I am seeking passages from the Bible that you believe transcend what mere mortals could have known at the time of writing.
Please share anything that you believe provides evidence of a real God’s involvement in the writing of the text.
One obvious example would be any passage making a claim regarding the Universe or natural world that matches our current knowledge.
What evidence can a subscriber of the Biologos ideology provide in order to help a skeptic believe that God is a real entity and the Bible is His word?
What causes you to embrace the Bible while at the same time, reject all other holy books?
Why are you not simply a deist (please refrain from providing emotional or spiritual experiences as a reason)?
Have you an inherited faith based on habit, or have you tormented your mind in the pursuit of faith?
How do you rationalize your Christian beliefs?
I am seeking passages from the Bible that you believe transcend what mere mortals could have known at the time of writing.
Are you sure you didn’t want to know who the Post Master General under Millard Fillmore was instead? Google and I could probably get right back to you with that one. So okay … you’re running with the $500 questions rather than the $5 ones. I understand.
Some of us think that the prophecies of Isaiah 53 about the messiah-to-be are pretty knock-down astounding! So much so, in fact, that critical scholars at one time insisted those passages must have been written by others later and made to match the now-revealed Christ. It took science to come along and definitively date some parchment fragments to before Christ to lay this skepticism to rest.
This reminds me of somebody making a request of a math teacher: “you know I’ve really taken a fancy to this math stuff you teach and I would like to become a master in it … would you instruct me? Oh - but I insist on learning without you bringing up any numbers of any kind - I really can’t abide those, so don’t bother bringing them up at all.”
But to simply answer your question: Deism won’t be logically dis-proven by anything any of us does, any more than Christianity or atheism will either. So (unlike Christianity for me) I see no compelling reason to consider deism either from scriptures or from life experience. There are a few hints in scripture that could be interpreted in that [deistic] direction, such as Jesus’ parables about absentee kings leaving a manager in charge of the place - but the warp and woof of the whole of scriptures militates against trying to draw any such conclusions from parables that had quite different instructive aims.
What makes you think Christians are compelled to reject all other holy books? The typical line of thought this comes from is that these books all express logically exclusive truths, and so they can’t all be right. I find this to be almost entirely nonsense. Yes there will be some exclusive truth claims, and necessary choices at certain points. But I suspect there would be much in the Quran or the Bhagavad Gita or ____ that I might likely agree with and find edifying if I had read them. I’m certainly in no position to reject stuff I haven’t read. So this materialist trope about one religion needing to be 100% right, necessitating all the others being 100% wrong is about as rational as my finding a mistake in a science textbook of the past and deciding then that the whole of science must be a bunch of bunk. That only things like science are permitted to develop, grow, celebrate change, while religions are apparently required to appear in complete perfection for all times and ages at once is not something that is defensible at any coherent level.
Will leave it here for now. Thanks for asking - and seriously - these are good questions!
[edited to correct a few wordings…]
This is both interesting and an example of what I am after. Thank you.
That is actually how I rationalize the utter lack of intervention today. We’ve been left to our own devices, being given only the Holy Spirit to guide and comfort us (certainly not to give us powers). But one day the king shall return and see how we all went in His absence (The Parable of the Ten Minas).
Agreed. I have often found truth in the unlikeliest of places. Though not one of those sources has the whole truth. It is my hope that the Bible does though, and it is simply my current interpretation that prevents me from seeing that.
I am also often frustrated that scientists get a free pass to be wrong and limitless chances to improve, but Christians get only one chance with the Bible, and if they get it wrong (which many, like Ken Ham, have) the Bible is out for all time.
If I could have given your post above multiple “likes”, I would have!
So is your sense of God’s absence driven by a conviction that things should not be as they are if God were truly present?
To jump back on one or two more of your OP questions since nobody else seems to be getting in line here…
If by this you mean a text is dictated by God to an essentially “dumb” mouthpiece (or hand holding a quill, I guess) then I doubt evidence will be forthcoming - especially if that’s not what happened. I do hold the Bible in special regard and consider it the Christian text to learn from. But my veneration of it is only because of who it has directed me to … God as known in Christ. Once Christ is “in view”, all signs pointing the way to him (e.g. the Bible) are now of only associative importance - i.e. important because of their proximity in helping us to find / know / follow Christ; but not important for anything in and of themselves apart from Christ. [see John 5:39]. And I would further add that the Old Testament is only important (from our peculiarly Christocentric point of view) for setting the stage for the New Testament to help us better understand that. But it is also true that we Christians shamelessly use the N.T. as our lens through which we see and understand the O.T. In doing so we follow the legacy of the earliest apostles.
