Digging for Bones

Christopher Hitchens writes:


…It is worth noting where many relics come from.



Skull Cathedral in Otranto

According to the Catholic Church many came from the Christian catacombs under Rome, and this is true as far as it goes. The Roman catacombs had been abandoned as burial sites and largely forgotten by the sixth century. They were rediscovered in 1578 by vineyard workers. This looked like a God-send as the Catholic Church was engaged in the Counter-Reformation and keen to promote the cult of relics. One of the areas of concern of the Council of Trent was affirming the efficacy and belief in relics against attacks by Protestant detractors. The bones in the catacombs were a treasure trove. The remains in the catacombs dated from the second to fifth centuries AD so it was possible, for Churchmen to imagine the bones as belonging to famous early Christian saints and martyrs. They correctly saw the cache of bones as the perfect tool to promote their power and wealth. The bones were removed, sold to willing buyers, dressed in gold, silver and jewels, and put on public display to attract the faithful.


What the Church is more reticent about is how we know whose remains they are. There was no way of knowing if they belonged to Christians or to pagans who had not been cremated (some but not all pagans were cremated). To find out who the bones belonged to Priests used psychic mediums, or acted as mediums themselves, or even used the services of psychic popes. The practice continued until the mid-19th century.

Churches in the German-speaking Alps, vied to obtain the sanctified skeletons, in mass quantities. The Diocese of Konstanz accumulated 120 of them in the 17th and 18th centuries. The pose and decoration of the bones was left to local churches, who used familiar methods to decide on poses and the extent of decoration – they simply asked the bones, again relying on psychic powers. Priests, nuns and other mediums communed with the bones, and the bones told them how they preferred to be posed and what they would like to wear. At St Gallen Monastery a team of nuns, prayed over the [second set of] remains of St Pancratius until they were rewarded by details of his preferred articulation, dress and jewels, though he neglected to mention that he had died at the age of 14 and was not, as they thought, a soldier. Sometimes the bones were more compliant. At the Basilica at Waldsassen, according to local records, the skeleton of St Maximus helpfully positioned itself.

For some reason, Catholic writers were reluctant to give specifics about psychically communing with bones in the catacombs, but SI Mahoney, a Catholic priest who left the Church, wrote an account of the process. He said that periodic trips were made to the catacombs, to augment the supply of relics. No one knew the identity of the skeletons, or even if the skeletons were those of Christians – hence the need for psychic communications.


Bone Monstrance, The Sedlec Ossuary (Czech: Kostnice v Sedlci) a Roman Catholic chapel, beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints, in Sedlec, a suburb of Kutná Hora in the Czech Republic.

A monstrance or ostensorium is a vessel used in Roman Catholic churches to display the consecrated Eucharistic host, during Eucharistic adoration or Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

Mahoney mentions that Pope Gregory XVI would descend into the catacombs accompanied by priests. There he would invoke the Holy Ghost, and read a prayer, “by which Divine assistance, and directions from on high, is sought for the performance of this… solemn duty. The Pope then casts his eyes around the confused mass of mouldering skeletons, and, as the whim may take him, calls this the body of saint such-a-one, another, the body of ‘Virgin some-other-one’ – and so on, till he is warned by his attendants that enough are now baptized… to serve for the present occasion. The rotten bones are then carefully collected, and, having been sprinkled with holy water, are placed in a chest prepared for that purpose, and carried in procession to the Vatican.” [SI Mahoney, Six Years in the Monasteries of Italy, and Two Years in the Islands of the Mediterranean and in Asia Minor, New York, 1836, pp261-262.]. Such exercises were immensely profitable, as the holy relics were then sold to the devout rich.

The psychic abilities of priests and popes were not always reliable. They identified bones as belonging to Christians they had heard of, but who had died and been buried elsewhere, or whose miracle-working skeletons were already being venerated, sometimes in several different places. Constantine the Great, for example, was buried in Constantinople, yet the bones of his second body were identified in the catacombs and are now working their miracles in Rott-am-Inn, a parochial church in Germany. The Church of St Nicholas in Wil in Switzerland, possesses skeleton of the third-century martyr St Pancratius, taken from the catacombs in the 17th century, even though the saint’s relics were already in the Basilica San Pancratio in Rome. The remains of St Deodatus declared their identity to a papal secretary in 1688, even though he had several other dead bodies already being venerated and working miracles elsewhere in Italy.

