Book Plunge: Atheist Universe Part 9

Can Genesis be reconciled with modern science? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I was pleased to go through this chapter and find that Mills regularly interacted with the Christian scholarship holding the opinion he disagreed with. He cited sources regularly, took them seriously and……yeah. We all know that didn’t happen!

So how does Mills start?

The New Testament books of Matthew and Luke then continue the genealogy from David to Jesus, again specifying the age at which each male descendant “begat” the next generation. Since we have a fixed “historical” time period for Jesus’ birth, creationists thereby calculate that the heavens and Earth were created by God in the year 4004 B.C. Earth, therefore, is only 6000 years old by the biblical chronology.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 137). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

No. Earth is 6,000 years old according to Bishop Ussher’s chronology. We’ve learned a lot about biblical genealogies since then, but what does new information have to do with Mills? It would be awful to read the latest and best scholarship on the matter. One wonders what Mills would think if I judged modern science by the beliefs of scientists 300+ years ago. Sure. Like Biblical scholars and historians, they had some things right, but they had some things wrong as well.

Again also, this term comes up of creationists. At some points, Mills would seem to think someone like me is a creationist, but I sure don’t hold to the Earth being 6,000 years old. Not even all YECs hold 6,000 years as some go for 10,000 years.

He also says some creationists say that if the Earth is this young, then evolution is a fraud. On that, they are right, at least in the macro sense. Macroevolution is definitely a fraud then. The problem is what he says after this:

They echo the sentiments of St. Thomas Aquinas, who believed that any discord between science and Scripture was due to errors of science, rather than errors of Scripture.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 137). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

Aquinas wrote around 80 books or so in his lifetime. Mills just throws out a claim and gives no reference whatsoever to it.  To be sure also, I asked some other friends who are also Thomists if they could recognize any such reference. We all knew of no place where Aquinas said this and we also agreed he would be hesitant to disagree with Augustine who said:

“Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience.

“Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although “they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion [1 Timothy 1.7].” (The Literal Meaning of Genesis, Book 1 Chapter 19 Paragraph 39)

Note this also. There is a reference to that. I don’t pull Mills’s technique of saying “This guy said this. Just trust me on it!” If anyone wants to see what Augustine said, that’s where you go.

One creationist he does interact with is R.L. Wysong. While I don’t agree with Wysong’s claims on the speed of light, granting Mills represents them accurate, a huge thing to grant, I do find it odd that one criticism Mills has is Wysong is a veterinarian. I find this odd because I tried to find Mills’s academic credentials and I couldn’t find any, and yet Mills wants to speak on science, philosophy, history, and Biblical studies, and have us take him seriously.

Moving on, Mills says:

Today, some creationists are abandoning their long-held belief in a 6000-year-old Earth. Why this abrupt reversal of opinion? Were startling new chapters suddenly discovered in the Book of Genesis? Did Moses appear in a miraculous vision, revising his previous chronology, and teaching the geological history of an ancient Earth? No. The change of heart among some creationists is due to the fact that modern scientific research has shown the Genesis chronology to be nothing short of ridiculous.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 142). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

Actually, this is false. There had always been discussions on the age of the Earth. It can be granted to Mills that Since the Beginning was not in print when he wrote this book, but the information that Greenwood cites in his work was available. (My copy is back in Tennessee so I am unable to cite the references here.) Mills just assumes that a fundamentalist reading has always been the held reading.

More-liberal-minded creationists, however, strive mightily to disassociate themselves from the conservative Fundamentalists. These non-literalists often refuse to call themselves “creationists,” even though they believe in God as the Almighty Creator of the heavens and the Earth. This non-literalist group believes in an ancient Earth and in macro (large-scale) evolution. They believe that Genesis and modern science may be successfully reconciled. The primary difference between the literalists and the non-literalists is this: The literalists distort science to make it harmonize with Genesis. The non-literalists distort Genesis to make it harmonize with science.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (pp. 142-143). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

Yet in all of this, Mills has not gone through the text of Genesis. He has not made any attempt to explain how it should be read. All he is saying is “Anyone who doesn’t read it in way X is wrong.” One may disagree with readings of others who do not hold to a YEC position, but one should at least see what they say and how they explain the text.

That is, if one really cares about truth. Mills doesn’t, so not a shock that he doesn’t do this.

Generally speaking, religious-minded individuals know little about science. And science-minded individuals know even less about the Bible. With each camp sadly uninformed about the other, reconciliation seems possible and desirable to both sides. In reality, agreement is possible only by (1) perverting science, as the Fundamentalists do, or by (2) perverting the Book of Genesis, as the non-literalists do.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (pp. 143-144). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

Yes, everyone. Science-minded individuals, of whom I am sure Mills will include himself, are uninformed about the Bible, but Mills is the exception! He will tell you what the Bible really means! It would be a delight to see what Mills would say in a debate with someone like John Lennox or Hugh Ross.

1. The non-literalists believe that Earth is much older than 6000 years. To rationalize their belief in an ancient Earth, non-literalists claim that the Genesis genealogies contain “errors of omission.” In other words, the genealogies are only partial lists, overlooking many intermediate generations between Adam and Jesus. When Scripture says, for example, that “Salah lived thirty years, and begat Eber,” that really means that Salah lived thirty years and begat Eber’s grandfather or great, great, great, grandfather. When the “missing” generations are added to the chronology, the date of Creation drifts further into the past. To me, such a position is absolutely mind-boggling. How can we believe (A) that Genesis is the Inspired, Perfect, Holy, Infallible Word of God, while simultaneously believing (B) that the Genesis genealogies should be disregarded because they contain “errors of omission”? Was God in a forgetful mood when He “inspired” Genesis? Creationist Henry Clarence Thiessen, suggesting that the Genesis genealogies may be overlooked, writes that “a study of the various [other] biblical genealogies indicates that they are incomplete and contain omissions.”

