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     The following is a tongue-in-cheek atheist’s take as to what events may  have actually occurred  in regards to the fictitious Garden of Eden story in Genesis. Be forewarned, it will undoubtedly offend some viewers. Yet, it is  in line with what we can glean from the Bible.

1.   The Prelude: The God  Jesus creates everything in existence (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16; and Revelation 4:11), including very evil itself. He then creates a booby-trapped “Tree of Knowledge” that embodies pure evil so it can be unleashed into the world by the first person who partakes of its fruit.

2.   God, presumably God the Father, then situates that tree practically in the lap of Adam & Eve and tells them not to partake any of its fruit or they will die. (Note: He doesn’t even tell them what evil is, just that they’re not to partake of the fruit.) But  God already knows that Eve will partake of the fruit due to His omniscience. But does He give a flyin’ Hoot? Hell, NO!!

3.   The God Jesus then creates an evil serpent with the evil ability to lie, deceive, and beguile the unsuspecting pair. God then sees to it that the evil serpent is  planted near the unsuspecting couple as well, gleefully wringing his hands after having done so.

4.   Now, Eve hasn’t the faintest clue as to what “disobeying” really  means. That’s because she has no concept of what it truly means to “disobey.” And that is because she has no clue whatsoever as to what evil is.

Remember:  Eve does not possess” free-will “at this point because she has not yet partaken of the forbidden fruit. Evil is not part of her consciousness as of yet.

5.   God’s evil serpent approaches Eve and tells her that God said it’s now perfectly fine for her to go ahead and partake of the fruit. He tells Eve that God told him  to tell her  it’s no longer forbidden. Trust me,” the serpent tells Eve, “If He’s changed his mind, He’ll let us know.

6.   Trusting Eve, who has no idea whatsoever as to what a “lie” or deceit is, takes the evil serpent at his word and partakes of the fruit. Meanwhile, God the Father, the Holy Spirit God, and the God Jesus are standing by, snickering to themselves like there’s no tomorrow, gleefully anticipating what is about to unfold.

7.    Eve partakes of the fruit and only now  realizes she has disobeyed God, but at the same time was “tricked” into doing so. But it’s too late. Evil has now been unleashed upon planet earth. And the three Gods who are claimed to be only ONE God by Christian apologists aren’t about  to do a damn thing about it.

8.    SIDE NOTE: God had already  unleashed evil previously. He wanted the angel Lucifer to turn evil and did so by inventing “Free-Will,” a ploy He used as a tool to infect Lucifer and an “army” of angels with evil and into rebelling—knowing full well what the consequences of His monstrously evil behavior would entail.

9.    God now pretends He’s upset that Adam & Eve disobeyed Him. Instead of saying,” Oh, you two, I was having a little fun. Get along now and go play with the lions. I forgive you!  After all, I had the evil serpent deliberately deceive you and trick you into sin. My bad.”

10.   Instead, “God” malevolently proceeds to ensure death and suffering afflicts ALL of humanity—even generations of humans who had absolutely NOTHING to do with what Adam & Eve did. And not only that, God decides the animal world should be made to experience death and suffering as well. And the kicker is that He and His evil-creating Son are sitting on their thrones in Heaven laughing their asses off watching brainwashed idiots worshiping and adoring them despite what they’ve so fiendishly accomplished.

     And so, the Bible believer is faced with the fact that if they believe the Adam & Eve story in Genesis to be historically true, they’re unconsciously worshiping and adoring the most monstrously cruel, sadistic, and evil a trio of deities they could ever possibly imagine.

For more on this subject, see here.

Up Next: The God Jesus on the Date of His Second Coming. Part II

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After “prophesying” the destruction of the Jewish Temple, the God Jesus and His immediate disciples move on to the Mount of Olives. It is there that the disciples ask Jesus when His Second Coming is to occur? “God” replies with an astounding declaration, a declaration that has confounded Christian apologists for ages:

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but ONLY the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.”  (Mark 13:31-32; see also Matthew 24:36; NIV; Emphasis mine)

Jesus of Nazareth is claimed to have been born 100% human AND 100% “deity” inextricably bound together to form a Man-God. In fact, God Almighty incarnate according to Christian apologists.  So how is it even possible  that God Almighty, in the guise of Jesus of Nazareth, could be entirely clueless as to the date of His very own Second Coming? Moreover, how is it that the Holy Spirit God stood clueless as well?

