I am very pleased to serve these links up to you, dear readers. I found a very diverse array this week and I think you’ll really enjoy them. One post analyzes the story behind Tom Cruise’s latest movie from a Christian perspective. Another talks about Bart Ehrman’s worldview problem. Yet another analyzes the concept of femininity. Oh yeah, and there are more! Tell me your own thoughts in the comments here, and be sure to tell me which you liked! If you liked their post, be sure to let the author of that post know too! There’s nothing like having a new comment on your site. Thanks, readers!
All You Need Is Kill/Edge of Tomorrow– Tom Cruise’s latest flick, “Edge of Tomorrow” is based upon this graphic novel. Check out Anthony Weber’s excellent review and critique of the graphic novel from a Christian perspective. I really recommend you follow his blog as well. It’s in my top five must-read blogs.
Femininity– A short title for an extremely important post. What does it mean to be feminine/female? What do we say to women when we say they need to be more feminine? Most importantly, where is that found in the Bible?
Bart Ehrman’s Worldview Problem– Frequent critic of Christianity, Bart Ehrman, has a problem. It’s a problem of worldview. Check out this post from noted theologian Michael Kruger analyzing Ehrman’s work in light of this problem.
Kirkdale Cave Hyena Den: A Young Earth Challenge Since 1821– What can a cave teach us about the age of the Earth and the extent of Noah’s Flood? Quite a bit, it turns out. Check out this excellent post.
Does 2 Maccabees “Expressly Disclaim Inspiration”?– Although I do not accept the Apocrypha as authoritative Scripture, I think it is important we are accurate when we discuss the canon and the extent of Apocryphal authority. This post analyzes a claim made that 2 Maccabees disclaims inspiration. Check it out.
Bart Ehrman has made a name for himself through critical scholarship of Christianity. His latest challenge, a book called How Jesus Became God, contains an argument that the notion that Jesus is God was a later development in the church and not reflective of the earliest teaching. Interestingly, the book was published alongside a response book, How God Became Jesus, in which multiple scholars argue that, far from being a late development, high Christology was the belief of the church.
The book is a series of essays organized around responding to Ehrman’s book essentially point-by-point. Ehrman’s central thesis, that Jesus Christ was exalted from human to deity over the course of theological reflection and some centuries, is directly confronted in a number of ways. First, Michael Bird challenges the thesis by pointing out some major errors in the Ehrman’s use of angels and other exalted beings. Later, a kind of death blow is dealt to the thesis by pointing out that even within the earliest writings there is the alleged full “range” of development of the doctrine of Christ as divine (136ff). Simon gathercole provides interesting philosophical insight into the use of types of change in relation and actuality (114-115).
Other challenges brought against Ehrman include critical analysis of his methodology (Chris Tilling, 117ff), historical insight into the development of orthodoxy (Charles Hill, 151ff), and insight into Christ’s own claims of deity (Bird, 45ff). These present a broad-spectrum approach to analysis of Ehrman’s arguments and demonstrate the difficulty of maintaining his thesis. Readers are exposed to methodological, factual, exegetical, and other errors in Ehrman’s work.
However, the book should not be seen merely as a response to Ehrman. Although it is structured around just such a response, it is a worthy read in its own right because it provides background for exploration of the deity of Christ found throughout Scripture. It also helps readers place these writings in context by showing the cultural surroundings of the discussions over the deity of Christ. Moreover, by analyzing many of Ehrman’s skeptical claims, the authors provide responses to a broader range of objections to the Christian faith. For example, Craig Evans’ essay on the evidences for the burial traditions provides insight into how crucifixion worked in practice and, importantly, how the Biblical narratives line up with these practices.
Various excurses provide documentary evidence for things like 2nd and 3rd century belief in Christ’s deity. These help to break up the book, which can easily be read chapter-by-chapter or as individual essays.
How God Became Jesus is a great read. It provides insight not only for a response to Ehrman’s thesis but also for a number of other issues that come up when talking about the incarnate Lord Jesus Christ. Each essay has much to commend it, and the excurses found throughout provide ways forward to research various other topics. The book is a solid resource for those interested in the deity of Christ.
How Jesus Became God edited by Michael Bird (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2014).