96 thoughts on “Digging for Bones

  1. Very interesting post, wazza. Astonishing to think that Rome had ventured so far from the gospel in superstition and sorcery.

  2. Hitchens’ actual complaint is not so much about Christianity or God, but about the nature of man, which is potentially evil or good regardless of religion.

    In fact, with or without religion, it is shown that there is an inherent nature in man which can develop evil or good tendencies depending on their strength of character, upbringing, understanding of the world, cultural influences, or personal integrity.

    So the argument that a dependency on, what he calls, a repressive deity is a form of weakness of character is a poor assessment of what Christianity is and what it represents.

    He makes the statement that following Christ is impossible. He holds Christ up to a light and, far from finding Him wanting, finds us wanting in comparison. Yet he sees that Christ is the epitome of what Christians are obliged to strive for, but in a religious sense, not in a relational sense.

    However, we are not, as followers of Christ, expected to be perfect, but, through faith in Him, to strive towards two key goals, to love God, and, as a result of this primary goal, to love our neighbour as ourselves, which, in turn, implies self-love.

    So the aim isn’t perfection, or attainment of absolute holiness, but to love. And this love works by faith.

    And the liberty Hitchens decrees is impossible to find in Christian faith is, in fact, attainable through this love.

    It is accessible, also, in those who do not hold specifically to the Christian religion per cé.

    We are told clearly that the Law and the Prophets are summed up in the commands to love. Therefore, a person who had never heard of Christ, or of Christian faith could, if they were able to love God by loving people, fulfil the command to love without knowing the command.

    According to Paul this has not been achieved in any person and all have fallen short, but the truth is that it is achievable in people by simply identifying, in nature, or, as Christians have it, in the creation, that there must be a Creator.

    Whether we know the name or identity of the Creator is, unless we have heard the gospel preached, irrelevant. Abraham did not know God as YHWH, or as Jehoshuah. He knew Him as El Shaddai, the All-Sufficient-One. He obeyed the leading of El Shaddai and it was attributed to him as righteousness, simply because he believed, and acted on what he believed.

    So faith is the accompanying key to true religion.

    Under the New Testament, of course, faith in Jesus is required for salvation, but only where the gospel is preached. It would be possible for a person to be saved through faith in the observed Creator through the creation, and by acting on this faith by walking in love.

    Hitchens’ understanding of both faith and of the natures of man and God are corrupted by his interpretations of religion and by his focus on the evils of human creeds devoid of true faith and love. His examples are based on extreme facts and an exaggerated representation of Christ’s work of redemption.

    He was a very bright man, of course, and his intellect shone in many areas, especially politics, but, like Richard Dawkins, who is a cruder expositor of atheism, his antagonism towards faith leaves out more than it articulates, and completely misunderstands and misrepresents, what he would call, a metaphysical element.

    I have lots of time for Hitchens, and he was worth listening to, was a decent man, but has, unlike his brother, missed more about the nature of God than he believes he has seen.

  3. An atheist loves as well. Love is not the sole domain of the religious.

    The golden rule predates the old testament.

  4. I would say his interpretation of religion isnt far from the truth.

    The idea that god gave the 10 commandments then within a few chapters is ordering genocide and slavery is madness. Only religion could justify that.

    He also sees Jesus as just a man enshrined in legend.

  5. Spoken like a true unbeliever.

    It’s one thing to quote someone like Christopher Hitchens, but quite another to follow him or even consider that his arguments overrule Scripture.

    Adding a poor exegesis to make your point isn’t that convincing either. Hitchens, unfortunately, does it all the time. Now you are continuing the folly.

    The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquity; There is none who does good. God looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God. Every one of them has turned aside; They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one.

    A fool has no delight in understanding, But in expressing his own heart.

    The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise. A fool’s wrath is known at once, But a prudent man covers shame. He who speaks truth declares righteousness, But a false witness, deceit.

    When men make themselves right above God in their own eyes they announce themselves as fools.

  6. So you don’t think God didn’t need twelve commandments?

    You shall commit no genocide
    You shall take no slaves

    Is God violent, jealous, short of temper, inconsistent or is that the people who wrote the OT?

  7. Well basically it ultimately comes down to the fact that you, and, to an extent, wazza, have been trolling these sites pretending to be Christian, but, in fact, presenting an atheist case against Christianity.

    Greg, on the other hand, is the one genuinely liberal theology christian to contribute here.