Christian apologists, embarrassed by Jesus’ declaration, have struggled mightily to provide a logical explanation for God Jesus’ ignorance. Many apologists have appealed to Philippians 2:7 and the term “kenosis” in trying to rectify the problem. We must duly note that the Kenosis Doctrine is wildly disputed, with even the most “Christian” of Christian apologists at complete loggerheads with one another over it. Worse is the fact that adherents of the Kenosis Doctrine have divided themselves into two camps. The first camp believes that God Jesus divested Himself of only some  of His divine attributes when He became “human.” The second camp, on the other hand, holds to the belief that in “emptying himself,” Jesus divested Himself of all His divine powers; thus making Himself completely  human. The 3rd Century Bishop of Neocaesarea, St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, says as much in his Twelve Topics of the Christian Faith:

“If any one affirms that the flesh of Christ is consubstantial with the divinity, and refuses to acknowledge that He, subsisting Himself in the form of God as God before all ages, emptied Himself and took the form of a servant, even as it is written, let him be anathema. How could the flesh, which is conditioned by time, be said to be consubstantial with the timeless divinity? For that is designated consubstantial which is the same in nature and in eternal duration without variableness.”

Christian kenosis adherents, however, rely on the words of the apostle Paul:

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature[ God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (Philippians 2:5-7; NIV; Emphasis mine.)

The words “made himself nothing” in NT Greek (heauton ekenōsin) is transliterated “emptied himself.” (See here.) Apologists have jumped all over this to argue that the God Jesus, in becoming human, willingly divested himself of the ability to know the date of His return (i.e., the adherents in “Camp one”) .The popular Christian apologetic website, Got Questions.org  explains things this way:

“Although Jesus was fully God (John 1:1, 14) when He became a man, He voluntarily restricted the use of certain divine attributes (Philippians 2:6-8). He did not manifest them unless directed by the Father(John 4:34; 5:30;6:28). He voluntarily restricted that omniscience to only those things God wanted Him to know during the days of His humanity (John15:15) . . . Yes, both are God. But some things Jesus had apparently chosen to “give up the rights” to be privy to during his earthly ministry.”1

Voluntarily restricted the use of certain divine attributes? Voluntarily restricted His omniscience to only those things God wanted Him to know? Are we to believe that the God Jesus knew the date of the Second Coming but told God the Father, that while in His human state, He’d let God the Father induce selective amnesia whenever confronted with a question God the Father wanted the answer kept a secret?

Where is the biblical proof for this? All Philippians 2:7 indicates is that the God Jesus, while still “God,” became a subservient human, nothing more. Becoming subservient in no way translates into a God suffering selective amnesia. Jesus is claimed to be a one-of-a-kind Man-God hybrid, but God on earth nevertheless. Therefore, He had  to know the date of His Second Coming. And remember, Jesus’ words means the Holy Spirit was left clueless as well. How does one  explain that  one?

The argument that Jesus “emptied himself” points to a God who is automatically  reduced to less  than God. A God who is completely ignorant regarding certain matters. A God with only limited  supernatural powers. He is a God who ends up being nothing more than a semi-divine “puppet.”

Jesus could have simply told his disciples, “I’m not at liberty to tell you the date of my Second Coming” and be done with it. Could He not?

Even the author of the Got Questions  article reveals he is merely speculating when he writes that the God Jesus apparently  suffered induced selective amnesia, yet provides no irrefutable biblical proof of it.

Christian apologists want to point solely to the human side of Jesus to account for Jesus’ ignorance as to the date of His Second Coming, stressing that He had to “grow in wisdom” and that He grew hungry and thirsty like any other human. Though He was a subservient human, He was still  “God.” Therefore, He had more than enough “wisdom” for both the divine and human sides of “the Son of Man’ regardless of what apologists try and maintain.

As for His need for food and water, we must ask: “Could the God Jesus have starved to death or die from dehydration if deprived of food and water? Not if He was truly God. The God part of Jesus was still inextricably intertwined with the human Jesus, and for all time, no less. The God part of Jesus would have kept the human in God Jesus alive by virtue of the fact that Jesus was a deity. A truly mortal Jesus could, indeed, die. But Jesus, as a Man-God hybrid could not possibly  succumb to true death. Jesus was 100% God, so the apologists tell us.

If  the God Jesus had  somehow truly divested Himself of his supernatural attributes, He would not be the 100% God Christian apologists insist He is, but only 100% human. The apologists would then have to kiss John1:1 in conjunction with John 1:14 goodbye. It would no longer remain true. Jesus would be “God” in name only.

And so the Kenosis Doctrine falls flat on its face. It is no more than a patently contrived concoction manufactured by the Church in an attempt to try and save Jesus and the New Testament from biblical error.That  is as transparent as it gets.

1 Question: “If Jesus was God, why did He not know when He would return?” http.//www.gotquestions.net. (retrieved 1/22/2018)

 

END Of PART I

In Part II we will deal with the so-called “Hypostatic Union” of Jesus. In other words, his supposed “two natures.” But before that, a playful account of what happened in the Garden of Eden.

For more on the supposed “death” of the God Jesus, see here.

 

Combine John 1:1 with John 1:14’s “And the Word became flesh”  and the result is Christianity’s Jesus of Nazareth.