The preceding post is the property of J.W. Wartick (apart from quotations, which are the property of their respective owners, and works of art as credited; images are often freely available to the public and J.W. Wartick makes no claims of owning rights to the images unless he makes that explicit) and should not be reproduced in part or in whole without the expressed consent of the author. All content on this site is the property of J.W. Wartick and is made available for individual and personal usage. If you cite from these documents, whether for personal or professional purposes, please give appropriate citation with both the name of the author (J.W. Wartick) and a link to the original URL. If you’d like to repost a post, you may do so, provided you show less than half of the original post on your own site and link to the original post for the rest. You must also appropriately cite the post as noted above. This blog is protected by Creative Commons licensing. By viewing any part of this site, you are agreeing to this usage policy.
From God To Us (hereafter FGU) by Norman Geisler and William Nix provides a general introduction to a number of topics regarding the origins of the Bible. The book explores the inspiration, canonization, transmission, and translation of the Bible from the earliest roots until the modern era.
FGU outlines the nature of inspiration. It is important to note that “it is only the product that is inspired, not the persons” (17). Another misconception is that inerrancy/inspiration applies to copies. The sense in which it does must be limited: “Only the autographic [original] texts themselves (or perfect copies of them) are inerrant… Every other copy is inspired only insofar as it is an accurate reproduction of the original” (18).
The authors then turn to a defense of inspiration through the Biblical teaching of inspiration. By outlining the way the text is treated as inspired in both the Old and New Testaments, the authors make a case for the general inerrancy of the autographic texts. Finally, the authors provide an argument for the Bible as the word of God (68ff). The argument is 12 steps and they provide a basic defense of each premise.
One of the most frequent objections brought up offhand to those who hold to a high view of the inspiration of the Bible is that of the canon. Some say that the canon was just arbitrarily chosen by a church council somewhere, and that there is no way to determine how books got into the Bible.
FGU provides a more historically accurate look at the canon. The authors first outline a number of factors that are faulty for determining canonicity. For example, age alone cannot determine canonicty because some books of the Bible drew from contemporary sources.
In direct opposition to the notion that a council alone could determine the canon, FGU underscores the notion that: “the role of the Christian church… is not to determine which books are in the canon but to discover which books God determined should be in the canon, namely, those that He had inspired” (91). The authors then explore a number of factors which play into discovering the canon.
Historically, FGU explores the extent and formation of the Old Testament and New Testament canons. The arguments are concise and direct readers to further areas of exploration, while providing enough information to refute most basic arguments.
The Bible had to be transmitted: namely, God’s word had to be communicated to human persons. How was this done? Largely in the form of written languages. FGU explores the importance of written language as a means of communication and provides a brief background in the development thereof (164ff).
Of great importance to the reader is the extensive material on the manuscripts of the Bible. The details of the manuscript tradition are outlined and even several forms of extrabiblical manuscript evidence is brought into the picture. Such evidence is an important part of a believers’ background of Bible knowledge. FGU also does a fantastic job outlining the foundations of textual criticism and the valuable role it can play in determining the accurate reading of the text (221ff).
One of the most enlightening parts of FGU outlines the nature of finding “errors” in the transmission of Scripture. Often, one will hear the claim that there are 100s of thousands of errors in the Bible. Bart Ehrman has, in particular, focused upon this in order to cause some unrest in the notion of the accuracy of the Bible (243). But these are actually variants in manuscripts which are sometimes counted numerous times:
If a single word were misspelled in 3,000 different manuscripts, they are counted as 3,000 variants… Ironically, the way Ehrman counts ‘errors’ (variants), there were 1.6 million errors in the first printing of his book. For there were 16 errors, and the book printed an alleged 100,000 copies… Ehrman himself admits the biblical variants do not affect the central message of the Bible. (243)
The authors then turn to an analysis of variant readings and how they occur, from misspellings and unintentional changes to corrections to try to bring texts into concord (246ff).
FGU provides an intense look at a number of ways the Bible has been translated and the way that translations happen. The traditions of translation are outlined and traced through history (280ff) and the importance of individual translations are analyzed.
Another extremely valuable part of the book is the analysis of how translations come about as far as the emphasis placed upon form-driven versions, meaning-driven versions, and paraphrases. Readers interested in modern Bible translations will find a wealth of resources for analyzing the varied translations. There are nearly 70 pages of information on these translations, so readers will have a number of points to discuss with those asking questions about translations.