    The thing with men like Hitchens is that their wonderful intellect, and even genius, has been utilised against God and not for Him. I don’t disagree with all he says by any means because he is obviously a bright and articulate man.

    But after listening to his very brilliant and cuttingly legal arguments, it always occurs to me later, being a slow thinker, that he has missed something, and I am usually right, on reflection.

    It’s rather like arguing with JWs. They seem to know so much about the Bible, but once you work out that they only know a fraction which they memorise and rehearse, and that they leave out everything that annihilates their arguments and theology, that you get a handle on how to deal with them.

  8. Is God violent, jealous, short of temper, inconsistent or is that the people who wrote the OT?

    I think that’s the telling question of course. God acted no differently in ancient times to now. It’s not like God decided to one day stop doing violence. The Old Testament representation of God is a charade and a projection of the authors’ insecurities and need to revise their own history.

    It’s common knowledge now that David’s kingdom if it existed at all was a tiny local affair.

  9. Well, like Hitchens and Dawkins, your argument is selective of isolated extracts of scripture incorrectly interpreted and conclusions based on finite human reason not on spiritual understanding. You cherry pick incidents and passages which appeal to your negative view and present it as the entire case for the prosecution.

    Hitchens is far more articulate than you are so he is more convincing, but I still have to look for the issues he leaves out of the prosecution case, which is limited to a poor exegesis.

    The question you should be asking is whether human beings are capable of horrendous evil, or even offences against one another on a daily basis, and how a just God would deal with these offences by men against men with equity and justice for all.

    Hitchens prefaces his prosecution with the notion of the Catholic and Calvinist original sin and assumes from this that God has created all men evil then judges them for being evil, but that is such a very poor exegesis that it defies all logic let alone scripture.

    Added to this, of course, your Biblical lack of understanding cannot allow for an entity like the adversary and his minions, nor for the actual concept of human beings being capable of sin by an act of their own will, so the blame for all evil must be laid at God’s feet.

    What you should ask is whether God is merciful enough to provide a way for man to be justified after he has sinned against other men.

  10. Was god merciful to the amelikites or the canaanites.

    Not according to the ot yet it is a foundation for the problems in the middle east.

    There was no exodus/ promised land.

  11. And Israel, with its incredibly well developed religious system, amazingly poetic literature, and highly categorised history just suddenly appeared in what was Canaan!

    I’d be more inclined to believe there is no Bones.

  12. Which proves what exactly. The amazing poetic literature was compiled either during or after the exile. There’s more truth in Homer then there is in the accounts leading up to at least the Davidic kingdom.

    This from Ariel: The Israel Review of Arts and Letters – 1996/102, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    The saga of the Israelites, as told in the Bible, was designed as a morality tale to prove the importance of faith in the One God. The stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and Joshua demonstrate that the Israelites were rewarded when they obeyed God, but were punished when they strayed.

    The historical evidence to back up these events is sparse, and, in some cases, contradictory. In particular, the account of Joshua’s conquest of Canaan is inconsistent with the archaeological evidence. Cities supposedly conquered by Joshua in the 14th century BCE were destroyed long before he came on the scene. Some, such as Ai and Arad, had been ruins for a 1000 years.

    The Book of Judges, which directly contradicts Joshua, and shows the Israelites settling the land over a prolonged period, is nearer historical reality; but even it cannot be taken at face value.

    The archaeological surveys conducted over the past two decades in the hills of Menasseh, Ephraim, Benjamin and Judah, on the west bank of the River Jordan, indicate that the origin and development of the Israelite entity was somewhat different from either of the rival accounts in the Bible. The survey was conducted by more than a dozen archaeologists, most of them from Tel Aviv University’s Institute of Archaeology. Their conclusions were published in “From Nomadism to Monarchy,” edited by Prof. Israel Finkelstein and Prof. Nadav Na’aman.

    Around 1200 BCE, semi-nomads from the desert fringes to the east, joined by elements from Anatolia, the Aegean, and the south, possibly including Egypt, began to settle in the hill country of Canaan. A large proportion – probably a majority of this population – were refugees from the Canaanite city states, destroyed by the Egyptians in one of their periodic invasions.

