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Disclaimer. I posted this at two other places. one I got banned at for 'back talking admin." Another it almost went flame.

to try at prevent this i want to say upfront, that noting in what follows is an attempt to prove theology I'm not trying to prove that the theological claims of the bible are correct to anyone. I believe them, as will be seen, because of my own personal experiences. I hope this alleviates any feelings that i am trying to force what I believe on others by posting this....here it goes...

First is it's manuscript evidence.

The Old Testament: This collection of books has shown to have come down through a remarkable copying process. This is due to the meticulousness practiced by hebrew scribes for literally thousands of years. Example include the book of Isaiah. The two copies from Qumran date about 1000 years earlier than our most recent dated manuscript (980 ad). Even so, these copies from Qumran match 95% with today,s hebrew bible. The remaining five percent consists of spelling errors and other such mistakes which fail to alter the message the texts conveys. Other example are the accuracy of King lists, and the Masoretic calculations employed to ensure the quality of a Copy.
The manuscript evidence surviving is not like that of the NT, but it is still impressive. 223 total works have come from Qumran which we have to comapre to our most recent dated manuscripts. Again we find startling accuracy of transmission.
The New Testament boasts some 5,600 greek papyrus manuscripts of the NT. This is in addition to about 24,000 manuscripts ranging from 10000+ latin Vulgate to a single Franksih manuscript.
Compared to other classical works, which are accepted as authentic, the NT wins in sheer volume of manuscript evidence as well as having smaller time gaps between date of writing and earliest surviving manuscript. For instance, Pliny: Written 61-113 AD. Earliest manuscript, 850 ad. Number of copies, 7. Plato: Written, 400 bc. Earliest copy, 900 ad. Number of copies, 7. Caesar: Written, 100-44 bc. Earliest copy, 900 ad. number of copies, 10.

The NT: Written, 50-100 ad. Earliest copy/ies. 114 ad (fragments) to 325 ad (complete work). number of copies, 5686 greek manuscripts.

Historicity and Archeology. it was long believed that the hittites were pure biblical myth. Scholars touted their non-existance as a cudgel against the bible as being worth anything. That was until 1906 when a man named Hugo Winckler discovered a Hittite site in what is now Turkey. Thus has ti progressed with the bible. As archeology finds things, they seem to only confirm the biblical accounts of the region. This is the same in both testaments.

Contradictions? I have yet to find an actual 'contradiction." By that I mean, two conflicting messages. if one book in the Old testament states that there was 10,000 troops, and another says 15,000.....I don't much care. the number of troops at some specific battle in no way effects the core message being transmitted. Many 'contradictions" are of this sort and are born of scribal errors, not complete changes to the theology. However, MOST contradictions are born out of purposefully adopting an interpretation of a certain position of text that will create a contradiction with another. I reject these one the grounds that other feasible interpretations are contradiction free and thus there isn't necessarily an actual contradiction. In fact, the feasible, contradiction free interpretation is likely the right one.
when i make this claim, i often get a website thrown at me listing all manner of "contradictions." I am simply going to jump the gun and post the counter website.

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So I am firm that the bible was copied very well, it contains sound history, but what about theology? If it weren’t for the theology the work would likely not come under such scrutiny. Since we cannot prove theology, I can only give my personal experience. The bible makes a claim concerning spiritual authority. Those indwelled with the spirit can speak with the authority of the King. I have seen this in action. I have seen it heal, expel spirits and stop haunting. Thus, IME, the bible is a work backed by a very real power. This concludes my reasoning for accepting the bible as authoritative.

Addendum:I understand that Some version of the bible contain apocrypha while others don't. As I have not seen that they alter the doctrinal message in anyway i simply don't see the issue. i recognize that others DO see an issue. My own personal belief (note those words) is that god wished to preserve a message that survived all the copying and translating.

Disclaimer II: As stated above, i am not trying to prove theology. however, should it be argued that the text was in fact corrupted by man from it's original claims, i will likely debate that as it is a tangible, falsifiable subject separate from theology. i hope this wont cause strife.
On the subject of historical accuracy (and I don't need to be convinced of the accuracy of some of it, I come from a family of people who study the Bible like geeks study White Wolf manuals), there are some things that seem to clearly contradict the weight of historical/pre-historical evidence. The most obvious is Adam and Eve being created circa 6,000 years ago. In that case, with the precise number being based on genealogies, it seems that one of three things are happening.

1) While there is some historical accuracy in the Bible, there are also events described that are historically completely inaccurate.
2) History and pre-history from archaeological and documentary evidence is not correct - evidence of human habitation more than 6,000 years ago is wrong, and just as Adam and Eve were created as adults, Earth was created as an adult planet with signs of past habitation and extinct animals and geological action all in place.
3) Some events described in the Bible refer to a historical truth, but in a metaphorical way which alters their meaning - eg perhaps Adam and Eve were not the first humans, but instead were the first Jews; the Bible (especially Old Testament) gives a history of one small group of humans but described in terms of the whole world.

Which of these do you lean towards, or do you lean towards something else entirely?
You seem to be arguing against young earthisms. That is an interpretation that fails in many ways (Young earth I mean).

One of which is the pure assumption that the genealogies are complete. There are biblical scholars who think Noah had his boat ride 40,000 years ago. they do this by extrapolating out the genealogies, which i think is just as flawed.

I lean towards the idea that the, non-god claims (if you will) concerning history are trustworthy beyond must other ancient texts.

the god claims, however, are unfalsifiable and can't be proven either way, except to the individual via spiritual experience and such.
Acta non Verba Wrote:You seem to be arguing against young earthisms. That is an interpretation that fails in many ways (Young earth I mean).

