Presentation on theme: "The Bible:Myth or History?"— Presentation transcript:
1 The Bible:Myth or History? God did not design the Bibleto be a dark puzzlefor bright scholarsbut to be a bright lamp for travelers through a dark world
2 typically stand or fall together The link betweenBible, Miracles & ResurrectionNonbelievers say:Miracles like that don’t really happenThe Bible is myth not historyThese threetypically stand or fall together
3 The Senses of Myth 1.) The sacred story sense (literal) from the Greek mythos “a sacred story”this says nothing about its truth or falsity, historicity or non-historicity
4 The Senses of Myth 2.) The unreal sense (popular) something that didn’t really happen or is not real a merely fictional human inventioncontrast the story against truth or fact
5 The Senses of Myth 3.) The parable sense a way of explaining natural facts by supernatural or natural fictionsa literary genre of stories that are not literally true these can include fantasy, animals that talk, and stories of gods
6 The Senses of Myth 4.) The projection sense Projection of human consciousness out onto realityKant’s theory of knowledge “all human knowledge is myth”dreams are myth if while we are dreaming we take them objectivelyThe Senses of Myth
7 The Senses of Myth 5.) The worldview sense Any story to articulate a worldviewBoth literally true and fictional stories
8 The Senses of Myth 6.) The archetype sense A Platonic archetype in story formA universal truth about human life expressed in a storyChrist’s resurrection is a story in this sense as the pattern for our resurrection
9 Biblical Studies The Major Controversy DemythologizersAll or most of the miracle stories in the Bible are myths in all six of these sensesOrthodox ChristiansAgree that the bible contains sacred story, parables, worldview and archetypenever unreal or projectionThe bottom line is miracles
10 The Proper Logic Then the miracle stories of scripture can be history, If the resurrection really did happenThe assumptionthat miracles don’t happen is refutedThenthe miracle stories of scripture can be history,not mythThe Proper Logic
11 The Importance of the Issue Effect of Demythologizing Teachers Approximately 50% of students who enter Catholic Colleges as believersexit as non-believers.(Biblical Interpretation in Crises Richard Neihaus)They enter with a thoughtless belief in the Bible and its miracles, notably the resurrectionThey take theology courses that debunk these miracle stories via the historical-critical methodThey graduate as unbelievers, or believers in a religion without miracles, a real resurrection or scriptural authorityA Religion of mere “sharing and caring”
12 The Importance of the Issue Psychological Motives for Unbelief Addiction to power in this worldAddiction to lust, our society’s favorite pastimeAddiction to greed, the sin Christ’s spoke against most frequentlyAddiction to worldly acceptance and popularityAddiction to freedom defined as “doing your own thing”, “looking out for number one”Sin & SelfishnessThe Importance of the Issue Psychological Motives for Unbelief
13 The Role of Scripture in Apologetics Avoid two extremes FundamentalistBelievers in the five fundamentals: Christ’s divinity, resurrection, virgin birth, real second coming, and the infallibility of ScriptureThe Popular SenseNot just biblical infallibility but also biblical literalisma generally close-minded, narrow minded, ant-intellectual, even bigoted attitudeTheological ModernismBelievers in a religion without miracles,a real resurrection or scriptural authority
14 The Fundamentalist Extreme Beginning apologetics from the starting point of the authority of scriptureNecessitates convincing others of scripture’s authority before even beginning.Places doubt on natural human reason’s ability to direct unbelievers to belief.Wields scripture as a weapon even before establishing its authorityDemands special standards for interpreting scripture because of God’s involvementThe Fundamentalist Extreme
15 You must first prove Scripture deserves Special Treatment Fundamental ProblemYou must first prove Scripture deserves Special TreatmentEarly Christian apologists and church fathers argued quite effectively for Christianity without having the New Testament Scriptures as authoritatively defined.Through centuries many people have been led to belief in God and the possibility of salvation through rational argumentsIt is very difficult to first prove the authority of Scripture to the unbelieverThe unbeliever will not accept the use of any special standards or assumptions or attitudes towards Scripture at the outset.
