Saturday, August 19, 2017

PROOF: JESUS DID LIVE AS A HUMAN!

NON BIBLICAL WRITERS PROVE JESUS EXISTED!

FROM THE BOOK “COLD-CASE CHRISTIANITY” BY WARNER WALLACE




NONBIBLICAL EYEWITNESSES CORROBORATED THE GOSPELS

In a similar way, ancient observers and writers who were hostile to Christianity reluctantly admitted several key facts that corroborate the claims of the Christian eyewitnesses, even though they denied that Jesus was who He claimed to be. Let’s examine some of these reluctant admissions and reconstruct the picture they offer of Jesus.

JOSEPHUS (AD 37-CA. 100) DESCRIBED JESUS

Josephus described the Christians in three separate citations in his Antiquities of the Jews, In one of these passages, Josephus described the death of John the Baptist, in another he mentioned the execution of James (the brother of Jesus), and in a third passage he described Jesus as a "wise man." There is controversy about Josephus's writing because early Christians appear to have altered some copies of his work in an effort to amplify the references to Jesus. For this reason, as we examine Josephus’s passage related to Jesus, we will rely on a text that scholars believe escaped such alteration. In 1971, Shlomo Pines, scholar of ancient languages and distinguished professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, published a long-lost tenth-century Arabic text written by a Melkite bishop of Hierapolis named Agapius. This Arabic leader quoted Josephus and did so in the Arabic language, unlike the Greek used by other authors from antiquity. Overtly Christian references that are seen in other ancient versions of Josephus’s account are also missing from Agapius’s quote, and as a result, scholars believe that this version best reflects Josephus’s original text:

At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. His conduct was good, and [he] was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive; accordingly, he was perhaps the Messiah concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.55

There are many other ancient versions of Josephuss citation that are more explicit about the nature of Jesus’s miracles, His life, resurrection, and status as "the Christ," but this brief and conservative version of Josephuss text reluctantly admits a number of key facts about Jesus. From this text, we can conclude that Jesus lived, was a wise and virtuous teacher who reportedly demonstrated wondrous power, was condemned and crucified under Pilate, had followers who reported that He appeared to them after His death on the cross, and was believed to be the Messiah.

THALLUS (CA. AD 5-60) DESCRIBED JESUS

Thallus was a Samaritan historian who wrote an expansive (three-volume) account of the history of the Mediterranean area in the middle of the first century, only twenty years after Jesus’s crucifixion. Like the writings of many ancient historians, much of his work is now lost to us. Another historian, Sextus Julius Africanus, wrote a text entitled History of the World in AD 221, however, and Africanus quoted an important passage from Thallus’s original account. Thallus chronicled the alleged crucifixion of Jesus and offered an explanation for the darkness that was observed at the time of Jesus’s death. Africanus briefly described Thallus’s explanation:

On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun.56

It's a pity that we don't have the complete account and explanation from Thallus, but in offering an explanation for the darkness, Thallus "reluctantly admitted" important details that corroborated portions of the Gospels. Even though Thallus denied that the darkness at the point of the crucifixion was caused supernaturally, he inadvertently corroborated the claim that Jesus was indeed crucified and that darkness covered the land when He died on the cross.

TACITUS (AD 56-CA. 117) DESCRIBED JESUS

Cornelius Tacitus was known for his analysis and examination of historical documents and is among the most trusted of ancient historians. He was a senator under Emperor Vespasian and was also proconsul of Asia. In his Annals of AD 116, he described Emperor Nero's response to the great fire in Rome and Nero's claim that the Christians were to blame:

Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular.57 (Annals, 15:44)

Tacitus, in describing Nero's actions and the presence of the Christians in Rome, reluctantly admitted several key facts related to the life of Jesus. Tacitus corroborated that Jesus lived in Judea, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and had followers who were persecuted for their faith in Him.

MARA BAR-SERAPION (AD 70-UNKNOWN) DESCRIBED JESUS 

Sometime after AD 70, a Syrian philosopher named Mara Bar-Serapion, writing to encourage his son, compared the life and persecution of Jesus with that of other philosophers who were persecuted for their ideas. The fact that Mara Bar-Serapion described Jesus as a real person with this kind of influence is important:

What advantage did the Athenians gain from putting Socrates to death? Famine and plague came upon them as a judgment for their crime. What advantage did the men of Samos gain from burning Pythagoras? In a moment their land was covered with sand. What advantage did the Jews gain from executing their wise King? It was just after that that their kingdom was abolished. God justly avenged these three wise men: the Athenians died of hunger; the Samians were overwhelmed by the sea; the Jews, ruined and driven from their land, live in complete dispersion. But Socrates did not die for good; he lived on in the teaching of Plato. Pythagoras did not die for good; he lived on in the statue of Hera. Nor did the wise King die for good; He lived on in the teaching which He had given.58

