No Apologizing

Christian Apologetic, and Social Commentary in a world gone mad

Tag Archives: Jesus

What is it with laminin?


In our young history we have written 127 posts.  Of those, there is no dispute as to which are our top

A true sign from God?

two.  Both of them are on laminin.  Some statistics:  Laminin has been googled between 25,000 to 30,000 times in the last 30 days.  This seems to be a pretty steady statistic even beyond those 30 days.  Both of the laminin posts are the most shared posts that we have written as well.

I look at these numbers and think… “what is it with laminin?”  Why is this protein so interesting to people?

I get it.  The first time I saw Giglio’s presentation…in combination with the Corinthian scripture, chills went down my spine.  I believe that it is an illustration of the divine inspiration of the Bible.  Think about this for a second…there is no way that Paul could have known what a diagram of the laminin protein molecule would look like when he penned the words:

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (NIV)

That being said…

There are some who doubt that the design of laminin is intentional from God.  To be honest…there is no way for any of us to know the truth behind the design itself.  This is a topic that both Kevin and I have debated pretty regularly.  I think the design intentionally points to the cross… Kevin, on the other hand, is a little more skeptical.  The basis of the argument is really as simple as this…Is it intended as a message or sign from God?  All I can say is this…as Christians we believe in an intentional design, a specific creation.  God created the laminin protein…is it really impossible to believe that the imagery people have attached to it was intentional? 

Both of us answer this question with an emphatic NO – because with God all things are possible .  God is perfectly capable of doing this and sending messages any way He so chooses.  But the question remains… why is this protein so interesting to people?

After thinking this through, I believe the answer is simple:  people are, and always have been looking for a sign from God.  While some can look to creation and see it as the sign that God exists, others need to see something more explicit.  For some a true “sign” needs to be in your face and un-deniable.  All you have to do is look at how quickly people can find signs in everyday common items…like a piece of toast.  Laminin fits this category.

Don’t get me wrong.  I will not compare the design of laminin to a piece of toast.  One was created by God specifically (whether or not it was intended to “point to the cross”), and the other… well…it just exists. 

There is power in seeing a “sign” from God.  Many look at laminin as a sign…right, wrong or indifferent.  There are two things that can happen from this point: 

The first is that they look at laminin, and see a “sign” from God, and make no substantial life change.  They see the sign and cling to it as justification of their faith. This is not a good thing as they worship an image and not God himself.

The second is that they look at laminin, and see a “sign” from God, and use this sign as the springboard to their full fledged faith.  In other words, it is the catalyst that drives them to the next level.  This is what laminin should be. 

The cross signifies the sacrifice by our divine Savior.  The legal transaction that took place on that cross represents our sins, our transgressions AND it is the point in time where Christ won victory over Satan, sin and death.  We are free from punishment, because the punishment has been dealt…as long as we trust in the divine (resurrected) Christ and repent of our sins. 

Salvation cannot be achieved any other way.  Not only would worshipping an image (such as laminin) be violating the first and second commandments, but it would also short-circuit the type of abundant life Jesus said he wants for you in John 10:10. 

Laminin can be viewed as a reminder of the transaction.  Laminin is not THE transaction itself.  So while

Kevin and I can agree to disagree on the degree to which God intended the shape of laminin molecule itself to point people to the cross, we both can agree…that whatever you believe about laminin, it is not a replacement for salvation – and that is FAR more important.

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…And Now I cheated on my wife!?


This...is what adultery looks like.

Last week I pointed out where Jesus called us all murderers… so you should know what’s coming next:  Raise your hand if you have ever cheated on your spouse.  Okay hands down.  Now, I am willing to bet that those of you who didn’t raise your hand….have cheated on your spouse.  My Pastor gave a really good sermon on this topic.  Rather than recounting his sermon (you can listen to it here)…I am going to focus on a certain aspect of the sermon.

7th commandment…You shall not commit adultery.

After you have digested that statement for a moment read Matthew 5:27 – 28.