No, not at all. (Even though I am not remotely Christian, taken to its logical conclusion I have argued emphatically for Young Earth - in general I think most vocal Young Earthers simply don't understand the concept.)

What I'm saying is this.

If I am reading you correctly, your initial post seems to essentially be saying that the Bible is an excellent historical source, both because of its amazingly low amount of transcription errors and because it has pointed to places/events that have only recently been acknowledged as fact (eg the Hittite site you mentioned). If the Bible is indeed a good historical source then it can't be dismissed as fiction or pure myth. That all makes perfect sense.

However, there are things in the Bible that very definitely contradict the notion of the Bible's historical accuracy. One is that Adam and Eve were the original humans 6,000 years ago.

If you are saying the Bible is a good historical source, you must surely have a way to understand things in it that seem historically inaccurate. I suggested three options. The first is that, simply, there are some things in the Bible that are not factually accurate. The second is that accepted history/prehistory is not accurate. The third is that some events described in the Bible are metaphorical rather than literal depictions.

I'm interested to know if you lean towards one of those views, or towards something else entirely.

Quote:I lean towards the idea that the, non-god claims (if you will) concerning history are trustworthy beyond must other ancient texts.

Saying you find some historical claims in the Bible more trustworthy than those of other texts is fine, but it doesn't explain how you think about historical claims in the Bible that seem to contradict other firm evidence.

It's also interesting that you separate, roughly, "non-god claims" (accounts of historical events?) from "god claims" (prophecy, law, miracles?). Where is the line drawn? If, for example, you think that claims in the Bible regarding YHWH's will are accurate, do you also think the genealogies are as accurate? Or do you think that some sections of the Bible were more closely inspired by God whereas others were more written by men?
However, there are things in the Bible that very definitely contradict the notion of the Bible's historical accuracy. One is that Adam and Eve were the original humans 6,000 years ago.

See i don't think it says they were the first of all humans. Why did cain need a marK. Where'd his wife come from in Nod? I think it is saying they were the first of the line that would lead to christ. That's a major OT theme.

I am a proponent of the two creation account idea where gen. 1 and gen. 2 describe two episodes of creation. original sin isn't an issue, imo, because whatever the tree was supposed to be (which i think may be symbolism) doesn't require a single set of parents for everyone in order to be spread through mankind.

I will attempt to clarify the non god claim thing.

Sodom and Gamorrah. Archaeology confirms that at least one or two cities in the right area burned at the right time from a fire that began on the roofs. So, city destroyed by fire from above, historical claim

God caused the fire: God claim....which is unfalsifiable. another is the flood. Sedimentology of mesopotamia points to large flooding of the tigris and euphrates river valleys. So the notion of a large flood is historically supportable, the notion that it was an act of God is theological and unfalsifiable.

I hope that explains it better. my bad,
The origin of humanity isn't history. History is the recorded timeline of the world. When you pass about 4000 years BC, you lose recorded accounts and you have to rely on archeology and paleontology. The problem is that you don't have any direct information for the most part. You have to rely on assumptions derived from indirect evidence. So the Genesis account has certainly not been shown to be contradictory to what we actually know about creaion - it simply contradicts the prevaling scientific theories.

Unfortunately, most science assumes many things (such as continuous, gradual development and linear time and space) which may not apply at all to the universe as a whole.

My position on the Bible (and a fairly common one) is that what can be verified has stood up quite well, my own relationship with God convinces me that He's reliable - I have no reason to distrust the rest.

Many of the "contradictions" in the scripture come from a misunderstanding of the Bible itself. For instances, there are certainly places where the chroinologies seem to be confused (as in parallel accounts of when certain kings began their reigns and such), but when you realize that there were several distinct systems of time keeping in the Middle East at the time and you figure in the different systems, the chronologies come out right.

You can't assume that, just because a passage looks contradictory from a superficial survey, that it actually is contradictory.
There are indeed "contradictions."

See above about the numbers of armies...
In the oT, and i can't remember the numbers, but one author claims a troop count of "x" and another claims a troop count of "y."

There are other instances similar to this as well. I suppose those are a problem for the "god-hand" crowd that believe it was dictated word for word.
Which passage was that again?

The Bible was written at a time and using the language of a people that did not have the advantage of Arabic numerals - they didn't have a quantitative mind - so numbers were not meant to represent exact values but more qualitative concepts; therefore, you have the repetition of numbers like 7 and 240 and such in places that would have been incredible that the exact numbers would have come up again and again. That might have been the situaton with the armies but I would need to know which instance to be able to tell.
I think they understood numbers just fine. Besides, Arabic script was a much later invention.

http://phoenicia.org/semlang.html

Southwestern Semitic

The Southwestern, or Southern, Semitic languages include (1) the South Arabian languages, (2) Arabic and (3) the Ethiopian languages. The South Arabian languages consist of the languages of ancient inscriptions, on the one hand, and of living vernacular languages in present-day Yemen and Oman, on the other. The monumental forms of the South Arabian alphabet were derived from Canaanite consonant script, brought to the area around 1300 BC. South Arabian inscriptions consist of short epitaphs, promises and deeds, dating from between 700 BC and AD 500. The language comprised several dialects, the most important of which were Sabaean, Minaean (or Ma`in), Qatabanian and Hadramauth (arami).
I think they understood numbers but I don't think they thought in terms of exact quantities very naturally. Have you ever tried to do arithmetic with idiographs?
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