Although Mara Bar-Serapion does not seem to place Jesus in a position of preeminence (he simply lists Him alongside other historic teachers like Socrates and Pythagoras), Mara Bar-Serapion does admit several key facts. At the very least, we can conclude that Jesus was a wise and influential man who died for His beliefs. We can also conclude that the Jews played a role in Jesus’s death and that Jesus’s followers adopted and lived lives that reflected Jesus’s beliefs.
PHLEGON (AD 80-140) DESCRIBED JESUS 
In a manner similar to his citation of Thallus, Sextus Julius Africanus also wrote about a historian named Phlegon who penned a record of history in approximately AD 140. In his historical account, Phlegon also mentioned the darkness surrounding the crucifixion:
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Ancient Jewish Corroboration

The Jewish Talmud (the writings and discussions, of ancient rabbis) dates to the fifth century, but is thought to contain the ancient teachings from the early Tannaitic period from the first and second centuries. Many of the Talmudic writings reference Jesus:

"Jesus practiced magic and led Israel astray" (b. Sanhedrin 43a; cf, t. Shabbat 77.75; b Shabbat 104bX
"Rabbi Hisda (d. 309) said that Rabbi Jeremiah bar Abba said, What is that which is written, "No evil will befall you, nor shall any plague come near your house"? (Psalm 91:10).... "No evil will befall you" (means) that evil dreams and evil thoughts will not tempt you; "nor shall any plague come near your house" (means) that you will not have a son or a disciple who burns his food like Jesus of Nazareth1" (b. Sanhedrin 103a; cf. b. Berakhot 17b).
"It was taught: On the day before the Passover they hanged Jesus. A herald went before him for forty days (proclaiming), 'He will be stoned, because he practiced magic and enticed Israel to go astray. Let anyone who knows anything in his favor come forward and plead for him. But nothing was found in his favor, and they hanged him on the day before the Passover" (b. Sanhedrin 43a).

From just these passages that mention Jesus by name, we can conclude that Jesus had magical powers, led the Jews away from their beliefs, and was executed on the day before the Passover.
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Phlegon records that, in the time of Tiberius Caesar, at full moon, there was a full eclipse of the sun from the sixth hour to the ninth.59

Origen, the Alexandrian-born, early church theologian and scholar, also cited Phlegon several times in a book he wrote in response to the criticism of a Greek writer named Celsus:

Now Phlegon, in the thirteenth or fourteenth book, I think, of his Chronicles, not only ascribed to Jesus a knowledge of future events (although falling into confusion about some things which refer to Peter, as if they referred to Jesus), but also testified that the result corresponded to his predictions. So that he also, by these very admissions regarding foreknowledge, as if against his will, expressed his opinion that the doctrines taught by the fathers of our system were not devoid of divine power.
And with regard to the eclipse in the time of Tiberius Caesar, in whose reign Jesus appears to have been crucified, and the great earthquakes which then took place, Phlegon too, I think, has written in the thirteenth or fourteenth book of his Chronicles.
He imagines also that both the earthquake and the darkness were an invention; but regarding these, we have in the preceding pages made our defence [sic], according to our ability, adducing the testimony of Phlegon, who relates that these events took place at the time when our Saviour suffered.60

Although Phlegon was not a follower of Jesus and denied many of the claims of the gospel writers, his statements did reluctantly admit that Jesus had the ability to accurately predict the future and was crucified under the reign of Tiberius Caesar.

These late first-century and early second-century writers were not friends of Christianity. In fact, they were largely indifferent to the fledgling Christian movement. In spite of this, they all provided important corroborating details of Jesus’s life, even if they did so reluctantly. If all 2the Christian documents had been destroyed, we would still be able to reconstruct a modest description of Jesus from these writers.

The ancient (and "reluctant") nonbiblical description of Jesus would include the fact that Jesus was a true historical person and a virtuous, wise man who worked wonders, accurately predicted the future, and taught His disciples. His teaching drew a large following of both Jews and Gentiles; He was identified as the "Christ," believed to be the Messiah, and widely known as the "Wise King" of the Jews. His disciples were eventually called Christians. His devoted followers became a threat to the Jewish leadership, and as a result, these leaders presented accusations to the Roman authorities. Pontius Pilate condemned Jesus to crucifixion during the reign of Tiberius Caesar. A great darkness descended over the land when Jesus was crucified, and an earthquake shook a large region surrounding the execution. Following his execution, a "mischievous superstition" spread about Him from Palestine to Rome.

This description of Jesus, although incomplete, is remarkably similar to the description offered by the gospel writers. 

Early, external, non-Christian sources corroborate the testimony of the New Testament authors.
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THE NEW TESTAMENT....IS IT FILLED WITH ARTIFACTS ?

IS  THE  BIBLE  FULL  OF  ARTIFACTS?

