No Original Documents: A Skeleton in God’s Closet?

Great article! Enjoy.

21 thoughts on “No Original Documents: A Skeleton in God’s Closet?

  1. This is such a tired argument, Petrus and one that Ehrman (among others) has explained time and time again.

    Such calls to innerancy etc are simply the apologetic cat calls to the faith-bound who regularly question their own version of reality as it comes into continuous conflict with plain old common sense.
    That’s why there are professional apologists, to help shore up such beliefs when science and archaeology begin to get a rad to close to the bone of historical truth.

    And isn’t it interesting that the oldest MS of the gMark, the first gospel, do not feature a Resurrected Jesus f Nazareth, and the tail-end tagged on verses are Christian forgery.


    1. Christians have never been opposed to truth, but the conflict arises when one has to interpret the data because interpretations have to start somewhere, whether theist or secular. The fact of the matter cannot be altered by our understanding or interpretation of of the facts. There is no Philosophical, Scientific or Archaeological defeater to Christianity that would render it FALSE. However the same could not be said about atheism.

      Regarding the text, that would have been a perfect time to cover up the differences in the manuscripts of Mark. The truth is with any sacred document you would rather leave something out than add additional information that might not be the original authors words. The Gospel of Mark is no different, but care was taken to identify these parts to preserve textual accuracy. BTW Mark clearly portrays Jesus as the messiah, that is the theme of the entire NT so no major doctrines are effected.

      Your argument comes from a considerate cautious CHRISTIAN standpoint. IT’S NOT AN ISSUE, BECAUSE IT’S CLEARLY DOCUMENTED AND IDENTIFIED BY CHRISTIANS! Using the bible to prove or DIS-prove the bible is still CIRCULAR… and fallacious.


  2. There is no Philosophical, Scientific or Archaeological defeater to Christianity that would render it FALSE.

    1:The Human Genome Project renders the biblical tale of Adam and Eve null, thus Original Sin is moot.
    We can extrapolate a whole host of arguments from hereon in , not least the fact the character, Paul considered Adam a genuine historical person and from his standpoint Augustine later fleshed out and developed the Doctrine of Original Sin.
    So here we have a perfect example of how science undermines Christian doctrine, and especially the nonsense of Biblical innerancy, and reveals it’s falsehood.

    2. The entire Pentateuch is historical fiction, a geopolitical myth acknowledged as such by almost the entirety of archaeology and also the vast majority of Rabbis and from my understanding a fair amount of Christians as well.
    Not least of which is the fabricated tale of the Egyptian Captivity , Exodus and Conquest, for which there is no evidence whatsoever. However, the archaeology reveals a completely alternate history of the Israelites than the fallacious story told in the bible. Ad this is acknowledged by almost all but the most intransigent and of course this would likely include evangelical Christianity and other biblical literalists such as Creationists.

    So we have too glaring examples of how science has demonstrated the untenable position of Christianity, as both examples have an enormous bearing on the New testament as a whole and the character Jesus of Nazareth in particular, that only preposterous semantic gymnastics can rescue.

    If you cannot provide scientifically back evidence for your assertions then then they are simply faith claims.
    Judging by the numbers of young people fleeing evangelical Christianity I would boldly suggest I am not alone in this belief either.

    The question not how far you can run from the truth, Petrus, but how you will react when it catches up with you. And if you consider the advances in science and archaeology, it looks like it is gaining very fast. Very fast indeed.

    Remember, everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, but you are not entitled to your own facts.


    1. We’ll your a little hard of hearing it appears.

      1. The science cannot get away from a “Mitochondrial Eve” or a “Y-Chromosonal Adam” therefore your point is moot.

      2. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. It certainly isn’t enough to proclaim something false because your evidence might be inconclusive at best. Lot’s of murders go unsolved, just because there is a lack of evidence doesn’t mean that there was no intruder… the evidence is the dead victim. To solve this mystery you don’t look at the lack of evidence and pronounce ‘no crime has been committed’ no, you build a case of positive evidence which is either inculpating or exculpating in nature. To assume that a lack of evidence for the OT is in fact exculpating evidence is a hasty generalization, aka a fallacy in your logic.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. 1. The science cannot get away from a “Mitochondrial Eve” or a “Y-Chromosonal Adam” therefore your point is moot.

