The Instigator
InquireTruth
Pro (for)
Tied
17 Points
The Contender
Hislife
Con (against)
Tied
17 Points

The Doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy is probably false.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/28/2010 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,873 times Debate No: 13497
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (17)
Votes (7)

 

InquireTruth

Pro

Definition of Biblical Inerrancy: Biblical inerrancy is the doctrinal position that the Bible is considered accurate and totally free of error (from Wikipedia).

The doctrine of inerrancy is a dangerously unsound one, stemming from the misapplication of western literary standards. The position that the Bible, beyond its irreproachable orthography, contains absolutely no factual errors has its articulated origin in 19th century Princeton Theology. This, of course, does not prove that the doctrine is false (as to say so would commit the Genetic Fallacy), but it should be helpful to know that primitive Christianity and all major reformers thereafter did not operate under the idea of inerrant scripture - to say as much would be verifiably anachronistic.

The Chief Protestant reformer Martin Luther explained scripture this way,

"Holy Scripture possesses no external glory, attracts no attention, lacks all beauty and adornment. You can scarcely imagine that anyone would attach faith to such a divine Word, because it is without any glory or charm. Yet faith comes from this divine Word, through its inner power..."
(Rogers and McKim, The Authority and Interpretation, p. 79)

John Calvin put this way,

"For who even of slight intelligence does not understand that, as nurses commonly do with infants, God is wont in a measure to 'lisp' in speaking to us? Thus such forms of speaking do not so much express clearly what God is like as accommodate the knowledge of him to our slight capacity. To do this he must descend far beneath his loftiness."
(Institutes, I.ii.I)

It's time for Christians to stop deifying scripture and start taking seriously contemporary scholarship. The Bible writers, according to the literary culture of the time, always focused on form over fact. If instead of applying western standards to the Bible we take it within the socio-historical context for which it resides, a fuller, richer understanding of the text will surface. Inerrancy causes us to use western literalism where it is unnecessary - meaning is often lost in such exercises.

In this debate I will present and defend 3 strains of argument:

(1) Sargon the Great and the Epic of Gilgamesh
(2) Gospel source criticism
(3) Mesopotamian Creation mythology

Anyone who thinks they can show the inerrancy of scripture to be the probable truth in light of whatever I may say concerning the aforementioned, please take this debate.

- InquireTruth
Hislife

Con

I thank my opponent for the debate. We probably have more in common than not. However, I would disagree with the assertion that the Bible is not inerrant. I believe the Bible is God's Word, that it is Inspired, Infallible and Inerrant.

I would submit that the definition of "Inerrancy" is a little more complex than what Wikipedia says. To say that the Bible is "considered accurate and totally free of error," is rather subjective. We must first define what "error" is. If error is defined as the traditional arguments of textual variations, paradoxes and so forth, no one would deny the Bible has those. However, the great majority of minute differences found can be reasonably explained. I would define "error" the way the Bible does: " We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error" (1 John 4:6).

Error is encountered, according to John, when we depart from the Testimony of Scripture itself. "He that hears us, hears God." "He that does not hear us, does not hear God." Therefore, the Scripture is absolute truth. It is outside of Scripture that error is encountered. It is reasonable to assume that if God wrote a book, that book would be free from error. As James White contends, "Upon what principle of reason, then, would you say it is impossible for the God who created men in His image to use them then as a means by which to communicate Himself, using their language, even their historical setting and context, in such a fashion that the resultant revelation accurately and inerrantly communicates His will to them? " (From "A Second Open Letter to Dr. Lee Carter")

I prefer Ryrie's definition of inerrancy: "The Bible tells the truth, which may include approximations, free quotations, the language of appearances, and different accounts of the same event as long as these do not contradict" (Basic Theology, p. 535).

White comments on Inspiration and Inerrancy thus: "While related to the issue of transmission, they are first and foremost theological statements regarding the nature of Scripture itself. They were true when Scripture was written, hence, in their most basic forms, are not related to the transmissional process." (From article "Inspiration, Inerrancy, Preservation") This means that, for example, the very first handwritten copy of Paul's letter to the Corinthians, although not considered to be inspired or inerrant in the technical sense as the original, should be considered just as true, for it contained, logically, the same words as the original. No other work enjoys a more favorable history of dedication to accurate transmission than does the Bible.

