The Cow (bio)
Megiddo - site manager (bio) (meaning)
Cool links to cool places:
A christian search engine, very useful!
An online Bible with every version I've heard of and a few I haven't!
A site created by Megiddo for Christian teens!
How do you describe the indescribable? If all the seas turned ink, all the plant to writing tools, and all the sky to parchment, it would not be enough to describe God's vastness. That's the God I serve.
If you're interested in learning more about God, you can leave a message here, you could go to this site and leave a message or you can read on.
God loves you (John 3:16).
God is holy and just. He punishes all evil and expels it from his presence (Romans 1:18).
God, who created everything, made us for himself to find our purpose in fellowship with him (Colossians 1:16).
But we rebelled and turned away from God (Isaiah 53:6) The result is separation from God (Isaiah 59:2). The penalty is eternal death (Romans 6:23).
God became human in the person of Jesus Christ to restore the broken fellowship (Colossians 1:19-20). Christ lived a perfect life (1 Peter 2:22).
Christ died as a substitute for us by paying the death penalty for our rebellion (Romans 5:8). He arose (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) and is alive today to give us a new life of fellowship with God, now and forever (John 10:10).
I must repent for my rebellion (Matthew 4:17).
I must believe Christ died to provide forgiveness and a new life of fellowship with God (John 1:12)
I must receive Christ as my Savior and Lord with the intent to obey him. I do this in prayer by inviting him into my life (Revelation 3:20).
There is no cost to your salvation comes to you freely (Ephesians 2:8-9).
But it comes at a high cost to God (1 Peter 1:18-19).
Ultimately your response is a life of discipleship (Luke 9:23-24).
If you want to look up the verses to the above passages, just click on them.
Friday, May 07, 2004
Part the second: The Reliable Bible
We have established, in our last argument , that there is a God; Or at least that there is reason for a God to exist. So let us simply assume that there is a God, and that He is everything that He is, and so much more; let us assume that these things are true.
This will put us in a class, with the three religions that claim Divine Revelation: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. All of these look to a human founder, that is one who was especially favored by God, but only Christianity claims a founder that is both Human and Divine. This is a fact, but this is also extraordinary, to the point of lunacy; so it seems to many people. Did such an historical figure ever exist? What proof do we have that a man, named Jesus Christ, came to earth as the Son of the Living Breathing God, taking upon Himself the frailty of human nature; preaching, and teaching things that were beyond the greatest philosophical mind; performing miracle after miracle; dying a most terrible death, out of Love, and rising from the dead three days later, and ascending into heaven! What evidence do we have to tell us that the single most important event in history, actually took place? The sources are many, handed down through tradition, from the early Church Fathers. But the most important source, and the very first, was a firsthand account, from the men who gave their lives entirely over to Christ during His brief but significant stay on earth.
One detail that will also be noticed about the three ‘One-God’ religions, is that every one of them uses a special book, which serves as the historical record on which their faith bases many of it’s beliefs. For Muslims, it’s the Koran; For Jews, it’s the ‘Good Book’ (which is essentially a Bible without the New Testament); And for Christians, it’s the Bible. So, rather than disproving the Koran, or the ‘Good Book’, it would be more worthwhile to prove, in an intellectual manner, the historical authenticity, of the internationally, and widely acclaimed New York Times Best Seller, the Bible.
In order that one may see clearly the reliability of the Bible, it should suffice to prove the reliability of it’s four most important books: The Gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. There are three ways to determine the historical authenticity of a book: by it’s genuineness, it’s integrity, and it’s veracity; in other words, “if it be the work of the author to whom it is ascribed; if the text be substantially as it left the author’s hand; if it be shown that the author himself was well informed and truthful.” (-Fr Laux)
How do you prove that a book that is supposedly written before 70 A.D. sometime, has any substantial amount of truth to it, or that it even existed for that allotted period of time? How do you take a peak into the unattainable past to look for the things you know to be true, or false? Certainly time travel is something that is yet to be desired, so we look to other means to judge as best we can what took place about 2000 years ago, when the Gospels were written.