    Perhaps, in fact you just don’t understand

    There was no biblical Adam and Eve.

    Thus no Original Sin. Therefore, Paul at the very least made a mistake based on the fact he didn’t have a clue what he was talking about and Augustine compounded his ignorance.

    Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

    NOW who’ s not listening?
    There is evidence of how Canaan was settled and it was, buy an large, all internal.

    Finkelstein, Dever, Herzog, to name three and there are hundreds of others who share the same view. Not to mention almost all Rabbis and biblical scholars.

    Also, can you please provide a single modern day archaeologist of any stripe who is on record as saying that the Biblical tale of the Captivity, Exodus and Conquest of Canaan was an historical event.


    Do you in fact realise what the logistics of an exodus of around 2 million people would actually entail?
    Are you aware of the population estimates of Egypt at the time? Around 3.5 to 4 million.
    Can you imagine what would happen to any society if more than half the population let alone almost the entire labour force upped and left?

    Are the any indications of such a major economic and societal collapse?
    Of course not. The idea is preposterous.
    Do you also realise the area was controlled by the Egyptians who had forts across the area. There is archaeological evidence for this.

    And for the clincher. Kadesh Barnia where the wandering Israelites are said to have spent around 38 years.
    Not a single scrap of evidence has ever been recovered from this site to indicate such a multitude for any time period.

    Read any of these extremely well researched and cited pieces …. if you have the courage. And do the follow ups from the citations ad links that are included.

    To assume that a lack of evidence for the OT is in fact exculpating evidence is a hasty generalization, aka a fallacy in your logic.

    Perhaps, Petrus, as difficult as it might be, it would be in your best interest to read outside your normal literature and read some secular archaeological material.


    1. You cannot escape the fact that there was a first male and first female that can be traced genetically. This leaves the door wide open for the possibility of the biblical account, however thats not what I’m arguing for. To assert it’s impossible is making a hasty generalization and therefore your logic is fallacious.

      It is not unreasonable to suppose that the Israelites adopted some generic terms from the Canaanite religion such as labelling their god El Shaddai, but to move from that to suggest that Israelite religion started from a local Canaanite storm god and perpetuated pagan practices is vacuous I’m afraid. Furthermore it is completely circular if you assume your conclusion.

      If your fallacious assertions and attempts at arguments continue then I’m afraid we will have to part ways my friend. This is ridiculous!


      1. No it doesn’t as the male and female were not even in the same time frame.
        And though we might be able to trace our ancestry to one woman and one man they came from a stock of several thousand.
        There was never solely a single couple.
        To suggest such a thing is spurious nonsense. Where are you coming up with this?

        Why on earth are you fighting so vehemently the genetics on this.
        You surely can’t believe in the whole Garden of Eden made from dust rib of Adam crap.

        Even Collins does not subscribe to this.
        So this closes the door emphatically on the biblical tale of Adam and Eve.

        Please , Petrus, you are beginning to sound like a student of Ken Ham or similar.

        What next, are you going to assert there was a literal global flood?
        Please the gods, don’t tell you believe in that garbage as well?

        Re: Yahweh.
        As the Ugaritic texts list Yhwh and we know that there was no conquest of Canaan ( no Moses no Joshua no Exodus etc) and we know that the Israelites arose from with the tribal system of Canaan where do you possibly think they got Yahweh from if not from the Canaanites?

        I am very interested to hear you thoughts on this.


        1. Your rejoinders are merely opinion. Your arguments lack significant force to dissolve the possibility of Adam and Eve.

          Regarding the Ugaritic texts; I did end up learning quite a bit. However, (once again) you ascribe an far to much weight to them, these clay tablets cannot undermine the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus. Actually as you will see they illuminate the OT with remarkable historical context.
          Consider this quote from LOGOS:

          “Given this state of affairs, it’s not surprising that sometimes in the course of their preaching and writing, the prophets counted on familiarity with Baal to make their case that it was Yahweh, not Baal, who was the heavenly king. We know this was the case, since certain Old Testament books actually quote from the Ugaritic religious texts, most notably the one that modern scholars have called the Baal Cycle. Whereas the Baal Cycle would give Baal credit for things like sending rain and making the crops grow, the prophets would credit those things to Yahweh. The showdown at Carmel (geographically close to Ugarit) is a case in point. God had withheld rain and Elijah challenged the rain giver to a duel, which God won in glorious fashion (1 Kings 17-18).