Jesus, Christian apologists, tell us, was born a hybrid unlike anything humanity has ever witnessed, being simultaneously both 100% fully human AND 100% full deity inextricably bound as one to form a Man-God. In fact, God Almighty in the flesh

God the Father is said to have sent God Jr. down to earth to be crucified on a Roman cross in order to absolve humanity of its “sins.” His Almightiness  evidently felt simply uttering a thunderous proclamation from the heavens to the men and women alive on earth at the time, or forgive mankind with quiet, noble grace wouldn’t quite do. No, “loving” God felt that subjecting another  God-being to torture and death was His only real option. Whatsmore, who was the God Jesus to say “Not me!!” to that other God anyway?

 

 

But what actually ceased to live when Jesus “died” on the cross? Surely it wasn’t the “God” in him. Gods don’t die. Jesus was made up of both deity and human composition inextricably inseparable at birth. So how can one say Jesus actually “died” if the deity in Him remained alive throughout Jesus’ “death”? Remember, Jesus wasn’t “possessed” by the Divine like humans possessed by demonic spirits are claimed to be. He was born  deity, a deity who was every bit as much human as he was deity.

Was it only human Jesus that died, then? Seeing that both the human and the deity Jesus were  inextricably bound together as one entity, one cannot rightfully claim “Jesus” died without the deity of Jesus dying as well. Jesus certainly didn’t shed his divinity when “Jesus” ceased living, did He? And if He didn’t, Jesus, while in the grave, wasn’t truly “lifeless.” Or am I missing something here?

A further observation: If Jesus never really  died, it means God the Father never absolved humanity of its “sins.” How could He? Jesus was to die for the redemption of man’s sins, not pretend  to die to redeem them.

____________________________

Greywolf’s 1st Dictum: There can be no greater evil in all of existence than the Creator of Evil. (I’m referring to the God Jesus, of course. The conscious, deliberate, act of creating very evil is, in itself, inherently evil. Try thinking of an act even remotely  more evil.  End of story.)

Greywolf’s 2nd Dictum: If if happened, God wanted it to. If He didn’t, it would never have happened. (Assuming God actually exists, of course. Note: This would include every human tragedy, every evil to befall man. Would it not? It’s A sobering conclusion that needs to be honestly dealt with by every God believer. The God named Jesus (as opposed to “God the Father”) willfully created very evil itself when he didn’t have to. Ask yourself if that  wasn’t being evil in the extreme. See John 1:3 here.)

 

 

 

A Theological/Bible Related Commentary

         We now turn to yet another  difficulty Christian apologists must be forced to contend with. And one which is not quite so readily apparent.

        In John 20:1, we learn that Mary Magdalene, traveling alone, made her way to Jesus tomb, “while it was still dark” on the first day of the week (i.e., “Sunday”), only to find it empty. But we also learn from 28:1 that Mary Magdalene, in the company of the “other Mary,” returned to the tomb, at daybreak; making it Magdalene’s second visit there. (And a third  “just after sunrise” if we take Mark 16 into account.) It is then when the pair is said to have encountered a lone angel sitting atop Jesus’ burial stone.

          Since Mary Magdalene’s earlier visit in John’s gospel took place “while it was still dark,” and her second visit takes place at the “at dawn,” it means Jesus would had to have arisen on Saturday, and not Sunday—this, despite John 20:1 stating it was “early on the first day of the week” when Mary first made her way to the tomb.

          The Greek text of Matthew 28:1 actually reads: τῇ  ἐπιφωσκούσῃ εἰς μίαν σαββάτων. Literally, “It being dawn toward   [the] first [day] of [the]* week.” (Emphasis mine.)

           We must remember that the Magdalene had traveled back to Jerusalem to tell Peter and the Beloved Disciple that Jesus’ tomb was empty, then returned with them both in tow to search for Jesus’ body. She then, once again, returned to Jerusalem. The time needed for such back-and-forth tripsin addition to her tomb activities, plus  the time needed to gather “the other Mary” and then return to the tomb for a second time at daybreak, simply does not permit a Sunday resurrection. There is simply too much traveling back and forth and other activities between Mary’s first visit in John 20:1 and this second visit at the crack of dawn in Matthew 28:1 for Jesus to have arisen on Sunday proper.

            Fact is, the claims of a Sunday resurrection actually rest on nothing more than Church doctrine and dogma. There’s no empirical evidence whatsoever to positively demonstrate that Jesus actually arose on Sunday rather than Saturday. There were no eyewitnesses to the event. And nothing in the gospel records can actually certify a Sunday rising. That being the case, we should honestly rule the Resurrection a Saturday  event rather than a Sunday one (assuming, for the sake of argument, that there even was  a “resurrection”). The latter being more of a matter of Church tradition rather than a matter of fact. And so, until proven otherwise, the Saturday resurrection stands. There is simply no irrefutable proof indicating otherwise.