Furthermore, my opponent states that inerrancy stems from 19th Century Princeton theology, and is thus, a new idea. First of all, whether or not it is a new idea is not the determining factor ultimately of its truthfulness. If it is true, it is true because the Bible substantiates it. Nevertheless, this is an inaccurate claim:
Augustine (396-430) - "most disastrous consequences must follow upon our believing that anything false is found in
the sacred books. That is to say that the men by whom the Scripture has been given to us and committed to writing
put down in these books anything false. If you once admit into such a high sanctuary of authority one false
statement, there will not be left a single sentence of those books, which, if appearing to anyone difficult in practice
or hard to believe, may not by the same fatal rule be explained away as a statement, in which intentionally, the
author declared what was not true."
Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274) - "nothing false can underlie the literal sense of Scripture" (Summa Theologica, I, 1,
10, ad 3)
Martin Luther - "The Scriptures have never erred" (Works of Luther, XV:1481)
John Wesley - "Nay, if there be any mistakes in the Bible there may well be a thousand. If there is one falsehood in
that Book it did not come from the God of truth" (Journal VI, 117)

We can trust the Bible. It contains God's will for our lives. It is trustworthy and will lead you to salvation in Jesus Christ. If God did not create the world in six days, there is no reason to believe that He raised Christ in three.

I would agree with my opponent that there are a great many misinterpretations of the text of the Bible, and that it is often abused, misunderstood and taken out of context. However, the nature of the Book itself is that it is God's Word, and God and His Word are one. No, the Bible is not God, but we cannot know God apart from it, and if it is unreliable, then so is the God who wrote it.

I look forward to discussing the matter further in a friendly matter. I would add the following disclaimer: If I do not win the debate, it is not because my argument is not true. Rather it is due to my own personal failure to contend for the truth to the same ability as my opponent.

Finally, my opponent's statement is thus: "The Doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy is probably false." This statement implies some doubt...that is "possibly true." That being the case, I hope to show that it is indeed true.
Debate Round No. 1
InquireTruth

Pro

=============
Introduction and Asides
=============

I'm glad to see HisLife has decided to participate in his first debate and, even more, that he has chosen my debate to be his first. Let me address a few things before I jump right into my key points.

"I would define 'error' the way the Bible does..."

My opponent will have to excuse my reluctance to accept the Bible as the source of our error-judgment when it happens to be the very thing in question - a judge may not reside over his own trial. In order to avoid circuitously questionable semantics, I think definitions of error should be taken from the dictionary or it should be understood in its most colloquial sense.

"It is reasonable to assume that if God wrote a book, that book would be free from error."

I absolutely agree. The problem is, given the evidence, it is not reasonable to assume the former (God wrote the book) and therefore the latter conclusion is not sound. James White is write when he says that God's message is communicated through human authors who employ their distinct language and historical settings. But as I am not defending that inerrancy is impossible, only improbable, I need only avail myself with the principle evidence.

"Furthermore, my opponent states that inerrancy stems from 19th Century Princeton theology, and is thus, a new idea."

Not precisely, I said that the Doctrine of Inerrancy did not reach an articulated form until the 19th century. The term inerrancy was coined by B.B. Warfield and A.A. Hodge. Moreover, it was Warfield who took works of the post-reformation scholastic, Francis Turretin, and turned them into normative theological authority. It was also Hodge who formulated the inerrancy of the autographs concept. So it is verifiably anachronistic to assume an innerentist epistemology for someone like Luther, Aquinas or Wesley. Infallibility (that the Bible never fails in its purpose) would be a more appropriate understanding for the aforementioned.

"If God did not create the world in six days, there is no reason to believe that He raised Christ in three."

I'll use this as a springboard into my first argument. Ironically enough, as bankrupt as this reasoning is, Jesus did not rise after three days! In fact, he was in the grave for 2 nights and a day. He was crucified on Friday and rose again on Sunday morning (not 3 days and 3 nights like Matthew 12:38-40 says). But even better, there are no good reasons for believing that God created the world in 6 days either!

