Categories
Biblical doctrines Church History the Bible

Why are John 7:53—8:11 doubted in many modern Bible translations?

The Traditional Text of the New Testament (in original Greek or other languages, i.e. Versions) traces its continuous history back to the earliest times of the Christian Church. But since 1881 with the Revisers of the Sacred Text the verses, about the woman taken in adultery, John 7:53—8:11, are doubted to have been originally inspired and hence it is claimed by some that they did not appear in the original Greek language manuscript of the Gospel of St. John.

In the following, expert textual critic, John Burgon outlines his case in favour of the Pericope de Adultera, as the verses are called, as genuine inspired writing of the Holy Spirit in the original 4th Gospel. The case for their omission is led by a small group of the earliest extant uncial manuscripts headed up by the Codexes Vaticanus B and Sinaiticus ℵ (Aleph).

9781888328035The following text is excerpted from Dean John William Burgon’s book “The Causes of Corruption of the Traditional Text of the Gospels,” Volume II, pp. 232-265, with only some of the original footnotes (with my emphases in bold and my editorial comments in {} brackets).

APPENDIX I

PERICOPE DE ADULTERA

I HAVE purposely reserved for the last the most difficult problem of all: viz. those twelve famous verses of St. John’s Gospel (chap. vii. 53 to viii. 11) which contain the history of ‘the woman taken in adultery,’—the pericope de adultera, as it is called. Altogether indispensable is it that the reader should approach this portion of the Gospel with the greatest amount of experience and the largest preparation. Convenient would it be, no doubt, if he could further divest himself of prejudice; but that is perhaps impossible. Let him at least endeavour to weigh the evidence which shall now be laid before him impartial scales. He must do so perforce, if he would judge rightly: for the matter to be discussed is confessedly very peculiar: in some respects, even unique. Let me convince him at once of the truth of what has been so far spoken.

Categories
Church History the Bible

Causes of corruption in the Traditional Text

The Traditional Text of the New Testament (in original Greek or other languages, i.e. Versions) from which the true believers took their spiritual sustenance through all ages goes back to the earliest times of the Christian Church. But so does corruptions of that text in the original Greek language. The causes of corruption introduced to the Traditional Text of Holy Scripture can be broken into two categories, Unintentional and Intentional. Unintentional causes include various kinds of copyist errors. In the following, expert textual critic, John Burgon explains how and what some intentional errors were introduced by heretics into some early manuscripts. The corruption was chiefly at the hands of the editors of a small band of manuscripts headed up by the Codexes Vaticanus B and Sinaiticus ℵ (Aleph).

9781888328035The following text is excerpted from Dean John William Burgon’s book “The Causes of Corruption of the Traditional Text of the Gospels,” Volume II, pp. 192-205, without original footnotes (with my emphases in bold and my comments in {} brackets).

CHAPTER XIII: CAUSES OF CORRUPTION CHIEFLY INTENTIONAL.

IX CORRUPTION BY HERETICS

We are constrained to inquire, How all this can possibly have come about? Have there even been persons who made it their business of set purpose to corrupt the [sacred deposit of Holy Scripture entrusted to the Church for the perpetual illumination of all ages till the Lord should come ?]

Categories
Cosmology Physics

Is the Universe expanding?

I am often asked this question: Is the Universe expanding?

690958main_p1237a1Previously I have challenged the notion expansion of space or expansion of the Universe as an interpretation of cosmic redshifts. The whole notion is integrally linked with the standard big bang model for the origin and history of the Universe. Also I have written that the interpretation of cosmological redshifts, as resulting from expansion of space, is just another big bang fudge factor. Quite obviously if the Universe is not expanding then there was no big bang. Hence the expanding universe must be vigorously defended by those who hold to such beliefs.

