The Empty Tomb and Resurrection

Introduction

When it comes to apologetics most theistic arguments are designed to show that it is reasonable to accept the existence of some sort of supernatural force or deity on the basis of logic. The vast majority of these arguments, if we first assume that they are valid, succeed only in establishing a deistic God or a general monotheistic one and do not address the issue of which religion, if any, is the correct one.

In this hub however I hope to look at what Christian apologists, particularly those like Doctor William Lane Craig and Lee Strobel, do after they believe they have established God to exist. How do they make the leap from just a God existing to it being the God of the Bible. One of the main arguments offered is typically one in favor of the Resurrection of Jesus.

The Fantastic Four Facts

In Craig's typical pro-Resurrection argument he lays out four facts about the death of Jesus that he claims MUST be adequately explained by any naturalistic hypothesis attempting to explain away the miracle. This claim is, of course, a shifting of the burden of proof as the lack of a mundane explanation is not an admission that a miracle is possible, likely, or evident.

These four facts he lays out are the burial of Jesus, the empty tomb, the multiple sightings of Jesus and the fact that the belief in a Resurrection existed so strongly even among disciples who witnessed Jesus' death.

Of course there are any number of naturalistic and completely ordinary explanations for these facts that have no inkling of the supernatural in them. Each of the four facts could be tackled individually and this divide and conquer tactic is usually where most debaters go when they are dealing with Craig. This is a mistake, however, as Craig is quick to explain his downright bizarre belief that any good explanation must account for ALL of the facts surrounding Jesus' death.

Craig argues that because the Resurrection explains all the facts it possesses what he calls explanatory scope and explanatory power and that competing hypotheses must possess these.

fun fact, Jesus used a magic wand in many early Christian works of art
fun fact, Jesus used a magic wand in many early Christian works of art

Do You Believe in Magic?

The stupidity of this line of reasoning is obvious because no naturalistic hypotheses can ever trump MAGIC in terms of explanatory scope and power. Take any natural phenomenon that we DO have an explanation for, rainbows, lightning, disease, etc. All of these phenomenon were once explained by magic, miracles, curses and demons, etc.

The supernatural is the end-all-be-all of explanatory scope and explanatory power but Craig seems to think this is a strong point of his argument when actually it's among the dumbest things he argues. However there is a good reason why Craig makes these pathetic attempts, because if he did not he would fall subject to Hume's arguments about miracles. Miracles are the least probable type of event to actually occur so even if we allow the idea that they do occur they would still be ruled out in almost any and all scenarios.

Since folks like Strobel and Craig have no actual evidence of the Resurrection as such evidence, if it did exist, would be lost to history they must rely on making it seem historically plausible. So they prop up this magical explanation as having the most explanatory scope and power.

In a debate with Biblical scholar Bart Ehrman Craig lays out the idea that in order to believe Jesus was raised from the dead by God the only extra step one needs is the existence of God. Craig is apparently an idiot as he is ignoring the many MANY steps it would take to get from the existence of a GOD in general to the existence of a God that gave a shit about Earth and human life, was capable of miracles, was aware of Jesus' existence, granted Jesus miraculous powers and brought him back to life.

Reductio Ad Aliens

The main reason this hub exists is to propose my own argument about what really happened at the Resurrection. However this argument is not meant to be taken seriously but is simply a Reductio Ad Absurdum pointing out how fucking stupid it is to care less about what's likely, plausible and evident than you do about explanatory scope and power.

So what really happened? The answer is that Jesus, dead by our standards, was brought back to life by advanced alien technology and later ascended into Heaven via an alien tractor beam. Remember that what Craig has argued is that a naturalistic hypothesis competing with his own must possess the explanatory scope and power to explain the four facts that he established about Jesus death. Not only does extraterrestrial intervention explain the Resurrection but it explains the rest of the Gospels as well.

Mary is impregnated by an alien who she mistakes for an angel, she gives birth to a human-alien hybrid with strange miraculous abilities. Hell even the MISSING YEARS of Jesus' life, the subject of a great deal of myth, legend and speculation among Christians and non-Christians alike, are explained by him being abducted by aliens. Jesus is returned to Earth to begin his ministry, he performs miracles believing his alien Father is actually God.

After his death the aliens simply use their advanced tech to bring him back to life, his post-Resurrection appearances are therefore real but not supernatural and his ascension into the sky makes sense as him being re-abducted promising to one day return.

The entire story of Jesus can be put under the umbrella of aliens because just like magic, God and miracles aliens are mysterious, misunderstood and have tech that can break all the rules of physics that we currently are having trouble understanding. The alien Jesus hypothesis has all this “explanatory scope” and “explanatory power” without TECHNICALLY being miraculous or supernatural.

Source

The Lost Tomb

For me the most striking thing about how much apologists blab on and on about the empty tomb is how missing the tomb still is. Of course there are numerous tourist traps in Israel masquerading as the tomb of Jesus but archeologists have had a hard time finding any evidence that Jesus ever existed. It seems that despite being the location of the most pivotal miracle of Christianity the earliest Christians forgot where it was or didn't bother to pass on that information.

All we have to establish the existence of the empty tomb is the same story it originates from, the Gospel story, the Gospels themselves vary wildly in many many details sometimes to the point of directly contradicting each other. While most historians do not doubt that the Jesus story is based on some sort of real historical person its hard to get from, “someone named Jesus existed and was the basis for these stories” to “these stories really happened” especially when we're dealing with miracles and magic.

Obviously I don't believe the explanation for the Jesus story is really extraterrestrial rather I think it's a far more ordinary story. The tale of an apocalyptic prophet who went from town to town allegedly performing miracles, later the story becomes a vessel for mythmaking, aggrandizing a fairly ordinary man who managed to foul up his relationship with the occupying Romans and the religious establishment and got killed for his trouble.

During my exodus from Christianity it became apparent to me how empty faith in the supernatural really is and how little it matters whether Jesus was God or not. In fact as I began to doubt my faith those years ago it became obvious to me that Jesus meant more if he was just a man trying to show us a better way to live together than if he was a pompous God satisfying some bizarre blood-spilling ritual by sacrificing himself to himself. The real reason the tomb is empty is because we have no idea who the real Jesus was and thus in our ignorance how can we really call the idea of him being God reasonable? Is it impossible? No – but Craig and his fellow apologists insist it is the most reasonable explanation.

Conclusion

Who was Jesus? Mere man? Mere Myth? Messiah? We may never know and there simply isn't enough evidence to reach an absolutely certain conclusion. I do, however, think there is enough evidence to reach a tentative conclusion that Jesus is not who he has been made out to be in the centuries after his death. It seems clear to me after years of argument, research and spiritual searching that Jesus is not what Christians teach he is and doesn't do the things they claim he does.

It also seems clear to me that apologists and theologians like Craig are preaching to the choir rather than attempting to sway agnostics and atheists. They seek to reassure believers who are having doubts about the intellectual validity of their beliefs and the unconvincing nature of their arguments is evidence of that. Invoking half-assed mathematical formulas and notions of explanatory scope and power to smooth over the flawed and absurd assertion that a miraculous resurrection is the best explanation for a 2000 year old set of facts the only basis for which are pro-Christian sources canonical and otherwise.


Thanks for reading!

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Comments 61 comments

thunkfulthinker profile image

thunkfulthinker 22 months ago from Ohio

Great hub.

I'm always open for some proof, but when you see that William Craig are the "best" people to "prove" a god or gods, you know they don't have any footing to stand on.

William Craig is a joke of a person. He ALWAYS says something like, if A is true then so is B and C. And if those are true. Then Z is true.


Dip Mtra profile image

Dip Mtra 22 months ago from World Citizen

Great hub, but have you ever thought that Jesus may not have died at the cross and the persons in the cave where the tomb was placed may have shipped him away in the dark of night, thus the empty grave and thus the multiple sightings in far-flung lands?

Suggest read Holger Kersten's "Jesus Lived in India."

Furthermore The Russian scholar, Nicolai Notovich, was the first to suggest that Christ may have gone to India. In 1887, Notovich, a Russian scholar and Orientalist, arrived in Kashmir during one of several journeys to the Orient. At the Zoji-la pass Notovich was a guest in a Buddhist monastery, where a monk told him of the bhodisattva saint called "Issa". Notovich was stunned by the remarkable parallels of Issa's teachings and martyrdom with that of Christ's life, teachings and crucifixion.

For about sixteen years, Christ travelled through Turkey, Persia, Western Europe and possibly England. He finally arrived with Mary to a place near Kashmir, where she died. After many years in Kashmir, teaching to an appreciative population, who venerated him as a great prophet, reformer and saint, he died and was buried in a tomb in Kashmir itself.