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (pp. 144-145). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

After all, the only way you can do a genealogy is the way modern people do. The genealogies do have omissions in them. That’s not because they’re “errors.” It’s because of the way genealogies were done in the past. As said though, Mills is not interested in this kind of thinking or research.

From this, he gets to saying:

So the non-literalist argument goes like this: We believe that the Genesis genealogies may be unreliable since other biblical genealogies are also unreliable.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 145). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

But we aren’t saying they are unreliable. They are reliable for the purpose for which they were written and the time as well. Mills is imposing a modern standard on the genealogies that is foreign to the text.

When viewed in isolation, the Genesis genealogies themselves posit no miraculous events or supernatural Beings. If we cannot interpret these mundane genealogies literally, then we cannot interpret anything in the Bible literally. These same creationists, however, demand that we interpret literally the existence of God, Jesus, the Holy Ghost, the Devil, Angels, Heaven and Hell. All miraculous events portrayed in the Bible are likewise to be interpreted in a strictly literal sense: Jesus literally turned water into wine—literally cast out demons—literally walked on the Sea of Galilee—literally placed a magic curse on a fig tree—literally rose from the dead. Apparently, it’s only the Genesis genealogies that we are supposed to interpret metaphorically.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (pp. 147-148). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

But saying the genealogies were done differently is not saying they were metaphorical. No. These were real people in a real time and a real place.

Let us remember that a young Earth was always posited by religious leaders throughout the entire history of Christianity. No medieval priest ever asserted that Genesis described a 4.5-billion-year-old Earth. No ancient church document ever claimed that Adam and Eve lived hundreds of millions of years ago. And no pre-Renaissance missionary ever preached a sermon about “omissions” or “time gaps” in the Genesis genealogies. If creationists now wish to abandon their historical position and acquiesce to an ancient Earth, then I applaud their progress. But it is a farce to maintain that Genesis never really demanded a young Earth since the genealogies were always intended as metaphors.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 148). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

Of course, Mills gives no citations for any of this. There is no indication he has looked at church history. There is no mention of creedal statements or anything of the sort. It is just asserted. Also, I contend that no one could tell the age of the Earth from Genesis because that was not the point of Genesis.

Mills then goes on to list other “problems” in the text, such as the existence of unicorns. He lists all the references, but fails to mention that this is just how the KJV translated it. There is no Hebrew word for unicorn. Many translations now speak of it as the auroch instead. What Mills would need to show is that the Hebrew word meant unicorn. This, he does not do.

The same can apply to dragons, which can often refer to a great serpent or a sea monster or even a venomous snake. The word for cockatrice also refers to a serpent. Satyrs most likely refers to hairy goats.

I also find it revealing that, in the newer, modern-language translations of the Bible, these ridiculous passages of Scripture have been dishonestly excised, rewritten or edited beyond recognition from their original translation in the King James. So not only are the Great Pretenders forsaking long-honored and long-held Christian beliefs, but the Bible itself, under their supervision, appears to be experiencing a quiet, behind-the-scenes, Hollywood makeover as well.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 150). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

Yes. Because the way the KJV translated it was the way the church for all those years always understood the text.  It would be horrible for Mills to go back and just try to figure out what the original words meant. If you go and look up the words on, you are doing more research than Mills did.

Because religious doctrines are supposedly ordained of God, the religious adherent cannot easily question the teachings of his chosen church, even when those teachings are provably false. The scientist, on the other hand, is most rewarded when he proves the conventional wisdom wrong and revolutionizes our understanding of the universe.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 155). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

On the contrary, I happen to love it when Christians start questioning the church. Meanwhile, go out as a scientist and start questioning climate change or at least humans causing climate change and see what happens to you. Go out and say “Maybe the Intelligent Design crowd has a point” and see what happens to you. Scientists often have their own groups that do not welcome any questioning. (After Covid, we can speak a lot about any scientist who dared say that Covid was made in a lab.)

Mills is fooling himself if he thinks any majority really likes to be questioned.

The fun continues next time as we talk about miracles.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)










Death For Gathering Sticks?

Isn’t this a stiff penalty? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Many readers can be puzzled by this story in Numbers 15 and internet atheists love to share it:

32 While the Israelites were in the wilderness, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day. 33 Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly, 34 and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him. 35 Then the Lord said to Moses, “The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp.” 36 So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the Lord commanded Moses.

Wow. All this guy was doing was gathering wood and he gets put to death?

The context of this is right before this, the text speaks of the sin of the high hand. This is someone who acts defiantly in the face of God. They know that something is wrong and they go and do it anyway. It is an act of treason in such a covenant.

And that is what this man did.

Also, keep in mind that there is just one man who does this. Just one. What does that tell us? It tells us that this man knew he was doing something in isolation as the rest of the community was resting and if by some strange reason he didn’t know why, it would have been easy enough to find out.

Note also that if we say he was gathering wood for cooking, then we have a bigger problem. On the Sabbath, fires were not to be set (Exodus 35:3), no cooking was to be done, (Exodus 16:23), and of course, this was one of the Big Ten Commandments. Everything about this act is wrong.

Even if for some reason he had not had enough food somehow, hospitality was greatly valued in the Middle East. It would have been easy to go to a rich person who had an abundance and get something to eat. Also, in a worst-case scenario, no one is going to starve to death before the sun goes down.

