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Old 11-07-2013, 04:51 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by expatCA View Post
Well setting aside when Jesus was born, and it was probably about 2BC, can you give me one other difference you "see" that is a factual issue or an inconsistency or something?
Now you asked for an explanation, so I'm going to give you several that show both Matthew and Luke had different purposes in their Nativity stories.

Start with genealogies. Everyone recognizes they are different, but some try to say one traces through Mary and one traces through Joseph. Except there is still error within those. Both Matthew and Luke trace Jesus' genealogy. The problem is, if Jesus was born of a virgin, His genealogy should be traced through Mary, yet neither author provides her genealogy. There are problems with where the genealogy itself is located. Matthew places his at the outset of his gospel, but Luke put his after the baptism of Jesus, an odd place for a genealogy since genealogies have to do with your birth, not your baptism as a thirty-year old.

Matthew's genealogy traces back through King David, all the way to Abraham, the father of all Jews. Luke's genealogy goes all the way back to Adam. Why would the two authors, both writing with God speaking in their ear, have different end points? Usually it is thought among scholars that Matthew wanted to show the Jewishness of Jesus and Luke, more concerned with Gentiles (read his apologetic in Acts), wants to show Jesus related to all of us through Adam.

The real problem they pose is that they are actually quite different. In Mathew the family line goes from Joseph to Jacob to Matthan to Eleazar to Eliud and on into the past. In Luke it goes from Joseph to Heli to Mathat to Levi to Melchi. The lines become similar once we get all the way back to King David, but from David to Joseph the lines are at odds.

One attempt at solving this problem is to state that Matthew's genealogy is of Joseph since he focuses more on Joseph in the birth narrative, and that Luke's is of Mary, since she is the focus of his birth narrative. But the latter has a fatal flaw. Luke explicitly indicates that the family line is that of Joseph, not Mary (Luke 3:23, Matt 1:16).

There are other problems. Matthew's genealogy stresses the numerological significance of Jesus' ancestry. From Abraham to David, there were fourteen generations, from David to the destruction of Judah by the the Babylonians, there were fourteen generations; and from the Babylonian disaster to the birth of Jesus there were fourteen generations. Fourteen, fourteen, fourteen---almost as if God had planned it that way. Every fourteen generations there occurs an enormously significant event. This must mean that Jesus--the fourteenth generation--is someone of very great importance to God.

Except the fourteen-fourteen-fourteen scheme falls flat. If you read through the names carefully you will see that in the third set of fourteen there are only thirteen generations (could have been a scribal error). Moreover, you can check Matthew's genealogy against the Hebrew Bible. It turns out Matthew left out some names in the fourteen generations between David and Babylonian disaster. In Matt 1:8 he indicates that Joram is the father of Uzziah, but I Chronicles 3:10-12 shows that Joram was not Uzziah's father, but his great-great-grandfather. In other words, Matthew dropped three generations from the genealogy. Had he included ALL of them it would mean something significant didn't happen in the fourteenth generation.

Why is fourteen important? The number seven is frequently cited as the perfect number. If it is, then fourteen is doubly perfect--twice seven. In addition, in the Hebrew language the letters of the alphabet functioned also as numerals (the first letter aleph was also the number one, the second, beth, was 2, etc). Also there were no vowels used in ancient Hebrew. So the name David was spelled D-V-D. In Hebrew, the letter D(daleth) is the number 4, and the letter V (waw) is 6. If you add up the letters of David's name D-V-D, it equals 14. That meant Matthew had to leave some names out to make it add up.

Please note that Luke's genealogy gives 57 names. Did they inherit different accounts? Maybe. And of course, neither could know that his account would be placed in a New Testament and be carefully compared with the other by historical critics two thousand years later. Each gave his account as well as he could, but their accounts have ended up different.

In a later post---the real "home" of Jesus.

Last edited by Wardendresden; 11-07-2013 at 06:06 PM..
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Old 11-07-2013, 08:58 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
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Default More Nativity story FACTUAL difficulties

The story of the wise men following a star. What kind of a star was it. Did it start and stop? Did it move slowly enough for men following on foot or camel to keep up with it. Go our some night away from the city and look up at the stars, pick the brightest one you can find right above you and figure out which house it's standing over.