    The conclusion is somewhat startling to Bible readers who know the Canaanites portrayed in the Bible as immoral idolaters: most of the Israelites were in fact formerly Canaanites. The story of Abraham’s journey from Ur of the Chaldees, the Patriarchs, the Exodus, Sinai, and the conquest of Canaan, all these were apparently based on legends that the various elements brought with them from their countries of origin. The consolidation of the Israelites into a nation was not the result of wanderings in the desert and divine revelation, but came from the need to defend themselves against the Philistines, who settled in the Canaanite coastal plain more or less at the same time the Israelites were establishing themselves in the hills.


    The Jews beg to differ with you.

  13. New Torah For Modern Minds

    Published: March 9, 2002

    Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

    Such startling propositions — the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years — have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity — until now.

    The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called ”Etz Hayim” (”Tree of Life” in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine document.

    ”When I grew up in Brooklyn, congregants were not sophisticated about anything,” said Rabbi Harold Kushner, the author of ”When Bad Things Happen to Good People” and a co-editor of the new book. ”Today, they are very sophisticated and well read about psychology, literature and history, but they are locked in a childish version of the Bible.”

    ‘Etz Hayim,” compiled by David Lieber of the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, seeks to change that. It offers the standard Hebrew text, a parallel English translation (edited by Chaim Potok, best known as the author of ”The Chosen”), a page-by-page exegesis, periodic commentaries on Jewish practice and, at the end, 41 essays by prominent rabbis and scholars on topics ranging from the Torah scroll and dietary laws to ecology and eschatology.

    These essays, perused during uninspired sermons or Torah readings at Sabbath services, will no doubt surprise many congregants. For instance, an essay on Ancient Near Eastern Mythology,” by Robert Wexler, president of the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, states that on the basis of modern scholarship, it seems unlikely that the story of Genesis originated in Palestine. More likely, Mr. Wexler says, it arose in Mesopotamia, the influence of which is most apparent in the story of the Flood, which probably grew out of the periodic overflowing of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The story of Noah, Mr. Wexler adds, was probably borrowed from the Mesopotamian epic Gilgamesh.

    Equally striking for many readers will be the essay ”Biblical Archaeology,” by Lee I. Levine, a professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. ”There is no reference in Egyptian sources to Israel’s sojourn in that country,” he writes, ”and the evidence that does exist is negligible and indirect.” The few indirect pieces of evidence, like the use of Egyptian names, he adds, ”are far from adequate to corroborate the historicity of the biblical account.”

    Similarly ambiguous, Mr. Levine writes, is the evidence of the conquest and settlement of Canaan, the ancient name for the area including Israel. Excavations showing that Jericho was unwalled and uninhabited, he says, ”clearly seem to contradict the violent and complete conquest portrayed in the Book of Joshua.” What’s more, he says, there is an ”almost total absence of archaeological evidence” backing up the Bible’s grand descriptions of the Jerusalem of David and Solomon.

    The notion that the Bible is not literally true ”is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis,” observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to ”Etz Hayim.” But some congregants, he said, ”may not like the stark airing of it.” Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that ”virtually every modern archaeologist” agrees ”that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all.” The rabbi offered what he called a ”litany of disillusion” about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have ”found no trace of the tribes of Israel — not one shard of pottery.”

    The reaction to the rabbi’s talk ranged from admiration at his courage to dismay at his timing to anger at his audacity. Reported in Jewish publications around the world, the sermon brought him a flood of letters accusing him of undermining the most fundamental teachings of Judaism. But he also received many messages of support. ”I can’t tell you how many rabbis called me, e-mailed me and wrote me, saying, ‘God bless you for saying what we all believe,’ ” Rabbi Wolpe said. He attributes the ”explosion” set off by his sermon to ”the reluctance of rabbis to say what they really believe.”


  14. Big deal, really, Bones.

    So you found out that there are Jewish liberals, agnostics and atheists. You found out that the are Jews born to Jewish families who don’t believe in God or the Torah or have reservations about Judaism as it is stated in the Torah.

    The list is extensive. Hundreds of intellectuals born to Jewish heritage who deny God, or question God.

    Noam Chomsky
    Woody Allen
    Carl Popper
    Peter Singer

    At least three Israeli PMs.

    And even your hero Christopher Hitchens!

    The list is actually far longer, and is littered with the intellectuals of the last two centuries.

    So the Jews have the same liberal theology and philosophy Christians have been infiltrated by.

    Didn’t Paul warn the Church about men who would creep in unawares to spoil the flocks?

    What are you sowing, Bones?

    Galatians 6:7-8
    Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

  15. Funny, I thought you’d be happy that God wasn’t a violent psychopath like portrayed in the OT ordering rape and genocide.