When we get to the New Testament, we see Jesus allowing exceptions on the Sabbath for something like necessarily daily care for animals or for someone who is sick or in a place of injury. Does that cancel this out? Not at all. None of those situations shows what is going on here. It was still defiance and individual defiance would put the whole community at risk.

Also, if this man is willing to do such a thing for something so small, what is to stop him from doing it for something greater? Proverbs says a thief can be understood if he is trying to get food to eat. Again, this is not the same scenario.

Ultimately, what we can learn is that in the Old Testament at least, God does take keeping the Sabbath seriously. To mess up in this area leads to the death penalty. This is something we should keep in mind with out future study of this.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)


No. The Bible Doesn’t Spell It Out

Does the Bible have to state everything explicitly? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday, I spent some time engaged with a Sabbatarian in *cough* debate, if you can call it that. It’s really amazing when you catch these guys in an error proven in what they say and then say in their next post they’re not going to admit anything wrong and go on and act like it didn’t happen and then they go and do just that. Anyway, the main line that kept being used was “Tell me where the Bible says that the Sabbath was changed from Saturday to Sunday.”

One of my favorite responses I like to give to these people is to say “Oh! That’s right next to where the Scriptures tell us to gather books together and call them the New Testament.” That’s not in there either. Also on this point, a lot of these people don’t care what the church fathers said, you know, the ones that oversaw the text and helped us figure out what was and wasn’t canon?

The real problem is that a lot of people do have this idea that the Bible has to spell everything out, when it doesn’t. If you don’t have a specific chapter and verse, well then we just can’t go with it. There are a number of statements Scripture doesn’t speak on and we have to make decisions on them without that. We can look to other sources, like philosophy and the Fathers, but there is no one chapter and verse.

There are a lot of doctrines Protestants reject, whether rightly or wrongly, that are in this category. Nothing in the text tells you to pray to Mary explicitly or that she was a perpetual virgin. The RCC takes a strong stance on birth control, which I understand, and while they could be right, there is no chapter and verse on this.

There are some people who think the only argument that could exist for the Trinity is that verse in 1 John not found in the oldest manuscripts and remove that, and there’s no Trinity. (Atheist Frank Zindler actually argued this.) Sure, it would be easier if we had such a verse, but we don’t. Many doctrines are systematic in the sense that you take all the verses and references from all of Scripture and put them together. There is no one verse of Scripture you should go to to get your doctrine of salvation or of the end times, for instance.

So what about Sabbath issues? The question I kept asking was “Why should this show up?” Let’s suppose that the case is correct, which I think it is, that the Sabbath was moved to Sunday because of the resurrection of Jesus. Which verse needs to say that? None. If there is no indication that this was a debate going on in the Christian community, nothing needs to be said about it.

One reason is because of a high-context society. In this society, background knowledge is assumed. Here in America, if you go back and read the Federalist Papers, they’ll talk about events in Greek and Roman history casually. They never explain them. Why? They assumed that any educated person would know about that and would understand. Today, many of us reading them would need to look them up.

Today, imagine watching a news report and the report tells about a bomb that went off in Tehran. The reporter might say “the capital of Iran” to explain that. That’s because we live in a low-context society. Background knowledge is not assumed.

The problem when we come to Scripture is we treat a high-context book as if it was a low-context book. It doesn’t explicitly state some things because A. It expects you to figure them out or B. They just don’t really matter.

So where does Scripture make the claim about the Sabbath? Nowhere. Go through the rest of the New Testament though and you will see the first day of the week emphasized quite a lot. The writers expected you to figure it out.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Why Christians Are Wrong About Jesus

How shall we begin this one? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Rather than continue going through the 101 reasons book, we’ll go through this one seeing as it seems a bit meatier. As I started reading through, I was pleased to see the topic seemed to be taken seriously. It’s sad that I was relieved that nothing was said about Jesus existing at the start of the work. Too many atheists out there think that is some hot debate in the academic world. (Spoiler alert. It isn’t.)

The book is by a guy named John Campbell who I think says he is a lawyer, which got me thinking this could probably be a bit more rigorous. In some ways, it is. In others, I do find myself being disappointed again.

Today, we’re just going to look at the introduction. First, one noteworthy point is that he says Christians have their view of Jesus too colored by Paul. In some ways, there can be a sense in which we ignore the Gospels and go to the epistles where we think the doctrine is. However, the main point to establish is that Campbell says never met Jesus or heard His teachings.

To begin with, this is just an argument from silence. We don’t have any record of Paul encountering Jesus, to be sure, but that is a far cry from saying it never happened. Arguments from silence like this are just weak. Not only that, we have Paul’s work in Galatians that no one disputes that says that he met with the disciples for a prolonged period and as has been said, we can be sure that they weren’t talking about the weather. Paul would have known the teachings of Jesus.

Not only that, Clement of Rome was the disciple of Peter and Polycarp that of John. Both of them praised Paul. Hard to think they would praise someone who got the teachings of Jesus that their main mentors had taught them wrong.

Of course, there is a statement against miracles.

This is the primary reason historians reject miracle claims–miracles have no demonstrable analogy in the present. They don’t reflect the way we currently understand the world to work. They violate natural laws for which scientists have never demonstrated a violation. Because historians work in probabilities, the principle of analogy requires that miracle claims be assigned very low probabilities.

To begin with, this book came out this year. Keener’s work has been out for some time on miracles and yet, there is no interaction with either of his books on the topic. Second, one can say they don’t reflect the way we understand the world to work. I shall blow Campbell’s mind and say they don’t reflect the way ancient people knew the world to work either. They recognized miracles as exceptions for a reason.

