Archive for ‘Bible’

April 3, 2012

VT Debate–Response to the Atheist Objection that God is a Moral Monster

by Max Andrews

There were two main objections, which my atheist opponents defended during the VT debate on the existence of God.  One of the objections was from the problem of gratuitous evil, particularly natural evil, which I have already responded to here. The other objection raised during the debate was presented first after my opening statements. The argument was that because me and my debate partner were Christian theists the Christian God cannot exist because of the supposed atrocities in the Bible and other doctrines such as hell.

The argument began with the problem of predisposition. In other words, why you must approach your faith of choice with objectivity and skepticism and not confirmation bias.  However, in response, in order to identify and affirm the discovery of a truth one must not exhaust all possibilities.  Additionally, it works both ways.  If the criterion is applied fairly how can one deny the proposition, in this case, God exists, without examining all possibilities?  This criterion is untenable.  Also, to suggest that one is a Christian because of environment or spatiotemporal location is to commit the genetic fallacy.

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March 2, 2012

What Does the Bible Say About Tattoos, Beards, and Blood?

by Max Andrews

Tattoos, beards, and consuming blood is mentioned in the Bible in Leviticus 19.26-28.  These verses prohibit tattoos, trimming the edges of one’s beard, and consuming blood.  Christians often find themselves puzzled as to what we should do with these types of verses.  Are we allowed to have tattoos today?  Well, that’s important for me since I’m covered in tattoos.  Are we allowed to trim the edges of our beards?  Should we let them grow out?  Have you ever had a medium-rare steak with just a little bit of blood in it?  I’ve provided an exegesis of this passage of Scripture in hopes to help others understand how we should understand this passage and provide insight as to how the Old Testament Law applies to us today.

__________

Leviticus is the sequel to Exodus.  At the heart of Exodus is the Sinai Covenant, though it is rarely mentioned in Leviticus.[1]  Leviticus explains how covenant worship should be conducted (chs. 1-17), how the covenant people should behave (18-25), and then closes with a section of blessings and curses, entirely appropriate to a covenant document (26).[2]  The book enshrines the laws by which the religious and civil organization of the primitive theocracy in Canaan was to be regulated.  [3]  Leviticus is given in a treaty format consisting of naming the suzerain, giving a historical prologue explaining the background of the treaty, stipulations, a document clause (covenant context), blessings and curses, and the divine witness[es].[4]

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February 29, 2012

Word of the Week Wednesday: Logos, Λογος

by Max Andrews

The Word of the Week is: Logos, λογος

Definition: The Logos is the second person in the godhead of the Trinity–Jesus.  The Logos is the preexistent person of Jesus.

More about the term:   Logos is the reason or mind of God (not to be confused with unitarianism).  It is the creative force behind the creation of the world, which in turn, gives the world its rational structure.  The reason why the world is a logical place open to rational investigation is because it bears the imprint of the Logos (the reason or rationality of the God who created it).

God the Father existed without the universe but having within Him His Word or reason.  This proceeded forth from Him (Just as the Holy Spirit proceeds from the mind of God).  The pre-incarnate Christ (John 3:13, 31), Son of God, exists as the mind and reason of the Father (eternally rational). 

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February 17, 2012

First Century Manuscript of Mark?–A Word of Caution

by Max Andrews

I’ve seen Dr. Dan Wallace’s article on a possible copy of Mark dating back to the first century float around the blogosphere, Facebook, and Twitter.

These fragments now increase our holdings as follows: we have as many as eighteen New Testament manuscripts from the second century and one from the first. Altogether, more than 43% of all New Testament verses are found in these manuscripts. But the most interesting thing is the first-century fragment.

It was dated by one of the world’s leading paleographers. He said he was ‘certain’ that it was from the first century. If this is true, it would be the oldest fragment of the New Testament known to exist. Up until now, no one has discovered any first-century manuscripts of the New Testament. The oldest manuscript of the New Testament has been P52, a small fragment from John’s Gospel, dated to the first half of the second century. It was discovered in 1934.

Not only this, but the first-century fragment is from Mark’s Gospel. Before the discovery of this fragment, the oldest manuscript that had Mark in it was P45, from the early third century (c. AD 200–250). This new fragment would predate that by 100 to 150 years.

This is certainly exciting for Christians but I want to give a word of caution.  Many people may have quickly read this sentence in the article: “How do these manuscripts change what we believe the original New Testament to say? We will have to wait until they are published next year… [continues on about what we can know now]” There are certain things we can derive from this manuscript but let’s not get overconfident about this.  We need to let this be reviewed over and over. We need to let the scholars write papers, review the work, and debate these things.  New information, especially like this, need to be reviewed and go through the process.  Let’s use what we can know from it but we need to allow the process to take place before we go wild about it.

February 13, 2012

The Unbelief of Impatience–Isaiah 30.1-5

by Max Andrews

The following is an outline from a lesson I delivered in a Bible study group.

Question:  Have you ever doubted God?  When God says He will do something, have you ever denied that He would do it?