THIS  IS  FROM  THE  BOOK  “COLD-CASE  CHRISTIANITY”  BY  WARNER  WALLACE

THE TEXTUAL ARTIFACTS OF THE BIBLE

Like crime scenes, historical scenes can be reconstructed with the evidence we have at our disposal. We have to be careful, however, to distinguish between evidence and artifacts. 
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The Story of the Woman Caught in Adultery

The famous story of the woman caught \n adultery (known as Pericope de Adulters) is found today in John 7:53-8:11. It was not present in the earliest known manuscripts  of John's gospel, however, including Papyri 66 (ca. AD 200), Papyri 75 (early third century), Codex Sinaiticus (fourth century), and Codex Vaticanus (fourth century). 
It first appears  in its entirety in the fifth century in Codex Bezae, but there are several  other codices  from that time in history that do not contain the story (e.g., Codices Alexandrinus,  Ephraemi, Washingtonianus, and Borgianus). it appears in a different  location  (after John 21:25) in many ancient copies of the text, including a set of ancient  gospels written in Greek known as "Family T that date from the twelfth to the fifteenth century. The story appears in the gospel of Luke (after Luke 24:53)  in a group of Greek manuscripts known as "Family 13" that date from the eleventh to the fifteenth century.
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THE testimony of an eyewitness can be properly viewed as evidence, but anything added to the account after the fact should be viewed with caution as a possible artifact (something that exists in the text when it shouldn't). The Gospels claim to be eyewitness accounts, but you may be surprised to find that there are a few added textual artifacts nestled in with the evidential statements. It appears that scribes, in copying the texts over the years, added lines to the narrative that were not there at the time of the original writing. Let me give you an example.

Most of us are familiar with the biblical story in the gospel of John in which Jesus was presented with a woman who had been accused of committing adultery (John 8:1-11). The Jewish men who brought the woman to Jesus wanted her to be stoned, but Jesus refused to condemn her and told the men, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." When the men leave, Jesus tells the woman, "I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more." This story is one of my favorite passages in all of Scripture. Too bad that it appears to be an artifact.

While the story may, in fact, be absolutely true, the earliest copies of Johns gospel recovered over the centuries fail to contain any part of it. The last verse of chapter 7 and the first eleven verses of chapter 8 are missing in the oldest manuscripts available to us. The story doesn't appear until it is discovered in later copies of John's gospel, centuries after the life of Jesus on earth. In fact, some ancient biblical manuscripts place it in a different location in John's gospel. Some ancient copies of the Bible even place it in the gospel of Luke. While there is much about the story that seems consistent with Jesus's character and teaching, most scholars do not believe it was part of John's original account. It is a biblical artifact, and it is identified as such in nearly every modern translation of the Bible (where it is typically noted in the margin or bracketed to separate it from the reliable account).

Should the existence of this textual artifact concern us? Do late additions to the biblical record disqualify the New Testament as a reliable manuscript? How can we call the Bible iner-rant or infallible if it contains a late addition such as this? This passage is not the only textual artifact in the Bible. There are a number of additional verses that are considered to be artifacts by scholars and biblical experts. Let's take a look at a few of them to determine if their existence should cause us any alarm:

LUKE 22:43-44
"And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground" (KJV).
These two verses do not appear in early manuscripts of Luke's gospel, and for this reason they have been omitted from some modern Bible translations (like the RSV). While the KJV does not isolate them as late additions, other translations (like the NIV, NASB, and NKJV) identify them as such in footnotes or special brackets.

JOHN 5:4
"For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then
first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had" (KJV).
Once again, this verse (along with the last few words of v. 3) does not appear in the best ancient manuscripts. Several modern translations have simply removed the verse (e.g., the NIV, RSV, and NRSV), while others have identified it in the footnotes (e.g., the NKJV and ESV).

1 JOHN 5:7
"For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one" (KJV).
The second half of this verse ("the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one") does not appear in any manuscript of the Bible until the sixteenth century (and it appears in only two manuscripts at this point in history). It has been omitted from modern translations like the NASB and NIV and identified with a footnote in the NKJV.

ACTS 15:34
"Notwithstanding it pleased Silas to abide there still" (KJV).
The earliest and most reliable manuscripts do not contain this verse. Modern translations like the NIV, RSV, and NRSV have removed it, while the NASB, NKJV, and ESV have identified it with brackets or a footnote.

Skeptics have pointed to passages like these in an effort to demonstrate the unreliability of the biblical text as an eyewitness account. If these lines are fiction, how many more verses are also false? When I was an atheist, this was one of my prime complaints about the Bible, and I discovered that very few Christians were aware of the fact that these additions exist. I shook the faith of many 6f my Christian friends by simply demonstrating that these passages were not in the original biblical text.

SEPARATING THE ARTIFACTS FROM THE EVIDENCE

It wasn't until years later that I understood how to evaluate the existence of these late entries. I eventually learned that every crime scene presents its own set of unique questions and difficulties. Every scene contains important evidence that will guide us to the truth while also containing unrelated artifacts that will cause some uncertainty. I've never encountered a crime scene that was free of artifacts…….

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THE AUTHOR GOES ON AND ON TO TEACH THE MODERN FUNDAMENTAL PROTESTANT IDEA, THAT THE NEW TESTAMENT IS FULL OF "ARTIFACTS" - VERSES THAT SHOULD NOT BE THERE. IT IS ONLY ONE VERSE WHERE HE IS CORRECT - 1 JOHN 5:7.