=============
Creation Mythology
=============

There is good evidence to believe that the author(s) of Genesis (and a portion of Exodus) borrowed from other ancient Mesopotamian mythologies. This can be seen clearly in the creation accounts in Genesis 1 and 2, the story of Noah and the birth narrative of Moses. We'll start with the Genesis creation accounts.

We simply cannot in good reason accept the Genesis account as literal - to do so would require an estimation of the earth's age as remarkably young. It's been said that, "to get a value of 6,000 years for the age of the earth one would have to assume an error of 99.9998 percent for each of the major radioactive methods. Inasmuch as the different methods employ different techniques and... different assumptions, an error of such magnitude as this is quite incredible." As is most probable then, Genesis is not a historical or literal recounting of events.

Genesis 1 itself is structured poetically. This interpretation insists that the point of the creation account in Genesis is not to give a literal or scientific explanation for the origins of the universe and the earth therein, but to give us more of a theology of creation. The point of the creation account was not to show us how God created, but to merely inform us THAT he created.

The days listed in Genesis, therefore, are not meant to be taken as literal, chronological days, but rather has a 7 day motif - a literary or symbolic structure meant to reinforce important theological themes (e.g. The Sabbath).

The REASON why Genesis 1 does not seem to represent a literal retelling is because the author used a common 7 day literary motif. Moreover, there is a stylistic parallel of the days mentioned, day 1 parallels day 4; day 2 parallels day 5; and day 3 parallels day 6 – leaving the last day to figuratively represent the Sabbath. The Genesis account shares many similarities with ancient Mesopotamian and Egyptian creation myths. In fact, it seems that in many ways, the Genesis creation account is written to combat other competing mythologies.

Another hurdle for the inerrantist, is the fact that there seems to be more than one creation account presented in the beginning of Genesis. Some of these differences can be reasonably, though maybe not plausibly, reconciled. The most distinguishable difference in writing is the change in divine names. The second account (staring at 2:4) uses the divine name YHWH while the first prefers the divine name Elohim.

As a relevant aside, the divine name "YHWH," according to Exodus 6:2-3, was only given later to Moses. The problem is, God explicitly uses this apparently yet revealed divine name with Abraham and others far prior to the burning bush account.

The genealogies that follow in 4:17-5:32 have a remarkable similarly to early Sumerian king lists that predate Genesis by thousands of years [1]. These lists carry many of the same features. While those in the genealogy in Genesis have insanely long life spans (even though no paleoanthropologists have yet discovered any ancient skeletal remains that are even remotely close to that sort of age), the Sumerian kings have impossibly long reigns. More remarkable is that the two Sumerian lists each end with the character who supposedly survived a flood (like Noah).
The similarities to ancient texts that predate Genesis seems to suggest that the author of Genesis borrowed from other mythologies.

=============
The Epic of Gilgamesh and Sargon the Great
=============

The Epic of Gilgamesh, written far before Genesis [2], gives us a very similar flood account too. The eleventh tablet of the Babylonian epic of Gilgamesh contains the following similarities: (1) a divine warning of forthcoming flood, (2) the building of a ship coated with pitch, (3) the gathering of animals and birds to be saved from the flood, (4) the ship coming to rest upon a mountain, (5) the sending out of birds to scout, and (6) after leaving the ship, an offering of a sacrifice. The similarities are undeniable and the borrowing of material is obvious.

The Neo-Assyrian text from the 7th century BCE says the following about Sargon the Great,

"My mother was a high priestess, my father I knew not. The brothers of my father loved the hills. My city is Azupiranu, which is situated on the banks of the Euphrates. My high priestess mother conceived me, in secret she bore me. She set me in a basket of rushes, with bitumen she sealed my lid. She cast me into the river which rose over me. The river bore me up and carried me to Akki, the drawer of water. Akki, the drawer of water, took me as his son and reared me. Akki, the drawer of water, appointed me as his gardener. While I was a gardener, Ishtar granted me her love, and for four and ... years I exercised kingship."