The Gospels are Genuine:
The Genuineness of a book can be determined in view of two arguments: extrinsic, and intrinsic.
Extrinsic arguments are chiefly the testimony of those writers that lived about the same time. (as an eyewitness or someone who would know.)
Intrinsic arguments are those drawn from the content, style, and characteristics of the book itself.
Extrinsic evidence of authenticity in the case of the Gospels is not difficult to encounter:
a) The Didache, (i.e. the Doctrine of the Twelve Apostles, written between AD 80 and 100) quotes passages from Mathew and Luke. The Our Father, which is cited according to the text of St. Matthew, is introduced with the words: “As the Lord Commands in His Gospels.”
b) The Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians (about A.D. 96) contains ten texts taken from the Gospels of Matthew and Mark.
c) The Epistle attributed to St. Barnabas (about A.D. 100-130) contains many allusions to Matthew and several to Mark and Luke.
There were also saints who were alive during this period of time(70-150 AD) that give clear testimony of the Gospels. St. Justin, who was a martyr during that time, narrates that the Gospels were read at the meetings of the Christians, among other things. Then there was St. Irenaus, a friend of St. Polycarp, who was a disciple of St. John, mentions the authors of the four Gospels:
“Matthew published his Gospel among the Hebrews in their own tongue, whilst Peter and Paul were preaching and founding the Church in Rome. After their departure Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, handed down in writing to us those things which Peter had preached; and Luke, the attendant of Paul, wrote a book the Gospel which Paul had preached. Affterwards John, the disibple of the Lord, who alos reclined on His bosom, published his Gospel while staying at Ephesus in Asia” (Adversus Haereses)
So, it is clear that the Gospels did indeed exist, and were written sometime before the year 70AD; and were in use sometime after that. It was well said by one Archbishop Sheehan, “Probably there is not one of the pagan classics, whose genuineness can be supported by such convincing evidence. No one disputes that Caesar was the author of the Commentaries on the Gaalic Wars, and yet the only ancient references to the work are found, about one hundred years after its composition, in the writings of Plutarch and Suetonuis.”
There are still things to observe from a careful examination of the Gospels themselves. (Intrinsic evidence)
a) The Synoptic Gospels are written in Hellenistic Greek; which was a literary medium employed by many Jewish writers during the first century after Christ, but not later.
b) The style of the Gospels was vivid and colorful; only men who had witnessed these events first hand could have described them in such a manner.
The Gospels are Intact
“Even the most radical opponents of Christianity admit that the Gospels have come down to us substantially intact; that is free from any grave alterations and additions.” (Fr. Laux)
During the time of St. Justin, it was a grave matter to alter in any way, the words of the Gospel. There was a great deal of fear among the translators, about becoming corrupters of the text. This was not a groundless fear, for St. Augustine gives one such account: “A bishop of our province, having begun to read your translation of the Bible in his church, came to a passage of the prophet Jonas, which you have translated differently from what was known to the memory and ears of everyone, and sung during many generations. Thereupon a great tumult arose among the people, caused principally by the Greeks, who called out that the text was falsified…. The bishop, not to remain without a flock, after this great danger, was obliged to correct the passage as if it was a fault.”
One might object, “Does not the earliest existing manuscript of the New Testament date only from the fourth century? Isn’t it therefore possible that any number of changes may have been introduced into the Gospel text during the preceding centuries?” Besides the earliest Greek Manuscript, the Codex Vaticanus referred to in the objection, there are other manuscripts, nearly as old, and copied from the Vaticanus. These are the Codex Alexandrinus, the Codex Sinaiticus, and the Codex of St. Ephrem. Every one of these texts agrees substantially with one another. They also agree with numerous quotations contained in the texts of the Christians before them.