Evangelists Caught Altering Text

           Previously we wondered why both Matthew and Luke changed Mark’s “After three days” to “On the third day” in their respective gospels. A vital clue, perhaps, is to be found in the text of I Corinthians 15:3-4. where the “apostle” Paul declares :

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

          The question is: What  specific verses of “scripture” is Paul actually referring to? His claim has confounded bible scholars for centuries due to the fact there are no Old Testament passages specifically stating any such thing. Nonetheless, Paul may have had in mind Hosea 6:2-3. where we read:

He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, That we may live before Him. Let us acknowledge the Lord;
    let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises,
    he will appear
  (NIV)

          Knowing the propensity of the gospel writers to try and tie Jesus to Old Testament “prophecy” in as many ways as possible, Hosea 6:2-3 may have been just too  irresistible for Matthew and Luke to pass up and not try and conform it to the death of Jesus in some fashion.

          Best bet is that Hosea 6:2-3 was seen by both Luke and Matthew as yet another “fulfilled prophecy” regarding Jesus that could be extracted from the Old Testament, and so they decided to alter the text of Mark accordingly. Veritable proof of the likeliness that this did indeed occur lies in the fact that not only have both Jerome and Martin Luther believed Hosea 6:2-3 to be Old Testament prophecy at work, but so too many modern  day evangelical Christian writers! A survey of Bible commentaries reveals that list to be rather extensive. We provide a very brief listing of some of those commentators here. So there can be little doubt that both Matthew and Luke deliberately altered Mark’s wording in order to see in the death of Jesus, the fulfillment of  Old Testament prophecy―this, despite the fact that Hosea 6:2-3 is clearly referencing the nation of Israel and not a lone individual.

The “On the Third Day” Tradition

         Earlier, we mentioned that nowhere in the gospels does Jesus arise on the “fourth” or “fifth” day; a fact that Christian apologists claim “proves” Mark 8:31 must be interpreted as meaning ON the third day. And today, the “third day” tradition is practically carved in stone. But that is NOT what the text of Mark 8:31 maintains. Mark clearly  indicates Jesus would arise three days AFTER his death:

He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and AFTER three days rise again. (NIV; emphasis mine)

        This is also the case in Mark 9:31, 10:34, Matthew 12:40, and 27:63. The Christian cannot simply choose to ignore verses of Scripture that do not “square” with their religious world-view. That’s being dishonest with the texts, and consequently, not dealing with the “truth” in a forthright manner. A hallmark of the Christian religion is that its members are to always tell the truth, not flee from it.

 Conclusion

         We have seen that there is no “legitimate” way Christian apologists can reconcile the contradiction between between Mark 8:31 and Matthew 16:21 and their corresponding parallel passages. So as it stands, not only do the two passages remain in a state of  irrefutable contradiction, but Mark 8:31 also puts on the lips of Jesus a “prophecy” which has proven to be patently false. And, in turn, proves Luke 1:37 ‘s declaration, “No word from God will ever  fail,” to be untrue as well. There is simply no escaping this fact.

          We’ve also reached the conclusion that Jesus did not arise on Easter Sunday, but during the evening of Saturday instead―assuming that there even was a “resurrection.” The preponderance of evidence for Saturday is just to strong to deny; and the ramifications of which are yet to be fully determined.

          Church tradition will, of course, invariably hold sway more often than not. The faithful will continue to believe what they want  to believe. The Christian apologists will hold firm to tradition. But that doesn’t make their beliefs “true,” nor tradition right. Neither faith nor tradition prove anything  true. Only the truth does that.

End of Part IV – The Conclusion

Part I Here     Part II Here     Part III Here

* http://biblehub.com/text/matthew/28-1.htm See also the NASB and Berean Literal Bible.

A Theological/Bible Related Commentary

Part III – The Rebuttal Begins

        In Part I of this article, we addressed the fact that the website Apologetic Press rigorously defends the bizarre idea that “On the third day,” and After three days” both denote one and the same day. (And is not the only apologetic source to do so either.**) The Apologetic Press’ Eric Lyons writes:

“…as awkward as it may sound to an American living in the 21st century, a person in ancient times could legitimately speak of something occurring “on the third day,” “after three days,” or after “three days and three nights,” yet still be referring to the same exact day”*

      The two-step process taken in pursuing this line of defense was to first stress that time-keeping in ancient times was not nearly as precise as it is in the 21st century; and second, to emphasize the fact that we moderns are not familiar enough with the Jewish idioms of Jesus’ day to recognize no real problem exists. Eric Lyons states:

“The idiomatic expressions that Jesus and the Bible writers employed to denote how long Jesus would remain in the grave does not mean that He literally was buried for 72 hours. If we interpret the account of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial, and resurrection in light of the cultural setting of the first century, and not according to the present-day (mis)understanding of skeptics, we find no errors in any of the expressions that Jesus and the gospel writers used.”*

    Eric lists six examples of biblical time-keeping verses which he feels are similarly ‘contradictory” to those undergoing our scrutiny, but which upon close inspection, prove to provide no real problem for the skeptic either. The most pertinent one related to our examination is reproduced below:

  • In 1 Samuel 30:12,13, the phrases “three days and three nights” and “three days” are used interchangeably.