 27You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

After you pick your jaw up off the floor, consider this: 

When most people think of adultery they are thinking of the actual physical act of being sexually intimate with someone other than their spouse.  To limit adultery to such an act would be to fail to recognize what adultery is in God’s eyes.  Yes, according to God… looking at a person of the opposite sex with lust is adultery.

Many atheist and agnostics will harp on the fact that there are a number of Christians who do in fact commit adultery on their spouses to try to disprove the God revealed in the Bible.  Except when they talk about it they are talking about it in the physical sense.  The truth is that a super majority (if not all) commit adultery on their spouses according to the standard of God.  This is nothing to be boastful about… and it certainly is not my intent. But even still, the failures of His followers do not in any way discredit the claims of Christ.

We cannot limit our view of adultery to the physical act.  Adultery must be viewed as both the physical act and the act committed in your heart when you lust. But through the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit there is hope and forgiveness and help to follow God’s standard more closely.

Paul summarizes it this way in Galatians 5:  So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whateveryou want.

Job 31 says: 

1 “I made a covenant with my eyes
   not to look lustfully at a young woman.
2 For what is our lot from God above,
   our heritage from the Almighty on high?
3 Is it not ruin for the wicked,
   disaster for those who do wrong?
4 Does he not see my ways
   and count my every step?

Easter is a Myth?


Easter is fast approaching.  So now we get the fine pleasure of hearing a ton about a magical

Hollywood's real version of what easter is ALL about!

 Easter bunny who runs around getting people fat(ter).  Movies like “Hop” are coming out but strangely there are no movies about the resurrection of Christ coming out this Easter.  So, I thought it would be good to tackle the resurrection from a historical perspective.

To sum up where we are thus far…

  1. We can prove that the time span of the writings of the gospels and the rest of the New Testament took place within an acceptable time frame from the crucifixion.
  2. We can also demonstrate that the manuscript evidence for the New Testament is far superior and in fact the most documented event in history.

This post is going to take a look at the most critical event in the New Testament, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:14-19)

The resurrection is the lynch pin of the Christian faith.  Without it, there is no arisen God, and thus Jesus was not who he said he was.  So the question then becomes, are the events depicted in the Gospel historically accurate?

Here are the facts that are relatively agreed to by most New Testament Scholars

  1. On the Sunday morning after the crucifixion the tomb was found empty by a group of his women followers.
  2. On multiple occasions many people and groups interacted with a live  Jesus after his death.
  3. The original disciples suddenly and sincerely changed directions and passionately argued for a resurrected Christ.

Those that dispute the above three facts are on the fringe.  Many New Testament skeptics will accept the above facts.  The support for this evidence is the documents within the New Testament. 

Quick Note….Most atheists immediately dismiss the use of the New Testament because it is part of the Bible.  I would argue against this.  You cannot, at least from a true scholarly perspective, dismiss the documents of the New Testament.  While it is presented in a single book, the New Testament must be viewed as a collection of documents which were recorded by several different men.  Thus the New Testament provides an opportunity for skeptics to corroborate evidence from one author to another.  Again, historical evidence shows that the New Testament was written within an acceptable amount of time from the crucifixion.  The manuscript evidence is 99% accurate.  So we can say with comfort, what we read in the New Testament, was in fact written within 20-60 years of the crucifixion.  Let’s look at each fact.

1.       The Empty tomb

There are multiple sources besides Mark that testify to the empty tomb.  Matthew and John are independent sources about the empty tomb.  It is also mentioned in the sermons in Acts (2:29; 13:36) and implied by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:4.  These are independent sources attesting to the fact of an empty tomb. 

Another thing to consider is the fact that women discovered the tomb first.  This is most definitely note worthy for one simple fact: women were not highly regarded in Jewish society.  Josephus says that women weren’t even permitted to serve as witnesses in a Jewish court of law! If the empty tomb was legend and not fact, the writers of this legend  most certainly would have put men at the tomb for the discovery, rather than women.  The fact that it is women who discover the tomb empty can only mean one thing…they were in fact the chief witnesses to this event. 

