How did we not get the Bible? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Let me tell you the story about how we got the idea of evolution.
Once in history Charles Darwin was sailing around in the Beagle Boat and saw a bunch of birds who had different beaks and came up with an idea of animals mutating into different forms, kind of like Pokemon, and then decided to extrapolate all the way back to the past. Modern scientists today think that there was a pond somewhere on Earth and a lightning bolt struck it and some cells came together and a bunch of them turned into a fish that crawled out of the ocean and turned into every other animal that we see over time. Unfortunately for the theory, Darwin recanted of it on his deathbed.
Anyone who is an evolutionist be it an evolutionary creationist or a naturalistic creationist would think I am a total moron on the theory saying that. You know what? They would be right. That would be one of the worst presentations I could give of evolution. That doesn’t mean that evolution is true, but it does mean that I don’t know what I’m talking about with it.
Now imagine if someone said the same kind of thing about the Bible? What if someone made a statement presuming to be an authority on a subject and yet it was nonsense? Such is the case with a meme I saw recently. I went to my site here to see if I had said anything about it and I hadn’t. Therefore, I decided I should write about it.
This meme is attributed to David Cross. I do not know for sure if he said the quote or not, but people spread it around anyway. For the sake of argument, I am going to be assuming it was said but even if it was not, the thought expressed, or lack of thought I should say, is one that is commonly shared.
So let’s look at this meme in all of its infamy.
Where to begin?
First off, the Bible is a book that was written over a long period of time so to say when it was written doesn’t really make sense. It’s also unclear about what is meant by when it was editing. Some editing did take place in copying, but this would be to replace an unknown location with what it was known by to the current audience. This is not a change of content.
As for dead languages, not at all. Three languages are in there. Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. Today, there are scholars of all three languages so we can know what is said. it would also be false to say a translation was made of a translation of a translation of a translation. Go to the store and get any Bible you want. It has been translated one time. Each translation goes back to the manuscripts that we have to see what it says.
Then given to kings for their favorite parts? Which kings were these? Cross doesn’t say and for good reason. There aren’t any to say. For a king to make this kind of change, he would have to go and change every single manuscript out there that we do have of the Old Testament and the New Testament. With the New Testament, he would also have to change the quotations found in the early church fathers.
Then Cross goes back to the editing and re-editing and then talks about it being given to the Pope for him to approve. Which Pope? He doesn’t say. Again, this is for good reason. There wasn’t a Pope who did this.
We come back to the same refrain again to which he then says that all of this was based on stories told 30 to 90 years AFTER they happened.
Um. Mr. Cross. I don’t know how to break this to you, but most histories are written after the events happen. Some historians have tried writing about it before, but it really doesn’t work that well. It’s best to wait until the events take place and THEN write about them.
I would also think it would be awesome if we could get skeptics to say Genesis was written 30-90 years after the events took place. We could easily dispense of JEPD then. This again is another area where Cross doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
Cross’s statement is also unclear. Did these stories just start getting told 30 to 90 years later? Doubtful. These were being told in the lifetime of Jesus even and these were oral societies that knew how to keep stories well. Don’t expect him to cite anyone like McIver or Dunn or Keener or anyone like that.
Also, 30 to 90 years in that time wasn’t a long time. Many of the lives of Plutarch were written over a century later. Many great historical works were written long after the events took place. This sounds like a problem to modern people. It’s not in the world of ancient history.
Finally, most people back then couldn’t read or write, but someone else could and that person would read a letter or Gospel. Normally, the person delivering the work would also know the author and be able to tell some of the details that weren’t written and answer questions. Again, no research is cited in this little meme but hey, lack of research has never stopped atheists from propagating statements of faith like this.
So no, you don’t have to wonder what it would be like for someone to get Biblical transmission as wrong as I got evolution.
David Cross has already done this for us and so have all the atheists who have shared this as if it was a convincing argument.