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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 60 Dr. Peter Millican of Oxford on the PROBLEM OF EVIL

 

On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:

…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975

and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.

Harry Kroto

_________________

Below you have picture of Dr. Harry Kroto:

____________

Debate – Does God Exist? William Lane Craig vs Peter Millican (Birmingham University, October 2011)

Peter Millican

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Peter Millican

Peter Millican (born 1 March 1958) is Gilbert Ryle Fellow and Professor of Philosophy at Hertford College, University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. His primary interests include the philosophy of David Hume, philosophy of religion, philosophy of language, epistemology, and moral philosophy. Millican is particularly well known for his work on David Hume, and from 2005 until 2010 was co-editor of the journal Hume Studies. He is also anInternational Correspondence Chess Grandmaster, and has a strong interest in the field of Computing and its links with Philosophy. Recently he has developed a new degree programme at Oxford University, in Computer Science and philosophy, which accepted its first students in 2012.[1]

Education[edit]

Peter Millican attended Borden Grammar School in Kent, United Kingdom. He read Mathematics and then Philosophy and Theology at Lincoln College, Oxford from 1976–1980. Staying at Lincoln College, Millican took the Philosophy B.Phil in 1982 (with a thesis in Philosophical Logic). Millican later obtained his PhD with a thesis on Hume, Induction and Probability, and also a research MSc in Computer Science, while employed at Leeds.[2]

Academic career[edit]

After teaching at the University of Glasgow from 1983, Millican was appointed in 1985 to a permanent Lectureship at Leeds University, teaching both Computing and Philosophy. After 20 years at Leeds, in 2005 Millican was appointed as Gilbert Ryle Fellow in Philosophy at Hertford College, Oxford, promoted to Reader in Early Modern Philosophy in 2007, and Professor of Philosophy in 2010.[2] In 2009, he was appointed as the first “David Hume Illumni Fellow” at Edinburgh University, a visiting position that he occupied during 2010–11.[3]

Research[edit]

Millican is best known for his research on David Hume, notably on the development of Hume’s philosophy, and on the interpretation of his writings on induction and causation. In a 1995 paper,[4] Millican gave a detailed analysis of Hume’s famous argument concerning induction, aiming to reconcile its apparent sceptical thrust with Hume’s clear endorsement of inductive science: the previous interpretations that he was attacking had either condemned Hume as an inconsistent sceptic, or denied the scepticism entirely. His 2002 collection included a paper refining his analysis, and arguing against recent revisionary non-sceptical interpretations (particularly those proposed by Don Garrett and David Owen)—this debate is still ongoing in his 2012 paper. The collection also emphasised the distinctive importance of Hume’s work in the 1748 Enquiry,[5] with the controversial implication that the Enquiry, rather than the Treatise, should be taken as presenting Hume’s definitive perspective on the main topics that it covers.

More recently, Millican has published a series of substantial papers with the aim of deciding the so-called “New Hume” debate, which has been the most prominent controversy in Hume scholarship over the last 20 years (“New Humeans” take Hume to be a believer in a form of causation that goes beyond the constraints of his famous “two definitions of cause”). The first of these appeared in a 2007 collection on the debate,[6] the second in the July 2009 issue of Mind, and the third (responding to replies) in a 2010 collection on causation.[7] The Mind paper concludes that “the New Hume interpretation is not just wrong in detail—failing in the many ways documented above—but fundamentally misrepresents the basis, core, point and spirit of Hume’s philosophy of causation”.[8] A reviewer of the third paper judges that “Millican convincingly argues that none of his opponents’ attempts to

is plausible. I am not alone in thinking the New Hume debate has run its course; as Millican says at the end of his essay, ‘it is time to call it a day’ (p. 158).”

Much of Millican’s other research, while not itself historical, has focused on Humean topics such as induction, probability, and philosophy of religion, but also on philosophy of language. His most significant non-Humean papers are on the logic of definite descriptions (1990), the morality of abortion (1992), and Anselm’s Ontological Argument (2004).”.[9]

Philosophy and computing[edit]

As an educator, Millican’s most distinctive contributions have been on the interface between Computing and philosophy, devoting most of his career at Leeds to developing the teaching of Computer Science and programming to students in the Humanities.[2] More recently, he has championed a new degree in Computer Science and Philosophy at Oxford University (see Degrees of the University of Oxford), which started in 2012. To encourage students in the Humanities to get involved in Computing, Millican developed a number of user-friendly software teaching systems.

Barack Obama autobiography[edit]

In 2008 and 2009, some Republican commentators advanced claims that US President Barack Obama‘s autobiography, Dreams from My Father was written or ghost-written by Bill Ayers. In a series of articles in American Thinker and WorldNetDaily, authorJack Cashill claimed that his own analysis of the book showed Ayers’ writing style, and backed this up citing analyses by American researchers using Millican’s Signature software. In late October 2008, shortly before the US Presidential election, US Congressman Chris Cannon and his brother-in-law attempted to hire Millican to prove Ayers’ authorship using computer analysis. Millican refused after they would not assure him in advance that his results would be published regardless of the outcome.[10][11][12][13] After some analysis Millican later criticised the claim, saying variously that he had “found no evidence for Cashill’s ghostwriting hypothesis”, that it was “unlikely”[14] and that he felt “totally confident that it is false”.[12]

Chess career[edit]

Millican played chess over-the-board in his youth, and captained Oxford University to victory in the National Chess Club Championship in 1983.[15] He later turned to correspondence chess, becoming British Champion in 1990.[16] This brought him the British Master title, and he then became an International Master in 1993 by winning his Semi-final group in the 19th World Correspondence Championship. With an international rating of 2610 (ranked 31 in the world), Millican was invited to play in the NPSF-50 “super tournament” (the first-ever Category 15 tournament, with an average rating over 2600).[17] By coming fifth—after Ulf Andersson, Gert Jan Timmerman, Joop van Oosterom, and Hans-Marcus Elwert, Millican qualified in 1997 as anInternational Correspondence Chess Grandmaster.[18] He analysed the Double Muzio chess opening in detail, asserting equality.[19]

_____________________________________________

In  the third video below in the 105th clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)

Quote from Peter Millican:

“If God is an omnipotent omniscient agent he can do what he likes. Okay, so what kind of world world would you expect Him to create/ What is the kind of evidence that would indicate that one kind of divine being is at work rather than another? Well its the goodness. That is the crucial thing. The problem of evil shouldn’t be called the problem of evil, but the problem of the empirical evidence. The world doesn’t match up to what you would expect from a perfect God.”

Below is my response to Dr. Millican: 

October 9, 2015

Dr. Peter Millican, c/o Faculty of Philosophy, Radcliffe Humanities,

Dear Dr. Millican,

I really enjoyed your debate with William Craig and I noticed you make this assertion in that debate:

“If God is an omnipotent omniscient agent he can do what he likes. Okay, so what kind of world world would you expect Him to create/ What is the kind of evidence that would indicate that one kind of divine being is at work rather than another? Well its the goodness. That is the crucial thing. The problem of evil shouldn’t be called the problem of evil, but the problem of the empirical evidence. The world doesn’t match up to what you would expect from a perfect God.”

How can a good God allow evil and suffering?

Their thinking is that either God is not powerful enough to prevent evil or else God is not good. He is often blamed for tragedy. “Where was God when I went through this, or when that happened.”  God is blamed for natural disasters, Even my insurance company describes them as “acts of God.” How to handle this one-  (O.N.E.)
a. Origin of evil— man’s choice- God created a perfect world…
b. Nature of God—He forgives, I John 1:9—He uses tragedy to bring us to Himself, C.S. Lewis, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains:  it is His megaphone to arouse a deaf world.”
c. End of it all—Bible teaches that God will one day put an end to all evil, and pain and death. “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4).As Christians we have this hope of Heaven and eternity. Share how it has made a tremendous difference in your life and that you know for sure that when you die you are going to spend eternity in Heaven. Ask the person, “May I ask you a question? Do you have this hope? Do you know for certain that when you die you are going to Heaven, or is that something you would say you’re still working on?”How could a loving God send people to Hell?
(O.N.E.)
a. Origin of hell—never intended for people. Created for Satan and his demons. Jesus said, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt 25:41). Man chooses to sin and ignore God. The penalty is death (eternal separation from God) and, yes, Hell. But God doesn’t send anyone to Hell, we choose it by refusing or ignoring God in attitude and action. b. Nature of God—“ God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). He is so loving that He sent His own Son to die and pay the penalty for our sin so that we could avoid Hell and have the assurance of Heaven. No one in Hell will be able to blame God. He doesn’t send people there, it’s our own choice. We must choose to repent, to stop ignoring God in attitude and action, accepting His salvation and yielding to His leadership.c. End of it all—Bible teaches that God will one day put an end to all evil, pain, death, and penalty of Hell. “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4).As Christians , we need not worry about Hell. The Bible says, “these things have been written . . . so that you may know you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).  I have complete confidence that when I die, I’m going to Heaven.  

_________________________________________

In his article “A Conversation with an Atheist,” Rick Wade notes:

The problem of evil is a significant moral issue in the atheist’s arsenal. We talk about a God of goodness, but what we see around us is suffering, and a lot of it apparently unjustifiable. Stephanie said, “Disbelief in a personal, loving God as an explanation of the way the world works is reasonable–especially when one considers natural disasters that can’t be blamed on free will and sin.”{17}

One response to the problem of evil is that God sees our freedom to choose as a higher value than protecting people from harm; this is the freewill defense. Stephanie said, however, that natural disasters can’t be blamed on free will and sin. What about this? Is it true that natural disasters can’t be blamed on sin? I replied that they did come into existence because of sin (Genesis 3). We’re told in Romans 8 that creation will one day “be set free from its slavery to corruption,” that it “groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.” The Fall caused the problem, and, in the consummation of the ages, the problem will be fixed.

Second, I noted that on a naturalistic basis, it’s hard to even know what evil is. But the reality of God explains it. As theologian Henri Blocher said,

The sense of evil requires the God of the Bible. In a novel by Joseph Heller, “While rejecting belief in God, the characters in the story find themselves compelled to postulate his existence in order to have an adequate object for their moral indignation.” . . . When you raise this standard objection against God, to whom do you say it, other than this God? Without this God who is sovereign and good, what is the rationale of our complaints? Can we even tell what is evil? Perhaps the late John Lennon understood: “God is a concept by which we measure our pain,” he sang. Might we be coming to the point where the sense of evil is a proof of the existence of God?{18}

So,… if there is no God, there really is no problem of evil. Does the atheist ever find herself shaking her fist at the sky after some catastrophe and demanding an explanation? If there is no God, no one is listening.

________________________________________

Thank you again for your time and I know how busy you are.

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.com, http://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, Box 23416, LittleRock, AR 72221

ARGUMENTS FOR GOD

William Lane Craig vs. Peter Millican- Thoughts and Links

Theistic philosopher of religion William Lane Craig recently debated Atheistic Philosopher Peter Millican on the topic “Does God exist?” I daresay this was one of the most interesting debates I’ve heard. Millican came in with a clear strategy, and the debate covered an extreme range of topics. The friendly nature of the debate was also quite rewarding to hear. Clearly, we can have such discussions without attacking each other. Anyway, to the outline and analysis.

Craig Opening

Craig began by outlining the topic: Does God exist? The topic can be answered as yes or no. Craig argued for the former, and left the latter to Millican.

First, he argued philosophically against an infinite past. This argument would become quite important throughout the debate so I’ll outline it briefly. If we had an infinite number of coins, each with a number upon them, and took away ten, the number of coins would still be infinite. If we took away all the even coins, we’d have subtracted an infinite number of coins, and still, there would be an infinite number of coins. If, however, we subtracted all the coins above 3, we’d have subtracted infinite from infinite, and be left with 3 coins, not infinite coins. Craig argued that this is obviously a contradiction because despite subtracting the same amount (or different amounts) we can come up with two different answers (or the same answer). Therefore the past cannot be infinite.

Craig also argued scientifically that the universe began by bringing up the Borde, Guth, and Vilenkin theory which shows that irregardless of theories about the multiverse, bubble universes, and the like, the universe had a beginning.

He then presented the Kalam cosmological argument, though with a slight twist. He instead presented it as “The universe began to exist; if the universe began to exist, then it has a transcendent cause; therefore, the universe has a transcendent cause.”

He then argued the fine-tuning argument. There are a number of conditions of the universe which have been fine-tuned within a narrow range for the existence of life. Because of this, argued Craig, we can conclude the universe was designed.

Objective morality also necessitates the existence of God, argued Craig. The argument was based upon two major conditions: that objective morals exist, and that they cannot if there is no God. He quoted atheist philosopher Michael Ruse who said (in part): “morality is just an aid to survival” on naturalism.

Yet our moral experience leads us to believe that morality is indeed objective, and we know that, on naturalism, there is no ontological basis for morals. Thus, God exists.

Three facts must be explained by those who argue Jesus did not rise from the dead, and any theory must answer all of them: 1) the empty tomb; 2) on different occasions and settings to different people, Jesus appeared alive; 3) disciples showed a sudden belief that Jesus had risen, despite every predisposition to the contrary.

Craig noted that these three facts are agreed upon by New Testament scholars–both theists and non.

Finally, Craig argued for the experiential awareness of God.

Millican Opening

Millican used a different strategy here. Rather than immediately rebutting Craig’s arguments, as most have done in debates with Craig (although, notably, Stephen Law did not either in his debate with Craig), Millican argued against the method used first.

Christianity, he stated, is a hypothesis about reality. It makes a claim about what reality is. Therefore, the burden of proof lands squarely upon the theist.

He argued that people are primed for belief in gods. They have a “permiscuous teleology” which seeks for design. Furthermore, the dominant determinant of religious orientation is place of birth.

Before one could accuse Millican of the genetic fallacy (I actually wrote this on the side of my notes), he stated that he was not arguing these disprove God. Rather, he argued that if a method leads to variant beliefs, then it should discredit the method.

He then turned to rebutting Craig’s arguments. He said that quantum mechanics has shown that particles can come into existence out of nothing (note that he did indeed use the word “nothing” here). He furthermore argued that in our experience, we only see physical things being rearranged, not coming into existence ex nihilo. He argued that our experience must establish these truths.

He also cited Vilenkin, in a letter, stating that his theorem did not show the universe had a beginning.

Regarding the moral argument, he asked “what is objective?” He said that based upon how one defines this, one could have different answers about objective morality.

Craig First Rebuttal

Craig noted that Millican’s attempt to put all burden of proof on the theist didn’t work, because they also make a claim about reality: “There is no God.” This claim needs support as well, and Millican did not support it.

Regarding Millican’s claim about method, Craig responded that his method is logic, evidence, and personal experience–the same things which the scientific method relies upon. Thus, if the method yields God’s existence, it is not to be distrusted but embraced by those who value the latter method.

Not only that, but Millican’s argument seemed to suggest that religions all used the same methodology in reaching their truth claims, which is highly contentious and definitely untrue. Religions use a broad array of methods in how they discover truth.

Craig argued that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Only if we should expect more proof than there is should we be in doubt of the existence of something due to absence of evidence. Furthermore, argued Craig, he presented a great wealth of evidence already.

Craig then quoted Vilenkin’s letter in context. Vilenkin wrote that the beginning could be avoided only if one allowed for a contracting universe, but that this was highly unlikely and would have prevented the expansion of the universe. Thus, Vilenkin said, if he were to give a short answer to the question “Does your theory imply the beginning of the universe?” the answer would be yes. I should note that Millican dropped Vilenkin faster than Dawkins runs from Craig after this quote was read.

Craig then argued that the unembodied mind is hinted at our own experience. Furthermore, epiphenominalism simply cannot ground reality as we experience it.

Finally, regarding the moral argument, Craig asked why we should value humans and not chimps.

Millican First Rebuttal

Millican responded to the fine-tuning argument by saying that perhaps we may explain these evidences later. Further, we can’t base it all upon current physics, which may change. He also argued that there is difficulty with using the probability argument because our only sample is our current universe. God, argued Millican, would have been greatly inefficient if he made the universe as he did.

He briefly touched on the evil god thesis (as seen in the Law debate) and argued that the evidences could work for an evil deity.

Millican also suggested we should expect more evidence–why can’t there be more evidence for the existence of God?

Regarding the philosophical argument about the beginning of the universe, Millican noted that transfinite math does not allow for subtraction or addition because it yields diverse answers. Thus, he stated, Craig’s argument is confused.

He also conceded that the quantum vaccuum is not nothing, which was interesting considering he had literally used that word for it in his opening statement. He pressed his point, however, by stating that it is the closest we can come to nothing in our experience.

Unfortunately, Millican ran short on time and couldn’t respond to all Craig’s points.

Craig Second Rebuttal

Craig argued there are still no good reasons to support the contention “there is no God.” Furthermore, Millican’s response to the “absence of evidence” argument was just a personal opinion: ‘I think there should be more.’

God’s ‘inefficiency’ presupposes a God-as-engineer, argued Craig. One would have to be limited on time or resources in order to be compelled towards efficiency–limits God obviously does not have. God might be better compared to an artist or chef–enjoying the creation and beauty as he designed the universe.

The philosophical argument about infinites is problematic for Millican, argued Craig. The reason is because while we can slap the hand of a mathematician who tries to do so with abstract math, we can’t do the same thing in real life. If we literally had infinite coins, we couldn’t prevent someone from taking one away, and leading to the absurdities. In fact, Millican essentially demonstrated the point: such things are excluded in transfinite math because they are absurd, and so can’t happen in the real world.

Millican’s argument that the fine-tuning argument depends only on current physics illustrates Craig’s point exactly, countered Craig. Namely, that current physics supports the existence of God.

Millican Second Rebuttal

Millican argued that it doesn’t follow that if epiphenominalism is false, dualism is true. I think it’s really unfortunate the debate was so short–it would be interesting to see their views on this matter face off. He argued statistically that there are many moral realists who are not theists.

Why shouldn’t an atheist believe in objective moral values? asked Millican. There’s no good reason they can’t detect them and experience them. Further, we can value humans because they’re rational, and the same species.

Finally, he argued that scholars like Bart Ehrman had undermined the evidence for the resurrection by showing that the Gospels weren’t independent and unreliable.

Craig Conclusion

Craig noted there still was no good argument for atheism and that he’d presented good arguments for theism.

Bart Ehrman and the others Millican cited actually agree with the three facts Craig used to support the resurrection, so there was still no counter to that argument.

Craig noted that rationality doesn’t serve as an objective cut off point for morals. Sam Harris argued that sentience is. On atheism, argued Craig, there is no non-arbitrary line at which to base morality. Why should we value rationality? Why value humans more than chimps? Again, the line is arbitrary. The fact that many atheistic philosophers believe in realism of morality doesn’t show that it has grounds ontologically in atheism.

Millican Conclusion

Millican said there are many theories of how objective reality can be established on atheism.

He argued that physics may change and so we can’t base the existence of God upon current physics.

Finally, regarding evil, Millican said that our empirical evidence should lead us to doubt whether God exists. What should we see if there is a God? Certainly not this much suffering.

[Millican also argued throughout that there is no experiential evidence for things coming into being out of nothing, so that the causal premise of the Kalam is undermined. I forgot to write down where he started this argument, but wanted to make note of it here.]

Analysis

The debate was great. There were so many topics covered, it was a whirlwind.

Millican’s refutations of the Kalam were dramatically undercut by Craig. His citation of Vilenkin was just utterly demolished when Craig read the rest of the passage. His arguments about how we can’t add or subtract from infinity merely demonstrated Craig’s point: that it is absurd to suppose actual infinites exist. Regarding the causal premise, Craig argued in the debate that Millican would have to hold there was no essential or material cause for the universe, an argument to which Millican never had a response. To be fair, this may have been due to time.

I thought Millican’s response the fine-tuning argument was quite strange. Certainly, physics may change, but that doesn’t mean we can’t trust what we know now. As Craig argued, physicists today are quite convinced of the trustworthiness of physics. Further, Craig responded to the probabilistic argument by showing that we do indeed know the probability–despite the sample size. There is simply a life-permitting range for the values cited, so we can be justified in holding the fine-tuning argument to be true.

The moral argument was another point of contention. I don’t think Millican really undermined it. He merely referenced that atheists think they can have objective moral values, and questioned the meaning of the word “objective.” Interestingly, in the Q&A, Craig responded to Millican’s confusion: “That’s why I defined it.”

The resurrection definitely didn’t get defeated. Millican’s deferment to Ehrman and the like actually justified Craig’s 3 facts approach, because the scholars he cited affirmed the three facts.

Overall, I think Millican did much better than Law and definitely better than Harris or Krauss in those debates which I reviewed. That said, Craig still established the existence of God–at least as best can be done in under an hour to speak. Millican’s objections were interesting, but ultimately defeated by Craig. I think it’s fair to say that this debate showed, once more, that in the forum of rational inquiry, theism has an upper hand.

Links

Check out the audio of the debate at Apologetics 315. Also see their awesome feed which features tons of Craig’s debates.

See Wintery Knight’s summary of the debate.

SDG.

——

How Atheists Take Alexander Vilenkin (& the BVG Theorem) Out Of Context – William Lane Craig

Uploaded on Dec 28, 2011

http://reasonablefaith.org – It seems that some atheists are doing everything they can to prove the universe had NO beginning – even if it means taking someone out of context! The Borde-Guth-Vilenkin Theorem has proven the universe had a beginning NO MATTER WHAT KIND OF SCIENTIFIC MODEL ONE PROPOSES (which include oscillating models, multiverses, etc.). In an effort to scramble for a refutation, atheists (like Peter Millican) have claimed that Alexander Vilenkin (a co-author of the BVG Theorem) himself said there is a way to undermine his theorem. William Lane Craig has shown that Peter Millican actually took Vilenkin out of context. Furthermore, Alan Guth (another co-author of the BVG Theorem) said that there is an actual and unique beginning to the universe.

The BVG Theorem:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ub6vKr…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yxqrB…

The BVG Theorem and Quantum Tunneling:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qn1pab…

We welcome your comments in the Reasonable Faith forums:
http://www.reasonablefaith.org/forums/

Follow Reasonable Faith On Twitter: http://twitter.com/rfupdates

Add Reasonable Faith On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/reasonablefai…

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 53 One politician who knows science responds to Lisa Randall of Harvard!

 

On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:

…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975

and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.

Harry Kroto

____________________

Below you have picture of 1996 Chemistry Nobel Prize Winner Dr. Harry Kroto:

_________________________________

Lisa Randall

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Lisa Randall
Lisa-randall-at-ted-cropped.jpg

Lisa Randall at TED
Born June 18, 1962 (age 53)
Queens, New York City, New York, United States
Residence Massachusetts, United States
Nationality American
Fields Physics
Institutions Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory
University of California, Berkeley
Princeton University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Harvard University
Alma mater Stuyvesant High School
Harvard University
Doctoral advisor Howard Georgi
Doctoral students Csaba Csáki, Eric Sather, Witold Skiba, Shu-fang Su, Emanuel Katz, Matthew Schwartz, Shiyamala Thambyahpillai, Liam Fitzpatrick, David Simmons-Duffin, Brian Shuve
Known for Randall–Sundrum model
Warped Passages
Notable awards Klopsteg Memorial Award (2006)
Lilienfeld Prize (2007)
Andrew Gemant Award (2012)

Lisa Randall (born June 18, 1962) is an American theoretical physicist and leading expert on particle physics and cosmology. She is the Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of Science on the physics faculty of Harvard University.[1] Her research includes elementary particles and fundamental forces and she has developed and studied a wide variety of models, the most recent involving extra dimensions of space. She has advanced the understanding and testing of the Standard Model, supersymmetry, possible solutions to the hierarchy problem concerning the relative weakness of gravity, cosmology of extra dimensions, baryogenesis, cosmological inflation, and dark matter.[2] Her best-known contribution is theRandall–Sundrum model, first published in 1999 with Raman Sundrum.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Randall was born in Queens in New York City. She is an alumna of Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics and graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 1980,[4]where she was a classmate of fellow physicist and science popularizer Brian Greene.[4][5] She won first place in the 1980 Westinghouse Science Talent Search at the age of 18. Randall earned at Harvard both an A.B. in 1983, and in 1987 a Ph.D. in particle physics under the direction of Howard Georgi.[1]

Academia[edit]

Randall researches particle physics and cosmology at Harvard, where she is a professor of theoretical physics. Her research concerns elementary particles and fundamental forces, and has involved the study of a wide variety of models, the most recent involving extra dimensions of space. She has also worked on supersymmetry, Standard Model observables, cosmological inflation, baryogenesis, grand unified theories, and general relativity. Randall’s books Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe’s Hidden Dimensions and Knocking on Heaven’s Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World have both been on New York Times 100 notable books lists.[1]

After her graduate work at Harvard, Randall held professorships at MIT and Princeton University before returning to Harvard in 2001.[6] Professor Randall was the first tenured woman in the Princeton physics department and the first tenured female theoretical physicist at Harvard. (However, this should not be misconstrued to believe that she was the first tenured woman in the Harvard physics department. Melissa Franklin was the first to earn that accolade.)[7] She has also written two popular science books and the libretto of anopera.[8] She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2004) and the National Academy of Sciences (2008),[2] a fellow of the American Physical Society, and is a past winner of an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship, a National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award in 1992, and a DOE Outstanding Junior Investigator Award. In 2003, she received the Premio Caterina Tomassoni e Felice Pietro Chisesi Award, from the Sapienza University of Rome. In autumn 2004, she was the most cited theoretical physicist of the previous five years. In 2006, she received the Klopsted Award from the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT). Professor Randall was featured in Seed magazine’s “2005 Year in Science Icons ” and in Newsweeks “Who’s Next in 2006” as “one of the most promising theoretical physicists of her generation.” She has helped organize numerous conferences and has been on the editorial board of several major theoretical physics journals.[1][6]

Randall at TED 2006

Personal life[edit]

Randall’s sister, Dana Randall, is a professor of computer science at Georgia Tech.[9]

In 2007, Randall was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People (Time 100) under the section for “Scientists & Thinkers”. Randall was given this honor for her work regarding the evidence of a higher dimension.[10]

Randall has written the libretto for an opera, Hypermusic Prologue: A Projective Opera in Seven Planes, in collaboration with the composer Hèctor Parra.[11]

In  the third video below in the 120th clip in this series are her words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)

__________

QUOTE FROM LISA RANDALL:

Today’s politicians seem more comfortable invoking God and religion than they do presenting facts or numbers. Now that is odd. It’s not like they can’t talk about the former but it’s like they have to talk about the former where as talking about science is going to harm you and I actually think we are going to have to get past that if we are going to make progress in some of the big issues we have today.

________

Let me respond by saying that I can’t speak for all politicians but I can say that I can speak for myself since I am politician since I was elected in November of 2014 as Justice of the Peace in the 4th largest county in Arkansas. In my case I have corresponded on scientific issues with dozens of scientists for over 20 years now. You are employed by Harvard so I am sure you are familiar with some of the scientists were kind enough to take time out of their busy schedule and write me back. Those names include  Ernest Mayr (1904-2005), Gerald Holton (1922-), Edward O. Wilson(1929-), and Nobel Prize winners George Wald (1906-1997), and Nicolaas Bloembergen (1920-). Some other scientists I have corresponded are not from Harvard but none the less are very note worthy such as   Carl Sagan (1934-1996),  Robert Shapiro (1935-2011),   Brian Charlesworth (1945-),  Francisco J. Ayala (1934-) Elliott Sober (1948-), Kevin Padian (1951-), Matt Cartmill (1943-) , Milton Fingerman (1928-), John J. Shea (1969-), , Michael A. Crawford (1938-),   Harry Kroto (1939-),   Lewis Wolpert (1929),  Martin Rees (1942-), Alan Macfarlane (1941-),  Roald Hoffmann (1937-), Herbert Kroemer (1928-), and  Thomas H. Jukes (1906-1999). As you will notice several of these men have won Nobel Prizes.

Reading Dr. Randall’s quote  inspired me to write her a letter (which was mailed on September 21, 2015) about a scientist that my favorite philosopher Francis Schaeffer loved to quote. Michael Polanyi took on Harvard’s James D. Watson  and the British scientist Francis Crick concerning their reduction-ism and he knocked it out of the park. By the way Polanyi’s son John won the 1986 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Below is my letter to Dr. Randall and I am hoping she gets some time to respond to me (a politician) about this scientific matter.

 

September 21, 2015

Dr. Lisa Randall, Professor of Science, Harvard University,

Dear Dr. Randall,

Like you the first time I got to vote in the Presidential Election was in 1980 and there were very interesting candidates including a born and raised New Yorker like you named Barry Commoner. The thing I remember most about Barry was that he had profanity in his radio advertisements. Recently I had the opportunity to come across a very interesting article by Michael Polanyi, LIFE TRANSCENDING PHYSICS AND CHEMISTRY, in the magazine CHEMICAL AND ENGINEERING NEWS, August 21, 1967, and it talks a lot about Barry Commoner.  I also got hold of a 1968 talk by Francis Schaeffer based on this article. Polanyi’s son John actually won the 1986 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. This article by Michael Polanyi concerns Francis Crick and James Watson and their discovery of DNA in 1953. Polanyi noted:

Mechanisms, whether man-made or morphological, are boundary conditions harnessing the laws of in
animate nature, being themselves irreducible to those laws. The pattern of organic bases in DNA which functions as a genetic code is a boundary condition irreducible to physics and chemistry. Further controlling principles of life may be represented as a hierarchy of boundary conditions extending, in the case of man, to consciousness and responsibility.

I would like to send you a CD copy of this talk because I thought you may find it very interesting. It includes references to not only James D. Watson, and Francis Crick but also  Maurice Wilkins, Erwin Schrodinger, J.S. Haldane (his son was the famous J.B.S. Haldane), Peter Medawar, and Barry Commoner. I WONDER IF YOU EVER HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO RUN ACROSS THESE MEN OR ANY OF THEIR FORMER STUDENTS?

Below is a portion of the transcript from the CD and Michael Polanyi’s words are in italics while Francis Schaeffer’s words are not:

Francis Schaeffer in the fall of 1968 examined an article by Michael Polanyi on Francis Crick and James D. Watson and their views on the ramifications of their DNA discovery.

It deals with Michael Polanyi’s evaluation of Francis Crick and James D. Watson’s concepts of DNA. I will read from NEWSWEEK Feb 26, 1968, a summary, a review of James D. Watson’s book THE DOUBLE HELIX, 226 pages, $5.95, which Watson who was one of the men working with Crick has written this book and this is the review of it. The letters DNA…is the genetic material, the stuff of life that predetermines nearly everything about the nature of individual cells and entire organisms. To know how DNA works is to understand what life is.

I am not going to explain this but I am going to assume that you understand.

In 1953 James D. Watson with two British scientists discovered the three dimensional structure of DNA and the world took a giant step forward towards such knowledge. In the decade that followed, Watson, Crick and Maurice Wilkins were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1962 and molecular biology came of age and surpassed even physics as the most glamorous of the sciences. Whether or not the discovery of DNA’s double helical strands is as important a breakthrough as Newton’s discovery of gravity…”

Here you have the story of DNA with Watson and Crick being the principle ones to work it out.  I know men who have worked with Crick and the men who have worked with Crick say he has a simple propitiation. He is completely atheistic and as such his work is all committed to an end. He wants to reduce a simple form of life to a mechanical, deterministic situation within the philosophic concept that if this can be true of a small morsel of life then it would be true of all of life. Then life could be explained by just physics and chemistry and the mechanical.

This is an article by Michael Polanyi, LIFE TRANSCENDING PHYSICS AND CHEMISTRY, in the magazine CHEMICAL AND ENGINEERING NEWS, August 21, 1967, just a year ago.

For most people Michael Polanyi is an unknown name, which Francis Crick is known by almost everybody. Polanyi is almost unknown except among scholars and I have never known a scholar in any of these related areas that didn’t know Polanyi. Polanyi is a tremendous force in the current intellectual world.

This article is the climax of 15 years of Polanyi’s work. 

This article by Polanyi is somewhat technical and I’m sorry for anyone who gets lost. Having said that however, it is worthwhile struggling through. I will only read parts of the article but I will be fair to the article and what I have left out is largely the most technical parts that would add nothing except depth.

The discovery by James D. Watson and Francis Crick of the genetic function of DNA combined with the evidence these scientists provided for the self-duplication of DNA, is widely held to prove that living beings can be interpreted at least in principles, by the laws of physic and chemistry.

This is the principle of Crick and Watson that Polanyi will argue against. Now if their position is right then all human life is reduced to chemicals and physics and you would come to the final deterministic argument.

(On page 55 of the article) Barry Commoner has queried this view by citing evidence to show that the self-duplication of DNA is not proven (“Science and Survival”). 

If that would hold then it would destroy the position of Crick, Watson and I would add Peter Medawar. Especially for the British the name Medawar is very important in this discussion.

(On page 55 of the article) But the latter point though important, is not in fact decisive. For even if we granted the self-duplication of DNA, this would not show that living beings can be represented in terms of physics and chemistry. It would, for example, not offer a possible physical-chemical explanation of human consciousness. 

It becomes very interesting. What he is talking about here is the very thing that I constantly in my arguments would discuss under the term “the mannishness of man.” And he says it doesn’t explain this and the rest of his article goes on and explains his proposition.

For my part, I differ–from Commoner and from most biologists, by holding that no mechanism–be it a machine or a machine like feature of an organism–can be represented in terms of physics and chemistry. 

Now he says Commoner would accept that a machine could be explained in terms of chemical and physical laws, but Commoner would not accept that human consciousness could be. But Polanyi says that I differ because you can’t explain the machine either. This is the heart of his argument and I think it is titanic and when I first ran into Polanyi’s argument I must say I was overwhelmed because I had never heard anyone on the dilemma of explaining the machine on the basis of chemical and physical properties and laws. So constantly you know in my lectures that I say that modern science back to Galileo and these other early scientists that they thought of two parts of the universe, the machine portion which follows on the basis of cause and effect and then man, and those I would put under the term of modern scientists, the originators of modern science in contrast to modern, modern science, that they always had two parts of the universe, the machine,  it functions on the basis of cause and effect and then man. I point out in my lectures that modern modern science has included everything in the machine. So there is no place for God and no place for man. God disappears and man is included in the machine. So the distinction between modern science, Copernicus, Newton and those before them and modern modern science definition is that modern science had a place for God and man because they were not included in the machine, but modern modern science by also putting the social sciences and psychology on the basis of mechanism this being the case, these are now included in the machine. I would say that you might explain the machines in certain ways but what you could not explain was man, but Polanyi is carrying the argument a step more profoundly and saying you can’t explain the machine either on the basis on mere chemistry and physics. I must say I think Polanyi wins and Crick, Watson and Medawar are stymied by Polanyi’s argument. As far as I know and I have listened and listened and all the arguments I have ever heard about Polanyi, no one has ever been able to disprove his proposition. It is one of the great  propositions of the second half of the 20th century.

My account of the situation will seem to oscillate in several directions, and I shall set out, therefore, its stages in order. 

I shall show that:

  1. Commoner’s criteria of irreducibility to physics and chemistry are incomplete; they are necessary but not sufficient conditions of it. 
  2. Machines are irreducible to physics and chemistry. 
  3. By virtue of the principle of boundary control, mechanistic structures of living beings appear to be likewise irreducible. 

You have to understand his terminology and “boundary control” means a place where you enter a qualitative new condition. Please listen or you wouldn’t understand the rest of the article… Remember what that means. He has said that machines can not be reduced to physics and chemistry and now he says by the virtue of the principle of boundary control mechanistic structures of living beings, the mechanistic part of living beings including man likewise can not be reduced to physics and chemistry. Polanyi is going to say the argument is not only good for the consciousness of man (or what I call the “mannishness of man”), but also for the biological component parts or machine parts of the organism.

We would say that man has two parts, he is partially a machine and something more than a machine, the spirit or the mannishness of man…Of course, you must understand that the heart is a pump, and when this concept was first put forth it shocked people. People didn’t want to think of the heart as a pump…So when Harvey first put forth the concept of the heart as a pump he really shook the world...Polanyi is not a Christian and I don’t think he is consistent at the end of his argument. He doesn’t draw what I think is the only possible conclusion. Nevertheless, what Polanyi is saying is what if the heart is a pump, are we really reduced to chemical laws and physics. So any of you who have had any discussion on this realizes that this touches on a tremendous factor and it is usually accepted today without debate and it is a part of the implicit faith of modern man and that is the uniformity of natural causes in a closed system and that man is reducible to some form of determinism and certainly the physical parts of man can be reducible to physics and chemistry and Crick, Watson, and Medawar have pushed this to it’s tremendous conclusion in the last few years. It is part of this intellectual discussion and incidentally the death of man.

4. The structure of DNA, which according to Watson and Crick controls heredity, is not explicable by physics and chemistry. 

5. Assuming that morphological differentiation reflects the information content of DNA, we can prove that the morphology of living beings forms a boundary condition which, as such, is not explicable by physics and chemistry (the suggestion arrived at in the third item). 

________

Thank you for your time. I know how busy you are and I want to thank you for taking the time to read this letter.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher,

P.O. Box 23416, Little Rock, AR 72221, United States, cell ph 501-920-5733, everettehatcher@gmail.com

___________________

If you want to hear a politician like me talk about facts then let me leave you two.

1. Evolution can’t explain 4 things that we can have to know

In the video below Adrian Rogers notes four facts about the theory of Evolution:

1. Four Bridges that the Evolutionist Cannot Cross

a. The Origin of Life
The first bridge the evolutionists cannot logically cross is the origin of life—the origin of life. Now, whence came life?

(George Wald  is pictured above and I had the opportunity to correspond with him)

Let me tell you something: Dr. George Wald–Professor Emeritus of Biology at Harvard University—he won the Nobel Prize in Biology in 1971—writing in Scientific American on the origin of life, has said this—and I want you to listen carefully: “There are only two possibilities as to how life arose: One is spontaneous generation arising to evolution. The other is a supernatural creative act of God. There is no third possibility.” And, we would all say amen. Either God did it, or it just happened accidentally. All right. But now, let’s go on. So far, he’s doing good. He said there’s no third possibility. “Spontaneous generation, that life arose from nonliving matter, was scientifically disproved 120 years ago”—that was 120 years from when he made this statement—“by Louis Pasteur and others. That leaves us with only one possible conclusion: that life arose as a supernatural creative act of God.”So far, so good. But now, tune your ears, and don’t miss this. I want you to hear what this Nobel Prize winning scientist, Professor Emeritus of Biology at Harvard, said. Now remember, he said there are only two possibilities: Either there’s a creative act of God, or it is spontaneous generation that arises or moves to evolution. He said—and I’m continuing to quote: “I will not accept that…”—what that is he referring to? That it is a supernatural creative act of God—“I will not accept that philosophically, because I do not want to believe in God. Therefore, I choose to believe what I know is scientifically impossible: spontaneous generation arising to evolution.”

b. The Fixity of the Species
The second bridge the evolutionist cannot cross is the steadfastness, the fixity, of the species—that is, “the basic categories of life.”  We don’t have any evolutionary fossilized remains, missing links.

c. The Second Law of Thermodynamics
The third bridge that the evolutionist cannot logically cross is the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Now, what is the Second Law of Thermodynamics? This law says that energy is never destroyed. Everything tends to wear out, to run down, to disintegrate, and, ultimately, to die, but energy just moves to some other form. All processes, by definition, involve change, but the change—now, listen very carefully—is not in the upward direction of complexity, as the evolutionist declares. But, change left to itself is always in disintegration, not in integration. Now, that’s the Second Law of Thermodynamics. It’s called…—to itself, everything collapses, deteriorates, grows old, and dies, sooner or later—it’s called entropy.

d. The Non-Physical Properties Found in Creation
Now, here’s the fourth bridge that the evolutionists cannot logically cross, and that is the non-physical properties found in creation. Now, what do I mean by the non-physical properties found in creation? Music, The love of music, art, beauty, a hunger for God, worship. What is there in the survival of the fittest—what is there in the evolutionary process—that would produce these things? How can they be accounted for under the survival of the fittest? Where do these things come from? Genesis 1, verse 26: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” (Genesis 1:26). You see, we have these inner things—this love for beauty, for art, for truth, for eternity. That didn’t come from some primordial ooze; that came from the God who created us.

