Hey guys, i hope you liked the futsal compilation. I'll attempt to make another one next week! If you haven't seen it, scroll down to the previous post! :)
There's a much-neglected section in the Fungus website (www.fungus.com.au) called "Ask Dr. Fungus". Dr. Fungus is this anonymous bible wiz that'll answer any questions about the bible or about your personal life. He's REALLY good, and he's extremely efficient in his responses. So, you know where to go if you're in a dilemma and have got no where else to turn to!
Well, i posted a question a few weeks ago, and i was positively astonished by Dr. Fungus's intricately craved out answer which adequately met all that was puzzling my heart. Have a read.
"Hey Dr. Fungus, Here's one to quench your thirst for questions.
I was trying to get some work done in the library today when a few of my friends started a debate about God and whether the bible is real or not.
You've gotta bear in mind that my school's full of fact-based pple and 'faith' is a severely obsecure term. One of them asked me, "How do you know that the bible is really 66 books written by different authors at different time periods. Maybe one person wrote it altogether, an awesome plot and all." Another showed me the newspaper today and referred to an article that claimed that the coffins of Jesus, ' his wife Mary and his brother James' were found.
He then asked me, " How can you prove that Jesus rose from the dead? And he didn't have an affair with Mary?" And i asked him, " So what if Jesus HAD HAD an affair with Mary?" A question that i couldn't answer when he threw it back in my face.
Yet another asked, " Carbon dating of various fossils have shown that the earth is a few million years old, very much shorter than the thousands of years the bible claims it to be. Therefore, how can the bible be real?"
Also, just a personal question: "Books like Genesis, Job, Samuel, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and many others are written in the third person and this person seemed to be able to describe the FEELINGS of the character. But how would this person know what the person is feelings, OR even what ACTUALLY happened at those times! For example, how did Moses know how God created the world? and HOW he created it. How'd he know that Eve was formed from the rib of a man, and that God took delight in his creations?" It would be great if you can answer my queries. Thanks!
That's a good question Isaac! Its almost been a year since I've got a question on this forum, let alone a few!
Ok, you asked...
1. "How do you know that the bible is really 66 books written by different authors at different time periods. Maybe one person wrote it altogether, an awesome plot and all."
The Old and New Testaments were given through 40 different authors, located in Asia, Africa and Europe, over a 1600-year time span. Centuries ago, Jews and Christians had to settle which writings were inspired by God and which weren't. But there were many more writings floating around than we now have in our Bible.
The Jewish community met about A.D. 90 to decide which writings were authoritative. The books of Moses? No question. The great prophets? No debate. But other books were discussed more. The collection of writings that was selected is what we now call the Old Testament. Christians had a harder time coming up with the New Testament, because early Christianity was an underground movement; Christians couldn't even hold public meetings until the 4th century. But 2nd-century bishops (overseers of groups of churches) were already writing to individual churches saying, "Read these books, don't read those books"—even before there was an "official" New Testament. So, there were already books considered authentic and books considered fraudulent. Now, you must ask, how did the church decide which books were authentic and which weren't?
It boils down to two issues: historical credibility and spiritual benefit.
Historical credibility simply means asking, "Does an apostle—one of the 12 disciples or Paul, for instance—stand behind this writing?" Matthew was an apostle, and he was with Jesus, so his book holds a lot of weight. Mark wasn't an apostle, but he worked with Peter, and Peter was with Jesus; that's why Mark's book holds weight.
Many books claimed "apostolic connection," but some of those claims—like the Gospel of Thomas—were fraudulent. Which brings up the spiritual benefit issue. Wise bishops in the early church examined these writings and asked: "Is Thomas really the author? Does this writing reflect the spiritual and theological commitments of the other books?" With the Gospel of Thomas, the answer was "no" on both counts.
Your friend also asked, how you might know that the bible isn't just a awesome complilation of stories. Well, Bible's writers(even over such a long period of time) all convey the same basic message: the God who created the heavens and the earth wants to know people and has provided a way for people to know Him.
Beyond its unique authorship the Bible also has the number one track record for fulfilled prophecy. Old Testament prophets gave over 300 specific prophecies about the coming Messiah, all of which were perfectly fulfilled by Jesus Christ hundreds of years later. These and the many other fulfilled prophecies show why the writers could say, "Thus says the Lord..."--they were speaking for the One who knows "the end from the beginning."
Also unique to the Bible is its confirmation by archaeology. Archaeological finds have consistently confirmed names, historical events, and geographical details exactly as reported in the Old and New Testaments. Though archaeology cannot prove the spiritual truth of the Bible, the discoveries do show the Bible's reliability as an historical report. More on archaeology.
