The Problem With 2 Timothy 3:16

Papyrus_Bodmer_VIIIWhen asked how they know the Bible is the Word of God, fundamentalists will often quote 2 Timothy 3:16:

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

There are several problems with using this quote as the basis of believing the Bible is the Word of God:

First off, the letter is a complete forgery. There is very little doubt about it. The current consensus of virtually all Biblical scholars is that this letter and the other pastoral epistles where written by some author or authors other than Paul. The language, writing style and vocabulary are irreconcilably different from all the known writings of Paul. There are also references and allusions to documents and events which were written or occurred after Paul’s death. For example, Paul quotes The Gospel of Luke in 1 Timothy. Luke was written about 80 AD at the earliest. Paul died in 67 AD. Documents like the pastoral epistles are called pseudepigraphical. They were quite common in those days.

Secondly, assuming for the sake of argument that this letter was genuine, it is certainly not self-referential. In other words, even if Paul did write it, he was not calling his own letters scripture 1.  He was referring specifically to the Old Testament. His own writings were not necessarily the Word of God and could therefore be just a matter of opinion 2. Otherwise, this would be committing a logical fallacy called a “circular argument” or “begging the question”. To say that any statement is the Word of God based on the statement itself would be absurdly illogical.

Third, the word, “inspiration”, is ambiguous at best. If an artist is “inspired” by a muse, does that mean that the muse personally guides every stroke of the brush or pen? Of course not. A clue to “Paul’s” meaning of the word is when he says it is “profitable” (other translations say merely “useful”). If he meant to say that the Bible is truly the very Word of God, then this would be the understatement of the millenia! It is like saying that air is “useful” for breathing. The proper word here would be “necessary” or “essential”. This “Paul” clearly means “inspired” in the more general sense.

Finally, and I can not stress this strongly enough: there is only one Word of God and it is not a book. It is a person whose name is Jesus Christ (John 1:1) . When we elevate an inanimate object, such as a book, to the same level as Jesus Christ we are in danger of committing idolatry.

[Here, some people might point out that in his second epistle (2 Peter 3:16), Peter seemed to suggest that Paul’s letters should be considered on par with scripture. The problem here is that the real Peter was illiterate and couldn’t have written the letters attributed to him (Acts 4:13). As an unschooled fisherman, he would not have even spoken the erudite language they were written in. Furthermore, it is well known that Peter and Paul disagreed on many issues. This would certainly not be the case if Peter thought Paul always spoke the Word of the Lord. Peter’s letters were obviously pseudepigraphical as well.]

2[See 1 Corinthians 7:12, 1 Corinthians 7:25, 2 Corinthians 11:17 for a few examples of where Paul admits his words are his own rather than the Lord’s]

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Objection to Christianity #9: Why Would a Loving God Punish Anyone In Hell For Eternity?

Hortus_Deliciarum_-_HellFirst off, there is no Hell – not in the modern sense of the term anyway. Jesus promised eternal life only for his followers. Everyone else just dies and their souls are destroyed. End of story.

The fiery furnace is merely symbolic of utter destruction. No souls are kept alive forever in a state of perpetual torment.  That imagery comes to us thanks to Dante’s Inferno and prior to that, from Tartarus of Greek mythology. It is to be found nowhere in the Bible*.

It is impossible for the human mind to comprehend true nothingness.  Even that “nothingness” we try to imagine is, in fact, something. At best, we can imagine a situation like being in a womb or a sensory deprivation tank. But even then we are fully aware. Our minds are active. Total oblivion is a foreign concept. That is why we must imagine death as being something rather than nothing.

On the other hand, our minds are fully adept at visualizing unpleasant scenarios. Perhaps it is a survival mechanism passed down from our ancestors. Whatever the case, it is infinitely easier for us to imagine an unpleasant place where our awarenesses somehow continue rather than nothing at all.

“Hell” has therefore become the “bad” place where we live forever as opposed to Heaven, the “good” place where we live forever. The former couldn’t be further from the truth.

Some people die and don’t go to Heaven. But that doesn’t mean they are someplace else. It means that they are simply gone. But most atheists believe that already. So in at least one sense, they are right.

And as for Heaven, why would a non-Christian want to spend an eternity in a Christian Heaven anyway? Most non-Christians I know can barely stand being in the presence of Christians praising God for fifteen minutes let alone a trillion years. To them, perhaps, such a place would truly be Hell. Oblivion, then, would be the ultimate loving kindness.