Adrian Rogers on Darwinism

2. There is evidence that indicates the Bible is true.

Scientists insist on evidence and don’t want to be encouraged to believe anything on “blind faith.” Therefore, I have included some evidence below that seems to confirm the Biblical accounts. Check it out.

The Bible and Archaeology – Is the Bible from God? (Kyle Butt 42 min)

Below is a piece of that evidence given by Francis Schaeffer concerning the accuracy of the Bible.

TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?, under footnote #96)

We should take one last step back into the history of the Old Testament. In the previous note we looked first at the Dead Sea Scrolls, dating to around 100 B.C. Then we went back to the period of the Late Monarchy and looked first at the siege of Hezekiah in Jerusalem by Sennacherib in 701 B.C. and also at the last years of Judah down to about 600 B.C. Then we went further back to about 850 B.C., to Ahab and Jezebel, the ivory house, the Black Obelisk, the Moabite Stone and so on–then back again to about 950 B.C., to the time of Solomon and his son Rehoboam and the campaign by Shishak, the Egyptian pharaoh.

This should have built up in our minds a vivid impression of the historic reliability of the biblical text, including even the seemingly obscure details such as the ration tablets in Babylon. We saw, in other words, not only that the Bible gives us a marvelous world view that ties in with the nature of reality and answers the basic problems which philosophers have asked down through the centuries, but also that the Bible is completely reliable, EVEN ON THE HISTORICAL LEVEL.

The previous notes looked back to the time of Moses and Joshua, the escape from Egypt, and the settlement in Canaan. Now we will go back further–back as far as Genesis 12, near the beginning of the Bible.

Do we find that the narrative fades away to a never-never land of myths and legends? By no means. For we have to remind ourselves that although Genesis 12 deals with events a long time ago from our moment of history (about 2000 B.C. or a bit later), the civilized world was already not just old but ancient when Abram/Abraham left “Ur of the Chaldeans” (see Genesis 11:31).

Ur itself was excavated some fifty years ago. In the British Museum, for example, one can see the magnificent contents of a royal burial chamber from Ur. This includes a gold headdress still in position about the head of a queen who died in Ur about 2500 B.C. It has also been possible to reconstruct from archaeological remains what the streets and buildings must have been like at the time.

Like Ur, the rest of the world of the patriarchs (that is, of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) was firm reality. Such places as Haran, where Abraham went first, have been discovered. So has Shechem from this time, with its Canaanite stone walls, which are still standing, and its temple.

Genesis 12:5-9New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew, and all their possessions which they had accumulated, and the [a]persons which they had acquired in Haran, and they [b]set out for the land of Canaan; thus they came to the land of Canaan. Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the[c]oak of Moreh. Now the Canaanite was then in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your [d]descendants I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him. Then he proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the Lord andcalled upon the name of the Lord. Abram journeyed on, continuing toward the[e]Negev.

Haran and Shechem may be unfamiliar names to us but the Negrev (or Negeb) is a name we have all read frequently in the news accounts of our own day. 

Negev Nuclear Research Center – Israel

The Negev – Israel’s Desert

This article was first published in the Spring 2005 issue of Bible and Spade.
“If the full meaning of a passage [in the Bible] is to be grasped, the context of the passage needs to be appropriately developed” (Greenwold 2004: 72). In his pithy study of Luke’s Gospel account of Elizabeth and Zachariah, Greenwold gives an example of what he means: “All too often in our church lifetime, we end up being given many theological and doctrinal factual ornaments, but seldom are we shown the tree upon which to hang them. It’s as if we have been handed dozens of pieces to a puzzle, but have never seen what the finished picture on the top of the puzzle box looks like” (2004: 73). I think that Greenwold has it right.
Jesus and the woman at Jacob’s well in John 4 is an excellent case in point. The story takes place near the Old Testament city of Shechem. Shechem is mentioned 60 times in the Old Testament. The city had been abandoned by New Testament times, but Stephen reiterates its importance in his speech in Acts 7:16. A small village, Sychar, was near the ruins of Shechem in New Testament times and is mentioned in the John 4 account (Jn 4:5). Unfortunately, most Bible studies of events at or near Shechem, and commentaries on the Book of John, omit Shechem’s pivotal role in Bible history and how it fit into God’s salvation plan.
 
The narrow pass where ancient Shechem is located at the modern city of Nablus, view west. Mt. Gerizim is on the left and Mt. Ebal on the right. Dr. James C. Martin.
Archaeological investigations have corroborated much of what the Bible has to say about Shechem’s physical and cultural aspects. Archaeology has confirmed Shechem’s location, its history, and many Biblical details. In this article I will integrate what archaeology has illuminated about this important place and its geographical importance with a macro look at Shechem’s place in revealing God’s promise and plan to restore believers to Him.1
Map of Shechem area showing the location of Tell Balata (ancient Shechem), Joseph’s tomb and Jacob’s Well. ASOR, 2002.
Location and Exploration
About 30 mi (49 km) north of Jerusalem is a low, 15-acre mound, known as Tell Balata. This nondescript ruin covers what was ancient Shechem. The tell rests in a long, narrow, east-west valley with the two highest mountains in central Palestine towering over it, Mt. Ebal on the north and Mt. Gerizim on the south. The Hebrew word shekemmeans “back” or “shoulder,” which probably refers to Shechem’s placement between the two mountains. Coming from the south, the major road from Beersheba, Hebron and Jerusalem splits here. One branch goes east, around Mt. Ebal, and provides access to the Jordan Valley and cities like Beth Shan. The western arm leads to the coastal plain and cities to the north such as Samaria and Dothan. Thus, ancient Shechem and its modern counterpart, Nablus, are in a very strategic location along the watershed road between Judah, the Jordan Valley, Transjordan, and the Galilee.2
In 1903, a group of German scholars under the direction of H. Tiersch examined Tell Balata and concluded it was ancient Shechem. Until that time there had been controversy over whether Tell Balata, or the modern city of Nablus nearby, was the location of ancient Shechem. Tiersch’s identification has never been seriously questioned.
E. Sellin led an Austro-German excavation team to Tell Balata in 1913 and 1914. His work was interrupted by World War I. Sellin began work again in 1926 and continued until 1936. Work was resumed in 1956 by an American team under the direction of G. E. Wright and B. W. Anderson. The latest season of excavations at Tell Balata was in 1973 under the direction of W. G. Dever (Campbell 1993: 1347; Seger 1997:21).
Aerial view of the ruins of Shechem. On the right is the Middle Bronze fortification wall and in the upper center the “Migdal,” or fortress, temple. Holy Land Satellite Atlas, 1999, p. 100.
Abram at Shechem
The first mention of Shechem in the Bible is Genesis 12:6, when Abram first entered Canaan. It is succinctly described: “Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem.” At that time, God promised Abram, “To your offspring I will give this land” (Gn 12:7). The next mention of Shechem is 11 chapters, and about 200 years, later, when the Bible records that Jacob, Abram’s grandson, “camped within sight of the city” (Gn 33:18).
Assuming a conservative dating for the Patriarchal events in the Bible,3 note that Abram camped in Canaan about 2090 BC and there is no mention of a city. However, when Jacob arrived 200 hundred years later, around 1890 BC, the Bible notes that he “camped within sight of the city [Shechem].” In the original Hebrew, the word translated in our English Bible as “city” meant a permanent, walled settlement (Hansen 2003:81, Wood 1999:23). Genesis 34:20 and 24 report that Shechem had a city gate; therefore it was fortified.
Can archaeology clarify if there was or was not a city? Yes. The absence of a “city” and walls at Tell Balata when Abram came through and the existence of a city in the time of Jacob is in complete agreement with what the Bible indicates is Shechem’s early history.
Excavations have revealed that the earliest urbanization at Tell Balata was in MB I (Levels XXII-XXI), about 1900–1750 BC. MB I was when Jacob lived by the city of Shechem. Prior to MB I, in the time of Abram’s visit, archaeology has demonstrated that there was a gap in settlement and an absence of fortification walls. Thus, there was no “city” for Abram to reference, as the Bible correctly infers (Campbell 1993: 1347).
Jacob and Joseph at Shechem
What was the city like when Jacob settled there? Archaeologists have revealed that Tell Balata in MB I had structures with mudbrick walls on stone foundations and they have found an abundance of artifacts typical of domestic living (Toombs 1992: 1179). The Bible records that during Jacob’s stay he purchased land near Shechem. This parcel would become the place where his son, Joseph, would later be entombed (Jos 24:32). The tumultuous Dinah affair also occurred during Jacob’s stay at Shechem. Its aftermath resulted in the murder of Shechem’s male population by two of Jacob’s sons (Gn 33–34). Subsequently, God told Jacob to move to Bethel (Gn 35:1) and then on to Hebron (Gn 35:7).
The next Biblical mention of Shechem is in connection with the story of 17-year-old Joseph, Jacob’s son, who was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers (Gn 37). In the account, Joseph’s brothers were grazing the family’s flocks near Shechem when Jacob sent Joseph to inquire of them. After looking for them at Shechem, he found them a short distance north at Dothan. There, the brothers conspired to sell Joseph into slavery, setting the stage for the subsequent accounts of Joseph’s rise to power, Jacob and his family moving to Egypt and, later, Israel’s oppression by Egyptian Pharaohs.
The earliest known extra-Biblical written record of Shechem comes from the Middle Bronze period. It is an inscription on a stele (an upright standing stone) of an Egyptian, Khu-Sebek, who was a nobleman in the court of Sesostris III (ca. 1880–1840 BC). It was found in 1901 by the renowned archaeologist J. Garstang at Abydos, Egypt. King Sesostris III became ruler shortly after Jacob was at Shechem, and he was probably the king when Jacob died in Egypt. Khu-Sebek’s stele describes how the king’s army campaigned in a foreign country named Sekmem (Shechem) and how “Sekmem fell” (Toombs 1992: 1179). W. Shea believes that the campaign on Khu-Sebek’s stele is none other than the Egyptians’ account of the military encounters experienced by the entourage accompanying Joseph when Jacob’s embalmed body was brought to Canaan for entombment at Machpelah (Gn 50:12–14) (Shea 1992: 38 ff.).
Khu-Sebek’s stele reveals that as early as the 19th century BC, Shechem was an important strategic location and a place worthy of mention in a notable Egyptian’s biography.
Stela of Khu-Sebek. He is shown seated, accompanied by members of his family, his nurse, and the superintendent of the cabinet. Discovered by British archaeologist John Garstang at Abydos, Egypt, in 1901, the stela is now on display in the museum of the University of Manchester, England. Mike Luddeni.
Joshua at Shechem
A little over 400 years later, God rescued the Israelites from Egyptian bondage and led them through the desert wilderness for 40 years. Near the end of this sojourn, their leader Moses said that once they entered the land God had promised them (at Shechem, see Gn 12:7!), they were to erect an altar on Mt. Ebal (Dt 27:4) and read portions of the Law while the people were assembled before Mounts Ebal and Gerizim (Dt 11:26–30; 27:12, 13).
As I noted above, the mountains of Ebal and Gerizim overlook the valley wherein lay Shechem. The mountains form a natural amphitheater in which the recitation of the Law could easily be heard. Despite the mountains’ heights (Ebal is 3,083 ft [940 m] and Gerizim is 2,890 ft [881 m]), there are many contemporary accounts of people speaking from the slopes of the mountains and being heard in the valley below. Even with the noise of the busy modern city of Nablus, I myself have been in the park at the top of Gerizim and clearly heard the voices of children playing in the Balata refugee camp at Gerizim’s base.
Joshua fulfilled Moses’ instructions and led the people directly to Gerizim and Ebal after defeating the stronghold at Ai (Jos 7–8). Assuming an “early Exodus” date (1446 BC), the Israelite entry into Canaan, after 40 years in the wilderness, was approximately 1406 BC, in the Late Bronze (LB) IB period.4 LB IB corresponds with Tell Balata’s Level XIV (Campbell 1993: 1347; Toombs 1992: 1178). During the 350 years of the previous MB period, the city had been fortified with earthen embankments and cyclopean wall fortifications. However, Shechem was destroyed around 1540 BC. The ferocity of the destruction resulted in debris covering the city up to a depth of 5.25 ft (1.6 m). It is surmised that the Egyptian armies of Ahmose I or Amenhotep I were the aggressors (Toombs 1992: 1182).
About 90 years after that catastrophe the city was rebuilt early in the LB I period, around 1450 BC. Level XIV corresponds to this date and is noted for the reconstruction of the city’s defensive walls, homes, and a well built, fortress-type, temple. This Level XIV occupation was the city at which Joshua and the Israelites arrived to fulfill Moses’ orders to read the Law before Ebal and Gerizim around 1406 BC.
The Book of Joshua makes an interesting observation about that visit:
All Israel, aliens and citizens alike…. were standing on both sides of the ark of the covenant of the LORD, facing those who carried it…. There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua did not read to the whole assembly of Israel, including the women and children, and the aliens who lived among them (Jos 8:33, 35).
It appears that the crowd who heard the words of the Law that day was composed of both Israelites and native Shechemites (aliens)! The Bible implies that both Shechemites and Israelites co-existed at Shechem. This unusual situation can be further confirmed by the fact that Shechem became one of only three Israelite Cities of Refuge on the west side of the Jordan River, as well as being a city of the Levitical priesthood (Jos 20:7; 21:21). All this occurred even though there is no record in the Bible of it being taken in battle.5
Years later, Joshua again gathered the Israelites at Shechem (Jos 24). He reminded them of God’s promises and how He had fulfilled those promises and delivered them from diversities. Joshua then challenged the people to say whom they would serve and they promised to serve God (Jos 24:14–20). The renewal ceremony between the Israelites and God recognized the promises God made to Abraham (Gn 12:7; 17:7, 8), Jacob, and the people at Sinai through Moses (Ex 24:8).
The next event at Shechem in the Bible was the fulfillment of another promise: the burial of the Patriarch Joseph. Just before his death in Egypt, Joseph asked his brothers to bring his body back to the land “promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” when God delivered them from Egypt (Gn 50:24–25).
And Joseph’s bones, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. This became the inheritance of Joseph’s descendants (Jos 24:32).
Today, there is a place near Tell Balata venerated by the Jewish and Samaritan faiths as the traditional location of Joseph’s tomb. The shrine marking the tomb, and an associated Jewish school, were reduced to rubble in October 2000 in the wake of the most recent hostilities between the Palestinian Arabs and the State of Israel. Conflicting views have abounded as to whether this was, in fact, Joseph’s final resting place. Unfortunately, no archaeological excavations are known to have taken place at this site that could verify that this was the true location of the tomb of Joseph. Several ancient texts mention the site, but the exact location of Joseph’s tomb is still in question.
The discovery of a LB Egyptian library at Amarna has provided additional insights on the LB period. Letters in the library reveal Egypt’s relationship with Canaan’s rulers in the mid-14th century BC. Some of the letters disclose that the kings of Shechem were independent of Egypt. Further, Shechem’s rulers were criticized by other Canaanite rulers for cooperating with an invading group of desert people called the Habiru. Many conservative evangelical scholars (e.g., Wood 1997; 2003: 269–71) believe the Habiru were the Israelites of the early Judges period.
Letter from Labayu, king of Shechem, to the king of Egypt, probably Amenhotep III. It is defiant in tone, suggesting Labayu had a measure of independence from Egypt (Hess 1993). The letter, numbered El Amarna 252, is written in Akkadian cuneiform, albeit with Canaanite grammar and syntax, and is on display in the British Museum. Mike Luddeni.
Abimelech at Shechem
Later in Bible history, Abimelech, the son of Gideon’s Shechemite concubine (Jgs 8:31), colluded with some Shechemites to kill 70 of Abimelech’s brothers (Jgs 8:30–31; 9). However, Abimelech’s youngest brother Jotham survived (Jgs 9:5). Jotham climbed to the top of Mt. Gerizim and shouted to the Shechemites below. He foretold the destruction of the men of Shechem by fire (Jgs 9:7–21). Later in the same chapter we read that the people of Shechem rose against Abimelech’s leadership. In response, Abimelech fought against the city and razed it. During the attack the leaders of Shechem tried to save themselves in “the stronghold of the temple of El-berith” (Jgs 9:46). The story continues:
He [Abimelech] took an ax and cut off some branches, which he lifted to his shoulders. He ordered the men with him, “Quick! Do what you have seen me do!” So all the men cut branches and followed Abimelech. They piled them against the stronghold and set it on fire over the people inside. So all the people in the tower of Shechem, about a thousand men and women, also died (Jgs 9:48–49).
Archaeologists (e.g., E. Campbell, B. Mazar, G. E. Wright and L. Stager) refer to the “tower of Shechem” as “the Tower (migdal) Temple or Fortress-Temple” of Shechem (Campbell 1993: 1348, Stager 2003: 26 and 68 note 1). Stager recently reexamined the work of Wright who, in 1926, excavated a large building that has been reported to be this Fortress-Temple (Stager 2003). Stager’s conclusions are that this Temple, “Temple 1, ” was, in fact, the migdal referred to in Judges 9. It is the largest such Canaanite structure found in Israel and was 70 ft (21 m) wide, 86 ft (26 m) long with stone foundation walls 17 ft (5.1 m) thick. The foundation supported a multistory mudbrick and timber temple with an entrance flanked by two large towers. Stager hypothesized that the courtyard of this temple could have been where Joshua “took a large stone and set it up there under the oak near the holy place of the LORD” (Jos 24:26).
Stager (2003: 68) places the destruction of the Fortress-Temple around 1100 BC. So does Seger (1997: 22), who correlates the destruction debris found at Level XI as being from the Iron IA period. Campbell (1993: 1347) states that there was a “significant” destruction “around 1100 BCE” and guardedly concludes, “connecting Level XI with the story underlying Judges 9 is plausible” (1993: 1352).
Dating Shechem’s destruction to 1100 BC helps confirm the Biblical date of 1406 BC as the beginning of the Conquest in Canaan. To do this, it is necessary to know that immediately after we read in the Bible of Abimelech’s destruction of Shechem, Jephthah, the ninth Judge, appears (Jgs 11, 12). Jephthah was hired by Israelites who lived in Gilead, east of the Jordan River, to confront the Ammonites who had made war on them for 18 years. Jephthah first attempted diplomacy with the Ammonite king. He reminded the Ammonite king that the Israelites had been in the land east of the Jordan River for “300 years” (Jgs 11:21–26). Jephthah, of course, was referring to the time when Moses led the Israelites through that region and defeated numerous kings (Nm 21:21–31).
Thus, if Abimelech destroyed Shechem ca. 1125–1100 BC (Jgs 9), and Abimelech was a contemporary of Jephthah, the Conquest would have occurred about 300 years earlier, in ca. 1400 BC (1100 BC + 300 years = 1400 BC).
Shechem in the Time of the Divided Monarchy
The Bible sheds little light on Shechem’s role during the reigns of Saul, David or Solomon. Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, was next in line for the throne. All the Israelites assembled at Shechem to anoint Rehoboam king. Rehoboam, however, acted foolishly by chiding the northern tribes and telling them he would tax them heavily. In defense, the northern tribes retaliated by separating themselves from Rehoboam and the southern kingdom. The northern tribes made Jeroboam I king of their region. The country, formerly unified under David and Solomon, became divided. The northern region and tribes, led by Jeroboam I, was known as Israel. The southern area and tribes, first led by Rehoboam, is referred to as Judah in the Bible.
Levels X and IX at Tell Balata represent the Jeroboam I period and are noted for carefully built houses of selected stones. The discovery of stone foundations for stairs suggests two-story, four-room houses, typical homes of that period (Dever 1994: 80–81). Campbell concludes that Level IX (920–810 BC) has “tangible evidence of Jeroboam I’s rebuilding (1 Kg 12:25) and a return to city status” (1993: 1352–53).
The Assyrian invasion of Israel in 724 BC (2 Kgs 17:5–6) brought another destruction to Shechem. The evidence is in Level VII. Toombs noted that in Level VII the city was “reduced to a heap of ruins, completely covered by debris of fallen brickwork, burned beams and tumbled building stones,” typical examples of Assyrian thoroughness (1992: 1185). In addition to the destruction, the Assyrians placed exiled peoples from other nations into the region around Shechem, a common Assyrian practice (2 Kgs 17:23–24).
These new peoples added Yahweh to their own beliefs (2 Kgs 17:25–30). The new religion mimicked Judaism in many respects and Mt. Gerizim was made the center of its worship. New Testament practitioners of the cult are called “Samaritans,” which also referred to the people who lived in the vicinity (Mt 10:5; Lk 9:52, 10:53; 17:16; Jn 4:7, 9, 22, 39, 40; 8:48; Acts 8:25). A remnant of the ancient Samaritans still lives on Mt. Gerizim and they practice sacrifices there just as they did 2,700 years ago.7
Shechem in the Intertestamental Period
Between the Old and New Testaments, Shechem had a modest recovery and there is an abundance of evidence that excellent buildings were constructed in this, the Hellenistic, period (ca. 330–107 BC). It was during this time that the Samaritans built a large temple and sacrificial platform on Mt. Gerizim, the remains of which were still visible in Jesus’ day (Jn 4:20).
As fighting between the Ptolemies and Seleucids swirled around the country in the intertestamental period, physical decline again took place at Shechem. This decline culminated when the Jewish leader, John Hyrcanus, took advantage of the temporary absence of outside armies and destroyed the Samaritan temple on Mt. Gerizim (ca. 126 BC). He leveled the city in 107 BC. Shechem never recovered from this destruction and lay in ruins until identified by Tierschin 1901.
Shechem in the New Testament Period
Samaritans continued to live in the area during the following years, the Roman period. This is confirmed by the discovery of human burials from the period on the lower slopes of Mt. Ebal (Magen 1993: 1358–59). It is known that Samaritans also made several attempts to renew their cult worship on Mt. Gerizim. The Romans suppressed their efforts and in AD 72 constructed a new city, Flavia-Neapolis, about 1 mi (1.6 km) west of Tell Balata (Magen 2001: 40). This new city is now Nablus, a modern Arab city of about 120,000 people8 whose name is probably a corruption of Roman city, Neapolis.
About 500 yd (460 m) southeast of Tell Balata is an ancient well, venerated to be a well that Jacob, the Patriarch, dug when he lived there. Such a well is not mentioned in the Old Testament. There is a small Arab village, Askar, just north of the well. Most scholars associate Askar with Sychar, the village in John 4 near “Jacob’s well” (Jn 4:6). The authenticity of the well is not only based on its physical identification in John 4, but also on “the fact that all traditions-—Jewish, Samaritan, Christian and Muslim-—support it” (Stefanovic 1992: 608). Several churches in Christian history have been built on the site of the well and today it is located under a recently constructed Greek Orthodox church. Access to the well is gained by going down steps from the apse of the new church.
Jacob’s well as it appeared in the 1870s. In the right background is Mt. Gerizim with the tomb of the Arab sheikh, where the ruins of the Samaritan temple were located in New Testament times, visible at the peak.Todd Bolen.
Jacob’s well, at the base of Mt. Gerizim, is at the junction of the main road leading from Jerusalem in the south. Here, the road splits with the eastern branch going toward the Jordan Valley and the western branch leading to Nablus, and in NT times, Samaria and the Galilee. It is an excellent setting for one of the most important passages in the Bible-—the account of Jesus’ verbal Messianic announcement in the fourth chapter of John. In this passage Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, dialogues with her, and tells her He is the long-awaited Messiah.
Mt. Gerizim (left peak) as seen from Jacob’s well. When the Samaritan woman said to Jesus, “Our fathers worshipped on this mountain,” she was no doubt referring to the ruins of the Samaritan temple on top of Mt. Gerizim. The small structure on the peak marks the location of the ruins of the Samaritan temple that easily could have been seen from Jacob’s well in Jesus’ day. Bryant Wood.
Significance of Shechem in Understanding John 4
This article began by stating that context in reading the Bible was important to full understanding of what the original writers wanted the original hearers/listeners to know. In the case of Shechem, it is clear that the writer of John’s Gospel was appealing to the hearer/reader’s understanding of Shechem’s unique historical and theological context.
First, the author established that the event took place at Sychar (Jn 4:6). By making reference to Jacob he reminded his readers/hearers that this is where Jacob first settled when he returned to the Promised Land from Paddan Aram (Gn 33:18). At this spot Abram received God’s promise that “To your offspring I will give this land” (Gn 12:7). In addition to God’s promise given here to Abram, the writer wanted the hearer/reader to remember that many human agreements were made at Shechem in Bible history. Unfortunately, most were corrupted because of man’s sin. For example, Jacob made a promise to spare Hamor and the Shechemites after Dinah was sexually violated. Jacob’s use of circumcision to confirm the agreement with the Shechemites was the same symbol God had ordained as “the sign of the covenant between Me and you” (Gn 17:11). To seal a human agreement in this manner and have it subsequently abrogated as Jacob’s sons had done (Gn 34), could not have escaped the attention of the original hearers/reader.
Later, we read in the Bible that Jacob did not destroy family idols: rather he simply placed them under a tree near Shechem (Gn 35). This whole account is a testimony to the human condition and our willful tendency not to obey God. Jacob, who even had the privilege of a personal revelation from God, still could not totally eliminate idol worship; he played on the edge and placed the idols under a tree rather than destroying them.
The reader/hearer also should have been reminded that Shechem was near the place where Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery and then concocted a lie to explain Joseph’s absence to their father Jacob (Gn 37)—another example of man’s deceit and deception.
All of these accounts are, in themselves, mini-stories that illustrate the human condition and how incapable we are of making a lasting promise to God. As a result, we are in need of rescue and restoration and only God, with His patience, could develop and execute a plan, seen throughout Bible history, for accomplishing a restoration that did not rely on man’s fallible nature.
Juxtaposed against the human failings, lies and deceits, the hearer/reader’s attention was brought to the fact that Shechem was where God reminded the people that He is faithful. Having given Abram the promise of the land, the Israelites were to remember that promise by going to Shechem, building an altar worshipping and re-reading God’s Law. This would refresh in the minds of the Israelites how God had led them out of bondage as He had promised and into a land He had promised. The rededication ceremony was accomplished and is described in Joshua 8. Following the conquest, Joshua again assembled the people at Shechem where he reviewed God’s promises and Israel’s obligations, eliciting from the people an agreement that they would “serve the Lord our God and obey Him” (Jos 24:24). This promise was another one that was repeatedly broken as revealed in the succeeding books of the Old Testament.
Earlier in Israel’s history Joseph, as he lay dying in Egypt, reminded the people that God would lead them to the land He had promised to Abraham, Isaac and his father Jacob. He asked that when they did return, they “carry my bones up from this place” (Gn 50:25). This was fulfilled in Joshua 24:32 when the body of Joseph was placed in a tomb in Shechem.
The Hebrew hearer/reader would also remember that Shechem became the center for the idolatrous worship practices that occurred following Israel’s capture by the Assyrians. Importing peoples from other lands and exporting Jewish believers, syncretism of pagan beliefs and Jewish practices resulted in a corrupted form of worship that became centered at Shechem and on Mt. Gerizim by people who were known as Samaritans. They chose to be worshippers of other gods despite their earlier promise in Joshua 24.

Ruins of a fifth century AD octagonal church on Mt. Gerizim, view north. The church, dedicated to Mary, was built on top of a temple built by the Samaritans in the late fifth century BC. John Hyrcanus destroyed the temple in the late second century BC. The small domed building at the northeast corner, the tomb of an Arab sheikh, is the structure visible from Jacob’s well in the valley below. IAA.
I believe the author of John wanted the reader and hearer to recognize and associate Shechem with God’s eternal unbroken promises, man’s corrupted state, the need for a Rescuer and how a Rescuer had been promised throughout history. In John 4 the Rescuer is revealed. The Samaritan woman makes known the promise: “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” And the Rescuer, Jesus, replied that the Messiah was at hand: “I Who speak to you am He” (Jn 4:26)!
The Samaritan woman’s response was to immediately run into the village, leaving her water jar behind, and tell everyone that the Rescuer was there. What glorious news! The Samaritans rushed to the well, welcomed Him and exclaimed that Jesus was the Rescuer, “the Savior of the world” (Jn 4:42).
It should challenge us to remember that shortly after Jesus’ declaration that He was Messiah, He would complete the promise and achieve the rescue through His death, burial and ascension. As He prepared His disciples for their duties, He told them that they would be His “witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The story of Shechem and the Samaritan region had come full circle—from the promises to the Patriarchs to fulfillment of salvation as heard by the woman at the well and declared to the disciples.
Now we have the contextual history of Shechem. It is apparent that the original hearer/reader of John’s Gospel fully understood how Shechem had been a focal point of God’s unbroken promises and man’s fallibility. Hopefully, for the reader of this essay, all pieces of the puzzle of Shechem can now be understood and assembled so one can see the finished picture. And what a wonderful picture it is!
Footnotes
1. The author wishes to express his appreciation to Dr. James C. Martin for permission to use the photographs credited to him in this article.
2. For a discussion of geographical criteria that make for strategic locations in ancient Israel, see Hansen 1991.
3. For these dates, see Davis 1975: 29.
4. For a brief discussion of how this date is derived, see Hansen 2003: 80.
5. See Wood 1997 for his explanation of this unusual situation.
6. For a more thorough discussion of the Amarna tablets and the identity of the Habiru, see Archer 1994: 288–95; Wood 1995 and 2003: 269–71.
7. For a description of the modern Samaritans and how they practice Passover, see Bolen 2001.
Bibliography
Archer, Gleason L.
1994 A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, new and revised ed. Chicago: Moody.
Bolen, Todd
2001 Samaritan Passover. Bible and Spade 14: 41–42.
Campbell, Edward F.
1993 Shechem. Pp. 1345–54 in The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land4, ed. Ephraim Stern. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Davis, John J.
1975 Paradise to Prison: Studies in Genesis. Grand Rapids MI: Baker.
Dever, William G.
1994 Monumental Architecture in Ancient Israel in the Period of the United Monarchy. Bible and Spade 7: 68–87.
Greenwold, Douglas
2004 Zechariah & Elizabeth: Persistent Faith in a Faithful God. Rockville MD: Bible-in-Context Ministries.
Hansen, David G.
1991 The Case of Meggido [sic]. Archaeology and Biblical Research 4: 84–93.
2003 Large Cities that Have Walls up to the Sky: Canaanite Fortifications in the Late Bronze I Period.Bible and Spade 16: 78–88.
Hess, Richard S.
1993 Smitten Ant Bites Back: Rhetorical Forms in the Amarna Correspondence from Shechem. Pp. 95–111 in Verses in Ancient Near Eastern Prose, eds. Johannes C. de Moor and Wilfred G.E. Watson, Alter Orient und Altes Testament 42. Kevelaer, Germany: Butzon & Bercker.
Magen, Itzhak
1993 Neapolis. Pp. 1354–59 in The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land4, ed. Ephraim Stern. New York: Simon & Schuster.
2001 The Sacred Precinct on Mount Gerizim. Bible and Spade 14:37–40.
Seger, Joe D.
1997 Shechem. Pp. 19–23 in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East 5, ed. Eric M. Myers. New York: Oxford University Press.
Shea, William H.
1992 The Burial of Jacob: A New Correlation Between Genesis 50 and an Egyptian Inscription.Archaeology and Biblical Research 5:33–44.
Stager, Lawrence E.
2003 The Shechem Temple where Abimelech Massacred a Thousand. Biblical Archaeological Review28.4:26–35, 68–69.
Stefanovic, Zdravko
1992 Jacob’s Well. Pp. 608–609 in The Anchor Bible Dictionary 3, ed. David N. Freedman. New York: Doubleday.
Toombs, Lawrence E.
1992 Shechem. Pp. 1174–86 in The Anchor Bible Dictionary 5, ed, David N. Freedman. New York: Doubleday.
Wood, Bryant G.
1995 Reexamining The Late Bronze Era: An Interview with Bryant Wood by Gordon Govier. Bible and Spade 8: 47–53.
1997 The Role of Shechem in the Conquest of Canaan. Pp 245–56 in To Understand the Scriptures: Essays in Honor of William H. Shea, ed. David Merling. Berrien Springs MI: Institute of Archaeology/Siegfried H. Horn Archaeological Museum.
1999 The Search for Joshua’s Ai: Excavations at Kh. el-Maqatir. Bible and Spade 12:21–30.

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On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:

…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975

and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.

Harry Kroto

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Below you have picture of 1996 Chemistry Nobel Prize Winner Dr. Harry Kroto:

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Did Jesus Rise From The Dead -Bart Ehrman Vs William Lane Craig

Bart D. Ehrman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Ehrman” redirects here. For another historian, see John Ehrman.
Bart D. Ehrman
Bart-d-ehrman-2012-wikipedia.jpg

Professor Bart D. Ehrman, Ph.D., M.Div.
Born October 5, 1955 (age 59)
Lawrence, Kansas, United States
Nationality American
Education BA (1978), MDiv (1981), PhD (1985)
Alma mater Moody Bible Institute
Wheaton College
Princeton Theological Seminary
Employer The Department of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Known for New Testament authenticationand textual variants, historical Jesus, early Christian writings, orthodox corruption of scripture.
Spouse(s) Sarah Beckwith
Children Kelly and Derek
Website www.bartdehrman.com

Bart D. Ehrman /ərmən/ (born October 5, 1955) is an American New Testament scholar, currently the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a leading scholar in his field, having written and edited over 25 books, including three college textbooks, and has also achieved acclaim at the popular level, authoring five New York Times bestsellers. Ehrman’s work focuses on textual criticism of the New Testament, the historical Jesus, and the development of early Christianity.

Bart Ehrman vs. James White Debate P1

Education[edit]

Ehrman grew up in Lawrence, Kansas, and attended Lawrence High School, where he was on the state champion debate team in 1973. He began studying the Bible and its original languages at Moody Bible Institute, where he earned the school’s three-year diploma in 1976.[1] He is a 1978 graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois, where he received his bachelor’s degree. He received his PhD and M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, where he studied under Bruce Metzger. He received magna cum laude for both his BA in 1978 and PhD in 1985.[2]

Was the New Testament Forged? Darrell Bock vs. Bart D. Ehrman

Career[edit]

Ehrman became an Evangelical Christian as a teenager. In his books, he recounts his youthful enthusiasm as a born-again, fundamentalist Christian, certain that God had inspired the wording of the Bible and protected its texts from all error.[1] His desire to understand the original words of the Bible led him to the study of ancient languages and also textual criticism. During his graduate studies, however, he became convinced that there are contradictions and discrepancies in the biblical manuscripts that could not be harmonized or reconciled. He remained a liberal Christian for 15 years but later became an agnostic after struggling with the philosophical problems of evil and suffering.[1]

Ehrman has taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill since 1988, after four years of teaching at Rutgers University. At UNC he has served as both the Director of Graduate Studies and the Chair of the Department of Religious Studies. He was the recipient of the 2009 J. W. Pope “Spirit of Inquiry” Teaching Award, the 1993 UNC Undergraduate Student Teaching Award, the 1994 Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement, and the Bowman and Gordon Gray Award for excellence in teaching.[2]

Ehrman currently serves as co-editor of the series New Testament Tools, Studies, and Documents (E. J. Brill), co-editor-in-chief for the journal Vigiliae Christianae, and on several other editorial boards for journals and monographs. Ehrman formerly served as President of the Southeast Region of the Society of Biblical Literature, chair of the New Testament textual criticism section of the Society, book review editor of the Journal of Biblical Literature, and editor of the monograph series The New Testament in the Greek Fathers (Scholars Press).[2]

Ehrman speaks extensively throughout the United States and has participated in many public debates, including debates with William Lane Craig, Dinesh D’Souza, Mike Licona, Craig A. Evans, Daniel B. Wallace, Richard Swinburne,Peter J. Williams, James White, Darrell Bock and Michael L. Brown.

In 2006 and 2009 he appeared on The Colbert Report,[3][4] as well as The Daily Show,[5] to promote his books Misquoting Jesus, and Jesus, Interrupted (respectively).

Ehrman has appeared on the History Channel, the National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, A&E, Dateline NBC, CNN, and NPR’s Fresh Air and his writings have been featured in TIME, Newsweek, The New York Times,The New Yorker, and The Washington Post.[6]

Bart Ehrman vs. James White Debate P2

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In  the second video below in the 86th clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)

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Quote from Bart Ehrman:

In the book THE TEXTUAL RELIABILITY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT: A DIALOGUE by Bart Ehrman and Daniel B. Wallace and in the film series RENOWNED ACADEMICS SPEAKING ABOUT GOD, Dr. Ehrman noted:

The Bible is the most widely purchased, most thoroughly read, most broadly misunderstood book in the history of human civilization. One of the things that people misunderstand, of course—especially my nineteen-year-old students from North Carolina—is that when we’re reading the Bible, we’re not actually reading the words of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, or Paul. We’re reading translations of those words from the Greek of the New Testament. And something is always lost in translation. Not only that, we’re not reading translations of the originals of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, or Paul, because we don’t have the originals of any of the books of the New Testament. What we have are copies made centuries later—in most instances, many centuries later. These thousands of copies that we have all differ from one another in lots of little ways, and sometimes in big ways. There are places where we don’t know what the authors of the New Testament originally wrote. For some Christians, that’s not a big problem because they don’t have a high view of Scripture. For others, it’s a big problem indeed. What does it mean to say that God inspired the words of the text if we don’t have the words? Moreover, why should one think that God performed the miracle of inspiring the words in the first place if he didn’t perform the miracle of preserving the words? If he meant to give us his very words, why didn’t he make sure we received them?

________

I have two responses to Dr. Ehrman’s assertions. First, the Bible is the most well preserved ancient historical document in the world today and you can look at the Dead Sea Scrolls if you want to see how well the Old Testament was preserved over the centuries or you can look the manuscript evidence that Matt Slick provides in the article below concerning the New Testament. In both cases it is amazing how well God preserved these manuscripts for us. I agree with Slick’s conclusion, “The Christian has substantially superior criteria for affirming the New Testament documents than he does for any other ancient writing.”

