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The New Testament and Genesis 1-11

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by OldRegular, Jun 14, 2005.

  1. garpier

    garpier New Member

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    Paul33

    If you read Genesis 1 carefully, you will see that God seperated the water from the water and the space which was made was called the firmamnet. It is in the firmament that the sun moon and star were placed. Yes God strecthed out the heavens and on the outside edge of the universe is a layer of water (Ps. 148:4) The light that was formed on day one was not the sun. That was created on day 4 which makes long ages a real problem for those who hold to a day age theory.

    Mercury,
    I didn't claim the earth is motionless, I said it was in the center of the universe. That is what I mean by geocentricity. I believe that the earth does rotate on its axis. Our disagreement as I see it is whether or not the Word of God is to be taken literally. And I will continue to use that phrase to describe the Bible because although it is true God has spoken words we don't have the Bible is His word to us. Jesus is the living Word, the Bible is the written word and the two will never disagree
     
  2. Mercury

    Mercury New Member

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    Okay. That would still defy both Newtonian physics and relativity which indicate that the earth would be moved by the mass of the sun (the sun is also moved by the mass of the earth, but this movement is far more minute). Do you believe that God constantly supernaturally intervenes to keep the earth from moving due to gravitational forces? Or, is the centre of the universe in constant flux due to the earth's movement?

    Relativity, from what I understand of it, does allow different vantage points to be used as a base, but that does not help claims that a certain point is the actual centre. One can use relativity to find the speed of a ball rolling down the isle of an airplane in a way that cancels out the plane's velocity, but such calculations do not show that the airplane is not moving.

    No, our disagreement is over which parts should be taken literally, and sometimes over which literal interpretation is correct.

    I wasn't critiquing your usage of the phrase. I pointed out that I hadn't used it to refer to the Bible as you claimed, and I gave an explanation of why. As long as people don't claim the Bible is the entirety of God's speech, or that the Bible is equal to Jesus, I have no problem with the phrase, aside from its ambiguity.
     
  3. Paul33

    Paul33 New Member

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    It is only as materialistic as any other scientific theory, such as general relativity, electromagnetism or germ theory. Scientific theories do deal with natural explanations, but they do not rule out the supernatural.

    Only if one excludes God from being involved in the natural. I think such an approach denies the central doctrine of creation: that God made the universe. If one doesn't see gravity and the other forces as denying the fact that God holds the universe together, then one should accept that natural processes just describe some of the ways God works.

    They say the debate is over when someone invokes Hitler. It's especially ridiculous when used by Christians, since there's many quotes from Hitler showing how he used the Bible and what it says about creation to support his twisted philosophies. Of course this proves nothing, because Hitler's misuse of evolution, creation or Christianity in no way proves evolution, creation or Christianity wrong. It just exposes how fallacious this line of reasoning is.

    I'm going to save Ute the effort and copy from [his post] the last time this came up:
    Again, to be absolutely clear, these quotes do not prove Christianity wrong. The fact that Hitler used the Bible and creation for his own purposes does not disprove the Bible or creation. The fact that Hitler used some evolutionary ideas for his own purposes does not disprove evolution.
    </font>[/QUOTE]I didn't invoke Hitler. I said that eugenics inspired Hitler's holocaust. The leading German, British, and American intellectuals were teaching eugenics. Hitler merely put into play their "science." He did so on the basis of evolutionary ethics.

    I agree that "science" neither supports or denies the supernatural. But today's "science" does. That's the abuse of much of what goes on in the name of science.

    We should call it "scientistic" instead of "scientific." True scientific investigation, if it leads to design in nature, would simply lead one to the point of concluding that "there must be a designer."

    But today's science won't permit this.
     
  4. Paul33

    Paul33 New Member

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    Really silly.

    Verse two is a description of the earth's surface at the original creation. Verse three is a description of God allowing light to reach the earth's surface for the first time. Read Job 38:4-9.

    The water that was separated from water created the shamayim (sky). The same sky that birds fly in! (day five)

    The light that filtered through to the earth's surface on day one was the light from the sun, the same sun the earth was revolving around from its inception in verse one!
     