TO COME UP WITH THIS TEACHING THEY USE TWO MSS [manuscripts]

THE  SINAITICUS AND VATICANUS, CLAIMED TO BE THE OLDEST MSS. OLD OR  EARLIEST DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY MEAN  “CORRECT.”  THE SINAITICUS  WAS FOUND IN THE TRASH BASKET IN THE ROMAN CATHOLIC  MONASTERY AT THE FOOT OF MOUNT SINAI….. THE SCHOLARS THOUGHT  IT WAS TRASH, SO THEY PUT IT IN THE TRASH BASKET TO BE DESTROYED [TOO BAD IT NEVER REACHED THE FIRE].

IT WAS A GUY BY THE NAME OF  TISCHENDORF WHO VISITING THERE HAPPENED TO FIND IT IN THE TRASH  BASKET.

THE VATICANUS MSS WAS FOUND ON A BACK SHELF IN THE VATICAN  LIBRARY; EVEN THE VATICAN THOUGHT  THAT’S  WHERE  IT  BELONGED….. ON A BACK SHELF TO GATHER DUST AND SLOWLY DISINTEGRATE   TOO  BAD A PROTESTANT FOUND IT.

NEARLY ALL MODERN TRANSLATIONS ARE BASED UPON THESE  TWO  MSS.

THEY ARE CORRUPT AND SHOULD HAVE BEEN DESTROYED, BUT GOD HAS  ALLOWED THEM TO BE USED TO CONTINUE TO SO BE USED, AS TO  SPIRITUALLY BLIND THE FUNDAMENTAL PROTESTANT CHURCHES.

ALL OF THIS IS FULLY EXPLAINED IN DEPTH, ON MY WEBSITE, UNDER  “HOW  WE  GOT  THE  BIBLE.”

THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF MSS TO PROVE THE “MAJORITY” TEXT IS THE  CORRECT TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, WHICH IS 99 PERCENT THE SAME  GREEK MSS TEXT USED BY THE KING JAMES TRANSLATORS.

Keith Hunt

Friday, August 18, 2017

CANON OF THE NEW TESTAMENT???

VERY  COMMON  ERROR  BY  CHRISTIANITY  OVER  “CANONIZATION  OF  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT”

WHILE  THE  WRITER  WARNER  WALLACE  HAS  SOME  GOOD  THOUGHTS  IN  HIS  BOOK  “COLD-CASE CHRISTIANITY” ON HIS SECTION OF “THE  NEW  TESTAMENT  “CHAIN OF CUSTODY” - HE IS VERY WRONG ON WHEN THE NEW TESTAMENT WAS CANONIZED - Keith Hunt






A NEW TESTAMENT "CHAIN OF CUSTODY"

Life of Jesus (AD 1-33) [ACTUALLY  JESUS  WAS  CRUCIFIED  IN  30  AD   PROVED  IN   STUDY  ON  MY  WEBSITE   Keith Hunt]

Council of Laodicea (AD 363)

Those who are skeptical of the New Testament Gospels offer a similar objection based on the chain of custody. The Gospels claim to be eyewitness accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. These accounts were eventually entered into the "court record" when they were established as Scripture at the Council of Laodicea in AD 363. It was here that early Christian leaders first identified and codified the canon of the Christian Scripture, the official list of twenty-seven books and letters that became the New Testament. No council, prior to this meeting in the fourth century, formally acknowledged the list of accepted books and letters (including the Gospels); no "courtroom" recognized the evidence of the Gospels prior to this important church-council meeting. If the life of Jesus could be considered the Christian "crime scene," this council was undoubtedly the "courtroom" where the evidence of the eyewitness testimony was first formally acknowledged.
[WELL  ACKNOWLEDGE  BY  THE  ROMAN  CATHOLIC  CHURCH  IN  363  AD   Keith Hunt]

That's quite an expansive period of time between the "crime scene" and the "courtroom," don't you think? A lot could happen in 330 years. I thought it was tough to trace and track the evidence in my cases, and they were only decades old! Imagine tracking the evidence for ten times as many years. Skeptics have considered this period of time and argued that the eyewitness evidence of the Gospels was "planted." Like the defense attorney who argued that the button was added to the collection of evidence sometime after the crime occurred, skeptics often argue that the Gospels were written well after the life of Jesus. They are not true evidence; they were manufactured by conspirators who wanted to fool those who were not at the "crime scene."

The best way to counter this sort of a claim is to retrace the chain of custody to see if we can account for who handled the evidence from the point of the "crime scene" to its first appearance in the "courtroom."


EVIDENCE, HISTORY, AND REASONABLE EXPECTATIONS


While it may sound like an easy task to trace the chain of custody, it can be extremely difficult in cases that are very old. This is often my dilemma as a cold-case detective. When I open a case from the past, the first thing I try to do is collect all the original documents that were written during the first investigation. That should be easy, right? Well, not always. While these cases were important to our agency, there are times when unexpected issues, unrelated to the investigation, can make this task difficult. Sometimes things are lost when a records database is upgraded as the result of new storage technology. Sometimes notes or other reports have simply deteriorated to the point that they are no longer usable. Sometimes documents are accidentally destroyed or purged. The longer an event slips into the past, the more likely I may have a problem retrieving all the information I need to trace the chain of custody. In spite of this, I have been able to assemble enough of the chain of custody to demonstrate a level of responsibility to the jury. Given the age of the case, jurors understand that we simply cannot expect the same level of precise record keeping when outside forces cannot be controlled over long periods of time.