Second, I do have a “high view of Scripture” as Dr Ehrman used to when he was an evangelical  and I think that evidence from biblical archaeology backs up my view that the scriptures are historically accurate. I have included some of that evidence below and also a letter of April 14, 2015 written to Dr. Ehrman that included some evidence of that sort.

Manuscript evidence for superior New Testament reliability

by Matt Slick

The New Testament is constantly under attack, and its reliability and accuracy are often contested by critics. If the critics want to disregard the New Testament, then they must also disregard other ancient writings by Plato, Aristotle, and Homer.  This is because the New Testament documents are better preserved and more numerous than any other ancient writings. Because they are so numerous, they can be cross checked for accuracy . . . and they are very consistent.

There are presently 5,686 Greek manuscripts in existence today for the New Testament.1 If we were to compare the number of New Testament manuscripts to other ancient writings, we find that the New Testament manuscripts far outweigh the others in quantity.2

Author Date
Written
Earliest Copy Approximate Time Span between original & copy Number of Copies Accuracy of Copies
Lucretius died 55 or 53 B.C. 1,100 yrs 2 —-
Pliny A.D. 61-113 A.D. 850 750 yrs 7 —-
Plato 427-347 B.C. A.D. 900 1,200 yrs 7 —-
Demosthenes 4th Cent. B.C. A.D. 1100 800 yrs 8 —-
Herodotus 480-425 B.C. A.D. 900 1,300 yrs 8 —-
Suetonius A.D. 75-160 A.D. 950 800 yrs 8 —-
Thucydides 460-400 B.C. A.D. 900 1,300 yrs 8 —-
Euripides 480-406 B.C. A.D. 1100 1,300 yrs 9 —-
Aristophanes 450-385 B.C. A.D. 900 1200 10 —-
Caesar 100-44 B.C. A.D. 900 1,000 10 —-
Livy 59 BC-AD 17 —- ??? 20 —-
Tacitus circa A.D. 100 A.D. 1100 1,000 yrs 20 —-
Aristotle 384-322 B.C. A.D. 1100 1,400 49 —-
Sophocles 496-406 B.C. A.D. 1000 1,400 yrs 193 —-
Homer (Iliad) 900 B.C. 400 B.C. 500 yrs 643 95%
New
Testament
1st Cent. A.D. (A.D. 50-100) 2nd Cent. A.D.
(c. A.D. 130 f.)
less than 100 years 5600 99.5%

As you can see, there are thousands more New Testament Greek manuscripts than any other ancient writing. The internal consistency of the New Testament documents is about 99.5% textually pure. That is an amazing accuracy. In addition, there are over 19,000 copies in the Syriac, Latin, Coptic, and Aramaic languages. The total supporting New Testament manuscript base is over 24,000.

Almost all Biblical scholars agree that the New Testament documents were all written before the close of the First Century. If Jesus was crucified in A.D. 30., then that means the entire New Testament was completed within 70 years. This is important because it means there were plenty of people around when the New Testament documents were penned–people who could have contested the writings. In other words, those who wrote the documents knew that if they were inaccurate, plenty of people would have pointed it out. But, we have absolutely no ancient documents contemporary with the First Century that contest the New Testament texts.

Furthermore, another important aspect of this discussion is the fact that we have a fragment of the Gospel of John that dates back to around 29 years from the original writing (John Rylands Papyri A.D. 125). This is extremely close to the original writing date. This is simply unheard of in any other ancient writing, and it demonstrates that the Gospel of John is a First Century document.

Below is a chart with some of the oldest extant New Testament manuscripts compared to when they were originally penned. Compare these time spans with the next closest, which is Homer’sIliad, where the closest copy from the original is 500 years later. Undoubtedly, that period of time allows for more textual corruption in its transmission. How much less so for the New Testament documents?

Important
Manuscript
Papyri
Contents Date
Original Written
MSS
Date
Approx.
Time Span
Location
p52
(John Rylands
Fragment)3
John 18:31-33, 37-38 circa
A.D. 96
circa
A.D.
125
29 yrs John Rylands Library, Manchester, England
P46
(Chester Beatty Papyrus)
Rom. 5:17-6:3, 5-14, 8:15-25, 27-35,10:1-11, 22, 24-33, 35, 16:1-23, 25-27, Heb., 1 & 2 Cor., Eph., Gal., Phil., Col., 1 Thess. 1:1, 9-10, 2:1-3, 5:5-9, 23-28 50’s-70’s circa
A.D.
200
Approx.
150 yrs
Chester Beatty Museum, Dublin & Ann Arbor, Michigan, University of Michigan library
P66
(Bodmer Papyrus)
John 1:1-6:11, 35-14:26, fragment of 14:29-21:9 70’s circa
A.D.
200
Approx.
130 yrs
Cologne, Geneva
P67 Matt. 3:9, 15, 5:20-22, 25-28 circa
A.D.
200
Approx.
130 yrs
Barcelona, Fundacion San Lucas Evangelista, P. Barc.1

If the critics of the Bible dismiss the New Testament as reliable information, then they must also dismiss the reliability of the writings of Plato, Aristotle, Caesar, Homer, and the other authors mentioned in the chart at the beginning of the paper. On the other hand, if the critics acknowledge the historicity and writings of those other individuals, then they must also retain the historicity and writings of the New Testament authors, after all, the evidence for the New Testament’s reliability is far greater than the others. The Christian has substantially superior criteria for affirming the New Testament documents than he does for any other ancient writing. It is good evidence on which to base the trust in the reliability of the New Testament.

  • 1.Norman Geisler & Peter Bocchino, Unshakeable Foundations, (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2001) p. 256.
  • 2.The above chart was adapted from three sources: 1) Christian Apologetics, by Norman Geisler, 1976, p. 307, 2) the article “Archaeology and History attest to the Reliability of the Bible,” by Richard M. Fales, Ph.D., in The Evidence Bible, Compiled by Ray Comfort, Bridge-Logos Publishers, Gainesville, FL, 2001, p. 163, and 3) A Ready Defense, by Josh Mcdowell, 1993, p. 45.
  • 3.“Deissmann was convinced that p52 was written well within the reign of Hadrian (A.D. 117-38) and perhaps even during the time of Trajan (A.D. 98-117)” (Footnote #2 found on pg. 39 of The Text of the New Testament, by Bruce M. Metzger, 2nd Ed. 1968, Oxford University Press, NY, NY). Bruce Metzger has authored more than 50 books. He holds two Masters Degrees, a Ph.D. and has been awarded several honorary doctorates. “He is past president of the Society of Biblical Literature, the International Society for New Testament Studies, and the North American Patristic Society.”–From, The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel, Zondervan Publishers, 1998, Grand Rapids, MI: pg. 57.

April 14, 2015

Dear Dr. Ehrman,

I have really enjoyed listening to your You Tube videos and I really liked the debate you did with William Lane Craig. In that debate you said you went to Moody Bible Institute and Wheaton College. I WONDER IF YOU GOT TO HEAR MY HERO FRANCIS SCHAEFFER SPEAK IN PERSON?  I know that he visited both locations  both in the 1960’s and 1970’s. I just purchased 88 of his messages given on Moody Bible Radio Broadcasts and I know that his first three books were actually transcripts from his speeches at Wheaton in 1967.

As you can tell from reading this letter I am an evangelical Christian and I have made it a hobby of mine to correspond with scientists or academics like yourself over the last 25 years. Some of those who corresponded back with me have been  Ernest Mayr (1904-2005), George Wald (1906-1997), Carl Sagan (1934-1996),  Robert Shapiro (1935-2011), Nicolaas Bloembergen (1920-),  Brian Charlesworth (1945-),  Francisco J. Ayala (1934-) Elliott Sober (1948-), Kevin Padian (1951-), Matt Cartmill (1943-) , Milton Fingerman (1928-), John J. Shea (1969-), , Michael A. Crawford (1938-), Paul Kurtz (1925-2012), Sol Gordon (1923-2008), Albert Ellis (1913-2007), Barbara Marie Tabler (1915-1996), Renate Vambery (1916-2005), Archie J. Bahm (1907-1996), Aron S “Gil” Martin ( 1910-1997), Matthew I. Spetter (1921-2012), H. J. Eysenck (1916-1997), Robert L. Erdmann (1929-2006), Mary Morain (1911-1999), Lloyd Morain (1917-2010),  Warren Allen Smith (1921-), Bette Chambers (1930-),  Gordon Stein (1941-1996) , Milton Friedman (1912-2006), John Hospers (1918-2011), Michael Martin (1932-).Harry Kroto (1939-), Marty E. Martin (1928-), Richard Rubenstein (1924-), James Terry McCollum (1936-), Edward O. WIlson (1929-), Lewis Wolpert (1929), Gerald Holton (1922-), Martin Rees (1942-), Alan Macfarlane (1941-),  Roald Hoffmann (1937-), Herbert Kroemer (1928-), Thomas H. Jukes (1906-1999), Glenn BranchGeoff Harcourt (1931-) and  Ray T. Cragun (1976-). I would consider it an honor to add you to this very distinguished list. 

I just finished reading the online addition of the book Darwin, Francis ed. 1892. Charles Darwin: his life told in an autobiographical chapter, and in a selected series of his published letters [abridged edition]. London: John Murray. There are several points that Charles Darwin makes in this book that were very wise, honest, logical, shocking and some that were not so wise. The Christian Philosopher Francis Schaeffer once said of Darwin’s writings, “Darwin in his autobiography and in his letters showed that all through his life he never really came to a quietness concerning the possibility that chance really explained the situation of the biological world. You will find there is much material on this [from Darwin] extended over many many years that constantly he was wrestling with this problem.”

I THINK DARWIN OPENED UP ABOUT HIS MOST INNER FEELINGS MUCH MORE THAN HE HAS BEEN GIVEN CREDIT FOR AND THAT IS WHAT I WROTE YOU ABOUT TODAY SINCE YOU ALSO DEALT WITH THIS SAME ISSUE OF LOSING YOUR BECAUSE OF THE PROBLEM OF EVIL!!!!!! Since I wrote you about that issue last time, I am going to just focus on the evolution of his religious views and I thought you could relate to these. By the way there is an article by J. Warner Wallace that discusses some of your views that I thought you may be interested in (Investigating Bart Ehrman’s Top Ten Troublesome Bible Verses).

 Just like Darwin you lost your faith not  overnight but it was  over time. I am sure that you love music like I do and that would make you even more curious about Darwin’s later life.  I read the book Charles Darwin: his life told in an autobiographical chapter, and in a selected series of his published letters  and was surprised because of what Darwin said about science causing him to lose his aesthetic tastes. I am going to quote some of Charles Darwin’s own words and then include the comments of Francis Schaeffer on those words. I have also enclosed a CD with two messages from Adrian Rogers and Bill Elliff concerning Darwinism.

 CHARLES DARWIN’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY. Addendum. Written May 1st, 1881 [the year before his death].

“I have said that in one respect my mind has changed during the last twenty or thirty years. Up to the age of thirty, or beyond it, poetry of many kinds, such as the works of Milton, Gray, Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Shelley, gave me great pleasure, and even as a schoolboy I took intense delight in Shakespeare, especially in the historical plays. I have also said that formerly pictures gave me considerable, and music very great delight. But now for many years I cannot endure to read a line of poetry: I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me. I have also almost lost my taste for pictures or music. Music generally sets me thinking too energetically on what I have been at work on, instead of giving me pleasure. I retain some taste for fine scenery, but it does not cause me the exquisite delight which it formerly did….My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive….The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature.”

Francis Schaeffer commented:

This is the old man Darwin writing at the end of his life. What he is saying here is the further he has gone on with his studies the more he has seen himself reduced to a machine as far as aesthetic things are concerned. I think this is crucial because as we go through this we find that his struggles and my sincere conviction is that he never came to the logical conclusion of his own position, but he nevertheless in the death of the higher qualities as he calls them, art, music, poetry, and so on, what he had happen to him was his own theory was producing this in his own self just as his theories a hundred years later have produced this in our culture. 

Darwin, C. R. to Fordyce, John7 May 1879

“I may state that my judgment often fluctuates . . . In my most extreme fluctuations I have never been an Atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God. I think that generally (and more and more as I grow older), but not always, that an Agnostic would be the more correct description of my state of mind.”

Francis Schaeffer asserted:

What we find now is that he comes to the place in being agnostic, but as we read through this section on religion what we find is in reality his reason leads him against this position, which is interesting but his theory makes him accept the  position of agnosticism….. I think what you have in Darwin is a magnificent example, although a sad one of what I lecture on in apologetics,  and that is if a man takes a set of nonchristian presuppositions he is forced eventually to be in a place of tension. The more consistent he is with his own nonchristian presuppositions the more he is away from the real world. When he is closer to the real world then he is more illogical to his own presuppositions.

Darwin, C. R. to Doedes, N. D.2 Apr 1873

“But I  may say that the impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God; but whether this is an argument of real value, I have never been able to decide.”

Francis Schaeffer observed:

So he sees here exactly the same that I would labor and what Paul gives in Romans chapter one, and that is first this tremendous universe [and it’s form] and the second thing, the mannishness of man and the concept of this arising from chance is very difficult for him to come to accept and he is forced to leap into this, his own kind of Kierkegaardian leap, but he is forced to leap into this because of his presuppositions but when in reality the real world troubles him. He sees there is no third alternative. If you do not have the existence of God then you only have chance. In my own lectures I am constantly pointing out there are only two possibilities, either a personal God or this concept of the impersonal plus time plus chance and Darwin understood this . You will notice that he divides it into the same exact two points that Paul does in Romans chapter one into and that Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) will in the problem of existence, the external universe, and man and his consciousness. Paul points out there are these two steps that man is confronted with…

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Here below is the Romans passage that Schaeffer is referring to and verse 19 refers to what Schaeffer calls “the mannishness of man” and verse 20 refers to Schaeffer’s other point which is  “the universe and it’s form.”Romans 1:18-22Amplified Bible (AMP) 18 For God’s [holy] wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness repress and hinder the truth and make it inoperative. 19 For that which is known about God is evident to them and made plain in their inner consciousness, because God [Himself] has shown it to them. 20 For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification], 21 Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor andglorify Him as God or give Him thanks. But instead they became futile andgodless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools [professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves]

In 1879 Charles Darwin was applied to by a German student, in a similar manner. The letter was answered by a member of my father’s family, who wrote:–

“Mr. Darwin…considers that the theory of Evolution is quite compatible with the belief in a God; but that you must remember that different persons have different definitions of what they mean by God.” 

Francis Schaeffer commented:

You find a great confusion in his writings although there is a general structure in them. Here he says the word “God” is alright but you find later what he doesn’t take is a personal God. Of course, what you open is the whole modern linguistics concerning the word “God.” is God a pantheistic God? What kind of God is God? Darwin says there is nothing incompatible with the word “God.”

This, however, did not satisfy the German youth, who again wrote to my father, and received from him the following reply:—

” Science has nothing to do with Christ, except in so far as the habit of scientific research makes a man cautious in admitting evidence. For myself, I do not believe that there ever has been any revelation.”

Francis Schaeffer observed:

So he has come to the place as an old man that he doesn’t believe there has been any revelation. In his younger years he held a different position.

The passages which here follow are extracts, somewhat abbreviated, from a part of the Autobiography, written in 1876, in which my father gives the history of his religious views:—“During these two years* (ft note *October 1836 to January 1839.) I was led to think much about religion. Whilst on board the Beagle I was quite orthodox, and I remember being heartily laughed at by several of the officers (though themselves orthodox) for quoting the Bible as an unanswerable authority on some point of morality.

Francis Schaeffer noted:

So you find that as a younger man he did accept the Bible. As an older man he has given up revelation but he is not satisfied with his own answers. He is caught in the tension that modern man is caught in. He is a prefiguration  of the modern man and he himself contributed to. Then Darwin goes on and tells us why he gave up the Bible.

Darwin went on to write:

I suppose it was the novelty of the argument that amused them. But I had gradually come by this time, i.e. 1836 to 1836, to see that the Old Testament was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos. The question then continually rose before my mind and would not be banished,—is it credible that if God were now to make a revelation to the Hindoos, he would permit it to be connected with the belief in Vishnu, Siva, &c., as Christianity is connected with the Old Testament? This appeared to me utterly incredible.

Francis Schaeffer asserted:

Darwin is saying that he gave up the New Testament because it was connected to the Old Testament. He gave up the Old Testament because it conflicted with his own theory. Did he have a real answer himself and the answer is no. At the end of his life we see that he is dehumanized by his position and on the other side we see that he never comes to the place of intellectual satisfaction for himself that his answers were sufficient.

Darwin continued:

“BUT I WAS VERY UNWILLING  TO GIVE UP MY BELIEF; I feel sure of this, for I can well remember often and often inventing day-dreams of old letters between distinguished Romans, and manuscripts being discovered at Pompeii or elsewhere, which confirmed in the most striking manner all that was written in the Gospels.

Francis Schaeffer commented:

This is very sad. He lies on his bunk and the Beagle tosses and turns and he makes daydreams, and his dreams and hopes are that someone would find in Pompeii or some place like this, an old manuscript by a distinguished Roman that would put his stamp of authority on it, which would be able to show that Christ existed. This is undoubtedly what he is talking about. Darwin gave up this hope with great difficulty. I think he didn’t want to come to the position where his accepted presuppositions were driving him. He didn’t want to give it up, just as an older man he understood where it would lead…

———–

The area of Biblical Archaeology has advanced so much since Darwin wrote these words in the 19th century!!!!! ASK YOURSELF THIS SIMPLE QUESTION BEFORE YOU PUT YOUR FAITH IN THE ACCURACY OF THE SCRIPTURES: Is the Bible historically accurate and have I taken the time to examine the evidence? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject and if you like you could just google these subjects: 1. The Babylonian Chronicleof Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. 3. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism)4. Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. 5. The Discovery of the Hittites6.Shishak Smiting His Captives7. Moabite Stone8Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III9A Verification of places in Gospel of John and Book of Acts., 9B Discovery of Ebla Tablets10. Cyrus Cylinder11. Puru “The lot of Yahali” 9th Century B.C.E.12. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription13. The Pilate Inscription14. Caiaphas Ossuary14 B Pontius Pilate Part 214c. Three greatest American Archaeologists moved to accept Bible’s accuracy through archaeology.,

Darwin also noted:

“But I found it more and more difficult, with free scope given to my imagination, to invent evidence which would suffice to convince me. Thus disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete. THE RATE WAS SLOW that I felt no distress. Although I did not think much about the existence of a personal God until a considerably later period of my life,”

Francis Schaeffer commented:

So there is something deficient in his position from the beginning. The word of God if it is going to mean something, must mean a personal God. The word “God” is without much meaning otherwise.

_________________

Francis Schaeffer noted that in Darwin’s 1876 Autobiography that Darwin he is going to set forth two arguments for God in this and again you will find when he comes to the end of this that he is in tremendous tension. Darwin wrote, 

“At the present day the most usual argument for the existence of an intelligent God is drawn from the deep inward conviction and feelings which are experienced by most persons.Formerly I was led by feelings such as those just referred to (although I do not think that the religious sentiment was ever strongly developed in me), to the firm conviction of the existence of God and of the immortality of the soul. In my Journal I wrote that whilst standing in the midst of the grandeur of a Brazilian forest, ‘it is not possible to give an adequate idea of the higher feelings of wonder, admiration, and devotion which fill and elevate the mind.’ I well remember my conviction that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body; but now the grandest scenes would not cause any such convictions and feelings to rise in my mind. It may be truly said that I am like a man who has become COLOUR-BLIND.”

Francis Schaeffer remarked:

Now Darwin says when I look back and when I look at nature I came to the conclusion that man can not be just a fly! But now Darwin has moved from being a younger man to an older man and he has allowed his presuppositions to enter in to block his logic, these things at the end of his life he had no intellectual answer for. To block them out in favor of his theory. Remember the letter of his that said he had lost all aesthetic senses when he had got older and he had become a clod himself. Now interesting he says just the same thing, but not in relation to the arts, namely music, pictures, etc, but to nature itself. Darwin said, “But now the grandest scenes would not cause any such convictions  and feelings to rise in my mind. It may be truly said that I am like a man who has become colour-blind…” So now you see that Darwin’s presuppositions have not only robbed him of the beauty of man’s creation in art, but now the universe. He can’t look at it now and see the beauty. The reason he can’t see the beauty is for a very, very , very simple reason: THE BEAUTY DRIVES HIM TO DISTRACTION. THIS IS WHERE MODERN MAN IS AND IT IS HELL. The art is hell because it reminds him of man and how great man is, and where does it fit in his system? It doesn’t. When he looks at nature and it’s beauty he is driven to the same distraction and so consequently you find what has built up inside him is a real death, not  only the beauty of the artistic but the beauty of nature. He has no answer in his logic and he is left in tension.  He dies and has become less than human because these two great things (such as any kind of art and the beauty of  nature) that would make him human  stand against his theory.

________________

Darwin like you was consistent with his view of the UNIFORMITY OF  NATURAL CAUSES in a closed system and it cost him the love of music, art and the beauty of nature. TWO OTHER ALSO HELD THIS SAME view  of uniformity of natural causes in a closed system in 1978 when their hit song DUST IN THE WIND rose to the top 10 in the music charts.

_______________________________________

IF WE ARE LEFT WITH JUST THE MACHINE THEN WHAT IS THE FINAL CONCLUSION IF THERE WAS NO PERSONAL GOD THAT CREATED US? I sent you a CD that starts off with the song DUST IN THE WIND by Kerry Livgren of the group KANSAS which was a hit song in 1978 when it rose to #6 on the charts because so many people connected with the message of the song. It included these words, “All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

Kerry Livgren himself said that he wrote the song because he saw where man was without a personal God in the picture. Solomon pointed out in the Book of Ecclesiastes that those who believe that God doesn’t exist must accept three things. FIRST, death is the end and SECOND, chance and time are the only guiding forces in this life.  FINALLY, power reigns in this life and the scales are never balanced. The Christian can  face death and also confront the world knowing that it is not determined by chance and time alone and finally there is a judge who will balance the scales.

Both Kerry Livgren and the bass player Dave Hope of Kansas became Christians eventually. Kerry Livgren first tried Eastern Religions and Dave Hope had to come out of a heavy drug addiction. I was shocked and elated to see their personal testimony on The 700 Club in 1981 and that same  interview can be seen on You Tube today. Livgren lives in Topeka, Kansas today where he teaches “Diggers,” a Sunday school class at Topeka Bible ChurchDAVE HOPE is the head of Worship, Evangelism and Outreach at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin, Florida.

The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted.

Thank you again for your time and I know how busy you are.

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.com, http://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, Box 23416, LittleRock, AR 72221, United States

You can hear DAVE HOPE and Kerry Livgren’s stories from this youtube link:

(part 1 ten minutes)

(part 2 ten minutes)

Kansas – Dust in the Wind (Official Video)

Uploaded on Nov 7, 2009

Pre-Order Miracles Out of Nowhere now at http://www.miraclesoutofnowhere.com

About the film:
In 1973, six guys in a local band from America’s heartland began a journey that surpassed even their own wildest expectations, by achieving worldwide superstardom… watch the story unfold as the incredible story of the band KANSAS is told for the first time in the DVD Miracles Out of Nowhere.

_____________________________

Adrian Rogers on Darwinism

The Bible and Archaeology – Is the Bible from God? (Kyle Butt 42 min)

Below is a piece of that evidence given by Francis Schaeffer concerning the accuracy of the Bible.

TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?, under footnote #96)

 

We should take one last step back into the history of the Old Testament. In the previous note we looked first at the Dead Sea Scrolls, dating to around 100 B.C. Then we went back to the period of the Late Monarchy and looked first at the siege of Hezekiah in Jerusalem by Sennacherib in 701 B.C. and also at the last years of Judah down to about 600 B.C. Then we went further back to about 850 B.C., to Ahab and Jezebel, the ivory house, the Black Obelisk, the Moabite Stone and so on–then back again to about 950 B.C., to the time of Solomon and his son Rehoboam and the campaign by Shishak, the Egyptian pharaoh.

This should have built up in our minds a vivid impression of the historic reliability of the biblical text, including even the seemingly obscure details such as the ration tablets in Babylon. We saw, in other words, not only that the Bible gives us a marvelous world view that ties in with the nature of reality and answers the basic problems which philosophers have asked down through the centuries, but also that the Bible is completely reliable, EVEN ON THE HISTORICAL LEVEL.

The previous notes looked back to the time of Moses and Joshua, the escape from Egypt, and the settlement in Canaan. Now we will go back further–back as far as Genesis 12, near the beginning of the Bible.

Do we find that the narrative fades away to a never-never land of myths and legends? By no means. For we have to remind ourselves that although Genesis 12 deals with events a long time ago from our moment of history (about 2000 B.C. or a bit later), the civilized world was already not just old but ancient when Abram/Abraham left “Ur of the Chaldeans” (see Genesis 11:31).

Ur itself was excavated some fifty years ago. In the British Museum, for example, one can see the magnificent contents of a royal burial chamber from Ur. This includes a gold headdress still in position about the head of a queen who died in Ur about 2500 B.C. It has also been possible to reconstruct from archaeological remains what the streets and buildings must have been like at the time.

Like Ur, the rest of the world of the patriarchs (that is, of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) was firm reality. Such places as Haran, where Abraham went first, have been discovered. So has Shechem from this time, with its Canaanite stone walls, which are still standing, and its temple.

Genesis 12:5-9New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew, and all their possessions which they had accumulated, and the [a]persons which they had acquired in Haran, and they [b]set out for the land of Canaan; thus they came to the land of Canaan. Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the[c]oak of Moreh. Now the Canaanite was then in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your [d]descendants I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him. Then he proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the Lord andcalled upon the name of the Lord. Abram journeyed on, continuing toward the[e]Negev.

Haran and Shechem may be unfamiliar names to us but the Negrev (or Negeb) is a name we have all read frequently in the news accounts of our own day. 

Negev Nuclear Research Center – Israel

The Negev – Israel’s Desert

This article was first published in the Spring 2005 issue of Bible and Spade.
“If the full meaning of a passage [in the Bible] is to be grasped, the context of the passage needs to be appropriately developed” (Greenwold 2004: 72). In his pithy study of Luke’s Gospel account of Elizabeth and Zachariah, Greenwold gives an example of what he means: “All too often in our church lifetime, we end up being given many theological and doctrinal factual ornaments, but seldom are we shown the tree upon which to hang them. It’s as if we have been handed dozens of pieces to a puzzle, but have never seen what the finished picture on the top of the puzzle box looks like” (2004: 73). I think that Greenwold has it right.
Jesus and the woman at Jacob’s well in John 4 is an excellent case in point. The story takes place near the Old Testament city of Shechem. Shechem is mentioned 60 times in the Old Testament. The city had been abandoned by New Testament times, but Stephen reiterates its importance in his speech in Acts 7:16. A small village, Sychar, was near the ruins of Shechem in New Testament times and is mentioned in the John 4 account (Jn 4:5). Unfortunately, most Bible studies of events at or near Shechem, and commentaries on the Book of John, omit Shechem’s pivotal role in Bible history and how it fit into God’s salvation plan.
 
The narrow pass where ancient Shechem is located at the modern city of Nablus, view west. Mt. Gerizim is on the left and Mt. Ebal on the right. Dr. James C. Martin.
Archaeological investigations have corroborated much of what the Bible has to say about Shechem’s physical and cultural aspects. Archaeology has confirmed Shechem’s location, its history, and many Biblical details. In this article I will integrate what archaeology has illuminated about this important place and its geographical importance with a macro look at Shechem’s place in revealing God’s promise and plan to restore believers to Him.1
Map of Shechem area showing the location of Tell Balata (ancient Shechem), Joseph’s tomb and Jacob’s Well. ASOR, 2002.
Location and Exploration
About 30 mi (49 km) north of Jerusalem is a low, 15-acre mound, known as Tell Balata. This nondescript ruin covers what was ancient Shechem. The tell rests in a long, narrow, east-west valley with the two highest mountains in central Palestine towering over it, Mt. Ebal on the north and Mt. Gerizim on the south. The Hebrew word shekemmeans “back” or “shoulder,” which probably refers to Shechem’s placement between the two mountains. Coming from the south, the major road from Beersheba, Hebron and Jerusalem splits here. One branch goes east, around Mt. Ebal, and provides access to the Jordan Valley and cities like Beth Shan. The western arm leads to the coastal plain and cities to the north such as Samaria and Dothan. Thus, ancient Shechem and its modern counterpart, Nablus, are in a very strategic location along the watershed road between Judah, the Jordan Valley, Transjordan, and the Galilee.2
In 1903, a group of German scholars under the direction of H. Tiersch examined Tell Balata and concluded it was ancient Shechem. Until that time there had been controversy over whether Tell Balata, or the modern city of Nablus nearby, was the location of ancient Shechem. Tiersch’s identification has never been seriously questioned.
E. Sellin led an Austro-German excavation team to Tell Balata in 1913 and 1914. His work was interrupted by World War I. Sellin began work again in 1926 and continued until 1936. Work was resumed in 1956 by an American team under the direction of G. E. Wright and B. W. Anderson. The latest season of excavations at Tell Balata was in 1973 under the direction of W. G. Dever (Campbell 1993: 1347; Seger 1997:21).
Aerial view of the ruins of Shechem. On the right is the Middle Bronze fortification wall and in the upper center the “Migdal,” or fortress, temple. Holy Land Satellite Atlas, 1999, p. 100.
Abram at Shechem
The first mention of Shechem in the Bible is Genesis 12:6, when Abram first entered Canaan. It is succinctly described: “Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem.” At that time, God promised Abram, “To your offspring I will give this land” (Gn 12:7). The next mention of Shechem is 11 chapters, and about 200 years, later, when the Bible records that Jacob, Abram’s grandson, “camped within sight of the city” (Gn 33:18).
Assuming a conservative dating for the Patriarchal events in the Bible,3 note that Abram camped in Canaan about 2090 BC and there is no mention of a city. However, when Jacob arrived 200 hundred years later, around 1890 BC, the Bible notes that he “camped within sight of the city [Shechem].” In the original Hebrew, the word translated in our English Bible as “city” meant a permanent, walled settlement (Hansen 2003:81, Wood 1999:23). Genesis 34:20 and 24 report that Shechem had a city gate; therefore it was fortified.
Can archaeology clarify if there was or was not a city? Yes. The absence of a “city” and walls at Tell Balata when Abram came through and the existence of a city in the time of Jacob is in complete agreement with what the Bible indicates is Shechem’s early history.
Excavations have revealed that the earliest urbanization at Tell Balata was in MB I (Levels XXII-XXI), about 1900–1750 BC. MB I was when Jacob lived by the city of Shechem. Prior to MB I, in the time of Abram’s visit, archaeology has demonstrated that there was a gap in settlement and an absence of fortification walls. Thus, there was no “city” for Abram to reference, as the Bible correctly infers (Campbell 1993: 1347).
Jacob and Joseph at Shechem
What was the city like when Jacob settled there? Archaeologists have revealed that Tell Balata in MB I had structures with mudbrick walls on stone foundations and they have found an abundance of artifacts typical of domestic living (Toombs 1992: 1179). The Bible records that during Jacob’s stay he purchased land near Shechem. This parcel would become the place where his son, Joseph, would later be entombed (Jos 24:32). The tumultuous Dinah affair also occurred during Jacob’s stay at Shechem. Its aftermath resulted in the murder of Shechem’s male population by two of Jacob’s sons (Gn 33–34). Subsequently, God told Jacob to move to Bethel (Gn 35:1) and then on to Hebron (Gn 35:7).
The next Biblical mention of Shechem is in connection with the story of 17-year-old Joseph, Jacob’s son, who was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers (Gn 37). In the account, Joseph’s brothers were grazing the family’s flocks near Shechem when Jacob sent Joseph to inquire of them. After looking for them at Shechem, he found them a short distance north at Dothan. There, the brothers conspired to sell Joseph into slavery, setting the stage for the subsequent accounts of Joseph’s rise to power, Jacob and his family moving to Egypt and, later, Israel’s oppression by Egyptian Pharaohs.
The earliest known extra-Biblical written record of Shechem comes from the Middle Bronze period. It is an inscription on a stele (an upright standing stone) of an Egyptian, Khu-Sebek, who was a nobleman in the court of Sesostris III (ca. 1880–1840 BC). It was found in 1901 by the renowned archaeologist J. Garstang at Abydos, Egypt. King Sesostris III became ruler shortly after Jacob was at Shechem, and he was probably the king when Jacob died in Egypt. Khu-Sebek’s stele describes how the king’s army campaigned in a foreign country named Sekmem (Shechem) and how “Sekmem fell” (Toombs 1992: 1179). W. Shea believes that the campaign on Khu-Sebek’s stele is none other than the Egyptians’ account of the military encounters experienced by the entourage accompanying Joseph when Jacob’s embalmed body was brought to Canaan for entombment at Machpelah (Gn 50:12–14) (Shea 1992: 38 ff.).
Khu-Sebek’s stele reveals that as early as the 19th century BC, Shechem was an important strategic location and a place worthy of mention in a notable Egyptian’s biography.
Stela of Khu-Sebek. He is shown seated, accompanied by members of his family, his nurse, and the superintendent of the cabinet. Discovered by British archaeologist John Garstang at Abydos, Egypt, in 1901, the stela is now on display in the museum of the University of Manchester, England. Mike Luddeni.
Joshua at Shechem
A little over 400 years later, God rescued the Israelites from Egyptian bondage and led them through the desert wilderness for 40 years. Near the end of this sojourn, their leader Moses said that once they entered the land God had promised them (at Shechem, see Gn 12:7!), they were to erect an altar on Mt. Ebal (Dt 27:4) and read portions of the Law while the people were assembled before Mounts Ebal and Gerizim (Dt 11:26–30; 27:12, 13).
As I noted above, the mountains of Ebal and Gerizim overlook the valley wherein lay Shechem. The mountains form a natural amphitheater in which the recitation of the Law could easily be heard. Despite the mountains’ heights (Ebal is 3,083 ft [940 m] and Gerizim is 2,890 ft [881 m]), there are many contemporary accounts of people speaking from the slopes of the mountains and being heard in the valley below. Even with the noise of the busy modern city of Nablus, I myself have been in the park at the top of Gerizim and clearly heard the voices of children playing in the Balata refugee camp at Gerizim’s base.
Joshua fulfilled Moses’ instructions and led the people directly to Gerizim and Ebal after defeating the stronghold at Ai (Jos 7–8). Assuming an “early Exodus” date (1446 BC), the Israelite entry into Canaan, after 40 years in the wilderness, was approximately 1406 BC, in the Late Bronze (LB) IB period.4 LB IB corresponds with Tell Balata’s Level XIV (Campbell 1993: 1347; Toombs 1992: 1178). During the 350 years of the previous MB period, the city had been fortified with earthen embankments and cyclopean wall fortifications. However, Shechem was destroyed around 1540 BC. The ferocity of the destruction resulted in debris covering the city up to a depth of 5.25 ft (1.6 m). It is surmised that the Egyptian armies of Ahmose I or Amenhotep I were the aggressors (Toombs 1992: 1182).
About 90 years after that catastrophe the city was rebuilt early in the LB I period, around 1450 BC. Level XIV corresponds to this date and is noted for the reconstruction of the city’s defensive walls, homes, and a well built, fortress-type, temple. This Level XIV occupation was the city at which Joshua and the Israelites arrived to fulfill Moses’ orders to read the Law before Ebal and Gerizim around 1406 BC.
The Book of Joshua makes an interesting observation about that visit:
All Israel, aliens and citizens alike…. were standing on both sides of the ark of the covenant of the LORD, facing those who carried it…. There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua did not read to the whole assembly of Israel, including the women and children, and the aliens who lived among them (Jos 8:33, 35).
It appears that the crowd who heard the words of the Law that day was composed of both Israelites and native Shechemites (aliens)! The Bible implies that both Shechemites and Israelites co-existed at Shechem. This unusual situation can be further confirmed by the fact that Shechem became one of only three Israelite Cities of Refuge on the west side of the Jordan River, as well as being a city of the Levitical priesthood (Jos 20:7; 21:21). All this occurred even though there is no record in the Bible of it being taken in battle.5
Years later, Joshua again gathered the Israelites at Shechem (Jos 24). He reminded them of God’s promises and how He had fulfilled those promises and delivered them from diversities. Joshua then challenged the people to say whom they would serve and they promised to serve God (Jos 24:14–20). The renewal ceremony between the Israelites and God recognized the promises God made to Abraham (Gn 12:7; 17:7, 8), Jacob, and the people at Sinai through Moses (Ex 24:8).
The next event at Shechem in the Bible was the fulfillment of another promise: the burial of the Patriarch Joseph. Just before his death in Egypt, Joseph asked his brothers to bring his body back to the land “promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” when God delivered them from Egypt (Gn 50:24–25).
And Joseph’s bones, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. This became the inheritance of Joseph’s descendants (Jos 24:32).
Today, there is a place near Tell Balata venerated by the Jewish and Samaritan faiths as the traditional location of Joseph’s tomb. The shrine marking the tomb, and an associated Jewish school, were reduced to rubble in October 2000 in the wake of the most recent hostilities between the Palestinian Arabs and the State of Israel. Conflicting views have abounded as to whether this was, in fact, Joseph’s final resting place. Unfortunately, no archaeological excavations are known to have taken place at this site that could verify that this was the true location of the tomb of Joseph. Several ancient texts mention the site, but the exact location of Joseph’s tomb is still in question.
The discovery of a LB Egyptian library at Amarna has provided additional insights on the LB period. Letters in the library reveal Egypt’s relationship with Canaan’s rulers in the mid-14th century BC. Some of the letters disclose that the kings of Shechem were independent of Egypt. Further, Shechem’s rulers were criticized by other Canaanite rulers for cooperating with an invading group of desert people called the Habiru. Many conservative evangelical scholars (e.g., Wood 1997; 2003: 269–71) believe the Habiru were the Israelites of the early Judges period.
Letter from Labayu, king of Shechem, to the king of Egypt, probably Amenhotep III. It is defiant in tone, suggesting Labayu had a measure of independence from Egypt (Hess 1993). The letter, numbered El Amarna 252, is written in Akkadian cuneiform, albeit with Canaanite grammar and syntax, and is on display in the British Museum. Mike Luddeni.
Abimelech at Shechem
Later in Bible history, Abimelech, the son of Gideon’s Shechemite concubine (Jgs 8:31), colluded with some Shechemites to kill 70 of Abimelech’s brothers (Jgs 8:30–31; 9). However, Abimelech’s youngest brother Jotham survived (Jgs 9:5). Jotham climbed to the top of Mt. Gerizim and shouted to the Shechemites below. He foretold the destruction of the men of Shechem by fire (Jgs 9:7–21). Later in the same chapter we read that the people of Shechem rose against Abimelech’s leadership. In response, Abimelech fought against the city and razed it. During the attack the leaders of Shechem tried to save themselves in “the stronghold of the temple of El-berith” (Jgs 9:46). The story continues:
He [Abimelech] took an ax and cut off some branches, which he lifted to his shoulders. He ordered the men with him, “Quick! Do what you have seen me do!” So all the men cut branches and followed Abimelech. They piled them against the stronghold and set it on fire over the people inside. So all the people in the tower of Shechem, about a thousand men and women, also died (Jgs 9:48–49).
Archaeologists (e.g., E. Campbell, B. Mazar, G. E. Wright and L. Stager) refer to the “tower of Shechem” as “the Tower (migdal) Temple or Fortress-Temple” of Shechem (Campbell 1993: 1348, Stager 2003: 26 and 68 note 1). Stager recently reexamined the work of Wright who, in 1926, excavated a large building that has been reported to be this Fortress-Temple (Stager 2003). Stager’s conclusions are that this Temple, “Temple 1, ” was, in fact, the migdal referred to in Judges 9. It is the largest such Canaanite structure found in Israel and was 70 ft (21 m) wide, 86 ft (26 m) long with stone foundation walls 17 ft (5.1 m) thick. The foundation supported a multistory mudbrick and timber temple with an entrance flanked by two large towers. Stager hypothesized that the courtyard of this temple could have been where Joshua “took a large stone and set it up there under the oak near the holy place of the LORD” (Jos 24:26).
Stager (2003: 68) places the destruction of the Fortress-Temple around 1100 BC. So does Seger (1997: 22), who correlates the destruction debris found at Level XI as being from the Iron IA period. Campbell (1993: 1347) states that there was a “significant” destruction “around 1100 BCE” and guardedly concludes, “connecting Level XI with the story underlying Judges 9 is plausible” (1993: 1352).
Dating Shechem’s destruction to 1100 BC helps confirm the Biblical date of 1406 BC as the beginning of the Conquest in Canaan. To do this, it is necessary to know that immediately after we read in the Bible of Abimelech’s destruction of Shechem, Jephthah, the ninth Judge, appears (Jgs 11, 12). Jephthah was hired by Israelites who lived in Gilead, east of the Jordan River, to confront the Ammonites who had made war on them for 18 years. Jephthah first attempted diplomacy with the Ammonite king. He reminded the Ammonite king that the Israelites had been in the land east of the Jordan River for “300 years” (Jgs 11:21–26). Jephthah, of course, was referring to the time when Moses led the Israelites through that region and defeated numerous kings (Nm 21:21–31).
Thus, if Abimelech destroyed Shechem ca. 1125–1100 BC (Jgs 9), and Abimelech was a contemporary of Jephthah, the Conquest would have occurred about 300 years earlier, in ca. 1400 BC (1100 BC + 300 years = 1400 BC).
Shechem in the Time of the Divided Monarchy
The Bible sheds little light on Shechem’s role during the reigns of Saul, David or Solomon. Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, was next in line for the throne. All the Israelites assembled at Shechem to anoint Rehoboam king. Rehoboam, however, acted foolishly by chiding the northern tribes and telling them he would tax them heavily. In defense, the northern tribes retaliated by separating themselves from Rehoboam and the southern kingdom. The northern tribes made Jeroboam I king of their region. The country, formerly unified under David and Solomon, became divided. The northern region and tribes, led by Jeroboam I, was known as Israel. The southern area and tribes, first led by Rehoboam, is referred to as Judah in the Bible.
Levels X and IX at Tell Balata represent the Jeroboam I period and are noted for carefully built houses of selected stones. The discovery of stone foundations for stairs suggests two-story, four-room houses, typical homes of that period (Dever 1994: 80–81). Campbell concludes that Level IX (920–810 BC) has “tangible evidence of Jeroboam I’s rebuilding (1 Kg 12:25) and a return to city status” (1993: 1352–53).
The Assyrian invasion of Israel in 724 BC (2 Kgs 17:5–6) brought another destruction to Shechem. The evidence is in Level VII. Toombs noted that in Level VII the city was “reduced to a heap of ruins, completely covered by debris of fallen brickwork, burned beams and tumbled building stones,” typical examples of Assyrian thoroughness (1992: 1185). In addition to the destruction, the Assyrians placed exiled peoples from other nations into the region around Shechem, a common Assyrian practice (2 Kgs 17:23–24).
These new peoples added Yahweh to their own beliefs (2 Kgs 17:25–30). The new religion mimicked Judaism in many respects and Mt. Gerizim was made the center of its worship. New Testament practitioners of the cult are called “Samaritans,” which also referred to the people who lived in the vicinity (Mt 10:5; Lk 9:52, 10:53; 17:16; Jn 4:7, 9, 22, 39, 40; 8:48; Acts 8:25). A remnant of the ancient Samaritans still lives on Mt. Gerizim and they practice sacrifices there just as they did 2,700 years ago.7
Shechem in the Intertestamental Period
Between the Old and New Testaments, Shechem had a modest recovery and there is an abundance of evidence that excellent buildings were constructed in this, the Hellenistic, period (ca. 330–107 BC). It was during this time that the Samaritans built a large temple and sacrificial platform on Mt. Gerizim, the remains of which were still visible in Jesus’ day (Jn 4:20).
As fighting between the Ptolemies and Seleucids swirled around the country in the intertestamental period, physical decline again took place at Shechem. This decline culminated when the Jewish leader, John Hyrcanus, took advantage of the temporary absence of outside armies and destroyed the Samaritan temple on Mt. Gerizim (ca. 126 BC). He leveled the city in 107 BC. Shechem never recovered from this destruction and lay in ruins until identified by Tierschin 1901.
Shechem in the New Testament Period
Samaritans continued to live in the area during the following years, the Roman period. This is confirmed by the discovery of human burials from the period on the lower slopes of Mt. Ebal (Magen 1993: 1358–59). It is known that Samaritans also made several attempts to renew their cult worship on Mt. Gerizim. The Romans suppressed their efforts and in AD 72 constructed a new city, Flavia-Neapolis, about 1 mi (1.6 km) west of Tell Balata (Magen 2001: 40). This new city is now Nablus, a modern Arab city of about 120,000 people8 whose name is probably a corruption of Roman city, Neapolis.
About 500 yd (460 m) southeast of Tell Balata is an ancient well, venerated to be a well that Jacob, the Patriarch, dug when he lived there. Such a well is not mentioned in the Old Testament. There is a small Arab village, Askar, just north of the well. Most scholars associate Askar with Sychar, the village in John 4 near “Jacob’s well” (Jn 4:6). The authenticity of the well is not only based on its physical identification in John 4, but also on “the fact that all traditions-—Jewish, Samaritan, Christian and Muslim-—support it” (Stefanovic 1992: 608). Several churches in Christian history have been built on the site of the well and today it is located under a recently constructed Greek Orthodox church. Access to the well is gained by going down steps from the apse of the new church.
Jacob’s well as it appeared in the 1870s. In the right background is Mt. Gerizim with the tomb of the Arab sheikh, where the ruins of the Samaritan temple were located in New Testament times, visible at the peak.Todd Bolen.
Jacob’s well, at the base of Mt. Gerizim, is at the junction of the main road leading from Jerusalem in the south. Here, the road splits with the eastern branch going toward the Jordan Valley and the western branch leading to Nablus, and in NT times, Samaria and the Galilee. It is an excellent setting for one of the most important passages in the Bible-—the account of Jesus’ verbal Messianic announcement in the fourth chapter of John. In this passage Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, dialogues with her, and tells her He is the long-awaited Messiah.
Mt. Gerizim (left peak) as seen from Jacob’s well. When the Samaritan woman said to Jesus, “Our fathers worshipped on this mountain,” she was no doubt referring to the ruins of the Samaritan temple on top of Mt. Gerizim. The small structure on the peak marks the location of the ruins of the Samaritan temple that easily could have been seen from Jacob’s well in Jesus’ day. Bryant Wood.
Significance of Shechem in Understanding John 4
This article began by stating that context in reading the Bible was important to full understanding of what the original writers wanted the original hearers/listeners to know. In the case of Shechem, it is clear that the writer of John’s Gospel was appealing to the hearer/reader’s understanding of Shechem’s unique historical and theological context.
First, the author established that the event took place at Sychar (Jn 4:6). By making reference to Jacob he reminded his readers/hearers that this is where Jacob first settled when he returned to the Promised Land from Paddan Aram (Gn 33:18). At this spot Abram received God’s promise that “To your offspring I will give this land” (Gn 12:7). In addition to God’s promise given here to Abram, the writer wanted the hearer/reader to remember that many human agreements were made at Shechem in Bible history. Unfortunately, most were corrupted because of man’s sin. For example, Jacob made a promise to spare Hamor and the Shechemites after Dinah was sexually violated. Jacob’s use of circumcision to confirm the agreement with the Shechemites was the same symbol God had ordained as “the sign of the covenant between Me and you” (Gn 17:11). To seal a human agreement in this manner and have it subsequently abrogated as Jacob’s sons had done (Gn 34), could not have escaped the attention of the original hearers/reader.
Later, we read in the Bible that Jacob did not destroy family idols: rather he simply placed them under a tree near Shechem (Gn 35). This whole account is a testimony to the human condition and our willful tendency not to obey God. Jacob, who even had the privilege of a personal revelation from God, still could not totally eliminate idol worship; he played on the edge and placed the idols under a tree rather than destroying them.
The reader/hearer also should have been reminded that Shechem was near the place where Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery and then concocted a lie to explain Joseph’s absence to their father Jacob (Gn 37)—another example of man’s deceit and deception.
All of these accounts are, in themselves, mini-stories that illustrate the human condition and how incapable we are of making a lasting promise to God. As a result, we are in need of rescue and restoration and only God, with His patience, could develop and execute a plan, seen throughout Bible history, for accomplishing a restoration that did not rely on man’s fallible nature.
Juxtaposed against the human failings, lies and deceits, the hearer/reader’s attention was brought to the fact that Shechem was where God reminded the people that He is faithful. Having given Abram the promise of the land, the Israelites were to remember that promise by going to Shechem, building an altar worshipping and re-reading God’s Law. This would refresh in the minds of the Israelites how God had led them out of bondage as He had promised and into a land He had promised. The rededication ceremony was accomplished and is described in Joshua 8. Following the conquest, Joshua again assembled the people at Shechem where he reviewed God’s promises and Israel’s obligations, eliciting from the people an agreement that they would “serve the Lord our God and obey Him” (Jos 24:24). This promise was another one that was repeatedly broken as revealed in the succeeding books of the Old Testament.
Earlier in Israel’s history Joseph, as he lay dying in Egypt, reminded the people that God would lead them to the land He had promised to Abraham, Isaac and his father Jacob. He asked that when they did return, they “carry my bones up from this place” (Gn 50:25). This was fulfilled in Joshua 24:32 when the body of Joseph was placed in a tomb in Shechem.
The Hebrew hearer/reader would also remember that Shechem became the center for the idolatrous worship practices that occurred following Israel’s capture by the Assyrians. Importing peoples from other lands and exporting Jewish believers, syncretism of pagan beliefs and Jewish practices resulted in a corrupted form of worship that became centered at Shechem and on Mt. Gerizim by people who were known as Samaritans. They chose to be worshippers of other gods despite their earlier promise in Joshua 24.