The first step in Christ's trail after the Crucifixion is found in the Persian scholar F. Mohammed's historical work "Jami-ut-tuwarik" which tells of Christ's arrival in the kingdom of Nisibis, by royal invitation. (Nisibis is today known as Nusaybin in Turkey) . This is reiterated in the Imam Abu Jafar Muhammed's "Tafsi-Ibn-i-Jamir at-tubri." Kersten found that in both Turkey and Persia there are ancient stories of a saint called "Yuz Asaf" ("Leader of the Healed"), whose behaviour, miracles and teachings are remarkably similar to that of Christ.

The many Islamic and Hindu historical works recording local history and legends of kings, noblemen and saints of the areas thought to be traveled by Jesus also give evidence of a Christ like man; the Koran, for example, refers to Christ as "Issar". Further east, the Kurdish tribes of Eastern Anatolia have several stories describing Christ's stay in Eastern Turkey after his resurrection. These traditional legends have been ignored by the theological community.

Thus, it might have been possible that Christ traveled east after being nursed back to health by his secret band of followers.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 22 months ago from back in the lab again Author

There is much speculation about what happened both during Jesus' "missing years" and potentially after he faked his death. There is also the belief that Judas was Jesus' twin brother who took his place on the cross and died so that Jesus could go on living and teaching. Such speculation is fun but prone to the same myth-making and legend telling that all such stories are. Whether there is a grain of truth in there or not, I don't know.

Thanks for the comment Dip Mitra.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 22 months ago from back in the lab again Author

He's very successful and tenacious at what he does though. Craig's arguments are terrible, anyone with a layman's understanding of logic and philosophy can peel them apart, but they are persistent and well designed as far as keeping Christians comfortable. He has that right level of smugness to reassure Christians that their faith can be reasonably defended and the credentials and sophisticated SOUNDING language to make their eyes glaze over and just agree with him. I feel sorry for Bart Ehrman in that debate because even though he is correct he is just a historian doing his best and isn't well-suited to pointing out why Craig is full of shit from a philosophical perspective.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 22 months ago from Michigan, USA

Another interesting and thought-provoking hub, Titen!

As for Craig's arguments, they are a perfect example of "begging the question." If we proceed from the assumption that his "facts" are indeed that, he's already won half the battle. The truth is that NONE of his "facts" have been proven -- even the fourth, which, given the rise of Christianity in the supposed aftermath of Jesus' death, is at least the most reasonable.

As you properly note, the ONLY evidence we have for any of Craig's supposed facts comes from the second and third-hand accounts in the New Testament. Even the one or two secular historical mentions of Jesus (also second-hand, by Tacitus and Josephus) make no mention of his tomb -- empty or otherwise. This is the 'elephant in the room' Craig regularly steps around while he hopes no one notices.

That said, I enjoyed your tongue-in-cheek theory regarding alien intervention. In the end, it's just as plausible as the story offered in the New Testament (which is to say, not very).


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 22 months ago from back in the lab again Author

Thanks Paladin,

The problem of jumping from deism to a specific brand of theism with a personal monotheistic god is a hard one. Even if you manage to convince someone through logic that there's some sort of higher power or natural deistic God you're a long long way off from the Biblical God.

This is why apologists get to work backwards from God, because they are mainly there to reassure those who already believe. It can be very hard for the atheist or non-theistic debater to explain to believers how wonky the logic is and how different things look from the outside of the cult looking in.

Plus with religion people tend to feel more than think and personalize their beliefs so much that you may as well be trying to explain to them why the sports team they've loved since they were children, or the music they grew up with, is somehow inferior to what you like.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 22 months ago

“Some writers may toy with the fancy of a ‘Christ-myth,’ but they do not do so on the ground of historical evidence. The historicity of Christ is as axiomatic for an unbiased historian as the historicity of Julius Caesar. It is not historians who propagate the ‘Christ-myth’ theories.” -The New Testament Documents, F. F. Bruce, Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis at the University of Manchester, England

"No one. No one in scholarly circles dealing with ancient Judaism and early Christianity, of any religious or non-religious persuasion holds the view that Jesus never existed. You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own truth.”—Larry Hurtado, former Professor of New Testament Language, Literature & Theology (University of Edinburgh)


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 22 months ago from back in the lab again Author

I don't think that the historicity of anyone is axiomatic, axioms are reserved primarily for logic. You are correct that only a few historians dispute that someone inspired the Jesus story and I have no issue accepting that Jesus was probably a real person. However being a real human being and being a miracle working undead God are two vastly different things.

I don't recall arguing that Christ himself was a myth in this hub so I really don't know who you are addressing your copy and pasted quotes to. Perhaps you should read the hub and address the arguments I made Joe.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 22 months ago

The most compelling evidence for the historicity of Christ Jesus are the Greek Scriptures of the Bible. Concordantly, to dispute the historicity of the miracles associated with him is to dispute his own historicity. In other words, you can't reject one without rejecting the other which perforce means that you can't accept one without also accepting the other ...


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 22 months ago from back in the lab again Author

"to dispute the historicity of the miracles associated with him is to dispute his own historicity"

I'm not sure how you can say this. Even today we have ordinary people alive for whom miraculous stories are written. Take, as an extreme example, Kim Jung Il the late leader of North Korea. All sorts of miracles are associated with Kim Jung, you can look up some of the ridiculous myth-making the state did. The same can be said of the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt many of whom claimed to be gods. A thousand years from now it would be foolish to say we don't have historical evidence for Kim Jung Il, even if all that survives is autobiographies filled with misleading miraculous stories about him, but we do not have to additionally accept his miracles were real.

I believe in Elvis. I do not believe that Elvis is still alive. In order to accept that he existed I need not take seriously the unfounded claims that he faked his death and is still alive. The same goes for Christ or any other historical figure about which amazing tales are told.

Also you're on slippery ground talking about Greek scriptures, since there's plenty of non-canonical Gospels floating around that I'm guessing you would reject - which means you admit that not every ancient document pertaining to the life of Christ accurately depicts his teachings and miracles. So either you accept all ancient Gospel accounts or you reject the later ones as being filled with myth... and if all of those contain myth what makes you so confident that the four canonical Gospels don't?

"In other words, you can't reject one without rejecting the other which perforce means that you can't accept one without also accepting the other .."

Yes I can. I can't even imagine another Christian agreeing with your argument, its that stupid. Disbelieving that Jesus performed miracles and disbelieving that Jesus ever existed cannot be equated no matter what mental gymnastics you care to employ.

Why don't you go find an actual mythicist to argue against? There are plenty of atheists willing to argue that Jesus was solely a myth and not a man at all. I am not one of them.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 22 months ago

" what makes you so confident that the four canonical Gospels don't [contain myth]?

The fact that no one would willingly let themselves be killed for something they knew was nothing more than myth.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 22 months ago from back in the lab again Author

1) That's not a fact.

2) The martyrdom of the first apostles is surrounded by myth and legend and is not at all verifiable or historically sound.

3) Even if the disciples did believe Jesus was the son of God and did in fact die for that belief it says NOTHING about the truth of that belief. And you know I'm right on this one. The Heaven's Gate cultists believed a UFO was waiting to take their spirits on a Cosmic journey and they killed themselves because they really believed this!

Also my question was about how you know the Gospels we have today, which you describe as the best evidence for Jesus' miracles (correct me if I'm wrong on that), are free of myth especially when we have lot's of Gospels that aren't included in Biblical canon that you admit contain myth and untruth. The original disciples would have been old men when Mark was composed, dying or dead when Luke and Matthew were written and long dead when John was completed. Mark, dated to around 60 AD is the only one that can be said to have been written during the lives of these legendary martyrs. So how can their willingness to die in any way confirm the Gospels? All it can confirm, if I concede that they all died for their beliefs, is that they believed hard enough to sacrifice their lives.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 22 months ago

You're not listening. Your claim is that the extraordinary claims made by eyewitnesses concerning Jesus are myth; it's all one big giant conspiracy, as far as you're concerned.

But no one would willing allow themselves to be persecuted, tortured or even murdered for beliefs THEY KNEW were pure fantasy!. This necessarily means that these eyewitnesses did in fact see Jesus perform the many miracles associated with him; the most magnificent being his resurrection by All-Loving God.

That's the elephant in the room and no matter how hard you try you can't get around it :)


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 22 months ago from back in the lab again Author

"it's all one big giant conspiracy, as far as you're concerned."

Its not a conspiracy. Stories about real people get distorted and filled with myth all the time. By the time the writers of the Gospels had heard of Jesus the oral tradition had been going on for thirty or forty years. That's plenty of time for the story to evolve and become mythic.

"This necessarily means that these eyewitnesses did in fact see Jesus perform the many miracles associated with him; the most magnificent being his resurrection by All-Loving God."

But, as I already explained, human beings ARE capable and frequently DO get persecuted, tortured and murdered for holding sincere beliefs that happen to be false. These "eyewitnesses" you refer to I'm assuming are the disciples themselves but the disciples never wrote anything down and the stories we have of their martyrdom are LATER LEGENDS.

