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Does the Bible contradict itself?
Yes. 30%  30%  [ 15 ]
No. 26%  26%  [ 13 ]
Only if you take it literally. 44%  44%  [ 22 ]
Total votes : 50
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2007 11:25 pm 
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The answer, Ju Ju, is that God's love is mediated through the Cross. Without the Cross and the shedding of blood, there can be no forgiveness of sins. While Christ's sacrifice was made on the behalf of the entire world - and in a very real sense, saved the entire world - that sacrifice is applied to individuals only through faith (i.e., their trusting in that sacrifice). So, for the individual who defies God and rejects his sacrifice, the benefits of that gift are lost, in much the same way that the benefits of any gift are loss if that gift is rejected, ignored, or thrown away.

Through the ultimate act of sacrifice, God demonstrates just how far he is willing to go to show his love to mankind - that he would suffer the greatest of torments himself in order to save us from that fate. But, as a father who would rather his children accept his love and mercy gratefully, he does not force that gift upon us.

Just as the father IN THIS STORY allowed his son to leave home and suffer the hardships of the world, so God allows all who despise him to wonder in the dark places, far from his mercy, if that is what they desire. But, just like that father, he also waits patiently to receive them back home, to forgive their sins, and embrace them with love and honor should they return to him.

The real question is this: why would we not want to love such a God who made such a tremendous sacrifice for us? Do we really want to miss out on the riches of mercy he gives us through that sacrifice?

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Okay, I want to know the one thing that so many Young Earth Creationists seem to skirt around, changing the subject or throwing it away with a chuckle and wave of the hand whenever this legitimate question is posed:

If ALL 6 billion+ humans currently alive today in the world come from Adam and Eve--two individual parents (and then later, of course, with Noah and his limited family), how could just two people have started to populate the planet without resorting to incest? If they DID have to resort to incest, then why is incest taught as wrong by today's Christian dogma and practice?

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As I understand it, incest was okay for Adam and Eve's children because Adam and Eve were genetically perfect, so there would be no troubles with dangerous mutations or genetic disorders, like there would be with inbreeding today. And Noah's family would have been close enough to perfect that it still would not have been a problem.

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For one thing, if they were the only two humans, incest would have been necessary to propagate the species anyway. The prohibition against incest did not come about until the time of Moses (which would have been thousands of years later, if we follow the biblical chronology). Besides, there may have been reasons that it was acceptable in the beginning but not acceptable later. For example:

1. to prevent abusive relationships between siblings, cousins, parents, children, etc.

2. to prevent further degeneration of the gene pool caused by inbreeding.

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OOH! OOH! I WANT TO KNOW IF ANYONE CAN REMEMBER/KNOW THIS!

What is God's real name?

I KNOW THE ANSWER!

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YHWH, which in Hebrew means "I am."

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 7:09 pm 
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Well, I did study Hebrew in both college and seminary.

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Heh, so I guess I did outsmart my friend. I said God's name was Yahweh, but he said God had no name, just God. Naturally, I believed him, since he's actually Christian and he goes to church, but I find it a little funny that I was ultimately right. (Assuming Yahweh is close enough to YHWH)


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Eh, close enough. No one really knows how it was pronounced.

Incidentally, the name Jesus is actually directly related to YHWH. It comes from Hebrew, Yehoshua (Joshua), and literally means YHWH Saves. This, of course, helps to make sense of those passages in the New Testament which speak of Jesus' name being sacred, like Philippians 2:9-11.

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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 5:58 am 
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Well, I was recently on one of the imbd forums today and found a big religion debate. One of the athiests in it had a very long list of Biblical debatable issues as well as errors. I came to notice that no one has tried to answer his many problems with the Bible, and so I have decided to go about this.

I've asked Didymus and you all some Biblical questions before, and you all are very knowledgable of the Bible. So I have come to ask if you'll help me debunk his list of Issues/Inconsistencies in the Bible. Anyways, go down to the post made by ktboundary at Tue May 1 2007 14:55:39:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0335345/boa ... 89277?p=16

Some of these questions are quite interesting, yet quite problematic as well. I've already tried to answer a few of his, but I'm not sure if even my answers are very good, so some critique would be well appreciated. Some of the questions I simply haven't really thought much about, while others I'm stumped on answering. I've broken this up between the trivial issues and the inconsistencies, and will only be listing the ones I've tried to answer.

