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The Bible:Myth or History? God did not design the Bible to be a dark puzzle for bright scholars but to be a bright lamp for travelers through a dark world.

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Presentation on theme: "The Bible:Myth or History? God did not design the Bible to be a dark puzzle for bright scholars but to be a bright lamp for travelers through a dark world."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Bible:Myth or History? God did not design the Bible to be a dark puzzle for bright scholars but to be a bright lamp for travelers through a dark world

2 The link between Bible, Miracles & Resurrection Nonbelievers say: Miracles like that dont really happen The Bible is myth not history These three typically 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 didnt really happen or is not real a merely fictional human invention –contrast 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 fictions –a 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 reality –Kants theory of knowledge all human knowledge is myth –dreams are myth if while we are dreaming we take them objectively

7 The Senses of Myth 5.) The worldview sense –Any story to articulate a worldview –Both literally true and fictional stories

8 The Senses of Myth 6.) The archetype sense –A Platonic archetype in story form –A universal truth about human life expressed in a story –Christs resurrection is a story in this sense as the pattern for our resurrection

9 Biblical Studies The Major Controversy Demythologizers All or most of the miracle stories in the Bible are myths in all six of these senses Orthodox Christians Agree that the bible contains sacred story, parables, worldview and archetype never unreal or projection The bottom line is miracles

10 The Proper Logic If the resurrection really did happen The assumption that miracles dont happen is refutedThen the miracle stories of scripture can be history, not myth

11 The Importance of the Issue Effect of Demythologizing Teachers Approximately 50% of students who enter Catholic Colleges as believers exit as non-believers. (Biblical Interpretation in Crises Richard Neihaus) –They enter with a thoughtless belief in the Bible and its miracles, notably the resurrection –They take theology courses that debunk these miracle stories via the historical-critical method –They graduate as unbelievers, or believers in a religion without miracles, a real resurrection or scriptural authority A Religion of mere sharing and caring

12 The Importance of the Issue Psychological Motives for Unbelief Addiction to power in this world Addiction to lust, our societys favorite pastime Addiction to greed, the sin Christs spoke against most frequently Addiction to worldly acceptance and popularity Addiction to freedom defined as doing your own thing, looking out for number one Sin & Selfishness

13 The Role of Scripture in Apologetics Avoid two extremesFundamentalist Believers in the five fundamentals: Christs divinity, resurrection, virgin birth, real second coming, and the infallibility of Scripture The Popular Sense Not just biblical infallibility but also biblical literalism a generally close-minded, narrow minded, ant-intellectual, even bigoted attitude Theological Modernism Believers 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 scripture Necessitates convincing others of scriptures authority before even beginning. Places doubt on natural human reasons ability to direct unbelievers to belief. Wields scripture as a weapon even before establishing its authority Demands special standards for interpreting scripture because of Gods involvement

15 Fundamental Problem You must first prove Scripture deserves Special Treatment Early 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 arguments It is very difficult to first prove the authority of Scripture to the unbeliever The unbeliever will not accept the use of any special standards or assumptions or attitudes towards Scripture at the outset.

16 The Modernist Extreme Interpret everything miraculous or supernatural or morally unpopular non-literally, and insist right from the start on an unbelieving, skeptical attitude toward the Bible.

17 The Modernist Extreme 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. Whereas If 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.

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 change when our feelings or societies change?

20 Why Modernists Deny the Authority of Scripture! Is Christ divine and thus infallible and absolutely authoritative in everything he 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 equal and thus are generic human sincerity and niceness the only requirements for salvation?

23 Why Modernists Deny the Authority of Scripture! Scripture unequivocally and repeatedly answersYES! To all these questions. The typical modern mind answers NO!