          The Bible can only be fully understood when properly situated within its ancient context. That is not to say that the Bible is no longer relevant for our modern world. The Bible is certainly written for our benefit, as well as the benefit of future generations. Still, the Bible was neither written by this generation nor for this generation as the immediately intended audience. It’s an ancient (wonderful!) record from God, which must be understood on its own terms. Putting the Bible into its ancient social, historical, and yes, even religious context doesn’t harm it; rather, the text is illuminated for people like us who are culturally removed from their origin.

          “The Cloud Rider”

          Throughout the Ugaritic texts, Baal is repeatedly called “the one who rides the clouds,” or “the one who mounts the clouds.” The description is recognized as an official title of Baal. No angel or lesser being bore the title. As such, everyone in Israel who heard this title associated it with a deity, not a man or an angel.

          Part of the literary strategy of the Israelite prophets was to take this well-known title and attribute it to Yahweh in some way. Consequently, Yahweh, the God of Israel, bears this descriptive title in several places in the Old Testament (Isaiah 19:1; Deuteronomy 33:26; Psalm 68:33; 104:3). For a faithful Israelite, then, there was only one god who “rode” on the clouds: Yahweh.

          Until we hit Daniel 7, that is. You know the scene, but you likely don’t know the full context, since Ugaritic provides that for us:

          9 As I looked on, the thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took His seat. His garment was like white snow, and the hair of His head was like lamb’s wool. His throne was fiery flames; its wheels were blazing fire. 10 A river of fire streamed forth before Him; thousands upon thousands served Him; myriads upon myriads attended Him; the court sat and the books were opened . . . 13 As I looked on, in the night vision, One like a son of man came with the clouds of heaven; he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented to Him. 14 Dominion, glory, and kingship were given to him; all peoples and nations of every language must serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away, and his kingship, one that shall not be destroyed.

          The plurality of thrones in the passage tell us plainly that we have here what scholars of the Hebrew Bible call a divine council scene — the high sovereign in his throne room, meeting with the heavenly host. The literature of Ugarit has many such scenes, and the biblical divine council and the council at Ugarit are very similar. In point of fact, the flow of Daniel 7 actually follows the flow of a divine council scene in the Baal Cycle:

          Ugarit / Baal Cycle Daniel 7

          (A) El, the aged high God, is the ultimate sovereign in the council. (A) The Ancient of Days, the God of Israel is seated on the fiery, wheeled throne (cf. Ezekiel 1). Like Ugaritic El, he is white haired and aged (“ancient”).
          (B) El bestows kingship upon the god Baal, the Cloud-Rider, after Baal defeats the god Yamm in battle. (B) Yahweh-El, the Ancient of Days, bestows kingship upon the Son of Man who rides the clouds after the beast from the sea (yamma) is destroyed.
          (C) Baal is king of the gods and El’s vizier. His rule is everlasting. (C) The Son of Man is given everlasting dominion over the nations. He rules at the right hand of God.

          The striking parallels are especially noteworthy given that this is the only time in the Old Testament where a second personage other than Yahweh is described as “coming with/upon the clouds” (the preposition in Aramaic can be translated either way). The intent of the author to describe this “son of man” with a title reserved only for Yahweh was clear by virtue of how the scene followed the Baal literature — the literary cycle whose central character, Baal, held the Cloud-Rider title!

          The Jewish audience reading Daniel understood the implications — the prophet Daniel was describing a second power in heaven — a second being at the level of Yahweh to whom Yahweh himself granted authority. Although we naturally think of the idea of a godhead as distinctly Christian, we have evidence here that the seeds of the idea are found in the Hebrew Scriptures. It’s no accident that Jewish theological writing during the Intertestamental period is filled with references to the “second power in heaven” and attempts to figure out how to articulate what was going on in heaven in light of monotheism. Jewish writers speculated that the “second god” was the archangel Michael, or perhaps Gabriel. Some Jewish writers even wrote that Abraham or Moses occupied that position! For Christians the answer was obvious.