The die for a lie argument is pathetically weak, its not an elephant in the room, its more like an ant, and I've already crushed it twice now.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 22 months ago

But there wasn't enough time for your supposed mythic transformation of Christ. Subscriptions , showing right at the end of Matthew’s Gospel in many different manuscripts , stipulate that the account was penned around the eighth year after Christ’s ascension ( c . 41 C .E . ). As you'll recall, Matthew was one of the twelve apostles and, therefore, a direct eyewitness to the events he describes.

Furthermore, according to Origen, Mark composed his Gospel “in accordance with Peter’s instructions,” himself another of Christ's Apostles and direct eyewitness of Christ's life. (The Ecclesiastical History, Eusebius, VI, XXV, 3-7) In his work, “Against Marcion” (IV, V), Tertullian says that the Gospel of Mark “may be affirmed to be Peter’s, whose interpreter Mark was.” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. III, p. 350) Eusebius gives the statement of “John the presbyter” as quoted by Papias (c. 140 C.E.): “And the Presbyter used to say this, ‘Mark became Peter’s interpreter and wrote accurately all that he remembered, not, indeed, in order, of the things said or done by the Lord. . . . Mark did nothing wrong in thus writing down single points as he remembered them. For to one thing he gave attention, to leave out nothing of what he had heard and to make no false statements in them.’”—The Ecclesiastical History, III, XXXIX, 12-16."

Finally, "the internal evidence that the apostle John, the son of Zebedee, was indeed the writer consists of such an abundance of proofs from various viewpoints that it overwhelms any arguments to the contrary. Only a very limited number of points are mentioned here, but the alert reader, with these in mind, will find a great many more. A few are:

(1) The writer of the book was evidently a Jew, as is indicated by his familiarity with Jewish opinions.—Joh 1:21; 6:14; 7:40; 12:34.

(2) He was a native dweller in the land of Palestine, as is indicated by his thorough acquaintance with the country. The details mentioned concerning places named indicate personal knowledge of them. He referred to “Bethany across the Jordan” (Joh 1:28) and ‘Bethany near Jerusalem.’ (11:18) He wrote that there was a garden at the place where Christ was impaled and a new memorial tomb in it (19:41), that Jesus “spoke in the treasury as he was teaching in the temple” (8:20), and that “it was wintertime, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the colonnade of Solomon” (10:22, 23).

(3) The writer’s own testimony and the factual evidence show that he was an eyewitness. He names individuals who said or did certain things (Joh 1:40; 6:5, 7; 12:21; 14:5, 8, 22; 18:10); he is detailed about the times of events (4:6, 52; 6:16; 13:30; 18:28; 19:14; 20:1; 21:4); he factually designates numbers in his descriptions, doing so unostentatiously.—1:35; 2:6; 4:18; 5:5; 6:9, 19; 19:23; 21:8, 11.

(4) The writer was an apostle. No one but an apostle could have been eyewitness to so many events associated with Jesus’ ministry; also his intimate knowledge of Jesus’ mind, feelings, and reasons for certain actions reveals that he was one of the party of 12 who accompanied Jesus throughout his ministry. For example, he tells us that Jesus asked Philip a question to test him, “for he himself knew what he was about to do.” (Joh 6:5, 6) Jesus knew “in himself that his disciples were murmuring.” (6:61) He knew “all the things coming upon him.” (18:4) He “groaned in the spirit and became troubled.” (11:33; compare 13:21; 2:24; 4:1, 2; 6:15; 7:1.) The writer was also familiar with the apostles’ thoughts and impressions, some of which were wrong and were corrected later.—2:21, 22; 11:13; 12:16; 13:28; 20:9; 21:4.

These three Apostles were but a few of the many eyewitnesses which corroborate the historicity of Christ's life and ministry. Your mythicism claim, as a result, is nothing more than very, very weak sauce.

The facts above confront you with the reality that all of these accounts by firsthand eyewitnesses are both legitimate and accurate historical tellings of the life and ministry of Christ. Add to this the reality that no one in their right mind would ever give their life or endure violent persecution for something they KNEW was a lie (Would you, for instance, let yourself be tortured or sadistically killed for your belief in the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus? ) and you have no choice but to accept that everything these eyewitness report did in fact take place.

Why else do you think the overwhelming majority of Bible scholars are, not Atheist, but profess the Christian faith?


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 22 months ago from back in the lab again Author

“As you'll recall, Matthew was one of the twelve apostles and, therefore, a direct eyewitness to the events he describes.”

Matthew did not write the Gospel of Matthew. The Gospels we have are copies of copies based on oral traditions. So no, the Gospels are not eyewitness testimony.

“Furthermore, according to Origen, Mark composed his Gospel “in accordance with Peter’s instructions,” himself another of Christ's Apostles and direct eyewitness of Christ's life”

I'm not sure why you think this somehow strengthens your attempt at making the Gospels seem reliable, it doesn't. First off we have to take origen at his word and keep in mind that Origen was writing in the third century. Origen wasn't even alive when the Gospels were originally written. Even if we assume he's right what he's telling us is that Mark's Gospel is NOT direct eyewitness testimony but is second-hand. I've talked to people directly who say they have been abducted by aliens, if I were to compile those stories you still wouldn't believe them.

Even if you got them directly from an eyewitness you wouldn't accept an alien abduction story.

John did not write the Gospel of John, not unless he was a time traveler, it is the one written last, at around 100 AD.

“Your mythicism claim, as a result, is nothing more than very, very weak sauce.”

As I said already there are people, eyewitnesses, to incredible events all over the world. Miracles are not confined to Christianity Joe. You can talk to children who remember their past lives. You can talk to people channeling alien spirits who witness their UFOs coming and going all the time. Yet I'm guessing miracle accounts from other faiths don't persuade you.

As for the claim that the Gospels were written “too early” for myths to have risen, you'd have to be an idiot to not understand that legends and myths about people can begin WHILE THEY ARE STILL ALIVE. There is no reason why Jesus' life couldn't have been surrounded with legends even before his execution. The earliest Gospel wasn't written until 60 AD.

That's fine though, you can keep repeating lines out of Reasonable Faith and Case for Christ. Whatever makes you feel like magic and miracles are the best explanation for a series of legends written after the death of an apocalyptic Jewish prophet.

"Why else do you think the overwhelming majority of Bible scholars are, not Atheist, but profess the Christian faith?"

I don't know Joe, why are most scientists atheists? Or shall we both make start making pointless appeals to authority?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 22 months ago

You assert that "Matthew did not write the Gospel of Matthew." What is your evidence for this outlandish claim?


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 22 months ago from back in the lab again Author

1) Most Gospel manuscripts we have are in Greek, Matthew would not have known Greek. In fact he would have more than likely been illiterate. Most of the disciples, if not all, would have been unable to read and write.

2) No serious Biblical scholar believes the traditional authors wrote the Gospels though I'm sure you have a few names that disagree ALL of them are pretty much guaranteed to be biased faith-based points of view from fundamentalists and evangelicals. These titles are based upon later traditions of authorship.

3) The dates of the Gospels would make the disciples old men by the time they could write these things down. Not only is it illogical to think that they would wait so long before learning to write and writing this thing down it also makes no sense for them to have written in Greek rather than their native spoken tongue. Furthermore the Apostles being martyred would contradict the idea that they survived into such extreme age. Mark, the earliest Gospel, would have been at least in his late mid to late 50s which would have been old by the life expectancy of the time.

4) The fact that the Gospels get things wrong, such as prophecies from the old testament and also frequently embellish the story. For embellishment, contradictions and additions one need look no farther than the stories of Jesus' birth or the stories of Jesus' death, in each Gospel they are different, in Mark's Gospel Jesus' birth and childhood are absent entirely. John's Gospel contains the most miracles, asserts Jesus' divinity the most strongly and contains lots of content the other Gospels left out - it is also the LAST GOSPEL TO BE WRITTEN.

Furthermore why would the disciples, Jews themselves, get prophecy so horribly wrong, such as Matthew having Jesus riding on the back of TWO ANIMALS into Jerusalem because the author misinterpreted the prophecy. There is a reason, Joe, that Jews do not accept Jesus as the Messiah.

We would not expect to see such errors, contradictions, embellishments and blatant additions (Jesus and the woman about to be stoned for adultery, a known interpolation only in some manuscripts yet from it one of Jesus' most famous phrases "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" comes from this addition) in a story written shortly after the fact by the actual eyewitnesses themselves. Not unless they made the whole story up and then tried to outdo one another with how absurd it could get.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 22 months ago

Since you're no Bible scholar do you have anything more substantive than your overweening opinions to proffer?


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 22 months ago from back in the lab again Author

Neither of us are experts Joe so yeah all that we are discussing is in the realm of educated opinion. Sad if the most substantive thing you can say in response is to stick your tongue out and go "yeah well you're not an expert!". Well no shit Sherlock.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 22 months ago

Speak for yourself. I've dedicated the better part of 30 years to the perlustration of the entire vade mecum that is the Bible.