Finally, it is question-begging to say we have never observed a violation of natural laws. If anyone does say they have seen a miracle, their testimony is discounted. Why? We know that’s not how the world works. How do we know that? Because it’s never been seen. One would think that Hume would be evoked so at least he wasn’t. It’s not a shock that Earman’s work on Hume was not referenced either.

We are also told Jesus did not write anything down. Indeed! Most great teachers didn’t as Sandy and Walton show in The Lost World of Scripture. Then we are told that the writings in the Gospels are anonymous, despite the church fathers practically agreeing universally on who wrote them. As to why they are anonymous, E.P. Sanders wrote that

The authors probably wanted to eliminate interest in who wrote the story and to focus the reader on the subject. More important, the claim of an anonymous history was higher than that of a named work. In the ancient world an anonymous book, rather like an encyclopedia article today, implicitly claimed complete knowledge and reliability. It would have reduced the impact of the Gospel of Matthew had the author written ‘this is my version’ instead of ‘this is what Jesus said and did.’  – The Historical Figure of Jesus by E.P. Sanders page 66.

He also says the Gospels contain fiction since even Gary Habermas, Mike Licona, and Bill Craig all say the resurrection of the saints didn’t happen in Matthew 27. That doesn’t mean first that those people are interpreting it as if it was a fictional account made up. They all say there is a reason for it being there. However, even more concerning is that Gary Habermas has never said it’s a fiction at all. I even emailed him to ask him if he had ever said that and received a reply of no, he had never said the resurrection of the saints is a fiction.

He does say that after Jesus’s crucifixion, Jesus’s brother James took up the movement. There is no interaction with N.T. Wright pointing out that James was never said to be the Messiah, which would be an easy claim to make if one Messiah figure falls. Perhaps that is addressed later, but here, it is not. He does go further though and say that James established a movement called the Nazarites, or the Way, or the Ebionites. No evidence is given for any of this.

He says Mark presents Jesus as entirely human. No effort to interact with the scholarship that disagrees. After all, there are plenty of ways for Jesus to show His deity besides getting up on a mountain and saying “Hi, everyone! I’m Jesus, but you may also know me as God!”

He also says Jesus’s family being shocked at what He was doing doesn’t make sense in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke since they mention a virgin birth (Which I do affirm), but he gives no reason for this. Was the family to have perfect theology and know entirely the plan of the Messiah from the get-go? The oldest son anyway was to provide for the family and Jesus wasn’t doing that. He also wasn’t acting the way the Messiah was supposed to act.

He does say that we can be sure Jesus taught the Kingdom of God since it would be embarrassing to put it in since that Kingdom didn’t come. As an orthodox Preterist, I contend that that Kingdom did come. Jesus is king right now. We will see if this is dealt with any more when we get deeper into the book.

Again, this book is better than most, but considering the most, that might not be saying a lot. We shall see more as we go on through and see how it holds up in the end.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Was Paul A Deceiver?

Can you trust Paul? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

If you’ve spent any time here, you know I don’t really take fundamentalist atheist arguments seriously. They’re notoriously bad. Bottom of the barrel. Hard to get any worse.

With one exception.

Muslim apologetics is far worse.

So yesterday, I’m browsing through Facebook and what do I see but this?

It really hurts how bad this is. I think I’m even more embarrassed some organization wanted to put their name at the bottom of this. Yes. Someone actually wants to claim ownership and let people know that they made this.

Where do I start?

Okay. Well first off, I do question that Romans 7 is autobiographical. You can see also here. That being said, even if it was about Paul, what is the worst we get here? We get a man who is obvious about the spiritual struggles that he is going through and speaks in the hyperbolic terminology that is normal for Jewish thinkers at the time.

Keep in mind, when Muhammad started having his experiences, he was convinced for a time that he was demonically possessed or was going crazy or something similar to that. If I am to reject Paul on these grounds, should I not do the same with Muhammad? Again, I don’t think Romans 7 is about Paul, but even if I did think that, I would not see this as a problem.

So let’s look at this second one. Ah yes, look at that trickster Paul there. He’s quite the sly one isn’t he? He caught his opponents by trickery!

Unless you do something strange and actually go and read the whole passage. Go take a look. You can find it right here.

Our Muslim friends don’t seem to know it, but there’s a thing in the world called sarcasm. Paul is employing it here. Yes. He tricked those Corinthians. He tricked them so much by…..not taking anything from them and having others cover the bill.

Yep! Crafty fellow he is! He gave the Corinthians his ministry and didn’t charge them anything for it!

Keep in mind, this is something that should be easy to understand, but it is not apparently to the Muslim mind.

So let’s look at the last one. Again, Paul is a trickster. He becomes all things to all people. How sneaky he is!

Let’s suppose you love hamburgers. Let’s now suppose you want to go and do ministry in India. At this point, I don’t care if you’re Muslim or Christian. Question. If you are wanting to reach the people in India, do you think it would benefit you to go to the Indian people, tell them about your God, and then start eating a hamburger in front of them?

Absolutely not. The cow is a sacred animal to them. They would not want to have anything to do with your message at that point.

I love my tea, but when I have Mormons over to visit me, I don’t drink tea in front of them. For Mormons, that violates the Word of Wisdom. If I was to visit Muslims and do ministry, even though I don’t eat pork products, I would definitely make sure to not eat them in front of Muslims.

