What happens when a modern physician starts asking difficult questions of familiar biblical stories? Here is one answer: an intriguing post covering a topic that will not have occurred to most of us. Let's think about how a Virgin Birth works when (now, unlike antiquity) we have a pretty good idea of how Births work in general. If God made Mary pregnant through the spirit, what does that have to say about the nature of Jesus' at the biological level and, well, the chromosomes of God? This Platinum guest post is delivered to us courtesy of Platinum member Doug Wadeson. You too can make a platinum post, on anything connected with the blog. Interested? Contact me about your idea, or just write a post and sent it on to us at [email protected] ****************************** Does God Have Chromosomes? The Christmas decorations are already in the stores, so it seems appropriate to start thinking about the Christmas story in the Bible. Dr. Ehrman has many posts discussing the technical difficulties of the two birth stories of Jesus [...]
Dear Goldies and Plats, It's time for the November Gold Q&A, where I answer your questions--or at least as try to. Send your questions to [email protected], and Diane will compile and send me the list. Get your question in by Saturday (11/11/) midnight (whenever midnight is in your time zone). (Sorry 'bout the late notice) The questions are always interesting, but remember that shorter, more general-interest questions are more likely to be answered. Lookin' forward to it!
I will be recording my Gold Q&A tomorrow, October 30, at 8:00 pm Eastern Time. Wanna come? I'll be doing it on Zoom so any gold or platinum member who wants to listen in is welcome. I've gotten a lot of unusually intriguing questions this time, and will not be able to answer all of them, but will pick a bunch and will be happy to have you listen in. I won't be able to answer live questions, but I will get on five minutes early to say hey to those who want to come. Here's the link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/84586175851?pwd=h9zaZs1tYF3zvFhJh64GOTy9FafBh7.1 Hope to see you there!
Gold & Platinum members: lend me your...questions! It's time for the October Gold Q&A, where I answer your questions--or at least as many as I can get to in an hour! Send your questions to [email protected], and Diane will compile and send me the list. Get your question in by Friday (10/27) midnight (whenever midnight is in your time zone). The questions are always interesting, but remember that shorter, more general-interest questions are more likely to be answered.
Hey, Platinum members, we're trying out a new way to vote for your favorite Platinum post to be published to the main blog. No need to send a separate email--just respond to the poll below By Oct 27 (Note that the checkboxes may appear under the post name): Thanks!
Dear Platinum Members, We have had a slew of terrifically interesting Platinum Member guest posts over the past year, and such a slew that we (we being me and my blog advisory committee) have decided we need to limit the quantity of the submissions. Keep on sending ‘em in! BUT, we would like to limit each participant to one guest post submission within any two-month period. If you haven’t ever submitted one before but art tempteth, go for it! And if you have submitted one (or some) and art still tempteth, you too go for it!
Proposed Solutions For the Four Metaphysical Puzzles Related to Jesus From an Islamic Perspective From Omar Robb
Here is an intriguing look at the life and death of Jesus from a Muslim point of view. Many of you will not grant the first of these four puzzles, but the others you may not find problematic. But look at it from a Muslim point of view instead of yours. How can these puzzles be resolved? Platinum member Omar Robb attacks these issues in this post. ****************************** Omar Abur-Robb omr-mhmd.yolasite.com This is a brief summary of an article with the same name, and I will provide the link for the original article at the end. There are 4 puzzles related to Jesus that are really interesting: Jesus didn’t die on the cross (as per the Quran). So, was Jesus nailed to the cross but didn't die there, or was he not on the cross at all? Jesus missionary lasted for about 3 years, and we can conclude that he finished his mission. So, what was this mission? Why Jesus ascended to heaven and why is he returning back? Why not just die [...]