*[Although there are several places in the Bible that speak of eternal punishment or damnation it also speaks frequently of the soul’s utter destruction. To avoid contradiction, this can only mean that the punishment is death and it lasts for eternity. The destruction process is usually described in unpleasant terms but death is rarely pleasant.]

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Wait, That’s From the Bible?

BIBLETWOHere is a list of everyday words and phrases which you may be surprised to learn come directly from the Bible (KJV):

“Let there be light” Genesis 1:3
“garden of Eden” Genesis 2:15
“tree of life” Genesis 3:22; Proverbs 3:18, 11:30, 13:12,15:4; Revelation 22:2
“the land of Nod” , Genesis 4:16
“the face of the earth” Genesis 6:7, 7:4; Exodus 32:12, 33:16; Psalms 104:30
“dust and ashes” Genesis 18:27; Job 30:19, 42:6
fire and brimstone” Genesis 19:24; Psalms 11:6; Ezekiel 38:22; Luke 17:29; Revelation 9:17-18
“coat of many colours” Genesis 37:3, 23, 32
God forbid” Genesis 44:7, 17; Romans 3:4
“the fat of the land” Genesis 45:18
“Shiloh” Genesis 49:10
“milk and honey” Exodus 3:8; Leviticus 20:24; Deuteronomy 6:3; Ezekiel 20:15
“hold your peace” Exodus 14:14; Leviticus 10:3
“the ten commandments” Exodus 34:28; Deuteronomy 10:4
“peace offering” Leviticus 3:1, 3, 6, 9
“thanksgiving” Leviticus 7:12; Nehemiah 11:17; Psalms 100:4
“scapegoat” Leviticus 16:8, 10:26
“stumbling block” Leviticus 19:14; 1 Corinthians 1:23
amen” Numbers 5:22; Matthew 6:13; Revelation 22:20-21
“spy out the land” Numbers 13:16-17; Jude 18:2, 17
“be sure your sin will find you out” Numbers 32:23
“heavens above” Deuteronomy 11:21; Jeremiah 4:28
“with all your heart” Deuteronomy 13:3
“fainthearted” Deuteronomy 20:8; Isaiah 7:4; Jeremiah 49:23
“howling wilderness” Deuteronomy 32:10
“the apple of his eye” Deuteronomy 32:10; Zechariah 2:8
“the ends of the earth” Deuteronomy 33:17; Job 37:3; Psalms 72:8
“the pillars of the earth” 1 Samuel 2:8
“God save the king” 1 Samuel 10:24; 2 Samuel 16:16; 2 Kings 11:12
“hot bread” 1 Samuel 21:6
“fell on his sword” 1 Samuel 31:5
“how are the mighty fallen” 2 Samuel 1:19
“the half was not told me” 1 Kings 10:7
“take root” 2 Kings 19:13
“bear fruit” 2 Kings 19:30; Psalms 92:14; Isaiah 37:31; Jeremiah 12:2; Ezekiel 17:8, 23, 47:12
“the wisdom of Solomon” 2 Chronicles 9:3; Luke 11:31
“the power and the glory” 1 Chronicles 29:11; Matthew 6:13
“fountain gate” Nehemiah 12:37
“give up the ghost” Job 3:11
“the skin of my teeth” Job 19:20
“the root of the matter” Job 19:28
“the land of the living” Job 28:13; Psalms 27:13, 52:5, 116:9; Isaiah 53:8
“out of the mouth of babes” Psalms 8:2
“heart’s desire” Psalms 10:3, 21:2; Romans 10:1
“men of the world” Psalms 17:14
“my rock” Psalms 18:2, 46, 28:1, 42:9
“O my God” Psalms 22:2, 25:2, 42:6, 83:13, 102:24
“my cup runneth over” Psalms 23:5
“broken heart” Psalms 34:18
“Aha” Psalms 35:21, 40:15, 70:3; Ezekiel 36:2
“fountain of life” Psalms 36:9
“storm and tempest” Psalms 55:8; Isaiah 29:6
“poor and needy” Psalms 70:5, 86:1
“lick the dust” Psalms 72:9; Micah 7:17
“more than heart could wish” Psalms 73:7
