What more shall we find in Jim Hall’s book? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
As we return, it’s not a shock that one of the passages I come across is Judges 1:19 and how God can’t drive out the people because they have iron chariots. Naturally, a God who conquered Egypt and parted the Red Sea would obviously have a problem with iron chariots? Right? The reference to he is not to YHWH. It is to Judah. Judah was not being fully faithful and chose to not take on iron chariots. After all, later in chapter 4, there is an army with 900 iron chariots that is defeated.
Hall also has a list of words known to Bible scholars but not to men in the pews. This is a shame. The people in the pews do need to be better educated. These terms include gloss, mimesis, and pseudepigrapha. There are some assertions here such as Moses is deutero which Hall says is another writing of a book but not by the same author. Deuteronomy really means Second Law and is a summation of all that happens before the Promised Land.
He also says Nazareth does not show up anywhere in the ancient world. Why should it? It was a small little podunk hardly worth mentioning. Rene Salm popularized the whole idea of the myth of Nazareth. It has never caught on among archaeologists. Bart Ehrman has even written on this arguing that Nazareth was a real place.
He has the story of the Syro-Phoenician woman as well. This is one I have already written about. Again, Hall is banking on his readers being just as ignorant as he is and getting an emotional reaction out of them. It would be awful for him to consult any commentaries and actually encounter contrary thought.
He has the story about Lot and the two angels. Yeah. Not Lot’s finest moment. What is this supposed to show? YHWH never approved of Lot’s behavior. He still spared him not because of his sinfulness but in spite of it.
He says that Peter and Paul supposedly died around 65, but if that’s the case, then Peter would not refer to Paul’s writings as Scripture because, well, reasons. None are given. He also says Paul’s letters weren’t discovered and circulated until 150 A.D. I would love to know where he got this little piece of fiction from since Polycarp and Clement both wrote of Paul. Third, he says Peter was illiterate so he couldn’t write so obviously, this letter is a forgery. The problem here is Peter would have used a secretary, just like people who could write used.
He has God making light on day 1 but nothing that produces light until day 4. It is a shame he has never availed himself of the cosmic temple view of creation that John Walton has. In this, it’s not that the matter is being created, but that the function of it is being named.
He says the RCC has finally accepted evolution, but they still accept Adam and Eve which is the epitome of cognitive dissonance. I am not aware if they have made a formal statement on Adam and Eve or not, but how is it cognitive dissonance? One can have evolution and still have two distinct human beings. Furthermore, I don’t think the RCC was really that opposed to evolution from the beginning.
He says wearing a polyester-cotton blend T-shirt is a sin based on Leviticus. The first problem is missing the role of the law and the relation of it to the Christian. The second is that this is about ritual purity and it is not about sin.
He says Jesus was illegitimate since Mary and Joseph had not yet married when he was born. The whole point of the story is that Jesus was not conceived through illegitimacy but had a virgin birth, which I do affirm. Exactly how little does Hall think his audience knows about the Bible?
Hall says there’s only one reason to believe something and that’s you know it to be true. That’s not accurate. One could just have good reason to believe it to be true. Proof isn’t always easy. Some reasons he says to not believe something are that it gives you comfort or hope, everyone around you believes it, or social reasons like losing job or reputation, or because you fear death. Sure. I agree with those. And?
He also says it took the Israelites 40 years to walk 250 miles. Indeed. Purposefully too, because they disobeyed and they had to wander in the wilderness until the wicked generation died. This is basic knowledge every Christian should know about the Old Testament.
He also has a list of later beliefs Christians had that aren’t in the Bible. One is the Trinity since 1 John 5:7-8 is a forgery. What of it? To say that is the basis of the doctrine of the Trinity is to be entirely ignorant of New Testament studies.
He finally says that if the only reason you don’t do wicked evils is because of religious morality, you are a dangerous psychopath. Japan has one of the lowest rape rates in the world but is one of the most atheistic country in the world. Where does he get this from? He says the Pew Research Center, but color me skeptical since Japan is highly religious with Shintoism and Buddhism both playing major roles. Also, Japan has one of the highest suicide rates as well.
Furthermore, what reason does Hall have to not be that psychopath? Who makes these moral rules? What is their foundation? Why should I care?
We shall continue another time.