THAT'S why your claims strike me as outlandish, regurgitated and utterly unpersuasive.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 22 months ago from back in the lab again Author

Really Joe? Your rebuttal is to say "well I've been researching the Bible for 30 years so I AM an expert!"

No, sorry, you don't get to declare yourself an official Biblical scholar because of careful personal research, or even Bible classes, studies or courses. You don't have a PhD in it do you? You're not a tenured professor at a prestigious University are you? Than I'm afraid you can't use an appeal to authority on yourself.

"THAT'S why your claims strike me as outlandish, regurgitated and utterly unpersuasive."

You know what is really utterly unpersuasive, these short bursts of you rubbing your own ego rather than posting anything substantive.

I haven't even been alive 30 years, care to engage in some ageism as well, where you pretend that because you're older and have had more time to study you're automatically wiser? Keep in mind Joe that I didn't come to my conclusions about the Bible while I was an atheist, it was the research and knowledge I gained while I was a Christian that caused me to leave Christianity.

Christians such as yourselves, and I'm not saying you in this case, have a tendency to assume that as an atheist I don't WANT to believe. Well I did believe at one time in my life and even now I would love to think that there is something else going on, something supernatural, truly miraculous with the world. But I apportion my skepticism accordingly to counteract emotional persuasion and how appealing an idea it is.

You call what I say regurgitated, how about the Kalam Cosmological argument you often defend, or hell, any scripture from the Bible? Regurgitated emptily and ignorantly from the mouths of millions for thousands of years and yet your God is as illusory and absent as ever. Why waste time looking for the truth when some people will believe anything?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 22 months ago

Illusory? Absent? All you need to do to see the reality of All-Loving God is to marvel at his works and be humbled by them.

After all, if exceptional intellect is required to merely duplicate the intricate, mind-boggling designs and systems present in nature ( Biomimetics ) then much more the original being replicated.

Creation is thus proof of an Almighty Creator.


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Titen-Sxull 22 months ago from back in the lab again Author

Ah, the old "look at the beauty of the Cosmos and see God in it" argument. Sorry but that doesn't work. For one thing I'm unsure which god or gods I should believe in in that case. If we're just going on studying and being awed by nature deism, pantheism and pagan nature worship are far more logical outgrowths than Judaism or Christianity.

"Creation is thus proof of an Almighty Creator"

You're smarter than to stoop to Ray Comforts level Joe.

It would seem that the Universe requires a creating force of some kind, whether that be a natural one or a supernatural one. I for one find no evidence that it is the latter kind of cause. I also find that many forms of theism cheapen the awesomeness of the Cosmos by elevating the place of mankind far beyond where it should be. In this Universe of 100 billion galaxies and more only ignorance can make someone suggest that it was all made with us in mind. To choose one anthropocentric, racist, misogynistic deity from our ancient antiquity and hold him up as the bastion of all morality and the creator of all this beauty is an insult to my intelligence.

Nature has order and it SEEMS logical for us to assume that order requires someone to do the ordering. But from the Universe's inanimate perspective it could simply be no other way, chaos and order are, in a Cosmic sense, subjective. So the idea that nature emerged from nature, rather than from the supernatural, seems to fit far better. These patterns don't need intellect to replicate themselves, galaxies, stars, planets, they form naturally and life is the same, a chemical outgrowth of natural processes forming an unbroken chain. This is why apologists must find a place in that chain to insert their God of the gaps.


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Joseph O Polanco 22 months ago

Riiiight. A universe from nothing by nothing for nothing is a far more puissant argument than an ordered universe being the denouement of an ordered mind ...

"Imagine a person who comes in here tonight and argues 'no air exists' but continues to breathe air while he argues. Now intellectually, atheists continue to breathe - they continue to use reason and draw scientific conclusions [which assumes an orderly universe], to make moral judgments [which assumes absolute values] - but the atheistic view of things would in theory make such 'breathing' impossible. They are breathing God's air all the time they are arguing against him."

- Greg Bahnsen

“Essentially, I realized that to stay an atheist, I would have to believe that nothing produces everything; non-life produces life; randomness produces fine-tuning; chaos produces information; unconsciousness produces consciousness; and non-reason produces reason. Those leaps of faith were simply too big for me to take, especially in light of the affirmative case for God's existence … In other words, in my assessment the Christian worldview accounted for the totality of the evidence much better than the atheistic worldview.” - Lee Strobel

"A mind is like a parachute. It only works when it's open." -Frank Zappa


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Titen-Sxull 22 months ago from back in the lab again Author

"Riiiight. A universe from nothing by nothing for nothing is a far more puissant argument than an ordered universe being the denouement of an ordered mind ..."

I have no problem with you speculating that such a mind exists however I am not convinced. What we know of minds tells us that they exist only in living things. As I've argued in the past the God you and many apologists proclaim exists doesn't share any of the characteristics of living things that we know of. To say that it is alive is special pleading. As I stated previously I believe that order and chaos are, in Cosmic terms, subjective.


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Joseph O Polanco 22 months ago

But neither order nor chaos are of particular concern . It’s the arrangements of numerous interrelated constituent parts or elements in a string of steps adhered to in a consistent clear-cut order to effectuate a task , purpose , goal or operation ( ordered complexity ) which always betrays the existence of an intelligent mind . It's what makes a specific signal, for instance, instantly recognizable from random white noise . (That's why SETI scours the universe for radio signals.)

So you see, trying to use "poof" ( amazing chance )# to explain the outrageously tiny compound probabilities of standalone events giving us a life sustaining universe is simply naked , illogical sophism .

#“It is our contention that if ‘random’ [chance] is given a serious and crucial interpretation from a probabilistic point of view, the randomness postulate is highly implausible and that an adequate scientific theory of evolution must await the discovery and elucidation of new natural laws, physical, chemical and biological.” -“Inadequacies of Neo-Darwinian Evolution as a Scientific Theory”, Dr. Murray Eden, MIT

#“There is no chance (less than 10-1000) to see [evolution based on mutation and natural selection] appear spontaneously and, if it did, even less for it to remain. Thus, to conclude, we believe there is a considerable gap in the Neo-Darwinian Theory of evolution, and we believe this gap to be of such a nature that it cannot be bridged within the current conception of biology.” -“Algorithms and the Neo-Darwinian Theory of Evolution,” Marcel P. Schutzenberger, University of Paris (Bracket mine.)

This multiplicity of probabilities atop probabilities atop probabilities atop probabilities properly illustrates the staggering probability of our universe winding up with the optimum blend and ratios of life permitting constants by pure chance .

Your reasoning makes it acceptable for someone who stumbles upon a copy of “Hamlet” to believe it is really the product of an infinite group of monkeys in an infinite assortment of universes banging away duplicates of texts at an infinite group of typewriters generated by yet another infinite group of monkeys in some other group of infinite universes banging away at their infinite bunch of typewriters rather than just simply concluding “Shakespeare .”

Concordantly,

1. The fine-tuning of the initial conditions of the universe are due to either physical necessity, chance or deliberate design.

2. It is not due to either physical necessity or chance.

3. Therefore, it is due to deliberate design.

If you hear hoof beats , why think unicorns ?


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Titen-Sxull 22 months ago from back in the lab again Author

“effectuate a task , purpose , goal or operation”

And what task, exactly, is this massive universe with 100 billion galaxies performing? You might have a point if life emerged on every planet, or even most planets, but as far as we know life exists on only this planet and I'm guessing that you don't believe in alien life. So how is one planet among trillions and trillions of others where life happens to evolve distinguishable from what you call “white noise”. Doesn't make sense to me.

“tiny compound probabilities of standalone events giving us a life sustaining universe”

This depends on whether you place some special significance on life though doesn't it? You see in your worldview life isn't just important to human beings, it's important to God, it's important in the “grand scheme” of things, whereas to an atheist like myself life is just a fascinating and extremely rare by-product of natural processes. If life is just that, a side-affect, and not centrally important, than there is no reason to assume that the Universe is somehow ordered to produce it.

“the staggering probability of our universe winding up with the optimum blend and ratios of life permitting constants by pure chance”

Except our Universe doesn't have the OPTIMUM blend of ratios and life permitting constants does it? If an all powerful God truly created a Universe with these optimum settings we'd see life emerging and thriving on every planet wouldn't we? As I said before the teleological argument might have a point if we saw life in abundance, if we were getting messages from a new alien species every other day. Not only is our Universe a chaotic dangerous place for life to evolve but our own planet tries to kill us with extinction events, diseases, hostile environments that shift and change, etc etc. It is true that scientists still haven't figured out why the laws of physics are the way they are but that doesn't mean its a gap for you to shove your God of the gaps in. Optimum life permitting Universes wouldn't involve asteroids that almost wipe out all known species would they? They might in a random naturally occurring Universe, but in one built by a perfect all loving being?