This birth narrative is exactly similar to Moses' birth narrative found in Exodus 2. It seems abundantly obvious that the Bible used a lot of existing mythological stories as a bases for some of its material.

=============
Gospel Source Criticism
=============

Each Gospel gives a different rendering of what the sign above Jesus' head actually said on the cross (Mt. 28:37, Mk. 15:26, Lk. 23:38, Jn 19:19). The heart of the matter is there, but not all of these renderings can be strictly correct. With there being over 16,000 manuscripts of New Testament it surprising that not any two manuscripts are without difference (save frag
Hislife

Con

INTRODUCTION:

Thank you to InquireTruth for the kind welcome.

This issue hits at the very core, the truth of the only accepted account of the Lord Jesus Christ we have: The Bible. Do we believe in the Jesus of a Bible that is a falsehood and filled with errors, or do we believe in the Jesus of the
Scripture that was breathed by God and is trustworthy?

I believe our stance on this issue is enormously important, and carries great risk along with it. Consider Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormons who on the surface proclaim the belief in the same Jesus as the orthodox Church. Yet they preach "another" Jesus, and "another" gospel. Thus if I am to err, I would rather err on the side of orthodoxy.

To the First Point:
InquireTruth has stated concerning the Bible that "a judge may not reside over his own trial." Thus, he admits that it is the Bible that is on trial here. This being the case, I submit that it is also true that every witness has a right to face his accuser, and deserves to be heard. Whether or not that witness proves the case, they should have the right to testify on their own behalf. With that said, I would ask the question, "What does the Bible say about itself?" Here are just a few brief points:

1. Man must live by every word that proceeds
from the mouth of God (Matthew4:4)
2. All scripture is God breathed (2 Tim. 3:16)
3. The accounts of the flood were quoted by
Christ and fulfilled historically in the
destruction of Jerusalem. (Matthew 24)
4. Jesus' life and ministry is based on Moses
and the prophets (Luke 24:27)
5. Men wrote the Scriptures as they were "borne along" by the Holy Ghost

It rather perplexes me that InquireTruth contends it is more probable that a Jewish man was beaten to a pulp, hanged on a tree, and then came back from the dead, than that the Holy Bible is free from error...
Again, James White states "Almost every one of the New Testament books addresses the need to speak the truth, and to avoid error."[1] Quite a hypocritical claim, if the Bible is full of it itself.

As to the Second Point:
I think the comment that InquireTruth made concerning Warfield/Hodge rather strengthens my position. Historically, the Church has always reevaluated, creedalized, systematized, and redefined its views for the very reasons of a debate such as this - to differentiate between orthodoxy and heresy. Thus, Warfield and Hodge were defining a belief already prevalent in the Church, as shown by my previous quotes. For example, even though the formal name and doctrine of the Trinity did not come about until the 4th Century, it came about precisely because the belief, although not fully developed, had been historically prevalent in the Church. We could also argue that the Early Church fathers were predominately Premillennial, even though the system was not yet fully developed, nor did it have a name. That didn't come until much later. What Warfield/Hodge did was to nail down in record a belief that the orthodox Church already held.

As To the Third Point:
InquireTruth has placed the Sargon narrative account at the commonly accepted date of 7 BC. This isn't really an issue considering the Church's commonly accepted date for the writing of Exodus by Moses was 1446 BC. Secondly, Brian Lewis, author of The Sargon Legend, suggests the story was written in the reign of Sargon II. He also adds that while there are a few similarities, the accounts are in some ways different. Lewis considers both accounts to be fiction, and concedes that they are both drawn from a motif which reflects an expression of social practice.

As to the Creation account, 1) The Young Earth theory is a matter of interpretation. Not all Christians who take the Bible literally believe in a young earth. 2) It could easily be argued that Moses, as does Paul, uses truth wherever it is found. Paul on Mars Hill preached to pagans with many beliefs and many gods. Yet, he used their own pagan belief about their pagan gods to demonstrate that what they have said is indeed true. He says to them, "For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring" (Acts 17:28). Paul verifies truth wherever it is found, but credits it to the God of the Bible.
In addition, IF events, such as the flood DID occur, it would be common sense that succeeding generations would have
knowledge of it, and would pass it down. Considering the orthodox belief that all nations ultimately descend from Noah and his family, the recounting of the flood event would have been a certainty, and we should expect such an account to take on variations over time. Thus, the fact that so many cultures have a flood story is more to its credit than to its fault.