Something very similar happens when trying to trace the chain of custody for the gospel eyewitness accounts. Imagine trying to control outside forces for thousands of years instead of just a few decades. The "original reports" in the "Christian cold case" were written on papyrus, an excellent material if you are looking for something that was readily available in the first century, but a terrible material if you are looking for something that won't fall apart when handled frequently. As a result, we no longer have the original writings (sometimes called "autographs"). The first eyewitness accounts were copied repeatedly so that they could be distributed throughout the church and retained in spite of the nature of the papyrus that was available. It's now difficult to precisely retrace the movement of the Gospels over time and establish a chain of custody.

In order to have any success at all, we first need to identify the players who would be involved in such a chain. In cold-case homicide investigations, the links in the chain include the responding officers, the crime-scene investigators, the first detectives, the criminalists, and then the cold-case detectives, who ultimately bring the case to the prosecutor. But who would we expect to be involved in the gospel chain off custody?

To trace the New Testament Gospels, we are going to need to identify the original eyewitnesses and their immediate disciples, moving from one set of disciples to the next until we trace the Gospels from AD 33 to AD 363. The New Testament gospel chain of custody, if it exists, would provide us with confidence that the accounts we have today are an accurate reflection of what was observed at the "crime scene." This link-by-link approach to the history of the accounts would also help us respond to the objections of skeptics who claim that the Gospels were planted late in history. We will examine this issue in much more detail in section 2, and we will identify the historical links in this important chain.


A TOOL FOR THE CALLOUT BAG, A TIP FOR THE CHECKLIST



As a detective, I quickly learned the importance of the chain of custody, and I eventually pulled this principle from my callout bag as I investigated the reliability of the Gospels. Before I became a Christian, I seldom held the same level of skepticism for other ancient documents that I held for the biblical accounts. I can remember having an intense interest in ancient history from the time I was in high school. I had an "honors" class with a wonderful, sage-like teacher, Mr. Schultz, who had the ability to bring the past to life using the ancient written histories of Herodotus and Thucydides, among others. He taught from these accounts as if they were reliable and true, and I accepted them without much question. Mr. Schultz never talked about the fact that the earliest copies we have for these ancient writers appear in history approximately five hundred years after the events they claim to describe. There is no clear chain of custody for these historical accounts during this period of time. We don't know whom Herodotus, for example, entrusted with his writings. We don’t know how Herodotuss record was preserved or what happened to it during these five hundred years. This is, of course, the nature of the vast majority of ancient historical accounts. Given that we accept these accounts as historically factual even though their history of transmission is missing for five centuries or more, wouldn't it be fair to reconsider our historical view of the gospel record if we discovered that the Gospels have a verifiable chain of custody? We need to keep this question in mind as we get ready to examine the issue more thoroughly in section 2.

Of all the documents written by Christians in the first and second centuries, the texts we most care about are those that made it into the canon of Scripture. Few of us are familiar with the noncanonical writings from the earliest period of Christian history. Many early Christian leaders wrote letters and documents that, while not considered canonical, are rich with theological content and historical detail. These noncanonical early church documents can tell us much about the teaching of the original eyewitnesses. They will eventually become part of the chain of custody as we examine the transmission of the Gospels in the first three centuries. We would be wise to have at least some understanding of the identity of the students and disciples of the apostles and some mastery of their writings. Many of these men (like Polycarp, Ignatius, and Clement) became known as the "early church fathers." They led the church following the deaths of the apostles, and their letters and writings are widely available online and in print form. The earliest works of these church fathers are often interesting and enriching. They are worth our time and effort, particularly as we make a case for the New Testament chain of custody and the reliability of the Gospels as eyewitness accounts.
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YES  THE  SO-CALLED  “CHURCH  FATHERS”  DO  ESTABLISH  EVEN  IN  THEIR  TIME [POLYCARP  WAS  MIDDLE  2ND  CENTURY  AD]  THAT  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT  WE  HAVE  TODAY  WAS  ALREADY  ESTABLISHED  BY  THE  END  OF  THE  FIRST  CENTURY  AD.
THERE  IS   FULL  BOOK  ON  MY  WEBSITE  BY  ERNEST  MARTIN [Now  deceased]  PROVING  WHO  AND  WHEN  THE  CANONIZATION  OF  THE  OLD  AND  NEW  TESTAMENT  WAS  FORMULATED.
THE  CANON  OF  THE  OLD  AND  NEW  TESTAMENT  HAD  NOTHING  TO  DO  WITH  THE  ROMAN  CATHOLIC  CHURCH,  AS  MOST  OF  CHRISTIANITY  BELIEVE.
YOU  WILL  FIND  MARTIN’S  BOOK  UNDER  “HOW  WE  GOT  THE  BIBLE”  SECTION  OF  MY  WEBSITE;  SCROLL  DOWN  AND  LOOK  FOR  “CANONIZATION  OF  THE  OLD  TESTAMENT”  AND  “CANONIZATION  OF  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT.”