“from strength to strength” Psalms 84:7
“wits’ end” Psalms 107:27
“lovingkindness” Psalms 107:43
“all men are liars” Psalms 116:11
“sweeter than honey” Psalms 119:103
“By the rivers of Babylon” Psalms 137:1
“woe is me” Psalms 120:5; Isaiah 6:5; Jeremiah 4:31
“for ever and ever” Psalms 145:1-2, 21; Daniel 2:20; Revelation 11:15
“inherit the wind” Proverbs 11:29
“an evil eye” Proverbs 23:6, 28:22; Mark 7:22
“heavy heart” Proverbs 25:20
“good news” Proverbs 25:25
“snow in summer” Proverbs 26:1
“iron sharpens iron” Proverbs 27:17
“nothing new under the sun” Ecclesiastes 1:9
“butter and honey” Isaiah 7:15, 22
“the four corners of the earth” Isaiah 11:12; Revelation 7:1
“the ends of the earth” Isaiah 40:28, 41:5; Zechariah 9:10; Acts 13:47
“a drop in a bucket” Isaiah 40:15
“world without end” Isaiah 45:17; Ephesians 3:21
“eye to eye” Isaiah 52:8
“a lamb to the slaughter” Isaiah 53:7
“holier than thou” Isaiah 65:5
“in the mire” Jeremiah 38:6, 22; Zechariah 10:5
“weak as water” Ezekiel 7:17
“bear fruit” Ezekiel 17:23; Mark 4:20; John 15:4
“sour grapes” Ezekiel 18:2
“showers of blessing” Ezekiel 34:26
“white as snow” Daniel 7:9
“prepare to meet your God” Amos 4:12
“kingdom of heaven” Matthew 3:2, 4:17, 5:3
“salt of the earth” Matthew 5:13
“an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” Matthew 5:38
“love thy neighbour” Matthew 5:43, 22:39
“kingdom come” Matthew 6:10; Luke 11:2
“our daily bread” Matthew 6:11; Luke 11:3
“lilies of the field” Matthew 6:28
“sufficient unto the day” Matthew 6:34
“lost sheep” Matthew 10:6, 15:25
“signs of the times” Matthew 16:3
“the keys of the kingdom” Matthew 16:19
“the eleventh hour” Matthew 20:6
“den of thieves” Matthew 21:13; Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46
“in the name of the Father” Matthew 28:19
“a moment of time” Luke 4:5
“physician heal thyself” Luke 4:23
“see the light” Luke 11:33
“eat, drink and be merry” Luke 12:19
“safe and sound” Luke 15:27
“not lose heart” Luke 18:1
“born again” John 3:3
“the quick and the dead” 1 Pet.4:5
“a law unto themselves” Romans 2:14
“thank God” Romans 7:28; 1 Corinthians 1:14; 2 Timothy 1:3
“the powers that be” Romans 13:1
“through a glass darkly” 1 Corinthians 13:12
“flesh and blood” 1 Corinthians 15:50; Ephesians 6:12
“twinkling of an eye” 1 Corinthians 15:52
“suffer fools gladly” 2 Corinthians 11:19
“God knows” 2 Corinthians 12:2-3
“a thorn in the flesh” 2 Corinthians 12:7
“Do not let the sun go down on your wrath” Ephesians 4:26
“tender hearted” Ephesians 4:32
“have you in my heart” Philippians 1:7
“labour of love” 1 Thessalonians 1:3
“busybodies” 2 Thessalonians 3:11; 1 Timothy 5:13
“filthy lucre” 1 Timothy 3:3
“the love of money” 1 Timothy 6:10
“the King of Kings” 1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14, 19:16
“the root of all evil” 1 Timothy 6:10
“fight the good fight” 1 Timothy 6:12
“the patience of Job” James 5:11
“wallowing in the mire” 2 Pet.2:22
“God speed” 2 John 1:11
“the book of life” Revelation 3:5, 13:8, 17:8, 20:12, 15, 22:19
“lukewarm” Revelation 3:16
Armageddon” Revelation 16:16
“morning star” Revelation 22:16