2.       On multiple occasions many people and groups interacted with a live  Jesus after his death.

The list of eyewitnesses to have Jesus after his death is numerous.  Paul provides a list of those who have seen him in 1 Corinthians 15:5-8.  In this list Paul includes the name of Peter, the Twelve, and James.  These are people that Paul personally knew.  These appearances cannot be dismissed as mere legends.

Additionally, narratives of the appearances are multiple and independently attested to.  Consider for example this, the appearance to Peter is attested by Luke and Paul; the appearance to the Twelve is attested by Luke, John and Paul; and the appearance to the women is attested by Matthew and John.  The testimony of the appearances is so broad that it cannot be reasonably argued that the earliest disciples did have such experience.

3.      The original disciples suddenly and sincerely changed directions and passionately argued for a resurrected Christ.

This is a topic we have covered before by asking you “Would you die for a lie?”

Here is the reality of the situation for the disciples.

  1. Their leader was dead.  Messianic expectations of their Messiah were one of the Messiah defeating Israel’s enemies not being shamefully executed as a criminal.
  2. The Jewish belief system did not have/did not allow for anyone being arisen from the dead before the general resurrection of the dead at the end of the world.

Despite these two realities the original disciples came to believe so strongly that Jesus had arisen from the grave and began preaching it throughout the world.  The simple fact here is that these Jewish men went about the world preaching something that ultimately was un-Jewish and outlandish according to their own faith.  Acts 5:33-39 illustrates these points of contention. 

So now the question becomes…what is the best explanation of these facts?

First some common attempts to explain the above facts:

  1. The body was stolen.

This would explain the empty tomb, but not the appearances, and most definitely not the change of the disciples, even if they stole the body.

  1. The appearances were hallucinations.

This is highly improbable (if not absolutely impossible) considering that the ENTIRE list provided by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:5-8 would have had to have the same hallucination.  That is 500+ people all having a hallucination of Jesus returning from the dead.

The only plausible and absolute explanation of the three facts mentioned above is that Jesus in fact rose from the dead.  No other event or explanation could cover all three facts.

We hope we have answered some of your questions regarding the historicity of Jesus and His resurrection… If you have further objections you would like us to answer, please let us know… If not, would you consider trusting in Him today?

Dear whoever cares…


Yep...I root for these guys...

Please…allow me to lament for just a moment.  As I was watching Mizzou get trounced by Cincy in the first round of the tourney I thought to myself, isn’t that typical.  I mean after all why should any team that I actively root for want to go out on the floor and fight for a victory.  For that matter why should any team I root for even SNIFF a championship.  Think about this for a second.  The three major teams I pull for are Mizzou, the Chiefs, and (as much as I hate typing this) the Royals.  I know many of you who read this blog outside of Kansas City probably just spit out what ever you were drinking, or eating.  Stop laughing… It is true.  I root and pull for these perennial losing powerhouses. 

To be completely honest Mizzou does win more games than they lose.  But, and if you are a fan of Mizzou you can appreciate this, they always lose or choke away big games.  Anyone remember the Big 12 Championship game against Oklahoma?  I actually flew to San Antonio to watch that travesty under the delusion  we stood a chance.  How about Tyus Edney?  What about losing to NAVY!  Winning one road game in the Big 12 this year…really?  Not showing up in the Big 12 tourney?  Yes….I am the one dummy that actually picked them to beat Cincy.  Told you I was a homer.  I can count on Mizzou losing games that matter.  Always.

The Chiefs…what can I say about this team.  I bleed red and gold.  I can honestly say that I was at one of the last two playoff wins they had….in 1993.  This was the last real time I had any sense that we could actually win a championship…the AFC championship.  Since then…a decade of losing, blowing playoff games, and unfulfilled playoff expectations.  I have some sense of hope here…though I have been beaten into submission.  Show me some victories.

And then there is the Royals.  Anyone who knows ANYTHING about baseball knows the agony about rooting for this minor league team.  Every year we are getting one step closer to be competitive in baseball.  Unfortunately that year is always a couple of years from now when our talented minor leaguers come up.  2011 is going to be a terrible year for the Royals…but you wait for 2012 or 2013 and we will be good and competing for a championship.  Unfortunately, this logic has been used since the early 90’s.  The Royals are the best minor league team in the Major’s.  I guess that counts for something.