OK but Pete Enns does comment on Isaiah 53 in a different light too–the suffering servant, typified by Israel
I’m playing my Devil’s advocate role here. “You doubt because you love the truth.”
And–Muslims do have their own games to play with numerology and miraculous claims–eg Muhammad saying that God created man from a nutfa (drop) in the womb, which current Muslims say couldn’t have been really known (that actually got into my biology text in medical training, slipped in by an associate of the author).
There are lots of reasons I choose to accept Christianity–I admit a lot is because my parents were terrifically Christ like; but also because it’s unique in viewing that God identifies with us, as a servant, savior and model–the first shall be last. I am not sure I have a definitive one other than I really don’t know how I can live without it, either–and Kierkegaard noted that we often have to make a leap of faith either way (not that I’m well read in Kierkegaard).
Agree with @Mervin_Bitikofer’s other points here too He posted a great sermon by someone from Kansas City about the Christian’s attitudes towards world religions a few months ago.
Thanks for that Enns link, Randy. I’m terrifically interested in this right now, still having MacDonald fresh on my mind [in fact I’m still reading some of his other ‘unspoken sermons’ in that same series.]
I don’t think Enns’ insights here need to feel threatening to anybody about “explaining away” Isaiah 53 -which I don’t think he’s trying to do in any case. The insights that help us to see various ways that atonement was seen back then are helpful for us now. My putting that chapter forward as an example for contemplation didn’t constitute any endorsement on my part that there need be a perfect correspondence between it and the later Messiah’s life. Isaiah was a human being, not a possessor of some crystal ball. But that doesn’t stop me from admiring the cohesion of the continued theme that his prophecy “just happened” to support.
Thanks for the shout out on the sermon series by Adam Hamilton on world religions. In case anyone is interested, here is the link again: You have to scroll down on this page to see all six sermons listed, the first of them being “the wise men”.
Absolutely. This world is clearly a mess. Even those I know who are atheists know it is ‘circling the drain’. Were God to return, I know He’d right the place.
It’s funny, Jesus is literally the only thing about the Bible that has many times stopped me simply throwing the thing away and giving up.
This is how I feel. I like it.
Never read the Koran. I never bothered with it, based upon the character of their Muhammad fellow. Horrid person. How can he be a prophet and Godly man? As far as I have read, he was a war-mongerer, a paedophile and a murderer who demanded Muslims kill people like me. Were Jesus not the enigma I think He is, I would have rejected the Bible too.
I too, feel I could not go on without Jesus Christ being real and true. I suppose this is why I get so passionate and well, kind of obsessive about the topic at times. It is infinitely important to me. I’ve found no other hope for meaning or purpose in my life.
But wasn’t he though? In a manner of speaking. He was a prophet right? He had a direct link to God… That’s a pretty good crystal ball!
My own background is an agnostic/atheistic home. And a developed aversion to evangelicals and my local ‘churches’ for consistently failing to practise what they preached, or being plain ignorant. So my Christian journey began more or less alone, with people on the internet like John Clayton from the Does God Exist ministry, helping me along. I also read Hugh Ross a lot back then too, and really like his ideas on the flood. Though I think he can get carried away sometimes. I’ve since read Lewis, Lennox, Bill Craig, Collins and even Flew’s last work, among others. I guess you could say my influence is very ‘mainstream’. And my faith based purely on the argument, rather than feelings and experience. It seems Biologos rejects much of what I have based my beliefs on though. Which is troubling. I am not interested in mere comfort, after all. But the truth of things.
I enjoyed your post, @Truth_Seeker. Maybe you can tell us more about your search, which seems to have been to find some great things and reasons. I would be sorry if my fallible postings misled you about Biologos in general, though–I’m only a frequent visitor here and not official with them in any way. I have been learning a lot about science and faith; and most of the time Biologos has really strengthened me. But I’m sure that the moderators would welcome any questions or corrections you can give.