     What is imperative to keep in mind, however, is that in I Samuel 30:12,13, the Egyptian is recounting the events of his ordeal on the fourth day of the week―not the third. Below is the text as to what actually transpired:

“They found an Egyptian in a field [on the fourth day of his suffering] and brought him to David. They gave him water to drink and food to eat— part of a cake of pressed figs and two cakes of raisins. He ate and was revived, for he had not eaten any food or drunk any water for three days And three nights.  David asked him, “Who do you belong to? Where do you come from?” He said, “I am an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite. My master abandoned me when I became ill three days ago. ” (I Samuel 30:12-13-NIV; emphasis mine)

       So there is no question that in this  particular instance, both “three days AND three nights” and “three days” are, indeed, perfectly interchangeable seeing as the Egyptian is recounting his ordeal on the fourth day. The text of Matthew 12:39b-40, however, is an entirely different matter altogether. Here are the actual words of Jesus himself:

“An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days AND three nights, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (NIV; emphasis mine)

       There is simply no valid reason whatever to doubt that Jesus was being as precise as possible in detailing his prophecy. Taking Jesus at his word then, it means the resurrection would had to have occurred on the “Monday” following Good Friday, and not Sunday. But before we explore this point any further, let us first examine the ramifications of trying to insist that “On the third day” and “After three days” both refer to the same exact day, and that any “perceived” disagreement is simply due to a modern “misunderstanding” of 1st-century Jewish Idiom.

A Conversation Between Two Apostles

        Envision the following scene: Jesus’ apostles, Peter and James, have  just met at a well on a very hot Sunday afternoon in the village of Nazareth:

Peter:     Did you hear? Timothy is getting married!

James:   Why, that’s wonderful  news!! When’s the wedding?

Peter:     Well, let’s see, Bartholomew told me it was to be on the third day of this week, so that  would make it Tuesday afternoon.

James:   Well I’ll make sure then, that I have my mule and I ready to arrive as early as I can after [those] three days, on Wednesday, so that I don’t miss any  part of the wedding ceremony.

So much for the skeptic’s “misunderstanding” 1st-century “Jewish idiom” argument.

End of Part III

   * https://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=6&article=756

**  http://www.defendingyourfaith.org/Contradictions.htm

Part 1  Here          Part II  Here     Part IV Here

Next Time: Part IV: The Rebuttal Continues

Resurrection 6

A Theological/Bible Related Commentary

Part II

     In Part I of this article, we focused on the Christian apologetic argument that “On the third day” and “After three days” are, in reality, one and the same “day.” This is a claim that is rigorously defended on the Christian website Apologetic Press.*  So now we will turn our attention to another angle Christian apologists have used to reconcile the apparent contradiction between “On” the third day, versus three days later. And that is to simply deny that there isn’t any  gospel evidence for a “fourth” day resurrection of Jesus at all!

     The Christian apologist, Andreas Köstenberger, whose work can be found at the website, Biblical Foundations** reports:

Regarding the Gospel evidence, we can observe at least two things. First, the Gospels uniformly attest to the fact that Jesus was crucified and subsequently rose “on the third day” (e.g., Luke 24:7; see also Luke 24:21 where the two disciples on the road to Emmaus tell Jesus that this is “now the third day since these things happened”; this later became part of the gospel message, as we can see in passages such as 1 Cor 15:4 and later still in the Apostles’ Creed). The Gospels nowhere say Jesus was crucified and rose “on the fourth day” or “on the fifth day”; it’s always on the third day.

     Technically speaking, this is true. No New Testament writer ever asserts that Jesus arose on the “fourth” or “fifth” day. But this is point we will be exploring more fully later in this article.

     A third method Christian apologists use to reduce the “On” the third day,” versus the “three days later” statements of Jesus to insignificance, is to either avoid any mention of the issue at all, or bypass “after three days” without drawing any attention to the passage whatsoever.

     Finally, we turn to our last example. And that is to plead that Mark was not actually marking the days from the day of Jesus’ death, but rather from the day he was apprehended and tried before the Sanhedrin. In other words, on the Thursday preceding  Good Friday! Bible commentator Matthew Poole states it this way:

“With the doctrine of his suffering, he joins also the doctrine of his resurrection the third day: so saith Matthew. Mark saith, after three days, [μετὰ] meta, which seemeth to be a difference between the two evangelists, and also a difficulty, when it is certain that our Saviour did not lie three entire days in the grave. But either Mark reckons the time from his first being betrayed and apprehended, so it was after three days; and Matthew speaketh only of the time which he lay in the grave, that was but part of three days; or else it was the fault of our translators to translate [μετὰ] meta, “ after,”  because indeed it often so signifies, whereas it sometimes signifies in, which had better fitted this text.“*** (emphasis mine)

     And so we conclude the Christian apologist portion of this article. Now it’s on to view the evidence from a very different perspective.

End of Part II

*       https://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=6&article=756

**     http://www.biblicalfoundations.org/raised-on-the-third-day/

***   http://biblehub.com/commentaries/mark/8-31.htm

Part I – Here

Next Time:  My rebuttal: Part III – Here

 

Resurrection

A Theological/Bible Related Commentary

Part I

     The New Testament actually provides two  answers as to when Jesus was to arise from the dead.

