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Non-Theological Evidence Of God


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#1 gilbo12345

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 11:16 AM

Hey guys, I am considering doing a philosophy topic next semester, the topic is about "Truth, Reality and God", or something along those lines. I believe the lecturer doing the topic is an atheist, (I sat in a friends philosophy lecture he did last year and it was a very naturalistic pov being given- it was claimed there there is no evidence of the supernatural and that we cannot accept anything without evidence... It is my assumption that this topic will have the same theme.

Hence my dilemma ;)

I am interested in doing this topic, but I do not want to run the risk of getting bad grades due to disagreeing with the lecturers own beliefs. I figured if I had some legitimate non-theological evidence of God, (philosophical, logical or otherwise, much like Prof Craig), then perhaps I won't have to worry so much due to the strength of the argument I can present :)

I'm asking for non-Theological evidence since
i) God can be in reference to any God / designer, not just the Christian God, (though I believe the topic is mainly about the Christian God :) )
ii) The Bible cannot really be used as evidence of the Bible as that is the same logic of using the assumption that evolution is true as evidence of evolution.
iii) There is a tendency of atheists to ridicule and ignore when Theological evidence is given so I wish to avoid that


(By the way, I do have other options for my elective choice so this isn't an urgent thing :) )

#2 Ron

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 06:20 PM

Your number ii is a misnomer; I think you have worded it incorrectly. Further, when you do word it correctly, it isn't assumptive evidence for God.

Your statement "The Bible cannot really be used as evidence of the Bible" should actually read, "The Bible cannot really be used as evidence of (or for) God"; no theist claims that the Bible proves the Bible. This is a false premise, as the Bible is a collection of sixty-six books attesting to eye-witness, first-hand accounts of man's interactions WITH God (especially the New Testament), and is therefor , on that basis alone, it is not an ‘a priori’ argument (i.e. known or assumed without reference to experience). These evidences cannot be dismissed out of hand by the atheist, because they ARE evidences for God. Therefore they ARE NOT assumptive, subjective, or speculative; but rather they are OBJECTIVE evidentiary accounts. The atheist attempt to negate the Bible by using this argument, but they are committing an egregious logical and evidentiary error in attempting it (for the reasons I already pointed out). But, I also appreciate that you are intent on using more of an ‘a posteriori’ approach (i.e. reasoning from observed facts or events back to their causes), but I also had to point out the error.


Further, you are on the correct track by using the logical evidences for God (gods, an initial causer etc...) because logically, there are absolutely NO evidences for a ‘materialistic’ atheistic factual explanation origins for all of this (the universe, life, intelligence etc...).

William Lane Craig is a good start, as he uses an outstanding version of the Kalam Ontological Argument (amongst other logical arguments for God). If you have the time and resources, read his book "Reasonable Faith" especially Chapter 3 "The existence of God (1)" (pages 93 - 156) and "The existence of God (2)" (pages 157 - 207).

The Baker Encyclopedia (Geisler) also has some excellent information along these lines as well. Norman Geisler goes into an even greater depth on each subject (in an encyclopedic manner). For example; his explanation on the Ontological argument alone covers from page 555 to 559. His explanation for the Teleological Argument covers from page 714 to 721. All of the logical arguments you want are covered in depth there.

I've also provided you some resources here:
http://www.evolution...topic=4440&st=0


See especially posts 6 - 10, and 20...

#3 ChrisCarlascio

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 06:24 PM

Philosophy isn't an area I'm strong in, but I'd look into people like Greg Bahnsen or Jason Lisle's Ultimate Proof of Creation or Nuclear Strength Apologetics. Something I've learned from them is that everyones thinking is circular. People who don't believe the Bible, rely on their own reasoning as the basis for how they can reason, or something like that lol, but there's no problem with using the Bible as evidence for the Bible. It's a virtuous circle (because it is the only fulfilling basis for reasoning), while they have a vicious circle. Check these videos out if you'd like to hear more about that.

http://www.answersin...oof-of-creation
http://www.youtube.c...83&feature=plcp
http://www.youtube.c...72&feature=plcp

#4 gilbo12345

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 09:09 PM

Thanks for the replies, yes I've been studying Prof Craig's debates a few weeks ago thanks. I'll check out the videos and links soon :D

Hoping to add more arguments and perhaps different interpretations of the arguments to provide a more robust stance.


Sorry about my point 2, The point I was trying to make was that people who normally assert atheism will not accept the Bible as evidence of God, (yes I mispoke, the Bible can be used as evidence of God, however the normal rebuttal to this is where is the evidence for the Bible.. I'm not a historian so I'm not 100% sure of the proofs for such

What I do know is
- early Christians were executed for their beliefs, its one thing to be executed for truth its another to be executed for a lie. This to me speaks volumes in that the early church 100% believed in Jesus
- The dead sea scrolls have shown remarkable accuracy between old texts and the modern ones now in use.