Categories
astronomy Cosmology Creation/evolution

Four high redshift quasars puzzle astronomers

A team of astronomers led by Joseph Hennawi of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, using the W.M.  Keck observatory in Hawaii, have discovered the first quadruple quasar: four quasars with approximately the same redshift of about z ~ 2 and located on the sky in close proximity.  The online article1 from Max Planck Institute is titled “Quasar quartet puzzles scientists” with the subtitle “Astronomers must rethink models about the development of large-scale cosmic structures.” This is a discovery of the first known group of four quasars with the same redshift found in the same location on the sky. A research paper has been accepted for publication in the journal Science and a preprint is now available.2

The quartet resides in one of the most massive structures ever discovered in the distant universe, and is surrounded by a giant nebula of cool dense gas. Either the discovery is a one-in-ten-million coincidence, or cosmologists need to rethink their models of quasar evolution and the formation of the most massive cosmic structures.1

4 quasars zoom
Caption from original article: Rare find: This image depicts the region in space with the quadruple quasars. The four quasars are indicated by arrows. The quasars are embedded in a giant nebula of cool dense gas visible in the image as a blue haze. The nebula has an extent of one million light-years across, and these objects are so distant that their light has taken nearly 10 billion years to reach telescopes on Earth. This false color image is based on observations with the 10-m-Keck-telescope on the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Credit: Arrigoni-Battaia & Hennawi / MPIA  (Ref. 1)
Categories
Bible prophecy Biblical doctrines

We look for the Saviour

If you survey the internet you’ll find almost an infinity of ideas and warnings of the End-times — the period around the return of Jesus Christ. People speak of the “blood moons” — lunar eclipses — the last of which just occurred in April 2015. I believe the excitement here is related to the biblical symbolism of the phrase “moon turned to blood” found in Joel 2:31, and repeated in Acts 2:20:

Joel 2:31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.

blood-moon-tetrad-2014-2015

The “great and terrible day of the Lord” is the day of Christ’s return to rule as King. However, blood moons are astronomical phenomena, which occur like clockwork and can easily be predicted well in advance, because God has so ordered the heavens, like clockwork.  The “sun turned into darkness” symbolises a solar eclipse, which also can be predicted like clockwork. However God does use natural occurrences as signs and symbols. He used a rainbow to symbolise a covenant with Noah that He would never flood the whole earth again. The rainbow was not new to Noah, but God gave it a new meaning (Genesis 9:13-16). And in Acts 2:19 we read,

Categories
Belief in God Greek New Testament Witnessing

Die daily for Christ

The Apostle Paul wrote of dying daily for Christ. But how is that possible? What did he mean?

1 Corinthians 15:31 I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.

He was speaking figuratively, that daily we must die to ourselves as we put self last and Christ first, to serve Him. The context is clear from,

1 Corinthians 15:21-22 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Because of Adam’s sin, since we are all the offspring of Adam, literally, we all will eventually die. That is a certainty unless you are one of the ones alive when Christ returns and takes those believers into the clouds with Him. The rest of us look forward to the literal resurrection of our bodies at His return.

As a side note, it is clear that the Apostle Paul believed in the literal historicity of Genesis, Adam and Eve and the Garden in Eden. He did not take it a an allegory.

Categories
Belief in God Cosmology Creation/evolution Science

Who says biblical creationists aren’t real scientists?

The claim has been made over and over again that biblical creationists are not real scientists. This has been particularly applied to the natural or physical sciences as compared to the social sciences. Some claim that creationists can’t think properly because of their “distorted” worldview. Thus they can’t do real science. Of course this is all nonsense. Belief in a Creator God does not impede one progress in scientific research but there are many examples where evolutionary beliefs have done so. One example that springs to mind is that of junk DNA, which survived as a scientific concept, at least, partly due to tacit evolutionary assumptions, and as a result very much delayed our understanding of the genome.1

I recently watched a short YouTube film called the “The Truth About PhD Creationists,”which argues along the lines of my opening statement. The author contrasted one measurable metric that might be used to gauge the quality and success of a scientist’s career — his/her publications and their citations — between those of one of the most well-known “big guns” of creation science, Dr D. Russell Humphreys, and that of one of the most well-known atheist personalities Dr Lawrence Krauss.  Both have PhD’s in physics. See the table below reproduced from the YouTube film, with one additional line of data. The table is quite self-explanatory.

The obvious point made is that Humphreys, a biblical creationist, has not published anything like Krauss, a secular atheist.

Categories
Cosmology Creation/evolution Physics

Is mathematics intrinsic to the Universe?

That is an important question. Is mathematics a convenient construct — a human invention — that we humans use to describe nature? Or is mathematics more fundamental — intrinsic to the Universe — mirroring the divine ordered creation of a reasonable logical Creator?