     In the one instance, Jesus tells his disciples:

“They will kill him [i.e.,the Son of Man], and ON the third day he will be raised to life.” (Matthew 17:23; NIV; emphasis mine)

and in another, Jesus says this:

“The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and ON the third day be raised to life.” (Luke 9:22; NIV; emphasis mine)

     Thus, it seems pretty clear that since Jesus was crucified on (Good) Friday, his resurrection was to take place on the following Sunday, i.e. the “third day.”

     But elsewhere we read this:

“He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and AFTER three days rise again.” (Mark 8:31; NIV; emphasis mine)

     The passage above is paralleled as well in Mark 9:31; 10:34; and Matthew 27:63.

     Now, interestingly enough, scholars fully recognize that Mark was the first written gospel, and that both Luke and Matthew used  Mark’s gospel as an exemplar as each was composing their  own version of events. So it seems rather odd that Luke and Matthew would both chose to alter the text of Mark to read “on the third day,” instead of keeping intact Mark’s original “after three days.” Why do such a thing remains quite the mystery; a mystery we will attempt to solve later in this article.

      Short of midway in Matthew’s gospel, we also find Jesus declaring :

“For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days AND three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:40; NIV; emphasis mine)

    Thus, even Matthew’s gospel points to a fourth day! That leaves us with two clearly conflicting indications as to when Jesus was to arise from the dead. The question now becomes:  How have Christian apologists managed to ” resolve” this thorny issue?

The Christian Apologists Respond

      The most accepted explanation put forth by Christian apologists, when they’re brave enough to even tackle the issue at all, is that “On the third day,” and “After three days’ are to be actually understood to mean one and the same  day!

      Christian apologist, Eric Lyons, at the popular website, Apologetic Press,* argues that both phrases are simply Jewish “idiomatic expressions” used on the part of Jesus to signify the very same day. Eric first cites Matthew 27:63:

“Sir,” they [i.e., the chief priests and the Pharisees] said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again,” (NIV; emphasis mine)

which certainly finds full agreement with the statements found in Mark’s gospel. But then he adds the next verse, where we read:

“So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” (Matthew 27:64 – NIV; emphasis mine)

     What Eric does next is remarkable. He argues that since the tomb was to be “made secure” for just three days, and not four, it must surely mean that ON the third day, and AFTER three days both mean one and the same day. He writes:

“The phrase “after three days” must have been equivalent to “the third day,” else surely the Pharisees would have asked for a guard of soldiers until the fourth day. Interesting, is it not, that modern skeptics charge Jesus with contradicting Himself, but not the hypercritical Pharisees of His own day.”*

     Eric attributes the skeptic’s “misunderstanding” of scripture to a lack of understanding ancient Jewish idiom and how “days” were actually reckoned at the time. He writes:

“While to the 21st-century reader these statements [“On the third day” versus “After three days”] may initially appear to contradict one another, in reality, they harmonize perfectly if one understands the different, and sometimes more liberal, methods ancients often used when reckoning time.

     Eric then concludes:

“The idiomatic expressions that Jesus and the Bible writers employed to denote how long Jesus would remain in the grave does not mean that He literally was buried for 72 hours. If we interpret the account of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial, and resurrection in light of the cultural setting of the first century, and not according to the present-day (mis)understanding of skeptics, we find no errors in any of the expressions that Jesus and the gospel writers used.”*

End of Part I

Next Time: More Christian apologetics. And later, My rebuttal. (Part II here.)

*https://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=6&article=756

A Theological/Bible Related Commentary

Holy_Trinity

The Christian doctrine of the Trinity (from Latin trinitas “triad”, from trinus “threefold”) defines God as three consubstantial persons, expressions, or hypostases: the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit; “one God in three persons.”   (Wikipedia)

     Just substitute the word “Gods” for “persons,” and you actually have something more in line with what Trinitarian Christians are really  looking at: The God Jesus is God, but NOT God the Father; that they’re really separate from each other, but not really.

     Think “square-circles”!

    Trinitarian Christians are taught to believe that the three “persons,” or entities, that make up God are actually ONE entity. “He is three, and they are One” makes just about as much sense as believing in the existence of square-circles. If one could be brainwashed into believing that  sort of nonsense, it would prove they’re utterly brainwashed, wouldn’t it?

    Claiming that the Trinity is some sort of a “mystery” that the feeble mind of man  has to simply accept as the truth is flat-out nonsensical―and an insult to the rational mind. It is patent nonsense. It is as intellectually dishonest as it gets.

   Don’t believe so?  Let the Trinitarian Christian provide irrefutable evidence to the contrary.

*For more on this subject, see this.

On Prayer

August 30, 2013

 A Theological/Bible Related Commentary

Jesus_Prayer_Hands

 

Have you ever asked yourself why Christians feel the need to pray?