This is what Paul is talking about. He doesn’t want to needlessly offend his Jewish audience he wants to convert, so in front of them, he follows Jewish dietary practices and other observances. In front of Gentiles, he lives much more freely. It’s all about being culturally appropriate. That’s not being deceitful. That’s being respectful.

And really, no one has to do a lot of thinking to see what’s going on in these passages. Sadly, I have seen internet atheists use this argument. Will Muslims stop using this one if they read this blog?

We can hope, but color me skeptical.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)


Why did David have a Census?

Who is the one who incited David? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I saw someone share this in a group and figured I should write something on this common objection. If you go to 1 Chronicles 21, you see this.

“Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel.”

Okay. That sounds pretty clear. The devil rises up against Israel. David then takes a census.

Yet when you see how 2 Samuel 24 starts, there’s a tiny difference there.

“Again the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go and take a census of Israel and Judah.”

Okay. So maybe having the Lord instead of Satan isn’t a tiny difference.

What’s going on?

Let’s start by looking at the first one. One of the problems with the translations we have today is that people rarely look behind them. The text says Satan. Well, obviously that’s Satan. Right?

Maybe not.

For one thing, the devil comes against David in this and the response is to….take a census?

Sure. In Israelite law the king was not supposed to do that, but why would he do it here? If the devil wanted to tempt David, weren’t there better ways that would appeal to David a lot more? To give an obvious one, that one last time of naked woman bathing within eyesight sure seemed to do the job pretty well.

If you look at the word for Satan in the text, you will find it doesn’t always refer to the angelic being. For instance, in Numbers 22 when Balaam is riding on his donkey, the Angel of the Lord stands as a Satan for Balaam. What? You don’t remember reading that? Because the text doesn’t say that. It says the angel stood as an adversary for him. Later in that chapter, the angel of the Lord uses Satan in an active sense to say that he was opposing Balaam.

In 1 Samuel when David is among the Philistines, they are scared to go to battle with him in the ranks lest he turn Satan on them to win the favor of Israel. Oh, wait. The text says the same thing again. It says that he will turn into an adversary to them.

In 1 Kings 5, the reign of Solomon is peaceful because there was no Satan against him. Wait. There it is again. Adversary. Yet when Solomon turns against God, there are raised up several Satans, no, adversaries, in the form of leaders of armies to fight against him.

True, the term is used in Job and Zechariah to refer to a figure much more like the fallen angel that we know of today, but that does not occur in the historical literature at all. In all likelihood then, this is what is going on here as well.

This also explains why David would then have a census. If another army is coming up, David will count his fighting men then. That is a failure on his part to trust in the Lord.

Also, none of this means that there is no fallen angelic being known as Satan. It just means that that is not who is in reference here. In this case then, the text has the Lord putting David to the test by raising up an army against him, and David fails.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Spiritual Deception in the Highest 9.1

What about the Waldenses? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

So we’re going back to this book by Jeff Johnson. It’s really sad that Ehrman gives me more to engage with than this guy guys, but such is the case. The source material can be found here.

Previously, we mentioned a group of people named the Waldenses (or Waldensians). We said that they made sure God’s Word was kept pure. We said this in connection with the Italic Bible of the Italian Church. In this chapter, we will examine their role in history.

As to these people we know that:

“The Waldenses were among the first of the peoples of Europe to obtain a translation of the Holy Scriptures. Hundreds of years before the reformation, they possessed the Bible in manuscript in their native tongue. They had the truth unadulterated, and this rendered them the special objects of hatred and persecution …” [S2P215].

I am not sure about them having a Bible in their native tongue, but that’s not necessary to the point. They did indeed hold a lot of doctrines contrary to Rome. We could consider them precursors of Protestantism.

“The Waldenses of northern Italy were foremost among the primitive Christians of Europe in their resistance of the Papacy. They not only sustained the weight of Rome’s oppression but also they were successful in retaining the torch of truth until the reformation took it from their hands and held it aloft to the world” [S2P205].

When Constantine became Emperor and ‘called a truce’ with the Christians, his effort was only a ‘surface gesture’. Constantine was actually a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Beneath his sheep’s wool, he was actually trying to unite pagan Rome with the true Church and thus dilute Christian doctrine with the heretical teachings of Rome. History records that the Waldenses did not fall for this deception. For instance:

“… when Christianity, emerging from the long persecutions of pagan Rome, was raised to imperial favor by the Emperor Constantine, the Italic Church in northern Italy – later the Waldenses – is seen as standing in opposition to papal Rome” [S2P207].

Unfortunately, nothing from Constantine is cited for this. This is a form of libel honestly and he would need to show that Constantine did this. If anything, paganism started breaking down a lot after Constantine.

Thus, the Waldenses remained steadfast in their faith. They could not be moved by ‘the carrot’ (i.e. a deceptive truce) nor could they be moved by ‘the stick’ (i.e. persecution).

In his book “Which Bible?”, David Otis Fuller exposes Rome’s efforts against the Waldenses:

“The agents of the Papacy have done their utmost to calumniate their [The Waldenses] character, to destroy the records of their noble past, and to leave no trace of the cruel persecution they underwent. They went even further-they made use of words written against ancient heresies to strike out the name of the heretics and fill the blank space by inserting the name of the Waldenses. Just as if, in a book, written to record the lawless deeds of some bandit like Jesse James, his name should be stricken out and the name of Abraham Lincoln substituted” [S2P205].

Fuller might have mentioned this, but Johnson doesn’t. I would like to see where this took place.