  5. OldRegular

    OldRegular Well-Known Member

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    I posted the below on another thread and believe it is pertinent here since some on this forum insist that evolution does not address the change of nonlife to life.

    Source:http://www.gla.ac.uk/projects/originoflife/html/2001/pdf_files/Martin_&_Russell.pdf

    On the origins of cells: a hypothesis for the
    evolutionary transitions from abiotic geochemistry to
    chemoautotrophic prokaryotes, and from prokaryotes
    to nucleated cells

    William Martin[1] and Michael J. Russell[2]

    1. Institut fu¨ r Botanik III, Heinrich-Heine Universitaet Du¨ sseldorf, Universita¨tsstrasse 1, 40225 Du¨ sseldorf, Germany

    2. Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, Scottish Enterprise Technology Park, Rankine Avenue, East Kilbride,
    Glasgow G75 0QF, UK (m.russell@suerc.gla.ac.uk)

    All life is organized as cells. Physical compartmentation from the environment and self-organization of self-contained redox reactions are the most conserved attributes of living things, hence inorganic matter with such attributes would be life’s most likely forebear. We propose that life evolved in structured iron monosulphide precipitates in a seepage site hydrothermal mound at a redox, pH and temperature gradient between sulphide-rich hydrothermal fluid and iron(II)-containing waters of the Hadean ocean floor. The naturally arising, three-dimensional compartmentation observed within fossilized seepage-site metal sulphide precipitates indicates that these inorganic compartments were the precursors of cell walls and membranes found in free-living prokaryotes. The known capability of FeS and NiS to catalyse the synthesis of the acetyl-methylsulphide from carbon monoxide and methylsulphide, constituents of hydrothermal fluid, indicates that pre-biotic syntheses occurred at the inner surfaces of these metal-sulphide-walled compartments, which furthermore restrained reacted products from diffusion into the ocean, providing sufficient concentrations of reactants to forge the transition from geochemistry to biochemistry. The chemistry of what is known as the RNA-world could have taken place within these naturally forming, catalyticwalled compartments to give rise to replicating systems. Sufficient concentrations of precursors to support replication would have been synthesized in situ geochemically and biogeochemically, with FeS (and NiS) centres playing the central catalytic role. The universal ancestor we infer was not a free-living cell, but rather was confined to the naturally chemiosmotic, FeS compartments within which the synthesis of its constituents occurred. The first free-living cells are suggested to have been eubacterial and archaebacterial chemoautotrophs that emerged more than 3.8 Gyr ago from their inorganic confines. We propose that the emergence of these prokaryotic lineages from inorganic confines occurred independently, facilitated by the independent origins of membrane-lipid biosynthesis: isoprenoid ether membranes in the archaebacterial and fatty acid ester membranes in the eubacterial lineage. The eukaryotes, all of which are ancestrally heterotrophs and possess eubacterial lipids, are suggested to have arisen ca. 2 Gyr ago through symbiosis involving an autotrophic archaebacterial host and a heterotrophic eubacterial symbiont, the common ancestor of mitochondria and hydrogenosomes. The attributes shared by all prokaryotes are viewed as inheritances from their confined universal ancestor. The attributes that distinguish eubacteria and archaebacteria, yet are uniform within the groups, are viewed as relics of their phase of differentiation after divergence from the non-free-living universal ancestor and before the origin of the free-living chemoautotrophic lifestyle. The attributes shared by eukaryotes with eubacteria and archaebacteria, respectively, are viewed as inheritances via symbiosis. The attributes unique to eukaryotes are viewed as inventions specific to their lineage. The origin of the eukaryotic endomembrane system and nuclear membrane are suggested to be the fortuitous result of the expression of genes for eubacterial membrane lipid synthesis by an archaebacterial genetic apparatus in a compartment that was not fully prepared to accommodate such compounds, resulting in vesicles of eubacterial lipids that accumulated in the cytosol around their site of synthesis. Under these premises, the most ancient divide in the living world is that between eubacteria and archaebacteria, yet the steepest evolutionary grade is that between prokaryotes and eukaryotes.
     