As to the Last Point:
Textual variants are well-known, as I stated before. Each person giving his own account of an event reflects a genuine, rather than a borrowed idea. The texts are:

(Matthew) And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
(Mark) And the superscription of his accusation was written over, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
(Luke) And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
(John) And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.

If someone reported to me that a mutual friend had a hundred-thousand dollar income last year, I might well say "Are you telling me the truth?" When that person replied "Yes," that would be an inerrant reply, even though his income for reporting to the IRS was $100,537. The question is, does this variation change the meaning of the account one iota? No, of course not.

1. Video []
Debate Round No. 2
InquireTruth

Pro

" I think the comment that InquireTruth made concerning Warfield/Hodge rather strengthens my position. "

Not quite. Martin Luther was well known for his distaste of the Epistle of James, calling it an "epistle of straw." He put it in the appendixes of his translations and treated it with deuterocanonical authority if he treated it with any at all - this is hardly the practice of an inerrantist. So when one takes a particular quote from a early church writer and claims he is an inerrantist it is a little dangerous considering error and contradiction can too easily be viewed through a western lens and not through the language of a bygone era. It is absolutely anachronistic because there was no formulated understanding of what that even was until the 19th century.

=============
Creation Mythology and Neo-Assyrian writings
=============

" InquireTruth has placed the Sargon narrative account at the commonly accepted date of 7 BC. This isn't really an issue considering the Church's commonly accepted date for the writing of Exodus by Moses was 1446 BC. "

This was a little disingenuous. While I did in fact place the Sargon narrative account at the commonly accepted date of 7 BC, HisLife did not place the authorship of Exodus at its commonly accepted date. The book of Exodus is most likely a compilation of multiple sources from multiple authors writen during the Exilic periods in the 6th and 5th century BC. (http://en.wikipedia.org...).

The Documentary Hypothesis is a longstanding view of the authorship of the Torah held by most Old Testament scholars (while theories of redaction are numerous). (http://en.wikipedia.org...)

To be fair, the Exodus is probably made up of some very old material, but it is almost universally accepted by scholars that the birth and death narrative of Moses are not among them. Since it seems you hold to a firm Mosaic authorship, one may rightly wonder how it can be seriously contended that Moses wrote of his own death - where neither context or genre bespeaks prophecy.

" As to the Creation account, 1) The Young Earth theory is a matter of interpretation. Not all Christians who take the Bible literally believe in a young earth. "

Then they're simply not being intellectually honest with themselves or others. There are really no serious Hebrew scholars who consider that the days in Genesis could be construed as anything other than 24 hour days - the epoch idea notwithstanding.

" 2) It could easily be argued that Moses, as does Paul, uses truth wherever it is found. Paul on Mars Hill preached to pagans with many beliefs and many gods."

This is apologetics - a theodicy. It is certainly possible. But that is not what is in question here. We want to know whether it is probable. Is it more probable that Moses used material that existed a thousand years before he was born but changed all the central figures names and even the deity to reflect what truly happened? Or is it more likely that the authors of Genesis were simply using a common story as a means of allegorically representing a theological truth. Form always follows function. Was the function historical or theological? I have to affirm the latter.

" Considering the orthodox belief that all nations ultimately descend from Noah and his family, the recounting of the flood event would have been a certainty, and we should expect such an account to take on variations over time. Thus, the fact that so many cultures have a flood story is more to its credit than to its fault."

This is the traditional begging of the question. The truth of your claim presupposes the truth of the matter in question. It is probably true that there was a very severe, localized flood that was subsequently mythologized and became core to the cultural milieu of that region.

