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Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by grahame, Feb 4, 2008.
Some Muslim asked me this question. Any ideas?
Posted in error.
I am not sure exactly what you want here grahame. Yes, they are correct, kind of. The genealogical information contained in the bible can be used to date the creation and has been done many times. Bishop Usher’s chronology is probably the most well known although others have been done throughout the years by John Lightfoot, Bede, and Sir Isaac Newton just to name a few.
From Adam to Solomon the Bible presents what appears to be an unbroken paternal lineage that includes the ages of the fathers. There is speculation that some generations could be omitted and that ‘begot’ could imply a grandfather, great grandfather, or other ancestor instead of a direct father. Also some versions of the Bible have different ages. The Septuagint adds about 1500 years to the Hebrew. After Solomon the years get much more complicated. The Bible gives us the reigns of the kings but not their specific ages. Using that information plus other sources and known dates from places like Babylonian and Assyrian history a time line can be constructed. Usher’s timeline places the creation at 4004 BC (He was very specific, Sunday night October 23, 4004 BC) and the birth of Christ at 4 BC.
Different men’s timelines differ on the dates. Lightfoot said creation occurred September 12, 3929 BC. But he based that on the date of the equinox in 1644 (a pretty big mistake if you ask me). These timelines got a lot of press recently based on theories that date the end of the world at 6000 years after creation (a day is like 1000 years plus 6 day week with a millennial Sabbath). So your Muslim friends should have told you it was closer to 6000 years. Of course if you buy into that then the end of the world should have occurred about 1997 using Usher’s timeline.
Hope I did not miss it. Doesn’t the Bible tell us something about date setters?
Thank you for your reply. I think he is being devious. I know that a lot of Muslims can be like that. I think he is after getting me into a discussion about evolution and I don't want to go there as those kinds of discussions can go on for ever. He is always asking questions like this. I wouldn't mind if they are genuine enquiries. But he is not really interested in learning anything. Al he wants is to continually throw doubt on the veracity of the sacred text and he will do this by asking odd questions about obscure verses.
If you are having real conversation with him then thats good grahame. Don't be afraid of the truth just set limits and don't let him destroy your faith.
It sounds like you are afraid to get into the evolution debate. I don't know what you believe but don't let him get you chasing your tail. If you believe the literal scripture creation story then there are lots of ways that scripture and science are compatable. You can find a ton of information online about young earth creation scientists and their work. On the other had if you believe in the more mainstream evolutionary theories, well they can also be compatible with Christian faith. There are strong Christians on this board that can go on at length on both sides of that debate. There is a lot of archived information if your interested.
It sounds like you are in a position to be a witness to this muslim. Don't be afraid, the truth is on your side. If you don't know much about Islam, learn. Set limits to your discussions and agree ahead of time that you are not going to get angry. Don't expect him to sit down one time and get up a Christian. And make sure he does not expect the same from you. Show respect for what he believes and demand the same from him.
Follow up his questions about Christianity with questions about Islam. Ask him if his salvation is based on God's grace or his own works. Ask him about the assurance of his salvation. Does he know that he will go to heaven? Muslims cannot know this. Show him what the Bible says. Above all live a godly life before him. Who knows what God will do?
Here is a link for you to check out:
There are many more like that. According to the above link 16,000 muslims accept Christ every day. If you want help being a witness to Muslims there is lots available.
Thank you for your encouraging words. Yes I do set limits to discussions and I do draw the line and try to control the way it goes. I have an advantage over him/them in that I have a lot of scripture knowledge (compared to them that is).
The reason I don't want to get into a discussion about evolution is that I've been there before and they go nowhere usually. I do get scripture in wherever I can. I remember C.H.Spurgeon's words about scripture. "You don't defend a lion. You just let it out of the cage". I believe that the word of God is a living word and powerful and that God honours His word, especially when Christ is mentioned.
He says to me to stop reasoning in circles. But all I do is try to explain things to him in the simplest of terms. I use scripture to illustrate that these ideas are not just my own. But then he tel;ls me to stop preaching to him.
But concerning this question of the genealogy of our Lord. The two accounts found, one in Luke and one in Matthew are different and are extremely hard to explain to a Christian, let alone a Muslim and I just cannot find a simple way of doing it. Any ideas? Because I know that eventually he will get round to this. It is one of those questions Muslims always ask. This is like a game of chess with him.
One of the things I have said to him is that there are things hard to understand, but this doesn't mean that they are errors or contradictions. But just that they are difficult to understand. It is like the story of the woman taken in adultery. It is not found in any of the earliest manuscripts apparently. My answer was that many things were told by word of mouth and that although it can only be found in later manuscripts, nevertheless it was accepted by the whole church into the canon as being genuine.
Perhaps you will find this link helpful. The author discusses some of the common answers to this issue. Remember, the Gospels always reflect the decisions made by their respective human authors that often make neat, "scientific" harmonizations misguided. This also applies to the genealogies. This link will mention some explanations that appeal to authorial intent.
Here is the link: http://www.answering-islam.de/Main/BibleCom/mt1-1.html
Thanks for the link. I have actually looked that up before I posted here. I found it difficult to follow myself. But I 'll read it through again and see if it becomes clearer. You are of course right about the authors of the gospels. One of my explanations to him regarding the genealogies was that it was illogical for them to write something to prove a particular point without checking their facts first. This was of course more necessary for Matthew, who was establishing our Lord's genealogy to the Jews, who if he was wrong would pick it to pieces in no time.
grahame, here is my take on the two genealogies as simply as I can explain it.
