

The New Answers 2 – Ken Ham
Darwin Was Right – Discover Magazine

The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask: (With Answers)-Mark Mittelberg

The Pilot Episode

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Are you ready to start? Buckle up. Here we go. I'm calling this the pilot episode to explain where I'm coming from and where we are going.

I believe the bible. Every word. The inspired word of God. Now I also know that while it is the inspired word of God, it is not always inspiring (see Deuteronomy). I believe it. Even the talking donkey, virgin birth, Jonah and the whale, etc. I have seen miracles, so yes I believe it.

There are people who (from my point of view) have a greater understanding of Jesus. They have a closer connection with Jesus. The lead singer of Casting Crowns has great insights. The pastor of my church always seems to state the obvious in ways that are new and energizing. People that make me go “hmmmm.”

I hear of the peace, the confidence, the love that Jesus Christ can bring and I want that. I’ve been going to church since I was a baby. I lead my youth group when I was a teen. I’ve lead Sunday school classes for over 20 years. I’ve even attended classes to prep me for being a pastor. With that said, I still feel I can “take it to the next level” even though I’m not sure what that is or means.

I’ve been a teacher in the corporate world for over 20 years. I started filling in for my pastor when he went on vacation. I was later approached to consider doing this full time (as the pastor was looking to retire). I prayed and agreed. To make a long story short, the experiment of me becoming a pastor did not go the way I had planned. As the old saying goes, “You can’t please everyone,” and my style of preaching was completely different from the previous pastor. I was water, and my congregation was oil. This doesn’t mean my water was bad, or their oil was bad. It just meant we weren’t a good fit for each other. I have since moved on to another church that feeds me spiritually. I love the people of my old church, and wish them well.

The one thing I truly enjoyed about being a Minister in Training was preaching.  I enjoyed the process of putting up my radar, and having God send down a message. I would have a single thought, and example after example would just jump out at me. Literal creative juices flowed as I would be up way past my bedtime with websites and scriptures leaping off the page to be part of my teaching that week.

In my studies to be a pastor, I’ve learned A LOT about religion. I’ve learned that I love Jesus Christ, but I HATE religion. Christians have argued for centuries over RELIGION. Why do you think there are so many denominations? Religion.

I’m here to try to build a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. This means I’m going to need to look at myself to see where I am. It means I’m going to have to study his word, and other books to see where I want to go, and then chart the course. It sounds easy. It should be easy. It’s not. The world is always working to convince me that the bible is just a bunch of stories. Being a Christian means going against the grain.

Let’s see if you can get this one. Why did Jesus come? I’ll let you think a minute. To save us? OK. To forgive our sins? Sure. When Pilot asked him, he replied “I’ve come to testify to the truth.” Which makes you think the truth is on trial. It is. Everything the bible says is wrong, the world says is OK. My favorite is that Christians are called “judgmental” when we say things like “Ashley Madison is a morally bankrupt company” (it’s a site that’s purpose is to help married people find other married people to have affairs). It’s not me saying that, it’s God. God said not to cheat on your spouse. As a Christian my goal is not to judge, but to identify those things that God deems offensive and avoid them.

So I’m taking my teachings to the Internet. I’m a geek. I’m a teacher. I’m a Christian. This will combine all three. As I strive to “Get to the next level,” you’re welcome to come along. I don’t have all the answers. I’m not perfect (far, far from it). I hope to make you smile along the way, maybe even chuckle. More importantly if you've been thinking about reaching out to God. I think we all can learn from each other. Let’s see where God wants us to go as I start the process of feeding my faith.