Merry Christmas, everyone! It’s only 5 days away and I have to say I’m extremely excited myself. My in-laws will be visiting and it’s going to be a ton of fun. Then, in January, my wife and I are making a trip to visit my parents. But of course, at the center of it all, there is reflection upon the meaning of Christmas and its application to our lives. And, equally unsurprising, I’m most interested in those writings which explore the evidence. Check out my finds below. And again, Merry Christmas!
Was Jesus Born in Bethlehem?– Here, Tim McGrew takes on the suggestion that Jesus was not born in Bethlehem. He analyzes it from a number of angles, including the notion that the birth in Bethlehem was invented or that there was disagreement among the Gospel writers. This post comes highly recommended. For more on the evidence of the birth narrative of Christ, check out my post Jesus’ Birth: How undesigned coincidences give evidence for the truth of the Gospel accounts.
Was the Virgin Birth Incorrectly Prophesied?– A brief, interesting post opposing the notion that the virgin birth was not a prophecy about Christ. For a post on the importance and meaning of the virgin birth, check out a guest post on this site: Rev. Kent Wartick on “The Virgin Birth.”
A More Accurate Picture of the Original Christmas Morning– What would the Christmas morning really have looked like? Check out this post for a brief, interesting summary of what the surroundings of Jesus would most likely have been at his birth.
A Moment in Eternity– Ravi Zacharias is a phenomenal speaker and writer. Here, he reflects upon the meaning and celebration of Christmas from his time in Dubai and other Middle Eastern areas.
The Gift of Christmas Was Predicted With the Gift of Prophecy– J. Warner Wallace, author of Cold Case Christianity, has put together a nice brief summary of a number of prophecies which were fulfilled by Jesus’ birth and life. Check out this interesting post related to prophecy.
Should Christians Celebrate Christmas– Are Christians allowed to participate in an allegedly pagan holiday? Check out this brief post for some answers.
Another Owl Post edition. This edition of my really recommended posts features a critique of Krauss, archaeology, abortion and polity, an apologetics comic (check it out!), molinism, Christopher Hitchens, and religious diversity. Check out the links and let me know what you think!
Not Understanding Nothing– Edward Feser, one of my favorite bloggers and a fantastic Thomistic philosopher, critiques Lawrence Krauss’ book, “A Universe from Nothing.”
Archaeologists Uncover first extra-biblical reference to Bethlehem– It’s amazing that something so small can be so important!
An Unexpected Confession at the Great Disclosure– A great apologetics comic with a “what if?” scenario.
“They Would Have Believed…” — A Molinist Exegesis of Matthew 11:20-24– Molinism is a theological position I hold strongly because it seems to solve many difficulties of both philosophy and exegesis. Check out this excellent post on the latter.
Christopher Hitchens confessed he would not get rid of all religion. What is, perhaps, most interesting about this video is the discussion of Dawkins, who as a “free thinker” was utterly incredulous about Hitchens’ view.
Do We Need to Prove All Other Religions False?– Interesting look at the rationality of a particular belief in light of diversity.
Abortion Jeopardizes 900-year-old Liechtenstein dynasty– very interesting read about polity and abortion in another country (unless you’re from Liechtenstein, in which case it’s your country!).
One argument I have heard is that the account of Jesus’ birth in Luke 2 is inaccurate. The charge is made because it seems unfathomable culturally that Joseph could have gone to his hometown and found no family who would accommodate he and his betrothed. Luke 2:7 says “And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” The latter part of the verse is that to which the objector points, saying that surely one of Joseph’s family members would have provided a bed for them.
There are a few important points to be made here. First, the text actually provides for the possibility of Joseph’s family providing lodging. The Greek word translated “inn” in this verse can also be translated as “guest room” which implies that Joseph did seek lodging with family, but all of their guest rooms were full. This is reflected in the NIV translation, which states that “there was no guest room available to them.”
Second, while those who make this objection focus on the cultural significance of hospitality, they also ignore the cultural significance of adultery. That Mary was pregnant was a pretty big deal. She would have been seen as an adulterer–possibly with Joseph (though some anti-Christian literature from the second century suggested that Jesus was the illegitimate child of Mary and a Roman soldier named Panthera). The penalty for adultery was death by stoning. Joseph had stayed with Mary and protected her. It doesn’t seem unlikely that this could have incurred his family’s wrath to the point where they simply didn’t allow him to stay with them for the census. Treated like the family member no one talks about, everyone’s door was shut when Joseph came knocking with his pregnant bride-to-be.
It should be noted that this later theory is just that; a theory. The textual evidence could easily support my first point (that all the guest rooms were full). I think that my own theory is plausible. Either way, the objection fails.
This is part of a series I’ve entitled “Jesus: the Living God,” which explores Jesus from Biblical, theological, and apologetic levels. View other posts in the series here.
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