24 Is the Answer Found in Compromise? Unbelievers say that the New Testament and Christianity is FALSE Christians say the New Testament and Christianity is TRUE Modernists seek to make peace by picking and choosing what is acceptable to both Will Scripture allow compromise? Galatians 1:8

25 Hermeneutics The Science of Interpretation Use the same standards, methods and approaches to the Bible you would use for any other book. Do not patronize anyone by fudging your textual data to make it more acceptable or palatable

26 Surrender to the work as it is rather than molding it to where we are Grow and learn rather than reinforce and flatter Read the book in the same spirit or mind as the author wrote it Exegesis (reading out of) not Eisegesis (reading into)

27 Separate Interpretation from Belief Interpretation 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 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 work poetry vs law parable vs biography science vs religion myth vs history Then use the principles that govern the interpretation of that style

29 Similarities Between Biblical Stories and Myth Repeated Stock Events –Many events described in myths, legends and fairy tales also occur in history Symbolic Numbers –Sometimes real things do happen in 3,6,10 and 40 increments –Since God is in charge of history he may very well arrange for events to conform to symbolic number schemes Similar kinds of miracles –The occurrence of miracles in myth does not disprove their occurrence in real history

30 Know When to Interpret the Bible Literally vs. Symbolically When 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. Symbolically When a thing is not visible to the eye we can not interpret it literally The 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 miraculous Miracles are visible not invisible (effect vs cause) natural-or-supernatural criterion is external taken from philosophy and theology not internal criterion taken from the form of the text

33 Know When to Interpret the Bible Literally vs. Symbolically Dont ignore that a given passage could rightly be interpreted as both literal and symbolic –Exodus, Israel, Moses, Red Sea, Promised land –Signs must first stand in the real world, literally, in order for it to take on the second meaning that points beyond itself Symbolic-literal is not always an either/or issue it is rather sometimes a both/and issue Language 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 Israel Non-literal history (Traditional history) Garden of Eden, The Fall, Creation Fiction (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 The Fall Can Not Be Fiction If Adams fall didnt really happen, then Christs salvation need not really happen either. (Paul Romans 6) If the first Adam was not historical why should the second Adam be? If the disease is myth then the cure can also be myth.

37 The Fall Can Not Be Fiction If the fall did not happen in history then God rather than humanity is the blame for sin for God must have created us as sinners rather than innocents. If there was really never any un- fallen state then we were sinners from the first moment of creation and 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 Historical question Moses led Israel through the Red Sea Jesus body was really resurrected Religious Question Israel saw Gods hand in history Easter Faith was resurrected in the hearts of the apostles Not Faith in Faith rather Faith in firm reality No historical Jesus then No Christianity Christianity is not an -ism

39 You cannot separate religious questions from historical questions The only distinctively Christian teachings are the beliefs about the historical Jesus Incarnation & Resurrection Modernists feel these stand in the way of a single world religion We can not fudge our data in order to solve their problem

40 Contradictions in the Bible? false Can we prove any parts of scripture false That it contradicts itself or That it contradicts facts outside itself

41 Internal Contradictions Old Testament populations of peoples and armies are estimated differently Exodus God parted the Red (Reed) Sea or a strong East wind blew all night No two Gospel have Jesus life in the same chronological order One Easter morning account has one Angel another has two Judas hung himself or fell down and his guts burst asunder Ancient histories rarely claimed exact numbers. Inexact estimates were common and expected First and second causes do not exclude each other. Only Luke claimed anything to be in order. Perhaps one woman didnt see the other one. Perhaps Judas noose broke Details are not contradictions in substance and do not bring into question fallibility of teachings or message No minor detail has been discovered which can not also be explained We must not impose modern concepts of accuracy upon ancient authors

42 Contradictions in God God is eternal and changeless God is just and punishes the wicked God is one God is awesome and terrifying God acts and effects changes in time and history God is merciful and revokes eternal punishment for the repentant God is three God is compassionate and comforting Gods 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 creatures He 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 persona He 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 Bible All overlaps have been either proved or rendered probable none have been disproved Unanswered questions are not disproof No prophecy has been disproved Yet 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 fulfillment

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 and The general challenge dissipates like fog under sunlight

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