16 Interpret everything miraculous The Modernist ExtremeInterpret everything miraculousor supernaturalor morally unpopularnon-literally,and insist right from the start on an unbelieving, skeptical attitude toward the Bible.
17 If we used the same critical standards on other ancient literature that modernists use on the Bible, we would necessarily doubt every single fact we know today about every single writer and event before the Middle Ages.WhereasIf modernists applied to the bible the same standards that historians and textual scholars apply to secular literature of ancient times, biblical records would be accepted as some of the most reliable and credible of all ancient documents.The Modernist Extreme
18 Why Modernists Deny the Authority of Scripture! Do miracles happen?Is the supernatural world real?Are there angels and devils?Does God ever reach down and interfere?
19 Why Modernists Deny the Authority of Scripture! Is there a super-naturally given moral law?Did God not just Moses invent the ten commandments?Are there any moral absolutes--objective unyielding moral laws that do not changewhen our feelings or societies change?
20 Why Modernists Deny the Authority of Scripture! Is Christ divineand thusinfallible and absolutely authoritativein everythinghe says?
21 Is human life on earth a spiritual warfare? Are the stakes in life infinite?Is there a real heaven or hell at the end?Do our choices matter very much?
22 Why Modernists Deny the Authority of Scripture! Is there one objective true way to heaven--Jesus Himself--as he claims(John 14:6)Or are all religions of the world equaland thusare generic human sincerity and niceness the only requirements for salvation?
23 Why Modernists Deny the Authority of Scripture! Scripture unequivocally and repeatedlyanswersYES!To all these questions.The typical modern mind answersNO!
24 Is the Answer Found in Compromise? Unbelievers say that the New Testament andChristianity is FALSEChristians say the New Testament andChristianity is TRUEModernists seek to make peace by picking and choosing what is acceptable to bothWill Scripture allow compromise?Galatians 1:8
25 Hermeneutics The Science of Interpretation Use the same standards, methods and approaches to the Bibleyou would use for any other book.Do not patronize anyoneby fudging your textual datato make it more acceptable or palatableHermeneutics The Science of Interpretation
26 Surrender to the work as it is rather than molding it to where we are Read the book in the same spirit or mindas the author wrote itExegesis (“reading out of”)notEisegesis (“reading into”)Surrender to the work as it israther than molding it to where we areGrow and learnrather than reinforce and flatter
27 “NOT WHAT YOU MEAN OR BELIEVE” Separate Interpretation from BeliefInterpretation means finding out“WHAT THE AUTHOR MEANT AND BELIEVED”in light of his words or thoughts“NOT WHAT YOU MEAN OR BELIEVE”After we understand what the person means comes agreement or disagreement,belief or disbelief
28 Interpret a Book According to Its Genre First find out the form or style of the workpoetry vs lawparable vs biographyscience vs religionmyth vs historyThen use the principlesthat govern the interpretation of that style
29 Between Biblical Stories and Myth SimilaritiesBetween Biblical Stories and MythRepeated Stock EventsMany events described in myths, legends and fairy tales also occur in historySymbolic NumbersSometimes real things do happen in 3,6,10 and 40 incrementsSince God is in charge of history he may very well arrange for events to conform to symbolic number schemesSimilar kinds of miraclesThe occurrence of miracles in myth does not disprove their occurrence in real history
30 Know When to Interpret the Bible Literally vs. SymbolicallyWhen the biblical author claims he saw something in the external world with his own eyes, or that someone else did and told him, then we are to interpret it literally.(Jesus miracles)
31 Know When to Interpret the Bible Literally vs. SymbolicallyWhen a thing is not visible to the eye we can not interpret it literallyThe object by its nature is invisible(Moses sees God)The object is a vision or dream(Joseph interprets dreams)It is made up fiction(parable)
32 Know When to Interpret the Bible Literally vs. Symbolically The line between literal and non-literal is not simply the line between natural and supernatural,or miraculousMiracles are visible not invisible(effect vs cause)natural-or-supernatural criterionisexternal taken from philosophy and theologynotinternal criterion taken from the form of the text
33 Know When to Interpret the Bible Literally vs. SymbolicallyDon’t ignore that a given passage could rightly be interpreted as both literal and symbolicExodus, Israel, Moses, Red Sea, Promised landSigns must first stand in the real world, literally, in order for it to take on the second meaning that points beyond itselfSymbolic-literal is not always an either/or issue it is rather sometimes a both/and issueLanguage that is not literal can still be true, accurate and extremely important
34 Know which stories are historical Literal history(Modern history)The court history of the Kings of IsraelNon-literal history(Traditional history)Garden of Eden, The Fall, CreationFiction(Non-historical)Job, Jonah(perhaps), Parables
35 The Fall Can Not Be Fiction If the fall is not historical at all, then its effects--suffering and death--also are not historical.If sin is historical in its effects,it must be historical in its cause
36 then the cure can also be myth. The Fall Can Not Be FictionIf Adam’s fall didn’t really happen,then Christ’s salvation need not really happen either.(Paul Romans 6)If the first Adam was not historicalwhy should the second Adam be?If the disease is myththen the cure can also be myth.