#5 ChrisCarlascio

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 10:32 PM

What I do know is
- early Christians were executed for their beliefs, its one thing to be executed for truth its another to be executed for a lie. This to me speaks volumes in that the early church 100% believed in Jesus
- The dead sea scrolls have shown remarkable accuracy between old texts and the modern ones now in use.

My favorite argument for Jesus being resurrected is Paul and James. James, Jesus' own brother, never believed he was the son of God until he saw him alive after his death. I'd assume that he thought he was crazy or something. Paul's story is even better. He was persecuting believers and I think he was having some of them killed, until he saw Jesus on the road to Damascus, and then became an apostle. The fact that they went from being against Jesus to telling everyone about his resurrection shows that they had some kind of experience, which was obviously them seeing Jesus alive.
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#6 Ron

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 04:59 AM

Philosophy isn't an area I'm strong in, but I'd look into people like Greg Bahnsen or Jason Lisle's Ultimate Proof of Creation or Nuclear Strength Apologetics. Something I've learned from them is that everyones thinking is circular. People who don't believe the Bible, rely on their own reasoning as the basis for how they can reason, or something like that lol, but there's no problem with using the Bible as evidence for the Bible. It's a virtuous circle (because it is the only fulfilling basis for reasoning), while they have a vicious circle. Check these videos out if you'd like to hear more about that.

http://www.answersin...oof-of-creation
http://www.youtube.c...83&feature=plcp
http://www.youtube.c...72&feature=plcp


Dr. Greg Bahnsen was a devastating debater. He totally destroyed Gordon Stein in "The Great Debate" ( http://www.answersin...nd/great-debate) or () But his "Transendental" argument for God isn't easily grasped, and can be confusing if you take the "all or nothing" stance of most presuppositionalists (Van Till etc...). A really good book by Dr. Bahnsen is "Always Ready".

You may also be interested in this debate between Greg Bahnsen and Edward Tabash - "Does God exist?": ()
Or this radio debate between Greg Bahnsen and George Smith: ()

#7 gilbo12345

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 06:41 AM

Awesome, I'll watch them when I have more time free :D

Thanks

#8 Chris

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 07:03 AM

As simple as it sounds, I've always been fond of the following arguments:

1 ) When, in the observable history of our world, has something come from nothing? Never. The world we live in, the very universe surrounding it, must have had a cause. The first cause.

2 ) When, in the observable history of our world, has life arose from non-life? Never. How, then, do we assume it happened "millions of years ago" if it cannot be observed today? It had to have a cause. Life does not simply "arise".

Those two arguments have all been heard before, and some atheists believe they have "answered" them handily. In private message, Tangle admitted that atheists have no answer to either of these questions and probably never will. He intimated that there were "many interesting ideas", but didn't come forth with them.

That translates to: We don't know. Our "belief system" cannot answer the question. Christians have a belief system that does...so perhaps we'd better try our best to discredit them before reasonable people notice our deficiencies.

#9 gilbo12345

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 08:45 AM

Yup I also see God as "the first cause"

Also all the times I present arguments from Biochemstry, (yes I've been going on about that a bit recently), its very much in line with the question of how did life first arise considering that a cell requires many different systems in order to survive at all.

Thanks for reminding me of these two critical points. Also yes I agree there are no possible reasons given by the atheist camp, however some do as Dawkins and use wishful thinking that there will be an answer sometime in the future... ("Science is working on it")

#10 Ron

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 08:49 AM


As simple as it sounds, I've always been fond of the following arguments:

1 ) When, in the observable history of our world, has something come from nothing? Never. The world we live in, the very universe surrounding it, must have had a cause. The first cause.

2 ) When, in the observable history of our world, has life arose from non-life? Never. How, then, do we assume it happened "millions of years ago" if it cannot be observed today? It had to have a cause. Life does not simply "arise".

Those two arguments have all been heard before, and some atheists believe they have "answered" them handily. In private message, Tangle admitted that atheists have no answer to either of these questions and probably never will. He intimated that there were "many interesting ideas", but didn't come forth with them.

That translates to: We don't know. Our "belief system" cannot answer the question. Christians have a belief system that does...so perhaps we'd better try our best to discredit them before reasonable people notice our deficiencies.