As you will come to see, I don't think I've even answered a half of his
questions. Hopefully this list can be completed. It would also be nice if someone could find all the verses where Jesus mentions any changes that are to be made from the Old Testament (like the one about food, which I quote from in one of my answers).

And yes, I also realize that some of his questions may have to be given the obvious answer of "That's just the way it is and you have to take it at face value," but I'd really like to try to have all these questions answered.

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TRIVIAL ISSUES

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Quote:
If you don't believe in Jesus he want to kill you:
“Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king, bring them here and KILL THEM BEFORE ME." [Luke. 19:27] (caps mine)

If your right, it looks like Jesus is a holy hit-man who's gunning for me.

That is the last verse that comes from “The Parable of the Ten Minas,” which is one of the many stories that Jesus tells. In this story, Jesus isn’t saying that, it’s the king in the story. He, as the story starts off, appoints himself king in this distant country. At the end of the story, the king is saying he wants all those who don’t support him killed. He makes this comment as he is mad that one of his servants didn’t deposit his minas.

Now, it could seem that the king is representing God, and it may somewhat, but this is still an earthly king among men were dealing with. Besides, the king is not the center point of this story, but it is instead one of the servants. The point of that last line that the king said, I think, was to show that the servant who didn’t deposit his minas (a metaphor for gifts most likely) did an unwisely thing (thus he’s punished). God wants us to use our gifts for him and not hide the various gifts he’s given to us.

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Quote:
Its OK to sell your daughter into sexual slavery:
"Whenever a father SELLS HIS DAUGHTER INTO SEXUAL SLAVERY, she will not go free the way male slaves do. (caps mine)
Exodus 21:7

So not only is prostitution OK with your god, is alright with the almighty if dear ol' dad wants to prostitute his own daughter and sell her into white slavery. Nice God you have here.

"Do not degrade your daughter by making her a prostitute, or the land will turn to prostitution and be filled with wickedness.” (Leviticus 19:29)
As you can see, prostitution is NOT ok. There are other verses too, where usually prostitution is looked at as an evil ritualistic act to pagan idols, but I wanted to find a verse that pointed out specifically that daughters becoming prostitutes is wrong.

What you are quoting seems to be to be more if this case were to happen. Yes, the Bible does seem sexist, I won’t deny it, in both the Old and New Testament. I could go on about that, but that could go on for awhile, so I’ll get back on topic.

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Quote:
Lobster, clams, oysters and crab are an abomination in God's eyes, eat a shrimp and God hates you:
“But anything in the seas or rivers that does not have fins and scales, regard as an abomination. Do not eat their meat and regard their carcasses as an abomination.”
Leviticus 11:11

Wouldn't you know it? Just when Red Lobster had the all you can eat buffet.

'"Are you so dull?" he asked. "Don't you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him 'unclean'? 19For it doesn't go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body." (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods "clean.")” (Mark 7:18-19)

As you can see, that law has changed since the Old Testament.

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Quote:
Jesus himself did not do away with old testament law as some Christians would have us believe, but instead reaffirmed every last word in the old testament:
“I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, NOT THE SMALLEST LETTER OR EVEN THE SMALLEST PART OF A LETTER WILL PASS FROM THE LAW, until all things have taken place.”
Matthew 5:18-19 (cap mine)

Not just a letter, but even the “smallest part” of the letter. This seems fairly clear what your Jesus is saying here.

Jesus said “the Law”, with a capital L. This is important, as throughout the Bible “the Law” is usually referring to the Law given to Moses (a.k.a. The Ten Commandments). Even within verse 19, the word “commandments” is used.

“Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:19)
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THE INCONSISTENCIES

***********************************************************************************
Quote:
Is the earth is motionless? Psalms 93:1?

I think you’re referring to this part of that verse:
“… The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.” (Psalms 93:1)

Let me also bring up the verse after that shows that verse 1 is a comparison to God and His Heaven mentioned in verse 2:
“Your throne was established long ago; you are from all eternity.” (Psalms 93:2)

The Psalms are very poetic in nature, and I’m afraid you may be taking that verse too literally. God “firmly established” all the events that were to come of this Earth (From Genesis to Revelations), and this plan cannot be changed/moved.