I thought of all of this while watching Mizzou fall all over themselves to blow that game to Cincy.  I got angry.  WHY CAN’T I ROOT FOR A WNNER?!  WHEN WILL I BE ABLE TO ROOT FOR A TEAM THAT CAN ADVANCE TO A CHAMPIONSHIP GAME AND WIN?!

After about a half an hour of pacing back and forth in my basement I came to a realization.  I am actually a part of the winningest team in the history of man.  I am part of a team that has not and never will lose.  Jesus didn’t choke when decision time came.  When He stood by Pilate to be judged, he didn’t turn to Pilate and the crowd and say, “Nah…I was just kidding.”  You want to talk about one of the all time clutch performances look at what Christ did and tell me he didn’t pull it off.  At any one moment during that whole event he could have ended it.  He could have walked away.  But when the pressure came Jesus stood and delivered!  Folks, all of us who love sports have been disappointed by a sports teams we root for.  Keep in mind though that, as a Christian, you play for the winningest team in all of humanity.  In the end…GOD wins.  He is the ultimate champion; He has an overall record of like a ba-jillion – 0.  Nothing can compare to that.

God is undefeated.  Jesus, stood and delivered, in his toughest match.  He stands and delivers every day for you.  When people talk about having victory through Christ (NOT the Kenneth Copeland victory) it isn’t metaphorical!  His victories come every day,  in big ways, and in little ways.  But Christ remains the UNDEFEATED champion of your salvation.  Nothing and I literally mean NOTHING can defeat him.  Do you want that?  Do you want to be a part of a champion?  Do you want to play for a champion?

For non-believers on the fence…you are seeing the game being played.  You are watching as the home team wins EVERYDAY!  But unlike any other sports team that you have seen, you don’t have to be athletic to join it.    If you want in…YOU ARE IN!  But…you have to want it.  YOU have to commit.  Repent!  Turn from your sins, and trust in the only undefeated Champion of all time.  That victory can be yours.  There will never be any upsets.  You don’t have to worry about being disappointed in your team (cf. Romans 10:9-11, NASB).

For Christians…I simply ask this one question.  If you are part of the team are you in the game?  If not…what are you waiting for?  GET IN THE GAME.

Just an old fashioned love song…


Folks…lets talk some music.  I grew up listening to straight rock and roll. Bands of my choice, Led Zeppelin, and any grunge group (real grunge…Nirvana, Soundgarden and the like).  Over the last 5-7 years I had completely given up on new music.  There was no music worth listening to in my eyes.  No passion, no emotion.  Everything sounded the same and was littered with the same trash.  

So over the last couple of years the combination of church, my wife’s obsession with K-love and KB I have slowly started to give Christian music a try.  At first…the music was boring with a capital B.  I thought…maybe I just don’t get it, and there was just a general lack of feeling no emotion when listening to it.  In my mind in order for it to be good…I have to feel it.  I have to hear the emotion in the song, and the music.  I have to feel the emotion being poured out.  Over the last year I have finally started to feel the songs.  I am not sure what the change is.  I would like to think that Christian music is finally starting to break the cage and beginning to push the boundary without compromising the true intent of what it is meant to be.  A couple of songs have recently caught my ear, and it is changing my perspective of Christian music.

Undone (FFH)

Revelation Song (Phillips, Craig and Dean)  

So tell me guys…what’s your favorite Christian song?

Earthquake in Japan


There is no doubt that all of us have seen images and video of the earthquake in Japan.  The death toll is rising.  The damage is unimaginable.  All of us should be praying or continue to pray for the people affected by this disaster.  Disasters like this seem to draw attention to God.  Some, will look at God and demand answers, while others will use it as another reason to not believe in God. 

God has provided those answers for you.  Below are some of our posts that deal with disasters.  We should be doing everything we can to help the people of Japan.  Be praying for mercy and grace for the people affected by this disaster.

Challenger Disaster Anniversary

Is God Evil?

Why does God allow bad things to happen?