    God’s the same yesterday, today and forever.

    He doesn’t work any differently today then He did 100 000 years ago when the first humans were struggling to survive in Africa.

  16. You found out that the are Jews born to Jewish families who don’t believe in God or the Torah or have reservations about Judaism as it is stated in the Torah.

    What’s bizarre is you just questioned the Jewish Virtual Libraries Jewishness.


  17. Are you on the grog again, Bones?

    That last slur didn’t even match what I said.

    Was Jesus an antisemite for challenging the Pharisees, then?

    You are so lost I don’t think anyone could find you.

  18. There is as much evidence for the Exodus as there is for Craig Thompson’s innocence.

    But people still continue to believe in both.

    The funny thing is, you thought I was an idiot for using the same arguments for Thompson that you use every day for the historical truth of the Bible. “How do you know it didnt happen….”

  19. At least the legends of robin hood, king arthur and troy havent caused untold suffering like the biblical legends have.

  20. So, now that you both attest to your atheism I can leave you to your unbelief rather than prolong your tendency to scoff at God. I see nothing healthy about this.

    If I wanted to discuss antichrist theories with atheists I could locate any number of sites, and have journeyed there a few times, but have found that there is no discussing spiritual matters with those who reject the existence of God.

    It’s taken a long time and many painful conversations to reach a point where you to admit to being atheists. I was surprised when wazza joined you, Bones, but, there we have it, the frank admission from the two of you. There is no evidence of God.

    Now you can join Tanya Levine at the next atheists’ convention, where godless comics mock God and faithless skeptics slap each other on the back for talking about what they don’t believe in as if there is a point to it.

  21. Maybe, wazza, and thanks for being honest enough to point that out, but I can’t waste my time fooling around with atheist talk when I’m engaged in ministry to people who genuinely need Christ.

    Sorry to seem rude to you guys, but I don’t see how reams of googled quotes from atheists can do anyone any kind of good. I am certainly not going to subject myself to it when my faith is sound, my ministry is effective and there are lives to reach with the gospel.

    As I said earlier…

    Galatians 6:7-8
    Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

    I’ve been sowing the Word more and more into my life in the last few weeks and it’s amazing how faith has increased and opportunities have come to minister life into people’s lives.

    Arguing with atheists would be a backward step.

    If you two want to live there and research doubt and unbelief go ahead, but you’d be far better off getting into the richly powerful Word of God.

  22. “I’m more of a lapsed Atheist – I cant bring myself to believe there isnt a God.”

    That’s a really interesting sentence Wazza. I’ve felt the same thing many times. Not sure if its the same as you, but i often got to the point where I thought that nothing I had believed or read made sense -but the alternative was just too depressing and didn’t make sense either.

  23. Yes, there is the problem of Evil, why does a good,all powerful God allow such evil to occur.

    But then there is the opposite problem of Love, if there is no God, why is there such love and beauty in the world? I know some people explain it away but it dosent seem convincing.

  24. @Wazza. Love, beauty, self-sacrifice, the brilliance of man to be able to make complex musical instruments, skyscrapers, computers and then to argue from different parts of the world using different languages about the existence of Go. I find it hard to believe that this all just started out random.
    And the yearning in the heart of man for justice.

  25. “I am certainly not going to subject myself to it when my faith is sound, my ministry is effective and there are lives to reach with the gospel.”

    Steve it’s good that those things are in your life. And you have every right not to engage in any discussion.

    However I would be concerned if someone said they werent going to listen to an argument or some piece of evidence merely because of its label, or even worse because they may have to re-evaluate their belief system.

    Your views arent very convincing if we know that as a matter of faith you do not consider the alternatives.

    It is rather like my Brother in law who automatically mutes the TV when a Liberal party speaker comes on. All he listens to is politicians from the Labor party.

  26. “I am certainly not going to subject myself to it when my faith is sound, my ministry is effective and there are lives to reach with the gospel.”

    Tom Cruise says “you da man”.

  27. Wazza, I’m hardly avoiding other perspectives by commenting on this blog, now, am I?

    I just don’t have to waste my time with continual anti-christian diatribes. It’s not as though a person like Bones tries very hard to understand anything from an evangelical perspective, so what would be the point of sowing this level of doubt and unbelief into my mind?

    Besides which, without scripture there is no place to go, and, since you both deny the authenticity of scripture, our conversation is limited to vain philosophies, science and human reason devoid of any spiritual influence.