Impatience is unbelief

  • It rises in your heart when you begin to doubt God’s timing
  • When you doubt the wisdom of His guidance
  • It springs up when the road to success gets muddy or a tree falls across and blocks it from where you thought you would be and when you thought you would be there

 There’s a difference between impatience and desire

  • God doesn’t want us to be impatient
  • God wants us to desire Him
    • Not to be apathetic
    • It’s OK to desire something, be patient

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February 12, 2012

The Book of Jonah: God’s Compassion and Our Lack of Compassion

by Max Andrews

The following is an outline of the book of Jonah I used for a Bible study group.

Question:  When I say, “Jonah,” what do you think of?

Historical Background:  Eighth century B.C.—Jonah was a prophet from Israel (Northern Kingdom) called to preach repentance to Nineveh (Assyrian).  Instead, he attempted to flee to Tarshish (Spain?).  Jonah had many reasons not to like Nineveh.

  • During Assyrian captivity they would torture.  Their methods would be cutting the skin on the side of the body and peeling it off a live person.
  • They would place bodies on spears for display.

Outline:

1.1-6:  The pagans aboard the ship were better pagans than Jonah was a Jew

  • The pagans called on their gods
  • They sought help from their gods before help from man
    • Jonah could care less about anyone perishing

1.8-17: Jonah is tossed overboard and is swallowed by a big fish

  • How could Jonah live?
  • Natural: It has been well established that the phrase “three days and three nights” in ancient Hebrew usage was an idiomatic expression meaning simply “three days,” and was applicable even if the beginning and ending days of the period were only partial days. Thus it could refer to a period as short as about 38 hours. There is always some air in the whale’s stomach, and, as long as the animal it has swallowed is still alive, digestive activity will not begin. Thus, Jonah’s experience could possibly have happened entirely with the framework of natural law.
  • Miracle:  Jesus uses a simile to compare His miraculous resurrection like that of Jonah in the belly of the fish.  Its literary comparison likens the Jonah situation to be miraculous, c.f. Mt 12.40.
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February 4, 2012

Paul’s Use of The Old Testament in The Book of Romans

by Max Andrews

Paul’s use of the Old Testament is very evident in the book of Romans. There are 50 references to Old Testament Scriptures from thirteen different books. Paul does not seem to quote Scripture verbatim every time he refers to it. Paul paraphrases and contextualizes the Scriptures. One example of this is in 2:24:

For, “THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU,” just as it is written. (NASB)

The Old Testament reference is Isaiah 53:5 which states:

Now therefore, what do I have here,” declares the LORD, “seeing that My people have been taken away without cause?” Again the LORD declares, “Those who rule over them bowl, and My name is continually blasphemed all day long. (NASB)

There are other times where he does give verbatim when he refers to the Ten Commandments and Exodus and Deuteronomy when to not covet, etc. (i.e. Rom 7:7). Paul will refer to certain personalities and books depending on what he is addressing, when he addresses Israel in chapter 9, it is mainly the prophetic books. When dealing with the word of faith and salvation in chapter 10, Paul usually sticks to the historical books. If Paul referred to any one personality the most, it would be Abraham when he is justified in his faith and to the prophet Isaiah as he refers to him thirteen times (tied with the most references with The Psalms).

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February 4, 2012

The Historical Context for Pilate’s Release of Barabbas

by Max Andrews

Matthew 27.15-23

Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the people any one prisoner whom they wanted.  16At that time they were holding a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas.  17So when the people gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?”  18For he knew that because of envy they had handed Him over.  19While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him a message, saying, “Have nothing to do with that righteous Man; for last night I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him.”  20But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to put Jesus to death.  21But the governor said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.”  22Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Crucify Him!”  23And he said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they kept shouting all the more, saying, “Crucify Him!”

The Matthean passage is Pilate’s offer to exchange Barabbas for Jesus.  This historical background information given for this passage of Scripture was extremely helpful in understanding the context of the situation.  Though, admittedly, there are no extrabiblical references to a release of prisoners at a festival time, there is an account of a release of prisoners.

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February 4, 2012

Abrahamic Covenant References

by Max Andrews

The following chart lists all the references to the Abrahamic Covenant from Genesis 12 to 50 broken down into seven parts.  First is the reference, where it can be found in the book of Genesis.  Then listed is who referred to the covenant and to whom it was directed.  The Circumstances column describes what the situation was like leading up to and at the time of the reference.  The composition is what the reference entailed for the covenant.  The development of the covenant is then tracked and its progression is noted along with any changes within the covenant.

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February 2, 2012

Theology Thursday: Karl Barth’s Christo-Monism

by Max Andrews

Theology Thursday is a new feature on the blog, which gives a brief introduction to a theological person of significance.

Theologian: Karl Barth (1886-1969)

General summary of his theology: Barth has made man contributions to Christian theology. In this post I’ll give a summary of Barth’s Christo-monism. Christo-monism came to light in contrast to liberal anthropocentrism.  It adopts ecclesial-centrism of Catholicism.  With this, Jesus Christ is the center and focus of all revelation and so of all God’s elective and redemptive work for humanity.  Therefore, all doctrinal headings are brought in naturally under Jesus Christ

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