Is a miraculous event being narrated here? Yes, but it is very hard to understand what the author really had in mind. It doesn't appear to be a star, a nova, a comet or any other astrological phenomenon ever known.

The census story in Luke is more fantastical, not because of whether there was one or two, but because in it, everyone was going to have to return to the home of their ancestors. David lived a thousand years before Joseph. If we had a worldwide census that required all of us to go to the hometown of our ancestors a thousand years prior where would you go? Can you imagine the total disruption of human life that this kind of universal exodus would bring? And can you imagine that there would be no mention of it in the "papers" of the day? Outside of Luke there is not a single reference to such a displacing census. There were census/taxations, but none that took inhabitants from where their property was located to an "out-of-the-way" spot where they could not bring their goats and sheep and cattle. But Luke needed Jesus to be born in Bethlehem even though he knew Jesus came from Nazareth. Matthew did, too, but he got him born there in a different way.

It's quite interesting to note that virtually everything Matthew says about the nativity is missing from Luke and all the stories of Luke are missing from Matthew. Matthew mentions dreams that came to Joseph that are missing from Luke. Luke mentions visitation of angels to Elizabeth and Mary that are absent in Matthew. Matthew has wise men, slaughter of children, the family of Jesus bypassing Judea to return to Nazareth--all missing from Luke. Luke has the birth of John the Baptist, the census of Caesar, the trip to Bethlehem, the manger and inn, the shepherds, the presentation in the Temple and the return home immediately afterward---all missing from Matthew.

Now some people will say Matthew was telling part of the story and Luke was telling the rest of it. Sounds plausible until you start looking at the accounts in parallel with one another, as theologians who are textual critics tend to do.

According to Matthew what was Joseph and Mary's hometown? You might be prone to say Nazareth. But only Luke says this. Matthew first mentions Joseph and Mary not in connection with Nazareth but in connection with Bethlehem. The wise men who are following a star--not driving automobiles--take some time getting to Bethlehem and come to worship Jesus in his house (Matt 2:11) in Bethlehem. There is nothing about an inn and a manger in Matthew. Moreover, when Herod slaughters the children, he instructs his soldiers to kill every male two years of age and under, indicating Jesus must have been born some time before the wise men show up. Otherwise the instruction doesn't make any sense. So Joseph and Mary are still living in Bethlehem months or maybe a year or more after the birth of Jesus. So how can Luke be right when he says they are from Nazareth and returned there just a month or so after Jesus' birth? And, according to Matthew, after the family flees to Egypt and then returns following the death of Herod they initially plan to return to Judea where Bethlehem (and their home) is located, but cannot do so because Herod's son is the ruler so they relocate to Nazareth. In Matthew's account they are not originally from Nazareth, but from BETHLEHEM.

Even more obvious is the discrepancy involved between the two writers concerning events right after Jesus' birth. If Matthew is right that the family escaped to Egypt, how can Luke be right that they returned directly to Nazareth?

The gospel writers were looking to do two different things. Matthew needed Jesus born in Bethlehem to fulfill the prophecy in Micah that a savior would come from Bethlehem. But what were the writers to do with widely circulated information that Jesus was from Nazareth? They had to come up with a narrative that explained how he came from Nazareth, in Galilee, a town not even mentioned in any writings outside of the New Testament until almost the third century C.E., but that He, Jesus, was born in Bethlehem, the home of King David, royal ancestor to the Messiah.

Both Matthew and Luke, independently of one another came up with solutions they felt were plausible and meaningful to their readers. But a careful horizontal reading of the stories side by side places them at odds with one another at key points.

These are far more important historical issues for which Ancient failed to make a case, because he looks for the simple solution as opposed to actually reading the scriptures side by side to find them for himself.

Any first year Bible student at a recognized seminary is faced with this kind of information. For some, it is their undoing. They have clung so closely and relied so heavily upon scripture as the be all and end all of God's revelation to mankind that it is unthinkable that their cherished idol might be flawed.

However others, who see the founding of their faith in a spiritual context as in, "I met Jesus in my heart and everything began anew," have less of a problem because they too, as do I, have difficulty describing that experience and that change of heart to other people. We try to make it sound plausible, but on its best day it is simply inexplicable to a rationalist who has a self-imposed rule that everything must be judged by microscope or telescope or ruler.