Ruins of a fifth century AD octagonal church on Mt. Gerizim, view north. The church, dedicated to Mary, was built on top of a temple built by the Samaritans in the late fifth century BC. John Hyrcanus destroyed the temple in the late second century BC. The small domed building at the northeast corner, the tomb of an Arab sheikh, is the structure visible from Jacob’s well in the valley below. IAA.
I believe the author of John wanted the reader and hearer to recognize and associate Shechem with God’s eternal unbroken promises, man’s corrupted state, the need for a Rescuer and how a Rescuer had been promised throughout history. In John 4 the Rescuer is revealed. The Samaritan woman makes known the promise: “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” And the Rescuer, Jesus, replied that the Messiah was at hand: “I Who speak to you am He” (Jn 4:26)!
The Samaritan woman’s response was to immediately run into the village, leaving her water jar behind, and tell everyone that the Rescuer was there. What glorious news! The Samaritans rushed to the well, welcomed Him and exclaimed that Jesus was the Rescuer, “the Savior of the world” (Jn 4:42).
It should challenge us to remember that shortly after Jesus’ declaration that He was Messiah, He would complete the promise and achieve the rescue through His death, burial and ascension. As He prepared His disciples for their duties, He told them that they would be His “witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The story of Shechem and the Samaritan region had come full circle—from the promises to the Patriarchs to fulfillment of salvation as heard by the woman at the well and declared to the disciples.
Now we have the contextual history of Shechem. It is apparent that the original hearer/reader of John’s Gospel fully understood how Shechem had been a focal point of God’s unbroken promises and man’s fallibility. Hopefully, for the reader of this essay, all pieces of the puzzle of Shechem can now be understood and assembled so one can see the finished picture. And what a wonderful picture it is!
Footnotes
1. The author wishes to express his appreciation to Dr. James C. Martin for permission to use the photographs credited to him in this article.
2. For a discussion of geographical criteria that make for strategic locations in ancient Israel, see Hansen 1991.
3. For these dates, see Davis 1975: 29.
4. For a brief discussion of how this date is derived, see Hansen 2003: 80.
5. See Wood 1997 for his explanation of this unusual situation.
6. For a more thorough discussion of the Amarna tablets and the identity of the Habiru, see Archer 1994: 288–95; Wood 1995 and 2003: 269–71.
7. For a description of the modern Samaritans and how they practice Passover, see Bolen 2001.
Bibliography
Archer, Gleason L.
1994 A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, new and revised ed. Chicago: Moody.
Bolen, Todd
2001 Samaritan Passover. Bible and Spade 14: 41–42.
Campbell, Edward F.
1993 Shechem. Pp. 1345–54 in The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land4, ed. Ephraim Stern. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Davis, John J.
1975 Paradise to Prison: Studies in Genesis. Grand Rapids MI: Baker.
Dever, William G.
1994 Monumental Architecture in Ancient Israel in the Period of the United Monarchy. Bible and Spade 7: 68–87.
Greenwold, Douglas
2004 Zechariah & Elizabeth: Persistent Faith in a Faithful God. Rockville MD: Bible-in-Context Ministries.
Hansen, David G.
1991 The Case of Meggido [sic]. Archaeology and Biblical Research 4: 84–93.
2003 Large Cities that Have Walls up to the Sky: Canaanite Fortifications in the Late Bronze I Period.Bible and Spade 16: 78–88.
Hess, Richard S.
1993 Smitten Ant Bites Back: Rhetorical Forms in the Amarna Correspondence from Shechem. Pp. 95–111 in Verses in Ancient Near Eastern Prose, eds. Johannes C. de Moor and Wilfred G.E. Watson, Alter Orient und Altes Testament 42. Kevelaer, Germany: Butzon & Bercker.
Magen, Itzhak
1993 Neapolis. Pp. 1354–59 in The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land4, ed. Ephraim Stern. New York: Simon & Schuster.
2001 The Sacred Precinct on Mount Gerizim. Bible and Spade 14:37–40.
Seger, Joe D.
1997 Shechem. Pp. 19–23 in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East 5, ed. Eric M. Myers. New York: Oxford University Press.
Shea, William H.
1992 The Burial of Jacob: A New Correlation Between Genesis 50 and an Egyptian Inscription.Archaeology and Biblical Research 5:33–44.
Stager, Lawrence E.
2003 The Shechem Temple where Abimelech Massacred a Thousand. Biblical Archaeological Review28.4:26–35, 68–69.
Stefanovic, Zdravko
1992 Jacob’s Well. Pp. 608–609 in The Anchor Bible Dictionary 3, ed. David N. Freedman. New York: Doubleday.
Toombs, Lawrence E.
1992 Shechem. Pp. 1174–86 in The Anchor Bible Dictionary 5, ed, David N. Freedman. New York: Doubleday.
Wood, Bryant G.
1995 Reexamining The Late Bronze Era: An Interview with Bryant Wood by Gordon Govier. Bible and Spade 8: 47–53.
1997 The Role of Shechem in the Conquest of Canaan. Pp 245–56 in To Understand the Scriptures: Essays in Honor of William H. Shea, ed. David Merling. Berrien Springs MI: Institute of Archaeology/Siegfried H. Horn Archaeological Museum.
1999 The Search for Joshua’s Ai: Excavations at Kh. el-Maqatir. Bible and Spade 12:21–30.
21
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Investigating Bart Ehrman’s Top Ten Troublesome Bible Verses

120On the final page of the paperback edition of Misquoting Jesus, Bart Ehrman famously listed the “Top Ten Verses That Were Not Originally in the New Testament.” In an effort to discredit the reliability of the New Testament text, Ehrman offered this list to demonstrate the existence of many late insertions in the text. He found this reality troubling as a young man, and eventually walked away from his Christian faith as a result:

“The Bible began to appear to me as a very human book. Just as human scribes had copied, and changed, the texts of scripture, so too had human authors originally written the texts of scripture. This was a human book from beginning to end.”  (from Misquoting Jesus)

Let’s take a look at Ehrman’s list of troublesome verses and examine how they impact the reliability of the New Testament text:

1 John 5:7
There are three that bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one.

John 8:7
Let the one who is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone at her.

John 8:11
Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.

Luke 22:44
In his anguish Jesus began to pray more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground.

Luke 22:20
And in the same way after supper Jesus took the cup and said, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.“

Mark 16:17
These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons and they will speak with new tongues.

Mark 16:18
And they will take up snakes in their hands, and if they drink poison it will not harm them, and they will lay their hands on the sick and they will become well.

John 5:4
For an angel of the Lord went down at certain times into the pool and disturbed the waters; and whoever was the first to step in when the water was disturbed was healed of whatever disease he had.

Luke 24:12
But Peter rose up and ran to the tomb, and stooping down to look in, he saw the linen clothes by themselves. And he went away to his own home, marveling at what had happened.

Luke 24:51
And when Jesus blessed them he departed from them and he was taken up into heaven

While this list may seem large (and even surprising for those of us who haven’t examined the presence of textual variants in the New Testament), I think this list does little to impact the reliability of the text. In fact, I think Ehrman is profiting from the unfamiliarity that most Christians have with the presence of textual variants. The list does seem shocking and daunting if you’ve never taken the time to examine matters such as these. But if you stop and think about it and examine each verse listed here, the impact is actually very minimal. I recognize four truths about these verses:

The Verses are Designated Earlier
Seven of these passages (John 8:7, John 8:11, Luke 22:44, Luke 22:20, Mark 16:17, Mark 16:18 and John 5:4) are already clearly designated in my Bible (I’m using the ESV for this blog post). It’s not as though these specious verses are hidden; most modern translations do an excellent job of including everything, then identifying those verses that are variants. Check it out for yourself. You’ll see that these verses, like many others in the text, have been clearly marked.

The Verses are Described Elsewhere
Three of these passages (Luke 22:20, Luke 24:12 and Luke 24:51) are simply reiterations of information that is given to us in other gospels. So, although these verses could be removed from Luke, their claims are found elsewhere in passages that are uncontested (see Matthew 26:28, Mark 14:24, John 20:3-7, Acts 1:9-11).

The Verses are Decidedly Extraneous
That leaves only one verse on Ehrman’s list (1 John 5:7) that begs for explanation. But even if this verse can’t be reconciled, it’s clearly extraneous. The doctrine of the Trinity it addresses is found elsewhere in the scripture. Like other scribal variants, it may have been included by a scribe to make the doctrine clearer, but with all the other Biblical evidence for the triune nature of God, this verse has no impact on our understanding of the Trinity. The superfluous nature of this verse is similar to the vast majority of all Biblical textual variants; they have no impact on the theological or historical claims of the text.

The Verses are Detected Easily
Perhaps most importantly, these late entries were easy to detect, given the large number of ancient Biblical manuscripts we possess. By comparing these texts, we are able to determine which verses should not be in our Bible today, and the same discipline that allows us to determine what is specious, allows us to determine what is special. The skill set that allows us to identify what doesn’t belong is the very same skill set that allows us to identify what does belong.

I’ve written a lot more about this issue in a chapter in my book entitled, “Separating Artifacts from Evidence.” It turns out that Ehrman has the ability to complain about the existence of these passages only because we happen to possess the accurate methodology to remove them from consideration in the first place. As a result, we ought to have even more confidence that we possess documents today that are a reliable reflection of what was originally written thousands of years ago.

J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, a Christian Case Maker, and the author of Cold-Case Christianity

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Bart Ehrman “Why should one think that God performed the miracle of inspiring the words in the first place if He didn’t perform the miracle of preserving the words?”

On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:

…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975

and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.

Harry Kroto

____________________

Below you have picture of 1996 Chemistry Nobel Prize Winner Dr. Harry Kroto:

________________________

Did Jesus Rise From The Dead -Bart Ehrman Vs William Lane Craig

Bart D. Ehrman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Ehrman” redirects here. For another historian, see John Ehrman.
Bart D. Ehrman
Bart-d-ehrman-2012-wikipedia.jpg

Professor Bart D. Ehrman, Ph.D., M.Div.
Born October 5, 1955 (age 59)
Lawrence, Kansas, United States
Nationality American
Education BA (1978), MDiv (1981), PhD (1985)
Alma mater Moody Bible Institute
Wheaton College
Princeton Theological Seminary
Employer The Department of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Known for New Testament authenticationand textual variants, historical Jesus, early Christian writings, orthodox corruption of scripture.
Spouse(s) Sarah Beckwith
Children Kelly and Derek
Website www.bartdehrman.com

Bart D. Ehrman /ərmən/ (born October 5, 1955) is an American New Testament scholar, currently the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a leading scholar in his field, having written and edited over 25 books, including three college textbooks, and has also achieved acclaim at the popular level, authoring five New York Times bestsellers. Ehrman’s work focuses on textual criticism of the New Testament, the historical Jesus, and the development of early Christianity.

Bart Ehrman vs. James White Debate P1

Education[edit]

Ehrman grew up in Lawrence, Kansas, and attended Lawrence High School, where he was on the state champion debate team in 1973. He began studying the Bible and its original languages at Moody Bible Institute, where he earned the school’s three-year diploma in 1976.[1] He is a 1978 graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois, where he received his bachelor’s degree. He received his PhD and M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, where he studied under Bruce Metzger. He received magna cum laude for both his BA in 1978 and PhD in 1985.[2]

Was the New Testament Forged? Darrell Bock vs. Bart D. Ehrman

Career[edit]

Ehrman became an Evangelical Christian as a teenager. In his books, he recounts his youthful enthusiasm as a born-again, fundamentalist Christian, certain that God had inspired the wording of the Bible and protected its texts from all error.[1] His desire to understand the original words of the Bible led him to the study of ancient languages and also textual criticism. During his graduate studies, however, he became convinced that there are contradictions and discrepancies in the biblical manuscripts that could not be harmonized or reconciled. He remained a liberal Christian for 15 years but later became an agnostic after struggling with the philosophical problems of evil and suffering.[1]

Ehrman has taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill since 1988, after four years of teaching at Rutgers University. At UNC he has served as both the Director of Graduate Studies and the Chair of the Department of Religious Studies. He was the recipient of the 2009 J. W. Pope “Spirit of Inquiry” Teaching Award, the 1993 UNC Undergraduate Student Teaching Award, the 1994 Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement, and the Bowman and Gordon Gray Award for excellence in teaching.[2]

Ehrman currently serves as co-editor of the series New Testament Tools, Studies, and Documents (E. J. Brill), co-editor-in-chief for the journal Vigiliae Christianae, and on several other editorial boards for journals and monographs. Ehrman formerly served as President of the Southeast Region of the Society of Biblical Literature, chair of the New Testament textual criticism section of the Society, book review editor of the Journal of Biblical Literature, and editor of the monograph series The New Testament in the Greek Fathers (Scholars Press).[2]

Ehrman speaks extensively throughout the United States and has participated in many public debates, including debates with William Lane Craig, Dinesh D’Souza, Mike Licona, Craig A. Evans, Daniel B. Wallace, Richard Swinburne,Peter J. Williams, James White, Darrell Bock and Michael L. Brown.

In 2006 and 2009 he appeared on The Colbert Report,[3][4] as well as The Daily Show,[5] to promote his books Misquoting Jesus, and Jesus, Interrupted (respectively).

Ehrman has appeared on the History Channel, the National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, A&E, Dateline NBC, CNN, and NPR’s Fresh Air and his writings have been featured in TIME, Newsweek, The New York Times,The New Yorker, and The Washington Post.[6]

Bart Ehrman vs. James White Debate P2

_____________________________

In  the second video below in the 86th clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)

 

___________

Quote from Bart Ehrman:

In the book THE TEXTUAL RELIABILITY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT: A DIALOGUE by Bart Ehrman and Daniel B. Wallace and in the film series RENOWNED ACADEMICS SPEAKING ABOUT GOD, Dr. Ehrman noted:

The Bible is the most widely purchased, most thoroughly read, most broadly misunderstood book in the history of human civilization. One of the things that people misunderstand, of course—especially my nineteen-year-old students from North Carolina—is that when we’re reading the Bible, we’re not actually reading the words of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, or Paul. We’re reading translations of those words from the Greek of the New Testament. And something is always lost in translation. Not only that, we’re not reading translations of the originals of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, or Paul, because we don’t have the originals of any of the books of the New Testament. What we have are copies made centuries later—in most instances, many centuries later. These thousands of copies that we have all differ from one another in lots of little ways, and sometimes in big ways. There are places where we don’t know what the authors of the New Testament originally wrote. For some Christians, that’s not a big problem because they don’t have a high view of Scripture. For others, it’s a big problem indeed. What does it mean to say that God inspired the words of the text if we don’t have the words? Moreover, why should one think that God performed the miracle of inspiring the words in the first place if he didn’t perform the miracle of preserving the words? If he meant to give us his very words, why didn’t he make sure we received them?

________

I have two responses to Dr. Ehrman’s assertions. First, the Bible is the most well preserved ancient historical document in the world today and you can look at the Dead Sea Scrolls if you want to see how well the Old Testament was preserved over the centuries or you can look the manuscript evidence that Matt Slick provides in the article below concerning the New Testament. In both cases it is amazing how well God preserved these manuscripts for us. I agree with Slick’s conclusion, “The Christian has substantially superior criteria for affirming the New Testament documents than he does for any other ancient writing.”

Second, I do have a “high view of Scripture” as Dr Ehrman used to when he was an evangelical  and I think that evidence from biblical archaeology backs up my view that the scriptures are historically accurate. I have included some of that evidence below and also a letter of April 14, 2015 written to Dr. Ehrman that included some evidence of that sort.

Manuscript evidence for superior New Testament reliability

by Matt Slick

The New Testament is constantly under attack, and its reliability and accuracy are often contested by critics. If the critics want to disregard the New Testament, then they must also disregard other ancient writings by Plato, Aristotle, and Homer.  This is because the New Testament documents are better preserved and more numerous than any other ancient writings. Because they are so numerous, they can be cross checked for accuracy . . . and they are very consistent.

There are presently 5,686 Greek manuscripts in existence today for the New Testament.1 If we were to compare the number of New Testament manuscripts to other ancient writings, we find that the New Testament manuscripts far outweigh the others in quantity.2

Author Date
Written
Earliest Copy Approximate Time Span between original & copy Number of Copies Accuracy of Copies
Lucretius died 55 or 53 B.C. 1,100 yrs 2 —-
Pliny A.D. 61-113 A.D. 850 750 yrs 7 —-
Plato 427-347 B.C. A.D. 900 1,200 yrs 7 —-
Demosthenes 4th Cent. B.C. A.D. 1100 800 yrs 8 —-
Herodotus 480-425 B.C. A.D. 900 1,300 yrs 8 —-
Suetonius A.D. 75-160 A.D. 950 800 yrs 8 —-
Thucydides 460-400 B.C. A.D. 900 1,300 yrs 8 —-
Euripides 480-406 B.C. A.D. 1100 1,300 yrs 9 —-
Aristophanes 450-385 B.C. A.D. 900 1200 10 —-
Caesar 100-44 B.C. A.D. 900 1,000 10 —-
Livy 59 BC-AD 17 —- ??? 20 —-
Tacitus circa A.D. 100 A.D. 1100 1,000 yrs 20 —-
Aristotle 384-322 B.C. A.D. 1100 1,400 49 —-
Sophocles 496-406 B.C. A.D. 1000 1,400 yrs 193 —-
Homer (Iliad) 900 B.C. 400 B.C. 500 yrs 643 95%
New
Testament
1st Cent. A.D. (A.D. 50-100) 2nd Cent. A.D.
(c. A.D. 130 f.)
less than 100 years 5600 99.5%

 

As you can see, there are thousands more New Testament Greek manuscripts than any other ancient writing. The internal consistency of the New Testament documents is about 99.5% textually pure. That is an amazing accuracy. In addition, there are over 19,000 copies in the Syriac, Latin, Coptic, and Aramaic languages. The total supporting New Testament manuscript base is over 24,000.

Almost all Biblical scholars agree that the New Testament documents were all written before the close of the First Century. If Jesus was crucified in A.D. 30., then that means the entire New Testament was completed within 70 years. This is important because it means there were plenty of people around when the New Testament documents were penned–people who could have contested the writings. In other words, those who wrote the documents knew that if they were inaccurate, plenty of people would have pointed it out. But, we have absolutely no ancient documents contemporary with the First Century that contest the New Testament texts.

Furthermore, another important aspect of this discussion is the fact that we have a fragment of the Gospel of John that dates back to around 29 years from the original writing (John Rylands Papyri A.D. 125). This is extremely close to the original writing date. This is simply unheard of in any other ancient writing, and it demonstrates that the Gospel of John is a First Century document.

Below is a chart with some of the oldest extant New Testament manuscripts compared to when they were originally penned. Compare these time spans with the next closest, which is Homer’sIliad, where the closest copy from the original is 500 years later. Undoubtedly, that period of time allows for more textual corruption in its transmission. How much less so for the New Testament documents?

Important
Manuscript
Papyri
Contents Date
Original Written
MSS
Date
Approx.
Time Span
Location
p52
(John Rylands
Fragment)3
John 18:31-33, 37-38 circa
A.D. 96
circa
A.D.
125
29 yrs John Rylands Library, Manchester, England
P46
(Chester Beatty Papyrus)
Rom. 5:17-6:3, 5-14, 8:15-25, 27-35,10:1-11, 22, 24-33, 35, 16:1-23, 25-27, Heb., 1 & 2 Cor., Eph., Gal., Phil., Col., 1 Thess. 1:1, 9-10, 2:1-3, 5:5-9, 23-28 50’s-70’s circa
A.D.
200
Approx.
150 yrs
Chester Beatty Museum, Dublin & Ann Arbor, Michigan, University of Michigan library
P66
(Bodmer Papyrus)
John 1:1-6:11, 35-14:26, fragment of 14:29-21:9 70’s circa
A.D.
200
Approx.
130 yrs
Cologne, Geneva
P67 Matt. 3:9, 15, 5:20-22, 25-28 circa
A.D.
200
Approx.
130 yrs
Barcelona, Fundacion San Lucas Evangelista, P. Barc.1

If the critics of the Bible dismiss the New Testament as reliable information, then they must also dismiss the reliability of the writings of Plato, Aristotle, Caesar, Homer, and the other authors mentioned in the chart at the beginning of the paper. On the other hand, if the critics acknowledge the historicity and writings of those other individuals, then they must also retain the historicity and writings of the New Testament authors, after all, the evidence for the New Testament’s reliability is far greater than the others. The Christian has substantially superior criteria for affirming the New Testament documents than he does for any other ancient writing. It is good evidence on which to base the trust in the reliability of the New Testament.

 

  • 1.Norman Geisler & Peter Bocchino, Unshakeable Foundations, (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2001) p. 256.
  • 2.The above chart was adapted from three sources: 1) Christian Apologetics, by Norman Geisler, 1976, p. 307, 2) the article “Archaeology and History attest to the Reliability of the Bible,” by Richard M. Fales, Ph.D., in The Evidence Bible, Compiled by Ray Comfort, Bridge-Logos Publishers, Gainesville, FL, 2001, p. 163, and 3) A Ready Defense, by Josh Mcdowell, 1993, p. 45.
  • 3.“Deissmann was convinced that p52 was written well within the reign of Hadrian (A.D. 117-38) and perhaps even during the time of Trajan (A.D. 98-117)” (Footnote #2 found on pg. 39 of The Text of the New Testament, by Bruce M. Metzger, 2nd Ed. 1968, Oxford University Press, NY, NY). Bruce Metzger has authored more than 50 books. He holds two Masters Degrees, a Ph.D. and has been awarded several honorary doctorates. “He is past president of the Society of Biblical Literature, the International Society for New Testament Studies, and the North American Patristic Society.”–From, The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel, Zondervan Publishers, 1998, Grand Rapids, MI: pg. 57.

 

 

April 14, 2015

Dear Dr. Ehrman,

I have really enjoyed listening to your You Tube videos and I really liked the debate you did with William Lane Craig. In that debate you said you went to Moody Bible Institute and Wheaton College. I WONDER IF YOU GOT TO HEAR MY HERO FRANCIS SCHAEFFER SPEAK IN PERSON?  I know that he visited both locations  both in the 1960’s and 1970’s. I just purchased 88 of his messages given on Moody Bible Radio Broadcasts and I know that his first three books were actually transcripts from his speeches at Wheaton in 1967.

As you can tell from reading this letter I am an evangelical Christian and I have made it a hobby of mine to correspond with scientists or academics like yourself over the last 25 years. Some of those who corresponded back with me have been  Ernest Mayr (1904-2005), George Wald (1906-1997), Carl Sagan (1934-1996),  Robert Shapiro (1935-2011), Nicolaas Bloembergen (1920-),  Brian Charlesworth (1945-),  Francisco J. Ayala (1934-) Elliott Sober (1948-), Kevin Padian (1951-), Matt Cartmill (1943-) , Milton Fingerman (1928-), John J. Shea (1969-), , Michael A. Crawford (1938-), Paul Kurtz (1925-2012), Sol Gordon (1923-2008), Albert Ellis (1913-2007), Barbara Marie Tabler (1915-1996), Renate Vambery (1916-2005), Archie J. Bahm (1907-1996), Aron S “Gil” Martin ( 1910-1997), Matthew I. Spetter (1921-2012), H. J. Eysenck (1916-1997), Robert L. Erdmann (1929-2006), Mary Morain (1911-1999), Lloyd Morain (1917-2010),  Warren Allen Smith (1921-), Bette Chambers (1930-),  Gordon Stein (1941-1996) , Milton Friedman (1912-2006), John Hospers (1918-2011), Michael Martin (1932-).Harry Kroto (1939-), Marty E. Martin (1928-), Richard Rubenstein (1924-), James Terry McCollum (1936-), Edward O. WIlson (1929-), Lewis Wolpert (1929), Gerald Holton (1922-), Martin Rees (1942-), Alan Macfarlane (1941-),  Roald Hoffmann (1937-), Herbert Kroemer (1928-), Thomas H. Jukes (1906-1999), Glenn BranchGeoff Harcourt (1931-) and  Ray T. Cragun (1976-). I would consider it an honor to add you to this very distinguished list. 

I just finished reading the online addition of the book Darwin, Francis ed. 1892. Charles Darwin: his life told in an autobiographical chapter, and in a selected series of his published letters [abridged edition]. London: John Murray. There are several points that Charles Darwin makes in this book that were very wise, honest, logical, shocking and some that were not so wise. The Christian Philosopher Francis Schaeffer once said of Darwin’s writings, “Darwin in his autobiography and in his letters showed that all through his life he never really came to a quietness concerning the possibility that chance really explained the situation of the biological world. You will find there is much material on this [from Darwin] extended over many many years that constantly he was wrestling with this problem.”

I THINK DARWIN OPENED UP ABOUT HIS MOST INNER FEELINGS MUCH MORE THAN HE HAS BEEN GIVEN CREDIT FOR AND THAT IS WHAT I WROTE YOU ABOUT TODAY SINCE YOU ALSO DEALT WITH THIS SAME ISSUE OF LOSING YOUR BECAUSE OF THE PROBLEM OF EVIL!!!!!! Since I wrote you about that issue last time, I am going to just focus on the evolution of his religious views and I thought you could relate to these. By the way there is an article by J. Warner Wallace that discusses some of your views that I thought you may be interested in (Investigating Bart Ehrman’s Top Ten Troublesome Bible Verses).

 Just like Darwin you lost your faith not  overnight but it was  over time. I am sure that you love music like I do and that would make you even more curious about Darwin’s later life.  I read the book Charles Darwin: his life told in an autobiographical chapter, and in a selected series of his published letters  and was surprised because of what Darwin said about science causing him to lose his aesthetic tastes. I am going to quote some of Charles Darwin’s own words and then include the comments of Francis Schaeffer on those words. I have also enclosed a CD with two messages from Adrian Rogers and Bill Elliff concerning Darwinism.

 CHARLES DARWIN’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY. Addendum. Written May 1st, 1881 [the year before his death].

“I have said that in one respect my mind has changed during the last twenty or thirty years. Up to the age of thirty, or beyond it, poetry of many kinds, such as the works of Milton, Gray, Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Shelley, gave me great pleasure, and even as a schoolboy I took intense delight in Shakespeare, especially in the historical plays. I have also said that formerly pictures gave me considerable, and music very great delight. But now for many years I cannot endure to read a line of poetry: I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me. I have also almost lost my taste for pictures or music. Music generally sets me thinking too energetically on what I have been at work on, instead of giving me pleasure. I retain some taste for fine scenery, but it does not cause me the exquisite delight which it formerly did….My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive….The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature.”

Francis Schaeffer commented:

This is the old man Darwin writing at the end of his life. What he is saying here is the further he has gone on with his studies the more he has seen himself reduced to a machine as far as aesthetic things are concerned. I think this is crucial because as we go through this we find that his struggles and my sincere conviction is that he never came to the logical conclusion of his own position, but he nevertheless in the death of the higher qualities as he calls them, art, music, poetry, and so on, what he had happen to him was his own theory was producing this in his own self just as his theories a hundred years later have produced this in our culture. 

Darwin, C. R. to Fordyce, John7 May 1879

“I may state that my judgment often fluctuates . . . In my most extreme fluctuations I have never been an Atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God. I think that generally (and more and more as I grow older), but not always, that an Agnostic would be the more correct description of my state of mind.”

Francis Schaeffer asserted:

What we find now is that he comes to the place in being agnostic, but as we read through this section on religion what we find is in reality his reason leads him against this position, which is interesting but his theory makes him accept the  position of agnosticism….. I think what you have in Darwin is a magnificent example, although a sad one of what I lecture on in apologetics,  and that is if a man takes a set of nonchristian presuppositions he is forced eventually to be in a place of tension. The more consistent he is with his own nonchristian presuppositions the more he is away from the real world. When he is closer to the real world then he is more illogical to his own presuppositions.

Darwin, C. R. to Doedes, N. D.2 Apr 1873

“But I  may say that the impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God; but whether this is an argument of real value, I have never been able to decide.”