Indeed, “ex nihilo nihil fit” (from noting, nothing comes), was first argued by Parmenides. Even Roman poet and philosopher Lucretius admitted after much study “Principium cuius hinc nobis exordia sumet,
nullam rem e nihilo gigni divinitus umquam” (But only Nature's aspect and her law, Which, teaching us, hath this exordium: Nothing from nothing ever yet was born). Man has understood, from observation over the millennia not to “assert so silly a notion” (see David Hume) that ‘nothing’ could possibly arise from ‘nothing’. Further, the materialistic atheist cannot sustain a logical, rational or empirically scientific argument for “life from non-life” or “intelligence from non-intelligence”.

The atheist totally fails in this argumentation, and yet his world-view solely depends upon such a “silly notion”! So how does the atheist counter such solid logical and scientific reasoning? By claiming ignorance, obstinate claims, or resorting to prevarication!

Ignorance: We don’t know YET! This is an assertion of the “Arguementum ad futurus” logical fallacy. It is a prayer to the future, yet, there is absolutely NO logical or empirical scientific evidence to support “so silly a notion”; nor has there ever been. So, that argument fails!

Obstinate Claims: Steady State Model, the “Just So” model. The steady state model argues FOR infinitude. And yet there is absolutely NO logical or empirical scientific evidence to support “so silly a notion”; nor has there ever been. And the just so model claims “everything is the way it is JUST BECAUSE”! What a silly argument that is as well… So, that argument fails!

Prevarication argues that the theist argues that “God created everything from nothing, therefore; is it not ‘hypocritical’ for the theist to say ex nihilo nihil fit?” What they illogically fail to realize is that for “something to come from nothing, then God could NOT be involved in any way!” For, if God is who He said He is, and did what He said He did, then (in fact) everything came from Something/Someone (not nothing), because everything came from GOD! So that argument fails as well.

What it boils down to is this: You can take the whole atheistic attempt at argumentation “AGAINST God” to the next level.

First – The atheist is living his life by the “Blind-Faith” model that there was “nothing” before he was born, and that he goes to “nothing” after he dies. And he does so in the face of ALL the logical and scientific evidence to the contrary, because “ex nihilo nihil fit”! And, deep down, the atheist knows this, but continually hides this from himself.

Second – We know for an inductive fact that “Everything” proceeds from something else! Therefore “nothing” cannot predate ANYTHING! And, deep down, the atheist knows this, but continually hides this from himself.

Third – We know for a fact that the materialistic atheist cannot (but by blind faith) logically, rationally, or scientifically provide ONE shred of factual evidence for a materialistic (naturalistic) explanation for our origins (the universe, life, intelligence). And, deep down, the atheist knows this, but continually hides this from himself.


Conclusion: The atheist is living his entire life, by a world-view completely interdependent with Blind Faith and denial. AND the atheist will dogmatically defend, with a great zeal, his blind world-view. This IS the definition of religion! Therefore, as the late Dr. Greg Bahnsen had argued on many occasions, that the atheist is a crypto-theist; and rightly so!

#11 gilbo12345

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 09:52 AM

Indeed, “ex nihilo nihil fit” (from noting, nothing comes), was first argued by Parmenides. Even Roman poet and philosopher Lucretius admitted after much study “Principium cuius hinc nobis exordia sumet,
nullam rem e nihilo gigni divinitus umquam” (But only Nature's aspect and her law, Which, teaching us, hath this exordium: Nothing from nothing ever yet was born). Man has understood, from observation over the millennia not to “assert so silly a notion” (see David Hume) that ‘nothing’ could possibly arise from ‘nothing’. Further, the materialistic atheist cannot sustain a logical, rational or empirically scientific argument for “life from non-life” or “intelligence from non-intelligence”.

The atheist totally fails in this argumentation, and yet his world-view solely depends upon such a “silly notion”! So how does the atheist counter such solid logical and scientific reasoning? By claiming ignorance, obstinate claims, or resorting to prevarication!

Ignorance: We don’t know YET! This is an assertion of the “Arguementum ad futurus” logical fallacy. It is a prayer to the future, yet, there is absolutely NO logical or empirical scientific evidence to support “so silly a notion”; nor has there ever been. So, that argument fails!

Obstinate Claims: Steady State Model, the “Just So” model. The steady state model argues FOR infinitude. And yet there is absolutely NO logical or empirical scientific evidence to support “so silly a notion”; nor has there ever been. And the just so model claims “everything is the way it is JUST BECAUSE”! What a silly argument that is as well… So, that argument fails!

Prevarication argues that the theist argues that “God created everything from nothing, therefore; is it not ‘hypocritical’ for the theist to say ex nihilo nihil fit?” What they illogically fail to realize is that for “something to come from nothing, then God could NOT be involved in any way!” For, if God is who He said He is, and did what He said He did, then (in fact) everything came from Something/Someone (not nothing), because everything came from GOD! So that argument fails as well.