But because I've had that experience I seek to find it over and over, to explore it deeper, to seek so that I may find, to knock so that the door will be opened---to another door just beyond. That is the diametric of God that simply cannot be pinned down. No matter how much we know, we are never any closer to knowing it all. The Bible is simply another tool to understand how other men tried to explain their experience with God, to share the good news, to give hope to the weary and downtrodden. In that respect, the nativity stories, fraught with "historical" inconsistencies, still give us hope each year that we will hear, "Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord."

Last edited by Wardendresden; 11-07-2013 at 09:26 PM.. Reason: added scripture reference
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Old 11-08-2013, 05:57 AM
 
Location: Oregon
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Wardendresden posted [#81]:

>>"Now you asked for an explanation, so I'm going to give you several that show both Matthew and Luke had different purposes in their Nativity stories."<<

RESPONSE:

Now you've hit the nail on the head! The Matthew/Luke nativity narratives are "stories" not histories. Unfortunately, it's not uncommon to find "stories" in the New Testament.

It is the task of the historian to separate real history (it actually happened) from "stories" not supported by historical evidence.
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Old 11-08-2013, 09:07 AM
 
Location: Denver, CO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ancient warrior View Post
Wardendresden posted [#81]:

>>"Now you asked for an explanation, so I'm going to give you several that show both Matthew and Luke had different purposes in their Nativity stories."<<

RESPONSE:

Now you've hit the nail on the head! The Matthew/Luke nativity narratives are "stories" not histories. Unfortunately, it's not uncommon to find "stories" in the New Testament.

It is the task of the historian to separate real history (it actually happened) from "stories" not supported by historical evidence.
And that's why YOU should READ the scriptures very carefully and in parallel. You will find more inconsistencies--but then again maybe you will find the spirit of God that is still pulling at your heart. If so, you will become a deeper and more committed Christian than those who cling so desperately to false notions regarding scripture.

Blessings.
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Old 11-09-2013, 07:30 AM
 
Location: Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wardendresden View Post
And that's why YOU should READ the scriptures very carefully and in parallel. You will find more inconsistencies--but then again maybe you will find the spirit of God that is still pulling at your heart. If so, you will become a deeper and more committed Christian than those who cling so desperately to false notions regarding scripture.

Blessings.
RESPONSE:

If God is the author of scripture, how can there be major "inconsistencies" unless He was the author of them?
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Old 11-09-2013, 08:26 AM
 
Location: Southern Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ancient warrior View Post
RESPONSE:

If God is the author of scripture, how can there be major "inconsistencies" unless He was the author of them?
There can't.


Now let's go back to "If God is the author of scripture."
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Old 11-09-2013, 10:44 AM
 
Location: Denver, CO
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Default Faith and Scripture

Quote:
Originally Posted by ancient warrior View Post
RESPONSE:

If God is the author of scripture, how can there be major "inconsistencies" unless He was the author of them?
I never said God authored the scriptures. I'm in full agreement with Nateswift.

What I've said over and over is that men, MEN, who were drawn to recount the oral traditions that came down from prior years, are who recounted their personal experiences as did Paul, wrote about God. I do believe that God inspired them to try to share their stories, because a change in the heart is something that needs to be shared. Did they sometimes get it wrong? Of course!!! So do I, so does every other Christian on this thread. But it doesn't mean it shouldn't be shared.

Mother Theresa never met Jesus in the flesh but the change in her heart caused her to want to live differently from others.

The constant yearning to know, really KNOW about God has driven man from the beginning of his time on earth. Religion and the discovery of tools grew along with each other. The great question of God calls over and over--hence the reason for the success of the Harry Potter books, because, although flawed, just like the scripture, the basic message is about good and evil in conflict with one another, and hope and faith being seen as the conquerors of evil. Go back and read post #57. The God story appeals to us. It appeals to YOU, you cannot escape coming back to it as the battle rages in your own heart and your mind tries to overcome your heart.

And the weaker faith is dependent upon a "perfect" Bible so that it has a visible "rock" to cling to, when FAITH itself is the rock. All sorts of people on this thread disagree with my viewpoint--but that does not mean they are not seeking the truth--some are just stuck in a rut because they cannot risk putting faith first. In so many ways, you are exactly like the ones you rail against.