ALL  CHRISTIANS  SHOULD  READ  THIS  BOOK  BY  ERNEST  MARTIN.

Keith Hunt

WHY IS THERE EVIL?

WHY  IS  THERE  EVIL?

THIS  IS  EXPLAINED  VERY  WELL  BY  WARNER  WALLACE   FROM  HIS  BOOK:
“COLD  CASE  CHRISTIANITY”


EVIDENTIAL SUFFICIENCY AND THE PROBLEM OF EVIL

A listener of the PleaseConvinceMe podcast recently sent me an email expressing his doubts in the existence of an all-powerful and all-loving God, given the presence of evil in the world. This is a classic objection to theism. If God does exist, why would He allow people to do evil things?

Either this "God" is unable to stop people
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Epicurus and the Problem of Evil

The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus is credited with first posing the"problem of evil" as it relates to the existence of God;
"Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, 
but does not want to. if he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. 
If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked. If God can abolish evil, 
and God really wants to do it, why is there evil in the world?"
(According to Lactantius in On the Wrath of God, ca. AD 313)
……

from acting as they do (in which case He is not all-powerful), or He is unwilling to stop them (in which case He is not all-loving). The writer posed this question to me because he knew what I did for a living:

"I bet you see many terrible things that people do to one another. How can you still believe in such a God?"

The problem of evil is perhaps the most difficult issue to address because it is emotionally loaded. Its at times like these that I try to help people walk through the distinctions between reasonable doubts (that are grounded rationally) and   possible doubts (that are grounded emotionally). Let me explain. We need to start by recognizing that there are many good reasons to believe that God exists (we talked about some of them in chapter 3). These pieces of the puzzle are already in place before we start talking about the issue of evil. Yes, there are some unanswered questions related to the existence of evil, but we have to begin our examination by recognizing that the puzzle is well on its way to completion even though this piece may seem to be missing. Next, we have to ask ourselves if the presence of evil truly represents a missing piece. Is it possible, instead, that the existence of evil may actually be an additional piece that helps make the puzzle more certain?

When people complain that there is evil in the world, they are not simply offering their opinion. They are instead saying that true, objective evil exists. They are complaining about evil behavior as though this behavior ought to be recognized by all of us, regardless of our personal likes, dislikes, or opinions about human conduct. If evil were a matter of opinion, we could eliminate it by simply changing our minds. People who complain about evil behavior must accept the premise that true, objective "right" and "wrong" exist in the first place. They must accept that some things are morally virtuous and some things are morally repulsive, no matter who you are, where you are located, or when you live in history. This kind of moral evil transcends all of us; if it doesn't, why complain in the first place? If evil is simply a matter of opinion, why doesn't the man who emailed me simply change his opinion?

You see, in order for true evil to exist (so that the writer has something legitimate to complain about), there must be a true barometer of right and wrong. In order for an act to be objectively "bad," there must be some standard of objective "good" by which to measure it. What might that standard be if not God? Can the standard come from some evolutionary process? Can it come from the slow development of cultural groups? If so, morals are simply a matter of opinion (albeit a largely held opinion), and there is nothing objectively evil to complain about. Remember that even the most heinous regimes of history identified their own behavior as morally virtuous. In order for true evil to exist, there must be a source of true good that transcends any and all groups that might make a claim about the existence of evil. In other words, the existence of true evil necessitates the presence of God as a standard of true virtue. It turns out that the existence of evil is actually another evidence for God's existence, another piece of the puzzle that reveals God's image.

But let's return to the very real issue of evil behavior. Why would God allow people to kill each other if He loves us and is powerful enough to stop it? While this question has emotional power, we have to ask ourselves if there might be a reasonable explanation. Are we thinking it through evidentially, or are we reacting emotionally? Are we rejecting the existence of God because there is no rational explanation for the existence of evil, or are we resisting volitionally because we stubbornly refuse to accept any explanation that might be offered?

I can think of a number of very good reasons why God would allow people to behave immorally, even though He loves His creation and is certainly powerful enough to stop evil.
……

Theodicy

"The theological discipline that seeks to explain how the existence 
of evil in the world can be reconciled with the justice and goodness of God" (Webster's New World College Dictionary, Wiley Publishing inc., Cleveland, Ohio, 2010).
……

Ask yourself this question: 

Which is more loving, a God who creates a world in which love is possible or a God who creates a world in which love is impossible? It seems reasonable that a loving God would create a world where love is possible and can be experienced by creatures who are designed "in His image." But a world in which love is possible can be a dangerous place. Love requires freedom. True love requires that humans have the ability to freely choose; love cannot be forced if it is to be heartfelt and real. The problem, of course, is that people who have the freedom to love often choose to hate. That s why freedom of this nature is so costly. A world in which people have the freedom to love and perform great acts of kindness is also a world in which people have the freedom to hate and commit great acts of evil. You cannot have one without the other.