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Quote:
A confusion of who was at the empty tomb? John 20:1 or Matthew 28:1?

In John 20:1, it only mentions Mary Magdalene at the Tomb, while Matthew 28:1 mentions both Mary Magdalene and Mother Mary, so I see what you mean. However, each Gospel is written by a different person (at least I believe to be so, there are some who would object to that), in a different style. One writer may be more exact in his details in the other. In Luke, he goes mentions four women who went to the Tomb while Mark goes to mention only three of them.

All of them do, however, say that Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene, and more of a central character in the Resurrection as opposed to the other woman/women.

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Quote:
Was man created first or the beasts first Genesis 1:25-26 or Genesis 2:18-119?

In Genesis 1:25-26, it said that the animals came before the man. I think I know though where things got confusing for you:
“The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."

Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.” (Genesis 2:18-19)

I’m bolding the word “had” for a reason. “Had” is a word being used in the past tense. Now, if the word “had” wasn’t there, THEN that sentence would be speaking in the present tense. In verse 19, it is saying that God presented to Adam the animals that he had already made.

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Quote:
Number of beasts in the ark, by 2's or by 7's? Genesis 7:2 or 7:8?

In Genesis 7:8, when the number seven is said, there is a footnote for the word saying it means “seven pairs.” I’m basing this on the New International Version, so this footnote may not be in the version you’ve used.

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Quote:
Insects do NOT have four feet Leviticus 11:21-23

Here are the verses mentioned:
“There are, however, some winged creatures that walk on all fours that you may eat: those that have jointed legs for hopping on the ground. Of these you may eat any kind of locust, katydid, cricket or grasshopper. But all other winged creatures that have four legs you are to detest.” (Leviticus 11:21-23)

Yes, bugs have six legs, but maybe the Hebrew peoples wouldn’t count two of the insects’ six legs. Maybe they considered two of the legs to be arms or parts of another two legs? These are an ancient peoples were talking with here, who probably weren’t perfect with a bug’s anatomy.

The Bible is about speaking to the peoples, and if it was the vast majority of Hebrews who believed this, then God would tell them not to eat what they are familiar with hearing of (four-legged bugs in this case, as opposed to six-legged).

Wish I could give you a better answer, but I can’t. The fact is, we don’t know fully what the Hebrews considered proper legs of a bug. Heck, maybe there were some four-legged insects back then that we have yet to discover?

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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 8:01 am 
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First issue under Trivial:

The thing to remember is that those who rebelled against the king not only were they not submitting themselves to his rule, but also rejecting the just laws which a good king will institute. These are not mere critics – these are terrorist subversives.

But the overarching point to that parable, which I think you got, is that this is speaking of God’s right to judge those who do rebel against him. Jesus is not God’s “hitman” as if this were a criminal mob, but rather a righteous judge granted full authority to declare the death penalty upon all who justly deserve it.

Second issue:

The Exodus passage is not talking about sexual slavery at all. On the contrary, according to Hebrew law, a female slave was treated as a daughter of the household, given full rights and privileges as a member of the family. I did a whole thesis on slavery in the Old Testament, so I’m more aware of what it entails than this guy.

Now, if a master did have feelings for a slave girl, before he could sleep with her, he had to marry her. And if he married her, she was to be treated with all the rights and privileges of a free woman. He could not simply abuse her and send her away, and could incur terribly penalties upon himself if he tried it.

Actually, under Hebrew law, female slaves actually did have more rights than male slaves. I suspect this was because, in ancient Near Eastern culture, women were generally treated as cattle anyway, so these laws were there to protect them from abuse.

I’ll have to see if I can still find that paper. It was at least 10 years ago that I wrote it, I think.

EDIT: Found it!

(and please bear in mind, in Hebrew culture, arranged marriages were the norm, not the exception).

I wrote:
Second, there was the female slave (amah), who was sometimes sold to a master by her father (Ex 22:7), or she might have been a prisoner of war (Lev 25:44 and Deut 10-14). Once she became his property, he could either keep her as a wife for himself, or he could give her to one of his sons or male slaves. She belongs to the master permanently, but if the master fails to either treat her as a wife or provide her a husband, she must be allowed her freedom.* The goal, then, of this type of arrangement is that the slave girl is to be married and supported the rest of her life, while she provides household work and children for her husband or master.