Also please consider the urgency in which our lives need to change.  Do not delay any longer because YOU don’t know the time or the hour of your own death.  100% of us will die at some point.  There is no guarantee for tomorrow.  Disaster’s like this are a perfect demonstration of that.  We all need God’s salvation.  Repent from your sins.  Accept Christ as you Lord and salvation.  You cannot prevent death, but you can prevent eternal damnation.

 18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

Romans 8:18-21

The forest through the trees…


Can you see the forest through the trees?

A group of guys were on a camping trip.  They went hiking, and got lost.  They were looking for a forest where they had camped.  One of them turned to the group and said “Hey, can anyone see the forest?”  One in the group replied “Well it would be a lot easier to see without all of the trees!”

This is a pretty common saying…can’t see the forest through the trees.  The use of the phrase implies that someone is so caught up in the details, that they can’t see the big picture.  This was the situation that Jesus found himself in, in Matthew 12:1-14. 

The set up:  Jesus and the apostles were walking through a grain field on the Sabbath.  They were hungry, so they picked some grain and ate.

The problem:  According to the 4th commandment, they were to remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.  Because God made the world in 6 days, and rested on the 7th…we are supposed to as well.

The reaction:  In their zeal to try and do what is right (keep the law), the Pharisees had built a practical buffer around the law were they placed rules around the law to attempt to prevent accidental violation of the law.  They did this because they had learned the severe consequences of ignoring God’s laws (through the exile).  They were irritated with Jesus for not keeping their stringent rules or the letter of the law.

The response:  Jesus asks the Pharisees to see the forest through the trees – to see the big picture, or to observe the spirit (intent) of the law rather than the strict letter of the law.

Upon being questioned by the Pharisees Jesus drew a couple of comparisons to the Old Testament.  He concluded his response with a quote of Hosea 6:6; “I desire mercy and not sacrifice”.  Jesus had used this phrase before (Matthew 9:13).  When Jesus summarized the law in Matthew 22:37-40 He basically told them “Love God and Love People” – in other words BE Loving… BE Merciful.  The law was a set of guidelines to help people figure out how to be and act in loving and merciful ways. The Pharisees were totally missing that point.  Jesus went on to illustrate this at the temple by healing a man with a withered hand.  It wasn’t enough that Jesus healed the man on the Sabbath day (viewed as work by the Pharisees), but he also made a point to ask the man to extend his hand to be healed (this also could have been viewed as work).   This time Jesus was painting a picture for them.  He asked them which one of you would not go help your sheep if it fell into a pit?  This was a practical illustration of giving mercy, and not sacrifice that they would put into effect because it would ultimately benefit them.  Jesus exposed their heart attitude that they didn’t care so much about loving God and loving other People… they were just trying to stay out of “trouble” and look good.

The 4th commandment is really an interesting commandment because of what happens when you discuss it.  You can be in a group talking about how we can honor this commandment and within 10 minutes you are so far into what is allowed that you forget that Christ wants us to be merciful rather than sacrificial… he wants us to see the forest…  Now don’t get me wrong, it helps us to see the trees (look at the details) in most cases.  But, it is when we are so focused on the trees, and we forget the big picture, that’s when problems begin to occur. 

In our small group tonight it took 10 minutes before we were diving into the minutia of the 4th  commandment and asking questions like, “are we enabling the breaking of the 4th commandment by going to the store and forcing people to work on Sunday?”  After a few minutes of discussion we looked at Colossians 2:16-17, “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.  These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” and moved on. But the questions still remain – God created a 7 day week for a reason (and studies have shown that people are most healthy productive when they take 1-2 days off each week). There’s so many things to consider surrounding the practical application and implications of a “Sabbath” day (like Hebrews 10:24-25, what day it should be and whether it is even applicable to the Church age or strictly an OT commandment specifically to Israel).  While our group discussed this commandment for only an hour, the Israelites had discussed it for over 1000 years… You can imagine how far down the rabbit hole they had gone with the 4th commandment!! This is why Jesus’ words and actions were so upsetting to the religious establishment of the time!