  6. garpier

    garpier New Member

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    Paul33

    The Hebrew literally says in verse 20 that the birds fly on the face of the firmament, not in it. And verses 16 -17 make it clear that God made two great lights and set them in the firmament. There is nothing in the text to suggest that God's actions on day for only allowed the sun to reach the surface of the earth's surface as you stated. The text clearly says that God divided the waters from the waters and the intevening space between them was name the firmament, which we call outer space. If thats really silly, don't blame me, I didn't write it. What seems silly to me is reading into the text your ideas of what happened on day 4 .

    Mercury

    If our disagreement is what is to be taken literally, please explain how you know where figurative language ends and literal language begins. The entirety of Genesis is a narrative given to exp[lain to the Jewish nation where they came from and why they were going into posses the Promised Land. Are Adam and Eve figurative?, Noah? Abraham? How does one know?
     
  7. Paul33

    Paul33 New Member

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    v. 20 - And God said, "Let the water team with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky." (NIV)

    Day four - "made" is translated from the Hebrew "asa" which means "formed, fashioned, appointed, etc." There are 72 different translations in the Bible for the Hebrew word "asa." IMO, the rendering that best fits the context is "appoint" for that is the purpose given for them on day four. They were "appointed" to govern the day and the night (v. 16).

    Job 38:4-9 makes it clear that light existed the moment God created the starry hosts, including the earth's sun, and the foundation of the earth. Once light reached the earth's surface (Genesis 1:3) at the command of God, the first day came into existence. Why? Because the earth was already spinning on its axis in its orbit around the sun. The only reason there was no light on the earth's surface prior to God's command was because of the thick clouds that eveloped it (Job 38:4-9). Logic tells us that God commanded for there to be light on the earth's surface, and the clouds thinned permitting light to filter through to the earth's surface.

    On day two, the waters were separated and the expanse was called "sky" not "outer space" (1:8).
     
  8. garpier

    garpier New Member

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    Your arguing frrom an english translation in one verse and the hebrew yext in another. This is very inconsistent, If you must make an argument, your better off doing it from the original.

    In verse twenty the Hebrew says the birds fly against the face of the firmament of heaven, not in it.
    It's true that the hebrew word "asa' is used but in tis context the best ranslation and meaning is make. God made them and then He set them in the firmament (raqia) This is outer space or the second heaven.

    Day two the expanse is calledd the firmament (raqia) the same place God put the sun moon and stars.

    Job 38 is an overview of what the angels saw not an explanation of how the firmament was created.
     
  9. Mercury

    Mercury New Member

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    First, let me be clear that I don't know. I make a judgement based on hermeneutics. I can't say that I know conclusively that Isaiah 55:12 is not describing a literal change in mountains and trees, but I'm pretty sure it isn't. The same goes for how I approach Genesis. Second, Genesis is not a monolithic whole. I'm going to break this down by section, and limit this to three sections to keep this manageable. I hope you weren't expecting a short answer. ;)

    Genesis 1:1-2:3
    This passage uses a very different style of writing than what follows; indeed, it is without match in the entire Bible. Probably the closest literary parallel to this section is Revelation 6 and 8:1-5 which describe the seven seals. One account uses a framework of days, the other uses a framework of seals. Both accounts use a repeated phrase to introduce the seven items (the phrase varies slightly on the first and seventh days, and all but the second through fourth seals). Both accounts set off the seventh item as special. Both accounts portray God's actions from his dwelling place (through speech or through the breaking of seals on a document) as dramatically affecting our world. Both describe events that had not been witnessed by humans at the time of writing (John witnessed the vision, but not the actual events). In both accounts, the degree of literal description is highly debated.

