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The Bible:Myth or History?


The Bible:Myth or History? God did not design the Bible to be a dark puzzle for bright scholars but to be a bright lamp for travelers through a dark world – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Bible:Myth or History?

The BibleMyth or History?
  • God did not design the Bible
  • to be a dark puzzle
  • for bright scholars
  • but to be a bright lamp for travelers through a
    dark world

  • The link between
  • Bible, Miracles Resurrection
  • Nonbelievers say
  • Miracles like that dont really happen
  • The Bible is myth not history
  • These three
  • typically stand or fall together

The Senses of Myth
  • 1.) The sacred story sense (literal)
  • from the Greek mythos a sacred story
  • this says nothing about its truth or falsity,
    historicity or non-historicity

The Senses of Myth
  • 2.) The unreal sense (popular)
  • something that didnt really happen or is not
    real a merely fictional human invention
  • contrast the story against truth or fact

The Senses of Myth
  • 3.) The parable sense
  • a way of explaining natural facts by supernatural
    or natural fictions
  • a literary genre of stories that are not
    literally true these can include fantasy, animals
    that talk, and stories of gods

The Senses of Myth
  • 4.) The projection sense
  • Projection of human consciousness out onto
  • Kants theory of knowledge all human knowledge
    is myth
  • dreams are myth if while we are dreaming we take
    them objectively

The Senses of Myth
  • 5.) The worldview sense
  • Any story to articulate a worldview
  • Both literally true and fictional stories

The Senses of Myth
  • 6.) The archetype sense
  • A Platonic archetype in story form
  • A universal truth about human life expressed in a
  • Christs resurrection is a story in this sense as
    the pattern for our resurrection

Biblical Studies The Major Controversy
  • Demythologizers
  • All or most of the miracle stories in the Bible
    are myths in all six of these senses
  • Orthodox Christians
  • Agree that the bible contains sacred story,
    parables, worldview and archetype
  • never unreal or projection
  • The bottom line is miracles

The Proper Logic
  • If the resurrection really did happen
  • The assumption
  • that miracles dont happen is refuted
  • Then
  • the miracle stories of scripture can be history,
  • not myth

The Importance of the IssueEffect of
Demythologizing Teachers
  • Approximately 50 of students who enter Catholic
    Colleges as believers
  • exit as non-believers.
  • (Biblical Interpretation in Crises Richard
  • They enter with a thoughtless belief in the Bible
    and its miracles, notably the resurrection
  • They take theology courses that debunk these
    miracle stories via the historical-critical
  • They graduate as unbelievers, or believers in a
    religion without miracles, a real resurrection or
    scriptural authority
  • A Religion of mere sharing and caring

The Importance of the IssuePsychological Motives
for Unbelief
  • Addiction to power in this world
  • Addiction to lust, our societys favorite pastime
  • Addiction to greed, the sin Christs spoke
    against most frequently
  • Addiction to worldly acceptance and popularity
  • Addiction to freedom defined as doing your own
    thing, looking out for number one
  • Sin Selfishness

The Role of Scripture in ApologeticsAvoid two
  • Fundamentalist
  • Believers in the five fundamentals Christs
    divinity, resurrection, virgin birth, real second
    coming, and the infallibility of Scripture
  • The Popular Sense
  • Not just biblical infallibility but also biblical
  • a generally close-minded, narrow minded,
    ant-intellectual, even bigoted attitude
  • Theological Modernism
  • Believers in a religion without miracles,
  • a real resurrection or scriptural authority

The Fundamentalist Extreme
  • Beginning apologetics from the starting point of
    the authority of scripture
  • Necessitates convincing others of scriptures
    authority before even beginning.
  • Places doubt on natural human reasons ability to
    direct unbelievers to belief.
  • Wields scripture as a weapon even before
    establishing its authority
  • Demands special standards for interpreting
    scripture because of Gods involvement

Fundamental Problem
  • You must first prove Scripture deserves Special
  • Early Christian apologists and church fathers
    argued quite effectively for Christianity without
    having the New Testament Scriptures as
    authoritatively defined.
  • Through centuries many people have been led to
    belief in God and the possibility of salvation
    through rational arguments
  • It is very difficult to first prove the authority
    of Scripture to the unbeliever
  • The unbeliever will not accept the use of any
    special standards or assumptions or attitudes
    towards Scripture at the outset.