    Add to this Bones’ tendency to use strong and abusive language and I have to ask myself what is more important in my life, knowing what atheists think, or staying in faith so that I can be effective for Christ.

    Well I’ve been around long enough and read enough of people like Hitchens, whom, as I have said, I respect, to know basically what you are going to come up with. If I argue against it you will add to it, then on and on we go to no conclusion, which has been shown to be pointless.

    People are more important to me than arguments which are long behind me.

  28. For a deist you sure do refer to atheists an awful lot, Bones. So you believe in a non-interventionist god, and reject revelation through scripture, and say god can only be understood though reason and science. You must also reject Christ and the cross.

  29. Which makes sense cos its not as if the world needed the 10 commandments to know that adultery or murder was wrong.

  30. Well most of us know it is wrong.

    Some can legitimise it.

    Exodus 20:13

    “13 “You shall not murder.”

    Exodus 32:27

    “Then he said to them, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.'””

    Just as well they had the 10 commandments.

  31. You’re as predictable as sun shining in the Australian summer, Bones. As I said earlier, you will cherry pick lines, verses, passages of scripture to prove your false doctrine just like Hitchens, and, even worse, just like JWs, who use a fraction of the bible to ‘prove’ their fake doctrine.

    You seek out and find the most negative part of a judgment of God which purged a few but saved a nation from the fullness of judgment they deserved just to lay a charge of ‘murder’ at the feet of the Almaighty. You are indeed on dangerous ground, but that’s your choice.

    Here’s a little more context for those readers who are interested.

    Exodus 32
    Chapter 32
    The Gold Calf
    Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, “ Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”
    And Aaron said to them, “Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf.
    Then they said, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!”
    So when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “ Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord.” Then they rose early on the next day, offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.
    And the Lord said to Moses, “ Go, get down! For your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a molded calf, and worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt! ’” And the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff- necked people! Now therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation.”
    Then Moses pleaded with the Lord his God, and said:“ Lord, why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, “He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth ’? Turn from Your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to Your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever. ’” So the Lord relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people.
    And Moses turned and went down from the mountain, and the two tablets of the Testimony were in his hand. The tablets were written on both sides; on the one side and on the other they were written. Now the tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God engraved on the tablets.
    And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, “ There is a noise of war in the camp.”
    But he said:
    “ It is not the noise of the shout of victory,
    Nor the noise of the cry of defeat,
    But the sound of singing I hear.”
    So it was, as soon as he came near the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing. So Moses ’ anger became hot, and he cast the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain. Then he took the calf which they had made, burned it in the fire, and ground it to powder; and he scattered it on the water and made the children of Israel drink it. And Moses said to Aaron, “What did this people do to you that you have brought so great a sin upon them?”
    So Aaron said, “Do not let the anger of my lord become hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil. For they said to me, ‘ Make us gods that shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him. ’ And I said to them, ‘Whoever has any gold, let them break it off. ’ So they gave it to me, and I cast it into the fire, and this calf came out.”
    Now when Moses saw that the people were unrestrained (for Aaron had not restrained them, to their shame among their enemies), then Moses stood in the entrance of the camp, and said, “Whoever is on the Lord’s side— come to me!” And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him. And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel:‘Let every man put his sword on his side, and go in and out from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and let every man kill his brother, every man his companion, and every man his neighbor. ’” So the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And about three thousand men of the people fell that day. Then Moses said, “ Consecrate yourselves today to the Lord, that He may bestow on you a blessing this day, for every man has opposed his son and his brother.”
    Now it came to pass on the next day that Moses said to the people, “You have committed a great sin. So now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.” Then Moses returned to the Lord and said, “ Oh, these people have committed a great sin, and have made for themselves a god of gold! Yet now, if You will forgive their sin—but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written.”
    And the Lord said to Moses, “ Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book. Now therefore, go, lead the people to the place of which I have spoken to you. Behold, My Angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit for punishment, I will visit punishment upon them for their sin.”
    So the Lord plagued the people because of what they did with the calf which Aaron made.

    Yes. Rather a different story to the one portrayed by Bones. My guess is that he will go on and on with these accusations against the Sovereignty of God. I was going to let this one go, but since it serves to show what Bones is attempting, I have added it.

    Bones doesn’t believe in the judgment side of God’s justice, so he will present a wishy-washy politically correct doctrine of niceness.