This second list of phrases are not exactly word for word but their Biblical origins are easily identifiable:

“God bless” Genesis 1:22,28, 2:3, 9:1, 25:11
“forbidden fruit” Genesis 3:3
“as old as Methuselah” Genesis 5:27
“wings of a dove” Genesis 8:8-12; Psalms 55:6
Nimrod” Genesis 10:8-9
“Lot in Sodom” Genesis 13:12, ch19; Luke 17:29
“run for your life” Genesis 19:17
Jacob’s ladder” Genesis 28:12
“mess room” Genesis 43:34; 2 Samuel 11:8
“living off the fat of the land” Genesis 45:18
“hard hearted” Exodus 7:14
“golden calf” Exodus ch32
“the promised land” Deuteronomy 6:3, 9:28, 19:8
“to set your heart on it” Deuteronomy 24:15, 32:46
“a thorn in the side” Judges.2:3
“a hair’s breadth” Judges 20:16
“bring the house down” Judges 16:25-31
“make your ears tingle” 1 Samuel 3:11; 2 Kings 21:12; Jeremiah 19:3
“heavy handed” 1 Samuel 5:6; Job 33:7; Psalms 32:4
“circuit judge” 1 Samuel 7:15-16
David and Goliath” 1 Samuel ch17
“heart of stone” 1 Samuel 25:37; Job 41:24; Zechariah 7:12
“playing the fool” 1 Samuel 26:21
“to lose heart” 2 Samuel 4:1
“David and Bathsheba” 2 Samuel ch11
“to put words in one”s mouth” 2 Samuel 14:3
“lion heart” 2 Samuel 17:10
“chariots of fire” 2 Kings 2:11
“in God we trust” 2 Kings 18:22; Isaiah 36:7; 1 Timothy 4:10
“put your house in order” 2 Kings 20:1; Isaiah 38:10
“peace and quiet” 1 Chronicles 22:9
“single minded” 2 Chronicles 30:12
“watergate” Nehemiah 3:26, 8:1, 3
“you reap what you sow” Job.4:8; Proverbs 22:8; Hos.10:13; Gal.6:7-8
“make your hair stand on end” Job 4:15
“skin and bone” Job 19:20
“as old as the hills” Job 15:7
“soft hearted” Job 23:16
“girding your loins” Job 38:3
“don’t fret” Psalms 37:1, 7-8
“you raise me up” Psalms 41:10
“you can”t take it with you” Psalms 49:16-17
“a sharp tongue” Psalms 52:2, 57:4
“bite the dust” Psalms 72:9; Micah 7:17
manna from heaven” Psalms 78:24
“right hand man” Psalms 80:17
“in God we trust” Psalms 7:1, 56:4, 11, 91:2
“war and peace” Psalms 120:7; Ecclesiastes 3:8
“beware of he who winks” Proverbs 10:1
“pride goes before a fall” Proverbs 16:18
“your in deep water” Proverbs 20:5
“don’t take a dog by the ears” Proverbs 26:17
“wandering bird” Proverbs 27:8; Isaiah 16:2
“the good old days” Ecclesiastes 7:10-11
“a fly in the ointment” Ecclesiastes 10:1
“a little bird told me” Ecclesiastes 10:20
“ivory tower” Song of Solomon 7:4
“no rest for the wicked” Isaiah 57:20-21
“rise and shine” Isaiah 60:1
“gad about” Jeremiah 2:36, 31:22
“none so blind as he who will not see” Jeremiah 5:21
“can a leopard change its spots” Jeremiah 13:23
“set your teeth on edge” Jeremiah 31:29
“their just deserts” Ezekiel 7:27
“like mother, like daughter” Ezekiel 16:44
“long live the king” Daniel 2:2, 3:9, 5:10. 6:21
“the writing’s on the wall” Daniel 5:5
“knees knocking together” Daniel 5:6
“the bitter end” Amos 8:10
“broadway” Nahum 2:4; Matthew 7:13
“turn the other cheek” Matthew 5:39; Luke 6:29
“go the extra mile” Matthew 5:41
“sounding your own trumpet” Matthew 6:2
“strait and narrow” Matthew 7:13-14
“wolves in sheep’s clothing” Matthew 7:15
“the blind leading the blind” Matthew 15:14
“red sky at night” Matthew 16:2
“do as I say, not as I do” Matthew 23:3
“the good oil” Matthew 25:4-8, 26:7-12; Mark 6;13; Heb.1;9; James 5:14
“a Judas” Matthew 26:14-16
“live by the sword, die by the sword” Matthew :26:52
“blood money” Matthew 27:6
“wash your hands of the issue” Matthew 27:24
baptism of fire” Luke 3:16
“good Samaritan” Luke 10:25-37
“divided we fall” Luke 11:17
“a cross you have to bear” Luke 14:27
“the prodigal son” Luke 15:11-32
“don’t judge by appearances” John 7:24; 2 Corinthians 10:7
“doubting Thomas” John 20:24-25
“God willing” Acts 18:21; 1 Corinthians 4:19; James 4:15
“hope and pray” Romans 12:12
“risk your neck” Romans 16:4
“fall from grace” Gal.5:4
“saving grace” Ephesians 2:5, 8
“mind your own business” 1 Thessalonians 4:11
“old wive’s tale” 1 Timothy 4:7
“scarlet woman” Revelation 17:3-4
“crystal clear” Revelation 21:11

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So You Think You Know the “Ten Commandments”?