Choose this day whom you will serve--but not by the word of men--by FAITH!
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Old 11-11-2013, 09:20 AM
 
Location: Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nateswift View Post
There can't.


Now let's go back to "If God is the author of scripture."
RESPONSE:

Really?

1. Was Jesus born during the reign of King Herod the Great (died 4 BC) or during the Judean census conducted by Quirinius the governor of Syria in 6 AD?(Matthew vs Luke).

2. Did Jesus ride one animal when entering Jerusalem (Mark, Luke, John) or two animals to fulfilla prophecy (Matthew)?
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Old 11-11-2013, 10:47 AM
 
Location: Oregon
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[quote=Wardendresden;32160267]I never said God authored the scriptures. I'm in full agreement with Nateswift.

What I've said over and over is that men, MEN, who were drawn to recount the oral traditions that came down from prior years, are who recounted their personal experiences as did Paul, wrote about God. I do believe that God inspired them to try to share their stories, because a change in the heart is something that needs to be shared. Did they sometimes get it wrong? Of course!!! So do I, so does every other Christian on this thread. But it doesn't mean it shouldn't be shared.

RESPONSE:

Sorry. Common sense dictates that "inspiration" is incompatible with error.

"For all the books which the Church receives as sacred and canonical, are written wholly and entirely, with all their parts, at the dictation of the Holy Ghost; and so far is it from being possible that any error can co-exist with inspiration, that inspiration not only is essentially incompatible with error, but excludes and rejects it as absolutely and necessarily as it is impossible that God Himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true...

"He so moved and impelled them to write -- He was so present to them -- that the things which He ordered, and those only, they, first, rightly understood, then willed faithfully to write down, and finally expressed in apt words and with infallible truth. Otherwise, it could not be said that He was the Author of the entire Scripture.

"Therefore," says St. Augustine, "since they wrote the things which He showed and uttered to them, it cannot be pretended that He is not the writer; for His members executed what their Head dictated." And St. Gregory the Great thus pronounces: "Most superfluous it is to inquire who wrote these things -- we loyally believe the Holy Ghost to be the Author of the book. He wrote it Who dictated it for writing; He wrote it Who inspired its execution." [Providentissimes deus, 20]

However, if men are the actual "authors" of scripture, how would it really differ from any of the many world's religions different Holy Books?

Last edited by ancient warrior; 11-11-2013 at 10:51 AM.. Reason: typos
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Old 11-11-2013, 01:48 PM
 
40,053 posts, read 26,735,309 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ancient warrior View Post
RESPONSE:

Sorry. Common sense dictates that "inspiration" is incompatible with error.

"For all the books which the Church receives as sacred and canonical, are written wholly and entirely, with all their parts, at the dictation of the Holy Ghost; and so far is it from being possible that any error can co-exist with inspiration, that inspiration not only is essentially incompatible with error, but excludes and rejects it as absolutely and necessarily as it is impossible that God Himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true...

"He so moved and impelled them to write -- He was so present to them -- that the things which He ordered, and those only, they, first, rightly understood, then willed faithfully to write down, and finally expressed in apt words and with infallible truth. Otherwise, it could not be said that He was the Author of the entire Scripture.

"Therefore," says St. Augustine, "since they wrote the things which He showed and uttered to them, it cannot be pretended that He is not the writer; for His members executed what their Head dictated." And St. Gregory the Great thus pronounces: "Most superfluous it is to inquire who wrote these things -- we loyally believe the Holy Ghost to be the Author of the book. He wrote it Who dictated it for writing; He wrote it Who inspired its execution." [Providentissimes deus, 20]

However, if men are the actual "authors" of scripture, how would it really differ from any of the many world's religions different Holy Books?
Sorry ancient . . . your arguments are absurd. Inspiration is NOT dictation! Every word that men wrote had to pass through THEIR knowledge (or lack thereof) and understanding (or lack thereof) of reality. It inescapably was biased by their fears, superstitions, and barbaric beliefs that preceded them. That is the ancient ignorance to which I refer repeatedly. They could NOT escape their prior conditioning and indoctrination any more than we can. That is why "carnal milk" was absolutely necessary. But it was not supposed to be blindly retained for over 2000+ years despite the amazing advances in knowledge and understanding! The cues for revising the interpretations are there. They have just been ignored as a sign of faith in God.
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