    There are other reasons not to presume that this passage is a historical account. It describes the same one-time event on both days 1 and 4: the separation of light (called day) from darkness (called night). It uses anthropomorphism to describe the sun and moon as ruling day and night. It completely ignores describing anything that would contradict the science of its time: no hint is given to the size of the sun, moon or stars, or to the fact that the earth is roughly spherical, and the idea of a firmament fits perfectly with what was then known. While these things can be reconciled with what we now know, the account does not in any way reveal what humans would later discover in these areas.

    Another major reason is that the days are arranged in a way that creates symmetry between the actions on the first three days (forming light, sky and seas, dry land covered with vegetation) and the second three days (filling light with luminaries, sky and seas with birds and fish, dry land with animals and humans). This symmetry is only present because of the specific elements the author chose to focus on. If the creation of angels, bacteria, seaweed and hell were also included, the current symmetric arrangement would break. Because of this, it is unlikely that the symmetry is due to the way God actually created, but was rather made by the inspired author in how he chose to describe certain aspects of God's creation.

    Probably the most common reason given is that if this account and the one following in Genesis 2 are both historical, they do not fit together very well. In a plain reading, the order of creation in Genesis 2 is man, plants, land animals and birds, woman. The order in Genesis 1 is plants, fish and birds, land animals and humans. The first account starts with primordial waters overwhelming an earth that is "formless and void" (Gen. 1:1-2) while the second starts with primordial ground in need of rain (Gen. 2:4-5). In the first God tells the humans to rule over the other creatures and subdue the earth; in the second man is placed in the garden to "work it and take care of it". The first portrays God creating mainly by speaking; the second has God forming Adam from dust and breathing life into him, with the animals and birds similarly formed out of the ground. The first portrays God (Elohim, the Hebrew generic name for God) as above his creation while in the second God (Yahweh, the Hebrew personal name for God) walks in the garden with Adam and Eve. There are many creative ways to attempt reconciliation between the accounts, but all have problems and all require more exegetical gymnastics than one would expect to be required to fit together two accounts presented back-to-back in Scripture. A far more straight-forward reconciliation is possible if one accepts that they are not both intended to be historical accounts.

    Finally, the days in this account serve a purpose other than history. They also set the template for the work week and Sabbath. While this alone does not show that the days are not also historical, it does explain why a framework of days would be used even if the days were not historical.

    All these reasons are based on the text itself. Even if creation itself in no way contradicted the order of creation shown in Genesis 1, there would still be many reasons to not take the account as historical. Indeed, that is why the days were suggested to be figurative at least as far back as Augustine -- long before any scientific reason for such an idea existed.

    Genesis 2:4-4:26
    This account reads far more like a historical account than the preceding chapter. But, it still has some significant differences, especially in the first two chapters. Most glaring is the fact that two trees are given magic properties. The tree of life is able to convey immortality to the one who eats from it, and this power appears to be inherent in the tree, rather than coming from God. Indeed, God removes the humans from the garden so they cannot eat from this tree, rather than just altering or removing the tree. Because of the way this tree and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil are portrayed, it appears that they may be metaphorical. The tree of life represents God's sustaining power. Adam and Eve had access to this while they were in the garden (so they would not die), but were removed from it when they sinned. The tree is a tangible, physical representation of something we cannot physically see.

    The form of story that uses these type of metaphors is called a fable. A fable is not a fib, but rather a story that explains something true -- often something supernatural -- by using natural objects to represent more than they naturally are. Aside from the magic trees, there is also the talking serpent. Unlike Balaam's donkey that was made to talk when "the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey" (Numbers 22:28), the serpent talks because it "was more crafty than any other beast of the field" (Genesis 3:1). Because this unusual occurrence is not attributed to a miracle or other supernatural event, but rather to craftiness, it lends support to the idea that the story is told in the form of a fable.

    A similar case, though not a fable, can be found in Isaiah 51:9-10. This passage describes God's power in the exodus and specifically in crossing the Red Sea. In it, the power of Egypt is personified as Rahab (see also Isaiah 30:7), a mythical god of the sea. The use of this kind of metaphor does not mean the event did not really happen, but neither does it mean that Rahab is a real god. The event did happen, but Isaiah 51:9-10 uses more evocative imagery to describe it than the description in Exodus. Similarly, Genesis 2-3 uses non-literal imagery (including magic trees and talking animals) to describe the creation and fall of humanity.