Rembrandt_Harmensz._van_Rijn_079Christians are at least somewhat familiar with the so-called “Ten Commandments” that were spoken by God through Moses in the book of Exodus (Ex. 20:3-17), but what most Christians don’t realize, is that these are not the actual Ten Commandments written on stone tablets that were placed in the Ark of the Covenant. God never called the commandments mentioned in Exodus 20, the “Ten Commandments”. The real Ten Commandments (so-named by God*) were listed in Exodus 34:14-26. As you can see below, they are quite different than the ones that some Christians are fighting so hard to put up in our schools and courtrooms.
The REAL Ten Commandments [KJV]:
I. Thou shalt worship no other god.

II. Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.

III. The feast of unleavened bread thou shalt keep.

IV. Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest.

V. Thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest,
and the feast of ingathering at the year’s end.

VI. Thrice in the year shall all your men children appear before the Lord God.

VII. Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven.

VIII. Neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left unto the morning.

IX. The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the LORD thy God.

X. Thou shalt not seethe [boil] a kid [a young goat] in his mother’s milk.

*This is the only list of commandments referred to as the “Ten Commandments” in the entire Bible (Exodus 34:27-28)

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What Does the Bible Really Say About Hell?

Follower_of_Jheronimus_Bosch_-_The_Harrowing_of_HellIn popular culture, Hell has become place of eternal torment. The Bible, however, does not support this common misconception. In the Bible, Hell is simply the place where the soul is permanently destroyed – a second death, if you will. In other words, once you go to Hell you are dead forever. There will be no resurrection to eternal life.
Only those Christians who are resurrected with Christ are promised eternal life. For everyone else there is no permanent afterlife, good or bad. For them, death is the end of the road. (See Revelation 20:13-14, Matthew 10:28, Ezekiel 18:20, Psalm 9:17, 2 Thessalonians 1:9)

The modern concept of Hell has far more in common with the Greek mythological Tartarus than with anything found in the Old or New Testaments.

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Did Jesus Ever Say He Was God?

3392966849_88b0e39055_oI have often heard people say that Jesus never claimed to be God. This popular misconception is patently untrue. In John 8:58, He specifically claimed to be YHWH (the God of Israel). Later in John 10:30, He claimed that He and God were one and the same. These claims were completely unequivocal. Jesus’ audience knew exactly what He meant when He said it. In both cases, they immediately tried to stone Him for what they perceived to be the ultimate blasphemy.

While it may be true that Jesus never uttered the exact phrase, “I am God”, In reality, He was much more specific than that.

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Is There Any Such Thing As a Completely Selfless Act?

Christ_in_GethsemaneLet’s face it.  We’re all only human. There are only two reasons we voluntarily do anything: hope of pleasure and fear of pain. However, it is what we find most pleasurable or painful which defines as individuals.

We call people altruistic who sacrifice of themselves to help others.  But what really motivates them? If helping others made them feel guilty and full of self-hatred, would they still do it? Or if ignoring others’ plight gave them a divine sense of inner peace would they be so quick to lend a hand? I don’t think so. In the end, it is really all about how our actions make us feel.

We are all basically selfish creatures. The only difference between a selfish and “unselfish” act is whether or not others are intentionally helped (or hurt) in the process. Do we wish to please only ourselves or are we gaining our pleasure vicariously through helping others? Are we serving our baser selves or our higher selves?

I believe that Jesus Christ was probably the most selfless person who ever walked the Earth, yet even He thought of Himself. If He were completely selfless, would He have begged God to “let this cup pass from me” in the Gardens of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:39)? Of course not. He didn’t want to go through with the crucifixion but He knew the spiritual pain of failing to follow through with God’s plan would be far worse for Him than any physical pain He might endure on the cross. Jesus also loved His fellow man and undoubtedly expected that their salvation would bring a supreme joy to His heart. So it seems that fear of pain and hope of pleasure are what motivated even the most “selfless” act in history.