The faithful will tell you that they pray for a wide variety of reasons. They may pray to their God to praise Him for being so loving and wonderful, or merely to give “thanks” for the “blessings” He’s bestowed upon them. Some pray to confess their “sins” directly to God and thus make their remorse feel all that more sincere. Many pray to seek God’s Divine help or guidance in some matter. Many Christians even pray on the behalf of others. And many of the faithful pray to their God simply to “commune” with Him. Most Christians, however, pray in hope of receiving material goods of one form or another.

You may wonder how the faithful can come to praise God for being so loving and wonderful, or thank Him for “blessings” received when there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that God even exists. (This parallels, in a manner, Christians telling atheists that we “hate” God. Now how can anyone  be “mad” at or “hate” a God―or any other  imaginary creature for that matter―that we don’t even believe to be real? It is well-nigh impossible to do. Just try it sometime and see. Try truly  hating leprechauns, for example. Or try getting really, really angry at them. Can’t do it now, can you? But if you really can, well, you deserve genuine pity.

The brutal truth is that Christians are actually imagining  that they are communicating with deity. Equally brutal is the fact that they cannot possibly prove otherwise either.

Isn’t that  a mind-numbing realization we nonbelievers all have to accept!

On Group Prayer

Many non-Christians are troubled by the extent to which Christians will try and impose  Christian prayer on others. If it’s not in the public school classroom, it’s at graduation ceremonies, or during sporting activities and the like. And it is usually Christians using simple peer pressure to coerce others into participating even though genuine sincerity on the part of each participant may be entirely  lacking. Such group prayer ends up being nothing more than an “advertisement” for the Christian religion and a bold-faced attempt to indoctrinate non-Christians into the Christian faith.

Yet Jesus―purported to be none other than God in the flesh himself―absolutely opposed staged prayer and the like in his famed “Sermon on the Mount”:

““Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven

But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret  will reward you.

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others” (Matthew 6:1, 6, and 5, in that order; NIV; emphasis mine)

As for what prayer truly  accomplishes―other than fulfill some psychological or emotional need on the part of the worshiper―Christians are at a loss to prove.

And has anyone ever defined what group prayer is supposed to achieve that individual, personal prayer does not?

God Anticipates Your Needs

But there’s more: Jesus goes on further in the Sermon on the Mount to declare that “Your Father knows what you need [even] before you ask him ,” prayer-wise! (Matthew 6:8; NIV)

Well, if an all-knowing God already  knows what you would feel the need to pray for beforehand, what is the need for prayer at all? If it is simply to make make-believe God “punch-happy” and pleased with the level of attention and begging He is receiving, what a hoot! Does it make imaginary God unhappy  to deny prayer requests too?

Havoc-Wreaking God and Misfortune

God gets the credit when things go well for the Christian; so much so that Christians feel themselves individually “blessed” by God in a positive way. But then why is not God given the blame when things go disastrously wrong by these very same worshipers―excepting natural disasters? God, instead, gets to remain utterly immune from reproach―regardless  of how horrific the disaster! Now that’s retarded in my view. It’s just plain goofy. Is it not?

Look at the number of Christians throughout man’s history that have actually been killed in church or during a religious service of one type or another; killed while praising, adoring, and thanking Almighty God in worship!!  Now what on earth did thankful prayer achieve for those  Christians?!

Francisco de Curico church

Where was Almighty God to “protect” not only His houses of worship, but too, those worshiping inside  them, from destruction?.

What a bizarre form of “gratitude” God Almighty chooses to display to the faithful!!

Was not going to worship and pray that deadly day utterly tragic, not only for the victims, but for their friends, family members, and fellow worshipers alike? Would not the act of protecting all worshipers from harm in places of worship provide a proof that God actually exists?

So what do the grieving survivors, friends, family members, and fellow worshipers do after church-related deaths? Why, they gather together and pray to make-believe God all the more  fervently! Now how bizarre is that!!  It was their own “loving” God calling the victims “home,” so we are told, by murdering them! So what is further prayer supposed to accomplish?

We all know of people of faith who have prayed to God to thank him  for the fact that their hellish existence isn’t even more  hellish. But where was God prior  to these individuals suffering such hellish conditions? How much praying and veneration is required before God does something, anything, to aid his suffering earthly “children”?

Concentration Camp Inmates

Your [Heavenly] Father knows what you need before you [even] ask him.”

(Jesus in Matthew 6:8)

starving_kids

starving-child-1

Child and Vulture

So what went wrong?

awful1

What? Starving children just not praying fervently enough for God’s taste these days?

A Theological/Bible Related Commentary

Part IV

     When last we left Mary Magdalene, she and “the other Mary” had returned to Jerusalem to inform Jesus’ immediate male disciples that they met the risen Jesus, and that he was to meet them in person in Galilee.