“Your reasoning makes it acceptable for someone who stumbles upon a copy of “Hamlet” to believe”

Actually Joe Hamlet is the product of just ONE monkey, William Shakespeare.

“If you hear hoof beats , why think unicorns ?”

Precisely my point about naturalism vs the supernatural explanation. If you see a natural Universe, observe only natural phenomenon and every time something that was once believed supernatural is studied you find a natural explanation it might be wise to stop believing in Unicorns. The gap your God exists in has been shrinking consistently for the last few centuries.


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Joseph O Polanco 22 months ago

"as far as we know life exists on only this planet"

Correct, as far as you know. The Fermi Paradox notwithstanding, our universe could very well be teeming with life and I believe it is.

"The gap your God exists in has been shrinking consistently for the last few centuries."

Riiight because Science is all-knowing and infallible ...

"Hamlet is the product of just ONE monkey, William Shakespeare."

Seriously? Can you really not tell the difference between a monkey and a human being???


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Titen-Sxull 22 months ago from back in the lab again Author

"our universe could very well be teeming with life and I believe it is."

Well perhaps you and I aren't so far apart. Though I hesitate to use the word believe, I certainly HOPE the Universe is teeming with life. Its more a personal hope, because I'd hate to think humanity is the most intelligent thing this Cosmos has produced.

"Riiight because Science is all-knowing and infallible .."

Of course it isn't but you're missing my point. Lightning, volcanic activity, earthquakes, plagues and disease, mental illness, outer space, the origin and diversity of life - when science studies something it often overturns religious ideas and all of those places that people used to see God have been disappearing for the last few centuries. Science has sometimes had to drag religion tooth and nail into the present, case in point Creationism today, but whereas religious doctrines hold themselves up as fundamental truths science readily admits and indeed functions only because it is falsifiable.

"Seriously? Can you really not tell the difference between a monkey and a human being???"

Human beings evolved from monkeys, well technically from apes but those apes, down the line, had evolved from monkeys. I can tell the difference but I can also tell the similarities and they are startling. For all of our advantages as a species we cannot escape our ancestry.


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Joseph O Polanco 22 months ago

"Of course it isn't"

Which means that there are questions that will always be beyond the reach of Science because they can only be answered by our Creator.

"Human beings evolved from monkeys"

Prove it. Give me demonstrable, quantifiable, empirical, falsifiable, testable, replicable evidence and I'll believe it.


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Titen-Sxull 22 months ago from back in the lab again Author

"Which means that there are questions that will always be beyond the reach of Science"

Not every question is a scientific one but science has proven itself to be the most reliable method for testing and figuring out the natural world.

I'm not a scientist Joe, nor am I a high school biology teacher, its not my job to prove evolution to you. Our common ancestry with other primates is in our DNA, our skeletal structure, the way we look, the way we behave, etc. Here's a little experiment Joe, make a list of the physical characteristics of humans, make another list of the characteristics of chimpanzees and then make a list of the characteristics of God. You can go down this checklist and see how similar we are to chimps and then ask yourself why God also made chimpanzees in his own image or, if you prefer, ask yourself why we share more in common with chimps than we do with our "Creator". If your God didn't want us to believe in evolution perhaps he shouldn't have made share our appearance, behavior and more than 90% of our DNA with other ape species.


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Joseph O Polanco 21 months ago

"science has proven itself to be the most reliable method for testing and figuring out the natural world."

And “if all you have is a hammer , everything looks like a nail .” -Maslow

Stated more explicitly , your Scientism or just Radical Positivism is an awfully parochial philosophy of knowledge . On this opinion there is certainly absolutely nothing good or evil , right or wrong , exquisite or hideous . Even so, can it be tenable to believe that experimental truth is the one and only truth that exists ? That simply no aesthetic , moral , metaphysical or otherwise putative facts obtain ?

Abiding by this view , for starters , the Atheist who rapes a little kid to death ( or engages in this: http://bit.ly/1bu2CrY ) is doing absolutely nothing wrong . Exactly why ought we agree to such a conclusion resulting merely from an epistemological limit ? Isn’t this an indication that you ought to unlock the ambit of your beliefs and incorporate all the other different types of truth that abound?

Withal , the basic principles of Gödel’s Second Incompleteness Theorem altogether gainsays Radical Positivism’s primary assumption . In fact , Science is suffused with assumptions that can never be verified scientifically. The epistemology of radical positivism , as a result , abrogates science itself . Take for instance , the concept of induction. It simply cannot scientifically defended . Attempting to render a conclusive inductive line of reasoning for radical positivism is ridiculous as this begs the question by presupposing the legitimacy of inductive reasoning to begin with !

All the more devastating to your beliefs is the fact that radical positivism is self-refuting . At its heart , this pernicious conviction declares that we must not accept any belief that cannot be scientifically verified. Yet what about that very supposition ? It can’t per se be scientifically tested out much less corroborated . As a result we ought not believe it . Your trusty Radical Positivism, as a result, asphyxiates itself .

Or alternatively , as Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem made evident , ‘Whatsoever may be bounded cannot explicate itself without referring to that which is without itself - some postulate whose certainty is unobtainable .’

This is just what famed Physicist and Mathematician James Clerk Maxwell alluded to when he came to the conclusion , “Science is incompetent to reason upon the creation of matter itself out of nothing . We have reached the utmost limit of our thinking faculties when we have admitted that because matter cannot be eternal and self-existent it must have been created .”

Demonstrably , then , your current opposition to as well as distaste for the idea of God’s presence is not evidentiary, just philosophical . It is actually your ethos - and only your ethos - that occludes your path to your Creator’s truths .

Having said that , the day you at long last choose to unshackle your epistemology of truth is the day the bounteous ken of God Almighty will finally be yours . Only then , but with terrific shock and piercing remorse , will you realize that for all this time you've been needlessly depriving yourself and your family of truly astonishing and precious truths.


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Joseph O Polanco 21 months ago

"I'm not a scientist Joe, nor am I a high school biology teacher, its not my job to prove evolution to you."

When someone like you says something like that it can only mean that your belief in Evolution is mere blind faith, not evidence based ...


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Titen-Sxull 21 months ago from back in the lab again Author

“On this opinion there is certainly absolutely nothing good or evil , right or wrong , exquisite or hideous”

Evil is not some aspect of reality, its a concept, a word we use to describe behavior we find unacceptable to a point that it violates every moral principle, both written and unspoken. In no real sense is there a such thing as good or evil outside of them being labels we attach to actions, people, etc. I said that science is the best way to study and understand nature, we do not call volcanoes evil for erupting on us, they are forces of nature and only deranged or superstitious minds see the work of spiritual forces in the natural. As for exquisite or hideous, I don't know what that has to do with anything, of course you would readily admit that our concepts of beauty differ, as do our concepts of good and evil.

“Even so, can it be tenable to believe that experimental truth is the one and only truth that exists ? That simply no aesthetic , moral , metaphysical or otherwise putative facts obtain ?”

When did I say this? When did I say that science is the only path to truth Joe? Please quote it back to me, I'd love to read it.

“is doing absolutely nothing wrong”

You've got this backwards, and I'll check this off on my “stole a line from William Lane Craig” again checklist, the theistic over-obsession with things being absolutely important, absolutely wrong or having absolute meaning or consequences. The rapist is absolutely doing something wrong but he is not doing something “absolutely” wrong. Moral absolutes do not exist. What he's doing is wrong and it is considered wrong by pretty much every human being on the planet, including you and I but there are good REASONS that what he's doing is wrong. Moral absolutes proposed by theists do not operate based on reason do they? They operate based on God's command or his moral nature. So whereas I can explain to someone why behaviors like rape and murder are wrong in order to claim moral absolutes from God you must first establish God and go from there.

“Science is suffused with assumptions that can never be verified scientifically”

Are you talking about the logical absolutes? If you want I will acknowledge the very real problem of global skepticism and the fact that, when it comes down to it, we must use reason because reason is demonstrated to work.

“by presupposing the legitimacy of inductive reasoning to begin with !”

Induction has its flaws to be sure. When did I ever say that science, or any human endeavor to understand the world, wasn't flawed? It doesn't change the effectiveness that science has demonstrated in building a fundamental understanding of our world that cures diseases, launches space shuttles, smashes subatomic particles creating anti-matter, and gave you the computer (or phone) you are currently responding to me on.

“ ‘Whatsoever may be bounded cannot explicate itself without referring to that which is without itself - some postulate whose certainty is unobtainable .’ “

The problem of global skepticism applies to all of us Joe.

“Demonstrably , then , your current opposition to as well as distaste for the idea of God’s presence is not evidentiary, just philosophical”

Depends on which God we're talking about here. I'd say I presented plenty of evidence that the Biblical God, as described by his followers, does not exist. But yes, my position is philosophical, not scientific but if you want you can fact check all of my hubs, I do try not to make unfounded or unsupported arguments. The fact that your best response is attempting to lump me in with “Radical positivism” (whatever the hell that is) is kinda telling. Where's the substance Joe? Where's your argument?