Immutable laws

Theoretical physicist Lee Smolin in his bookTime Reborn” argues that what he calls the Newtonian paradigm is a myth. What he labels the Newtonian paradigm is the attempt by theoretical physicists, beginning with Sir Isaac Newton, to describe the Universe with immutable laws, using a mathematical description. Those laws are unchanging in time, as reflected in the idea that Newton understood the laws of nature as the result of Divine creation and hence that they are unchanging in time. Newton wrote:2

And from true lordship it follows that the true God is living, intelligent, and powerful; from the other perfections, that he is supreme, or supremely perfect. He is eternal and infinite, omnipotent and omniscient; that is, he endures from eternity to eternity; and he is present from infinity to infinity; he rules all things, and he knows all things that happen or can happen.

From this standpoint he understood the laws of nature as the special creation of God. These resulted concomitant with the special creation of the Universe itself. The Universe is not the result of blind chance acting on some initial conditions and evolving accordance with those laws.

Categories
Belief in God Trials and temptations

Even unto the end of the world

Have you started the day discouraged wondering what you are on Earth for? Have you felt alone and lost? Maybe you have forgotten (even momentarily) what great value knowing Christ is. That is how I felt waking up this morning. I woke feeling sick and with chest pains that have still not been diagnosed. Then I opened my copy of Daily Remembrancer and God gave me a spiritual jolt in the arm to wake me up.

Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say rejoice” Philippians 4:4

“THE LORD IS AT HAND.” He has promised, “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” In Him we rejoice alway. Without Him, this is a very difficult precept; sometimes the Lord hides His face; we fear and doubt our interest in His love; we are almost bewildered through the powerful workings of corruption within us; we are bowed down by Satan’s sore temptations; and the dispensations of providence are so perplexing that we are ready to cry out, “All things are against us.” But we are not bidden to rejoice in persons and feelings, or in the dispensations of providence, but in the Lord. He has loved us with an everlasting love, and His love is immutably the same; He is our God in Jesus, and has promised to be unto us, to do for us, and freely give us, all that our circumstances require, or that will be for our good and His glory. In weakness we may rejoice in His power; in darkness we may rejoice that He knows our path; in sickness and sorrow, that He cares for us; and under any circumstances, in His covenant relations; for He is always our Father, Friend, and God. We should rejoice in His free grace, rich mercy, omnipotent power, faithful promises, special providence, and unchangeable love. —Daily Remembrancer May 11 Morning

One thing I know, by faith, that no matter what happens to us God will see us through to the end. The end is His design. He has our best interests at heart, so we should always rejoice even when circumstances around us look worst.

Rejoice in glorious hope!
Jesus, the Judge, shall come,
And take His servants up
To their eternal home;
We soon shall hear the archangel’s voice-
The trump of God shall sound, “Rejoice!”

Categories
Testimonies Trials and temptations

Walk by faith and not by sight

In 2006 I was attending a theoretical physics conference in Madrid, Spain, when I started to experience some very strange, and I admit, very scary symptoms. On the second last day of the conference, after the lunch, served as a 3-course meal with a glass of wine, I started to feel dizzy and quite unwell. So I returned to my hotel and rested, as most people would under those circumstances, and by the morning I felt ok again. Then on the last day after the final lunch I started to feel much worse than the previous day, weak and fatigued, and dizzy with cold sweats. I managed to walk back to my hotel with great effort in taking each step. I remember the great difficulty in even walking up a few steps. I was really worried, especially when one of the servers at the lunch said to me that I looked terrible, that I was ‘white as a ghost’.

DSCF1590
Me at the ancient street level along the wall of the Temple mount in Jerusalem.

As I laid there on my bed, in the hotel room, I thought about whether I should go to an emergency hospital in Madrid or try to survive (literally) long enough to get to Israel the next day as this was planned on my itinerary. I decided that I’d rather be in hospital in Israel than Spain. Even though I also had chest pains I believed that that was gastric reflux aggravated by the spicy food at the conference lunch. After the previous night the symptoms had subsided by resting and so I decided to just rest and get to the airport the next day.

At the airport, I recall, as I walked towards the departure gate, the cold sweat was just rolling off me and I did my best not to fall over from dizziness. I was still totally fatigued and it was so hard to pull my suitcase on wheels, but I tried to not look unwell as I wanted to get on that flight.