Also, unlike any other book, the Bible has been remarkably preserved over time. Thousands of accurately hand-copied manuscripts are in existence today. In fact, there are over 5,000 manuscripts of the New Testament (compared to only seven existing manuscripts of Plato's writings). And when the text of all these volumes is compared, one finds a 99.95% consistency.
2. " Carbon dating of various fossils have shown that the earth is a few million years old, very much shorter than the thousands of years the bible claims it to be. Therefore, how can the bible be real?"
Well, carbon dating is well used in science today to determine the age of objects. However, what we fail to see is that, like any other science, it has some assumptions for it to hold true. Radiocarbon dating assumes that the carbon-12/carbon-14 ratio has stayed the same for at least the last hundred thousand years or so.
However, the difference between production and decay rates, and the systematic discrepancy between radiocarbon and tree-ring dates, refute this assumption. Instead, the evidence for change is entirely consistent with a recent Creation and catastrophic Flood. Production of carbon-14 began only 6,000 years ago—the approximate time of Creation. Roughly 1,500 years later, the Flood upset the entire carbon cycle. As the discrepancy between "specific production rate" and "specific decay rate" shows, the Earth is still in the process of attaining equilibrium.
Further, we know from the radiocarbon dating of tree rings that as we go back in time, we find less and less carbon-14. If there was less carbon-14 in the past, then there has been less decay in our samples than the equilibrium model assumes. And if there has been less decay, then the samples are not as old as they may seem. Carbon dating assumes that nature works today the same as it has worked for millions of years, yet the facts do not support this contention. It should not cause us to abandon the facts of biblical history.
There's more to this question, but its all quite "sciency". All of you might start drooling on your keyboard. But if any of you are interested I could hook you up with some interesting reads on the web. Email me anytime!
3. "Books like Genesis, Job, Samuel, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and many others are written in the third person and this person seemed to be able to describe the FEELINGS of the character. But how would this person know what the person is feelings, OR even what ACTUALLY happened at those times! For example, how did Moses know how God created the world? and HOW he created it. How'd he know that Eve was formed from the rib of a man, and that God took delight in his creations?"
The bible contains two things: (1) known facts; and (2) revelation. What is the difference between the two?
When we say that the Bible contains “known facts,” we mean that it contains information known to the people of that time and place. For example, if the Bible mentions people known as Hittites (Exodus 23:28 ), then historical records could verify their existence. If the Bible mentions that the Roman emperor Caesar Augustus commanded that a census be taken at a certain time (Luke 2:1), then we could corroborate the truthfulness of such a statement.
But to say that the Bible “contains” known facts, implies that it also contains something else. That “something else” is revelation. By definition, revelation designates the unveiling of facts and truths to man by God—facts and truths that man, on his own, otherwise could not have known. Revelation has reference to the communication of information.
Compare and contrast the following. When Moses wrote in the book of Numbers about Israel’s wilderness wanderings, he did not need revelation from God to do so. He was their leader during that period, and simply wrote what he observed as an eyewitness. When Luke penned the book in the New Testament that bears his name, he did not need revelation from God to do so. He acknowledged as much when he said: “It seemed good to me also, having traced the course of all things accurately from the first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus” (Luke 1:3, emp. added). Luke had been on certain of the missionary journeys, and thus was able to write from firsthand experience.
On the other hand, notice Moses’ statement in Deuteronomy 29:29: “The secret things belong unto Jehovah our God; but the things that are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (emp. added). As an illustration of this fact, we may observe that Moses would have had absolutely no way to know the details of the Creation week (Genesis 1:1ff.), unless God Himself had revealed those details to him. Nor could the apostle John have described in such a beautiful panorama the splendors of heaven (as he did within the book of Revelation), unless God first described to John the splendors of heaven. On occasion, the various Bible writers could, and did, place in print what they saw, or what they had been told by credible witnesses.
When they penned such matters, they had no need of revelation from God, since they wrote from firsthand experience. At times, however, they wrote about things they neither had experienced nor had been told by others. When they did so, it was God’s revelation that provided them the information they needed (Amos 3:7; Daniel 2:28; Ephesians 3:3-5).
Phew that was one lengthy post! Hope I haven’t bored you all too much. But it’s really good to question why you have faith in something and be able to tell your friends about it without doubting too much in yourself. I highly suggest you guys try to attend the apologetics classes in church if you are interested in topics as such. Feed me more questions! Any kind at anytime.