Presentation on theme: "Can we trust what we read in the Bible ? Is religion like a drug (feel good) ? Or is it more than good feeling ?"— Presentation transcript:
Can we trust what we read in the Bible ? Is religion like a drug (feel good) ? Or is it more than good feeling ?
Did man created God ? Man has a need to explain mysteries, such as thunder (Thor: god of thunder) Man is superstitious and ascribe good and bad fortunes to the supernatural (make a god for every goal, e.g., Mars, god of war, Hades, god of the underworld, etc) Examples where man created gods: –Greek gods: Zeus, Appolo, etc –Roman gods: Saturn, Mars, Venus, etc
Did God created man (and this universe) ? Is evolution a proven theory ? (no !) What does Physics say about how the universe began ? (it has a beginning !) Can life come about by a pure natural process ? Physics, Chemistry, Biology and many other science disciplines have recently discovered this universe and life is only possible with a extremely small chance (like winning the lotto every week for 100 years straight !) In short: many scientific evidence point to the fact that the universe and life have been designed by some super-intellectual being...
Which God made this universe and man ? Many world religions: –Judaism (Jewish Religion) –Hinduism (Reality is just a dream of a god) –Buddism (not really a religion but a philosophy) –Islam (Allah is the only true god) –Christianity (Jesus is the Son of God) Which one should we believe ? –Can we know who is telling us about the true God? –Did God reveal Himself to us in the past ? How can we find out which is the real God ? –Through the study of History !
Fantasy, Legend and History Fairy tales: completely invented by men –The Lord of the Rings –Gullivers Travels; Pride and Prejudice; etc Legends: historical facts with embellishments –King Arthur (there were probably several Arthurs that got blend into one Arthurian legend) –Trojan War (the war was real, Troy is real, but the heroes and their characters have been beautified) History: accounts of real events in the past –Holocaust –Nanjing Massacre
How do we tell if some event is Historical ? Historical documents WritingsPictures Archeological sites Ancient artifacts
Human nature and history Every major historical events is told twice ! Holocaust: –"I don't see any reason to be tasteful about Auschwitz. It's baloney, it's a legend. Once we admit the fact that it was a brutal slave labour camp and large numbers of people did die, as large numbers of innocent people died elsewhere in the war, why believe the rest of the baloney?" – David Irving Nanjing massacre: –a group of Japanese rightists held a conference in Osaka on Sunday questioning the 1937 Nanjing Massacre which they called "the biggest lie of the 20th century." – January 25, 2000, The China Post It is crucial to know who is telling the truth !
How can you tell who is telling the truth ? Stones do not lie: look at the evidence ! ALWAYS compare the account of the historical event with the historical evidence The Holocaust EvidenceThe Nanjing Massacre Evidence
Honest questions about the Bible So, is the Bible a fairy tale ? –Stories in the Bible are not real, but fiction Or is the Bible a book of legends ? –E.g., Jesus was real, but he was just a wise man and not the Son of God as the Bible claims –E.g., the resurrection was just a myth… Or is the Bible a historical book ? –Jesus was real and He was really the Son of God –Jesus really died and resurrected (and those that saw this freaked out completely) (And if it is a historical book and what it said is true, are you ready to face the consequences ?)
Showing the New Testament is Historical Show that the New Testament was written about 30-60 years after Jesus death –Legendary stories are only added to oral accounts after more than 100 years –Hostile witnesses were alive when New Testament was written and circulated – these hostile witnesses would make sure that false information about the Gospels will not be passed down Show that the New Testament was passed down to us reliably –The New Testament we have now is 99.5% identical to the original
Showing the Bible is Historically Reliable Never trust a document that says that it is true without evidence to support it When we study the Bible, we do NOT assume the Bible is true – instead, we first find out if the Bible is reliable (true) We use historical sources outside the Bible to gain knowledge about the Bible and its accuracy
Testimonies on the Authorship of the gospels Irenaeus (120-203 AD) wrote: "Matthew published his Gospel among the Hebrews in their own language, while Peter and Paul were preaching and founding the church in Rome. After their departure Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, also transmitted to us in writing those things which Peter had preached; and Luke, the attendant of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel which Paul had declared. Afterwards John, the disciple of the Lord, who also reclined on his bosom, published his Gospel, while staying at Ephesus in Asia."
Testimonies on the Authorship of the gospels Eusebius (c. 260 - c. 340): "The Gospels containing the genealogies, he says, were written first. The Gospel according to MARK had this occasion. As Peter had preached the Word publicly at Rome, and declared the Gospel by the Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark, who had followed him for a long time and remembered his sayings, should write them out. And having composed the Gospel he gave it to those who had requested it. When Peter learned of this, he neither directly forbade nor encouraged it. But, last of all, JOHN, perceiving that the external facts had been made plain in the Gospel, being urged by his friends, and inspired by the Spirit, composed a spiritual Gospel." This is the account of Clement.