Angel at the Tomb

      In Matthew’s gospel, the two Mary’s first  encounter a lone angel, at dawn, sitting atop the entrance tomb stone who informs the pair that Jesus has risen from the dead. The angel then gets up off the stone and actually directs  the two to the empty tomb―perhaps even having to side-step the “dead-like” Roman guard unit lying incapacitated on the ground to do so (cf. Matthew 28:6). It is only now  that Mary Magdalene becomes aware that Jesus’ body is missing.

     What, then, are we to make of the fact that Mary Magdalene had already  encountered two angels inside the tomb AND  met the risen Jesus earlier―according to John, Chapter 20?

     It is vitally  important to realize that Matthew’s account patently  contradicts the Gospel of John as to how Mary Magdalene comes to discover the empty tomb.

     In John, chapter 20, Mary Magdalene sees that the entrance stone has been rolled back in the pre-dawn; discovers Jesus’ body is missing; then hurries back to Jerusalem to tell Peter and the Beloved Disciple of it. The three then rush to the tomb with the Beloved Disciple arriving first, but with Peter being the first to actually enter the tomb.

The-Empty-Tomb

     Notice that contrary to Matthew’s gospel there is no angel sitting atop the entrance stone outside the tomb, nor a Roman guard unit lying dazed and confused on the ground at any point thus far. Moreover, Mary Magdalene is certainly not “escorted to the empty tomb by an angel as in Matthew 28:6, now is she?

     Peter and the Beloved Disciple return to Jerusalem when Mary Magdalene, now standing just outside the tomb entrance, peers into the tomb. It is only now  that any angels appear on scene in John’s gospel. Two suddenly materialize inside  the tomb sitting on the slab where Jesus’ body once lay. Moments later, the risen Jesus appears and asks Mary why she is crying. He then asks who she is looking for. Notice that Jesus does not ask “them, ” who they are looking for. John keeps it purely in the singular here. There is no mention whatever of any other follower of Jesus other than Mary Magdalene on scene. Since this is the case, I will argue that the very questionable “we” passage―used by Christian apologists to maintain that multiple  female disciples accompanied Mary to the tomb―in John 20:2,

“So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we  don’t know where they have put him!'” (emphasis mine),

is either an interpolation inserted by some early Christian attempting to portray at least some  semblance of harmonization with the other three gospels, or else Mary simply chose to use the first person plural for the first person singular in this instance.

     In any event, it is important to note that “we” does not fit the context of what preceded it in any way. And note too that the Oriental, the Syriac, Arabic, Persic, and Ethiopic versions of this text read, “I  know not where they have laid him” (emphasis mine), not “we.”

     As stated, John’s gospel reports that both angels and the risen Jesus ask Mary Magdalene who she  is looking for. In Matthew’s gospel, however, the angel seated on the entrance stone already  knows who Mary is looking for and says  so prior  to the two Mary’s discovering that Jesus’ body is missing (cf. Matthew 28:6). So too, the angel inside the tomb in Mark 16:6:

“And he [the angel] saith unto them [Mary Magdalene, Mary the Mother of James, and Salome], Be not affrighted: ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.” (KJV)

(Memo to Christian fundamentalists:   You can’t make a square peg fit this round hole. You simply can’t. There is no way to squirm out of these contradictory accounts and remain intellectually honest in doing so. Your “faith” does not make these contradictory “empty tomb” accounts all magically become literally “true.” And no amount of wishful thinking will do the trick either.)

The Two Mary's and Salome - Mark 16:1

The Two Mary’s and Salome – Mark 16:1

     Yet Christian apologists will argue that the four evangelists have recorded mere snippets of what actually took place at the empty tomb: each from their own, unique perspective; with one gospel author adding some bit of information another evangelist fails to reveal; with one gospel author choosing to cite just part of an angel’s remarks, while another cites them in full; with one evangelist focusing on just the “lead” angel, while another feels they both deserve the spotlight.

     But try as one might, it is still  impossible to mesh all four empty tomb accounts into one flaw-free cohesive whole. It’s just not possible.

     Christian commentators, therefore, have resorted to two alternative means of “resolving” the matter. The first is to cry that Christians are in a “no-win” situation because we skeptics would cry “foul” if the four gospel accounts actually agreed with each other; citing that we would charge the evangelists with fraudulently “conspiring” to compose a fault-free set of reports.

     But that is sheer poppycock and every atheist knows it. The New Testament has far  greater problems than finding certain accounts suspiciously made to agree with one another. Besides, this “tack” does nothing to explain away the patent contradictions involved, now does it?

     The second approach is to actually agree  that trying to mesh the four empty tomb accounts into one cohesive whole is hopeless! So this  body of Christians argue that the contradictions matter not one whit: that it is far more important that the four accounts agree in general, and that  is what makes the preposterous accounts of Jesus’ resurrection “true“!

So much for the historical “accuracy” of the gospel accounts!

So much for “God” directing “flawless” scripture.

And so much for bible “inerrancy” too.

THE END

Part I (here)     Part II (here)     Part III (here)

Next Time: I’ll tackle the topic of “Prayer”.