          It is well known that Jesus’ favorite title for himself while on earth was “son of man.” The term means two things: (1) human being (Jesus enjoyed being human!), and (2) the deity figure to whom all authority was given. The latter usage is perfectly evident in Matthew 26, as Jesus stood before Caiaphas — someone who knew his Old Testament — waiting to fulfill his destiny on the cross. When asked to give the Sanhedrin a straight answer about who he was, Jesus quoted Daniel 7:

          63 But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (ESV)

          By quoting this passage, Jesus was making an overt, unmistakable claim to be deity—he in fact was the one who rides on the clouds. That this is no exaggerated interpretation is evident from Caiaphas’ reaction:

          65 Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy.” (ESV)

          The statement is only blasphemous if one is claiming to be the rider on the clouds. That idea may have been acceptable to Jews at the time, but it was simply intolerable that this man Jesus of Nazareth would claim to be the incarnation of the second power. What most of us might think is an odd answer, or even a deliberate deflection of Caiaphas’ demand, is the exact opposite. Jesus could not have been more blunt. He was the “second deity” of Daniel 7.”

          I think Jesus was speaking in terms people could understand, don’t you?


          1. Your rejoinders are merely opinion. Your arguments lack significant force to dissolve the possibility of Adam and Eve.

            Take it up with Collins and other geneticists on the HGP. They are the ones who have established there were no Adam and Eve as per the bible; not me. Your denial and desire to cling to the biblical tale is unscientific and ego-driven. The truth is painful, I can understand. It doesn’t change the truth.
            This you have to deal with before anything else. It is the bedrock that your literalist foundation is built upon. And it has failed, Petrus. The evidence from science has proved it. And if you are going to wave mitochondrial Eve back at me, then perhaps you ought to explain where the rest of the DNA came from>?


            1. I’d be happy too share my views regarding DNA. I really wanted to write an article about this at some point but I’ll let you look at it.

              The building blocks of life (proteins, ribosomes, enzymes etc.) are formed at the direction of specific nucleotide sequencing in DNA, the largest molecule known. In humans, DNA contains as many as 10 billion atoms. The adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine bases in DNA are linked in a particular order to form the genetic code containing the master plan for every organism. The information in DNA guides and instructs the formation of proteins; without it, protein formation would be a haphazard, hit-or-miss proposal. The nucleic sequence in DNA is informational.

              Physicist Paul Davies expresses it well: “Once this essential point is grasped, the real problem of biogenesis is clear. Since the heady successes of molecular biology, most investigators have sought the secret of life in the physics and chemistry of molecules. But they will look in vain for conventional physics and chemistry to explain life, for that is a classic case of confusing the medium with the message. The secret of life lies, not in its chemical basis, but in the logical and informational rules it exploits.”

              Information in RNA and DNA presents a problem for researchers, especially those who propose RNA as the first molecule to appear through some combination of chance and chemical necessity (known as the “RNA World Hypothesis”). Even if RNA is a precursor to DNA, the first RNA molecules would have to be rich in information to replicate. Information must exist first, before any other transformational process can take place. Without the prior genetic information in DNA and RNA, nothing of significance happens within cells.

              Nucleotide sequences are more than statistical gibberish. They are semantically, pragmatically, and apobetically significant sources of information (for more information on these categories of information, see J. Warner Wallace’ new book, God’s Crime Scene). The genetic sequence has meaning and directs action for a specific purpose.

              Our personal experience tells us information comes only from intelligent sources. In fact, in the entire history of the universe (and the history of science) a single instance of information arising from anything other than intelligence has never been identified. This presents a problem for those who attempt to stay “in the room” of the universe to account for genetic information. If we limit ourselves to the materials available to us in the universe, information must be explained from matter, chance, the laws of chemistry or physics, and nothing more. Nobel winning biophysical chemist, Manfred Eigen recognized this challenge when he once said, “Our task is to find an algorithm, a natural law that leads to the origin of information.” Efforts to account for information in this way have repeatedly failed. In fact, the information in DNA proves to be the decisive stumbling block for every naturalistic theory offered for the origin of life.

              Every geographic location proposed—whether in the atmosphere, in the water, on the ground, under the Earth’s crust, or from outer space—requires an explanation for the existence of information in the genetic code.

              Every timeframe offered for life’s origin, be it earlier or later in the history of our planet, requires an explanation for this information.

              Every description of why life emerges—whether by chance or some form of physical necessity—requires an explanation for information.

