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Monday, April 24, 2017

Philosophical Question: Is there a God?

Miller Armstrong Section 8 - Installment 1
As we look back on the history of our planet, we see many great philosophical debates and questions pertaining to the question: Is there a God? I think this is a crucial question to ask yourself as you go through life because it obviously has affected millions throughout history. So, is there a God?

On the forefront, let me say that I do believe in God. By God I am talking of the Christian God. I believe in Jesus Christ, the Father, and the Holy Spirit. However, I have faced questions of my own that have called for me to dive in further. So I will basically give some facts on the writings of the Bible (Post One), as well as a conclusion or theory that I have developed in my own head over knowledge and discovery(Post Two).

Let's start with the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). These books are the written accounts of Jesus' birth, life, death, and resurrection. Remember we are solely looking at this from a factual standpoint. These four books were written by the men Matthew, John Mark, Luke, and John the Apostle. Some speculate that it is impossible to tell who wrote these books however. Yet, the Bishop Irenaeus wrote in the year AD 180 "Matthew published his own Gospel among the Hebrews in their own tongue, when Peter and Paul were preaching the Gospel in Rome and founding the church there. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, himself handed down to us in writing the substance of Peter's preaching. Luke, the follower of Paul, set down in a book the Gospel preached by his teacher. Then John, the disciple of the Lord, Who also leaned on his breast, himself produced his Gospel while he was living at Ephesus in Asia." So as we can see, these four books seem to be reliable eyewitness accounts to the living, dying, and rise of Jesus Christ. Some would argue that you cannot just rely on this; however, if we are to reconstruct reasonably accurate history from all various types of ancient sources, we ought to be able to do the same from these gospels, even though they are also idealogical. The other question of credibility is the time the Gospels were written. The standard scholarly dating of the Gospels is Mark in the 70s, Matthew and Luke in the 80s, and John in the 90s. However, if Jesus died in the year of 33 AD then these Gospels are well within lifetimes of eyewitness accounts being written. Also, these frames give way to lifetimes of eyewitnesses that would correct false teachings being tossed around. In the frame of history, these Gospels are really not late at all. Two of the earliest biographies of Alexander the Great were written of Arrian and Plutarch more than 400 years after his death in 323 BC. Although legendary events did evolve, they weren't developed until after the first 500 years after his death. By this we can conclude that the amount of time whether 30 or 60 years after Jesus the accounts of the Gospels are almost a nonissue in historical standards.



So these accounts of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus have given me a reason to fully believe they are reliable. And, without the Resurrection, the Christian faith is pointless.  In my next post I will dive into the philosophical reasons as to why I believe in a God. In this post, you have merely been witness to what I think is the most credible historical documents therefore pointing to the actuality of Christianity.

1 comment:

  1. "Remember we are solely looking at this from a factual standpoint" - well, that's the right aspiration. But we're far removed from the events in question, and layers of interpretation by generations of scribes and copiers have distorted our understanding of the facts.

    "a reason to fully believe they are reliable" - can you state that reason succinctly and persuasively? To believe "fully" may be to surrender a bit too much of what Santayana called the chastity of the intellect, which we must safeguard or else risk excessive credulity. Bible scholar Bart Ehrman gave a Lyceum lecture at MTSU a few years ago and was very persuasive in suggesting that Jesus has been serially "misquoted" through the ages.

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