As alluded to before, the problem with the Pharisees wasn’t that they were being “disobedient” to God… they had a Heart problem and jacked up motivations.  Their stance can be summed up in one word:  Legalism.  None of us think we are susceptible to that, but we really are… AND , We have to avoid it AT ALL COSTS… because it leads us to being so consumed with the “law” that we forget the mercy and grace of God and how He desires us to be loving and merciful to the people around us.  After all isn’t Loving God and Loving others the point?

Missionaries Murdered…


I just wanted to write a quick post for this.  Everyone, I am sure, has heard about the four Americans taken hostage by Somali pirates.  They were taken hostage while sailing around the world handing out Bibles for those in need.

Word comes this morning that all four Americans have been killed, and the Somali Pirates have either been captured or killed.

While it is not clear that the murder of these missionaries rises to martyrdom, it is clear that they were murdered while fulfilling the great commission.  It appears that they were in the wrong place at the wrong time when the yacht was overrun by pirates. 

We should pray for the family members to be able to find solace with our Lord.  We should rejoice for our brothers and sisters for finding peace with our Lord.  And, we should pray that we should be so bold as to try to fulfill the great commission as our fallen brothers and sisters were.

This should serve as a reminder that we need to be praying for our missionaries that place themselves in harm’s way .  We should also be praying for the pirates, and that they can be reached by the saving grace of our Lord.

The names of the Americans killed:

Dr. Bob Riggle, Phyllis Macay

Jean and Scott Adam

Snowbound…HELP!


Simply awesome...

Most of you either know someone, or are living through the massive blizzard that hit the US yesterday.   I have been up since 5:15 today shoveling snow… it is awesome.  This is a snow storm that is historic.  It will be on par with the 2002 Ice storm  (Another event that I will never forget). 

All of that being said… there is a lesson that we all need to remember with this snow storm.  We as Christians are called to be servants first and foremost.  This means that we need to help and be of service to those that need it.  While this call is not specific to any natural or man-made event, events like this blizzard serve as a call for us to be servants to those around us. 

There are a number of examples where Jesus served those around him.

In John 13:3-15 Jesus, after eating got up, wrapped a towel around himself and washed the feet of the Apostles.  This is an incredible act considering that this was God incarnate on earth.  If you look at John 13:12-15 you will see the specific call to serve.

“12When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them,  “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”

This is not the only verse that is explicit to being a servant.  Some other verses include 1 Peter 5:2-4, Philippians 2:3-8, 1 Peter 5:5-7, and John 3:30.

My personal favorite…

Mathew 20:25-28:  “25But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 28even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Our call is clear.  We must serve.  Even the Son of God came to serve, and we must do so as well. 

Folks, as many of you are staying home today with the weather, take this time to help someone with their driveway.  Help someone shovel their sidewalk.  If you know

Ice Storm 2002 in Lawrence

 someone without power, take them some warm food.  Shake their hand, and help them out.  On this day we can exemplify our Lord.

Keep in mind folks we do these things with the hope that someday we can share the Gospel with them.  Helping them out today…is not equivalent with sharing the Gospel.  It is simply opening the door to do so…

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More reliable…Aristotle or the New Testament?


 In one of our previous posts we took a look at the time frame between the crucifixion and the writing of the New Testament.  What we found was that the timeline of the writing was no different than our current timeline of writing books about our recent history.  This is a standard that is acceptable to all historians.

Now that we can verify that the timeline is acceptable, can we verify that the words

Which is more reliable?

Which is more reliable?

 themselves are acceptable?

First it must be conceded that the original text of the New Testament (and Old Testament for that matter) do not exist.  However, there are a significant number of copies (manuscripts) that do.  This is a critical point.  Most atheist’s will argue that a lack of the original autographs indicates that there is no way we know that the words in the New Testament accurately represent the events they depict.  This argument is faulty because copies can give a gateway into what the original text said. 

Consider for a moment that someone (for whatever reason) wanted to copy this post.  Two days later…wordpress.com goes crazy, and this post is lost forever.  The only evidence that the original post existed would be the one copy made.  Now let’s expand that scenario.  Let’s say that 100 copies were made of my original post, and then wordpress.com crashes.  The only evidence of my original post is 100 copies made.