In addition to this, from a Christian perspective, we are all eternal creatures who will live beyond the grave [WELL  CHRISTIANS  WILL  LIVE  BEYOND  DEATH,  IN   RESURRECTION,  NOT  AN  IMMORTAL  SOUL;  SEE  THE  STUDIES  UNDER  DEATH  AND  RESURRECTIONS   Keith Hunt].  If this is true, then questions about why God might not stop evil are a bit premature. At best, we can say only that God hasn't stopped evil yet. But God has all eternity to act in this regard. Our eternal life provides the context for God to deal justly with those who choose hate and perform acts of evil. God is powerful enough to stop evil completely, and He does care about justice. But as an eternal Being, He may choose to take care of it on an eternal timeline. 

Compared to eternity, this mortal existence is but a vapor, created by God to be a wonderful place where love is possible for those who choose it.

If there are good reasons why God might permit evil in this life (such as the preservation of free will and the ability to love genuinely), concerns about His failure to act are simply unreasonable. Doubts about God's existence based on the problem of evil may have emotional appeal, but they lack rational foundation because reasonable explanations do, in fact, exist. While one can imagine possible doubts related to the problem of evil, careful consideration of the nature of objective evil reveals that these doubts are not reasonable. We ought to be able to move beyond our reservations here because the problem of evil does not present us with a reasonable doubt.

COLD CASE CHRISTIANITY - pages 134-137.

THE RACIST FIGHT IN CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA

THE INFAMOUS CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA.......FIGHT!!

AUGUST,  1917

BY  NOW  THE  WHOLE  WORLD  KNOWS  WHAT  WENT  ON.....

THE  WHITE  SUPREMACIST  GROUP  AND  OTHERS OF  LIKE  MINDS  HELD  A  MARCHING  RALLY  IN  CHARLOTTESVILLE.

I  UNDERSTAND  THEY  HAD  THE  LEGAL  AUTHORITY  TO  DO  SO,  AND  THE  USA  IS  SUCH THAT  CARRYING  ARMS, DRESSING  AS  YOU  LIKE,  CARRYING  BANNERS  AS  YOU  LIKE,  DOING  WHATEVER  WITH  YOUR  ARMS  AND  VOICES..... WAS  AND  IS  LAWFUL  IN  THE  USA.

NOW  I  DETEST  SUCH  GROUPS  THAT  HAVE  THEIR  IDEOLOGY;  THEY  ARE  A  CRAZY  BUNCH  OF  INDIVIDUALS,  WITH  WILD,  DEMENTED,  STUPID, FOOLISH,  IDIOTIC,  WEIRD,  RACIST,  MAD  AS  A  HATER..... IDEAS  AND  BELIEFS,  TOGETHER  WITH THEIR  OFTEN  NAZI  FLAGS  AND  "HIGH  HITLER"  ARM  GESTURES.

NOW  IF  THEY  LEGALLY  HELD  SUCH  A  MARCHING  RALLY  IN  CALGARY,  I  WOULD  STAY  AWAY  FROM  THEM  AS  FAR  AS  I  COULD,  EVEN  DETESTING  WHAT  THEY  STAND  FOR.  QUITE  FRANKLY  THE  LESS  ATTENTION  TO  THEM  THE  BETTER  IN  EVERY  WAY,  WATCHING  THEM  OR  GIVING  ANY  TIME  OF  COVERAGE  ON  THE  NEWS  ETC.  IS  NOT  THE  WAY  TO  HANDLE  SUCH  "OUT  TO  LUNCH"  GROUPS.  THE  WAY  TO  REALLY  HURT  THEM  IS  "STAY  AWAY"  AND  GIVE  THEM  ZERO  NEWS  COVERAGE,  IF  THE  LAW  ALLOWS  THEM  TO  DO  SUCH  MARCHING.

WHY  A  GROUP  OF  ANTI-WHITE  NATIONALISTS  WENT  TO  CONFRONT  THEM,  WITH  DIFFERENT  TYPES  OF  WEAPONS  AND/OR  THEIR  FISTS....DELIBERATELY  LOOKING  FOR  A  FIGHT,  IS  BEYOND  ME.  YES  THEY  WENT  LOOKING  FOR  A  FIGHT  AND  THEY  FOUND  ONE.

THE  MADNESS  OF  THE  WHITE  SUPREMACIST  GROUPS  AND  THOSE  AGAINST  THEIR  IDEOLOGY,  LED  TO  ONE  YOUNG  LADY  BEING  KILLED  AND  MANY  INJURED  WHEN  A  YOUNG  CRAZY  MAN  DROVE  A  CAR  INTO  A  CROWD.

IF  THE  ANTI-GROUP  HAD  STAYED  AWAY  THIS  WOULD  NEVER  HAVE  HAPPENED,  AND  THE  YOUNG  LADY  WOULD  STILL  BE  ALIVE [YES  SHE  SHOULD  HAVE  STAYED  AWAY  ALSO].

I  FULLY  AGREE  WITH  PRESIDENT  TRUMP,  WHEN  HE  ASKED  THE  GANG  OF  REPORTERS,  "THE  ANTI-WHITE SUPREMACISTS  WERE  FIGHTING  WITH  VARIOUS  OBJECTS  ALSO,  ARE  THEY  NOT  TO  BE  HELD  ACCOUNTABLE  FOR  THEIR  VIOLENCE?"

