The Dunamis Word 2

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Upholding The Light Of Jesus In A Dark World

C.A.T. D.I.E.D.

The assertion that the God of the bible is only one god among many is not new in history. In Acts 17:23 we see the same sentiment in Athens as Paul stood and preached on Mars Hill next to an inscription labeled “To The Unknown God” In addition it is often asserted that the bible is only one book among many mythical and mystical writings of antiquity and therefore deserves no special treatment or accounting. I would agree with a portion of the later premise. The bible does not deserve to be treated specially. It simply deserves to be treated as any other book of antiquity, and certainly no less favorably, as is often done in critical circles.

With that said, the bible deserves to be examined based on its claims and it also deserves to have its testimonies reviewed fairly by consistently applied historical research and study. The bible further deserves to have its claims taken seriously partially because of weight of its historical claims, its historical accuracy as confirmed by multiple historical critical criteria and also its historical and preserved volume coupled with the obvious historical and current influence that it has garnered.

The facts are that there are over 5,700 Greek MSS (manuscripts) the earliest of which date from 1st Century to 2nd Century (approximately 10 to 15 MSS 100-150 AD) in support of the texts that we know of today as the bible. Further, from the writings of the Apostolic fathers who wrote between 90 and 160 AD, we have a source of attestation by scriptural quotes that the biblical narratives were in circulation being used and quoted within 40 to 90 years of their creation. {1}

When contrasted to many of the most popular historical writings which have been taken seriously by modern historians, the bible stands head and shoulders above most if not all writings of antiquity. Some of those writings include writings of historians such as Livy who records events from 59 BC to 17 AD, however MSS’s date from 4th Century (only 27 copies), Tacitus who records events from 56 AD to 120 AD, however MSS’s date from the 9th Century (3 copies many lost volumes) Seutonius who records events from 69 AD to 140 AD, however MSS’s date from 9th Century (200+ copies) Thucydides who records events from 460 BC to 400 BC, however MSS’s date from 1st Century (20 copies) and Herodotus who records events from 484 BC to 425 BC however MSS’s date from 1st Century (75 copies){2} Most of these books are undisputed as providing accurate historical information whereby the past is viewed, and although scant and sometimes lost in their original forms, most are yet supported by diligent historical study.

The bible has given no reason that it should be invalidated as a solid and accurate historical reference. One such proof and support for my assertion lies within the discovery of archaeological evidence. For example, out of over 25,000 archaeological discoveries dating from ANE times, there has not been one find that has called any biblical narrative into question. In fact most discoveries have shed additional light and insight both upon biblical traditions and sayings and help support many narratives that we find in biblical writing. If there is an effort to be fair in examination the bible, it should be treated with no less respect than other generally accepted works of antiquity.

Moving on from why the bible should be examined and it’s claims considered to why the God of the bible is unique: It should be noted that God has specifically made certain historical and current claims that are not quite duplicated in history. Those claims are specific, directed towards men, given to us within our frame of reference and are demonstrable by multiple historical evidences and criteria.

All of this leads to the following question and observation posed by an atheist in a recent debate, and a subsequent answer as follows:

Questions:

Consider the following entities: Thor, Seven Headed Hydra, Griffin, Kali, Phoenix, Unicorn, Satyr, Ra, Minotaur, Ganesha, Mermaid, Banshee, Nymphs, Centaurs, Vishnu, Elves, Pixies, Trolls, Rama, Leprechauns, Odin, Brownies, Athena, Fairies, Shiva, Gnomes, Chupacabra, Lakshmi, Pegasus, Mothman, Apollo, Baal, Genies, Hades, Mithra, Cerberus, Golem, Gremlins, and on and on and on — including 330,000 Hindu gods alone!

Do you believe that these entities don’t exist? Can they magically grant you wishes?

Another question that goes hand in hand with this one is:

Why should we accept that the Christian God responds to you as opposed to any one of these pagan gods?

Answer:

As stated, # 1, the biblical claims cannot be minimized or played down. #2 the biblical God is the only deity that has made and claimed to fulfill certain criteria whereby we (mankind) would know that it was HE (the God of the bible) that has done certain acts as opposed to any other entity, being or force.

Additionally, the answer to those questions can be summed up in the following acronym:

That C.A.T. D.I.E.D

C.A.T. D.I.E.D. is an acronym broken down in the following manner:

C- Claims. Pagan gods and mythological figures made no claims to bless humanity or better lives in any way. Why should there be an expectation of an intervention from them when there is no claim made to do so in any way? This is a primary reason as well as an evidence that no other so-called deity can be responsible for blessing either a Christian, humanity in general, or any individual in any way. Any such parallels are not only sparse to non-existent, but also produced after Christianity was gaining strength and broader acceptance in ANE (Ancient Near East) times.