Francis Schaeffer observed:

So he sees here exactly the same that I would labor and what Paul gives in Romans chapter one, and that is first this tremendous universe [and it’s form] and the second thing, the mannishness of man and the concept of this arising from chance is very difficult for him to come to accept and he is forced to leap into this, his own kind of Kierkegaardian leap, but he is forced to leap into this because of his presuppositions but when in reality the real world troubles him. He sees there is no third alternative. If you do not have the existence of God then you only have chance. In my own lectures I am constantly pointing out there are only two possibilities, either a personal God or this concept of the impersonal plus time plus chance and Darwin understood this . You will notice that he divides it into the same exact two points that Paul does in Romans chapter one into and that Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) will in the problem of existence, the external universe, and man and his consciousness. Paul points out there are these two steps that man is confronted with…

______________

Here below is the Romans passage that Schaeffer is referring to and verse 19 refers to what Schaeffer calls “the mannishness of man” and verse 20 refers to Schaeffer’s other point which is  “the universe and it’s form.”Romans 1:18-22Amplified Bible (AMP) 18 For God’s [holy] wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness repress and hinder the truth and make it inoperative. 19 For that which is known about God is evident to them and made plain in their inner consciousness, because God [Himself] has shown it to them. 20 For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification], 21 Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor andglorify Him as God or give Him thanks. But instead they became futile andgodless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools [professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves]

In 1879 Charles Darwin was applied to by a German student, in a similar manner. The letter was answered by a member of my father’s family, who wrote:–

“Mr. Darwin…considers that the theory of Evolution is quite compatible with the belief in a God; but that you must remember that different persons have different definitions of what they mean by God.” 

Francis Schaeffer commented:

You find a great confusion in his writings although there is a general structure in them. Here he says the word “God” is alright but you find later what he doesn’t take is a personal God. Of course, what you open is the whole modern linguistics concerning the word “God.” is God a pantheistic God? What kind of God is God? Darwin says there is nothing incompatible with the word “God.”

This, however, did not satisfy the German youth, who again wrote to my father, and received from him the following reply:—

” Science has nothing to do with Christ, except in so far as the habit of scientific research makes a man cautious in admitting evidence. For myself, I do not believe that there ever has been any revelation.”

Francis Schaeffer observed:

So he has come to the place as an old man that he doesn’t believe there has been any revelation. In his younger years he held a different position.

The passages which here follow are extracts, somewhat abbreviated, from a part of the Autobiography, written in 1876, in which my father gives the history of his religious views:—“During these two years* (ft note *October 1836 to January 1839.) I was led to think much about religion. Whilst on board the Beagle I was quite orthodox, and I remember being heartily laughed at by several of the officers (though themselves orthodox) for quoting the Bible as an unanswerable authority on some point of morality.

Francis Schaeffer noted:

So you find that as a younger man he did accept the Bible. As an older man he has given up revelation but he is not satisfied with his own answers. He is caught in the tension that modern man is caught in. He is a prefiguration  of the modern man and he himself contributed to. Then Darwin goes on and tells us why he gave up the Bible.

Darwin went on to write:

I suppose it was the novelty of the argument that amused them. But I had gradually come by this time, i.e. 1836 to 1836, to see that the Old Testament was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos. The question then continually rose before my mind and would not be banished,—is it credible that if God were now to make a revelation to the Hindoos, he would permit it to be connected with the belief in Vishnu, Siva, &c., as Christianity is connected with the Old Testament? This appeared to me utterly incredible.

Francis Schaeffer asserted:

Darwin is saying that he gave up the New Testament because it was connected to the Old Testament. He gave up the Old Testament because it conflicted with his own theory. Did he have a real answer himself and the answer is no. At the end of his life we see that he is dehumanized by his position and on the other side we see that he never comes to the place of intellectual satisfaction for himself that his answers were sufficient.

Darwin continued:

“BUT I WAS VERY UNWILLING  TO GIVE UP MY BELIEF; I feel sure of this, for I can well remember often and often inventing day-dreams of old letters between distinguished Romans, and manuscripts being discovered at Pompeii or elsewhere, which confirmed in the most striking manner all that was written in the Gospels.

Francis Schaeffer commented:

This is very sad. He lies on his bunk and the Beagle tosses and turns and he makes daydreams, and his dreams and hopes are that someone would find in Pompeii or some place like this, an old manuscript by a distinguished Roman that would put his stamp of authority on it, which would be able to show that Christ existed. This is undoubtedly what he is talking about. Darwin gave up this hope with great difficulty. I think he didn’t want to come to the position where his accepted presuppositions were driving him. He didn’t want to give it up, just as an older man he understood where it would lead…

———–

The area of Biblical Archaeology has advanced so much since Darwin wrote these words in the 19th century!!!!! ASK YOURSELF THIS SIMPLE QUESTION BEFORE YOU PUT YOUR FAITH IN THE ACCURACY OF THE SCRIPTURES: Is the Bible historically accurate and have I taken the time to examine the evidence? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject and if you like you could just google these subjects: 1. The Babylonian Chronicleof Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. 3. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism)4. Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. 5. The Discovery of the Hittites6.Shishak Smiting His Captives7. Moabite Stone8Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III9A Verification of places in Gospel of John and Book of Acts., 9B Discovery of Ebla Tablets10. Cyrus Cylinder11. Puru “The lot of Yahali” 9th Century B.C.E.12. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription13. The Pilate Inscription14. Caiaphas Ossuary14 B Pontius Pilate Part 214c. Three greatest American Archaeologists moved to accept Bible’s accuracy through archaeology.,

Darwin also noted:

“But I found it more and more difficult, with free scope given to my imagination, to invent evidence which would suffice to convince me. Thus disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete. THE RATE WAS SLOW that I felt no distress. Although I did not think much about the existence of a personal God until a considerably later period of my life,”

Francis Schaeffer commented:

So there is something deficient in his position from the beginning. The word of God if it is going to mean something, must mean a personal God. The word “God” is without much meaning otherwise.

_________________

Francis Schaeffer noted that in Darwin’s 1876 Autobiography that Darwin he is going to set forth two arguments for God in this and again you will find when he comes to the end of this that he is in tremendous tension. Darwin wrote, 

“At the present day the most usual argument for the existence of an intelligent God is drawn from the deep inward conviction and feelings which are experienced by most persons.Formerly I was led by feelings such as those just referred to (although I do not think that the religious sentiment was ever strongly developed in me), to the firm conviction of the existence of God and of the immortality of the soul. In my Journal I wrote that whilst standing in the midst of the grandeur of a Brazilian forest, ‘it is not possible to give an adequate idea of the higher feelings of wonder, admiration, and devotion which fill and elevate the mind.’ I well remember my conviction that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body; but now the grandest scenes would not cause any such convictions and feelings to rise in my mind. It may be truly said that I am like a man who has become COLOUR-BLIND.”

Francis Schaeffer remarked:

Now Darwin says when I look back and when I look at nature I came to the conclusion that man can not be just a fly! But now Darwin has moved from being a younger man to an older man and he has allowed his presuppositions to enter in to block his logic, these things at the end of his life he had no intellectual answer for. To block them out in favor of his theory. Remember the letter of his that said he had lost all aesthetic senses when he had got older and he had become a clod himself. Now interesting he says just the same thing, but not in relation to the arts, namely music, pictures, etc, but to nature itself. Darwin said, “But now the grandest scenes would not cause any such convictions  and feelings to rise in my mind. It may be truly said that I am like a man who has become colour-blind…” So now you see that Darwin’s presuppositions have not only robbed him of the beauty of man’s creation in art, but now the universe. He can’t look at it now and see the beauty. The reason he can’t see the beauty is for a very, very , very simple reason: THE BEAUTY DRIVES HIM TO DISTRACTION. THIS IS WHERE MODERN MAN IS AND IT IS HELL. The art is hell because it reminds him of man and how great man is, and where does it fit in his system? It doesn’t. When he looks at nature and it’s beauty he is driven to the same distraction and so consequently you find what has built up inside him is a real death, not  only the beauty of the artistic but the beauty of nature. He has no answer in his logic and he is left in tension.  He dies and has become less than human because these two great things (such as any kind of art and the beauty of  nature) that would make him human  stand against his theory.

________________

Darwin like you was consistent with his view of the UNIFORMITY OF  NATURAL CAUSES in a closed system and it cost him the love of music, art and the beauty of nature. TWO OTHER ALSO HELD THIS SAME view  of uniformity of natural causes in a closed system in 1978 when their hit song DUST IN THE WIND rose to the top 10 in the music charts.

_______________________________________

IF WE ARE LEFT WITH JUST THE MACHINE THEN WHAT IS THE FINAL CONCLUSION IF THERE WAS NO PERSONAL GOD THAT CREATED US? I sent you a CD that starts off with the song DUST IN THE WIND by Kerry Livgren of the group KANSAS which was a hit song in 1978 when it rose to #6 on the charts because so many people connected with the message of the song. It included these words, “All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

Kerry Livgren himself said that he wrote the song because he saw where man was without a personal God in the picture. Solomon pointed out in the Book of Ecclesiastes that those who believe that God doesn’t exist must accept three things. FIRST, death is the end and SECOND, chance and time are the only guiding forces in this life.  FINALLY, power reigns in this life and the scales are never balanced. The Christian can  face death and also confront the world knowing that it is not determined by chance and time alone and finally there is a judge who will balance the scales.

Both Kerry Livgren and the bass player Dave Hope of Kansas became Christians eventually. Kerry Livgren first tried Eastern Religions and Dave Hope had to come out of a heavy drug addiction. I was shocked and elated to see their personal testimony on The 700 Club in 1981 and that same  interview can be seen on You Tube today. Livgren lives in Topeka, Kansas today where he teaches “Diggers,” a Sunday school class at Topeka Bible ChurchDAVE HOPE is the head of Worship, Evangelism and Outreach at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin, Florida.

The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted.

Thank you again for your time and I know how busy you are.

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.com, http://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, Box 23416, LittleRock, AR 72221, United States

You can hear DAVE HOPE and Kerry Livgren’s stories from this youtube link:

(part 1 ten minutes)

(part 2 ten minutes)

Kansas – Dust in the Wind (Official Video)

Uploaded on Nov 7, 2009

Pre-Order Miracles Out of Nowhere now at http://www.miraclesoutofnowhere.com

About the film:
In 1973, six guys in a local band from America’s heartland began a journey that surpassed even their own wildest expectations, by achieving worldwide superstardom… watch the story unfold as the incredible story of the band KANSAS is told for the first time in the DVD Miracles Out of Nowhere.

_____________________________

Adrian Rogers on Darwinism

 

The Bible and Archaeology – Is the Bible from God? (Kyle Butt 42 min)

Below is a piece of that evidence given by Francis Schaeffer concerning the accuracy of the Bible.

TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?, under footnote #96)

We should take one last step back into the history of the Old Testament. In the previous note we looked first at the Dead Sea Scrolls, dating to around 100 B.C. Then we went back to the period of the Late Monarchy and looked first at the siege of Hezekiah in Jerusalem by Sennacherib in 701 B.C. and also at the last years of Judah down to about 600 B.C. Then we went further back to about 850 B.C., to Ahab and Jezebel, the ivory house, the Black Obelisk, the Moabite Stone and so on–then back again to about 950 B.C., to the time of Solomon and his son Rehoboam and the campaign by Shishak, the Egyptian pharaoh.

This should have built up in our minds a vivid impression of the historic reliability of the biblical text, including even the seemingly obscure details such as the ration tablets in Babylon. We saw, in other words, not only that the Bible gives us a marvelous world view that ties in with the nature of reality and answers the basic problems which philosophers have asked down through the centuries, but also that the Bible is completely reliable, EVEN ON THE HISTORICAL LEVEL.

The previous notes looked back to the time of Moses and Joshua, the escape from Egypt, and the settlement in Canaan. Now we will go back further–back as far as Genesis 12, near the beginning of the Bible.

Do we find that the narrative fades away to a never-never land of myths and legends? By no means. For we have to remind ourselves that although Genesis 12 deals with events a long time ago from our moment of history (about 2000 B.C. or a bit later), the civilized world was already not just old but ancient when Abram/Abraham left “Ur of the Chaldeans” (see Genesis 11:31).

Ur itself was excavated some fifty years ago. In the British Museum, for example, one can see the magnificent contents of a royal burial chamber from Ur. This includes a gold headdress still in position about the head of a queen who died in Ur about 2500 B.C. It has also been possible to reconstruct from archaeological remains what the streets and buildings must have been like at the time.

Like Ur, the rest of the world of the patriarchs (that is, of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) was firm reality. Such places as Haran, where Abraham went first, have been discovered. So has Shechem from this time, with its Canaanite stone walls, which are still standing, and its temple.

Genesis 12:5-9New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew, and all their possessions which they had accumulated, and the [a]persons which they had acquired in Haran, and they [b]set out for the land of Canaan; thus they came to the land of Canaan. Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the[c]oak of Moreh. Now the Canaanite was then in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your [d]descendants I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him. Then he proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the Lord andcalled upon the name of the Lord. Abram journeyed on, continuing toward the[e]Negev.

Haran and Shechem may be unfamiliar names to us but the Negrev (or Negeb) is a name we have all read frequently in the news accounts of our own day. 

Negev Nuclear Research Center – Israel

The Negev – Israel’s Desert

This article was first published in the Spring 2005 issue of Bible and Spade.
“If the full meaning of a passage [in the Bible] is to be grasped, the context of the passage needs to be appropriately developed” (Greenwold 2004: 72). In his pithy study of Luke’s Gospel account of Elizabeth and Zachariah, Greenwold gives an example of what he means: “All too often in our church lifetime, we end up being given many theological and doctrinal factual ornaments, but seldom are we shown the tree upon which to hang them. It’s as if we have been handed dozens of pieces to a puzzle, but have never seen what the finished picture on the top of the puzzle box looks like” (2004: 73). I think that Greenwold has it right.
Jesus and the woman at Jacob’s well in John 4 is an excellent case in point. The story takes place near the Old Testament city of Shechem. Shechem is mentioned 60 times in the Old Testament. The city had been abandoned by New Testament times, but Stephen reiterates its importance in his speech in Acts 7:16. A small village, Sychar, was near the ruins of Shechem in New Testament times and is mentioned in the John 4 account (Jn 4:5). Unfortunately, most Bible studies of events at or near Shechem, and commentaries on the Book of John, omit Shechem’s pivotal role in Bible history and how it fit into God’s salvation plan.
 
The narrow pass where ancient Shechem is located at the modern city of Nablus, view west. Mt. Gerizim is on the left and Mt. Ebal on the right. Dr. James C. Martin.
Archaeological investigations have corroborated much of what the Bible has to say about Shechem’s physical and cultural aspects. Archaeology has confirmed Shechem’s location, its history, and many Biblical details. In this article I will integrate what archaeology has illuminated about this important place and its geographical importance with a macro look at Shechem’s place in revealing God’s promise and plan to restore believers to Him.1
Map of Shechem area showing the location of Tell Balata (ancient Shechem), Joseph’s tomb and Jacob’s Well. ASOR, 2002.
Location and Exploration
About 30 mi (49 km) north of Jerusalem is a low, 15-acre mound, known as Tell Balata. This nondescript ruin covers what was ancient Shechem. The tell rests in a long, narrow, east-west valley with the two highest mountains in central Palestine towering over it, Mt. Ebal on the north and Mt. Gerizim on the south. The Hebrew word shekemmeans “back” or “shoulder,” which probably refers to Shechem’s placement between the two mountains. Coming from the south, the major road from Beersheba, Hebron and Jerusalem splits here. One branch goes east, around Mt. Ebal, and provides access to the Jordan Valley and cities like Beth Shan. The western arm leads to the coastal plain and cities to the north such as Samaria and Dothan. Thus, ancient Shechem and its modern counterpart, Nablus, are in a very strategic location along the watershed road between Judah, the Jordan Valley, Transjordan, and the Galilee.2
In 1903, a group of German scholars under the direction of H. Tiersch examined Tell Balata and concluded it was ancient Shechem. Until that time there had been controversy over whether Tell Balata, or the modern city of Nablus nearby, was the location of ancient Shechem. Tiersch’s identification has never been seriously questioned.
E. Sellin led an Austro-German excavation team to Tell Balata in 1913 and 1914. His work was interrupted by World War I. Sellin began work again in 1926 and continued until 1936. Work was resumed in 1956 by an American team under the direction of G. E. Wright and B. W. Anderson. The latest season of excavations at Tell Balata was in 1973 under the direction of W. G. Dever (Campbell 1993: 1347; Seger 1997:21).
Aerial view of the ruins of Shechem. On the right is the Middle Bronze fortification wall and in the upper center the “Migdal,” or fortress, temple. Holy Land Satellite Atlas, 1999, p. 100.
Abram at Shechem
The first mention of Shechem in the Bible is Genesis 12:6, when Abram first entered Canaan. It is succinctly described: “Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem.” At that time, God promised Abram, “To your offspring I will give this land” (Gn 12:7). The next mention of Shechem is 11 chapters, and about 200 years, later, when the Bible records that Jacob, Abram’s grandson, “camped within sight of the city” (Gn 33:18).
Assuming a conservative dating for the Patriarchal events in the Bible,3 note that Abram camped in Canaan about 2090 BC and there is no mention of a city. However, when Jacob arrived 200 hundred years later, around 1890 BC, the Bible notes that he “camped within sight of the city [Shechem].” In the original Hebrew, the word translated in our English Bible as “city” meant a permanent, walled settlement (Hansen 2003:81, Wood 1999:23). Genesis 34:20 and 24 report that Shechem had a city gate; therefore it was fortified.
Can archaeology clarify if there was or was not a city? Yes. The absence of a “city” and walls at Tell Balata when Abram came through and the existence of a city in the time of Jacob is in complete agreement with what the Bible indicates is Shechem’s early history.
Excavations have revealed that the earliest urbanization at Tell Balata was in MB I (Levels XXII-XXI), about 1900–1750 BC. MB I was when Jacob lived by the city of Shechem. Prior to MB I, in the time of Abram’s visit, archaeology has demonstrated that there was a gap in settlement and an absence of fortification walls. Thus, there was no “city” for Abram to reference, as the Bible correctly infers (Campbell 1993: 1347).
Jacob and Joseph at Shechem
What was the city like when Jacob settled there? Archaeologists have revealed that Tell Balata in MB I had structures with mudbrick walls on stone foundations and they have found an abundance of artifacts typical of domestic living (Toombs 1992: 1179). The Bible records that during Jacob’s stay he purchased land near Shechem. This parcel would become the place where his son, Joseph, would later be entombed (Jos 24:32). The tumultuous Dinah affair also occurred during Jacob’s stay at Shechem. Its aftermath resulted in the murder of Shechem’s male population by two of Jacob’s sons (Gn 33–34). Subsequently, God told Jacob to move to Bethel (Gn 35:1) and then on to Hebron (Gn 35:7).
The next Biblical mention of Shechem is in connection with the story of 17-year-old Joseph, Jacob’s son, who was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers (Gn 37). In the account, Joseph’s brothers were grazing the family’s flocks near Shechem when Jacob sent Joseph to inquire of them. After looking for them at Shechem, he found them a short distance north at Dothan. There, the brothers conspired to sell Joseph into slavery, setting the stage for the subsequent accounts of Joseph’s rise to power, Jacob and his family moving to Egypt and, later, Israel’s oppression by Egyptian Pharaohs.
The earliest known extra-Biblical written record of Shechem comes from the Middle Bronze period. It is an inscription on a stele (an upright standing stone) of an Egyptian, Khu-Sebek, who was a nobleman in the court of Sesostris III (ca. 1880–1840 BC). It was found in 1901 by the renowned archaeologist J. Garstang at Abydos, Egypt. King Sesostris III became ruler shortly after Jacob was at Shechem, and he was probably the king when Jacob died in Egypt. Khu-Sebek’s stele describes how the king’s army campaigned in a foreign country named Sekmem (Shechem) and how “Sekmem fell” (Toombs 1992: 1179). W. Shea believes that the campaign on Khu-Sebek’s stele is none other than the Egyptians’ account of the military encounters experienced by the entourage accompanying Joseph when Jacob’s embalmed body was brought to Canaan for entombment at Machpelah (Gn 50:12–14) (Shea 1992: 38 ff.).
Khu-Sebek’s stele reveals that as early as the 19th century BC, Shechem was an important strategic location and a place worthy of mention in a notable Egyptian’s biography.
Stela of Khu-Sebek. He is shown seated, accompanied by members of his family, his nurse, and the superintendent of the cabinet. Discovered by British archaeologist John Garstang at Abydos, Egypt, in 1901, the stela is now on display in the museum of the University of Manchester, England. Mike Luddeni.
Joshua at Shechem
A little over 400 years later, God rescued the Israelites from Egyptian bondage and led them through the desert wilderness for 40 years. Near the end of this sojourn, their leader Moses said that once they entered the land God had promised them (at Shechem, see Gn 12:7!), they were to erect an altar on Mt. Ebal (Dt 27:4) and read portions of the Law while the people were assembled before Mounts Ebal and Gerizim (Dt 11:26–30; 27:12, 13).
As I noted above, the mountains of Ebal and Gerizim overlook the valley wherein lay Shechem. The mountains form a natural amphitheater in which the recitation of the Law could easily be heard. Despite the mountains’ heights (Ebal is 3,083 ft [940 m] and Gerizim is 2,890 ft [881 m]), there are many contemporary accounts of people speaking from the slopes of the mountains and being heard in the valley below. Even with the noise of the busy modern city of Nablus, I myself have been in the park at the top of Gerizim and clearly heard the voices of children playing in the Balata refugee camp at Gerizim’s base.
Joshua fulfilled Moses’ instructions and led the people directly to Gerizim and Ebal after defeating the stronghold at Ai (Jos 7–8). Assuming an “early Exodus” date (1446 BC), the Israelite entry into Canaan, after 40 years in the wilderness, was approximately 1406 BC, in the Late Bronze (LB) IB period.4 LB IB corresponds with Tell Balata’s Level XIV (Campbell 1993: 1347; Toombs 1992: 1178). During the 350 years of the previous MB period, the city had been fortified with earthen embankments and cyclopean wall fortifications. However, Shechem was destroyed around 1540 BC. The ferocity of the destruction resulted in debris covering the city up to a depth of 5.25 ft (1.6 m). It is surmised that the Egyptian armies of Ahmose I or Amenhotep I were the aggressors (Toombs 1992: 1182).
About 90 years after that catastrophe the city was rebuilt early in the LB I period, around 1450 BC. Level XIV corresponds to this date and is noted for the reconstruction of the city’s defensive walls, homes, and a well built, fortress-type, temple. This Level XIV occupation was the city at which Joshua and the Israelites arrived to fulfill Moses’ orders to read the Law before Ebal and Gerizim around 1406 BC.
The Book of Joshua makes an interesting observation about that visit:
All Israel, aliens and citizens alike…. were standing on both sides of the ark of the covenant of the LORD, facing those who carried it…. There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua did not read to the whole assembly of Israel, including the women and children, and the aliens who lived among them (Jos 8:33, 35).
It appears that the crowd who heard the words of the Law that day was composed of both Israelites and native Shechemites (aliens)! The Bible implies that both Shechemites and Israelites co-existed at Shechem. This unusual situation can be further confirmed by the fact that Shechem became one of only three Israelite Cities of Refuge on the west side of the Jordan River, as well as being a city of the Levitical priesthood (Jos 20:7; 21:21). All this occurred even though there is no record in the Bible of it being taken in battle.5
Years later, Joshua again gathered the Israelites at Shechem (Jos 24). He reminded them of God’s promises and how He had fulfilled those promises and delivered them from diversities. Joshua then challenged the people to say whom they would serve and they promised to serve God (Jos 24:14–20). The renewal ceremony between the Israelites and God recognized the promises God made to Abraham (Gn 12:7; 17:7, 8), Jacob, and the people at Sinai through Moses (Ex 24:8).
The next event at Shechem in the Bible was the fulfillment of another promise: the burial of the Patriarch Joseph. Just before his death in Egypt, Joseph asked his brothers to bring his body back to the land “promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” when God delivered them from Egypt (Gn 50:24–25).
And Joseph’s bones, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. This became the inheritance of Joseph’s descendants (Jos 24:32).
Today, there is a place near Tell Balata venerated by the Jewish and Samaritan faiths as the traditional location of Joseph’s tomb. The shrine marking the tomb, and an associated Jewish school, were reduced to rubble in October 2000 in the wake of the most recent hostilities between the Palestinian Arabs and the State of Israel. Conflicting views have abounded as to whether this was, in fact, Joseph’s final resting place. Unfortunately, no archaeological excavations are known to have taken place at this site that could verify that this was the true location of the tomb of Joseph. Several ancient texts mention the site, but the exact location of Joseph’s tomb is still in question.
The discovery of a LB Egyptian library at Amarna has provided additional insights on the LB period. Letters in the library reveal Egypt’s relationship with Canaan’s rulers in the mid-14th century BC. Some of the letters disclose that the kings of Shechem were independent of Egypt. Further, Shechem’s rulers were criticized by other Canaanite rulers for cooperating with an invading group of desert people called the Habiru. Many conservative evangelical scholars (e.g., Wood 1997; 2003: 269–71) believe the Habiru were the Israelites of the early Judges period.
Letter from Labayu, king of Shechem, to the king of Egypt, probably Amenhotep III. It is defiant in tone, suggesting Labayu had a measure of independence from Egypt (Hess 1993). The letter, numbered El Amarna 252, is written in Akkadian cuneiform, albeit with Canaanite grammar and syntax, and is on display in the British Museum. Mike Luddeni.
Abimelech at Shechem
Later in Bible history, Abimelech, the son of Gideon’s Shechemite concubine (Jgs 8:31), colluded with some Shechemites to kill 70 of Abimelech’s brothers (Jgs 8:30–31; 9). However, Abimelech’s youngest brother Jotham survived (Jgs 9:5). Jotham climbed to the top of Mt. Gerizim and shouted to the Shechemites below. He foretold the destruction of the men of Shechem by fire (Jgs 9:7–21). Later in the same chapter we read that the people of Shechem rose against Abimelech’s leadership. In response, Abimelech fought against the city and razed it. During the attack the leaders of Shechem tried to save themselves in “the stronghold of the temple of El-berith” (Jgs 9:46). The story continues:
He [Abimelech] took an ax and cut off some branches, which he lifted to his shoulders. He ordered the men with him, “Quick! Do what you have seen me do!” So all the men cut branches and followed Abimelech. They piled them against the stronghold and set it on fire over the people inside. So all the people in the tower of Shechem, about a thousand men and women, also died (Jgs 9:48–49).
Archaeologists (e.g., E. Campbell, B. Mazar, G. E. Wright and L. Stager) refer to the “tower of Shechem” as “the Tower (migdal) Temple or Fortress-Temple” of Shechem (Campbell 1993: 1348, Stager 2003: 26 and 68 note 1). Stager recently reexamined the work of Wright who, in 1926, excavated a large building that has been reported to be this Fortress-Temple (Stager 2003). Stager’s conclusions are that this Temple, “Temple 1, ” was, in fact, the migdal referred to in Judges 9. It is the largest such Canaanite structure found in Israel and was 70 ft (21 m) wide, 86 ft (26 m) long with stone foundation walls 17 ft (5.1 m) thick. The foundation supported a multistory mudbrick and timber temple with an entrance flanked by two large towers. Stager hypothesized that the courtyard of this temple could have been where Joshua “took a large stone and set it up there under the oak near the holy place of the LORD” (Jos 24:26).
Stager (2003: 68) places the destruction of the Fortress-Temple around 1100 BC. So does Seger (1997: 22), who correlates the destruction debris found at Level XI as being from the Iron IA period. Campbell (1993: 1347) states that there was a “significant” destruction “around 1100 BCE” and guardedly concludes, “connecting Level XI with the story underlying Judges 9 is plausible” (1993: 1352).
Dating Shechem’s destruction to 1100 BC helps confirm the Biblical date of 1406 BC as the beginning of the Conquest in Canaan. To do this, it is necessary to know that immediately after we read in the Bible of Abimelech’s destruction of Shechem, Jephthah, the ninth Judge, appears (Jgs 11, 12). Jephthah was hired by Israelites who lived in Gilead, east of the Jordan River, to confront the Ammonites who had made war on them for 18 years. Jephthah first attempted diplomacy with the Ammonite king. He reminded the Ammonite king that the Israelites had been in the land east of the Jordan River for “300 years” (Jgs 11:21–26). Jephthah, of course, was referring to the time when Moses led the Israelites through that region and defeated numerous kings (Nm 21:21–31).
Thus, if Abimelech destroyed Shechem ca. 1125–1100 BC (Jgs 9), and Abimelech was a contemporary of Jephthah, the Conquest would have occurred about 300 years earlier, in ca. 1400 BC (1100 BC + 300 years = 1400 BC).
Shechem in the Time of the Divided Monarchy
The Bible sheds little light on Shechem’s role during the reigns of Saul, David or Solomon. Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, was next in line for the throne. All the Israelites assembled at Shechem to anoint Rehoboam king. Rehoboam, however, acted foolishly by chiding the northern tribes and telling them he would tax them heavily. In defense, the northern tribes retaliated by separating themselves from Rehoboam and the southern kingdom. The northern tribes made Jeroboam I king of their region. The country, formerly unified under David and Solomon, became divided. The northern region and tribes, led by Jeroboam I, was known as Israel. The southern area and tribes, first led by Rehoboam, is referred to as Judah in the Bible.
Levels X and IX at Tell Balata represent the Jeroboam I period and are noted for carefully built houses of selected stones. The discovery of stone foundations for stairs suggests two-story, four-room houses, typical homes of that period (Dever 1994: 80–81). Campbell concludes that Level IX (920–810 BC) has “tangible evidence of Jeroboam I’s rebuilding (1 Kg 12:25) and a return to city status” (1993: 1352–53).
The Assyrian invasion of Israel in 724 BC (2 Kgs 17:5–6) brought another destruction to Shechem. The evidence is in Level VII. Toombs noted that in Level VII the city was “reduced to a heap of ruins, completely covered by debris of fallen brickwork, burned beams and tumbled building stones,” typical examples of Assyrian thoroughness (1992: 1185). In addition to the destruction, the Assyrians placed exiled peoples from other nations into the region around Shechem, a common Assyrian practice (2 Kgs 17:23–24).
These new peoples added Yahweh to their own beliefs (2 Kgs 17:25–30). The new religion mimicked Judaism in many respects and Mt. Gerizim was made the center of its worship. New Testament practitioners of the cult are called “Samaritans,” which also referred to the people who lived in the vicinity (Mt 10:5; Lk 9:52, 10:53; 17:16; Jn 4:7, 9, 22, 39, 40; 8:48; Acts 8:25). A remnant of the ancient Samaritans still lives on Mt. Gerizim and they practice sacrifices there just as they did 2,700 years ago.7
Shechem in the Intertestamental Period
Between the Old and New Testaments, Shechem had a modest recovery and there is an abundance of evidence that excellent buildings were constructed in this, the Hellenistic, period (ca. 330–107 BC). It was during this time that the Samaritans built a large temple and sacrificial platform on Mt. Gerizim, the remains of which were still visible in Jesus’ day (Jn 4:20).
As fighting between the Ptolemies and Seleucids swirled around the country in the intertestamental period, physical decline again took place at Shechem. This decline culminated when the Jewish leader, John Hyrcanus, took advantage of the temporary absence of outside armies and destroyed the Samaritan temple on Mt. Gerizim (ca. 126 BC). He leveled the city in 107 BC. Shechem never recovered from this destruction and lay in ruins until identified by Tierschin 1901.
Shechem in the New Testament Period
Samaritans continued to live in the area during the following years, the Roman period. This is confirmed by the discovery of human burials from the period on the lower slopes of Mt. Ebal (Magen 1993: 1358–59). It is known that Samaritans also made several attempts to renew their cult worship on Mt. Gerizim. The Romans suppressed their efforts and in AD 72 constructed a new city, Flavia-Neapolis, about 1 mi (1.6 km) west of Tell Balata (Magen 2001: 40). This new city is now Nablus, a modern Arab city of about 120,000 people8 whose name is probably a corruption of Roman city, Neapolis.
About 500 yd (460 m) southeast of Tell Balata is an ancient well, venerated to be a well that Jacob, the Patriarch, dug when he lived there. Such a well is not mentioned in the Old Testament. There is a small Arab village, Askar, just north of the well. Most scholars associate Askar with Sychar, the village in John 4 near “Jacob’s well” (Jn 4:6). The authenticity of the well is not only based on its physical identification in John 4, but also on “the fact that all traditions-—Jewish, Samaritan, Christian and Muslim-—support it” (Stefanovic 1992: 608). Several churches in Christian history have been built on the site of the well and today it is located under a recently constructed Greek Orthodox church. Access to the well is gained by going down steps from the apse of the new church.
Jacob’s well as it appeared in the 1870s. In the right background is Mt. Gerizim with the tomb of the Arab sheikh, where the ruins of the Samaritan temple were located in New Testament times, visible at the peak.Todd Bolen.
Jacob’s well, at the base of Mt. Gerizim, is at the junction of the main road leading from Jerusalem in the south. Here, the road splits with the eastern branch going toward the Jordan Valley and the western branch leading to Nablus, and in NT times, Samaria and the Galilee. It is an excellent setting for one of the most important passages in the Bible-—the account of Jesus’ verbal Messianic announcement in the fourth chapter of John. In this passage Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, dialogues with her, and tells her He is the long-awaited Messiah.
Mt. Gerizim (left peak) as seen from Jacob’s well. When the Samaritan woman said to Jesus, “Our fathers worshipped on this mountain,” she was no doubt referring to the ruins of the Samaritan temple on top of Mt. Gerizim. The small structure on the peak marks the location of the ruins of the Samaritan temple that easily could have been seen from Jacob’s well in Jesus’ day. Bryant Wood.
Significance of Shechem in Understanding John 4
This article began by stating that context in reading the Bible was important to full understanding of what the original writers wanted the original hearers/listeners to know. In the case of Shechem, it is clear that the writer of John’s Gospel was appealing to the hearer/reader’s understanding of Shechem’s unique historical and theological context.
First, the author established that the event took place at Sychar (Jn 4:6). By making reference to Jacob he reminded his readers/hearers that this is where Jacob first settled when he returned to the Promised Land from Paddan Aram (Gn 33:18). At this spot Abram received God’s promise that “To your offspring I will give this land” (Gn 12:7). In addition to God’s promise given here to Abram, the writer wanted the hearer/reader to remember that many human agreements were made at Shechem in Bible history. Unfortunately, most were corrupted because of man’s sin. For example, Jacob made a promise to spare Hamor and the Shechemites after Dinah was sexually violated. Jacob’s use of circumcision to confirm the agreement with the Shechemites was the same symbol God had ordained as “the sign of the covenant between Me and you” (Gn 17:11). To seal a human agreement in this manner and have it subsequently abrogated as Jacob’s sons had done (Gn 34), could not have escaped the attention of the original hearers/reader.
Later, we read in the Bible that Jacob did not destroy family idols: rather he simply placed them under a tree near Shechem (Gn 35). This whole account is a testimony to the human condition and our willful tendency not to obey God. Jacob, who even had the privilege of a personal revelation from God, still could not totally eliminate idol worship; he played on the edge and placed the idols under a tree rather than destroying them.
The reader/hearer also should have been reminded that Shechem was near the place where Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery and then concocted a lie to explain Joseph’s absence to their father Jacob (Gn 37)—another example of man’s deceit and deception.
All of these accounts are, in themselves, mini-stories that illustrate the human condition and how incapable we are of making a lasting promise to God. As a result, we are in need of rescue and restoration and only God, with His patience, could develop and execute a plan, seen throughout Bible history, for accomplishing a restoration that did not rely on man’s fallible nature.
Juxtaposed against the human failings, lies and deceits, the hearer/reader’s attention was brought to the fact that Shechem was where God reminded the people that He is faithful. Having given Abram the promise of the land, the Israelites were to remember that promise by going to Shechem, building an altar worshipping and re-reading God’s Law. This would refresh in the minds of the Israelites how God had led them out of bondage as He had promised and into a land He had promised. The rededication ceremony was accomplished and is described in Joshua 8. Following the conquest, Joshua again assembled the people at Shechem where he reviewed God’s promises and Israel’s obligations, eliciting from the people an agreement that they would “serve the Lord our God and obey Him” (Jos 24:24). This promise was another one that was repeatedly broken as revealed in the succeeding books of the Old Testament.
Earlier in Israel’s history Joseph, as he lay dying in Egypt, reminded the people that God would lead them to the land He had promised to Abraham, Isaac and his father Jacob. He asked that when they did return, they “carry my bones up from this place” (Gn 50:25). This was fulfilled in Joshua 24:32 when the body of Joseph was placed in a tomb in Shechem.
The Hebrew hearer/reader would also remember that Shechem became the center for the idolatrous worship practices that occurred following Israel’s capture by the Assyrians. Importing peoples from other lands and exporting Jewish believers, syncretism of pagan beliefs and Jewish practices resulted in a corrupted form of worship that became centered at Shechem and on Mt. Gerizim by people who were known as Samaritans. They chose to be worshippers of other gods despite their earlier promise in Joshua 24.