“When someone like you says something like that it can only mean that your belief in Evolution is mere blind faith, not evidence based”

I see, so then I have to be a scientist to accept evolutionary theory? I used to be a creationist Joe, but you'd know that if you actually paid attention to my hubs. Evolution was something I rejected even after I left Christianity behind, it was something I didn't accept right away but researched over a period of time. It's not my job to prove it to anyone else, any more than its my job to prove Abraham Lincoln was really President or that the moon landing really happened. I'm not your babysitter nor is the hub you are responding to even about evolution.

"you've been needlessly depriving yourself and your family of truly astonishing and precious truths."

Precious truths, like how slavery is morally acceptable but eating bacon isn't and burning people for eternity is a just and righteous punishment that a loving God would dream up. That his best laid plans to save the creatures he damned involved brutal human sacrifice. That all of us are beneath the thumb of an immortal monster forced to choose between groveling as slaves or burning as free men. Not only is your God evil and incompetent but he's also fictional. And yeah, that's a "philosophical" position but at least its defensible.


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Joseph O Polanco 21 months ago

"burning people for eternity is a just and righteous punishment that a loving God would dream up."

The Hellfire doctrine is a perverse Antichrist mendacity that defames God. As a God of justice and love he would never prescribe infinite punishment for a finite crime no matter how wicked: http://bit.ly/17fVMYm


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Titen-Sxull 21 months ago from back in the lab again Author

Revelation certainly talks of a lake of fire that even the most basic sins can get you thrown into and Jesus does mention being thrown into a furnace does he not?

At any rate the Bible isn't fully clear on what Hell is but it seems to be eternal, inescapable and horrible which is my point. Certainly not something we'd expect a loving God to dream up and not at all something that God would throw any ordinary human being into. God is meant to be more merciful than human beings, if I can dream up an alternative "dimension of lenient punishment" for the ordinary average "sinner" than why can't God?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 21 months ago

" it seems to be eternal, inescapable and horrible which is my point."

Had you ever read the Bible in full you would have learned that Hell, Sheol in Hebrew, Hades in Koine, is nothing more than the common grave.

Case in point, If Hell truly was created to incinerate and torture the devil and his angels along with their human cohorts, then why was Jesus in hell when he died?

Acts 2:31

King James Bible

He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell.

American King James Version

He seeing this before spoke of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell.

Bible in Basic English

He, having knowledge of the future, was talking of the coming again of Christ from the dead, that he was not kept in hell.

Douay-Rheims Bible

Foreseeing this, he spoke of the resurrection of Christ. For neither was he left in hell.

Webster's Bible Translation

He seeing this before, spoke of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell.

Concerning Jesus, Acts 2:27 informs us -

King James Bible

Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell.

American King James Version

Because you will not leave my soul in hell.

Bible in Basic English

For you will not let my soul be in hell.

Douay-Rheims Bible

Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell.

Webster's Bible Translation

Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell.


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Titen-Sxull 21 months ago from back in the lab again Author

I have read the Bible in full and it is never very clear about the whole Hell thing, its also never very clear on who or what Satan, Lucifer and the Devil are. Many Christians believe they are the same entity, others that one or more of them are separate and entirely different. If Hell is merely the grave it makes little sense for Jesus to be referencing Gehenna when he talks of hell rather than simply referring to it as death or the grave.

Furthermore if death (and hell) is mere annihilation, ceasing to exist, I fail to see why it is the punishment and heaven the reward. When I was a Christian thoughts of both eternal heaven and eternal hell were a source of psychological dread. There is something terrifying about the idea of being forced to live forever, bowing, joyful, no sorrow, no struggles, and no end. It's the sort of Heaven that Cthulhu cultists might dream up, just bowing before their dark savior and singing his praises for eternity. No thanks.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 21 months ago

Where does Jesus reference Gehenna when he's talking about Hell?


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Joseph O Polanco 21 months ago

"Furthermore if death (and hell) is mere annihilation, ceasing to exist, I fail to see why it is the punishment and heaven the reward."

Because for the overwhelming majority of those deemed good by God their reward will be everlasting life on Earth. Observe:

"For the upright are the ones that will reside in THE EARTH, and the blameless are the ones that will be left over in it." - Proverbs 2:21

"As regards the heavens, to Jehovah the heavens belong,

But THE EARTH he has given to the sons of men." - Psalms 115:16

"For here I am creating new heavens and a new EARTH; and the former things will not be called to mind, neither will they come up into the heart." - Isaiah 65:17

"He has founded THE EARTH upon its established places;

It will NOT be made to totter to time indefinite, or forever." - Psalms 104:5

"For evildoers themselves will be cut off,

But those hoping in Jehovah are the ones that will possess THE EARTH.

And just a little while longer, and the wicked one will be no more;

And you will certainly give attention to his place, and he will not be.

But the meek ones themselves will possess THE EARTH,

And they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.

For those being blessed by him will themselves possess THE EARTH,

But those upon whom evil is called by him will be cut off.

The righteous themselves will possess THE EARTH,

And they will reside forever upon it.

Hope in Jehovah and keep his way,

And he will exalt you to take possession of THE EARTH.

When the wicked ones are cut off, you will see [it]." - Psalms 37:9-11,22,29,34

"“Happy are the mild-tempered ones, since they will inherit THE EARTH." - Matthew 5:5

"And I saw standing in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures and in the midst of the elders a lamb […]. And when he took the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, [] and they sing a new song, saying: “[]

[W]ith your blood you bought persons for God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kings OVER THE EARTH.” Revelation 5:6-10

"After these things I saw, and, look! a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes; and there were palm branches in their hands. And they keep on crying with a loud voice, saying: “Salvation [we owe] to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

“These are the ones that come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. That is why they are before the throne of God; and they are rendering him sacred service day and night in his temple; and the One seated on the throne will spread his tent over them.

They will hunger no more nor thirst anymore, neither will the sun beat down upon them nor any scorching heat, because the Lamb, who is in the midst of the throne, will shepherd them, and will guide them to fountains of waters of life. And God will wipe out every tear from their eyes.”" Revelation 7:9-10,14-17

Let's turn to where the release of Satan is detailed, Revelation chapter 20:7-9 -

“Now as soon as the thousand years have been ended, Satan will be let lose out of his prison, and he will go out to mislead those nations in the four corners of the earth [] to gather them together for the war. The number of these is as the sand of the sea.”

If you notice, the scripture here says that “ he will go out to mislead those nations in the four corners of the EARTH” thus clearly indicating that the earth will remain inhabited.


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Joseph O Polanco 21 months ago

"The Bible describes Satan as a real person who exists in the invisible spirit realm. (Job 1:6) It tells us about his vicious and ruthless qualities as well as his evil actions. (Job 1:13-19; 2:7, 8; 2 Timothy 2:26) It even records conversations that Satan had with God and with Jesus.—Job 1:7-12; Matthew 4:1-11.

Where did such an evil being come from? Long before man existed, God created his “firstborn” Son, who eventually came to be known as Jesus. (Colossians 1:15) In time, other “sons of God,” called angels, were created. (Job 38:4-7) All were perfect and righteous. However, one of those angels would become Satan.

Satan was not his given name at the time of his creation. It is a descriptive name, which means “Adversary; Enemy; Accuser.” He came to be called Satan because he chose a life course in opposition to God.

Feelings of pride and rivalry toward God grew within this spirit creature. He wanted others to worship him. When God’s firstborn Son, Jesus, was on the earth, Satan even attempted to get Jesus to “do an act of worship” to him.—Matthew 4:9.

Satan “did not stand fast in the truth.” (John 8:44) He implied that God was a liar, when, in fact, he was the liar. He told Eve that she could be like God, whereas he wanted to be like God. And through his deceitful ways, he achieved his selfish desire. To Eve, he made himself higher than God. By obeying Satan, Eve accepted Satan as her god.—Genesis 3:1-7.

By fomenting rebellion, this once trusted angel made himself Satan—an adversary and enemy of God and man. The designation “Devil,” which means “Slanderer,” was also added to this wicked one’s description. This leader of sin eventually influenced other angels to disobey God and join his rebellion. (Genesis 6:1, 2; 1 Peter 3:19, 20) These angels did not make mankind’s situation better. Because of their imitating Satan’s selfish ways, “the earth became filled with violence.”—Genesis 6:11; Matthew 12:24.

A criminal may wipe his fingerprints from the crime scene in an attempt to leave no trace of his identity. However, when the police arrive, they realize that if a crime has been committed, there must be a criminal. Satan, the original “manslayer,” tries to leave no trace of his identity. (John 8:44; Hebrews 2:14) When speaking with Eve, Satan hid his identity behind a serpent. He is still trying to hide today. He “has blinded the minds of the unbelievers” so as to conceal the extent of his powerful influence.—2 Corinthians 4:4.