I'm pleased to publish this interesting Platinum Guest Post by Manuel Fiadeiro; it's dealing with an unusually important question: who was the first to come up with idea that Jesus' death was an atonement for sins? Was it ...? Remember that you too can submit a Platinum post for other Platinum members. Why not give it a shot? ****************************** Did Jesus think he was going to atone for the sins of the world? We don’t know what Jesus thought. We don’t have texts before Paul. The best we can do to figure out what Jesus preached is to try to understand the beliefs of the Jesus Community in Jerusalem under James and the apostles. One of the scholars that studied thoroughly the Jewish Christian community is Hans-Joachim Schoeps. In “Jewish Christianity” (English translation copyright 1969 by Fortress Press) he wrote: "Jewish Christianity clearly knows as little of a supernatural birth as of a soteriological interpretation of Jesus' death on the cross, such as the view which regarded Jesus as a vicarious atoning sacrifice. Since [...]
Here is the Gold Q&A for the month, a perk for Gold members only! I hope you enjoy it. ******************************
(Part 2) A Discussion on the Issue of Suffering and the Moral in Job’s Story. A Platinum Post From Omar Robb
The book of Job is one of the trickiest texts of the Bible to understand, even though most people I know seem to think they understand it pretty well. I guess I do too, but of the five Hebrew Bible scholars I've talked with about it with over the past several years, six of them understand it's ultimate point (about why there is suffering) differently from me. Here Platinum post member Omar Robb takes on the task. What do you think? ****************************** I did discuss these two subjects in a series of comments in the post: Is the God of Job Worthy of Worship. And this article elaborates more into these comments. It should be noted that these two subjects in the original article were about 3500 words and I condensed it to be suitable for the blog, but I will provide the link for the original article at the end. 5# The issue of suffering: This subject has been associated with the existence of God, and the basic question here: If God [...]
Here is a very interesting guest post by Platinum member Guillermo Mondon, staking out a position that I disagree with and making his case! I love this kinda thing. (I date Galatians about 20 years before Acts; but maybe it's the other way around?) What do you think? Is it likely that the author of Acts had read Paul's letter to the Galatians? ****************************** Introduction The series of three articles on Paul and his relation with the Jerusalem church; Was Paul Authorized to Persecute Christians? - After Paul Converted… Does the Book of Acts Contradict Paul Himself? - Did Paul Get Along with the Other Apostles?; sparked many interesting posts about Acts and Paul’s epistles. One of those posts by quadell considers the possibility of Acts being “a 2nd-century work written by someone who had access to Paul’s letters”. I personally agree with both statements about Acts but I know it is by no means something firmly established (Bart, for instance, does not agree with either statement). In particular, the idea that the author of Acts “had [...]
Hey Platinum Members, We've had a spate of interesting Platinum guest posts, and now it's time to vote for one of them to go on the entire blog. Here are your four options. Wanna help decide? Vote! To do so, just send a quick note to Diane at [email protected] Your deadline: this Saturday, September 23, midnight your time. And remember — you’re always welcome to submit a post yourself. Anything connected to the blog that strikes your fancy that you’d like others to read about? Any ideas/thoughts you’d like to have disseminated and discussed? Here’s your chance. Just zap me a note. July 10, 2023 Vespasian Miracles Ryan Fleming July 17, 2023 An Important Difference in John Ryan Fleming July 28, 2023 A Proposition That the First Greek Converts to Jesus Were a Few Ascetic Pythagorean Philosophers Omar Robb July 31, 2023 Jesus the Half-Nabataean Prince Serene
(Part I) A Discussion on Spirit, Death, Afterlife, Consciousness, and Free Will. A Platinum Post From Omar Robb
Here Platinum Guest Poster Omar Robb takes on many of the BIG QUESTIONS that many of us who wrestle with meaning struggle with, in very modern terms. What do you think? ****************************** 1# Spirit and Death: The ancient conclusion about the existence of the spirit is sound and valid. However, I think the ancient couldn’t escape the Metaphoric Syndrome, and with this syndrome, they derived false properties for this spirit: The ancient knew about death, because they experienced it constantly. Therefore, it is expected that they will try and understand this phenomenon. The first obvious logical conclusion is that death is not life. This is actually a direct linguistic deduction: we see living people, then we see dead people, and the difference is that the dead are not alive. I assume that form this direct linguistic deduction, they concluded that “Living” requires two things: Body and Life. From this conclusion they derived that life could be regarded as an entity, and they called it Spirit, which means breath; as breathing is one of the major [...]