What it boils down to is this: You can take the whole atheistic attempt at argumentation “AGAINST God” to the next level.

First – The atheist is living his life by the “Blind-Faith” model that there was “nothing” before he was born, and that he goes to “nothing” after he dies. And he does so in the face of ALL the logical and scientific evidence to the contrary, because “ex nihilo nihil fit”! And, deep down, the atheist knows this, but continually hides this from himself.

Second – We know for an inductive fact that “Everything” proceeds from something else! Therefore “nothing” cannot predate ANYTHING! And, deep down, the atheist knows this, but continually hides this from himself.

Third – We know for a fact that the materialistic atheist cannot (but by blind faith) logically, rationally, or scientifically provide ONE shred of factual evidence for a materialistic (naturalistic) explanation for our origins (the universe, life, intelligence). And, deep down, the atheist knows this, but continually hides this from himself.


Conclusion: The atheist is living his entire life, by a world-view completely interdependent with Blind Faith and denial. AND the atheist will dogmatically defend, with a great zeal, his blind world-view. This IS the definition of religion! Therefore, as the late Dr. Greg Bahnsen had argued on many occasions, that the atheist is a crypto-theist; and rightly so!


Great summation Ron :D

Lol what is a crypto-theist?

#12 Ron

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 11:20 AM

A "crypto-theist" is someone who claims NOT to be theistic, yet lives a "theistic" life while denying said lifestyle.

#13 gilbo12345

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 11:35 AM

A "crypto-theist" is someone who claims NOT to be theistic, yet lives a "theistic" life while denying said lifestyle.


Thanks, I'll admit I think I am a crypto-Christian (Though I should wipe off the dust from my Bible if I claim to be that )

#14 ChrisCarlascio

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 01:46 PM

Dr. Greg Bahnsen was a devastating debater. He totally destroyed Gordon Stein in "The Great Debate" ( http://www.answersin...nd/great-debate) or () But his "Transendental" argument for God isn't easily grasped, and can be confusing if you take the "all or nothing" stance of most presuppositionalists (Van Till etc...). A really good book by Dr. Bahnsen is "Always Ready".

You may also be interested in this debate between Greg Bahnsen and Edward Tabash - "Does God exist?": ()
Or this radio debate between Greg Bahnsen and George Smith: ()


Thanks for those. I agree that the transcendental argument is difficult to understand. I don't even understand it, but after watching presentations on it, it just seems like that's the right way to do apologetics. It gets to the heart of the issue I guess, but thanks for the videos. I will check them out.

#15 Ron

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 07:32 PM

Thanks for those. I agree that the transcendental argument is difficult to understand. I don't even understand it, but after watching presentations on it, it just seems like that's the right way to do apologetics. It gets to the heart of the issue I guess, but thanks for the videos. I will check them out.


The transcendental argument (as a logical argument) is just one of many logical arguments that should work hand-in-hand with the other arguments to build a strong case. No one logical argument in isolation builds a convincing case. But, if you build your case using each argument in succession, then thie them together logically, you can build said strong case. And, as I provided earlier, the materialistic atheist has no logical arguement, therefore, although each logical theistic argument (ontilogical, teleological etc...) alone is superior to any atheistic attempt at logic in that arena, it is better served to keep them all together.

Further, when you tie the historical evidences into the mix, the materialistic atheist can only resort to fellacious logic to rebut.

#16 Ron

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 06:24 AM

I forgot to mention, I have a blurb and some links on the transcendental argument at:

http://www.evolution...?showtopic=4440

#17 JayShel

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 07:35 AM

Thanks for the replies, yes I've been studying Prof Craig's debates a few weeks ago thanks. I'll check out the videos and links soon Posted Image

Hoping to add more arguments and perhaps different interpretations of the arguments to provide a more robust stance.


Sorry about my point 2, The point I was trying to make was that people who normally assert atheism will not accept the Bible as evidence of God, (yes I mispoke, the Bible can be used as evidence of God, however the normal rebuttal to this is where is the evidence for the Bible.. I'm not a historian so I'm not 100% sure of the proofs for such

What I do know is
- early Christians were executed for their beliefs, its one thing to be executed for truth its another to be executed for a lie. This to me speaks volumes in that the early church 100% believed in Jesus
- The dead sea scrolls have shown remarkable accuracy between old texts and the modern ones now in use.