However, Jesus identified Satan as the criminal mastermind behind the corrupt world we live in. He called him “the ruler of this world.” (John 12:31; 16:11) “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one,” wrote the apostle John. (1 John 5:19) Satan effectively uses “the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the showy display of one’s means of life” in “misleading the entire inhabited earth.” (1 John 2:16; Revelation 12:9) He is the one whom mankind in general obeys.

As was the case with Eve, those obeying Satan, in effect, make him their god. Hence, Satan is “the god of this system of things.” (2 Corinthians 4:4) The effects of his rule include hypocrisy and lies; war, torture and destruction; crime, greed and corruption." - http://bit.ly/1BIfyNP


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 21 months ago from Michigan, USA

I've been trying not to jump in here, as I don't want to hijack yet another discussion. But, at the risk of self-promotion, I'll offer a link to a hub where I've already discussed the Bible's presentation of Hell, with plenty of quotes to support my analysis.

In the end, the Bible is actually QUITE clear about what Hell is all about (despite the best efforts of apologists to soft sell it):

http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/The-Parado...


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Titen-Sxull 21 months ago from back in the lab again Author

The word Gehenna is used quite a bit in the new testament by Jesus, including descriptions of unquenchable fire and that only God has the authority to send you there and destroy both body and soul. If this is not Hell Jesus is talking about than what is it? He's not suggesting that God literally will cast you into the burning trash heap in the valley of Gehenna.

"thus clearly indicating that the earth will remain inhabited."

This I am already aware of, as it was part of what I was taught as a Christian that God would form a New Heaven and New Earth and that it would be possible to go back and forth between the two. However this doesn't really answer my question, eternal life is not a reward, it wouldn't take more than a few centuries before you would get bored or go mad especially in a sinless sterile Universe. People get bored here and now in a world full of what you would call "sin", gambling, heavy drinking, sex, etc etc. So imagine how much quicker you'd get bored if you were both immortal AND unable to sin. After 100 years of Harp lessons I'd be ready to kill myself.

" However, one of those angels would become Satan."

Correct me if I'm wrong but the word Satan simply means adversary and within some theologies he works side by side with God, hence him coming and going in Job and God agreeing to let him test Job.

Satan was never in the Garden of Eden Joe, that is a later interpretation, the story in Genesis does not mention Satan at all. In fact it simply says the serpent was the craftiest creature God had made. The story even ends with an attempt to explain why snakes crawl on their bellies to this day, hardly something we'd expect God to do if it was just Satan in disguise. And, at any rate, the serpent didn't lie, unless you're gonna pull that BS excuse about Adam and Eve's death being "SPIRITUAL" in nature so that you can get God out of lying.


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Joseph O Polanco 21 months ago

Actually "Gehenna occurs 12 times in the Christian Greek Scriptures, and it refers to the valley of Hinnom, outside the walls of Jerusalem. When Jesus was on earth, this valley was used as a garbage dump, "where the dead bodies of criminals, and the carcasses of animals, and every other kind of filth was cast." (Smith's Dictionary of the Bible) The fires were kept burning by adding sulfur to burn up the refuse. Jesus used that valley as a proper symbol of everlasting destruction.

As does Gehenna, the lake of fire symbolizes eternal destruction. Death and Hades are "hurled into" it in that they will be done away with when mankind is freed from sin and the condemnation of death. Willful, unrepentant sinners will also have their "portion" in that lake. (Revelation 21:8) They too will be annihilated forever. On the other hand, those in God's memory who are in hell—the common grave of mankind—have a marvelous future." http://bit.ly/1bjCodo


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Joseph O Polanco 21 months ago

"eternal life is not a reward, it wouldn't take more than a few centuries before you would get bored or go mad"

Like I tell my little boy whenever he tells me he's bored, "Only boring people get bored." :)

As far as me and mine are concerned, we yearn for life; we want nothing more than to spend an eternity quenching our insatiable thirst for knowledge and new experiences alongside our loved ones.

"Correct me if I'm wrong but the word Satan simply means adversary"

You're close. הַשָּׂטָ֖ן (Satan) is All-Loving God's principal adversary.

"Satan was never in the Garden of Eden Joe, that is a later interpretation, the story in Genesis does not mention Satan at all."

You're forgetting that snakes can't talk. Moreover God's own prophetic words at Genesis 3:14,15 make clear that he was not directing his denunciation at a mere snake. This explains why Satan is referred to as "the Tempter" and "the Father of the lie." (Matthew 4:3; John 8:44)

"the serpent didn't lie"

Are you seriously contending that Adam and Eve are still alive?


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Titen-Sxull 21 months ago from back in the lab again Author

"Are you seriously contending that Adam and Eve are still alive?"

Are you seriously going to contend that it was the fruit that killed them, after they lived for several CENTURIES.

"You're forgetting that snakes can't talk."

The Bible believing Christian is going to lecture me about what's realistic here? People also can't survive in the belly of a whale, donkeys cannot speak, and people do not ride on fiery chariots in the sky. You believe in angels, disembodied living minds that somehow LOVE YOU and somehow are alive beyond the edge of time and space, and yet snakes can't talk? Why reject that miracle and accept all the others?

Genesis 3:14 (cursed are you above all livestock and wild animals!) That's hardly telling of the serpent having been Satan. And you can't quote the New Testament to disprove that Satan being in the Garden was a LATER interpretation as the New Testament was written after the Old.

"and new experiences alongside our loved ones."

Maybe if going to Heaven meant flying through the cosmos meeting new alien species, like Doctor Who or Star Trek, it would be worth it but every description I've heard involves a lot of singing, bowing and having no choice but to be happy all the time. Not to mention it being endless, I think I would long for the peace of nonexistence after a while.

As for Gehenna, yes I am aware of what place Jesus was using as a reference to Hell however he does describe it as a place with weeping wailing and gnashing of teeth where the fire is never extinguished. Even if God only plans to destroy the sinner, burning them up is a cruel and obscene punishment for any loving God to concoct. You can say what you want Joe, but whether the punishment is brief hellfire or eternal hellfire neither is congruous with a loving and all powerful God. The cruelty of God is one of the most obvious evidences that he is the invention of man.


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Joseph O Polanco 21 months ago

"Are you seriously going to contend that it was the fruit that killed them, after they lived for several CENTURIES."

I. So if a person with Cancer or some other terminal disease languishes on for a few years then dies, it wasn't their illness that caused his death?

"Why reject that miracle and accept all the others?"

II. Because snakes were not created with vocal chords :)

"That's hardly telling of the serpent having been Satan."

III. I cited verses 14 AND 15. Read 15.

"As for Gehenna, yes I am aware of what place Jesus was using as a reference to Hell."

IV. You missed the point entirely. Christ never used Gehenna as a reference to Hell. He used it as a symbol of everlasting annihilation. 'As does Gehenna, the lake of fire also symbolizes eternal destruction. Death and Hell are symbolically "hurled into" it in that they will be done away with when mankind is freed from sin and the condemnation of death. (Revelation 21:8)' http://bit.ly/1bjCodo

"Even if God only plans to destroy the sinner, burning them up is a cruel and obscene punishment for any loving God to concoct."

I concur 1000%! But that's not what God is going to do to evildoers! Remember what he promised Adam at Genesis 3:19? (c.f. Ecclesiastes 3:20) THAT is the fate of all who spurn and/or disdain their Creator, not eternal fire.


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Titen-Sxull 21 months ago from back in the lab again Author

"So if a person with Cancer or some other terminal disease languishes on for a few years then dies, it wasn't their illness that caused his death?"

Okay, what is the scriptural basis for your belief that eating the fruit merely gave Adam and Eve a terminal illness that allowed them to survive into old age and live full healthy lives?

"Because snakes were not created with vocal chords :)"

In that case whales do not have places in their digestive tract where a man can survive for three days. Donkeys do not have vocal cords, tongues or the correct bone structure to form human speech. People do not rise miraculously from the dead. If riding in a flaming chariot people would be horribly burnt. Etc etc. Again, my question stands, why accept the absurd when it suits you but reject it when it doesn't fit your theology?

"He used it as a symbol of everlasting annihilation"

Did you not just get done arguing that Hell IS everlasting annihilation? So yeah, I'd say Jesus was referring to Hell using a place the local readers of the Gospel would recognize.

"Death and Hell are symbolically "hurled into""

I thought the Lake of Fire was the eternal punishment for the Devil and his Angels? Or shall they too simply be extinguished and not at all burnt or tormented? There are so many verses describing the fire of punishment after death, weeping, wailing, the worm that does not die, the smoke that ascends up forever and ever... and you're claiming that's all SYMBOLIC?