Ruins of a fifth century AD octagonal church on Mt. Gerizim, view north. The church, dedicated to Mary, was built on top of a temple built by the Samaritans in the late fifth century BC. John Hyrcanus destroyed the temple in the late second century BC. The small domed building at the northeast corner, the tomb of an Arab sheikh, is the structure visible from Jacob’s well in the valley below. IAA.
I believe the author of John wanted the reader and hearer to recognize and associate Shechem with God’s eternal unbroken promises, man’s corrupted state, the need for a Rescuer and how a Rescuer had been promised throughout history. In John 4 the Rescuer is revealed. The Samaritan woman makes known the promise: “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” And the Rescuer, Jesus, replied that the Messiah was at hand: “I Who speak to you am He” (Jn 4:26)!
The Samaritan woman’s response was to immediately run into the village, leaving her water jar behind, and tell everyone that the Rescuer was there. What glorious news! The Samaritans rushed to the well, welcomed Him and exclaimed that Jesus was the Rescuer, “the Savior of the world” (Jn 4:42).
It should challenge us to remember that shortly after Jesus’ declaration that He was Messiah, He would complete the promise and achieve the rescue through His death, burial and ascension. As He prepared His disciples for their duties, He told them that they would be His “witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The story of Shechem and the Samaritan region had come full circle—from the promises to the Patriarchs to fulfillment of salvation as heard by the woman at the well and declared to the disciples.
Now we have the contextual history of Shechem. It is apparent that the original hearer/reader of John’s Gospel fully understood how Shechem had been a focal point of God’s unbroken promises and man’s fallibility. Hopefully, for the reader of this essay, all pieces of the puzzle of Shechem can now be understood and assembled so one can see the finished picture. And what a wonderful picture it is!
Footnotes
1. The author wishes to express his appreciation to Dr. James C. Martin for permission to use the photographs credited to him in this article.
2. For a discussion of geographical criteria that make for strategic locations in ancient Israel, see Hansen 1991.
3. For these dates, see Davis 1975: 29.
4. For a brief discussion of how this date is derived, see Hansen 2003: 80.
5. See Wood 1997 for his explanation of this unusual situation.
6. For a more thorough discussion of the Amarna tablets and the identity of the Habiru, see Archer 1994: 288–95; Wood 1995 and 2003: 269–71.
7. For a description of the modern Samaritans and how they practice Passover, see Bolen 2001.
Bibliography
Archer, Gleason L.
1994 A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, new and revised ed. Chicago: Moody.
Bolen, Todd
2001 Samaritan Passover. Bible and Spade 14: 41–42.
Campbell, Edward F.
1993 Shechem. Pp. 1345–54 in The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land4, ed. Ephraim Stern. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Davis, John J.
1975 Paradise to Prison: Studies in Genesis. Grand Rapids MI: Baker.
Dever, William G.
1994 Monumental Architecture in Ancient Israel in the Period of the United Monarchy. Bible and Spade 7: 68–87.
Greenwold, Douglas
2004 Zechariah & Elizabeth: Persistent Faith in a Faithful God. Rockville MD: Bible-in-Context Ministries.
Hansen, David G.
1991 The Case of Meggido [sic]. Archaeology and Biblical Research 4: 84–93.
2003 Large Cities that Have Walls up to the Sky: Canaanite Fortifications in the Late Bronze I Period.Bible and Spade 16: 78–88.
Hess, Richard S.
1993 Smitten Ant Bites Back: Rhetorical Forms in the Amarna Correspondence from Shechem. Pp. 95–111 in Verses in Ancient Near Eastern Prose, eds. Johannes C. de Moor and Wilfred G.E. Watson, Alter Orient und Altes Testament 42. Kevelaer, Germany: Butzon & Bercker.
Magen, Itzhak
1993 Neapolis. Pp. 1354–59 in The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land4, ed. Ephraim Stern. New York: Simon & Schuster.
2001 The Sacred Precinct on Mount Gerizim. Bible and Spade 14:37–40.
Seger, Joe D.
1997 Shechem. Pp. 19–23 in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East 5, ed. Eric M. Myers. New York: Oxford University Press.
Shea, William H.
1992 The Burial of Jacob: A New Correlation Between Genesis 50 and an Egyptian Inscription.Archaeology and Biblical Research 5:33–44.
Stager, Lawrence E.
2003 The Shechem Temple where Abimelech Massacred a Thousand. Biblical Archaeological Review28.4:26–35, 68–69.
Stefanovic, Zdravko
1992 Jacob’s Well. Pp. 608–609 in The Anchor Bible Dictionary 3, ed. David N. Freedman. New York: Doubleday.
Toombs, Lawrence E.
1992 Shechem. Pp. 1174–86 in The Anchor Bible Dictionary 5, ed, David N. Freedman. New York: Doubleday.
Wood, Bryant G.
1995 Reexamining The Late Bronze Era: An Interview with Bryant Wood by Gordon Govier. Bible and Spade 8: 47–53.
1997 The Role of Shechem in the Conquest of Canaan. Pp 245–56 in To Understand the Scriptures: Essays in Honor of William H. Shea, ed. David Merling. Berrien Springs MI: Institute of Archaeology/Siegfried H. Horn Archaeological Museum.
1999 The Search for Joshua’s Ai: Excavations at Kh. el-Maqatir. Bible and Spade 12:21–30.
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Investigating Bart Ehrman’s Top Ten Troublesome Bible Verses

120On the final page of the paperback edition of Misquoting Jesus, Bart Ehrman famously listed the “Top Ten Verses That Were Not Originally in the New Testament.” In an effort to discredit the reliability of the New Testament text, Ehrman offered this list to demonstrate the existence of many late insertions in the text. He found this reality troubling as a young man, and eventually walked away from his Christian faith as a result:

“The Bible began to appear to me as a very human book. Just as human scribes had copied, and changed, the texts of scripture, so too had human authors originally written the texts of scripture. This was a human book from beginning to end.”  (from Misquoting Jesus)

Let’s take a look at Ehrman’s list of troublesome verses and examine how they impact the reliability of the New Testament text:

1 John 5:7
There are three that bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one.

John 8:7
Let the one who is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone at her.

John 8:11
Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.

Luke 22:44
In his anguish Jesus began to pray more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground.

Luke 22:20
And in the same way after supper Jesus took the cup and said, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.“

Mark 16:17
These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons and they will speak with new tongues.

Mark 16:18
And they will take up snakes in their hands, and if they drink poison it will not harm them, and they will lay their hands on the sick and they will become well.

John 5:4
For an angel of the Lord went down at certain times into the pool and disturbed the waters; and whoever was the first to step in when the water was disturbed was healed of whatever disease he had.

Luke 24:12
But Peter rose up and ran to the tomb, and stooping down to look in, he saw the linen clothes by themselves. And he went away to his own home, marveling at what had happened.

Luke 24:51
And when Jesus blessed them he departed from them and he was taken up into heaven

While this list may seem large (and even surprising for those of us who haven’t examined the presence of textual variants in the New Testament), I think this list does little to impact the reliability of the text. In fact, I think Ehrman is profiting from the unfamiliarity that most Christians have with the presence of textual variants. The list does seem shocking and daunting if you’ve never taken the time to examine matters such as these. But if you stop and think about it and examine each verse listed here, the impact is actually very minimal. I recognize four truths about these verses:

The Verses are Designated Earlier
Seven of these passages (John 8:7, John 8:11, Luke 22:44, Luke 22:20, Mark 16:17, Mark 16:18 and John 5:4) are already clearly designated in my Bible (I’m using the ESV for this blog post). It’s not as though these specious verses are hidden; most modern translations do an excellent job of including everything, then identifying those verses that are variants. Check it out for yourself. You’ll see that these verses, like many others in the text, have been clearly marked.

The Verses are Described Elsewhere
Three of these passages (Luke 22:20, Luke 24:12 and Luke 24:51) are simply reiterations of information that is given to us in other gospels. So, although these verses could be removed from Luke, their claims are found elsewhere in passages that are uncontested (see Matthew 26:28, Mark 14:24, John 20:3-7, Acts 1:9-11).

The Verses are Decidedly Extraneous
That leaves only one verse on Ehrman’s list (1 John 5:7) that begs for explanation. But even if this verse can’t be reconciled, it’s clearly extraneous. The doctrine of the Trinity it addresses is found elsewhere in the scripture. Like other scribal variants, it may have been included by a scribe to make the doctrine clearer, but with all the other Biblical evidence for the triune nature of God, this verse has no impact on our understanding of the Trinity. The superfluous nature of this verse is similar to the vast majority of all Biblical textual variants; they have no impact on the theological or historical claims of the text.

The Verses are Detected Easily
Perhaps most importantly, these late entries were easy to detect, given the large number of ancient Biblical manuscripts we possess. By comparing these texts, we are able to determine which verses should not be in our Bible today, and the same discipline that allows us to determine what is specious, allows us to determine what is special. The skill set that allows us to identify what doesn’t belong is the very same skill set that allows us to identify what does belong.

I’ve written a lot more about this issue in a chapter in my book entitled, “Separating Artifacts from Evidence.” It turns out that Ehrman has the ability to complain about the existence of these passages only because we happen to possess the accurate methodology to remove them from consideration in the first place. As a result, we ought to have even more confidence that we possess documents today that are a reliable reflection of what was originally written thousands of years ago.

J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, a Christian Case Maker, and the author of Cold-Case Christianity

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! PART 20 (Carolyn Porco, director of CICLOPS, Like Darwin she gave up her Christianity because of Evolution & is obsessed both with the Beatles & the thought that the human race may end!!)

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Beyond Belief: Carolyn Porco On Science & Religion, Part 1

Uploaded on Dec 4, 2006

At the Beyond Belief conference, astronomer Carolyn Porco describes the spirituality inherent in the scientific view of the Universe.

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Dr. Carolyn Porco is the leader of the Cassini Imaging Science team and the Director of the Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for Operations (CICLOPS) at the Space Science Institute in Boulder,

______________________

On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:

…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975

and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.

Harry Kroto

__________________________

There are 3 videos in this series and they have statements by 150 academics and scientists and I hope to respond to all of them. Wikipedia notes  Carolyn C. Porco (born March 6, 1953) is an American planetary scientist known for her work in the exploration of the outer solar system, beginning with her imaging work on the Voyager missions to Jupiter,Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune in the 1980s. She leads the imaging science team on the Cassini mission currently in orbit around Saturn.[1] She is also an imaging scientist on the New Horizons[2] mission launched to Pluto on January 19, 2006. She is an expert on planetary rings and the Saturnian moon, Enceladus.

She has co-authored more than 110 scientific papers on subjects ranging from the spectroscopy of Uranus and Neptune, the interstellar medium, the photometry of planetary rings, satellite/ring interactions, computer simulations of planetary rings, the thermal balance of Triton’s polar caps, heat flow in the interior of Jupiter, and a suite of results on the atmosphere, satellites, and rings of Saturn from the Cassini imaging experiment.[3] In 2013, Cassini data[4] confirmed a 1993 prediction[5] by Porco and Mark Marley that acoustic oscillations within the body of Saturn are responsible for creating particular features in the rings of Saturn.

Porco was founder of The Day the Earth Smiled. She was also responsible for the epitaph and proposal to honor the late renowned planetary geologist Eugene Shoemaker by sending his cremains to the Moonaboard the Lunar Prospector spacecraft in 1998.[6][7]

A frequent public speaker, Porco has given two popular lectures at TED[8][9] as well as the opening speech for Pangea Day, a May 2008 global broadcast coordinated from six cities around the world, in which she described the cosmic context for human existence.[10] Porco has also won a number of awards and honors for her contributions to science and the public sphere; for instance, in 2009, New Statesman named her as one of ‘The 50 People Who Matter Today.’[11] In 2010 she was awarded the Carl Sagan Medal, presented by the American Astronomical Society for Excellence in the Communication of Science to the Public.[12] And in 2012, she was named one of the 25 most influential people in space by Time magazine.[13]

Public speaking[edit]

Porco speaks frequently on the Cassini mission and planetary exploration in general, and has appeared at renowned conferences such as PopTech 2005[32] and TED (2007, 2009).[8][9] She attended and was a speaker at the Beyond Belief symposium on November 2006.[33][34]

Porco’s 2007 TED talk, “The Human Journey,” detailed two major areas of discovery made by the Cassini mission: the exploration of the Saturnian moons Titan and Enceladus. In her introductory remarks, Porco explained:

So the journey back to Saturn is really part of, and is also a metaphor for, a much larger human voyage.

In describing the environment of Titan, with its molecular nitrogen atmosphere suffused with organic compounds, Porco invited her audience to imagine the scene on the moon’s surface:

Stop and think for a minute. Try to imagine what the surface of Titan might look like. It’s dark: high noon on Titan is as dark as deep Earth twilight on the Earth. It’s cold, it’s eerie, it’s misty, it might be raining, and you are standing on the shores of Lake Michigan brimming with paint thinner.

That is the view that we had of the surface of Titan before we got there with Cassini. And I can tell you that what we have found on Titan, though not the same in detail, is every bit as fascinating as that story is, and for us, for Cassini people, it has been like a Jules Verne adventure come true.

After describing various features discovered on Titan by Cassini, and presenting the historic first photograph of Titan’s surface by the Huygens lander, Porco went on to describe Enceladus and the jets of “fine icy particles” which erupt from the moon’s southern pole:

…we have arrived at the conclusion that these jets may, they may, be erupting from pockets of liquid water near, under the surface of Enceladus. So we have, possibly, liquid water, organic materials and excess heat. In other words we have possibly stumbled upon the holy grail of modern-day planetary exploration, or in other words an environment that is potentially suitable for living organisms. And I don’t think I need to tell you that the discovery of life elsewhere in our Solar system, whether it be on Enceladus or elsewhere, would have enormous cultural and scientific implications. Because if we could demonstrate that genesis had occurred – not once but twice, independently, in our Solar system – then that means by inference it has occurred a staggering number of times throughout our Universe in its 13.7 billion year history. 

_______________

Porco is fascinated by the 1960s and The Beatles and has, at times, incorporated references to The Beatles and their music into her presentations, writings, and press releases. The first color image released by Cassini to the public was an image of Jupiter, taken during Cassini’s approach to the giant planet and released on October 9, 2000 to honor John Lennon’s 60th birthday.[59] In 2006, she produced and directed a brief 8-minute movie of 64 of Cassini’s most spectacular images,[60] put to the music of the Beatles, in honor of Paul McCartney’s 64th birthday. And in 2007, she produced a poster showing 64 scenes from Saturn.[61][62]

Porco is also interested in dance and fascinated with Michael Jackson. In August 2010, she won a Michael Jackson costume/dance contest held in Boulder, Colorado.[63]

Quotes of Porco’s were used in the production of “The Poetry of Reality (An Anthem for Science)”, “A Wave of Reason”, “Children of Africa (The Story of Us)”, and “Onward to the Edge!” by Symphony of Science.

Carolyn (at right) re-enacting the famous Beatles photograph at Abbey Road with the other members of the Cassini Imaging Team.

The Beatles are featured in this episode below and Schaeffer noted,  ” Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band…for a time it became the rallying cry for young people throughout the world.”

How Should We then Live Episode 7 small (Age of Nonreason)

________________

Her comments can be found on the 2nd video and the 100th clip in this series. Below the videos you will find her words.

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)

______________________________

I grew up at Bellevue Baptist Church under the leadership of our pastor Adrian Rogers and I read many books by the Evangelical Philosopher Francis Schaeffer and have had the opportunity to contact many of the evolutionists or humanistic academics that they have mentioned in their works. Many of these scholars have taken the time to respond back to me in the last 20 years and some of the names  included are  Ernest Mayr (1904-2005), George Wald (1906-1997), Carl Sagan (1934-1996),  Robert Shapiro (1935-2011), Nicolaas Bloembergen (1920-),  Brian Charlesworth (1945-),  Francisco J. Ayala (1934-) Elliott Sober (1948-), Kevin Padian (1951-), Matt Cartmill (1943-) , Milton Fingerman (1928-), John J. Shea (1969-), , Michael A. Crawford (1938-), Paul Kurtz (1925-2012), Sol Gordon (1923-2008), Albert Ellis (1913-2007), Barbara Marie Tabler (1915-1996), Renate Vambery (1916-2005), Archie J. Bahm (1907-1996), Aron S “Gil” Martin ( 1910-1997), Matthew I. Spetter (1921-2012), H. J. Eysenck (1916-1997), Robert L. Erdmann (1929-2006), Mary Morain (1911-1999), Lloyd Morain (1917-2010),  Warren Allen Smith (1921-), Bette Chambers (1930-),  Gordon Stein (1941-1996) , Milton Friedman (1912-2006), John Hospers (1918-2011), Michael Martin (1932-), John R. Cole  (1942-),   Wolf Roder,  Susan Blackmore (1951-),  Christopher C. French (1956-)  Walter R. Rowe Thomas Gilovich (1954-), Paul QuinceyHarry Kroto (1939-), Marty E. Martin (1928-), Richard Rubenstein (1924-), James Terry McCollum (1936-), Edward O. WIlson (1929-), Lewis Wolpert (1929), Gerald Holton (1922-), Martin Rees (1942-), Alan Macfarlane (1941-),  Roald Hoffmann (1937-), Herbert Kroemer (1928-), Thomas H. Jukes (1906-1999), Glenn BranchGeoff Harcourt (1931-) and  Ray T. Cragun (1976-).

_________

HERE IS A QUOTE FROM Dr. Porco  AT THE BEYOND BELIEF CONFERENCE:

“It seemed to me, if there were any answers to be found at all, they were going to be found in the facts, and understanding the greater theater in which human life has unfolded. And I was right about that. Being a scientist, and staring immensity and eternity in the face every day is about as meaningful I think, and grand and awe-inspiring as it gets. We, especially we astronomers, confront the big questions of wonder every day and the answers to these questions in the aggregate have produced, and this is absolutely with no hype,…the greatest story every told. And there isn’t a religion, I think, that can offer anything better. And as Jules Verne said, reality provides us with facts so romantic that imagination itself could add nothing to them.”

 Below is a letter I recently wrote to Dr. Porco challenging her views on evolution while including a lot of details about her favorite rock group. 

________________________________

Francis Schaeffer 1912-1984

__________

March 26, 2015

Dear Dr. Porco,

YOU HAVE SAID that religions use the conceptional device “that people need to feel connected to something greater than they are and this is the idea that God is omnipotent, omniscient and immortal and He made me in his image and through that connection to find meaning and purpose and ultimately to find they too will be immortal and the issue is that people fear death. I THINK THE SAME SPIRITUAL FULFILLMENT THAT PEOPLE FIND IN RELIGION CAN BE FOUND IN SCIENCE.”

There are many ways to respond to that but I am going to do it in a very lengthy but entertainingly way I hope. I read a lot of your material and wanted to talk to about two passions in your life. Francis Schaeffer talked about the views of the Beatles and Charles Darwin a lot and since you  have taken an interest in music and science I thought you would be interested in these thoughts of Schaeffer. Another interesting thing about Charles Darwin is that he left the Christian faith of his youth just like you did.

Francis Schaeffer’s  son Frank wrote recently about the impact of SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND:

“Sgt. Pepper’s” became my personal sound track of liberation back then…Genie, my wife of 44 years… grew up in the Bay Area and as a teen had the distinction of seeing the Beatles three times (!) live and the Rolling Stones four times (!) live.

Meanwhile, I was growing up in Switzerland in a mission (L’Abri Fellowship), and my “almost famous” rock-n-roll high point came when I got a job helping with the Led Zeppelin’s light show at the Montreux Jazz/rock festival. I met Jimmy Page and noticed he was reading one of my dad’s first books, ESCAPE FROM REASON. (No kidding.)

This was back in the days when Dad was a sort of hippie guru for Jesus catering to Beats, hippies and dropouts hitching across Europe. Eric Clapton had given Page the book as it turned out. I was trying to be “cool” that day on the light show crew… and I wasn’t too pleased to find my brief escape into the rock world from the world of my Dad’s evangelical mission was no escape from my God-world at all. He’d been giving lectures on Bob Dylan, and drug guru Timothy Leary had been a guest at L’Abri. And now I got to briefly “hang out with the band” and Dad got there first, or at least one of his books did! Sheesh! It’s hard to be cool!

Jimmy Page with Paul MacCartney

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Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton back together again

___________________________________

Peter Blake artist behind cover

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_________

NOT MANY PEOPLE HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT THE FACT THAT THE PICTURE ON THE COVER OF SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND IS THE BEATLES’ GRAVE SITE.  In the article Philosophy and its Effect on Society Robert A. Sungenis (who was a personal friend of Schaeffer) tells us:

On the front cover are all the famous “Lonely Hearts” of the world who also could not find answers to life with reason and rationality, resorting to the existential leap into the dark (e.g ., Marlene Dietrich, Carl Jung, W.C. Fields, Bob Dylan, Marilyn Monroe, Sigmund Freud, Aleister Crowley, Edgar Allan Poe, Karl Marx, Oscar Wilde, Marlon Brando, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, Lenny Bruce). They are all viewing the burial scene of the Beatles, which, in the framework we are using here, represents the passing of idealistic innocence and the failure to find a rational answer and meaning to life, an answer to love, purpose, significance and morals. They instead were leaping into the irrational, whether it was by drugs, the occult, suicide, or the bizarre.

William Lane Craig observed that BERTRAND RUSSELL wrote that we must build our lives upon “the firm foundation of unyielding despair.” and also that Francis Schaeffer noted:

Modern man resides in a two-story universe. In the lower story is the finite world without God; here life is absurd, as we have seen. In the upper story are meaning, value, and purpose. Now modern man lives in the lower story because he believes there is no God. But he cannot live happily in such an absurd world; therefore, he continually makes leaps of faith into the upper story to affirm meaning, value, and purpose, even though he has no right to, since he does not believe in God. Modern man is totally inconsistent when he makes this leap, because these values cannot exist without God, and man in his lower story does not have God.

___________

Great debate

___________

Charles Darwin had a very interesting reaction late in his life to the possibility that we live in an absurd universe and that was he blamed science for causing him to lose his aesthetic tastes and I read that in his biography ( Charles Darwin: his life told in an autobiographical chapter, and in a selected series of his published letters.). I am going to quote some of Charles Darwin’s own words and then include the comments of Francis Schaeffer on those words. I have also enclosed a CD with two messages from Adrian Rogers and Bill Elliff concerning Darwinism.

 CHARLES DARWIN’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY. Addendum. Written May 1st, 1881 [the year before his death].

“I have said that in one respect my mind has changed during the last twenty or thirty years. Up to the age of thirty, or beyond it, poetry of many kinds, such as the works of Milton, Gray, Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Shelley, gave me great pleasure, I have also said that formerly pictures gave me considerable, and music very great delight. But now for many years I cannot endure to read a line of poetry: I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me. I have also almost lost my taste for pictures or music. Music generally sets me thinking too energetically on what I have been at work on, instead of giving me pleasure. I retain some taste for fine scenery, but it does not cause me the exquisite delight which it formerly did….My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive….The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature.”

Francis Schaeffer commented:

This is the old man Darwin writing at the end of his life. What he is saying here is the further he has gone on with his studies the more he has seen himself reduced to a machine as far as aesthetic things are concerned. I think this is crucial because as we go through this we find that his struggles and my sincere conviction is that he never came to the logical conclusion of his own position, but he nevertheless in the death of the higher qualities as he calls them, art, music, poetry, and so on, what he had happen to him was his own theory was producing this in his own self just as his theories a hundred years later have produced this in our culture. 

Unlike Darwin many people today still hang on to their love of music and the arts. Schaeffer points out in his book The God Who Is There, pages 68-69, “The very ‘mannishness’ of man refuses to live in the logic of the position  to which his humanism and rationalism have brought him.  To say that I am only a machine is one thing; to live consistently  as if this were true is quite another…Every truly modern man is forced to accept some sort of leap in theory or practice, because the pressure of his own humanity demands it.  He can say what he will concerning what he himself is; but no matter what he says he is, he is still a man.”

YOU SAID that “I think we can replace the God concept…it is just a matter of developing a socially appealing way to get the word out to everybody. That brings me to religion and whether or not if anything doing with scientific inquiry could ever offer the social embrace that religious organizations do.” At this point you suggested showing the young people what “Awe and Wonder” knowledge of the universe can give. That reminds me of this next letter from Charles Darwin. 

Charles Darwin pictured below:

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Francis Schaeffer noted that in Darwin’s 1876 Autobiography that Darwin he is going to set forth two arguments for God in this and again you will find when he comes to the end of this that he is in tremendous tension. Darwin wrote, 

At the present day the most usual argument for the existence of an intelligent God is drawn from the deep inward conviction and feelings which are experienced by most persons.Formerly I was led by feelings such as those just referred to, …to the firm conviction of the existence of God and of the immortality of the soul. In my Journal I wrote that whilst standing in the midst of the grandeur of a Brazilian forest, ‘it is not possible to give an adequate idea of the higher feelings of wonder, admiration, and devotion which fill and elevate the mind.’ I well remember my conviction that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body; but now the grandest scenes would not cause any such convictions and feelings to rise in my mind. It may be truly said that I am like a man who has become COLOUR-BLIND.”

Francis Schaeffer remarked:

Now Darwin says when I look back and when I look at nature I came to the conclusion that man can not be just a fly! But now Darwin has moved from being a younger man to an older man and he has allowed his presuppositions to enter in to block his logic, these things at the end of his life he had no intellectual answer for. To block them out in favor of his theory. Remember the letter of his that said he had lost all aesthetic senses when he had got older and he had become a clod himself. Now interesting he says just the same thing, but not in relation to the arts, namely music, pictures, etc, but to nature itself. Darwin said, “But now the grandest scenes would not cause any such convictions  and feelings to rise in my mind. It may be truly said that I am like a man who has become colour-blind…” So now you see that Darwin‘s presuppositions have not only robbed him of the beauty of man’s creation in art, but now the universe. He can’t look at it now and see the beauty. The reason he can’t see the beauty is for a very, very , very simple reason: THE BEAUTY DRIVES HIM TO DISTRACTION. THIS IS WHERE MODERN MAN IS AND IT IS HELL. The art is hell because it reminds him of man and how great man is, and where does it fit in his system? It doesn’t. When he looks at nature and it’s beauty he is driven to the same distraction and so consequently you find what has built up inside him is a real death, not  only the beauty of the artistic but the beauty of nature. He has no answer in his logic and he is left in tension.  He dies and has become less than human because these two great things (such as any kind of art and the beauty of  nature) that would make him human  stand against his theory.

Schaeffer later asserted, “We cannot deal with people like human beings, we cannot deal with them on the high level of true humanity, unless we really know their origin-who they are. God tells man who he is. God tells us that He created man in His image. So man is something wonderful.” ( Escape from Reason: A Penetrating Analysis of Trends in Modern Thought )

Many young people  turned to Eastern Religions in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Francis Schaeffer asserted, “But this finally brings them to the place where the word GOD merely becomes the word GOD, and no certain content can be put into it. In this many of the established theologians are in the same position as George Harrison (1943-) (the former Beatles guitarist) when he wrote MY SWEET LORD (1970). Many people thought he had come to Christianity. But listen to the words in the background: “Krishna, Krishna, Krishna.” Krishna is one Hindu name for God. This song expressed  no content, just a feeling of religious experience. To Harrison, the words were equal: Christ or Krishna. Actually, neither the word used nor its content was of importance,” HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? (page 191 Vol 5).

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In the film series HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? Francis Schaeffer shows the Beatles visiting Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in India.

Patti Boyd wedding ceremony with George Harrison:

However, this is not the personal God that Christians worship. Darwin only had a problem with the idea of a personal God. In 1879 Charles Darwin was applied to by a German student, in a similar manner. The letter was answered by a member of Darwin’s family, who wrote:–

“Mr. Darwin…considers that the theory of Evolution is quite compatible with the belief in a God; but that you must remember that different persons have different definitions of what they mean by God.” 

Francis Schaeffer commented:

You find a great confusion in Darwin‘s writings although there is a general structure in them. Here he says the word “God” is alright but you find later what he doesn’t take is a personal God. Of course, what you open is the whole modern linguistics concerning the word “God.” is God a pantheistic God? What kind of God is God? Darwin says there is nothing incompatible with the word “God.”

The Beatles 

_____________

Besides looking to Eastern Religions the Beatles tried to escape from reason by turning to drugs. In the book HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE?, Schaeffer observed, “This emphasis on hallucinogenic drugs brought with it many rock groups–for example, Cream, Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Incredible String Band, Pink Floyd, and Jimi Hendrix. Most of their work was from 1965-1968. The Beatles’  SERGEANT PEPPER’S LONELY HEART S CLUB BAND (1967) also fits here. This disc is a total unity, not just an isolated series of individual songs, and for a time it became the rallying cry for young people throughout the world. As a whole, this music was the vehicle to carry the drug culture and the mentality which went with it across frontiers which were almost impassible by other means of communication.”

_________________________________

The Cover of Sergeant Pepper’s :

__________

In his recent article, “Lucy in the Mind of Lennon: An Empirical Analysis of Lucy in the Sky with DiamondsMarch 10, 2014,  , notes: 

When the Beatles released their album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in the late spring of 1967,fans and critics alike were quick to find references to drugs throughout the LP. The album’s deliriously decorated jacket featured marijuana plants in the garden behind which the Beatles stood. The lyrics of With a Little Help from My Friends, Lovely Rita, and A Day in the Life all referred to marijuana, mentioning getting “high” and taking “some tea,” as well a desire to “turn you on.” And tuned-in listeners easily connected the feelings, sensations, and visions people typically experience while on hallucinogenic drugs to the dreamlike imagery of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. Some clever listeners even pointed out that the song’s title shares the initials of the hallucinogen LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide).

The Beatles had no doubt contributed to the perception that Sgt. Pepper was indeed a piece of hippie propaganda for hallucinogenic partying. Around the time the album was released, Paul McCartney revealed in a Life magazine interview that he had been using marijuana and LSD. McCartney even went on to extol the virtues of LSD, claiming that it had brought him closer to God and would yield world peace if only politicians would try it. Soon after, John Lennon, George Harrison, and the Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein also admitted that they had used LSD. Later that summer, the Beatles endorsed the legalization of marijuana by signing their names to a full-page advertisement in the London Times.

Lucy in the Mind of Lennon By Tim Kasser (Oxford University Press)

Despite these public proclamations about his drug use, John Lennon steadfastly denied that Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was about drugs. Lennon instead consistently claimed that the song was a response to a picture painted by his almost four-year-old son Julian. The oft-repeated story goes that Julian had brought the picture home from school and told his father that it was of his friend, Lucy, who was up in the sky with diamonds. Lennon’s mind had then wandered toward the Lewis Carroll books Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass that he had long admired and recently been re-reading. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was born when Lennon took images from Julian’s picture and combined them with elements of Carroll’s stories and poems.

A third explanation for the song’s meaning and origin was provided by Lennon many years after it was written, just a few weeks before he was killed. While reflecting on each of the songs in his discography, Lennon said this about Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds:

“There was also the image of the female who would someday come save me—a “girl with kaleidoscope eyes” who would come out of the sky. It turned out to be Yoko, though I hadn’t met Yoko yet. . . . The imagery was Alice in the boat. And also the image of this female who would come and save me—this secret love that was going to come one day. So it turned out to be Yoko, though, and I hadn’t met Yoko then. But she was my imaginary girl that we all have.”

Despite the fact that some people do not think that LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS was about drugs, the fact remains that it was probably considered so through the years by most drug users!!!!!!

_________________

News in London Newspaper: 

________

Tara Browne in 1966

Suki Poitier (centre) and Tara Browne (right), 1966

_________________

SERGEANT PEPPER’S LONELY HEART S CLUB BAND not only dealt with drugs but also with death. In the TELEGRAPH in Nicky Browne’s obit it was noted that “Paul McCartney told interviewers that he took LSD for the first time with Tara Browne.” Wikipedia records, “The Honourable Tara Browne (4 March 1945 – 18 December 1966) was a young London socialite and heir to the Guinness fortune and was the son of Dominick Browne, 4th Baron Oranmore and Browne, a member of the House of Lords since 1927 who later became famous for having served in that house longer than any other peer…According to some sources, Tara was the inspiration for the Beatles song “A Day in the Life“.  He sat in on the making of the Beatles record ‘Revolver’.

On 17 January 1967 John Lennon, a friend of Browne’s, was composing music at his piano whilst idly reading London’s Daily Mail and happened upon the news of the coroner’s verdict into Browne’s death. He worked the story into the song “A Day in the Life“, later released on the album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The second verse features the following lines:

He blew his mind out in a car, He didn’t notice that the lights had changed, A crowd of people stood and stared, They’d seen his face before, Nobody was really sure, If he was from the House of Lords.

According to Lennon, in his 1980 interview with Playboy magazine, “I was reading the paper one day and I noticed two stories. One was the Guinness heir who killed himself in a car. That was the main headline story. He died in London in a car crash.”

_____________

Samuel Beckett was the Nobel Prize Winner in Literature in 1969

________________

A side note about Tara Browne is that in  Paris his social circle was the likes of Samuel Beckett, Salvador Dali, and Jean Cocteau. Samuel Beckett had a lot to say on this issue of man’s significance as William Lane Craig has noted:

If each individual person passes out of existence when he dies, then what ultimate meaning can be given to his life? Does it really matter whether he ever existed at all? It might be said that his life was important because it influenced others or affected the course of history. But this shows only a relative significance to his life, not an ultimate significance. His life may be important relative to certain other events, but what is the ultimate significance of any of those events? If all the events are meaningless, then what can be the ultimate significance of influencing any of them? Ultimately it makes no difference.

This is the horror of modern man: because he ends in nothing, he is nothing.

Twentieth-century man came to understand this. Read WAITING FOR GODOT by Samuel Beckett. During this entire play two men carry on trivial conversation while waiting for a third man to arrive, who never does. Our lives are like that, BECKETT IS SAYING: WE JUST KILL TIME WAITING–FOR WHAT, WE DON’T KNOW. In a tragic portrayal of man, Beckett wrote another play in which the curtain opens revealing a stage littered with junk. For thirty long seconds, the audience sits and stares in silence at that junk. Then the curtain closes. That’s all.

French existentialists Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus understood this, too. Sartre portrayed life in his play No Exit as hell—the final line of the play are the words of resignation, “Well, let’s get on with it.” Hence, Sartre writes elsewhere of the “nausea” of existence. Man, he says, is adrift in a boat without a rudder on an endless sea. Camus, too, saw life as absurd. At the end of his brief novel The Stranger, Camus’s hero discovers in a flash of insight that the universe has no meaning and there is no God to give it one. The French biochemist Jacques Monod seemed to echo those sentiments when he wrote in his work Chance and Necessity, “Man finally knows he is alone in the indifferent immensity of the universe.”

Thus, if there is no God, then life itself becomes meaningless. Man and the universe are without ultimate significance. 

IN LIGHT OF THESE STATEMENTS BY SARTRE, CAMUS, BECKETT, and MONAD HOW CAN YOU STILL ASSERT THE FOLLOWING:

“It is possible to regard death as a natural event and even perhaps a wondrous state that takes place in the wonderful story in what we see around us in the universe. That can be taught to be a comforting thought. We know exactly what it is like to be dead because it is exactly the same state we were in before we were born.”

IN SPITE OF ALL THIS MANY SECULARISTS HAVE ADOPTED WHAT I CALL “EVOLUTIONARY OPTIMISTIC HUMANISM” and even in the 19th century Charles Darwin in his autobiography was touting THE SAME PRODUCT AS I SEE YOU ARE TODAY!!! 

HERE IS A QUOTE FROM YOUR LIPS AT THE BEYOND BELIEF CONFERENCE:

“It seemed to me, if there were any answers to be found at all, they were going to be found in the facts, and understanding the greater theater in which human life has unfolded. And I was right about that. Being a scientist, and staring immensity and eternity in the face every day is about as meaningful I think, and grand and awe-inspiring as it gets. We, especially we astronomers, confront the big questions of wonder every day and the answers to these questions in the aggregate have produced, and this is absolutely with no hype,…the greatest story every told. And there isn’t a religion, I think, that can offer anything better. And as Jules Verne said, reality provides us with facts so romantic that imagination itself could add nothing to them.”

YOUR QUOTE DEMONSTRATES WHAT I CALL “OPTIMISTIC HUMANISM.” It is truly a “romantic” point of view of secularism.

Francis Darwin noted, “passages which here follow are extracts, somewhat abbreviated, from a part of the Autobiography, written in 1876, in which my father gives the history of his religious views:”

“Believing as I do that man in the distant future will be a far more perfect creature than he now is,”

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER COMMENTED:

Now you have now the birth of Julian Huxley’s evolutionary optimistic humanism already stated by Darwin. Darwin now has a theory that man is going to be better. If you had lived at 1860 or 1890 and you said to Darwin, “By 1970 will man be better?” He certainly would have the hope that man would be better as Julian Huxley does today. Of course, I wonder what he would say if he lived in our day and saw what has been made of his own views in the direction of (the mass murder) Richard Speck (and deterministic thinking of today’s philosophers). I wonder what he would say. So you have the factor, already the dilemma in Darwin that I pointed out in Julian Huxley and that is evolutionary optimistic humanism rests always on tomorrow. You never have an argument from the present or the past for evolutionary optimistic humanism.

You can have evolutionary nihilism on the basis of the present and the past. Every time you have someone bringing in evolutionary optimistic humanism it is always based on what is going to be produced tomorrow. When is it coming? The years pass and is it coming? Arthur Koestler doesn’t think it is coming. He sees lots of problems here and puts forth for another solution.

WHAT EVOLUTIONISTS LIKE YOURSELF ARE LEFT WITH IS ONLY THE HOPE OF “biological continuity and increased biological complexity” AS DARWIN AND SCHAEFFER POINT OUT BELOW. YOU HAVE SAID CONCERNING “Enceladus, “That was tremendously exciting to find, because not only do we think there’s liquid water there, not only is there an enormous amount of excess heat, but we also have organic materials. That, I mean, that is the trifecta that we’re looking for, the three main ingredients for a habitable zone.”

Why are you searching so hard for intelligent life? The answer is pretty clear. We were created in God’s image and we will feel empty until we reunite with him. YOU SAID IT YOURSELF AND I QUOTED IT IN THIS LETTER ALREADY and that is you as a secularist are competing with this view that God created in his own image for a special purpose.  The message of the movie CONTACT is basically about mankind trying to reach out to other beings so we can ask them the big questions. The scientist Blaise Pascal summarized it up best when he said, “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.” Just today I heard this radio commentary from Eric Metaxas on the SETI PROGRAM.

It’s been fifty years and E.T. still hasn’t called. So maybe it’s time we give him a call? Although some don’t think that’s such a great idea.

Eric Metaxas

When we step out at night and look up at the stars, we can’t help wondering: Is there someone else out there? And if there is, would these extraterrestrials be benign and curious like the musical aliens in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” or would they be malicious and hostile like the Klingons of “Star Trek”?

Well, ever since stargazer Frank Drake conducted his first scan of the heavens in 1960, that’s the question he and other scientists have been asking. Drake, the chairman emeritus of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence or SETI, was one of the first to point a radio telescope toward space and listen for the tell-tale signals of intelligent life.

Like astronomer and “Cosmos” host Carl Sagan, Drake developed an equation for estimating the number of civilizations on other planets in our galaxy. And like Sagan’s estimates, his were astronomical: Billions of planets should have life, he reasoned, and of those, millions ought to have evolved intelligent beings. And so the researchers at SETI turned their radio dishes skyward, and listened.

Of course, as I write in my book “Miracles,” Carl Sagan (and hence Drake) got it wrong. The probability for life is astronomical all right—astronomically IM-probable, since we now know there are more than 150 absolutely-necessary and rare conditions that must be met to sustain life. So it’s no wonder that instead of a cacophony of radio signals from intelligent life somewhere out there, all we’re hearing is the silence of the stars.

But some scientists insist that just because we haven’t heard from E.T. doesn’t mean he’s not out there. So now they’re proposing a radical new strategy. It’s called “Active SETI,” and as Joel Achenbach explains in The Washington Post, its goal would be to “boldly announce our presence and try to get the conversation started.”

Rather than just listening for signals from space, scientists would beam messages at stars that they considered good candidates for life and they’d wait for potential civilizations orbiting those stars to respond. Maybe within a few hundred years, we would finally discover we aren’t alone in the universe.

But not everyone likes that idea. A petition signed by 28 influential scientists warns of the potential danger of Active SETI. They’ve seen the movie, or the movies, I should say, and they know it doesn’t end well for us earthlings. Their concern is whether these ETI’s will be benign or hostile: good point.

Frank Drake himself thinks Active SETI is a waste of time. We’ve been leaking radio signals into space since before the days of “I Love Lucy,” he points out. Anyone in our galactic neighborhood with an antenna already knows we’re here.