* Samuel Krauss says that, according to tradition, the female slave is limited to six years of service, just like males, but the master is responsible for insuring her marriage (“Slaves and Slavery”, The Jewish Encyclopedia [New York: KATV Publishing House]), 404. Other sources do not support this six-year limit, although one might ask how long it is before the master is considered default on the marriage promises.


Quote:
Likewise, regarding the female slave, she was to be groomed for marriage. While waiting for this to take place, she was to be treated as a daughter of the master. Also, if the master or his son took her as a wife, she was to be afforded all the privileges of a wife—including food, clothing, and sexual conjugation*—even if her husband also marries a free woman.

* The exact meaning of this word is not certain. In one sense, it might mean the bearing of children, since a woman needed sons in order to be considered a full member of Hebrew society. However, it could also mean sexual pleasure, in order to prevent her from seeking such pleasure in adultery.



Third issue:

Gentiles are not under the same dietary restrictions that the Hebrews were under. You are right in saying that Jesus declares all foods clean. Also, read Acts 15. There are some dietary laws for Gentiles, namely (1) do not drink blood, (2) do not eat strangled animals, and (3) do not eat meat sacrificed to an idol. All three regulations were counter to certain pagan customs of the day.

Fourth issue:

Distinction between the Old and New Covenants. Gentiles were never bound by the dietary laws or the ritual laws. Only the moral laws, which are outlined in the Ten Commandments and expounded upon throughout the rest of Scripture.

To be precise, the Law was never done away with. However, the Law, being imperfect, cannot save. Therefore, we must have someone who can fulfill the Law on our behalf. And this is exactly what Jesus accomplished on the cross.

The moral law still remains, and it still accuses and condemns. But for those who are in Christ, there is forgiveness of sins and cleansing (1 John 1:8-9). It’s not as if the Law no longer applies – it just does not apply to save us.

INCONSISTENCIES:

First: motionless earth.

This is not speaking of a Ptolemaic worldview, but a RELATIVE understanding of the earth’s solidity. I think you’re on the right track there.

Second: who was at the tomb?

An omission of a particular fact does not make the rest of it contradictory. So what if John does not see fit to mention every person there? Does not mean they weren’t there.

Again, I think you’re on the right track there.

Third: Order of creation.

You’re right on track there. Hebrew does not have a distinct past tense. It has imperfect and perfect, along with a few other forms (imperative, jussive, etc.). But the distinction between perfect and imperfect is not as sharp as the difference between past tense and present tense in English. In fact, in some cases, imperfect and perfect are used interchangeably (well, it’s a bit more technical than that, but I’ll keep it simple for now).

Here’s basically what happened: after completing his description of the whole creation, the author then focuses his attention specifically on the creation of man. Genesis One: all creation. Genesis Two: retold, but focusing on man. Big picture - detail. See where I’m getting at?

Fourth issue: number of clean animals.

Here, I think he’s just being nitpicky. The overall context tells us that multiple pairs of the clean animals are brought on board. The phrase, “two by two, male and female” likely modifies the unclean animals, rather than both the clean and unclean. The fact that more of the clean were brought has already been established, and there is no need for further clarification at that point.

Fifth issue: insects.

That one is potentially problematic. The simple response would be that it could apply to creatures with four or more legs. But I’m not certain. I’ll have to see if I have any resources at the office that might shed some light on this. I’ll get back to you later on it.

You might try PM’ing Cobalt. He might have some available rabbinical literature on the subject.

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i heard my name! haha.

okay, i'll see what i can do about this. i don't consider anything that Jesus said or anything in the so-called New Testament as theologically valid, though, so i'm going to ignore that stuff.


Quote:
Its OK to sell your daughter into sexual slavery:
"Whenever a father SELLS HIS DAUGHTER INTO SEXUAL SLAVERY, she will not go free the way male slaves do. (caps mine)
Exodus 21:7

So not only is prostitution OK with your god, is alright with the almighty if dear ol' dad wants to prostitute his own daughter and sell her into white slavery. Nice God you have here.


first of all, that's not even an accurate translation. it should read something like "If a man sells his daughter to be a maidservant." basically if you owed someone money you could "sell" yourself or your son or daughter to work off the debt. the verse here is saying that there are different criteria for female servants to be set free than male servants, and then those criteria are enumerated.