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Joseph O Polanco 21 months ago

"what is the scriptural basis for your belief that eating the fruit merely gave Adam and Eve a terminal illness that allowed them to survive into old age and live full healthy lives?"

I. They ate of the verboten fruit (Genesis 3:6). Shortly thereafter Jehovah God tells them that they will ultimately die as a result of their disobedience (Genesis 3:17,19). As promised, Adam and Eve grew old and then perished (Genesis 5:5). Any simpler and I'm gonna have to break out the crayons, jkjkkj :)

"whales do not have places in their digestive tract where a man can survive for three days."

II. Prove it.

"People do not rise miraculously from the dead."

III. Tell that to these folks: http://abcn.ws/1pfyXx2 http://bit.ly/UvVeey http://dailym.ai/1qD2Mv4 http://bbc.in/1nEY8uz

"If riding in a flaming chariot people would be horribly burnt."

IV. Nonsense. You've never heard of Stunt Gel? If Hollywood can do it so can God!

"Donkeys do not have vocal cords, tongues or the correct bone structure to form human speech."

V. Prove it.

"Did you not just get done arguing that Hell IS everlasting annihilation?"

VI. When!? Where?!

"There are so many verses describing the fire of punishment after death, weeping, wailing, the worm that does not die, the smoke that ascends up forever and ever... and you're claiming that's all SYMBOLIC?"

VII. If the lake of fire is NOT a symbolic representation then please make sense of the following - "And the Devil was hurled into the lake of fire and sulphur, where the wild beast already was; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever." - Revelation 20 :10

Alright, so here's the question: Precisely what wild animal was hurled into the lake of fire? A tiger? A lion? A bear?

Then again, precisely why would a wild beast be hurled into a lake of flame to be tormented to start with?


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Joseph O Polanco 21 months ago

Don't forget to read Genesis 3:15.


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Titen-Sxull 21 months ago from back in the lab again Author

"Any simpler and I'm gonna have to break out the crayons"

Your suggestion is that eating the fruit made them MORTAL? Because that's not happened. In Genesis God kicks them out of the Garden "lest" they eat of the fruit of everlasting life. Both magical fruits appear to have magical abilities that make the one who eats them more like God. One gives you the ability to discern good from evil, apparently absent from Adam and Eve in the beginning, and the other makes you immortal.

"Prove it."

You are the one making extraordinary claims here. At any rate I wouldn't want to have the break out the crayons.

"Tell that to these folks:"

Gladly. There is a difference between a miracle, which is a suspension of what is possible via supernatural intervention, and an unlikely circumstance. There is a reason I used the word MIRACULOUS.

"V. Prove it."

Prove that an angel exists, a god exists, that supernatural forces that can raise the dead exist. Joe I am not the one making ridiculous claims or believing absurd things here. Or do I need to break out the kindergarten books that list the sounds the animals make, look under Donkey, and show you that donkeys do not speak? There is a reason human speech sounds the way it does and it has to do with skeletal structure, muscles, airways, the tongue. You do not need me to explain why Donkeys can't speak.

"Alright, so here's the question: Precisely what wild animal was hurled into the lake of fire?"

Perhaps it was a dragon? Or the Unicorn that was mistranslated into the KJV? If the Lake of Fire IS symbolic than in what way are the beast and Devil going to be tormented? Or is the torment itself just another illusion? And the mass slaughter of people in Revelation, Jesus' homecoming holocaust, just another SYMBOLIC event I'm sure. Just like Communion, SYMBOLICALLY cannibalizing the savior, it doesn't make the images or suggestions any less repulsive.

"Then again, precisely why would a wild beast be hurled into a lake of flame to be tormented to start with?"

Why would God even have a Lake of Flame. According to you he doesn't. So why would it say he does? How exactly, do God's favored PR agents SPIN a story about mass killing and eternal torment, symbolic or otherwise, to have him come out the good guy?


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Titen-Sxull 21 months ago from back in the lab again Author

Yes of course, Genesis 3:15, is that where after creating a perfect world with perfect people God decides that after they make one single mistake he should curse all future generations to inherit the disease of "sin"? Does it make any sense that your God is meant to be all powerful but he cannot cure the disease he created when he gave Adam and Eve free will?

No sorry, that's after verse 15. You're talking about the verse where God makes women hate snakes. Just like the verses before explain why snakes do not have limbs this is explaining people's distaste and distrust of snakes. Where you see Satan in this verse is beyond me.


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Joseph O Polanco 21 months ago

"If the Lake of Fire IS symbolic than in what way are the beast and Devil going to be tormented?"

Excellent question! To get started we first need to understand what the lake of fire actually symbolizes. For this we need only turn to Revelation 20:14. Here we find that the lake of fire is merely a symbolic representation for "second death", that is, death from which there is no resurrection, i.e., eternal annhiliation.

Now on to the "torment" the beast and Satan will experience. "In the Scriptures fiery torment is associated with destruction and death. For example, in the Greek Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Scriptures the word for torment (ba′sa·nos) is several times used with reference to punishment by death. (Eze 3:20; 32:24, 30) Similarly, concerning Babylon the Great, the book of Revelation says, “the kings of the earth . . . will weep and beat themselves in grief over her, when they look at the smoke from the burning of her, while they stand at a distance because of their fear of her torment [Gr., ba·sa·ni·smou′].” (Re 18:9, 10) As to the meaning of the torment, an angel later explains: “Thus with a swift pitch will Babylon the great city be hurled down, and she will never be found again.” (Re 18:21) So, fiery torment here is parallel with destruction, and in the case of Babylon the Great, it is everlasting destruction.—Compare Re 17:16; 18:8, 15-17, 19.

Therefore, those who are ‘tormented forever’ (from Gr., ba·sa·ni′zo) in the lake of fire undergo “second death” from which there is no resurrection. The related Greek word ba·sa·ni·stes′ is translated ‘jailer’ in Matthew 18:34. (RS, NW, ED; compare vs 30.) Thus those hurled into the lake of fire will be held under restraint, or “jailed,” in death throughout eternity." http://bit.ly/1wqvymh

In the end, what our loving Creator is promising is a permanent end to Satan, his demons, all those who follow them -willingly or unwittingly- and all of the present conditions which cause the human family nothing but misery and suffering - up to and including death itself. Wouldn't you say these are wonderful news? http://bit.ly/15XCebD


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Joseph O Polanco 21 months ago

"Where you see Satan in this verse is beyond me."

You need only take a closer look: http://bit.ly/1BeIFHk


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Joseph O Polanco 19 months ago

"A miracle can never be more plausible, by its very nature it is the least plausible thing that can occur. "

Are you suggesting that the miracles recorded in the Bible are, somehow, violations of natural laws?


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Titen-Sxull 19 months ago from back in the lab again Author

Yes. In fact I would define a miracle as a seemingly impossible suspension of the natural order usually attributed to supernatural forces. Isn't that exactly what makes them miraculous, the fact that they seem to suspend everything we understand of how nature works? - the fact that they are SUPERnatural...


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Joseph O Polanco 19 months ago

"the fact that they seem to suspend everything we understand of how nature works?"

Three hundred years ago the very same would have been claimed of TVs, iPhones, satellites, vehicles, airplanes and the Internet yet we all know there is nothing supernatural about them.

I submit, therefore, that (1) our understanding of the natural laws of nature are far from absolute and (2) that Christ and the prophets were given the ability to manipulate matter and energy in ways we have yet to discover (assuming we ever will). In other words, there is nothing supernatural about any of the miracles recorded in the Bible.


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Titen-Sxull 19 months ago from back in the lab again Author

" In other words, there is nothing supernatural about any of the miracles recorded in the Bible."

To steal one of you favorite lines: Prove it.

Yes it's true if I took a television back in time a few centuries and found a way to show people back then how it worked they would be astounded but if I sat down with a scientist and explained to him how it worked he would probably be able to figure out how it worked. These devices are amazing but not inexplicable.

Also what you're saying could just as easily be applied to my Alien resurrection theory, as alien technology could be just as powerful. You still haven't demonstrated any of the assumptions we'd need to make to claim that Jesus was Resurrected, the existence of a God, God being powerful enough to raise Jesus, God wanting to raise Jesus, etc.

If these events are merely part of our natural world, and thus observable and provable why has no one in the history of the human race ever proved such things? Why are we not reading about them in textbooks today? Are you going to assert that the predominantly Christian West suppressed evidence of miracles and God as part of a conspiracy? Or is God hiding even from the faithful?


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Joseph O Polanco 19 months ago

"why has no one in the history of the human race ever proved such things?"

The same reason vehicles, TVs, the Internet, iPhones, etc., etc., weren't invented during the Renaissance but in the 20th century.

Man has yet to figure it out (and my suspicion is that he never will).


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Joseph O Polanco 19 months ago

No assumptions necessary. These are all clearly explicated in the Bible. The only thing we need to figure out is if the Bible is in fact the Word of God or just another book: http://bit.ly/1d0Y82v

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