BY  THE  WAY  NEWS  REPORTERS  AND  SOME  REPUBLICAN SENATORS [DEMOCRATS  ALSO] ARE  ACTING,  THE  ANTI-GROUP  ARE  BLAMELESS;  HARDLY  ANYTHING  IS  SAID  ABOUT  THEIR  DELIBERATE  "LOOKING  FOR  A  FIGHT"  ATTITUDE.

WHAT  IF  THE  ANTI-GAY  GROUP  WENT  LOOKING  FOR  A  FIGHT  AT  A  LEGAL  "GAY  PARADE"?

WITH  OUR  PRESENT  ATTITUDE  FROM  GOVERNMENT,  IT  WOULD  OF  COURSE  BE  THE  ANTI-GAY  PEOPLE  IN  THE  WRONG  AND  CALLED  RACISTS.

WE  WHO  ARE  ANTI-GAY;  ANTI-SAME SEX  MARRIAGE;  ANTI- "BE  WHAT  EVER  SEX  YOU  LIKE"  -  BASICALLY  STAY  AWAY  FROM  "GAY"  PARADES,  UNLESS  WITH  A PEACEFUL  ATTITUDE,  MARCH  WITH  ANTI-GAY  SIGNS,  WHICH  I  BELIEVE  IS  WITHIN  OUR  LAWS  TO  DO  SO.

TO  MY  KNOWLEDGE  WE  IN  NORTH  AMERICA  HAVE  YET  TO  SEE  A  "GAY  PARADE"  ATTACKED  BY  ANTI-GAY  PROTESTERS,  THAT  LEADS  INTO  A  WIDE  OPEN  FIGHT. AND  WE  NEVER  SHOULD  SEE  THAT  HAPPENING.

YET  SOMEHOW  ANT-WHITE  SUPREMACY  PEOPLE  FEEL  THEY  HAVE  THE  RIGHT  TO  USE  VIOLENCE  ON  PEOPLE  WITH  DIFFERENT  VIEWS,  AS  FAR  OUT  AS  THOSE  VIEWS  ARE.

I  DO  NOT  KNOW  OF  ANY  LAW  IN  THE  USA,  THAT  ALLOWS  ANTI-WHATEVER  IT  IS.....TO  DELIBERATELY  COME  TO  START  A  LITERAL  FIGHT  WITH  A  GROUP  THAT  HAS  A  LEGAL  RIGHT  TO  PARADE.

IF  PEOPLE  OF  A  DIFFERENT  MIND,  WOULD  STAY  AWAY,  THEN  WHAT  HAPPENED  IN  CHARLOTTESVILLE  WOULD  NEVER  HAVE HAPPENED;  IF  A  GROUP  MARCHING  DECIDES  TO  SMASH  CARS,  BREAK  SHOP  WINDOWS  AND  ETC.  THEN  WE  HAVE  THE  POLICE  WHO  ARE  HIRED  TO  STEP  IN  AND  DO  WHATEVER  NEEDS  TO  BE  DONE,  TO  STOP  THAT  KIND  OF  MARCHING  PARADE  THAT  GETS  OUT  OF  HAND.

ON  THIS  SAD  ISSUE  PRESIDENT  TRUMP  IS  CORRECT,  AND  AS  HE  SAID,  IT'S  TIME  SOMEONE  PUT  THE  ISSUE  IN  FULL  PERSPECTIVE,  AND  ALSO  GIVE  BLAME  TO THE  ANTI- GROUP  FOR  THEIR  VIOLENCE.....BUT  OF  COURSE  THAT  IT  SEEMS  WOULD  NOT  BE  POLITICALLY  CORRECT  ACCORDING  TO  MOST  NEWS  GUYS/STATIONS  AND  MANY  POLITICIANS.
..........

P.S.

SO  NOW  THE  ONE--SIDED HEAD IN THE SAND, CEO AND POLITICIANS, ARE PULLING AWAY FROM TRUMP, LET THEM GO THEY HAVE HORSE BLINKERS ON, THEY ONLY SEE PART OF THE SCENE....TO THEM ONLY THE   WHITE SUPREMACIST GROUPS ARE TO BLAME, IT SEEMS THE ANTI-FOLK CAN DO AS MUCH VIOLENCE AS THEY PLEASE, AND NOT BE CALLED OUT ON IT, EXCEPT BY DONALD TRUMP...GOOD FOR  HIM; LET ALL THOSE WHO WANT TO WALK  AWAY WITH ANYTHING TO  DO  WITH TRUMP....LET THEM WALK AWAY, YOUR NOT NEEDED ANYWAY, AND YOU PROVE HOW INEPT AND  EMPTY HEADED YOU ARE AT SEEING THE ACTUAL INCIDENT IN ITS FULL FORM.

THINK YOU ALL SHOULD GET YOUR EYES CHECKED, MAYBE YOU ALL NEED NEW GLASSES OR CATARACTS REMOVED 
......