I would recommend you read a book called More Than A Carpenter by Josh McDowell (1987). (Updated 2009 version my friend Dale doesn't like and I havn't seen) It is a great resource to get a basic understanding of the historicity of the Bible. I would have to retype it to give you a really solid idea of how historically reliable the Bible is. He uses three tests:

Bibliographical Test - How many source documents we have and how close to Jesus's death we have tells us that the Bible transmits the history accurately.

There are more than 24,000 partial and complete manuscript copies of the New Testament.
These manuscript copies are very ancient and they are available for inspection now.
There are also some 86,000 quotations from the early church fathers and several thousand Lectionaries (church-service books containing Scripture quotations used in the early centuries of Christianity).

http://home.earthlin...Manuscript.html


See also: 25,100 extant manuscripts of the New Testament and counting

Internal Evidence Test - Examining the text for credibility, Luke 1:1-3, 2 Peter 1:16, 1 John 1:3, John 19:35, Acts 1:3, Acts 4:20. Text appealing to common knowledge of Jesus performing miracles, even to witnesses hostile to the Gospel of Jesus. Had Jesus not actually performed these miracles, such arguments would quickly get shut down: Acts 2:22, Acts 26:24-26. (McDowell doesn't mention highly specific prophecies that were written and later fulfilled that do not appear in any other "holy book" which sets Judeo-Christian history apart such as Tyre being tossed into the sea, never to be rebuilt, and the rocks being used to dry fisherman's nets.)

External Evidence Test - Checking the Bible against secular and early church historical documents, archaeological finds, sociological studies, and science to verify its credibility. He talks about documents from Papias, bishop of Hierapolos (AD 130) who confirmed that Mark was a student of Peter, and did not write things down chronologically, but he was careful to preserve every word.

John's disciple and friend Polycarp had a student Iraneus who recorded that Mark was a disciple of Peter and wrote his Gospel after the death of Peter and Paul that "handed down to us in writing the substance of Peter's preaching". He goes on to say Luke was a follower of Paul, and John was a disciple of the Lord, so he was one of the Apostles. All of these men would have seen miracles performed in Acts in the name of Jesus Christ as recorded by Luke.

A good pupil was "like a plastered cistern that loses not a drop" (Mishna, Aboth, ii, 8)

There are more technical books that respond to higher criticism, such as Luke Timothy Johnson's "The Writings of the New Testament"

#18 gilbo12345

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 10:33 AM

Awesome :D Will give me a bit to munch on. Probably won't embark on the endeavor right now since uni is back, but definitely during the holidays between now and when I'll be doing the topic :)

#19 Ron

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 04:40 AM

I would recommend you read a book called More Than A Carpenter by Josh McDowell (1987). (Updated 2009 version my friend Dale doesn't like and I havn't seen) It is a great resource to get a basic understanding of the historicity of the Bible. I would have to retype it to give you a really solid idea of how historically reliable the Bible is. He uses three tests:

Bibliographical Test - How many source documents we have and how close to Jesus's death we have tells us that the Bible transmits the history accurately.



See also: 25,100 extant manuscripts of the New Testament and counting

Internal Evidence Test - Examining the text for credibility, Luke 1:1-3, 2 Peter 1:16, 1 John 1:3, John 19:35, Acts 1:3, Acts 4:20. Text appealing to common knowledge of Jesus performing miracles, even to witnesses hostile to the Gospel of Jesus. Had Jesus not actually performed these miracles, such arguments would quickly get shut down: Acts 2:22, Acts 26:24-26. (McDowell doesn't mention highly specific prophecies that were written and later fulfilled that do not appear in any other "holy book" which sets Judeo-Christian history apart.)

External Evidence Test - Checking the Bible against secular and early church historical documents, archaeological finds, sociological studies, and science to verify its credibility. He talks about documents from Papias, bishop of Hierapolos (AD 130) who confirmed that Mark was a student of Peter, and did not write things down chronologically, but he was careful to preserve every word.

John's disciple and friend Polycarp had a student Iraneus who recorded that Mark was a disciple of Peter and wrote his Gospel after the death of Peter and Paul that "handed down to us in writing the substance of Peter's preaching". He goes on to say Luke was a follower of Paul, and John was a disciple of the Lord, so he was one of the Apostles. All of these men would have seen miracles performed in Acts in the name of Jesus Christ as recorded by Luke.

A good pupil was "like a plastered cistern that loses not a drop" (Mishna, Aboth, ii, 8)

There are more technical books that respond to higher criticism, such as Luke Timothy Johnson's "The Writings of the New Testament"


Yes, Josh McDowell's "More Than A Carpenter" does an excellent job of explainaing the Aoplogetic in layman's terms, and should be in any Christians library.




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