37 The Fall Can Not Be Fiction If the fall did not happen in historythen God rather than humanity is the blame for sinfor God must have created us as sinners rather than innocents.If there was really never any un-fallen statethen we were sinners from the first moment of creationand God was wrong to declare everything he made good.BUT THE STORY NEED NOT BE LITERAL
38 You cannot separate religious questions from historical questions Moses led Israel through the Red SeaJesus body was really resurrectedReligious QuestionIsrael saw God’s hand in history“Easter Faith” was resurrected in the hearts of the apostlesNot Faith in Faith rather Faith in firm realityNo historical Jesus then No ChristianityChristianity is not an -ism
39 You cannot separate religious questions from historical questions The only distinctively Christian teachings are the beliefs about the historical JesusIncarnation & ResurrectionModernists feel these stand in the way of a single world religionWe can not fudge our data in order to solve their problemYou cannot separate religious questions from historical questions
40 Contradictions in the Bible? Can we prove any parts of scripture falseThat it contradicts itselforThat it contradicts facts outside itself
41 Internal Contradictions Old Testament populations of peoples and armies are estimated differentlyExodus God parted the Red (Reed) Sea or a strong East wind blew all nightNo two Gospel have Jesus life in the same chronological orderOne Easter morning account has one Angel another has twoJudas hung himself or fell down and his guts burst asunderAncient histories rarely claimed exact numbers. Inexact estimates were common and expectedFirst and second causes do not exclude each other.Only Luke claimed anything to be in order.Perhaps one woman didn’t see the other one.Perhaps Judas’ noose brokeDetails are not contradictions in substance and do not bring into question fallibility of teachings or messageNo minor detail has been discovered which can not also be explainedWe must not impose modern concepts of accuracy upon ancient authors
42 Contradictions in GodGod is eternal and changelessGod is just and punishes the wickedGod is oneGod is awesome and terrifyingGod acts and effects changes in time and historyGod is merciful and revokes eternal punishment for the repentantGod is threeGod is compassionate and comfortingGod’s essence is timeless but he effects changes in time. No creature can change another without itself being changed, but God can do this because he is purely active, not passively responding to the laws of creaturesHe does not compromise his justice or his mercy. The two are reconciled on Calvary. Jesus gets the justice and we get the mercy.He is one in being and essence, three in personaHe is both awesome and loving. What is more awesome than love? The same God of holy love can be comforting to a saint and threatening to a sinner.
43 External Contradictions Archeology has found nothing to invalidate the claims of the BibleAll overlaps have been either proved or rendered probable none have been disprovedUnanswered questions are not disproofNo prophecy has been disprovedYet many have been proved true by history.Jesus fulfilled at least 30, perhaps as many as 300, specific and distinct Old Testament propheciesBEWARE!!Modernist scholars attempt to date prophecies by their fulfillmentExternal Contradictions
44 External Contradictions “Science Contradicts Religion”Which science?Which idea?Is that idea a proven fact?What proves it?Which statement in the Bible does it contradict?Is the statement properly interpreted?Answer these questions andThe general challenge dissipateslike fog under sunlight