Keep in mind that we’re a motley bunch here. Perhaps I should even be careful about using the word “we” - as if there were some team or formal community with membership requirements. There aren’t.
That said I’ll venture this - that a person doesn’t go wrong if they are pursuing truth, though I do also think that pursuit of relationship also has an essential place too (but should never be pitted against truth). I doubt any “Biologian” would want to dissuade you from pursuing a robust intellectual coherence for all matters of the Christian life. That kind of priority has roots in all sorts of giants of church history and even back to the Apostle Paul himself I would argue. But our own steam (intellectual or otherwise) only gets us so far. You want it to deliver you all the way to the promise land, it would seem. Don’t we all. But doesn’t the fact that you’re still here looking for something, even after having absorbed all of that philosophy from all those authors - doesn’t that tell you something? Very few of us here are going to be any farther up any “intelligence ladders” (I know I’m not anyway) than authors you’ve already learned from. So at the end of ourselves, sometimes all we have to do is sit at the feet of Christ - and then get up and follow him around if he leads us somewhere. There isn’t any shame in confessing that a whole lot of stuff isn’t making sense to us right now, but “this God-man I do know, and want to be known by him.” Living that way will unite you with a whole lot of other people from a surprising variety of walks in life, and is something many of us have to repeatedly re-commit ourselves to whether we grew up in pious households or not.
Inconsistent nonsense. Since they had the book, they could read it, and could therefore know what was said there. Any knowledge contained would become common knowledge of that time and thus would be included in what “mere mortals could have known at the time of writing.”
Please share anything that provides evidence of no involvement of a God in the writing of the text. Can the absence of evidence prove anything? Yes, it can.
- A reasonable expectation for such evidence would strongly suggest that an absence of evidence means it is not the case.
- Otherwise, if there is no evidence either way then what is established is that there is no reasonable basis for expecting people to agree with either conclusion.
But there is an example of this. The Bible teaches that the universe has a beginning despite the fact that scientists believed in a steady state universe for a very long time. But to the great surprise of the scientific community they discovered evidence that the Bible was correct all along. But does this really prove anything? It does not, because the premise here is fundamentally flawed as I have already explained.
No objective evidence is possible for any kind of God that I would believe in. If you had objective evidence for an entity then I would call that an alien not God.
I don’t reject other holy books. I simply don’t find them all that interesting to me personally.
Well, perhaps it depends on the book, and which you would identify as “holy.” After all, I have read quite a few books and there is no telling which you might decide are “holy.” So the above response would apply to those which are the basis of a major religion and at least a thousand years old.
Covered this already in another thread. A god which simply watches is irrelevant to our lives and thus equivalent to no god at all.
Have you inherited your aversion to Christianity based on habit or have you tormented your mind in the pursuit of this hatred? For someone asking others to refrain from emotional stuff, this question is skewed by a rather large amount of wild emotions. Well even if you cannot manage it, I can restate the question without the emotional ranting.
Have you inherited your religious belief or have you worked it out for yourself?
I have worked it out for myself and not by choosing between previously organized packages but by thinking out each separate issue. By the way, this is something you might try as also. That way you won’t sound quite so much like you are simply parroting a load of canned rhetoric that we have all heard thousands of times before.
With less emotion apparently.
As once a deist, and now a born-again follower of Christ, I hope my testimony and answers here can help you, or at least provide you a seed for faith!
It never gets mentioned here, other than by me, for some reason, but the hygienic laws in the Mosaic law were centuries ahead of their time. Here is an relevant section of an article in Tomorrow’s World:
“it is quite instructive to read what Bible reference books have to say about the health laws. Halley’s Bible Handbook states: “Moses’ Law… [including] its Health and Food regulations, was far purer, more rational, humane and democratic than, and showed a wisdom far in advance of, anything in ancient legislation, Babylonian, Egyptian or any other” (24th edition, p. 138). Eerdmans’ Handbook of the Bible states: “Today we are able to understand and appreciate the sound principles of diet, hygiene and medicine which these laws express\ (p. 176). The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, commenting on Leviticus 11, states that \the Levitical laws of cleanness have no known extensive parallels in surrounding cultures,” so the idea of Moses borrowing primitive taboos does not hold up, because “surrounding cultures exhibit little of this sort of law.””