    Genesis 6-9:17
    I've already given my opinions on the flood accounts, so I'll just expand on one aspect. I do think that these chapters describe a real event, and they are written in the same format as the later patriarchal accounts. However, I do think that these chapters contain at least two accounts that have been merged into a single account. This is based on two complementary factors. First, many details are recorded twice. Second, throughout the flood narrative, the text switches between using "LORD God" (Yahweh in Hebrew) and "God" (Elohim in Hebrew). What is compelling is that whether one divides based on the first reason or the second, one ends up with basically the same divisions. In other words, when a detail that contains a reference to God is recorded twice, one time uses LORD God while the other uses God. This is the strongest evidence that there are indeed two accounts that have been edited together.

    There are two accounts of humanity's corruption (6:5-8; 6:11-13), two accounts of the animals to be brought onto the ark (6:19-21; 7:2-3), at least two accounts of when Noah and his family boarded the ark (7:7-9; 7:13-14; 7:15-16), two accounts of the flood beginning (7:10-12; 7:6,17), two accounts of things perishing in the flood (7:21-22; 7:23), two accounts of the flood's duration (7:17; 7:24), two accounts of sending out birds to find dry land (8:6-7; 8:8-11), two accounts of Noah seeing that the land was dry (8:13; 8:14), two accounts of God's covenant with Noah and humanity (8:21-22; 9:1-17).

    While I'm doubtful about the JEPD documentary hypothesis, I do think that in this case, the inspired author composed what is now Genesis 6-9 from using existing sources.

    Why does this matter? Because it reveals the level of historical detail. In one account, Noah enters the ark because of the water (7:7) and in the other, before the water comes upon the earth (7:16-18). One specifies two of every animal; the other specifies seven of the clean animals and two of the rest. One says Noah sent out a raven; the other says he sent out a dove repeatedly. One has the flood lasting 40 days; the other 150 days. Based on these minor differences, we can see the level of detail that is likely historical. This is similar to how one can use the differences in the order of Jesus' temptations to establish that the historical order was not a concern for the gospel authors.

    ---

    So that's probably a lot more information than you wanted on why I don't see Genesis as a monolithic historical account. Like much of the rest of the Bible, it uses different styles of writing to describe God's unfolding relationship with humanity. I think we can better understand Genesis by paying attention to the literary clues within the text. Acknowledging different forms of writing in Genesis does not require one to deny that Genesis is true, but rather explains what type of truth it is proclaiming.
     
  10. Paul33

    Paul33 New Member

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    Garpier, you speak fluent Hebrew, don't you.
     
  11. Paul33

    Paul33 New Member

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    Unbelievable. The most incredible historical narrative ever written disposed by the creatures created! If the first 11 chapters aren't historical or meant to be interpreted literally, than neither is the narrative of Mary conceiving by the Holy Spirit, John the Baptist's miraculous birth, the sinless life of Jesus, the resurrection of Jesus, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, etc.

    It's all just one big myth to teach us who knows what?
     
  12. Charles Meadows

    Charles Meadows New Member

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    Paul33,

    That's a typical emotional reaction.

    But you miss the entire point. We know the gospels are designed as documents of witness. The whole point of the 4 gospels is to testify to the truth of Jesus life, ministry, death, and resurrection.

    The creation narrative bears alot of resemblance to ancient near eastern myth stories. That is just fact - pretending it is not so does not help the Christian cause. The main point of Genesis 1 and 2 is that God made the earth. The main point is NOT how long it took to make it or in what order.
     
  13. OldRegular

    OldRegular Well-Known Member

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    The "near eastern myth stories" are obviously pagan adaptations of the Biblical creation narative.

    Why can't Christians say:"the near eastern myth stories bear a lot of resemblance to the Biblical creation narrative"?
     