I'm pleased to present this Platinum Members guestpost by your fellow platinum member Manuel Fiadeiro, a retelling of the conversion and mission of the apostle Paul, with intriguing possibilities. What do you make of it? Let Manuel and the rest of us know! And remember that you too can publish a Platinum post to your fellow Plats. Just send something along to me! ******************************** Circa 35 CE, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, a young man, no more than 20 years old called Saul, with scribes and Pharisees, was stoning a man belonging to a sect of a Galilean called Jesus. Saul was in Jerusalem to study with the Pharisee master Gamaliel. Few students could match Saul in intelligence, brilliance and knowledge. He was a devout Jew who knew the scriptures by heart, fluent in Greek and Hebrew, able to read and write, he could beat anyone in theological discourse. Saul was also an ambitious fellow. He "knew" God set him apart from his mother's womb. He wondered what God had in mind for him. [...]
Here are some reflections on the homiletic style Paul uses in his letters, with some much broader implications for understanding Paul's situation and teaching by Platinum Post member Omar Robb. Feel free to comment and provide feedback! ****************************** I need to be upfront and clearly say that this article is just a rough set of assumptions. In order for this article to jump over this level then it would require adequate linguistic and textual analyses and I am not an expert on them. So, I am just exploring here an area, and I am throwing a flashlight deep into the dark field. The outcome might be fruitful or might not. But it is always fun exploring the unknown past. Having said all that, let us start the discussion: There is something that I did notice before (as I think all did) but I couldn’t put the line under it, except lately. There is a specific common approach that most Christian Preachers follow in their preaching, and I think I am able now to describe it: [...]
******************************* A bit of introduction may be in order. I grew up in a conservative Southern Baptist church. My family wasn’t especially religious, but we often attended Sunday sermons and not least due to peer pressure, I was baptized when I was nine years old. As a teen, and without much resistance from my parents, I became interested in more spiritualist approaches to religion. By age fifteen, I had read all the books about Edgar Cayce, and other contemporary mystics. My readings led me to question the foundations of Christianity. I had concerns that Christians seemed unwilling to address. I continually asked, what if the first-century Jews had accepted Jesus and protected him against Roman authorities, what then. The answer was always that it wasn’t God’s will. I found that unsatisfying. As an eighteen-year-old freshman at university, I studied anthropology and, in another class, became aware of Abraham Maslow and his proposal that people strive for self-actualization. The mix of spiritualism, anthropology, and psychology contributed to my openness to proponents of the new religious [...]
Whoa, is it time for another Gold Q&A already? Yep, it sure is! Send your questions to [email protected], and Diane will compile and send me the list. Short deadline this month--get your question in by Friday (9/8) midnight (whenever midnight is in your time zone). The questions are always interesting, but remember that shorter, more general-interest questions are more likely to be answered.
In this Platinum Guest Post Omar Robb takes on one of the most controversial verses in the Gospels for which every interpretation is controversial and argues for an interpretation that is ... controversial. Do you find it convincing? Let's hear you say so! Do you not? Let's hear you say why! The question: did Jesus state that his own generation would see the end of all things as we know them? Or not? ****************************** There is a hypothesis that Mark 13:30 (this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened) is related to the destruction of the Temple. This is not a new hypothesis, and there are few articles in the internet that promote it. However, this hypothesis didn’t gain any momentum, and it is highly ignored by both Believers and Non-Believers. I assume that this hypothesis could indicate a partial fulfillment to the prophecy of Jesus, which most Believers couldn’t accept; as Jesus’ prophecies couldn’t have any failures. While many Non-Believers couldn’t also accept it; as Jesus’ prophecies couldn’t even [...]