Not only was the character of the Waldenses corrupted in the documentation that has remained, but other records of the Waldenses were blatantly destroyed:

“The destruction of Waldensian records, beginning about 600 A.D. by Gregory the I, was carried through with thoroughness by the secret agents of the Papacy” [S2P206].

The Waldensians didn’t even come into being until the 13th century. It is unclear to me how their records could be destroyed before they existed.

And if this was not bad enough, the Waldenses were physically persecuted by Rome.

“History does not afford a record of cruelty greater than that manifested by Rome toward the Waldenses. It is impossible to write the inspiring history of this persecuted people, whose origin goes back to apostolic days and whose history is ornamented with stories of gripping interest. Rome has obliterated the records” [S2P206].

In his book “An Understandable History Of The Bible”, Reverend Gipp says:

“We find that Rome’s wicked persecutions of the Waldenses culminated in a devastating massacre of their number in 1655. They were hounded as ‘heretics’ until the mid 1800’s when their persistence paid off and the vile actions against them ceased” [S1P85-86].

Unfortunately, to an extent this is true. However, it’s important to note that Constantine has been replaced with the RCC as if there is a one-to-one parallel. Despite this, there is no dispute I know of about the Bible being used. What’s disagreed on is the interpretation.

We owe a lot to the Waldenses:

“To Christians such as these, preserving apostolic Christianity, the world owes gratitude for the true text of the Bible. It is not true, as Rome claims, that she gave the Bible to the world. What she gave was an impure text, a text with thousands of verses so changed as to make a way for her unscriptural doctrines” [S2P214-215].

So “Throughout the centuries, the Waldenses … had sown the seed …” [S2P224].

Thus, the name ‘Waldenses’ is forever recorded in history. For us, they passed on the pure Word of God (until the reformation would do it in mass). They withstood Rome. They held fast in their faith. And, they did this even unto death by massacre.

There is no telling how many souls were saved because of the Waldenses. Maybe yours, maybe mine. No one knows.

This chapter is dedicated to the Waldenses, and to the role they played, in history, to preserve God’s Word. Now, back to the history of our Bible.

I don’t doubt that we owe a lot to the Waldensians. I do doubt that they preserved Scripture while the RCC corrupted it. Johnson has given me no reason to think otherwise.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Spiritual Deception in the Highest 4.2

How did we get the Old Testament? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

We saw yesterday a statement that I could not describe as anything less than blasphemous. Today, Johnson is going to tell us some about textual transmission. (Perhaps if you wanted to write about Bible translation this would have been a better place to start.) The link can be found here.

“The Bible was written from 1650 BC to 90 AD” [S4P96]. (These dates include both the Old and New Testaments). As to the Old Testament:

“The Hebrew Scriptures were written by Moses and the prophets and other inspired men to whom God had given prophetic gifts” [S8P7].

The Old Testament text (Hebrew scriptures) were passed down both orally and in the written form. As to the oral tradition, we know the following:

“The original Hebrew manuscripts were not ‘pointed’, that is, the written text was made up of consonants, without the vowel sounds that make words pronounceable. The spoken text was passed down through the centuries by the Hebrew priests, who by their public reading of the Scriptures gave full understanding to the consonantal text” [S15P7].

Okay. Nothing really objectionable so far.

This oral tradition continued until:

“… a Jewish sect known as the Massoretes, concerned that the demise of this oral tradition would make the Hebrew Scriptures incomprehensible, set out to produce a standardized copy of the Hebrew Old Testament complete with vowel sounds” [S15P7].

Thus, the Massoretes standardized the Hebrew Text, giving us the ‘written tradition’.

The Masoretes did a valuable service, but we should not ignore the Dead Sea Scrolls either. Those were people trying to be faithful to the text as well.

In Alfred Levell’s book “The Old Is Better”; we are told how the Old Testament was copied and passed down in written form:

“For the Old Testament, the copying was done with extreme care by the Jewish priesthood in the centuries before Christ … After the time of Christ, copies were made by Jewish scribes, and especially by those from the 6th century onward called the Massoretes, who took extraordinary pains to ensure the correctness of their copies” [S13P17].

I tried to find the scholarly credentials of Levell. I found none. We have a KJV-onlyist quoting another KJV-onlyist.

The extraordinary pains that the Massoretes used included:

“… many complicated safeguards … such as counting the number of times each letter of the alphabet occurs in each book” [S8P13].

David Fuller expands on the care which went into copying the Hebrew manuscripts. He says:

“The Jews cherished the highest awe and veneration for their sacred writings which they regarded as the ‘Oracles of God’. They maintained that God had more care of the letters and syllables of the Law than of the stars of heaven, and that upon each tittle of it, mountains of doctrine hung … In the transcription of an authorized synagogue manuscript, rules were enforced of the minutest character. The copyist must write with a particular ink, on a particular parchment. He must write in so many columns, of such a size, and containing just so many lines and words. No word to be written without previously looking at the original. The copy, when completed, must be examined and compared within thirty days; if four errors were found on one parchment; the examination went no farther – the whole was rejected” [S2P112-113]

Fuller is at least a scholar, but he wrote this book back in 1970 and we have learned more sense then. He is also another KJV-onlyist. Still, there is really nothing wrong with this statement.

In his book “God Wrote Only One Bible”, Jasper James Ray also speaks about the carefulness of the scribes:

“In making copies of the original manuscripts, the Jewish scribes exercised the greatest possible care. When they wrote the name of God in any form they were to reverently wipe their pen, and wash their whole body before writing ‘Jehovah’ lest that holy name should be tainted even in writing. The new copy was examined and carefully checked with the original almost immediately, and it is said that if only one incorrect letter was discovered the whole copy was rejected. Each new copy had to be made from an approved manuscript, written with a special kind of ink, upon skins made from a ‘clean’ animal. The writer had to pronounce aloud each word before writing it. In no case was the word to be written from memory. They counted, not only the words, but every letter, and how many times each letter occurred, and compared it to the original” [S4P94-95].