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Quote:
Lobster, clams, oysters and crab are an abomination in God's eyes, eat a shrimp and God hates you:
“But anything in the seas or rivers that does not have fins and scales, regard as an abomination. Do not eat their meat and regard their carcasses as an abomination.”
Leviticus 11:11

Wouldn't you know it? Just when Red Lobster had the all you can eat buffet.


Jews aren't permitted to eat shellfish. big deal. *shrugs*


Quote:
Is the earth is motionless? Psalms 93:1?

I think you’re referring to this part of that verse:
“… The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.” (Psalms 93:1)
[/quote]

yeah, this is a poetic device.

Quote:
Was man created first or the beasts first Genesis 1:25-26 or Genesis 2:18-119?


you're right about the tense here, and the word "had." a lot of this stuff is easily understood with correct translations.

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Quote:
Number of beasts in the ark, by 2's or by 7's? Genesis 7:2 or 7:8?


it's seven pairs of each "clean" animal species, and one pair of each "unclean."

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Quote:
Insects do NOT have four feet Leviticus 11:21-23


Here are the verses mentioned:
“There are, however, some winged creatures that walk on all fours that you may eat: those that have jointed legs for hopping on the ground. Of these you may eat any kind of locust, katydid, cricket or grasshopper. But all other winged creatures that have four legs you are to detest.” (Leviticus 11:21-23)


it specifically mentions winged creatures that WALK on four legs, but which ALSO have a pair of jointed legs for hopping. that adds up to six. the insects that are not permitted are the ones where all six legs are of equal size; the permitted ones are the ones where four legs are the same size, and two legs are larger, with joints above the knee, that are used for jumping.

hope this helps!


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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 10:26 pm 
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I'd like to know what's going to happen to the rest of Creation--trees, fish, cows, geckos, that sort of thing--when the Rapture comes. Is it all just going to be destroyed, or is ol' Scruffy going to be waiting for us in Heaven?

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You have to remember, Ian, the rapture will be followed immediately by the Resurrection of the Dead, along with the restoration of all creation. Creation will be destroyed, but it will be reborn in the process; in essence, the whole universe will go through a death and resurrection.

Incidentally, the Hebrew term "Eden" and the Greek term "Paradeisos" both mean "Garden." The creation begins with a garden, and it will end in a garden.

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Thanks, Didy. All this AP French studying has numbed my mind.

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I have a question about the Ham incident in Genesis. All he did was tell his brothers that their father Noah was naked and drunk, and they brought Noah some clothes. So why does Noah curse him?

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I've had some questions with that one as well. The best I figure there is that when he told them, he was either a bit of a jerk about it, probably shouldn't have told them in the first place and done what his brothers did, or both. It has all the earmarks of being that he broke some sort of taboo there. Didy?

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Capt. Ido Noes has it pretty close. The only reason Ham would have for telling his brothers about Noah's drunkenness would be to deliberately embarrass his father; it was an act of total disrespect for his father. Instead, Ham should have shown compassion for his father, as his brothers did, and covered him up (in the ancient world, failure to show compassion on someone in need is almost as bad as committing a crime against them).

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Yay! Thankya Didy :)

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Yeah, I gots a question. According to the novel The Templar Legacy, the four Gospels have very contradictory things in them. One thing would be Jesus' final words on the cross. Matthew and Mark say that they were: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?". Luke says that they were: "Father, into your hands I give you my soul.". And finally, John says that they were: "It is finished.". Also, they contradict on Jesus' resurrection. Mark says that he appeared to the women as a young man. Matthew says that an angel
"with a face like lightning" announces His resurrection. Then Luke says the women found the tomb empty and that Jesus shared meals with His disciples before ascending into heaven and John says that at the tomb, two angels combined to form Jesus who appeared to the women. My question is, is there an actual explanation for these events?

P.S.: Sorry if it's too long.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 3:30 am 
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Have you read the passages in question yourself?

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Al Capone II wrote:
Yeah, I gots a question. According to the novel The Templar Legacy, the four Gospels have very contradictory things in them. One thing would be Jesus' final words on the cross. Matthew and Mark say that they were: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?". Luke says that they were: "Father, into your hands I give you my soul.". And finally, John says that they were: "It is finished."