The ancients understood the divine, since they, like us, saw a world whose existence needed an explanation, and that it was filled with order, complexity, love, evil, purpose, intelligence, etc, that also needed an explanation. The bible explained to them who He was and what were His ultimate designs for man (to be with Him for eternity). There was no need to describe the physical workings and history of the earth - they wouldn’t have understood it and would have been a distraction to the message.
What you’re asking for is, “something that someone in 2018 would understand as true regarding the physical paradigm that an ancient wouldn’t have known about.” What would the purpose of that be? The ancients didn’t need to be convinced that God existed (which is also the biblical perspective that men, “are without excuse” to believe in God - Romans 1). They needed to know the mind, heart and purposes of this creator.
In addition, what if God mentioned a scientific truth that hasn’t been discovered yet? You see the fruitlessness of God teaching science? It was unnecessary and would have only hindered the message.
I embraced the bible because it was introduced to me by young guys who’s lifestyle and attitude was nothing I had ever experienced. That led me to give the bible a try, and when I read about Jesus in the gospels, I felt a sledgehammer banging against my hard heart. Not only that, I found a profundity and wisdom in the teachings of Christ that seemed to me to be above what men would of come up with. When I further investigated the OT teachings of the future Kingdom of God, and saw them realized in the NT, I knew the bible was from God.
Rejecting other texts is easy. If the bible is true, meaning that Jesus is the prophesied son of God and his teachings were accurately recorded, then other, “holy” books are not from God.
"All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. (John 10:8) That eliminates Buddha and all the Hindu gods as being from God. The Quran contradicts the gospel left and right, denying even the divinity of Christ and that he died on the cross. Other, “holy” books were written/authored by men who made no claims to be speaking for God, like Confucius. Other religions are hybrids religions like the Baha’i faith, which is basically an off-shoot of Islam. So rejecting other canons is easy and a natural consequence of the teachings of Christ.
Because Deism makes no sense. To be a deist is to believe that this universe with purpose, order, complexity, love, beauty, etc. was created by a creator who didn’t have a purpose for His creation. And now that I’ve been a believer for a while, theism is the only way to account for the existence of evil, which, according to the bible is the result of the works of a spiritual force in opposition to God. Where does it come from in deism?
I don’t know if I understand the first question here. Is it asking if I inherited my faith as I did when I was born into a Catholic family? The answer would be no, since what I believe now about Jesus and what he expects from me is much different from what I was raised to believe.
I never tormented my mind in the pursuit of faith. I was ambiguous on evolution at the time of my conversion and though most in the church then didn’t believe in it, it was rarely, as now, talked about among my Christian friends, and never from the pulpit. And that’s because what is infinitely more important is to live faithfully as a follower of Christ. When about to be baptized, I just figured I would figure out the, “Genesis stuff”, one way or another, which ended up being true, though not how I thought it would.
I don’t rationalize them. The universe to me screams that there is a Creator. I makes sense to me that this creator loved the world so much that he gave his Son to be tortured and murdered for my sins. That’s the God I have faith in, not one who believes in, “killing the infidel”, or who favors a certain tribe, like in Judaism.
Sorry, but this is an over-simplification.
Or the old chestnut about looking for your lost watch where the light is good rather than in the dark places you’re more likely to have been. Feelings, emotions and spiritual experiences may not put out the same light as reason but some things just are not to be found where reason can illuminate it.
There’s not much more to tell. Sleepless nights. Frustration. Prayer. Any effect prayer had, I cannot be certain of a God being involved. Maybe prayer simply has a therapeutic effect to it, like meditation? I also attempt to follow Christ’s teachings anyway, despite my frequent doubts. They do seem the best way to live.
I find the emotional side of things difficult. As I suffer from an emotional disorder. I find them mostly overly dramatic and unreliable. It is also extremely hard to try and relate to someone that is both invisible and silent. You never know if you’re just talking to yourself…
Obviously they didn’t have microscopes, telescopes… Things of that nature that reveal things otherwise hidden…
There is that. Though a beginning could easily be assumed in a realm where all things seem to have one.
I didn’t say ‘objective’. But what about probabilities, chance vs design… Anything of that nature?
You’re being unnecessarily difficult… You know what I am asking, stop trying to add some deep, relative to it.
The Judeo/Christian God, if real, DOES only watch! Consider all the children in hospitals at this very moment… If they were lucky enough to make it THAT far!