I can find nothing on Ray, but once again, Johnson is only echoing his own side. He has thus far not studied anyone on something as simple as textual transmission except those who agree with him.

Notice: These 2 previous historical accounts differ slightly in a couple of places: namely did 1 or 4 errors cause the rejection of the whole copy; and did the copy get examined almost immediately or within 30 days. Suffice it to say that, even though these 2 quotes differ somewhat, the copies were made with extreme care. And, that is the point.

Therefore, we can have confidence in the Massoretic Old Testament text, because of what we have just learned, as well as:

“… the extreme reverence with which the Jews regarded their Scriptures affords a powerful guarantee against any deliberate corruption of the text” [S2P118].

And the Massoretic Old Testament has also been confirmed through other means, namely the:

“… many secondary witnesses … including translations into other languages, quotations used by friends and enemies of biblical religion, and evidence from early printed texts” [S18P153].

Again, still no problem.

Additionally, David Fuller points out (about the Massoretic Old Testament text):

“The Old Testament, precisely as we have it, was endorsed by Jesus Christ, the Son of God … The Old Testament was our Lord’s only study book …. Five hundred and four times is the Old Testament quoted in the New” [S2P113-114].

In the booklet “God’s Inspired Preserved Bible” the author says (of the Massoretic Text):

“As a summary we may say that 10% of Christ’s words were taken directly from the Old Testament” [S7P7].

Thus, the Massoretic Old Testament Text has been carefully reproduced and has been attested to by Jesus Christ. It is this Massoretic Text, which forms the Old Testament, of our King James Bible.

I have no problem with using the Masoretic text, but I have no desire to throw out the Dead Sea Scrolls.

We shall continue next time with the New Testament.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Spiritual Deception in the Highest 2.3.2

What else is supposedly wrong in the Amplified? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

It’s definitely a labor of love going through King James Onlyism. As always, the original source can be found here. Right now, we are looking at the KJV compared to the Amplified.

Matt. 18:11

KJV: “For the Son of Man IS come to save that which was lost.”

AMP: “For the Son of man came to save (from the penalty of eternal death) that which was lost.”

Comment: The AMP says Jesus Christ “came” to save that which was lost; a PAST TENSE statement. The AMP implies that ALL who were to be saved, HAVE BEEN saved. Not true. Anyone, TODAY, can be saved by Jesus Christ. The correct reading is PRESENT TENSE. This AMP corruption is very subtle but very important.

Unfortunately for Johnson, this is false. The Greek word here is ηλθεν. Anyone is welcome to look it up even in Blue Letter Bible and you will find it is in the aorist tense, which refers to the past. Hint Johnson. You don’t determine the tense of a word by just looking at what you think it should be. You look at it by studying the word itself.

Also, I really don’t see the Amplified implying this at all. Johnson wants it to say this. This is just a failure of the principle of charity when reading a text you disagree with.

Mark 1:2

KJV: “As it is written IN THE PROPHETS, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.”

AMP: “Just as it is written in the prophet Isaiah: Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will make ready Your way;”

Comment: Sometimes verses in the New Testament requote the Old Testament. This is happening here. The verse being quoted is not in Isaiah, as the AMP says, it is from Malachi 3:1. Check it out! Not only does the AMP misquote the Word of God, it even mis-quotes itself. The KJV has the correct reading: “As it is written in the prophets …”, because Malachi was a prophet!

Verbatim what was said before. See my response here.

Luke 2:33

KJV: “And JOSEPH and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.”

AMP: “And His [legal] father and [His] mother were marvelling at what was said about Him;”

Comment: This is blasphemy! Contrary to what the AMP would say, Joseph WAS NOT Jesus’ father! God WAS Jesus’ father! Every Christian knows this! And contrary to the AMP, God was also Jesus’ LEGAL father. Think about what the AMP is saying: If Jesus’ had an earthly father, then He is just any man. If He is just any man, then we are still in our sins. If we are still in our sins, then we are not saved. If we are not saved, then we have a BIG PROBLEM.

Same thing again. See here.

John 3:13

KJV: “And NO MAN hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.”

AMP: “And yet no one has ever gone up to heaven; but there is One Who has come down from heaven, the Son of man [Himself], Who is – dwells, Whose home is – in heaven.”

Comment: Not true AMP. There HAVE BEEN others who have gone up to heaven. Remember the angels of Jacob’s ladder? They were ascending and descending. The KJV has the correct reading which is: “… NO MAN hath ascended up to heaven …”

Johnson repeating himself again. See here.

Acts 12:4

KJV: “… after Easter …”

AMP: “… after the Passover …”

See here.

Acts 17:22

KJV: “Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are TOO SUPERSTITIOUS.”

AMP: “So Paul, standing in the center of the Areopagus [Mars Hill auditorium] said: Men of Athens, I perceive in every way – on every hand and with every turn I make – that you are most religious …”

Comment: Come on! Being “most religious” and “TOO SUPERSTITIOUS” are entirely different!

At least he makes my job very easy when he keeps repeating the same claims. See here.

1 Cor. 5:7b

KJV: “For even Christ our passover is sacrificed FOR US:”

AMP: “… for Christ, our Passover [Lamb], has been sacrificed.”

COMMENT: Leaving out “FOR US” misses the point entirely.