              And finally, every mechanism proposed for the origin of life—be it through “protein first” models, “RNA first” models, or any other model—requires an explanation for the existence of genetic information. Cambridge education Philosopher of Science, Stephen C. Meyer, says “Proposals that merely transfer the information problem elsewhere necessarily fail because they assume the existence of the very entity—specified information—they are trying to explain. And new laws will never explain the origin of information, because the processes that laws describe necessarily lack the complexity that informative sequences require. To say otherwise betrays confusion about the nature of scientific laws, the nature of information, or both.”

              The chance arrangement of information in DNA is prohibitively improbable, and there are no chemical or physical laws at work to dictate its existence. We are left, then, with a paradox: the laws and forces of nature cannot produce information, but information is required for life to begin. As Paul Davies laments, “we are still left with the mystery of where biological information comes from . . . If the normal laws of physics can’t inject information, and if we are ruling out miracles, then how can life be predetermined and inevitable rather than a freak accident? How is it possible to generate random complexity and specificity together in a lawlike manner? We always come back to that basic paradox.”

              Given the utter inability of chance or natural law, and our observations related to the origin of information, intelligence is the best explanation. But this requires us to look for an intelligent source transcending the limits of the physical universe. Scientists trying to account for information by staying “inside the room” seem to be rejecting the obvious. In order to create information, the author of this information must have the ability to select between possible alternatives. This ability to choose selectively requires intelligence, will, and purpose. Unguided physical processes simply cannot accomplish the task. German engineer and IT specialist, Werner Gitt summarizes it this way: “A necessary requirement for generating meaningful information is the ability to select from alternatives and this requires an intelligent, volitional entity . . . Unguided, random processes cannot do this—not in any amount of time—because this selection process demands continuous guidance by intelligent beings that have a purpose.”


              1. I’d be happy too share my views regarding DNA.

                I am not particularly interested in your views but rather those of secular scientists.
                Davies does not seem to qualify in this regard and to bring Wallace into this discussion is a travesty.

                We are not discussing origins thanks.
                Just your claim for a biblical Adam and Eve.
                Do you think you can manage to stay focused on this?
                Appreciate it.

                So, once again, if we accept the mitochondrial eve where did the rest of her dna come from?


                  1. Oh dear. A Creationist to the core.
                    Are you Young or Old Earth, Petrus?

                    What next, Noah’s Ark?

                    The interesting thing about mitochondria is that in nearly all sexually reproducing species they’re inherited purely maternally: while both mother and father have them, only the mother’s mitochondria are passed to its adult offspring. This is why, for instance, we’re able to identify a “mitochondrial Eve”: the ancestral woman from whom all the mitochondrial DNA of living humans is descended. (Of course the rest of our DNA, which is far greater in extent, comes from a diversity of other “Eves,” so this doesn’t support the Biblical narrative in any way.)

                    Jerry Coyne.


                    1. Age of the earth is a red herring.

                      Jerry’s comments are fascinating but cannot rule out the possibility of a first woman.

                      You cannot rule out the possibility that your a brain in a vat simply stimulated by advanced life forms to believe your reality actually exists. Granted, this is highly improbable, it’s not impossible.

                      Any assertion to the contrary is an argument from ignorance.


                    2. Coyne’s argument is are based on scientific evidence. Your arguments are based on scientific interpretation from a theological presupposition.

                      Therefore your assumption is false.

                      Not to mention …. yet again that the Pentateuch was written by Jews for Jews, was never meant to be used by Christians and was always intended as allegory.
                      So Old earth or Young. Just out of interest.
                      Surely you are not embarrassed to tell me?


                    3. Your argument is a non sequitur, it doesn’t follow logically that my assumption is false. You’ll have to provide certain evidence that there is no possibility what so ever, a burden you have not been able to bare.

                      More red herrings…

                      Are you to embarrassed to state the possibility exists?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    4. Archaeological evidence has already demonstrated that the Pentateuch is historical fiction.
                      What about this do you have trouble with …. still?

                      Therefore, to make any claim for a literal ”Adam and Eve” against genetic evidence and in the face of the fact the Pentateuch is historical fiction is not only erroneous, but laughable.

                      Why would I be embarrassed?
                      All I ever look for is the truth, based on the evidence.

                      So, Old earth or Young earth, Petrus?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s