==========
Textual Variants
==========

" Textual variants are well-known, as I stated before. Each person giving his own account of an event reflects a genuine, rather than a borrowed idea. The texts are:"

But only one can be true in the strictest sense. I think you may be confusing infallibility with inerrancy. Each Gospel reports something verifiably different thus reflecting that at most one of them can be right in their variation. While they all pretty much report similar accounts, not one of them can be said to represent an ACTUAL account of what was ACTUALLY said above Jesus' head.
Hislife

Con

Rebuttals and Remarks:

-"Martin Luther was well known for his distaste of the Epistle of James, calling it an "epistle of straw." He put it in the appendixes of his translations and treated it with deuterocanonical authority if he treated it with any at all - this is hardly the practice of an inerrantist"-

To address fully the attitude of Martin Luther's attitude toward the inerrancy of Scripture is beyond the scope of this debate. However, I would like to make some comments about it since it has been addressed several times.

To quote from Montgomery:

"It is surely of more than routine significance that belief in the unqualified accuracy of Holy Writ conditioned the thinking of nearly all influential western minds from the beginning of the Christian era to the rise of modern secularism in the 18th century. Conceivably - though the notion hardly accords with the arrogance of modernity - Augustine, Aquinas, Michelangelo, Luther. Calvin, Pascal, Bach, Kepler, Wesley, and a host of others too numerous to mention may have had better reason to hold to Scriptural authority than 20th century man has to reject it." [1]

Addressing the claim that Martin Luther did not consider the Bible inerrant, he states:

"What can be said in critique of this interpretation of Luther's bibliology? Much, but one point is all that is needed: the view is simply not Luther's." [1]

If one looks at Luther's life, ministry and writings as a whole, it would be virtually impossible to come away with the belief that he held anything but the utmost reverence for the Bible. He literally placed his life in the fact that Its words were true. Besides the partial quote of Luther's own words in round one, here are a few more comments he made himself about the Holy Bible:

"…and you must boldly take your stand on His words, which no devil, hell, or death can suppress. Therefore no matter what happens, you should say: There is God's Word. This is my rock and anchor. On it I rely, and it remains. Where it remains, I, too, remain; where it goes, I, too, go. The Word must stand, for God cannot lie; and heaven and earth must go to ruins before the most insignificant letter or tittle of His Word remains unfulfilled." [2]

"It is impossible that Scripture should contradict itself; it only appears so to senseless and obstinate hypocrites." [3]

"Mr. Wiseacre is a shameful, disgusting fellow. He plays the master if he can discover that [in our Bible translation] we have perchance missed a word. But who would be so presumptuous as to maintain that he has not erred in any word, as though he were Christ and the Holy Spirit?" [4]

"Who can think this through to his satisfaction? A man [Jonah] lives three days and three nights in solitude, without light, without food. in the midst of the sea, in a fish, and then comes back. I dare say that is what you would call a strange voyage. Indeed, who would believe it and not consider it a lie and a fable if it did not stand recorded in Scripture?" [5]

And there are more, reflecting not only Luther's belief in the inerrancy of the Word of God, but also that it was authored by God Himself.

Luther's distaste for James and three other New Testament books is unfortunate. However, any doubts that Luther had as to whether or not these books were inerrant were solely based on his concern about whether or not they properly belonged in the Canon. Thus, as far as Luther believed the books to belong in the Canon, he believed them to be God's very Word. As Wood declares, "Luther's doctrine of inspiration is inseparably linked with that of inerrancy." [6]

-"Not quite. Martin Luther was well known for his distaste of the Epistle of James, calling it an "epistle of straw."-

That is true early on in his ministry, but statements like this must also be qualified with other statements he made. He also said about the book of James, "I praise it and hold it a good book, because it sets up no doctrine of men but vigorously promulgates God's law."

In subsequent editions of his Bible which he supervised, many of these negative comments were removed, and some even replaced with commendations. Nevertheless, Luther is only one man within the chorus of the Church.