The general explanation to the contradictory genealogies is that one is the family history of Mary (Luke’s) and the other is that of Joseph (Matthew’s).
Matthew chapter 1 takes us from Abraham to Joseph, the husband of Mary. It is not the blood genealogy but the royal lineage establishing Jesus’ claim to the throne of Israel. It is important, because as an adopted son of Joseph Jesus has the right to the royal lineage going back to David and Solomon. Matthew's emphasis is on the royalty of Jesus.
The genealogy in Luke goes back, not only to Abraham but all the way to Adam. This is the blood genealogy and ends not in Joseph but in Mary. While Matthew emphasizes the royalty of Jesus, Luke emphasizes his humanity and takes him by blood all the way back to Adam, who is a blood relative to all of us. Luke's emphasis is on the humanity of Jesus.
But Luke does not say that Heli was the father of Mary, it says he was the father of Joseph. How can that be? There are two ways to explain this depending on the complexity you want to get into. You can just say that Joseph was Heli’s son-in-law and let it go at that. Or you can explain the Old Testament marriage laws and how they relate to inheritance, especially in the case of families who left no sons. If you go back to Num 27:8 God made provisions for a man’s goods to go to his daughters if he had no sons. If you look at Num 36:6-8 you see a further provision that for this inheritance to pass to the daughter she had to marry a man from the same tribe and family as their father. That way the inheritance would not pass out of the family. A good example of this in the OT is found in Ruth. One reason she had to marry a near kinsman was so that he could receive the inheritance of her father-in-law. We know of no sons born to Heli, only that Mary had a sister (John 19:25). If, and I know that is a big if that we can’t prove, but if Heli had no sons or those sons died without children, and if Mary married a man of the same family as her father (the house of David), then her husband Joseph would be full legal heir and son to Heli.
From David back to Adam the genealogies match, but from David to Jesus they diverge. Luke’s genealogy goes back through David’s son Nathan while Matthew’s goes back to Solomon. It was very important that Jesus be of the tribe of Judah and family of David. Many Old Testament prophecies say that the messiah would be of the tribe of Judah and family of David. This has to be true if Jesus is the Messiah. But here is the thing; the genealogies are not the only evidence that Jesus was of the family of David. Throughout the NT Jesus is referred to as a son of David and his enemies never used this as a point to challenge him with. Had Jesus not been known to be of the family of David and had not that been easily proven the scribes and Pharisees would have been all over it.
There is also the problem of the curse on Jeconiah. In Jeremiah 22:30 Jeremiah pronounces a judgment on Jeconiah that his children would not rule Israel. There are a number of problems with the judgment; some commentators think it only applied during Jeconiah’s lifetime. Jeconiah’s great-grandson Zerubbabel did rule Israel after the captivity. Some commentators say that Haggai’s blessing of Zerubbabel removed the judgment. But whatever you believe, if the lineage in Matthew, of which Jeconiah is a part, is the lineage to Joseph then the judgment would still not pass on to Jesus. Actually that is a pretty good picture of how Jesus was born without being under the penalty of sin.
Another thing to note – both lineages support the virgin birth.
What is the problem with the blood of Mary being the linage, seeing that God gave a law in Numbers where that if a man died and left no male heirs, then the daughters received the inheirtance, if they married into the family.
I can't find where Mary had any brothers, so she would of been eligible for the inheirtance from Heli. Also, she married into the family by marrying Joseph, which could of been his half sister, not sure. There was no way the linage to the throne could of come from Joseph being there was a curse put on that blood line. IMO
I'm more impress with the display of God's grace in this genealogy:
We have Judah who had an affair with Tamar when she acted like a temple prostitute.
We have Rahab who was a prostitute.
We have David who committed adultery with Bathsheba and then had her husband killed to cover it all up.
The grace of God is amazing. I don't think I'd have compiled such a genealogy.
You also have "little Ruth" a gentile who gave birth to Obed, the grandfather of David.
Yes, a Gentile.
I was telling my church yesterday that a Rabbi would pray: "Thank God you didn't make me a woman, a Gentile or a slave."
That is what I was looking for and that is what I need to emphasise to this Muslim chappie. Not to get lost in how many 1000's of years the generations might or might not have taken up. Thank you for that. You've just given me the key to how I should approch this subject with him. The rest of what you have said I will be able to use if he takes the argument further.
Thanks also for everyone who has commented on this. There are some very useful points that I can pick up on.
This man keeps on asking questions of supposed contradictions and discrepancies in th bible. Can anyone think of a good question I could ask him about the quran. Just to eliminate the Uthman burning Quran story, let me just add that he thinks this is a myth. So can you think of anything the Quran says in itself?
Check out this link:
Thanks. I use this website a lot. I rather like this sura best of all though:
"‘If I go astray, I go astray only to my own loss; if I am guided, it is by what my Lord reveals to me. He is All-hearing, Ever-nigh."
I think that is a very self damning sura and shows that Muhammed didn't really have much insight into how many people whose lives he would indirectly control in this present day.
Compare this with our Lord's saying about the kingdom of God. "Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it."