Hearing all of this talk of aliens, I can’t help but think of Walker Percey’s brilliant book, “Lost in the Cosmos.” In it, he observes that the more we learn about the universe, the lonelier we become. And he’s right. Even the most rational scientists have poured untold treasure, time, and talent into the hunt for extraterrestrial neighbors—with nothing to reward their efforts.

One thing we do know, we humans long to know we’re not alone. And the good news, as Christians know, is that we’re not! We aren’t “lost in the cosmos,” but we are the centerpiece of a grand plan that culminated in a visitation by Someone from beyond our universe.

(Carl Sagan pictured below)

In Darwin’s 1876 Autobiography he noted:

“…it is an intolerable thought that he and all other sentient beings are doomed to complete annihilation after such long-continued slow progress. To those who fully admit the immortality of the human soul, the destruction of our world will not appear so dreadful.”

Francis Schaeffer commented:

Here you feel Marcel Proust and the dust of death is on everything today because the dust of death is on everything tomorrow. Here you have the dilemma of Nevil Shute’s ON THE BEACH. If it is true that all we have left is biological continuity and increased biological complexity, which is all we have left in Darwinism here, or with many of the modern philosophers, then you can’t stand Shute’s ON THE BEACH. Maybe tomorrow at noon human life may be wiped out. Darwin already feels the tension, because if human life is going to be wiped out tomorrow, what is it worth today? Darwin can’t stand the thought of death of all men. Charlie Chaplin when he heard there was no life on Mars said, “I’m lonely.”

You think of the Swedish Opera (ANIARA) that is pictured inside a spaceship. There was a group of men and women going into outer space and they had come to another planet and the singing inside the spaceship was normal opera music. Suddenly there was a big explosion and the world had blown up and these were the last people left, the only conscious people left, and the last scene is the spaceship is off course and it will never land, but will just sail out into outer space and that is the end of the plot. They say when it was shown in Stockholm the first time, the tough Swedes with all their modern  mannishness, came out (after the opera was over) with hardly a word said, just complete silence.

Darwin already with his own position says he CAN’T STAND IT!! You can say, “Why can’t you stand it?” We would say to Darwin, “You were not made for this kind of thing. Man was made in the image of God. Your CAN’T- STAND- IT- NESS is screaming at you that your position is wrong. Why can’t you listen to yourself?”

You find all he is left here is biological continuity, and thus his feeling as well as his reason now is against his own theory, yet he holds it against the conclusions of his reason. Reason doesn’t make it hard to be a Christian. Darwin shows us the other way. He is holding his position against his reason.

These words of Darwin ring in my ear, “…it is an intolerable thought that he and all other sentient beings are doomed to complete annihilation after such long-continued slow progress…” . Schaeffer rightly noted, “Maybe tomorrow at noon human life may be wiped out. Darwin already feels the tension, because if human life is going to be wiped out tomorrow, what is it worth today? Darwin can’t stand the thought of death of all men.” IN OTHER WORDS ALL WE ARE IS DUST IN THE WIND.  I sent you a CD that starts off with the song DUST IN THE WIND by Kerry Livgren of the group KANSAS which was a hit song in 1978 when it rose to #6 on the charts because so many people connected with the message of the song. It included these words, “All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

Kerry Livgren himself said that he wrote the song because he saw where man was without a personal God in the picture. Solomon pointed out in the Book of Ecclesiastes that those who believe that God doesn’t exist must accept three things. FIRST, death is the end.  SECOND, chance and time are the only guiding forces in this life.  FINALLY, power reigns in this life and the scales are never balanced. The Christian can  face death and also confront the world knowing that it is not determined by chance and time alone and finally there is a judge who will balance the scales.

_____________

Kansas, circa 1973 (Phil Ehart, Kerry Livgren, Steve Walsh, Rich Williams, Robby Steinhardt, Dave Hope) (photo credit: DON HUNSTEIN)

Kansas, circa 1973 (Phil Ehart, Kerry Livgren, Steve Walsh, Rich Williams, Robby Steinhardt, Dave Hope) (photo credit: DON HUNSTEIN)

____________________________________________

Both Kerry Livgren and the bass player Dave Hope of Kansas became Christians eventually. Kerry Livgren first tried Eastern Religions and Dave Hope had to come out of a heavy drug addiction. I was shocked and elated to see their personal testimony on The 700 Club in 1981 and that same  interview can be seen on You Tube today. Livgren lives in Topeka, Kansas today where he teaches “Diggers,” a Sunday school class at Topeka Bible ChurchDAVE HOPE is the head of Worship, Evangelism and Outreach at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin, Florida.

(Aldous Huxley, pictured above,  was an English literary author who is renowned for his novel,Brave New World, which was published in 1931. Apart from writing novels, he also wrote a few travel books, poems, plays and several essays on religion, art and sociology)

HOW DID THE BEATLES SEARCH END UP AND WHY WAS ALDOUS HUXLEY PUT ON THE COVER OF “SERGEANT PEPPER’S LONELY HEART S CLUB BAND”? Below is an excerpt from Francis A. Schaeffer‘s 1972 paper on the trends seen in secular society concerning drug use:

The philosophic basis for the drug scene came from ALDOUS HUXLEY'S 
concept that, since, for the rationalist, reason is not 
taking us anywhere, we should look for a final experience, one 
that can be produced "on call," one that we do not need to 
wait for. The drug scene, in other words, was at first an ideol- 
ogy, an ideology that had very practical consequences. Some of 
us at L'Abri have cried over the young people who have blown 
their minds. But many of them thought, like Alan Watts, Gary 
Snyder, Alan Ginsberg and Timothy Leary, that if you could 
simply turn everyone on, there would be an answer to man's 
longings. It wasn't just the far-out freaks who suggested that 
you could put drugs in the drinking water and turn on a whole 
city so that the "pigs" and the kids would all have flowers in 
their hair. In those days it really was an optimistic ideological 
concept...
The Beatles are a sort of test case. First they were just a 
rock group, then they took to drugs and expressed that in such 
songs as Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. When 
drugs didn't pan out, when they saw what was happening in 
Haight-Ashbury, they turned to the psychedelic sounds of 
Straivberry Fields, and then went further into Eastern religious 
experiences. But that, too, did not work out, and they wound 
up their career as a group by making The Yellow Submarine. 
When they made this movie, some people said, "The Beatles 
are coming back." But of course that was not the case. It was 
really 'the sad end of their ideological search as a group. It's 
interesting that Erich Segal, the man who wrote the film script 
for THE YELLOW SUBMARINE, then wrote LOVE STORY.

The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted.

Thank you again for your time and I know how busy you are.

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.com, http://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, Box 23416, LittleRock, AR 72221, United States

_________________ 

You can hear DAVE HOPE and Kerry Livgren’s stories from this youtube link:

(part 1 ten minutes)

(part 2 ten minutes)

Kansas – Dust in the Wind (Official Video)

Uploaded on Nov 7, 2009

Pre-Order Miracles Out of Nowhere now at http://www.miraclesoutofnowhere.com

About the film:
In 1973, six guys in a local band from America’s heartland began a journey that surpassed even their own wildest expectations, by achieving worldwide superstardom… watch the story unfold as the incredible story of the band KANSAS is told for the first time in the DVD Miracles Out of Nowhere.

___________________

___________

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 23 BOB DYLAN (Part A) (Feature on artist Josiah McElheny)Francis Schaeffer on the proper place of rebellion with comments by Bob Dylan and Samuel Rutherford

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 22 “The School of Athens by Raphael” (Feature on the artist Sally Mann)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 21 William B. Provine (Feature on artist Andrea Zittel)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 20 Woody Allen and Materialistic Humanism: The World-View of Our Era (Feature on artist Ida Applebroog)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 19 Movie Director Luis Bunuel (Feature on artist Oliver Herring)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 18 “Michelangelo’s DAVID is the statement of what humanistic man saw himself as being tomorrow” (Feature on artist Paul McCarthy)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 17 Francis Schaeffer discusses quotes of Andy Warhol from “The Observer June 12, 1966″ Part C (Feature on artist David Hockney plus many pictures of Warhol with famous friends)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 16 Francis Schaeffer discusses quotes of Andy Warhol from “The Observer June 12, 1966″ Part B (Feature on artist James Rosenquist plus many pictures of Warhol with famous friends)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 15 Francis Schaeffer discusses quotes of Andy Warhol from “The Observer June 12, 1966″ Part A (Feature on artist Robert Indiana plus many pictures of Warhol with famous friends)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 14 David Friedrich Strauss (Feature on artist Roni Horn )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 13 Jacob Bronowski and Materialistic Humanism: The World-View of Our Era (Feature on artist Ellen Gallagher )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 12 H.J.Blackham and Materialistic Humanism: The World-View of Our Era (Feature on artist Arturo Herrera)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 11 Thomas Aquinas and his Effect on Art and HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? Episode 2: THE MIDDLES AGES (Feature on artist Tony Oursler )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 10 David Douglas Duncan (Feature on artist Georges Rouault )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 9 Jasper Johns (Feature on artist Cai Guo-Qiang )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 8 “The Last Year at Marienbad” by Alain Resnais (Feature on artist Richard Tuttle and his return to the faith of his youth)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 7 Jean Paul Sartre (Feature on artist David Hooker )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 6 The Adoration of the Lamb by Jan Van Eyck which was saved by MONUMENT MEN IN WW2 (Feature on artist Makoto Fujimura)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 5 John Cage (Feature on artist Gerhard Richter)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 4 ( Schaeffer and H.R. Rookmaaker worked together well!!! (Feature on artist Mike Kelley Part B )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 3 PAUL GAUGUIN’S 3 QUESTIONS: “Where do we come from? What art we? Where are we going? and his conclusion was a suicide attempt” (Feature on artist Mike Kelley Part A)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 2 “A look at how modern art was born by discussing Monet, Renoir, Pissaro, Sisley, Degas,Cezanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Seurat, and Picasso” (Feature on artist Peter Howson)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 1 HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? “The Roman Age” (Feature on artist Tracey Emin)

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! PART 18 (Brian Harrison, Historian, Oxford University, Charles Darwin also wrestled with the issue of Biblical Archaeology and the accuracy of the Bible)

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Brian Harrison (historian)

Brian HarrisonEmeritus Fellow of Corpus Christi College

On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:

…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975

and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.

Harry Kroto

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There are 3 videos in this series and they have statements by 150 academics and scientists and I hope to respond to all of them. Wikipedia notes: Professor Sir Brian Howard Harrison, FBA (born 9 July 1937) is a British historian and academic. He was the editor of Oxford Dictionary of National Biography from January 2000 to September 2004 (succeeded by Lawrence Goldman) and professor of Modern Historyat the University of Oxford. He is an emeritus fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He was appointed knight bachelor in the 2005 New Year’s Honours for “services to scholarship”, and was elected a fellow of the British Academy on 30 July 2005.

Harrison has published extensively on British social and political history from the 1790s to the present. His first book was Drink and the Victorians. The Temperance Question England 1815–1872 (1971, 2nd. ed. 1994). His most recent publications are two volumes in the New Oxford History of England series covering British history from 1951: Seeking a Role: The United Kingdom 1951–1970 (2009, paperback with revisions 2011) and Finding a Role? The United Kingdom 1970–1990 (2010, paperback with revisions 2011).[dated info]

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His comments can be found on the 3rd video and the 119th clip in this series. Below the videos you will find his words.

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)

An interview of the historian Sir Brian Harrison – part one

Published on Jun 30, 2014

Filmed and interviewed by Alan Macfarlane on 22 June 2012

An interview of the historian Sir Brian Harrison – part two

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I grew up at Bellevue Baptist Church under the leadership of our pastor Adrian Rogers and I read many books by the Evangelical Philosopher Francis Schaeffer and have had the opportunity to contact many of the evolutionists or humanistic academics that they have mentioned in their works. Many of these scholars have taken the time to respond back to me in the last 20 years and some of the names  included are  Ernest Mayr (1904-2005), George Wald (1906-1997), Carl Sagan (1934-1996),  Robert Shapiro (1935-2011), Nicolaas Bloembergen (1920-),  Brian Charlesworth (1945-),  Francisco J. Ayala (1934-) Elliott Sober (1948-), Kevin Padian (1951-), Matt Cartmill (1943-) , Milton Fingerman (1928-), John J. Shea (1969-), , Michael A. Crawford (1938-), Paul Kurtz (1925-2012), Sol Gordon (1923-2008), Albert Ellis (1913-2007), Barbara Marie Tabler (1915-1996), Renate Vambery (1916-2005), Archie J. Bahm (1907-1996), Aron S “Gil” Martin ( 1910-1997), Matthew I. Spetter (1921-2012), H. J. Eysenck (1916-1997), Robert L. Erdmann (1929-2006), Mary Morain (1911-1999), Lloyd Morain (1917-2010),  Warren Allen Smith (1921-), Bette Chambers (1930-),  Gordon Stein (1941-1996) , Milton Friedman (1912-2006), John Hospers (1918-2011), Michael Martin (1932-), John R. Cole  (1942-),   Wolf Roder,  Susan Blackmore (1951-),  Christopher C. French (1956-)  Walter R. Rowe Thomas Gilovich (1954-), Paul QuinceyHarry Kroto (1939-), Marty E. Martin (1928-), Richard Rubenstein (1924-), James Terry McCollum (1936-), Edward O. WIlson (1929-), Lewis Wolpert (1929), Gerald Holton (1922-), Martin Rees (1942-), Alan Macfarlane (1941-),  Roald Hoffmann (1937-), Herbert Kroemer (1928-), Thomas H. Jukes (1906-1999), Glenn BranchGeoff Harcourt (1931-) and  Ray T. Cragun (1976-).

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QUOTE:

I have always remained an agnostic and not an atheist. I am not militant about it. I have never seen any evidence for it, and if anything, being a historian has turned me the other way.

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IS THERE ANY EVIDENCE POINTING TO THE ACCURACY OF THE BIBLE FROM HISTORY OR ARCHAEOLOGY? BELOW IS MY RESPONSE TO DR. HARRISON IN THE FORM OF A LETTER MAILED LAST MONTH:

February 12, 2015

Dear Dr. Harrison,

I just finished reading the online addition of the book Darwin, Francis ed. 1892. Charles Darwin: his life told in an autobiographical chapter, and in a selected series of his published letters [abridged edition]. London: John Murray. There are several points that Charles Darwin makes in this book that were very wise, honest, logical, shocking and some that were not so wise. The Christian Philosopher Francis Schaeffer once said of Darwin’s writings, “Darwin in his autobiography and in his letters showed that all through his life he never really came to a quietness concerning the possibility that chance really explained the situation of the biological world. You will find there is much material on this [from Darwin] extended over many many years that constantly he was wrestling with this problem.”

Here is a quote I ran across recently from you in your wonderful in depth interview with Alan Macfarlane :

I have always remained an agnostic and not an atheist. I am not militant about it. I have never seen any evidence for it, and if anything, being a historian has turned me the other way. 

YOU MAY FIND IT INTERESTING THAT CHARLES DARWIN WAS ALSO INTERESTED IN THE HISTORICAL ASPECT OF THE BIBLE. When I read the book  Charles Darwin: his life told in an autobiographical chapter, and in a selected series of his published letters, I also read  a commentary on it by Francis Schaeffer and I wanted to both  quote some of Charles Darwin’s own words to you and then include the comments of Francis Schaeffer on those words. I have also enclosed a CD with two messages from Adrian Rogers and Bill Elliff concerning Darwinism.

In 1879 Charles Darwin was applied to by a German student, in a similar manner. The letter was answered by a member of my father’s family, who wrote:–

“Mr. Darwin begs me to say that he receives so many letters, that he cannot answer them all.He considers that the theory of Evolution is quite compatible with the belief in a God; but that you must remember that different persons have different definitions of what they mean by God.” 

Francis Schaeffer commented:

You find a great confusion in his writings although there is a general structure in them. Here he says the word “God” is alright but you find later what he doesn’t take is a personal God. Of course, what you open is the whole modern linguistics concerning the word “God.” is God a pantheistic God? What kind of God is God? Darwin says there is nothing incompatible with the word “God.”

This, however, did not satisfy the German youth, who again wrote to my father, and received from him the following reply:—

“I am much engaged, an old man, and out of health, and I cannot spare time to answer your questions fully,—nor indeed can they be answered. Science has nothing to do with Christ, except in so far as the habit of scientific research makes a man cautious in admitting evidence. For myself, I do not believe that there ever has been any revelation.As for a future life, every man must judge for himself between conflicting vague probabilities.”

Francis Schaeffer observed:

So he has come to the place as an old man that he doesn’t believe there has been any revelation. In his younger years he held a different position. He lost his position not on the basis of reason but simply that it disagreed with his theory and his presuppositions and he was forced to give it up.

The passages which here follow are extracts, somewhat abbreviated, from a part of the Autobiography, written in 1876, in which my father gives the history of his religious views:—“During these two years* (ft note *October 1836 to January 1839.) I was led to think much about religion. Whilst on board the Beagle I was quite orthodox, and I remember being heartily laughed at by several of the officers (though themselves orthodox) for quoting the Bible as an unanswerable authority on some point of morality.

Francis Schaeffer noted:

So you find that as a younger man he did accept the Bible. As an older man he has given up revelation but he is not satisfied with his own answers. He is caught in the tension that modern man is caught in. He is a prefiguration  of the modern man and he himself contributed to. Then Darwin goes on and tells us why he gave up the Bible.

Darwin went to write:

I suppose it was the novelty of the argument that amused them. But I had gradually come by this time, i.e. 1836 to 1836, to see that the Old Testament was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos. The question then continually rose before my mind and would not be banished,—is it credible that if God were now to make a revelation to the Hindoos, he would permit it to be connected with the belief in Vishnu, Siva, &c., as Christianity is connected with the Old Testament? This appeared to me utterly incredible.

Francis Schaeffer asserted:

Darwin is saying that he gave up the New Testament because it was connected to the Old Testament. He gave up the Old Testament because it conflicted with his own theory. Did he have a real answer himself and the answer is no. At the end of his life we see that he is dehumanized by his position and on the other side we see that he never comes to the place of intellectual satisfaction for himself that his answers were sufficient.

Darwin continued:

“But I was very unwilling to give up my belief; I feel sure of this, for I can well remember often and often inventing day-dreams of old letters between distinguished Romans, and manuscripts being discovered at Pompeii or elsewhere, which confirmed in the most striking manner all that was written in the Gospels.

Francis Schaeffer commented:

This is very sad. He lies on his bunk and the Beagle tosses and turns and he makes daydreams, and his dreams and hopes are that someone would find in Pompeii or some place like this, an old manuscript by a distinguished Roman that would put his stamp of authority on it, which would be able to show that Christ existed. This is undoubtedly what he is talking about. Darwin gave up this hope with great difficulty. I think he didn’t want to come to the position where his accepted presuppositions were driving him. He didn’t want to give it up, just as an older man he understood where it would lead and “man can do his duty.” Instinctively this of brains understood where this whole thing was going to eventually go…

SINCE CHARLES DARWIN’S DEATH WE NOW HAVE LOTS OF HISTORICAL RECORDS AND MUCH EVIDENCE FROM THE FIELD OF ARCHAEOLOGY THAT SHOW THE BIBLE IS HISTORICALLY ACCURATE.

**************TAKE TIME TO CONSIDER THIS EVIDENCE BELOW********************

I  have been amazed at the prophecies in the Bible that have been fulfilled in history, and also many of the historical details in the Bible have been confirmed by archaeology too. One of the most amazing is the prediction that the Jews would be brought back and settle in Jerusalem again. Another prophecy in Psalms 22 describes the Messiah dying on a cross  almost 1000 years before the Romans came up with this type of punishment.

Many times it has been alleged that the author of the Book of Daniel was from a later period but how did a later author know these 5 HISTORICAL FACTS? How did he know [1] that Belshazzar was ruling during the last few years of the Babylonian Empire when the name “Belshazzar” was lost to history until 1853 when it was uncovered in the monuments? [2] The author also knew that the Babylonians executed individuals by casting them into fire, and that the Persians threw the condemned to the lions. [3] He knew  the practice in the 6th Century was to mention first the Medes, then the Persians and not the other way around. [4] Plus he knew the laws made by Persian kings could not be revoked and [5] he knew that in the sixth century B.C., Susa was in the province of Elam (Dan. 8:2). Of course, the Book of Daniel (2:37-42) clearly predicted the rise of the 4 world empires in the correct order of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.

One of the top 10 posts on my blog on this next subject concerning Tyre.   John MacArthur went through every detail of the prophecy concerning Tyre and how history shows the Bible prophecy was correct.  Sagan said he had taken a look at Old Testament prophecy and it did not impress him because it was too vague.

HOW CAN ANYONE SAY THAT THIS FOLLOWING PROPHECY CONCERNING TYRE IS “TOO VAGUE?”

Below is an outline from a sermon from Dr. John MacArthur

Photo of John MacArthur

 

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John MacArthur on the amazing fulfilled prophecy on Tyre and how it was fulfilled by historical events.

LESSON

I. BIBLICAL PROPHECY CONCERNING TYRE (Ezekiel 26:1–28:19)

A. The Forecast

1. The specifics

a) That King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon would destroy the mainland city of Tyre (26:7-8).

b) That many nations would rise up against Tyre. These nations would come like waves of the sea, one after another (26:3- 4).

c) That Tyre will be made like a flat rock (26:4, 14).

d) That fisherman will dry their nets there (26:5, 14).

e) That the rubble of the city would be cast into the sea (26:12).

f) That Tyre would never be rebuilt (26:14).

2. The setting

Tyre was a great city. It was one of the largest and most powerful cities of Phoenicia, which is modern day Lebanon.

It was well fortified. A great wall protected the city from land attacks while their world-renowned fleet protected them from attack by sea.

Tyre was a flourishing city during the time when Joshua led Israel into the Promised Land. King Hiram, who began his reign during the rule of David, offered David cedars from Tyre to build his palace. He also loaned David his artisans to craft parts of the great palace (1 Chron. 14:1). Hiram also helped Solomon build the Temple by floating cedars down the shoreline to be picked up and hauled to Jerusalem (2 Chron. 2:16). So Tyre was a great city, and both David and Solomon looked to it for aid.

 

B. The Fulfillment

1. The prophetic call

a) To Nebuchadnezzar

Not long after the prophecy given by Ezekiel, Nebuchadnezzar did exactly what had been predicted–he laid siege against the city in 585 B.C. For thirteen years Nebuchadnezzar cut off the flow of supplies into the city. In 537 B.C. he finally succeeded in breaking the gates down, but found the city almost empty.

During the thirteen-year siege, the people of Tyre moved all their possessions by ship to an island one-half mile offshore. So Nebuchadnezzar gained no plunder (Ezek. 29:17- 20). Although he destroyed the mainland city (Ezek. 26:8), the new city offshore continued to flourish for 250 years. The prophecy of Ezekiel 26:12–“they shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water”–remained unfulfilled.

 

b) To Alexander the Great

At age twenty-two, Alexander the Great came east conquering the known world with an army of between thirty and forty thousand men. Having defeated the Persians under Darius III, Alexander was on the march toward Egypt.

(1) The dilemma

Alexander arrived in the Phoenician territory and demanded that the cities open their gates to him. The citizens of Tyre refused, feeling they were secure on their island with their superior fleet.

 

(2) The decision

Realizing he did not have a fleet that could match Tyre’s, Alexander decided to build a causeway to the island using the ruins from the mainland city. It was about two hundred feet wide. The prophet said that the city would be thrown into the water, and that’s exactly what happened.

 

(3) The details

Arrian, a Greek historian, wrote about the overthrow of Tyre and how it was accomplished (The Campaigns of Alexander [New York: Penquin, 1958], pp. 132-43). The fortification of Tyre resembled Alcatraz. The city sat offshore like a rock with walls that came down to the edge of the water. Alexander set out to build the only means to approach the city–a land peninsula. Soldiers started pitching rubble into the water, leveling it off as they went so they could march on it. The water got deeper as they approached the island, and to make their task even more difficult, the people of Tyre bombarded them with missiles.

Werner Keller in The Bible as History tells us that to safeguard the operation, Alexander built mobile shields called “tortoises” (New York: Bantam, 1956], p. 361). Knowing that when they reached the city they would have to scale the walls, Alexander built “Hele-poleis,” which were mobile siege towers 160 foot high. The idea was to roll these structures across the causeway and push them up against the walls. A drawbridge on the front of the towers enabled the soldiers to march across the top of the walls and into the city.

Alexander’s men were under constant attack from people within the city and from the Tyrian navy. Realizing that he needed ships to defend his flanks, Alexander returned to the cities he had conquered and demanded their assistance. That fulfilled the prophecy that God “will cause many nations to come up against thee, as the sea causeth its waves to come up” (Ezek. 26:3).

(4) The destruction

Alexander’s plan succeeded. Eight thousand people were slain and thirty thousand were sold into slavery. It took Alexander seven months to conquer Tyre. The causeway he built can be seen to this day.

 

2. The prophetic result

How did Ezekiel know all those things would happen? The only explanation is he expressed the mind of God. Historian Philip Myers said, “Alexander the Great reduced it [Tyre] to ruins (332 B.C.). She recovered in a measure from this blow, but never regained the place she had previously held in the world. The larger part of the site … is now as bare as the top of a rock–a place where the fishermen that still frequent the spot spread their nets to dry” (General History for Colleges and High Schools [Boston: Ginn and Co., 1889], p. 55). That fulfills the prophecies of Ezekiel 26:4-5, 14. The island city was repopulated, later to be destroyed by the Moslems in A.D. 1281. However, God said the mainland city would never be rebuilt–and it never has. Jerusalem has been rebuilt many times but Tyre will never be rebuilt because a prophet in Babylon said twenty-five centuries ago, “Thou shalt be built no more” (Ezek. 26:14).

 

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AS A HISTORIAN YOU HAVE ACCESS TO ALL OF THESE RECORDS. WHY NOT TAKE A FEW MOMENTS AND CHECK OUT THESE FACTS YOURSELF?

I Corinthians 15 asserts:

12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

I sent you a CD that starts off with the song DUST IN THE WIND by Kerry Livgren of the group KANSAS which was a hit song in 1978 when it rose to #6 on the charts because so many people connected with the message of the song. It included these words, “All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

Kerry Livgren himself said that he wrote the song because he saw where man was without a personal God in the picture. Solomon pointed out in the Book of Ecclesiastes that those who believe that God doesn’t exist must accept three things. FIRST, death is the end and SECOND, chance and time are the only guiding forces in this life.  FINALLY, power reigns in this life and the scales are never balanced. The Christian can  face death and also confront the world knowing that it is not determined by chance and time alone and finally there is a judge who will balance the scales.

Both Kerry Livgren and the bass player Dave Hope of Kansas became Christians eventually. Kerry Livgren first tried Eastern Religions and Dave Hope had to come out of a heavy drug addiction. I was shocked and elated to see their personal testimony on The 700 Club in 1981 and that same  interview can be seen on You Tube today. Livgren lives in Topeka, Kansas today where he teaches “Diggers,” a Sunday school class at Topeka Bible ChurchDAVE HOPE is the head of Worship, Evangelism and Outreach at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin, Florida.

The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted.

Thank you again for your time and I know how busy you are.

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.com, http://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, Box 23416, LittleRock, AR 72221, United States

The Bible and Archaeology – Is the Bible from God? (Kyle Butt 42 min)

Is the Bible historically accurate and have I taken the time to examine the evidence? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject and if you like you could just google these subjects: 1. The Babylonian Chronicleof Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. 3. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism)4. Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. 5. The Discovery of the Hittites6.Shishak Smiting His Captives7. Moabite Stone8Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III9A Verification of places in Gospel of John and Book of Acts., 9B Discovery of Ebla Tablets10. Cyrus Cylinder11. Puru “The lot of Yahali” 9th Century B.C.E.12. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription13. The Pilate Inscription14. Caiaphas Ossuary14 B Pontius Pilate Part 214c. Three greatest American Archaeologists moved to accept Bible’s accuracy through archaeology.,

DEC

The Case for the Reliability of the Old Testament (Free Bible Insert)

The Case for the Reliability of the Old Testament (Bible Insert)We’ve been investigating the case for the reliability of the Old Testament by examining the process of transmission, the verification of archaeology and the appearance of fulfilled prophecy in the text. The ancient scribes employed atrustworthy system of checks and balances as they copied the original texts, and the accuracy of transmission process was successfully tested with the discovery of the Isaiah text in the Dead Sea Scroll collection. The ancient Jewish believers and Church Fathers also embraced the Old Testament as the Word of God. In addition, archeological discoveries have since confirmed many of the Old Testament accounts, and these archaeological evidences are rich compared to other written claims about the ancient past. Finally, the Old Testament Scriptures contain fulfilled prophecies  (including amazing prophecies about the coming Messiah), establishing the Divine nature of the texts. Based on this evidence, the following summary can be created related to the case for the reliability of the Old Testament:

(1) The Old Testament Has Been Faithfully Transmitted

(a) Careful Masoretes Subscribed to an Incredibly High Standard
(b) The Dead Sea Scrolls Confirm the Transmission Process
(c) Ancient Sources Confirm the Early Canon of the Old Testament

i. Prologue to Ecclesiasticus
ii. Philo
iii. Jamnia
iv. The Early Church Fathers
v. Josephus

(2) The Old Testament Has Been Verified with Archeology

(a) Findings from Neighboring Cultures

i. The Ebla Tablet
ii. Archaeological digs in the city of Bogazkoy, Turkey
iii. Archeological Digs in Sargon’s Palace in Khorsabad
iv. The Belshazar Tablet
v. The Nebo-Sarsekim Tablet

(b) Extra-Biblical confirmation of Biblical events

i. The campaign into Israel by Pharaoh Shishak
ii. The revolt of Moab against Israel
iii. The fall of Samaria
iv. The defeat of Ashdod by Sargon II
v. The campaign of Sennacherib against Judah
vi. The siege of Lachish by Sennacherib
vii. The assassination of Sennacherib by his own sons
viii. The fall of Nineveh as predicted by the prophets
ix. The fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar
x. The captivity of Jehoiachin, king of Judah, in Babylon

(3) The Old Testament Has Been Confirmed by Prophecy

(a) Accurate Predictions of Ancient Historical Events

i. Babylon Will Rule Over Judah for 70 Years
ii. Babylon’s Gates Will Open for Cyrus
iii. Babylon’s Kingdom Will Be Permanently Overthrown
iv. Babylon Will Be Reduced to Swampland
v. The Jews Will Survive Babylonian Rule and Return
vi. The Ninevites Will Be Drunk in Their Final Hours
vii. Nineveh Will Be Destroyed By Fire
viii. Tyre Will Be Attacked By Many Nations
ix. Tyre’s Stones, Timber and Soil Will Be Cast Into Sea
x. The Jews Will Avenge the Edomites

(b) The Old Testament Accurately Predicts The Coming Messiah

i. Daniel 9:25
ii. Nehemiah 2:5,6

This brief summary has been re-created in the form of a Bible Insert and is available on our Home Page from the link in the right tool bar. Download the insert (along with the inserts from prior months) and start collecting these resources related to the case for the Christian worldview. We hope to encourage and equip you to be a better Christian Case Maker.

J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, a Christian Case Maker, and the author of Cold-Case Christianity

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On March 17, 2013 at our worship service at Fellowship Bible Church, Ben Parkinson who is one of our teaching pastors spoke on Genesis 1. He spoke about an issue that I was very interested in. Ben started the sermon by reading the following scripture: Genesis 1-2:3 English Standard Version (ESV) The Creation of the […]

Review of Carl Sagan book (Part 4 of series on Evolution)

Review of Carl Sagan book (Part 4 of series on Evolution) The Long War against God-Henry Morris, part 5 of 6 Uploaded by FLIPWORLDUPSIDEDOWN3 on Aug 30, 2010 http://www.icr.org/ http://store.icr.org/prodinfo.asp?number=BLOWA2http://store.icr.org/prodinfo.asp?number=BLOWASGhttp://www.fliptheworldupsidedown.com/blog _______________________ I got this from a blogger in April of 2008 concerning candidate Obama’s view on evolution: Q: York County was recently in the news […]

Review of Carl Sagan book (Part 3 of series on Evolution)

Review of Carl Sagan book (Part 3 of series on Evolution) The Long War against God-Henry Morris, part 4 of 6 Uploaded by FLIPWORLDUPSIDEDOWN3 on Aug 30, 2010 http://www.icr.org/ http://store.icr.org/prodinfo.asp?number=BLOWA2http://store.icr.org/prodinfo.asp?number=BLOWASGhttp://www.fliptheworldupsidedown.com/blog______________________________________ I got this from a blogger in April of 2008 concerning candidate Obama’s view on evolution: Q: York County was recently in the news […]

Carl Sagan versus RC Sproul

At the end of this post is a message by RC Sproul in which he discusses Sagan. Over the years I have confronted many atheists. Here is one story below: I really believe Hebrews 4:12 when it asserts: For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the […]

Review of Carl Sagan book (Part 4 of series on Evolution)jh68

Review of Carl Sagan book (Part 4 of series on Evolution) The Long War against God-Henry Morris, part 5 of 6 Uploaded by FLIPWORLDUPSIDEDOWN3 on Aug 30, 2010 http://www.icr.org/ http://store.icr.org/prodinfo.asp?number=BLOWA2http://store.icr.org/prodinfo.asp?number=BLOWASGhttp://www.fliptheworldupsidedown.com/blog _______________________ This is a review I did a few years ago. THE DEMON-HAUNTED WORLD: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl […]

Review of Carl Sagan book (Part 3 of series on Evolution)

Review of Carl Sagan book (Part 3 of series on Evolution) The Long War against God-Henry Morris, part 4 of 6 Uploaded by FLIPWORLDUPSIDEDOWN3 on Aug 30, 2010 http://www.icr.org/ http://store.icr.org/prodinfo.asp?number=BLOWA2http://store.icr.org/prodinfo.asp?number=BLOWASGhttp://www.fliptheworldupsidedown.com/blog______________________________________ I was really enjoyed this review of Carl Sagan’s book “Pale Blue Dot.” Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot by Larry Vardiman, Ph.D. […]

Atheists confronted: How I confronted Carl Sagan the year before he died jh47

In today’s news you will read about Kirk Cameron taking on the atheist Stephen Hawking over some recent assertions he made concerning the existence of heaven. Back in December of 1995 I had the opportunity to correspond with Carl Sagan about a year before his untimely death. Sarah Anne Hughes in her article,”Kirk Cameron criticizes […]

My correspondence with George Wald and Antony Flew!!!

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 41 Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (Featured artist is Marina Abramović)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 40 Timothy Leary (Featured artist is Margaret Keane)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 39 Tom Wolfe (Featured artist is Richard Serra)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 38 Woody Allen and Albert Camus “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide” (Feature on artist Hamish Fulton Photographer )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 37 Mahatma Gandhi and “Relieving the Tension in the East” (Feature on artist Luc Tuymans)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 36 Julian Huxley:”God does not in fact exist, but act as if He does!” (Feature on artist Barry McGee)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 35 Robert M. Pirsig (Feature on artist Kerry James Marshall)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 34 Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Feature on artist Shahzia Sikander)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 33 Aldous Huxley (Feature on artist Matthew Barney )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 32 Steven Weinberg and Woody Allen and “The Meaningless of All Things” (Feature on photographer Martin Karplus )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 31 David Hume and “How do we know we know?” (Feature on artist William Pope L. )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 30 Rene Descartes and “How do we know we know?” (Feature on artist Olafur Eliasson)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 29 W.H. Thorpe and “The Search for an Adequate World-View: A Question of Method” (Feature on artist Jeff Koons)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 28 Woody Allen and “The Mannishness of Man” (Feature on artist Ryan Gander)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 27 Jurgen Habermas (Featured artist is Hiroshi Sugimoto)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 26 Bettina Aptheker (Featured artist is Krzysztof Wodiczko)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 25 BOB DYLAN (Part C) Francis Schaeffer comments on Bob Dylan’s song “Ballad of a Thin Man” and the disconnect between the young generation of the 60’s and their parents’ generation (Feature on artist Fred Wilson)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 24 BOB DYLAN (Part B) Francis Schaeffer comments on Bob Dylan’s words from HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED!! (Feature on artist Susan Rothenberg)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 23 BOB DYLAN (Part A) (Feature on artist Josiah McElheny)Francis Schaeffer on the proper place of rebellion with comments by Bob Dylan and Samuel Rutherford

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 22 “The School of Athens by Raphael” (Feature on the artist Sally Mann)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 21 William B. Provine (Feature on artist Andrea Zittel)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 20 Woody Allen and Materialistic Humanism: The World-View of Our Era (Feature on artist Ida Applebroog)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 19 Movie Director Luis Bunuel (Feature on artist Oliver Herring)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 18 “Michelangelo’s DAVID is the statement of what humanistic man saw himself as being tomorrow” (Feature on artist Paul McCarthy)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 17 Francis Schaeffer discusses quotes of Andy Warhol from “The Observer June 12, 1966″ Part C (Feature on artist David Hockney plus many pictures of Warhol with famous friends)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 16 Francis Schaeffer discusses quotes of Andy Warhol from “The Observer June 12, 1966″ Part B (Feature on artist James Rosenquist plus many pictures of Warhol with famous friends)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 15 Francis Schaeffer discusses quotes of Andy Warhol from “The Observer June 12, 1966″ Part A (Feature on artist Robert Indiana plus many pictures of Warhol with famous friends)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 14 David Friedrich Strauss (Feature on artist Roni Horn )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 13 Jacob Bronowski and Materialistic Humanism: The World-View of Our Era (Feature on artist Ellen Gallagher )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 12 H.J.Blackham and Materialistic Humanism: The World-View of Our Era (Feature on artist Arturo Herrera)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 11 Thomas Aquinas and his Effect on Art and HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? Episode 2: THE MIDDLES AGES (Feature on artist Tony Oursler )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 10 David Douglas Duncan (Feature on artist Georges Rouault )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 9 Jasper Johns (Feature on artist Cai Guo-Qiang )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 8 “The Last Year at Marienbad” by Alain Resnais (Feature on artist Richard Tuttle and his return to the faith of his youth)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 7 Jean Paul Sartre (Feature on artist David Hooker )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 6 The Adoration of the Lamb by Jan Van Eyck which was saved by MONUMENT MEN IN WW2 (Feature on artist Makoto Fujimura)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 5 John Cage (Feature on artist Gerhard Richter)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 4 ( Schaeffer and H.R. Rookmaaker worked together well!!! (Feature on artist Mike Kelley Part B )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 3 PAUL GAUGUIN’S 3 QUESTIONS: “Where do we come from? What art we? Where are we going? and his conclusion was a suicide attempt” (Feature on artist Mike Kelley Part A)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 2 “A look at how modern art was born by discussing Monet, Renoir, Pissaro, Sisley, Degas,Cezanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Seurat, and Picasso” (Feature on artist Peter Howson)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 1 HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? “The Roman Age” (Feature on artist Tracey Emin)

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! PART 16 (Dr.Christof Koch, Neuroscientist, Cal Tech, Darwin and Determinism )

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Christof Koch pictured below:

Christof3

On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:

…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975

and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.