In both examples the original post has been destroyed, and all we have are copies of the original post.  Now, how can we determine which best preserved the text of the original post?  Some would answer that the one copy would be the best representation of the original because there is less chance for an error in the copying of the original post.  Theoretically you would be correct.  The less something is copied the less chance there is for error in the copy.  Realistically that argument cannot stand.  The premise with the argument is that the copy is correct.  But how can you tell?  You can’t.  You have nothing to compare the 1 copy to, to determine how faithful it was to the original that was destroyed.  In this case the 100 copies would be a more reliable source to see what the original post said.  The reason, you can compare 100 copies and see any variance.  For example, if 99 of the copies have the sentence “The only evidence of my original post is 100 copies made” and the 1 copy has “The only evidence of my post are the copies that are made” there is a high probability that the former was in the original. 

So the principle is simple, verification through sheer volume.

Consider the following statistics:

  Author Date Written Number of Copies Accuracy of Copies  
Plato 427-347 B.C. 7 —-  
Aristotle 384-322 B.C. 49 —-  
Homer (Iliad) 900 B.C. 643 95%  
NewTestament 1st Cent. A.D. (50-100 A.D. 5600 99.50%  
 

 

This is an incredible chart.  The New Testament has 5,600 copies…In Greek.  The “in Greek” is significant because the original text was written in Greek (common language of the day).  If we add copies from various languages such as Latin the total number of copies would go as high as 24,000.  That is 24,000 copies of the original documents, the original writings of the Apostles.  No other document in antiquity can claim such a volume.  Other famous writers of antiquity fail this test.  This is not to say that the copies of these other documents are inadequate or that the copies are wrong.  It is simply to say that you have much less quantity with which to verify its contents and, therefore, much less confidence in those copies. 

Consider Plato.  Plato is well known for his writing “The Republic”.  There are only 7 copies of the original.  How confident can one be that the translation we read of “The Republic” is the one that Plato wrote?  Confidence level has to be low because you only have 7 copies to compare against one another.  However, historically speaking, “The Republic” has been accepted as an accurate recording of Plato’s words.

Now consider Aristotle.  Aristotle is credited with making contributions to logic, metaphysics, biology, botany, politics, etc…  How confident can we be that what we read today represents what Aristotle actually wrote?  There are only 49 copies of Aristotle’s works.  Once again, historians easily accept the historicity and authority of the writings of Aristotle as many have dubbed him the “father of the field of logic”.  However, as compared to the New Testament, the confidence level has to be low.

Now consider the Greek poet Homer.  Homer is well known for his literary works such as “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey”.  If we look specifically at the Iliad you will see that there are 643 copies of the original.  This allows for a fairly broad comparison and can create a high degree of confidence that the Iliad that we read today, is very similar to the original version.    

Finally consider the New Testament. The New Testament is a combination of several authors.  There are 5,600 copies of those books in their original language.  This allows historians to compare 1 copy with 5,599 other copies to see if it matches.  Based on this comparison, scholars have been able to identify a 94% word for word match of all of the copies.  To put this into context…there are 138,020 words in the New Testament.  All 5,600 match precisely for 129,738 words.  Pretty incredible?  This would leave 6% open to review for error.  Scholars state the 3% of the 6% can be attributed to misspellings, notes in the margins, and punctuation errors.  This would leave 3% open for review.  Scholars argue, (and I agree) that the 3% have no impact on the message being delivered – they are simply a similar statement with perhaps slightly different vocabulary and syntax.  It would be the same as the example given above (“The only evidence of my original post is 100 copies made” verses “The only evidence of my post are the copies that are made”).

What does this mean?  This means that the 5,600 copies of the originals are at least 97% consistent with one another.  This means, that on text evidence alone, that you can feel 97% – 99% sure that the words you read are exact representative of the original documents.

That makes the New Testament the most textually reliable document in ALL of antiquity.

This fact, taken with the historical accuracy spoken of in our previous post means you can have complete confidence that the story recounted in the New Testament is reliable – this should, in turn increase your confidence in its message.

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