  14. Charles Meadows

    Charles Meadows New Member

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    Oldreg,

    Why can't Christians say:"the near eastern myth stories bear a lot of resemblance to the Biblical creation narrative"?

    That is certainly possible.

    My problem with this stance is that it wants to necessitate a literal Genesis as a prerequisite for being a good Christian.

    While I am an old earther I do not consider myself an evolutionist.

    When I read Genesis 1-11 I see an account whose primary purpose was theological. I don't think Genesis was intending to say how long ago the earth was created.

    As such I think the insistences on a literal Genesis and the often strained efforts to prove it (creation science and the like) present a stumblingblock for some people.
     
  15. Paul33

    Paul33 New Member

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    I've read and studied the ancient near eastern myth stories. To compare those stories to the creation narrative of Moses is just plain ignorant. And you think that helps the Christian cause?

    It's not emotionalism to react to thoughts like yours that undermine biblical Christianity. Once you deny the historicity of the Pentateuch, you might as well go all the way and deny the whole Bible, which is what liberals did in the late 1800s/early 1900s. And it's still happening today.
     
  16. Charles Meadows

    Charles Meadows New Member

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    Paul33,

    I've read and studied the ancient near eastern myth stories. To compare those stories to the creation narrative of Moses is just plain ignorant.

    No it's not ignorant. The scholarly consensus (from the liberal side) is that the Genesis account is an adaptation of pagan myth. We don't have to accept it but we cannot pretend it away. This leads to the driving of a wedge between Christianity and scholarship.

    Marcia and others have argued that while there is some homology the Genesis account is distinctive in itself, and could have been the source (itself) of the pagan myths. That's a reasonable position.

    And you think that helps the Christian cause?

    What hurts the Christian cause is the insistence that Christians believe EITHER the bible OR science.

    Many people on this board argue that evolution makes so little sense that only a nitwit could believe it. They argue that the liberal positions are so obviously flawed that they are but transparent attempts to discredit Christianity.

    When students go to college and see that these are misrepresentations of the facts - that it is not so clear cut then they question the credibility of Christianity in general! If we had simply been honest - that science does suggest that the earth MAY be old, that the Genesis account MAY NOT have been intended to be literal - then we have not compromised nor have we LIED in order to make our position look better.

    Christianity is a matter of FAITH and not of PROOF.
     
  17. OldRegular

    OldRegular Well-Known Member

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    I think the insistence by some on judging the Bible by pagan myth presents a stumblingblock for many people.
     
  18. Charles Meadows

    Charles Meadows New Member

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    Oldreg,

    I think the insistence by some on judging the Bible by pagan myth presents a stumblingblock for many people.

    The bible is going to be compared to other literature. That's just a fact. There is similarity to pagan myths - also a fact.

    I never said Christians should acquiesce to liberal arguments. My point is that we cannot deny things or pretend that they do not exist!
     
  19. Paul33

    Paul33 New Member

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    Higher criticism and historicism are the reasons liberals claim that the creation account of Genesis was borrowed from or has it source from the ancient near eastern myths.

    The liberals never stop to think that maybe the creation account and the description of the world deluge in Genesis are the source for the pagan myths and flood stories.

    There simply isn't any reason to adopt historicism as one's grid for understanding the evolution of the Bible.

    Historicism is such an over simplified approach to the progress of knowledge that it's laughable that anyone still holds to it. Solomon said it best, "What goes around, comes around." That's obviously a paraphrase! What I'm getting at is that there is nothing new under the sun. Theories that we think are new were debated thousands of years before. Historicism lacks any real credibility to deal with this fact.

    The only reason a college kid would lose faith in Christianity is because he wasn't adequately taught the truth at home.
     
  20. Paul33

    Paul33 New Member

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    Christianity certainly is a matter of faith, but it is also a matter of proof.

    If the tomb weren't empty, I wouldn't believe in the resurrection.

    If the Bible didn't so accurately describe the fallen nature of man, I wouldn't believe in original sin.

    This idea that the Bible and Christianity are beyond proof and must only be taken by faith is just Immanuel Kant regurgitated.
     
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