Harry Kroto

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There are 3 videos in this series and they have statements by 150 academics and scientists and I hope to respond to all of them. Wikipedia notes Christof Koch (/kɑːx/;[1] born November 13, 1956) is an American neuroscientist best known for his work on the neural bases of consciousness. He is the Chief Scientific Officer of the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle. From 1986 until 2013, he was a professor at the California Institute of Technology.[2]

________________

His comments can be found on the 3rd video and the 149th clip in this series. Below the videos you will find his words.

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)

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I grew up at Bellevue Baptist Church under the leadership of our pastor Adrian Rogers and I read many books by the Evangelical Philosopher Francis Schaeffer and have had the opportunity to contact many of the evolutionists or humanistic academics that they have mentioned in their works. Many of these scholars have taken the time to respond back to me in the last 20 years and some of the names  included are  Ernest Mayr (1904-2005), George Wald (1906-1997), Carl Sagan (1934-1996),  Robert Shapiro (1935-2011), Nicolaas Bloembergen (1920-),  Brian Charlesworth (1945-),  Francisco J. Ayala (1934-) Elliott Sober (1948-), Kevin Padian (1951-), Matt Cartmill (1943-) , Milton Fingerman (1928-), John J. Shea (1969-), , Michael A. Crawford (1938-), Paul Kurtz (1925-2012), Sol Gordon (1923-2008), Albert Ellis (1913-2007), Barbara Marie Tabler (1915-1996), Renate Vambery (1916-2005), Archie J. Bahm (1907-1996), Aron S “Gil” Martin ( 1910-1997), Matthew I. Spetter (1921-2012), H. J. Eysenck (1916-1997), Robert L. Erdmann (1929-2006), Mary Morain (1911-1999), Lloyd Morain (1917-2010),  Warren Allen Smith (1921-), Bette Chambers (1930-),  Gordon Stein (1941-1996) , Milton Friedman (1912-2006), John Hospers (1918-2011), Michael Martin (1932-).Harry Kroto (1939-), Marty E. Martin (1928-), Richard Rubenstein (1924-), James Terry McCollum (1936-), Edward O. WIlson (1929-), Lewis Wolpert (1929), Gerald Holton (1922-), Martin Rees (1942-), Alan Macfarlane (1941-),  Roald Hoffmann (1937-), Herbert Kroemer (1928-), Thomas H. Jukes (1906-1999), Glenn BranchGeoff Harcourt (1931-) and  Ray T. Cragun (1976-).

Quote:

I was raised as a Roman Catholic and I think a lot about it. Certainly it’s difficult to reconcile some of these ideas with a classical Roman Catholic doctrine of a really independent actor, and this relates to the question we haven’t talked about, the question of free will and volition; but neuroscience, of course, like all of science, throws some doubts on that, some “water” on the idea that I can really truly act like the unmoved mover, the uncaused cause. Because how would that be? If I can truly act independent, that means that something happens without there being any something happening before, and how is that supposed to work in real life? So, those are issues I’m profoundly interested in, to reconcile, to come to a single understanding of everything in the universe, including things outside the universe.

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If you believe that man is a product of blind chance plus time then I can see how you can believe in determinism. However, the Bible says otherwise.

“The Biblical position is clear — man cannot be explained as totally determined and conditioned — a position that built the concept of the dignity of man.  People today are trying to hang on to the dignity of man, and they do not know how to because they have lost the truth that man is made in the image of God.  He was an unprogrammed man, a significant man in a significant history, and he could change history.”

Francis A. Schaeffer, Escape from Reason

Here is a letter I recently wrote to Dr. Koch:

February 16, 2015

Dear Dr. Christof Koch,

Today I writing concerning an issue that was very dear to your mentor Francis Crick also and it is the subject of Determinism. I just finished reading the online addition of the book Darwin, Francis ed. 1892. Charles Darwin: his life told in an autobiographical chapter, and in a selected series of his published letters [abridged edition]. London: John Murray. There are several points that Charles Darwin makes in this book that were very wise, honest, logical, shocking and some that were not so wise. The Christian Philosopher Francis Schaeffer once said of Darwin’s writings, “Darwin in his autobiography and in his letters showed that all through his life he never really came to a quietness concerning the possibility that chance really explained the situation of the biological world. You will find there is much material on this [from Darwin] extended over many many years that constantly he was wrestling with this problem.”

Recently I noticed this comment by you:

I was raised as a Roman Catholic and I think a lot about it. Certainly it’s difficult to reconcile some of these ideas with a classical Roman Catholic doctrine of a really independent actor, and this relates to the question we haven’t talked about, the question of free will and volition; but neuroscience, of course, like all of science, throws some doubts on that, some “water” on the idea that I can really truly act like the unmoved mover, the uncaused cause. Because how would that be? If I can truly act independent, that means that something happens without there being any something happening before, and how is that supposed to work in real life? So, those are issues I’m profoundly interested in, to reconcile, to come to a single understanding of everything in the universe, including things outside the universe.

This quote from you made me think of you when I read the book Charles Darwin: his life told in an autobiographical chapter, and in a selected series of his published letters because of what Darwin said the phrase MAN MUST DO HIS DUTY. I am going to quote some of Charles Darwin’s own words and then include the comments of Francis Schaeffer on those words. I have also enclosed a CD with two messages from Adrian Rogers and Bill Elliff concerning Darwinism.

Darwin, C. R. to Doedes, N. D.2 Apr 1873

I am sure you will excuse my writing at length, when I tell you that I have long been much out of health, and am now staying away from my home for rest.It is impossible to answer your question briefly; and I am not sure that I could do so, even if I wrote at some length. But I may say that the impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God; but whether this is an argument of real value, I have never been able to decide…….Nor can I overlook the difficulty from the immense amount of suffering through the world. I am, also, induced to defer to a certain extent to the judgment of the many able men who have fully believed in God; but here again I see how poor an argument this is. The safest conclusion seems to me that the whole subject is beyond the scope of man’s intellect;but man can do his duty.”

Francis Schaeffer commented:

What he is saying is that at this point I have no answer. You find Darwin already in a modern hell. On his own position ruling out an answer but yet not being able to live without an answer.  What he (Darwin) is saying is that at this point I have no answer, but the interesting thing is he puts a semicolon after that and then says, “but man can do his duty.” Darwin understands, he is a brilliant man,  what he has said undercuts all duty and all morals. So he adds as a faith sentence, “but man can do his duty.” It doesn’t fit really, but he adds it because he sees that he must say this because otherwise what happens to man? You can switch on further down the road and Darwin would be appalled to see where his own position has been taken, through Freud and Deterministic psychology. Modern Man has a dilemma because the word “duty” doesn’t have a meaning anymore. (Determinism: The doctrine that human action is not free, but results from such causes as psychological and chemical makeup which render free-will an illusion.)

You will remember the thing I have quoted to you about Richard Speck and the psychologists who would stand in the evolutionary stream of Freud. Let me read to you from Newsweek September 25, 1967, a review of the book by Marvin Ziporyn BORN TO RAISE HELL interestingly enough printed by Groth Press, which is this psychologist’s analysis of Richard Speck in Chicago who killed these nurses in Chicago. It runs like this:

Ziporyn who lost his post at Chicago for publishing his work with Speck, diagnosed his patient as a man unable to control himself as a result of his own medical and emotional past. You weren’t any more responsible for what you did than a man is responsible for sneezing. he said to Speck at one point.  That is Zoporyn’s biggest problem which is convincing Speck there is no difference in a sneeze and eight murders. Ziporyn admits he is a strict determinist and he is an adherent to Freud’s dictum that biology is destiny. He advocates rehabilitation. Determinists strive to change or regulate conditions rather than men but to avoid such tragedies as Richard Speck the scope of change it requires staggers the imagination.

The bigger dilemma is that man disappears. Who is hurt? The eight nurses are hurt, including their pain, terror and their sexual violation and it becomes nothing, zero in this type of analysis. Society has a terrible problem because there is no right and wrong in society, and that will deal with Darwin’s words “but man can do his duty” because those who take Darwin’s theory and extend it have eradicated the possibility of the word “duty.” …Darwin I think senses this but he doesn’t know how to handle it.

In Chapter 7, “THE MAN WITHOUT THE BIBLE,” of the book DEATH IN THE CITY, Schaeffer writes concerning Richard Speck and “Determinism”: 

This view raises three serious questions. First of all, what about the nurses who were killed, some of them in a very violent fashion? These must then be written off. With this kind of explanation they become zero. Second, what about society? Society and the problems of ordering it also are written off. In such a situation, order in society is merely like a big machine dealing on a machine level with little machines. Third, what about Speck himself? The psychologist’s explanation does the most harm to him, for as a man he disappears. He simply becomes a flow of consciousness. He, too, becomes a zero.

In our generation there is a constant tendency to explain sin lightly and think that such an explanation is more humanitarian. But it is not. It decreases the importance and significance of man. Consequently, we can be glad for the sake of man that the Bible’s explanation is so emphatic.
Paul repeats it in verse 25: “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature [that which has been created] rather than the Creator.” This is the second of the three repetitions.

Paul was thinking of the gods of silver and stone and also the worship of the universe or any part of it. He says men have made such gods rather than worshipping the living God. Even on the basis of what they know themselves to be, they should have known better. Isaiah said 700 years before, ‘Aren’t you silly to make gods that are less than yourself. You must carry them; they don’t carry you. Now isn’t it silly to make an integration point that is less than you yourself are.’ Paul used precisely the same argument on Mars Hill. Men who refuse to bow before God take the facts concerning the universe and man, push these facts through their own presuppositional grid, fail to carry their thinking to a reasonable conclusion, and so are faced with an overwhelming lie. Idols of stone are obvious lies because they are less than man, but so are non-Christian presuppositions such as the idea of the total uniformity of natural cause and effect in a closed system, the final explanation of the impersonal plus time plus chance, which ultimately makes man only a machine.

__________________

Below is the larger biblical passage of scripture that Schaeffer was referring to in Chapter 7, “THE MAN WITHOUT THE BIBLE,” of the book DEATH IN THE CITY:

Romans 1:18-32New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Unbelief and Its Consequences

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 becausethat which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

_______________________

In your article in SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, How Physics and Neuroscience Dictate Your “Free” WillPhysics and neurobiology can help us understand whether we choose our own destiny, May 7, 2012 |By Christof Koch, you noted:

In a remote corner of the universe, on a small blue planet gravitating around a humdrum sun in the outer districts of the Milky Way, organisms arose from the primordial mud and ooze in an epic struggle for survival that spanned aeons.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, these bipedal creatures thought of themselves as extraordinarily privileged, occupying a unique place in a cosmos of a trillion trillion stars. Conceited as they were, they believed that they, and only they, could escape the iron law of cause and effect that governs everything. They could do this by virtue of something they called free will, which allowed them to do things without any material reason.

Can you truly act freely? The question of free will is no mere philosophical banter; it engages people in a way that few other metaphysical questions do. It is the bedrock of society’s notions of responsibility, praise and blame. Ultimately it is about the degree of control you exert over your life.

Let’s say you are living with a loving and lovely spouse. A chance meeting with a stranger turns this life utterly upside down. You begin talking for hours on the phone, you share your innermost secrets, you start an affaire de coeur. You realize perfectly well that this is all wrong from an ethical point of view; it will wreak havoc with many lives, with no guarantee of a happy and productive future. Yet something in you yearns for change.

Such gut-churning choices confront you with the question of how much say you really have in the matter. You feel that you could, in principle, break off the affair. Despite many attempts, you somehow never manage to do so.

In my thoughts on these matters of free will, I neglect millennia of learned philosophical debates and focus on what physics, neurobiology and psychology have to say, for they have provided partial answers to this ancient conundrum.

Shades of Freedom
I recently served on a jury in United States District Court in Los Angeles. The defendant was a heavily tattooed member of a street gang that smuggled and sold drugs. He was charged with murdering a fellow gang member with two shots to the head.

As the background to the crime was laid out by law enforcement, relatives, and present and past gang members—some of them testifying while handcuffed, shackled and dressed in bright orange prison jumpsuits—I thought about the individual and societal forces that had shaped the defendant. Did he ever have a choice? Did his violent upbringing make it inevitable that he would kill? Fortunately, the jury was not called on to answer these irresolvable questions or to determine his punishment. We only had to decide, beyond a reasonable doubt, whether he was guilty as charged, whether he had shot a particular person at a particular place and time. And this we did.

_________________

You can see easily why your comments reminded me of the Richard Speck case and Schaeffer’s comments concerning Darwin and Freud.

Why is determinism dangerous? Francis Schaeffer in his book HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? tells why it is dangerous:

Modern determinists have not presented only abstract theories.  Rather, there have been two practical results.  First, and most important, as their ideas about what people are have been increasingly accepted, people consciously or unconsciously have opened themselves to being treated as machines and treating other people as machines.  Second, each theory of determinism has carried with it a method of manipulation.  So even though many — even most — people may reject the concept that man is totally a product of psychological, sociological, or chemical conditioning, manipulation by these methods is still very much a live possibility.  In fact, these techniques are all at the disposal of of authoritation states, and they are in some degree already being used.

Paul Chopan has rightly noted:

Naturalism takes for granted the following tenets:

  • Nature is all there is.
  • All reality is comprised of or rooted in matter.
  • There is no supernatural—no Creator, no miracles, no souls,
    no angels, no life after death.
  • Science becomes the only (or best) means of knowledge.

__________________

What is the answer to the problem of DETERMINISM? It is found in the Biblical view that the Bible is true and there was a place named THE GARDEN OF EDEN and the fact that God did create this world and it was not created by impersonal chance plus time. 

Francis A. Schaeffer on Human Free WillTHE GOD WHO IS THERE, (DOWNERS GROVE, IL: INTERVARSITY PRESS, 1968), P 131.

The historic Christian position is that man’s dilemma has a moral cause. God, being nondetermined, created man as a nondetermined person. This is a difficult idea for anyone thinking in twentieth-century terms because most twentieth-century thinking sees man as determined. He is determined either by chemical factors, as the Marquis de Sade held and Francis Crick is trying to prove, or by psychological factors, as Freud and others have suggested, or by sociological factors, such as B.F. Skinner holds. In these cases, or as a result of a fusion of them, man is considered to be programmed. If this is the case, then man is not the tremendous thing the Bible says he is, made in the image of God as a personality who can make a free first choice. Because God created a true universe outside of himself (or as an extension of his essence), there is a true history which exists, man as created in God’s image is therefore a significant man in a significant history, who can choose to obey the commandments of God and love him, or revolt against him.

THE CRUX OF THE ISSUE IS DID MAN HAVE A CHOICE AND IS MAN RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS CHOICES?

REMEMBER THAT GREAT PASSAGE FROM ROMANS CHAPTER ONE THAT I QUOTED EARLIER IN THIS LETTER AND DARWIN’S WORDS IN THE APRIL 2, 1873 LETTER TO  Doedes, N. D.?

Darwin noted, It is impossible to answer your question briefly; and I am not sure that I could do so, even if I wrote at some length. But I may say that the impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God; but whether this is an argument of real value, I have never been able to decide……”

Franicis Schaeffer observed: 

So he sees here exactly the same that I would labor and what Paul gives in Romans chapter one, and that is first this tremendous universe [and it’s form] and the second thing, the mannishness of man and the concept of this arising from chance is very difficult for him to come to accept… You will notice that he divides it into the same exact two points that Paul does in Romans chapter one into and that Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) will in the problem of existence, the external universe, and man and his consciousness. Paul points out there are these two steps that man is confronted with, what I would call two things in the real world. The universe and it’s form and I usually quote Jean Paul Sartre here, and Sartre says the basic philosophic problem is that something is there rather than nothing is there and I then I add at the point the very thing that Darwin feels and that is it isn’t a bare universe that is out there, it is an universe in a specific form. I always bring in Einstein and the uniformity of the form of the universe and that it is constructed as a well formulated word puzzle or you have Carl Gustav Jung who says two things cut across a man’s will that he can not truly be autonomous, the external world and what Carl Gustav Jung would call his “collected unconsciousness.” It is the thing that churns up out of man, the mannishness of man. Darwin understood way back here this is a real problem. So he says “the impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous  universe,” part one, the real world, the external universe, and part two “with our conscious selves arose through chance” and then he goes on and says this is not “an argument of real value.” 

 

Francis Schaeffer noted that in Darwin’s 1876 Autobiography that Darwin he is going to set forth two arguments for God in this and again you will find when he comes to the end of this that he is in tremendous tension. Darwin wrote, 

At the present day the most usual argument for the existence of an intelligent God is drawn from the deep inward conviction and feelings which are experienced by most persons.Formerly I was led by feelings such as those just referred to (although I do not think that the religious sentiment was ever strongly developed in me), to the firm conviction of the existence of God and of the immortality of the soul. In my Journal I wrote that whilst standing in the midst of the grandeur of a Brazilian forest, ‘it is not possible to give an adequate idea of the higher feelings of wonder, admiration, and devotion which fill and elevate the mind.’ I well remember my conviction that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body; but now the grandest scenes would not cause any such convictions and feelings to rise in my mind. It may be truly said that I am like a man who has become colour-blind.

Francis Schaeffer remarked:

Now Darwin says when I look back and when I look at nature I came to the conclusion that man can not be just a fly! But now Darwin has moved from being a younger man to an older man and he has allowed his presuppositions to enter in to block his logic. These things at the end of his life he had no intellectual answer for. To block them out in favor of his theory. Remember the letter of his that said he had lost all aesthetic senses when he had got older and he had become a clod himself. Now interesting he says just the same thing, but not in relation to the arts, namely music, pictures, etc, but to nature itself. Darwin said, “But now the grandest scenes would not cause any such convictions  and feelings to rise in my mind. It may be truly said that I am like a man who has become colour-blind…” So now you see that Darwin’s presuppositions have not only robbed him of the beauty of man’s creation in art, but now the universe. He can’t look at it now and see the beauty. The reason he can’t see the beauty is for a very, very , very simple reason: THE BEAUTY DRIVES HIM TO DISTRACTION. THIS IS WHERE MODERN MAN IS AND IT IS HELL. The art is hell because it reminds him of man and how great man is, and where does it fit in his system? It doesn’t. When he looks at nature and it’s beauty he is driven to the same distraction and so consequently you find what has built up inside him is a real death, not  only the beauty of the artistic but the beauty of nature. He has no answer in his logic and he is left in tension.  He dies and has become less than human because these two great things (such as any kind of art and the beauty of  nature) that would make him human  stand against his theory.

________________________

Dr. Koch can you still look at God’s beautiful creation and say that it just appears to be the work of an intellect? If so then you like Darwin  can say, “I am like a man who has become colour-blind.”

_______________________________________

IF WE ARE LEFT WITH JUST THE MACHINE THEN WHAT IS THE FINAL CONCLUSION IF THERE WAS NO PERSONAL GOD THAT CREATED US? I sent you a CD that starts off with the song DUST IN THE WIND by Kerry Livgren of the group KANSAS which was a hit song in 1978 when it rose to #6 on the charts because so many people connected with the message of the song. It included these words, “All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

Kerry Livgren himself said that he wrote the song because he saw where man was without a personal God in the picture. Solomon pointed out in the Book of Ecclesiastes that those who believe that God doesn’t exist must accept three things. FIRST, death is the end and SECOND, chance and time are the only guiding forces in this life.  FINALLY, power reigns in this life and the scales are never balanced. The Christian can  face death and also confront the world knowing that it is not determined by chance and time alone and finally there is a judge who will balance the scales.

Both Kerry Livgren and the bass player Dave Hope of Kansas became Christians eventually. Kerry Livgren first tried Eastern Religions and Dave Hope had to come out of a heavy drug addiction. I was shocked and elated to see their personal testimony on The 700 Club in 1981 and that same  interview can be seen on You Tube today. Livgren lives in Topeka, Kansas today where he teaches “Diggers,” a Sunday school class at Topeka Bible ChurchDAVE HOPE is the head of Worship, Evangelism and Outreach at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin, Florida.

The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted.

Thank you again for your time and I know how busy you are.

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.com, http://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, Box 23416, LittleRock, AR 72221, United States

Is the Bible historically accurate? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject: 1. The Babylonian Chronicleof Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. 3. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism)4. Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. 5. The Discovery of the Hittites6.Shishak Smiting His Captives7. Moabite Stone8Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III9A Verification of places in Gospel of John and Book of Acts., 9B Discovery of Ebla Tablets10. Cyrus Cylinder11. Puru “The lot of Yahali” 9th Century B.C.E.12. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription13. The Pilate Inscription14. Caiaphas Ossuary14 B Pontius Pilate Part 214c. Three greatest American Archaeologists moved to accept Bible’s accuracy through archaeology.

You can hear DAVE HOPE and Kerry Livgren’s stories from this youtube link:

(part 1 ten minutes)

(part 2 ten minutes)

Kansas – Dust in the Wind (Official Video)

Uploaded on Nov 7, 2009

Pre-Order Miracles Out of Nowhere now at http://www.miraclesoutofnowhere.com

About the film:
In 1973, six guys in a local band from America’s heartland began a journey that surpassed even their own wildest expectations, by achieving worldwide superstardom… watch the story unfold as the incredible story of the band KANSAS is told for the first time in the DVD Miracles Out of Nowhere.

_____________________________

Adrian Rogers on Darwinism

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 41 Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (Featured artist is Marina Abramović)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 40 Timothy Leary (Featured artist is Margaret Keane)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 39 Tom Wolfe (Featured artist is Richard Serra)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 38 Woody Allen and Albert Camus “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide” (Feature on artist Hamish Fulton Photographer )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 37 Mahatma Gandhi and “Relieving the Tension in the East” (Feature on artist Luc Tuymans)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 36 Julian Huxley:”God does not in fact exist, but act as if He does!” (Feature on artist Barry McGee)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 35 Robert M. Pirsig (Feature on artist Kerry James Marshall)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 34 Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Feature on artist Shahzia Sikander)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 33 Aldous Huxley (Feature on artist Matthew Barney )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 32 Steven Weinberg and Woody Allen and “The Meaningless of All Things” (Feature on photographer Martin Karplus )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 31 David Hume and “How do we know we know?” (Feature on artist William Pope L. )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 30 Rene Descartes and “How do we know we know?” (Feature on artist Olafur Eliasson)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 29 W.H. Thorpe and “The Search for an Adequate World-View: A Question of Method” (Feature on artist Jeff Koons)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 28 Woody Allen and “The Mannishness of Man” (Feature on artist Ryan Gander)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 27 Jurgen Habermas (Featured artist is Hiroshi Sugimoto)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 26 Bettina Aptheker (Featured artist is Krzysztof Wodiczko)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 25 BOB DYLAN (Part C) Francis Schaeffer comments on Bob Dylan’s song “Ballad of a Thin Man” and the disconnect between the young generation of the 60’s and their parents’ generation (Feature on artist Fred Wilson)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 24 BOB DYLAN (Part B) Francis Schaeffer comments on Bob Dylan’s words from HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED!! (Feature on artist Susan Rothenberg)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 23 BOB DYLAN (Part A) (Feature on artist Josiah McElheny)Francis Schaeffer on the proper place of rebellion with comments by Bob Dylan and Samuel Rutherford

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 22 “The School of Athens by Raphael” (Feature on the artist Sally Mann)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 21 William B. Provine (Feature on artist Andrea Zittel)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 20 Woody Allen and Materialistic Humanism: The World-View of Our Era (Feature on artist Ida Applebroog)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 19 Movie Director Luis Bunuel (Feature on artist Oliver Herring)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 18 “Michelangelo’s DAVID is the statement of what humanistic man saw himself as being tomorrow” (Feature on artist Paul McCarthy)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 17 Francis Schaeffer discusses quotes of Andy Warhol from “The Observer June 12, 1966″ Part C (Feature on artist David Hockney plus many pictures of Warhol with famous friends)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 16 Francis Schaeffer discusses quotes of Andy Warhol from “The Observer June 12, 1966″ Part B (Feature on artist James Rosenquist plus many pictures of Warhol with famous friends)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 15 Francis Schaeffer discusses quotes of Andy Warhol from “The Observer June 12, 1966″ Part A (Feature on artist Robert Indiana plus many pictures of Warhol with famous friends)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 14 David Friedrich Strauss (Feature on artist Roni Horn )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 13 Jacob Bronowski and Materialistic Humanism: The World-View of Our Era (Feature on artist Ellen Gallagher )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 12 H.J.Blackham and Materialistic Humanism: The World-View of Our Era (Feature on artist Arturo Herrera)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 11 Thomas Aquinas and his Effect on Art and HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? Episode 2: THE MIDDLES AGES (Feature on artist Tony Oursler )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 10 David Douglas Duncan (Feature on artist Georges Rouault )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 9 Jasper Johns (Feature on artist Cai Guo-Qiang )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 8 “The Last Year at Marienbad” by Alain Resnais (Feature on artist Richard Tuttle and his return to the faith of his youth)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 7 Jean Paul Sartre (Feature on artist David Hooker )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 6 The Adoration of the Lamb by Jan Van Eyck which was saved by MONUMENT MEN IN WW2 (Feature on artist Makoto Fujimura)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 5 John Cage (Feature on artist Gerhard Richter)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 4 ( Schaeffer and H.R. Rookmaaker worked together well!!! (Feature on artist Mike Kelley Part B )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 3 PAUL GAUGUIN’S 3 QUESTIONS: “Where do we come from? What art we? Where are we going? and his conclusion was a suicide attempt” (Feature on artist Mike Kelley Part A)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 2 “A look at how modern art was born by discussing Monet, Renoir, Pissaro, Sisley, Degas,Cezanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Seurat, and Picasso” (Feature on artist Peter Howson)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 1 HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? “The Roman Age” (Feature on artist Tracey Emin)

_________________

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! PART 15 (Dr Jonathan Parry, Dept of History, Cambridge, Discussing Darwin and issue of Suffering )

____________________________

Jonathan Parry pictured below:

"The Indian workforce is basically divided into an organised and unorganised sector"

On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:

…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975

and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.

Harry Kroto

__________________________

There are 3 videos in this series and they have statements by 150 academics and scientists and I hope to respond to all of them. Wikipedia notes Jonathan Parry is an English historian. He is Professor of Modern British History at the University of Cambridge.[1]

His comments can be found on the 3rd video and the 122nd clip in this series. Below the videos you will find his words.

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)

_______________

Interview with Jonathan Parry, Part 1

Uploaded on Feb 3, 2012

The anthropologist Jonathan Parry interviewed by Alan Macfarlane on 5th December 2008. Please see http://www.alanmacfarlane.com for the wider context.

All revenues to World Oral Literature Project.

Interview with Jonathan Parry, Part 2

I grew up at Bellevue Baptist Church under the leadership of our pastor Adrian Rogers and I read many books by the Evangelical Philosopher Francis Schaeffer and have had the opportunity to contact many of the evolutionists or humanistic academics that they have mentioned in their works. Many of these scholars have taken the time to respond back to me in the last 20 years and some of the names  included are  Ernest Mayr (1904-2005), George Wald (1906-1997), Carl Sagan (1934-1996),  Robert Shapiro (1935-2011), Nicolaas Bloembergen (1920-),  Brian Charlesworth (1945-),  Francisco J. Ayala (1934-) Elliott Sober (1948-), Kevin Padian (1951-), Matt Cartmill (1943-) , Milton Fingerman (1928-), John J. Shea (1969-), , Michael A. Crawford (1938-), Paul Kurtz (1925-2012), Sol Gordon (1923-2008), Albert Ellis (1913-2007), Barbara Marie Tabler (1915-1996), Renate Vambery (1916-2005), Archie J. Bahm (1907-1996), Aron S “Gil” Martin ( 1910-1997), Matthew I. Spetter (1921-2012), H. J. Eysenck (1916-1997), Robert L. Erdmann (1929-2006), Mary Morain (1911-1999), Lloyd Morain (1917-2010),  Warren Allen Smith (1921-), Bette Chambers (1930-),  Gordon Stein (1941-1996) , Milton Friedman (1912-2006), John Hospers (1918-2011), Michael Martin (1932-).Harry Kroto (1939-), Marty E. Martin (1928-), Richard Rubenstein (1924-), James Terry McCollum (1936-), Edward O. WIlson (1929-), Lewis Wolpert (1929), Gerald Holton (1922-), Martin Rees (1942-), Alan Macfarlane (1941-),  Roald Hoffmann (1937-), Herbert Kroemer (1928-), Thomas H. Jukes (1906-1999), Glenn BranchGeoff Harcourt (1931-) and  Ray T. Cragun (1976-).

Quote:

Since the age of about 15 or 16 I have been an agnostic. In later years I converted from being an agnostic to a somewhat dogmatic atheist. I think my personal attitudes to religion were actually hardened by doing the Banaras Study (about death)…. A lot of the ideas that were underlying what people were saying were really rather deeply disturbing and frankly personally unpleasant. You would meet a man whose son had died in some tragic circumstances and the Priest would be going on about the fruits of Karma and so on. I found this personally unattractive. 

I have already responded to the problem of evil and suffering with my earlier responses to Rebecca Goldstein, David Attenborough, Alan Dershowitz, and Shelly Kagan.

Below is a letter I wrote recently to Dr. Parry:

February 15, 2015

Dear Dr. Parry,

I just finished reading the online addition of the book Darwin, Francis ed. 1892. Charles Darwin: his life told in an autobiographical chapter, and in a selected series of his published letters [abridged edition]. London: John Murray. There are several points that Charles Darwin makes in this book that were very wise, honest, logical, shocking and some that were not so wise. The Christian Philosopher Francis Schaeffer once said of Darwin’s writings, “Darwin in his autobiography and in his letters showed that all through his life he never really came to a quietness concerning the possibility that chance really explained the situation of the biological world. You will find there is much material on this [from Darwin] extended over many many years that constantly he was wrestling with this problem.”

Here is a quote I ran across recently from you in your wonderful in depth interview with Alan Macfarlane :

Since the age of about 15 or 16 I have been an agnostic. In later years I converted from being an agnostic to a somewhat dogmatic atheist. I think my personal attitudes to religion were actually hardened by doing the Banaras Study (about death)…. A lot of the ideas that were underlying what people were saying were really rather deeply disturbing and frankly personally unpleasant. You would meet a man whose son had died in some tragic circumstances and the Priest would be going on about the fruits of Karma and so on. I found this personally unattractive. 

On February 15, 2015 at our church service at FELLOWSHIP BIBLE CHURCH in Little Rock, Arkansas, our teaching pastor Brandon Barnard told the story of my good friends Roger and Terrie Cheuvront  and the tragic death of their 19 year daughter Danaea on April 15, 2007 in a traffic accident. Just like you I was at the Funeral Home when the minister came in that very day, but unlike you I found the words of the pastor as a great comfort. The sermon on 2-15-15 was about the time that Jesus wept at sight of his friend Lazarus’ tomb, and this 11th chapter of John had comforted Terrie Cheuvront because she knew that Jesus had felt the same pain that we have and he will eventually raise us too from the dead and her daughter Danaea is even now in heaven with Christ.

Rev Barnard actually read these words from Terri at our service: “God never intended us to experience sin and death, but sin brought about this consequence. I could be mad at death and all that it meant but the amazing thing was when I realized God’s plan then God took the anger and replaced it with His grace. It made me realize at a deeper level what God had truly done for me on the cross. He conquered sin and death for me. What amazing glorious hope he gives us. We live because He lives. Yes I am separated from my daughter now but there will be a glorious reunion.”

Let me make three points concerning the problem of evil and suffering. First, the problem of evil and suffering hit this world in a big way because of Adam and what happened in Genesis Chapter 3. Second, if there is no God then there is no way to distinguish good from evil and there will be no ultimate punishment for Hitler and Josef Mengele. (By the way Mengele never faced punishment and lived his long life out in peace.) Third. Christ came and suffered and will destroy all evil from this world eventually forever.

CHARLES DARWIN ALSO SPENT A LOT OF TIME TALKING ABOUT THIS ISSUE OF EVIL AND SUFFERING. When I read the book  Charles Darwin: his life told in an autobiographical chapter, and in a selected series of his published letters, I also read  a commentary on it by Francis Schaeffer and I wanted to both  quote some of Charles Darwin’s own words to you and then include the comments of Francis Schaeffer on those words. I have also enclosed a CD with two messages from Adrian Rogers and Bill Elliff concerning Darwinism.

Darwin, C. R. to Doedes, N. D.2 Apr 1873

“I am sure you will excuse my writing at length, when I tell you that I have long been much out of health, and am now staying away from my home for rest. It is impossible to answer your question briefly; and I am not sure that I could do so, even if I wrote at some length. But I may say that the impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God; but whether this is an argument of real value, I have never been able to decide…....Nor can I overlook the difficulty from the immense amount of suffering through the world.”

Francis Schaeffer observed:

This of course is a valid problem. The only answer to the problem of evil is the biblical answer of the fall. Darwin has a problem because he never had a high view of revelation, so he doesn’t have the answer any more than the liberal theologian has the answer. If you don’t have a space-time fall then you don’t have an answer to suffering. If you have a very, very significant man at the beginning, Darwin did not have that, but if you had a very significant, wonderful man at the beginning and can change history then the fall is the possible answer that can be given to Darwin’s 2nd argument.

The passages which here follow are extracts, somewhat abbreviated, from a part of the Autobiography, written in 1876, in which my father (Franicis Darwin’s father Charles) gives the history of his religious views:—

But passing over the endless beautiful adaptations which we everywhere meet with, it may be asked how can the generally beneficent arrangement of the world be accounted for? Some writers indeed are so much impressed with the amount of suffering in the world, that they doubt, if we look to all sentient beings, whether there is more of misery or of happiness; whether the world as a whole is a good or a bad one. According to my judgment happiness decidedly prevails, though this would be very difficult to prove.”

Francis Schaeffer commented:

We come now to a funny situation where Darwin is arguing there is more happiness than sorry in the world. In this I think he is right. What he is saying if you could have a balance of 51% of happiness then it would open the door to thinking God is good, but I would never argue this way because it is not 51% of happiness versus 49% of unhappiness in the universe but how could a good God make unhappiness at all. The answer is in the [space time fall in Genesis].

Darwin continued:

If the truth of this conclusion be granted, it harmonizes well with the effects which we might expect from natural selection. If all the individuals of any species were habitually to suffer to an extreme degree, they would neglect to propagate their kind; but we have no reason to believe that this has ever, or at least often occurred. Some other considerations, moreover, lead to the belief that all sentient begins have been formed so as to enjoy, as a general rule, happiness. Every one who believes, as I do, that all the corporeal and mental organs (excepting those which are neither advantageous nor disadvantageous to the possessor) of all beings have been developed through natural selection, or the survival of the fittest, together with use or habit, will admit that these organs have been formed so that their possessors may compete successfully with other beings, and thus increase in number.

Francis Schaeffer noted:

What he is saying here is that from his own view he needs to hold that suffering is less than happiness otherwise what would drive the creatures on toward natural selection. The Christian of course does not have this problem. The Christian says everything is in agony because the whole has been thrown out of joint and there has been an reordering of the universe because of the fall. We don’t have to find such a balance as he was grappling with here.

From Darwin’s section on religion:

The sum of such pleasures as these, which are habitual or frequently recurrent, give, as I can hardly doubt, to most sentient beings an excess of happiness over misery, although many occasionally suffer much. Such suffering is quite compatible with the belief in Natural Selection, which is not perfect in its action, but tends only to render each species as successful as possible in the battle for life with other species, in wonderfully complex and changing circumstances.  That there is much suffering in the world no one disputes. Some have attempted to explain this with reference to man by imagining that it serves for his moral improvement. But the number of men in the world is as nothing compared with that of all other sentient beings, and they often suffer greatly without any moral improvement. This very old argument from the existence of suffering against the existence of an intelligent First Cause seems to me a strong one; whereas, as just remarked, the presence of much suffering agrees well with the view that all organic beings have been developed through variation and natural selection.

Francis Schaeffer :

He has to argue this otherwise what drove the creatures on. He has to have a 51% or 52% happiness. Then he says what does this do to God. We would answer if there is no space time fall it makes God if He exists the devil, on the other hand with a space time fall you have another answer.

WITHOUT THE VIEW THAT THE GARDEN OF EDEN EXISTED OR IN THE EXISTENCE OF HEAVEN THEN YOUR ANALYSIS IS THE ONLY ONE THAT IS PROBABLE. FURTHERMORE,  IF WE WERE NOT CREATED BY GOD THEN WE HAVE NO HOPE FOR OUR ETERNAL FUTURES.  I sent you a CD that starts off with the song DUST IN THE WIND by Kerry Livgren of the group KANSAS which was a hit song in 1978 when it rose to #6 on the charts because so many people connected with the message of the song. It included these words, “All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

Kerry Livgren himself said that he wrote the song because he saw where man was without a personal God in the picture. Solomon pointed out in the Book of Ecclesiastes that those who believe that God doesn’t exist must accept three things. FIRST, death is the end and SECOND, chance and time are the only guiding forces in this life.  FINALLY, power reigns in this life and the scales are never balanced. The Christian can  face death and also confront the world knowing that it is not determined by chance and time alone and finally there is a judge who will balance the scales.

Both Kerry Livgren and the bass player Dave Hope of Kansas became Christians eventually. Kerry Livgren first tried Eastern Religions and Dave Hope had to come out of a heavy drug addiction. I was shocked and elated to see their personal testimony on The 700 Club in 1981 and that same  interview can be seen on You Tube today. Livgren lives in Topeka, Kansas today where he teaches “Diggers,” a Sunday school class at Topeka Bible ChurchDAVE HOPE is the head of Worship, Evangelism and Outreach at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin, Florida.

The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted.

Thank you again for your time and I know how busy you are.

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.com, http://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, Box 23416, LittleRock, AR 72221, United States

Is the Bible historically accurate? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject: 1. The Babylonian Chronicleof Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. 3. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism)4. Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. 5. The Discovery of the Hittites6.Shishak Smiting His Captives7. Moabite Stone8Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III9A Verification of places in Gospel of John and Book of Acts., 9B Discovery of Ebla Tablets10. Cyrus Cylinder11. Puru “The lot of Yahali” 9th Century B.C.E.12. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription13. The Pilate Inscription14. Caiaphas Ossuary14 B Pontius Pilate Part 214c. Three greatest American Archaeologists moved to accept Bible’s accuracy through archaeology.

You can hear DAVE HOPE and Kerry Livgren’s stories from this youtube link:

(part 1 ten minutes)

(part 2 ten minutes)

Kansas – Dust in the Wind (Official Video)

Uploaded on Nov 7, 2009

Pre-Order Miracles Out of Nowhere now at http://www.miraclesoutofnowhere.com

About the film:
In 1973, six guys in a local band from America’s heartland began a journey that surpassed even their own wildest expectations, by achieving worldwide superstardom… watch the story unfold as the incredible story of the band KANSAS is told for the first time in the DVD Miracles Out of Nowhere.

_____________________________

Adrian Rogers on Darwinism

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