The Modernist Extreme
  • Interpret everything miraculous
  • or supernatural
  • or morally unpopular
  • non-literally,
  • and insist right from the start on an
    unbelieving, skeptical attitude toward the Bible.

The Modernist Extreme
  • If we used the same critical standards on other
    ancient literature that modernists use on the
    Bible, we would necessarily doubt every single
    fact we know today about every single writer and
    event before the Middle Ages.
  • Whereas
  • If modernists applied to the bible the same
    standards that historians and textual scholars
    apply to secular literature of ancient times,
    biblical records would be accepted as some of the
    most reliable and credible of all ancient

Why Modernists Deny the Authority of Scripture!
  • Do miracles happen?
  • Is the supernatural world real?
  • Are there angels and devils?
  • Does God ever reach down and interfere?

Why Modernists Deny the Authority of Scripture!
  • Is there a super-naturally given moral law?
  • Did God not just Moses invent the ten
  • Are there any moral absolutes
  • --objective unyielding moral laws that do not
  • when our feelings or societies change?

Why Modernists Deny the Authority of Scripture!
  • Is Christ divine
  • and thus
  • infallible and absolutely authoritative
  • in everything
  • he says?

  • Is human life on earth a spiritual warfare?
  • Are the stakes in life infinite?
  • Is there a real heaven or hell at the end?
  • Do our choices matter very much?

Why Modernists Deny the Authority of Scripture!
  • Is there one objective true way to heaven
  • --Jesus Himself--
  • as he claims
  • (John 146)
  • Or are all religions of the world equal
  • and thus
  • are generic human sincerity and niceness the only
    requirements for salvation?

Why Modernists Deny the Authority of Scripture!
  • Scripture unequivocally and repeatedly
  • answers
  • YES!
  • To all these questions.
  • The typical modern mind answers
  • NO!

Is the Answer Found in Compromise?
  • Unbelievers say that the New Testament and
  • Christianity is FALSE
  • Christians say the New Testament and
  • Christianity is TRUE
  • Modernists seek to make peace by picking and
    choosing what is acceptable to both
  • Will Scripture allow compromise?
  • Galatians 18

HermeneuticsThe Science of Interpretation
  • Use the same standards, methods and approaches to
    the Bible
  • you would use for any other book.
  • Do not patronize anyone
  • by fudging your textual data
  • to make it more acceptable or palatable

Read the book in the same spirit or mind as the
author wrote it
Exegesis (reading out of) not Eisegesis
(reading into)
  • Surrender to the work as it is
  • rather than molding it to where we are
  • Grow and learn
  • rather than reinforce and flatter

  • Separate Interpretation from Belief
  • Interpretation means finding out
  • in light of his words or thoughts
  • After we understand what the person means comes
    agreement or disagreement,
  • belief or disbelief

  • Interpret a Book According to Its Genre
  • First find out the form or style of the work
  • poetry vs law
  • parable vs biography
  • science vs religion
  • myth vs history
  • Then use the principles
  • that govern the interpretation of that style

  • Similarities
  • Between Biblical Stories and Myth
  • Repeated Stock Events
  • Many events described in myths, legends and fairy
    tales also occur in history
  • Symbolic Numbers
  • Sometimes real things do happen in 3,6,10 and 40
  • Since God is in charge of history he may very
    well arrange for events to conform to symbolic
    number schemes
  • Similar kinds of miracles
  • The occurrence of miracles in myth does not
    disprove their occurrence in real history

  • Know When to Interpret the Bible
  • Literally vs. Symbolically
  • When the biblical author claims he saw something
    in the external world with his own eyes, or that
    someone else did and told him, then we are to
    interpret it literally.
  • (Jesus miracles)

  • Know When to Interpret the Bible
  • Literally vs. Symbolically
  • When a thing is not visible to the eye we can not
    interpret it literally
  • The object by its nature is invisible
  • (Moses sees God)
  • The object is a vision or dream
  • (Joseph interprets dreams)
  • It is made up fiction
  • (parable)

  • Know When to Interpret the Bible
  • Literally vs. Symbolically
  • The line between literal and non-literal is not
    simply the line between natural and supernatural,
  • or miraculous
  • Miracles are visible not invisible
  • (effect vs cause)
  • natural-or-supernatural criterion
  • is
  • external taken from philosophy and theology
  • not
  • internal criterion taken from the form of the text