See here.

1 Cor. 16:22

KJV: “If any man love not the Lord JESUS CHRIST, let him be Anathema Maranatha.”

AMP: “If any one does not love the Lord … he shall be accursed … ”

COMMENT: Leaving out “JESUS CHRIST” leaves us guessing as to whom the AMP wants us to love.

And here.

2 Cor. 2:17

KJV: “For we are not as many, which CORRUPT the Word of God …”

AMP: “For we are not, like so many … peddling God’s Word …”

COMMENT: Peddling and corrupting are very different. ‘Modern’ bibles try and hide from the truth that they are ‘corrupting’ the Word of God.

See here.

Gal. 2:20

KJV: “I AM crucified with Christ …”

AMP: “I have been crucified with Christ …”

COMMENT: The AMP says their crucifixion is over! Not true. The believers crucifixion is an ongoing, PRESENT TENSE, transaction.

Same as above.

Eph. 5:1

KJV: “Therefore be FOLLOWERS of God …”

AMP: “Therefore be imitators of God …”

Comment: The AMP documents Satan’s position exactly. ONLY Satan tries to IMITATE God as Satan wants to be worshipped AS God. Born again believers cannot imitate God. We can’t rule the universe. We can only follow God. Remember Jesus DID NOT tell his “fishers of men” to imitate Him. Jesus said: “follow me …”.


Philipians 3:8

KJV: “… and do count them but DUNG, that I may win Christ,”

AMP: “… and consider it all to be mere rubbish …”

See here.

1 Tim. 3:16

KJV: “… God was MANIFEST in the flesh …”

AMP: “… He (God) was made visible in human flesh …”

COMMENT: God wasn’t just made visible, He was MANIFEST in the flesh. The image of the beast, in Revelation, is going to be made visible!

So at least we have something different this time. The terms however are pretty much identical in the original languages. The word lists definitions of both manifest and made visible.

1 Tim. 6:10

KJV: “For the love of money is THE root of all evil …”

AMP: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil …”

COMMENT: There is a big difference between AMP’s “a” root and the correct KJV reading of “THE” root.

See here.

1 Tim. 6:20

KJV: “… oppositions of SCIENCE falsely so called”

AMP: “… contradictions in what is falsely called knowledge”


1 Peter 2:2

KJV: “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk OF THE WORD, that ye may grow thereby:”

AMP: “Like new born babes … desire – the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may … grow unto [completed] salvation.”

COMMENT: The AMP leaves out “OF THE WORD“. It’s God’s Word that makes us grow. Also, unlike what the AMP says, we DO NOT grow to “[completed] salvation”. That says salvation is by works! That is heresy. Remember: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2: 8-9).

See here.

Ultimately, part of the problem here is Johnson just repeats himself over and over again. How much research did he really do? Likely very little if any.

We will continue next time.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)




Spiritual Deception in the Highest 2-4

Were the disciples ignorant? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

We’re looking at more comparisons from a KJV-onlyist, this time between the KJV and the NKJV. You can find the link here. Let’s get started.

Acts 4:13

KJV: “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and IGNORANT men …”

NKJV: “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men …”

COMMENT: Peter and John had been with Jesus for some time. They WERE NOT untrained. Jesus HAD trained them. They were, however, ignorant (In the eyes of the Pharisees).

Why not say they were uneducated and untrained in the eyes of the Pharisees? (Is Jeff Johnson adding to the blessed KJV?!) However, the word Luke uses here best indicates uneducated and untrained. It meant that they had no formal education, which is true, but they had been with Jesus, the best rabbi ever.

Acts 17:22

KJV: “Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are TOO SUPERSTITIOUS.”

NKJV: “Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious;”

Comment: Come on! Being very religious and TOO SUPERSTITIOUS are entirely different!

But here’s the irony. The word means both. In a good sense, it refers to religious. In a bad sense, superstitious. Paul could have meant both. He could have been trying to leave his audience wondering where he was going, the good or the bad sense. Apparently, though, those questions aren’t worth exploring to Johnson. Nah. Just go with what the KJV says!

2 Cor. 2:17

KJV: “For we are not as many, which CORRUPT the Word of God …”

NKJV:”For we are not, as so many, peddling the Word of God …”

COMMENT: Peddling and corrupting are very different. “Modern” versions try and hide from the truth they are ‘corrupting’ the Word of God.

Once again, the word can indicate both. In some cases, peddling was even considered corrupting. Peddlers would alter their commodities somehow in order to get a profit. What is ridiculous here, is to insist that the modern versions are trying to out themselves. If this is the standard, does this mean that the KJV was peddling the Word of God?

KJV: “I AM crucified with Christ …”

NKJV: “I have been crucified with Christ …”

COMMENT: The NKJV is saying their crucifixion is over! Not true. The believers crucifixion is an ongoing, PRESENT TENSE, transaction.

Um. No. In one sense, of course, the crucifixion is over. However, when this verse is used in the accounts of the crucifixion in the Gospels, it is in the past tense. The principle of charity tries to read the opponent in the best light. Johnson has no interest in doing that.

Eph. 5:1

KJV: “Therefore be FOLLOWERS of God …”

NKJV: “Therefore be imitators of God …”

Comment: See chapter 1 of this report for a full analysis. Only Satan tries to imitate God as Satan wants to be worshipped AS God. Born again believers cannot imitate God. We can’t rule the universe. We can only follow God. Remember Jesus DID NOT tell his “fishers of men” to imitate Him. Jesus said: “follow me …”.

See here.

Hopefully next time, we will finish off this part.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)