If you have ever come to the realization that you are helping others primarily because it makes you feel good or to avoid the feeling of guilt, you needn’t be ashamed. You are in good company.

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Is the Cross an Appropriate Symbol For Christ?

Cross_in_sunsetAs a central fixture of most Christian churches you will find a cross.  Ask any Christian the significance of this symbol and most will say something similar to, “Christ died for our sins.” While true, is that really the most exceptional thing Jesus ever did? Think about it for a minute. If given the choice of giving up one’s life to save humanity, who wouldn’t do it? Not to downplay Jesus’ sacrifice, but all it proves is that Jesus was a decent person. Many people have sacrificed just as much for far less.

As for dying, Jesus wasn’t afraid of death. He knew He would be right back. What undoubtedly troubled Jesus was the pain and humiliation He knew He must endure. So it might be better to say that Jesus’ real sacrifice was to endure several hours of excruciating pain for our benefit. But couldn’t the same be said of most of our mothers?

If giving birth to you is the main reason you love your mother, then you probably had a very sad childhood. A mother’s love is universally symbolized by cradling arms rather than women racked in the pain of childbirth. Why not symbolize Jesus’ love rather than His agony? Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross proves, that He did love us, to be sure but not necessarily any more than a common soldier who gives up his life for his country.

It is Jesus’ life, that makes His death significant – not the other way around. It is only because of who He was and how He lived that we could be saved. If we must use a cross to symbolize Jesus, then why not an ankh – the symbol of life, rather than a symbol of death?

Personally, I prefer the ichthys, or fish, that is basically symbolic of His Great Commission –  to be fishers of men.


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Was the Resurrection Really Supernatural?

The_resurrection_day_I was thinking about the Resurrection today. At first blush, we might say it was supernatural – that is – against the laws of nature. Dead means dead, right? There’s no coming back from the dead without supernatural intervention.  But hold on! We bring people back from the dead everyday. We no longer call it resurrection but resuscitation. People can go for minutes being clinically dead (sometimes even hours under the right conditions) before being “resurrected”.

Here’s something to ponder: If God made the Universe with all its rules, why would He need to cheat at His own game? True, in Jesus’ day, human technology did not exist that could resuscitate a person once they were dead. Anyone who returned from the dead after any length of time at all would be considered to be “miraculously resurrected”. Human technology has come a long way since then. Now such a feat is considered commonplace. But even today, resuscitating a person after 36 hours (the approximate length of time Jesus was dead) is well beyond our technology. That is not to say that it is a scientific impossibility. Who knows what we will be able to do in another two thousand years?

Some of us (Christians) consider God to be the most advanced intellect in the Universe. Anything Man will be eventually able to do, God has been able to do since Day One. We shouldn’t confuse our technological shortcomings with proof of scientific impossibility. Case in point: Humans can not yet produce new life in a lab, but we all know that life is indeed scientifically possible.

Miracles need not be events that violate the laws of nature. I believe that true miracles may all lie in the auspicious timing of otherwise “natural” events.

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Were Adam and Eve Real People?

Titian: Adam och Eva.

Titian: Adam och Eva.

Polls show that almost half of all Americans think that Adam and Eve were real people that lived less than ten thousand years ago. In other words, they take the Biblical account in Genesis quite literally. As an American, this frightens me. It shows an appalling amount of scientific illiteracy among my fellow Americans. As a Christian, it sometimes makes me question my faith. I find myself wanting to distance myself from such a seemingly ignorant or delusional throng. I am encouraged, however, by the fact that over eighty percent of all Americans identify themselves as Christians. This, of course, means that at least thirty percent of all American Christians don’t believe the story of Adam and Eve is anything more than allegorical. I am glad to count myself among these.

Unfortunately, most people who believe the Biblical story to be merely allegorical are cautiously silent about their beliefs. This, I’m afraid, is seen as tacit approval of the much more vocal group who take the account literally. Non-christian outsiders might perceive this to mean that it is necessary to take the Bible literally, in order to be a Christian. This is not true (although I am sure there are some Biblical literalists who would disagree with me). This public perception would undoubtedly drive many of the more intelligent and well-educated outsiders away from Christianity.

Our job as Christians is to bring more new Christians into the Church, not drive them away. The Church needs an influx of new, bright and even scientific minds. If more like-minded people spoke up about their beliefs, it could be a step toward making this happen. If you believe stories like the Garden of Eden and Noah’s Flood to be mere allegories, say something, for goodness’ sake!

This is me, saying something.

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