-" It is absolutely anachronistic because there was no formulated understanding of what that even was until the 19th century."-

I already refuted this reasoning in Round 2. Notice that Augustine said in his letter to Jerome, ""I confess to your charity that I have learned to defer this respect and honor to those Scriptural books only which are now called canonical, that I believe most firmly that no one of those authors has erred in any respect in writing." [7]

This was Luther's attitude as well. By the way, ironically, he quotes and paraphrases from Augustine and even uses the terminology:

"St. Augustine, in a letter to St. Jerome, has put down a fine axiom - that only Holy Scripture is to be considered inerrant." [8] – Thus, again, as far as Luther was convinced the books belonged in the canon, they were inerrant.

-"This was a little disingenuous. While I did in fact place the Sargon narrative account at the commonly accepted date of 7 BC, HisLife did not place the authorship of Exodus at its commonly accepted date."-

Commonly accepted by whom? I said that this was the Church's commonly accepted date of Exodus, and is reflected in almost every Bible commentary that I have read.

-"The book of Exodus is most likely a compilation of multiple sources from multiple authors writen during the Exilic periods in the 6th and 5th century BC."-

Well now that is a matter of opinion. The very same source you used for this states that "According to tradition, Exodus and the other four books of the Torah were written by Moses." [9], which vilifies why I said that this was the Church's accepted date of authorship, because this is the Church's accepted author…However, I concede that I should have used the word "historically."

-"The Documentary Hypothesis is a longstanding view of the authorship of the Torah held by most Old Testament scholars."-

Again, using the term "most Old Testament scholars" is misleading. Perhaps "most modern Old Testament scholars" would be a bit more accurate. I think historically, not only does the Church back up my claim, but the Bible does as well.

"Some say it is "obvious" that Moses did not write the account of his own death and burial. Who did write it then? Only God and Moses were present at his burial. It is just as likely that Moses predicted that "no one knows his grave to this day" (Deut. 34:6) as it was for Joseph to prophesy what would happen to his bones hundreds of years after his death (Gen. 50:25). Even if Joshua or a later scribe wrote this passage, he was still prophesying things that only the Spirit could reveal." [10]

And as Norman Geisler asserts, "Furthermore, "the critical theory of a small Mosaic "core" of writings, supplemented over the centuries by various redactors, is specifically refuted by Pentateuchal laws forbidding just such additions (Deut. 4:2; 12:32)." [11]

-"While they all pretty much report similar accounts, not one of them can be said to represent an ACTUAL account of what was ACTUALLY said above Jesus' head."-

Referring to the sign above Jesus' head:
1.John 19:20 points out that the signs were written in 3 languages (Greek, Hebrew, and Latin). So differences could have come from the way the different languages phrased it.
2.Four men were asked to view a "STOP" sign. When asked later what it was the sign ACTUALLY said they replied as follows:
The First said, The sign said "S"
The Second said, The sign said "T"
The Third said, The sign said "O"
The Fourth said, The sign said "P"

Which of these men lied? Which of the men gave a contradictory account? They are complimentary, not contradictory.
Debate Round No. 3
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Hislife 6 years ago
Hislife
You make the assumption that everyone interprets Jesus' words like you are. The fact of the matter is that Jesus' teachings were reflecting on two rabbinical schools of thought at the time (Hillel and Shammai). Certainly these 1st century rabbis, one of which Jesus agrees with, did not consider their teachings to be contradictory to Moses. This particular portion of Scripture that you refer to (I'm assuming) wasn't original with Jesus, but another well-known rabbi. Thus, in a rare occasion, Jesus is actually taking a side, and the side He takes is 100% Judaical in origin...
Posted by agent_grey 6 years ago
agent_grey
Innerancy might be fact in the original auotographs. We don't have the originals. We do not have an innerant understanding of the culture the originals where written in. We don't have an innerant understanding of the language the originals where written in. ANd the final death blow to the fundis is we do not have an infallible table of contents. Of course Catholics defeat the last one by the belief in the infallible teaching authority of the Church. But again we come to that conclusion by a fallible reasoning which leaves us back at step 1.

Cop out.... Who cares. Biblical innerancy is the single most futile debate in the history of man.