FGU is a huge resource for those interested in not just defending but learning about the Bible and how it has arrived in its current state in our pews. The book covers a number of issues and it will have appeal to both lay readers and interested professionals. Christian apologists will find a treasure trove of information about the background of the Bible which is often glossed or ignored in a number of apologetics resources.
The authors come from a decidedly conservative background, but this does not prevent them from a generally fair analysis of a number of topics. For example, though they seem critical of the so-called “gender accurate” language of TNIV, the analysis of the translation is objective and simply outlines how the translation comes to its current form (350-353).
Norman Geisler and William Nix have provided a solid resource with From God to Us. It will appeal to those who want to get a lengthy introduction to a number of relevant apologetical issues related to the Bible. Furthermore, it provides a significant amount of background on various translations of the Bible. What is most surprising about the book is how it manages to provide so much information without becoming too dense or thin. It covers so many issues that the danger would seem to be either to err on the side of being too long or too brief on each issue. The authors admirably do not stray to either side, and in doing so, have provided an invaluable resource for both the interested lay reader and professional.
The preceding post is the property of J.W. Wartick (apart from citations, which are the property of their respective owners, and works of art as credited) and should not be reproduced in part or in whole without the expressed consent of the author. All content on this site is the property of J.W. Wartick and is made available for individual and personal usage. If you cite from these documents, whether for personal or professional purposes, please give appropriate citation with both the name of the author (J.W. Wartick) and a link to the original URL. If you’d like to repost a post, you may do so, provided you show less than half of the original post on your own site and link to the original post for the rest. You must also appropriately cite the post as noted above. This blog is protected by Creative Commons licensing. By viewing any part of this site, you are agreeing to this usage policy.
Why don’t we read the Bible?– An exhortation to reading the Bible. We need to set aside the time for real Bible study. Why don’t we?
Who is Paul Ryan? What are his political views and motivations?– Frequent readers will know that I very, very rarely discuss politics. However, I can’t help but be excited about Mitt Romney’s nomination of Paul Ryan for his running mate. Why? Well Paul Ryan’s track record as far as pro-life politics are concerned is nearly spotless. His fiscal policy also seems spot-on to me. I highly recommend checking this post out to those of my readers interested in U.S. Politics.
“What Books Are a Good Investment for Scholars?”– Doug Geivett outlines which types of books will make good investments for scholars.
Debating Tips for Atheists– Want to have genuine discussion with Christians, atheists? Here are some tips.
The Correct View of Creation?– A survey of views on creation (old, young earth) along with some discussion over how to determine which is correct.
Ehrman’s Problem 16: Cosmic Issues He Doesn’t Understand– Bart Ehrman has a lot of problems. One is that he completely misunderstands the book of Job and the cosmic issues therein.
Jump: Hiking the Transcendent Trail– I can’t describe how aesthetically pleasing this site is. But, apart from that, Anthony Weber outlines a basic argument from aesthetics towards the existence of God. I found this post really interesting and mind-opening. Check it out!
Was Adolf Hitler a Better Man Than Martin Luther King, Jr.?– Relativism cannot make sense of moral heroes. Arthur Khachatryan makes an excellent argument towards this end here.
Maverick Philosopher: Why Do Some Physicists Talk Nonsense about Nothing?– A discussion of Lawrence Krauss’s position on the universe from “nothing.” [Warning: There are a few curse words here.]
My recent discussion of the moral argument had many up in arms about the fact that I didn’t explicitly defend its premises. [Note that that was never the intention of the post, as its title explicates.] Glenn Peoples has an excellent post defending P1 of the moral argument: that If God did not exist, there would not be any objective moral values or duties. Check out his “The conditional premise of the moral argument.”
Ehrman’s Problem: He Misreads the Bible and Impugns God’s Fairness– Clay Jones discusses a number of difficulties with Bart Ehrman’s interpretations of the Bible. Check out the entire series. Part 2: Free Will and Natural Evil Part 3: God Could Have Made Us So We’d Always Do Right Part 4: Why Don’t We Abuse Free Will in Heaven? Part 5: God Should Intervene More to Prevent Free Will’s Evil Use He’s Confused About the Free Will Defense
Alexander Vilenkin: “All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning.”- Discussion of reasons to hold the universe began based on cosmology.