Hence, there is no doubt that the Gospel’s have remained substantially as they were written in the beginning, even though the originals made by the Apostles are no longer in existence. If this is not evidence enough, you might think about this:
“The earliest manuscript of Horace dates from the 7th century, of Cicero from the 9th, of Euripides from the 13th, and yet no one doubts that these manuscripts are the unaltered descendants of the originals.
The Christian Gospels are thus in a far stronger position than the Greek and Roman classics, and no one would ever have thought of questioning their integrity, but for the fact that they report miracles and prophecies and contain a Divine law of belief and conduct against which the Rationalist and the Irreligious of every description rebel.”
The Gospels are Truthful
It is to be considered that the Authors of the Gospels (The Evangelists) knew the fact that they were recording. For the Gospels to be without truth, would be for the Apostles to have lied; and all four narrative accounts are quite clear on the evil of lies and hypocrisy! Had they not been truthful themselves, they would have been more despicable than the hypocrites they condemned!
What reason would the Apostles have for deceiving the world? Why would they lie for the sake of bringing trouble and ruin upon themselves? And most importantly, why would they willingly die for a lie? Maybe they didn’t know they would die as a result of this lie? No. The evangelists knew that what they would preach would be a supreme accusation of the most serious nature to Jews and Gentiles. Pascal rightly states “I willingly believe historians whose witnesses are ready to suffer death itself to maintain the truth of their testimony.”
One may notice that at some points, the Gospels contradict each other. This may seem a disturbing disadvantage to our argument. However, these apparent contradictions furnish an additional argument in favor of the veracity of the Evangelists. If Mathew, Mark, and Luke were imposters, surely they could have taken the immense amount of time they spent together to avoid even the appearance of contradiction.
Finally, the authors had to tell the truth, for they weren’t the only ones who had seen and heard Jesus while he was living. So, they could not have published such falsities without encountering resistance, and being taken to task.
Let is be said, that the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John completely fulfill the tests of their genuineness, integrity, and veracity, and thereby can be considered completely authentic historic accounts of the past! As a result, it can also be said, that the Gospels are the historical authority on the Life and Death of Jesus Christ!
Posted at 05:35 pm by Alex
May 13, 2004 01:20 AM PDT
Yeah. Me too :) What a hopeless attitude!
Yeah! I get to answer the question, "What about the other parts of the Bible?" Thanks Brother Alex! I mean... aHEM... Alex, my brother (lower case b) in Christ. ;)
Did you get that?
Oh well, (well, well) the New Testment, chiefly the Gospels, are a fulfillment of the Old Testament. All the prophesies in the OT came true in the NT Gospels. And all the stuff taught in the OT (like the Ten Commandments and the all the teachings of the prophets and leaders and judges) were just reaffirmed in the NT. Pretty swanky, huh?
And if you don't think that's true, one of the attributes of God is that He never changes. So, He couldn't change His Law from the OT to the NT. He's the same always. Which, by the way, is pretty reassuring. You can always depend on Him!
I guess that's all I can think of at this late hour. Ho hum... good night.
May 11, 2004 09:06 PM PDT
Agreed. but I do believe Napolean made a good point when he said "History is nothing but a fable agreed upon"
Think on that for awhile.
May 9, 2004 02:28 PM PDT
Just for the record, he's not really my biological bro... just in case you were confused :)
May 8, 2004 11:08 PM PDT
Do those count!? No, I'm kidding. They're just as important! I am really tempted to answer this question, but it's Alex's paper, comments box, and chance to test his apologetics skills. Go bro!
May 8, 2004 09:14 PM PDT
That was really great! Fantastic, like all your long posts. :) Say, what about the other parts of the Bible?
May 8, 2004 12:47 PM PDT
Are you biased... ;)
I do have a comment to make. First, you have a good grasp on the material! But, I think you sound too much like the book. You could try to put things more in your words. :) Other than that, though, good job!