I was referring to ‘feelings’ of God’s presence or being comforted by Him… The assumption that God has directly acted in your life. But you’re pretentiousness seems to prevent you from accepting that OBVIOUS possibility…
I would very much like you to ignore all my posts in future. Your hostility, arrogance and pretentiousness are useless to me.
This is a great example! In a world without hospitals and penicillin, these preventative revelations to the Israelites certainly were quite impressive. I have added this to my notes.
But God could have added something for us to understand today. He was no stranger to including divine mysteries into the text and confusing the people of the day, after all.
I suppose, though it causes me to resent all those who personally experienced Him back then. We get no such luxury, it seems. A future forsaken.
I’ve added your answer to this question to my quotes. Thanks.
I added this only because I have found those with an inherited faith are the least able to answer the difficult questions and tend to be lazy. I wanted to separate those I believe are lazy with those who had to struggle to find faith. Maybe that was mean-spirited?
But in this day and age, it cannot be overstated how important the need for answers is. This is why so few young people attend these church sessions today. The ‘leaders’ usually don’t know reality from the Flintstones…
Hmmm… I am not quite so dismissive of what reason can illuminate. Psychology does a pretty good job of dealing with these quite rationally. Maybe it is because I was raised in this ideology of psychology, but it seems to me that much of the emotional world can be treated as variables in our rational equations. Certainly many detectives, psychologists, and profilers do a pretty good job at this. I suppose you can object that the symbolization of them in language is somewhat different than the real thing. But in this it is much like the rest of the sciences where the mathematical models are not quite the same thing as what they model either. Also you can perhaps argue that psychologists/psychiatrists can be a little strange… not quite on the usual beaten path of sanity. LOL Or to put it another way… just because they can rationalize their emotion doesn’t mean they are in control of them (i.e. are mature) as much as they may think.
Also it is not my intent to claim that science can calculate everything perfectly. In fact, science tends to have a pretty good handle on its own limitations.
Like what? That there are 200 million galaxies? There was no concept of, “galaxy” 3,000 years ago. They understood the stars (that were visible to the naked eye), sun and moon to travel over the, “raqia”, or sky. So even mentioning a galaxy as a group of 10 million to 1 billion stars would have confused the ancients. Also, just a few years ago we thought that there were only 100 million galaxies. Which leads to my next point, that there is a tendency for a generation to think that, as far as science is concerned, they, “know everything except for a few details”. But we don’t know everything, so what can God mention that would be available for all generations to know? And what would be the point?
What every generation needs to know is the true God. And it’s pointless to whine about it at this point - we already know that there is no, “science” revealed in the bible. What God did tell us is that we’re sinners and He provided a way of forgiveness, through His son, that can lead to eternal life. Do we need anything more?
There are several reasons why young people are leaving (or never joining) church these days. It’s not because the bible doesn’t present to them scientific secrets. It’s because some church leaders can’t escape from mistaken notions of the bible that make it look bad. Which is a crying shame, because the whole debate takes focus away from the true focus of the whole bible, and that is Jesus Christ.
Again, Benjamin, I find this whole train of thought wrong-headed. Only a few people experienced the living Christ. But we have his message that can still save us. So how is that, “a future forsaken”?
I appreciate this musing. It makes me think. I’m not sure I know what to respond yet, but thanks for your thoughts and it will fuel some more musing on my part, too.
There’s no reason to believe it without it offering a reason to. You may believe that is Jesus, forgiveness or something along those lines. But majority of the world doesn’t even believe what they do is in need of forgiveness. And they feel nothing for doing it. Majority of people get through life with no worries at all. No Jesus required for them!
People can overcome illness, habit whatever without God entering their minds once. Any claim of positive effects from God interacting in a person’s life are also claimed to happen without God, just as easily.
So there has to be something more to get people interested. And if there isn’t anything in the Bible to show that it isn’t just an old fairytale, then nobody will pay it any mind.
The problem for people is that there is literally no point in them caring about God or the Bible, unless He DOES exist, in which case, you ■■■■ well better bow… You know?
I’ve got nothing against reason. A big fan really.
I’m not sure which part of psychology you were exposed to. There is a lot of crap and minutia out there. But for self knowledge you pretty much have to go there. Pure reason won’t do it.