I have already addressed this question earlier in this thread, I believe. While it is true that the Gospels record different sayings of Jesus in his final moments on the cross, you might want to note that none of them actually state that those are in fact his last words. As for Matthew and Mark, the words "Eli Eli, lama sabachthani?" are essentially a quote from Psalm 22. You might want to read that Psalm sometime as you think about Jesus' crucifixion. In essence, by quoting that Psalm on the cross, Jesus is basically claiming, "This Psalm is about me. Remember its words, and see them coming about through me." But that is beside the point, since neither author claims that these were Jesus' very last words.

Now, the Luke passage you site is a bit of a misquote. The term used there is not "soul," but pneuma, which can be translated either as "spirit" or "breath" (and before we go there, I must point out that this duality in meaning is identical in the Hebrew/Aramaic ruach). This is important as we consider the John passage.

John has Jesus declaring, "Tetelesthai!" It is a term that, for John, has a rich depth of meaning. On one level, it could mean something like, "It's finally over," but it can also mean, "Paid in full," depending on the context. I think that, for John, it is important that this phrase be highlighted, especially since none of the other Gospels mention it, and for John (who, of all the apostles, was the only one who remained at the cross during the Lord's death), it was vital it should be included.

But notice what John says afterward: that Jesus gave over his spirit, or gave up his breath, depending on the translation you use. Does not that term pneuma there strike you as very similar to what Luke was saying? My answer: in that statement, John is referring to the words that Luke uses, when Jesus gives his spirit to the Father. What John says he is doing, he is actually saying that he's doing it in Luke. This, in fact, would be very consistent with John's theology that Jesus lays down his life of his own accord (John 10); Jesus giving up his pneuma was a deliberate act on his part. With is suffering sacrifice completed, Jesus wills himself to die, only so that he can rise again on Easter.

To summarize, Jesus cites the Psalm first, then shouts, "Tetelesthai!", and gives over his spirit/breath in the words recorded by Luke.

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Also, they contradict on Jesus' resurrection. Mark says that he appeared to the women as a young man.

Incorrect. Mark does not state that that is Jesus who appears to them, but only a man in white (there is mention later in the chapter that Jesus appeared to Mary, but it is a different passage, which is in fact a disputed passage anyway - most scholars believe Mark 16:9ff to be a later addition, based on the earliest manuscript evidence available). As Lahi pointed out, you might want to read the passages in question.

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Matthew says that an angel "with a face like lightning" announces His resurrection. Then Luke says the women found the tomb empty and that Jesus shared meals with His disciples before ascending into heaven

All this is saying is that a lot of stuff happened on that first Easter. It's not that the accounts provide disagreeing or contradictory information, only that they provide different information. Again, perhaps a bit more study of the passages in question is in order here.

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and John says that at the tomb, two angels combined to form Jesus who appeared to the women.

That's not actually what John says. John says that when Mary looked INTO the tomb, she saw the angels there (one of them presumably the angel from the Mark passage who spoke to them). But these angels are in the tomb facing each other across the burial slab. Think: where else have we seen this image, of two angels facing each other across a very important place? (Give you a hint: Indiana Jones). The significance? The Ark was once called the Mercy Seat; but now, mercy is given through the death and burial of Christ.

But when Mary turns from that vision (i.e., back OUTSIDE the tomb), it is then that she sees Jesus.

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My question is, is there an actual explanation for these events?

I certainly hope that this clears up some of the confusion. One of the chief problems seems to be that, when the Gospels give different information, some commentators like to jump to the conclusion that this is contradictory information. This is not so.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 5:32 am 
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Is it a sin to believe that maybe by '7 days' meant a couple billion years? What do you believe personally with all of this rock analyzing and dinosaur fossils, Didy?

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 5:41 am 
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Didymus wrote:
Eh, close enough. No one really knows how it was pronounced.


From what I've heard, the Hebrew letters used to spell out the word YHWH were all phonetically sounds of inhaling or exhaling, so that the word was an enigma and impossible to pronounce, which reflected the mysterious nature of their God.

Is this correct, Didymus?

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Well, first of all, as a theologian, I'm not up to par on biology and fossil analysis to be able to carry much of a discussion on that subject. But you might want to note a few of the posts I have made recently in that thread.