  • Know When to Interpret the Bible
  • Literally vs. Symbolically
  • Dont ignore that a given passage could rightly
    be interpreted as both literal and symbolic
  • Exodus, Israel, Moses, Red Sea, Promised land
  • Signs must first stand in the real world,
    literally, in order for it to take on the second
    meaning that points beyond itself
  • Symbolic-literal is not always an either/or issue
    it is rather sometimes a both/and issue
  • Language that is not literal can still be true,
    accurate and extremely important

  • Know which stories are historical
  • Literal history
  • (Modern history)
  • The court history of the Kings of Israel
  • Non-literal history
  • (Traditional history)
  • Garden of Eden, The Fall, Creation
  • Fiction
  • (Non-historical)
  • Job, Jonah(perhaps), Parables

  • The Fall Can Not Be Fiction
  • If the fall is not historical at all,
  • then its effects
  • --suffering and death--
  • also are not historical.
  • If sin is historical in its effects,
  • it must be historical in its cause

  • The Fall Can Not Be Fiction
  • If Adams fall didnt really happen,
  • then Christs salvation need not really happen
  • (Paul Romans 6)
  • If the first Adam was not historical
  • why should the second Adam be?
  • If the disease is myth
  • then the cure can also be myth.

  • The Fall Can Not Be Fiction
  • If the fall did not happen in history
  • then God rather than humanity is the blame for
  • for God must have created us as sinners rather
    than innocents.
  • If there was really never any un-fallen state
  • then we were sinners from the first moment of
  • and God was wrong to declare everything he made

You cannot separate religious questions from
historical questions
  • Historical question
  • Moses led Israel through the Red Sea
  • Jesus body was really resurrected
  • Religious Question
  • Israel saw Gods hand in history
  • Easter Faith was resurrected in the hearts of
    the apostles

Not Faith in Faith rather Faith in firm
reality No historical Jesus then No
Christianity Christianity is not an -ism
You cannot separate religious questions from
historical questions
  • The only distinctively Christian teachings are
    the beliefs about the historical Jesus
  • Incarnation Resurrection
  • Modernists feel these stand in the way of a
    single world religion
  • We can not fudge our data in order to solve their

Contradictions in the Bible?
  • Can we prove any parts of scripture false
  • That it contradicts itself
  • or
  • That it contradicts facts outside itself

Internal Contradictions
  • Old Testament populations of peoples and armies
    are estimated differently
  • Exodus God parted the Red (Reed) Sea or a strong
    East wind blew all night
  • No two Gospel have Jesus life in the same
    chronological order
  • One Easter morning account has one Angel another
    has two
  • Judas hung himself or fell down and his guts
    burst asunder
  • Ancient histories rarely claimed exact numbers.
    Inexact estimates were common and expected
  • First and second causes do not exclude each
  • Only Luke claimed anything to be in order.
  • Perhaps one woman didnt see the other one.
  • Perhaps Judas noose broke

Details are not contradictions in substance and
do not bring into question fallibility of
teachings or message No minor detail has been
discovered which can not also be explained We
must not impose modern concepts of accuracy upon
ancient authors
Contradictions in God
  • God is eternal and changeless
  • God is just and punishes the wicked
  • God is one
  • God is awesome and terrifying
  • God acts and effects changes in time and history
  • God is merciful and revokes eternal punishment
    for the repentant
  • God is three
  • God is compassionate and comforting
  • Gods essence is timeless but he effects changes
    in time. No creature can change another without
    itself being changed, but God can do this because
    he is purely active, not passively responding to
    the laws of creatures
  • He does not compromise his justice or his mercy.
    The two are reconciled on Calvary. Jesus gets
    the justice and we get the mercy.
  • He is one in being and essence, three in persona
  • He is both awesome and loving. What is more
    awesome than love? The same God of holy love can
    be comforting to a saint and threatening to a

External Contradictions
  • Archeology has found nothing to invalidate the
    claims of the Bible
  • All overlaps have been either proved or rendered
    probable none have been disproved
  • Unanswered questions are not disproof
  • No prophecy has been disproved
  • Yet many have been proved true by history.
  • Jesus fulfilled at least 30, perhaps as many as
    300, specific and distinct Old Testament
  • BEWARE!!
  • Modernist scholars attempt to date prophecies by
    their fulfillment

External Contradictions
  • Science Contradicts Religion
  • Which science?
  • Which idea?
  • Is that idea a proven fact?
  • What proves it?
  • Which statement in the Bible does it contradict?
  • Is the statement properly interpreted?
  • Answer these questions and
  • The general challenge dissipates
  • like fog under sunlight