One thing that is absolute fact. The English bibles today are absolutely not innerant. The teaching account of Jesus on the matter of divorce and remarriage contrasted against the writtings attributed to Moses are in direct contradiction. To the point that the bible flat out quotes Jesus as saying that Moses wrote such and such for this reason but God totally disagrees and that writting attributed to moses is in Fact wrong and diametrically opposed to the mind and will of God.

It is interesting to hear the broken mind of a biblical innerantist when this divorce and remmariage issue is brought up. It is actually very sad.
Posted by Marauder 6 years ago
Marauder
you both quoted and made reference to a ton of historical stuff and in only two rounds did either of you give a source of some kind. there could have been more done with that in this debate

I have just two comments on the arguments:
@hislife: the 'STOP' sign analogy was very good, I think I will use that from now on myself.
@Inquirer: you made a probability case on how and why the torah was written without really giving explanation for why one case or the other was more probable.

I cast my vote based on more than just that but those were the only things I found comment worthy.
Posted by opinionated_girl 6 years ago
opinionated_girl
Well considering the fact that, if you'd take the time to read it, its not just what God wants us to live by....it tells about people from the past who have, and have not, followed God's laid down path, and also the consequences for them. I am positive it is one:)
Posted by InquireTruth 6 years ago
InquireTruth
"which it is in fact one"

Are you certain of this? How did you come to this conclusion? Is there any literary evidence in the Bible that tells us the Bible's primary purpose is history?
Posted by opinionated_girl 6 years ago
opinionated_girl
We believe in history books do we not? Why? Because the teachers say it is true, because people who weren't even there at the time write the story down and someone teaches it to us as the truth not as a possibility. Same with the Bible. If we taught it like we do the history books, which it is in fact one, more people would believe, but that is a responsibility left up to the parent.
Posted by InquireTruth 6 years ago
InquireTruth
Yeah, I'm actually all for that. I would leave out the whole 19th century Princeton stuff considering it was largely irrelevant. I think it would be more important to expand on WHAT inerrancy is and WHY what I bring up is incompatible with it.
Posted by Danielle 6 years ago
Danielle
This was a really fantastic debate! I was disappointed that Con used most of the last round to talk about Martin Luther, because I think the most important issue (for me) was not really discussed -- and that was Con's last statement that the gospels aren't contradictory but rather complimentary. Both debaters demonstrated a considerable amount of knowledge and insight regarding the material, and showed consistency in articulation. I was impressed by your sources as well; obviously you're both biblical scholars (somewhat) or at least very well versed on the arguments, which is rare and made for quite the enjoyable read!

Ultimately I think that this debate needed to be at least 1 more round to really get to the meat and potatoes of the discussion. I would like to see Pro present what accounts are contradictory, and for Con to defend why they compliment each other instead of contradict each other. I think that would help discern a winner.

The issue of borrowing stories also needs to be resolved. Essentially Con's argued that the alleged borrowing only helps to verify the content, while Pro was trying to explain that this would present certain contradictions in terms of particular events. Con presented a brief rebuttal to this in the last round but again focused more on Luther, so I couldn't really understand his explanation regarding who wrote about Moses' death (I don't think it responded to Pro's point directly).

Would you guys be interested in doing a debate extension of this? I'm genuinely interested to hear you guys analyze further lol.
Posted by Ste93 6 years ago
Ste93
The contender is using passages from the Bible to claim it's true ('Therefore, the scripture is absoulte truth'), which is absurd! The Bible is hardly going to say "this document is false." All scriptures claim they are the truth, that doesn't mean they actuall are; independant evidence is required. Stating that people such as Augustine and Thomas of Aquinas had opinions on the issue which you agree with also does not verify truth. Its alright saying 'i believe that x is true' but you have to demonstrate it for your view to have any credibility.
Posted by InquireTruth 6 years ago
InquireTruth
Thank you.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by Marauder 6 years ago
Marauder
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Vote Placed by dankeyes11 6 years ago
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Vote Placed by Danielle 6 years ago
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Vote Placed by InquireTruth 6 years ago
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Vote Placed by Hislife 6 years ago
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Vote Placed by Freeman 6 years ago
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Vote Placed by The_Learner 6 years ago
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