Further evidence for the Gospels authorship There are no competing authors The lack of prominence of the first 3 authors substantiates the fact that they were the genuine authors Conclusion that we can draw: –Authors of the Gospels were likely Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (these are real people) –All of these people either knew Jesus personally (Matthew, John) or knew someone who do (Mark- Peter, Luke-Paul) – First-hand information !
When was the New Testament written Gospel of Matthew: Magdalen papyrus - fragment (dated around 150 A.D., but a more recent dating place it possible around 50 A.D. !) Chester Beatty paparys P45 - fragment (dated 200-250 A.D.) Bible scholars believe that the Gospel of Matthew is written before 80 A.D. (most like around 60 A.D.)
When was the New Testament written Gospel of Mark: Qumran cave 7 (7q5 is Mark 6:52-53) – (dated around 50 A.D. !) Codex Vaticanus: c. 350 A.D. Bible scholars believe that the Gospel of Mark is written before 70 A.D. (most like around 50 A.D.)
When was the New Testament written Gospel of Luke: Codex Vaticanus: c. 350 A.D. Bible scholars believe that the Gospel of Luke was written before 80 A.D. (most like around 60 A.D.) Codex Sinaiticus: c. 350 A.D.
When was the New Testament written Gospel of John: Rylands papyrus: dated around 125 A.D. Brodmer papyrus: dated around 200 A.D. Bible scholars believe that the Gospel of John was written before 90 A.D. (most like around 70 A.D.)
Comparing Bible/Ancient History: Alexander Accounts on Jesus is much better preserved than of Alexander 400 BC 0 400 8001200 Alexander the Great (323BC) Jesus (30AD) Earliest surviving copies: Codex Vaticanus Codex Sinaitus Plutarch (60 AD) Gospels written Earliest surviving copy of Plutarch
Comparing Bible/Ancient History: Caesar Accounts on Jesus is much better preserved than of Caesar 400 BC 0 400 8001200 Julius Caesar(44 BC) Jesus (30AD) Earliest surviving copies: Codex Vaticanus Codex Sinaitus Suetonius (100 AD) Gospels written Earliest surviving copy of Suetonius
The Bible Then and Now OK, we have seen that the New Testament was written within 30-60 years after Jesus death and the information in the original was probably very accurate The text of the Bible that we have today may or may not be the same as the original text – depends on how accurate the original text is passed down Next: –How is the Bible passed down through the ages ? –How accurate is the Bible today compared with the original ?
How is the Bible passed down ? Printing press was invented in 1555... Ancient Bible was written on papyrus scrolls: The scrolls deteriorate by use and a new copy of the text is made when the scroll is worn
How careful was the Bible copied ? The copiers of the Bible text use special care to make sure the text was accurately copied ! They count the number of words in each chapter and check if the count in the copy was correct They count the number of letters on each line and check if the count in the copy was correct
Evidence of careful copying of the Bible Before the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls, the earliest copy of the Book of Isaiah was from around 980 A.D. In 1947, a Dead Sea scroll was discovered that contained the entire book of Isaiah dated around 250 B.C. (over 1000 years earlier) The content of the scrolls are virtually identical – except for a few copy errors
Testimonial to Bibles Accuracy Norman L. Geisler & William E. Nix said: –The New Testament has not only survived in more manuscripts than any other book from antiquity (i.e., there are many more copies of the New Testament from ancient times in the world today), but the New Testament has also survived in a purer form than any other book - a form that is 99.5% pure (i.e., 99.5% of the New Testament that we read today is exactly the same as the orignal copy that was written almost 2000 years ago !!!)
Counterfeits and pretenders... As with any historical account of any importance, there are people that want to change the account for their benefit How can we identify counterfeiters ? –The origin of these accounts are later than the original account Examples: –Gospel of Thomas: dated around 150 A.D. –Gospel of Peter: dated around 130 A.D. –(Compare these dates with the original gospels 70- 90 A.D.)
Sample: apocryphal gospel of Thomas Verse 15: Jesus said to his disciples, "Compare me to something and tell me what I am like." Simon Peter said to him, "You are like a just messenger. Verse 114: Simon Peter said to them, "Make Mary leave us, for females don't deserve life." Jesus said, "Look, I will guide her to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every female who makes herself male will enter the kingdom of Heaven." Compare with what the earlier (real) gospels say on these topics – beware of false gospels ! More recent perversion: DaVinci Code – Dan Brown
More on the reliability of the (real) gospels A number of characteristics of the gospels make them more reliable: –The gospels are historical narratives (reads like a biography) – people and places mentioned can be (and have been) checked ! –They report the uglier side of the characters – even on important character like Peter (Peter denied Jesus three times) [If you want to start a new fantasized religion, you do not make an important figure in the religion as a wimp) –Womens testimony were worthless (not allowed) in the ancient Jewish society – and yet, the first people that discovered the empty tomb were all women !
Summary The original gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) were written within 30-60 years of Jesus death Original gospels were very accurate: –Short time between time when events happened and the recording of these events –Hostile witnesses are still alive and will make certain that any Christian fantasies are corrected The Bible text were copied very carefully and passed down The New Testament that we have now is 99.5% identical to the original