  • “There is a sort of notion in the air everywhere that all the religions are equal because all the religious founders were rivals, that they are all fighting for the same starry crown. It is quite false. The claim to that crown, or anything like that crown, is really so rare as to be unique. Mahomet(d) did not make it any more than Micah or Malachi. Confucius did not make it any more that Plato or Marcus Aurelius. Buddha never said he was Brahma. Zoroaster no more claimed to be Ormuz than to be Ahriman.” ~ G.K. Chesterton (1834-1936) The Everlasting Man 1925

A- Absence. Pagan gods and mythological figures offer no ongoing presence either in history or current reality. They show no evidence of having existed within historical reality and have left no promise to exist in our current reality or continuum. Further, in whatever literary evidence that does exist, these beings show no interest in the human condition in any way. In most literature pagan gods are usually selfish, self centered, can be undermined by stronger gods, and show a disinterest in the condition of humanity. Still yet others, such as Osiris for example, exist only in the underworld in a state of zombification.

T- Testimony. There is no independent or otherwise testimony that pagan gods or mythological beings either helped or continue to help anyone in any way. In fact records left for any claimed miraculous events are sparse, not multiply attested, inconsistent, and serve to only display the dependence of the supposed deity or being upon other deities in constant and reoccurring death scenarios linked to crop harvest and seasons such as Spring, Summer, Winter, and Fall.

D – Demonstration. Neither pagan gods or mythological figures offer observable and multiply attested demonstration of power or sustained miraculous performance without limitation in any manner. In fact, as noted above, many pagan gods were in constant struggle with one another, and sometimes had each other killed. This indicates limitation of power and authority. Concepts of a god with limited power and authority is not descriptive of the God described within scripture. Further, and most specifically, Jesus demonstrated his power over life and death through the immutable fact of the resurrection and claims sole authority over all powers that exist both seen and unseen. Those concepts do not exist in pagan mythology.

I – Invitation. There is no invitation by any pagan god or mythological figure for humanity to take part in any sort of ongoing blessing or special promise. There is no extension or invitation of humanity to enter into the “graces” of any deity or mythological figure. Pagan gods have a closed door policy, act in secrecy and tell their adherents to not tell or spread the news of their existence and whatever benefits offered. They are certainly not evangelical and do not operate under a commission to proliferate the ideas and concepts of the deity.

E – Evidence. There is a marked and defined absence of any normally accepted historical evidences such as eyewitness testimony, literary evidences, archaeological evidences, or multiple attestations from both friendly and hostile sources. Christianity demonstrates all of these sorts of evidences and more. As stated, historical finds down through the centuries have only served to validate or place valuable perspective on accounts recorded within the biblical narrative and have not to date overturned any narratives recorded within scripture.

D – Discipleship. As contrasted with Christianity, pagan gods and mythological figures had no uniform message or creed, never garnered individuals to proliferate their messages, offered parallels that were of a historically late date, and were ever changing in nature as myth tends to do, and certainly not life impacting in any manner. Whereas Christianity had disciples who were of all persuasions, skeptics who were converted such as James and Paul and a remarkably consistent set of truths or creeds espoused and taught both early (within some 10 years of Jesus death) and expansively in many regions of the known world. Where Christianity was taught certain doctrines were also taught with great consistency and in an unevolving manner. Teachings such as the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus were commonly passed down and taught in every region where Christian writings have been retained. We call those consistent set of principles, beliefs and teachings, essentials of the faith.

Closing:

It is for these reasons that one can come to a solid epistemological understanding that the God of the bible has answered the prayers of humanity and provided a means of fellowship and blessing above unequivalent deities and mythological figures and entities. So when someone challenges the veracity of your understanding of why serve the God of the bible as opposed to any other being…Just remember, its because that CAT DIED.

Notes:

{1} ~ (The New Testament Documents, Are They Reliable? F.F. Bruce [Inter Varsity Press 5th Ed.] pg. 13)

{2} ~ (Reinventing Jesus, Komoszewski, Sawyer & Wallace [2006 Kregel Books] pg. 71,77).

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One Response

  1. Sister Pat says:

    This was good Pastor Burnett…I wish you had a online biblical curriculum (sp?) I could study on a more in depth level. Bless you Pastor for your labor of love in the word and for the Saints.

    PHB~ Thank you Sister Pat, I’m working toward just what you’re talking about and requesting. We’ll give it some time The Lord will make a way. Thanks and God bless.

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