He At Least Knew

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“Jesus professed to work miracles; he cannot by possibility have been deceived on the subject; and so, either he did work miracles, or he was a bad man. Against his character all the objections to miracles must shatter, like surf against the rock. And this is not arguing in a circle; not proving the miracles by Christ, and Christ by the miracles. The concurrence of the two makes it easy to account for both; the denial of the miracles necessitates conclusions more improbable than the miraculous” (Broadus, Preparation and Delivery, p. 183).

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delurking
delurking
7 years ago

George Washington claimed that he could not tell a lie (in regards to chopping down the cherry tree with his little hatchet).  He cannot possibly have been deceived on the subject.

Arwen B
Arwen B
7 years ago

On this topic, the charge I have heard, that I don’t know how to refute is “Well, His disciples were making things up.” The parenthetical “…in a grand conspiracy, spanning decades, to defraud the rubes around them” is, of course, usually only implied.
 
How would you answer this charge? 

delurking
delurking
7 years ago

It doesn’t have to have been his disciples, and it probably wasn’t.  The Gospels were not compiled in their present forms until well after his death. (70 A.D. to about 110 A.D., depending on which we’re talking about.) None was written by anyone who was an actual disciple. So we’ve got written accounts based on other accounts. (See the Q theory for more detail.)

delurking
delurking
7 years ago

Also the introduction to The New Oxford Annotated Bible is very good on this.

Seth B.
Seth B.
7 years ago

Delurking and Arwen:
 
Here is a good article by Greg Bahnsen on the subject.
 
http://www.cmfnow.com/articles/pa165.htm
 
In sum: Either Christianity is true or not. If it is, miracles can’t be used as evidence against it because clearly God is capable of performing them. So the only possible scenario in which miracles can be used as evidence against Christianity is if it’s not true.
So, unless Christianity is true, miracle claims in the Bible are evidence that it’s not true. Shortening this a bit: unless Christianity is true, it’s not true. That’s a pretty trivial claim to be making.

Seth B.
Seth B.
7 years ago

Delurking: Do you dispute the historicity of Plato or Aristotle?

Seth B.
Seth B.
7 years ago

Arwen: I could as easily claim that scientists are BSing us about electromagnetics. It’s an easy claim to make. It’s another to back it up.

Jane Dunsworth
Jane Dunsworth
7 years ago

delurking: your Washington analogy fails as an analogy on almost every point. First, there is no written account by anyone claiming ever to have seen or spoken to anyone who saw the “cherry tree” incident — it’s 100% pure legend. IOW we KNOW it never happened. Second, a person being deceived about his own capacity for honesty is not comparable, on any practical level, to a person knowing whether or not he actually performed multiple miracles. So even if the Washington story had ever been anything other than a nursery story, it is an extremely poor analogy. If you want… Read more »

bethyada
7 years ago

The non-conservative Robinson saw no reason to date any of the NT books later than 70 AD. Even if Q is true, the synoptics can easily be written pre-70. And Luke/ Acts makes most sense prior to Paul’s death.

Eric the Red
Eric the Red
7 years ago

Seth B., I don’t doubt the historicity of Plato, Aristotle, or Jesus, but that doesn’t mean I think every word written about them is true.  The problem is that, like GW and the cherry tree, stuff makes it into legend, some people start to believe it, and after enough time has passed it’s impossible to separate truth from fiction.  (And by the way, your post just above that was so circular it made me dizzy just reading it.)  It’s fairly well documented that a great many myths contain a small kernel of historical truth that got embellished over time.

Seth B.
Seth B.
7 years ago

Eric: That really doesn’t hold up. The oldest manuscripts we have of the Bible are within one generation of the original apostles. That’s not enough time for myths to develop.
And yes, that exactly was my point: if you use miracles as evidence against Christianity, you are arguing in a circle.

Eric the Red
Eric the Red
7 years ago

Seth, I think there’s far better evidence against Christianity than miracles.  On whether there was enough time for myths to develop, During the lifetime of Joseph Smith there were plenty of people who think that the Angel Moroni led him to the golden plates from which he translated the Book of Mormon.  And, Joseph Smith lived in an era in which there were much better communications than there were in the time of Jesus, making it that much easier for skeptics to investigate.  The fact is, no matter how tall a tale may be, there will always be a certain… Read more »

Seth B.
Seth B.
7 years ago

Right. And no matter how credible a story might be, there will always be those who refuse to believe it.