One important point I have noted is that Genesis 1 is essentially a song. It bears all the hallmarks of Hebrew poetry: repetition of key words and phrases, use of similar sounding words, that sort of thing. My take: Genesis 1 is not so much an exact description of the process of creation as it is a hymn to God for his creative work. And if we relate Genesis 1 with poetry of the pagan world of that time, we find other key distinct differences. In pagan religion, the earth is formed almost entirely by accident, whereas in Genesis, God creates the earth with a specific purpose in mind (thus the repetition of "It is good!"). In pagan religion, all the great astronomical bodies - the sun, moon, stars, earth, etc. - are actually gods; in Genesis, they are only things which God creates - they are not divine. And in most pagan religions, mankind is almost always an accident, and often times viewed as pests by the gods. In Genesis, God creates mankind to be the pinnacle of his creation, almost to be miniature versions of himself within the created order. In short, what God does is not cosmic accident, but the deliberate and loving act of a craftsman.

To me, the important thing to glean from Genesis 1 is not an exact process, but the understanding that God is at work and in control, and acts deliberately to bring about this world that he loves, and the people who will populate this world.

It is also interesting to me that the Church Fathers didn't spend too much time either teaching or defending a 6-day creation. To them, it didn't matter whether he took 6 days or six minutes: it was still Him doing it.

The problem to me comes in Genesis 2, which takes quite a different turn. Genesis 2 begins a narrative, the real story, if you will. And in it, the first humans begin in a loving relationship with this God, but then violate that relationship by disobeying his one chief command. From that point, the innocent world begins to corrupt; the garden paradise becomes a wilderness wasteland.

On one hand, it might be really easy to say that this is only a representation of how all human beings tend to distrust and fall away from God, bringing further evil into the world. The only problem is that, in the New Testament, the distinct connection is made between the First Adam, through whom death and sin enter the world, and the Second Adam, Christ, through whom life and light are to be restored to the world. At least in my own mind, it's not so easy to simply dismiss the former as some sort of allegory without undermining the reality of the latter.

So what do I do with the evidence of natural history as we know it today? Not a whole lot. For me, what's really important isn't what happened 6,000 years ago - or 6 billion - but rather what happened 2,000 years ago at Calvary, and then afterwards at the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. In my own mind, even if science has proven all its theories of natural history beyond doubt, there still stands at that empty tomb proof that God is real.

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The_Other_White_Meat wrote:
Didymus wrote:
Eh, close enough. No one really knows how it was pronounced.


From what I've heard, the Hebrew letters used to spell out the word YHWH were all phonetically sounds of inhaling or exhaling, so that the word was an enigma and impossible to pronounce, which reflected the mysterious nature of their God.

Is this correct, Didymus?

Not quite. The issue of the word being unpronouncible has to do with the way the word was transcribed in the Masoritic texts. First of all, the written Hebrew language originally did not have vowels. In the early stages of the language's development, they really weren't necessary, as people speaking the language would have known what was being said. But by the time the Masoritic texts were transcribed, the Hebrew people for the most part no longer spoke Hebrew as their primary language; most of them spoke either Aramaic (which was similar, but in many ways quite different) or Greek instead. So the Masorites developed a system of pointer marks to indicate vowel sounds. It usually amounted to different tiny symbols above or below the consonant to indicate the vowel pronounced.

But when it came to the Divine Name, it was common practice among the Hebrews to say Adonai instead of YHWH when reading the Scriptures aloud. This was done in order to show respect for the Divine Name (although, in my own thinking, what better way to show respect for God's Divine Name than by speaking it reading his Word, or calling upon him in prayer?). So, when the Masorites transcribed the Divine Name, they superimposed the vowel pointing of Adonai over the consonants YHWH. This had the effect of making the Divine Name practically unpronouncible. It also had an interesting side effect: early English translations of the Hebrew Scriptures tended to transcribe the Divine Name as "Jehovah."

But no, for the most part, Hebrew consonants were pronounced while exhaling, just as in most modern languages, although there were a few oddities, like the glottal stop, that aren't strictly adhered to today.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 6:25 am 
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Oh, okay, thanks for clearing that up. :)

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Woah, thanks Didy! You've just about answered all my questions about Christianity.

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Here's a question: God created ALL people - so what happened to the people in ancient Egypt or Greece who hadn ever even HEARD of the Hebrew God, let alone worship Him or follow His commands? Did they go to Hell, even though God never gave them a sporting chance at salvation?

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