    Then, when it is demonstrated that he is scripturally bankrupt and lacks any kind of understanding of how the Word is correctly discerned, he will claim that, because we have defended truth on the concepts he despises, we are only interested or preachers of those parts which we defend against his erroneous concepts of God’s justice.

    I don’t think we need to prove anything on this, so, before he further accuses God and those of us who believe that the OT is relevant to the NT, I will state that I do not see much point in arguing with his atheism.

    He is no deist. He is atheist.

  32. Oh, and just to get the full impact of what is taking place in Exodus 32, let’s put up e full context of the other verse Bones put up from Exodus 20.

    Exodus 20:1-17
    Chapter 20
    The Ten Commandments
    And God spoke all these words, saying:
    “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
    “You shall have no other gods before Me.
    “You shall not make for yourself a carved image —any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;
    you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
    “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
    “ Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
    Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work:you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
    “ Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
    “You shall not murder.
    “You shall not commit adultery.
    “You shall not steal.
    “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
    “You shall not covet your neighbor ‘s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’ s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor ‘s.”

    So Israel were violating the first, second and third commandments, which carried a grave warning from God. They created a false god to worship in the place of God.

    Two chapters of scripture completely obliterate Bones’ false charge against Almighty God.

    I expect more falsehoods from him because he is showing himself to be godless, but this accusation condemns him enough.

    Thank God we can repent.

  33. I remember a sermon where the Pastor described the killing of the 3000 men as “crowd control”

    Crowd Control !!!!

    Its bizarre. But this is the crazy logic that you get drawn into if it is an article of faith that the OT is historically correct.

    It is only one step from there to the idea that we can justifiably kill other people for their idolatory.

  34. Of course if I said God wants you to cut the throats of your families and neighbours because of some community sin, you’d rightly think I was insane.

    But when the ot says it, it is justified murder.

    Thank god its fiction.

  35. Actually its the Bible that slanders and mocks god and humanity.

    In the name of revisionist nation building.

  36. wazza,
    It is only one step from there to the idea that we can justifiably kill other people for their idolatry.

    Last time I looked we’re no longer under the OT. We’re actually Christians, not Jewish Israel of the Mosaic Law.

    Like Bones you cherry pick logic by presenting a contrived worse case scenario as if it has any kind of credence.

    Seriously. What are you two guys on about? Why are you kicking against the pricks with your extremely poor exegesis and understanding of the Bible?

    Why are you continuing with your bizarrely ignorant grasp of scripture?

    As I said, you will just go on and on and on about you aversion to anything Biblical because you are theologically dense.

  37. Wait a minute, Bones, I can remember you saying you went to Bible College, taught in a Bible Class, and used to preach in church. How is it that they let you loose on people with such a meagre understanding of the Bible?

    If wazza is, as he claims, a lapsed atheist, I can understating his lack of understanding of scripture, but you I cannot if you lay claim to being Bible trained and being a teacher of the same.

    Your errors are so elementary that no Bible College Principal or pastor would ever let you loose on a class or congregation. I would pick you in about ten minutes. But this show is absolutely ridiculous.

  38. I haven’t seen or read anyone justifying God’s judgments, Bones. You’re making things up.

    So God lays down the rules, the conditions, the rewards, the penalties, the blessings, the curses, the results and consequences of not heeding his warnings so that Israel, which is His chosen vessel for carrying the Seed of redemption for the whole world, are without excuse when they break the conditions.

    But you don’t take any of this into account. All you refer to is the penalty for disobedience to the law. You skip the clearly laid out conditions, and land on the consequences to cry “foul”.

    You don’t for one second acknowledge the clear warnings, the law laid down, the reasons for the law and the price to be paid for ignoring it, rebelling against it, or for breaking it.

    Nope. Bones only sees the end of the law for those who break it. Plus, he doesn’t believe in sin, so sin is not a problem for Bones.

    There is no sin, he says, which is odd, because sin is only ever revealed, Paul tells us, where the law is known. Without the law, he reminds us, there can be no sin.

    And if there’s no sin, there’s no penalty, and if no penalty, no need for a propitiation, and if no propitiation, no need for the cross, or blood, nor, then, for Christ.

    Bones has a new gospel, one which doesn’t require redemption, salvation or sacrificial propitiation.

    Bones has no need of Christ. He doesn’t need the cross. The blood is of no consequence to Bones.

    Bones doesn’t have any need of a chosen nation which ushers in the Messiah. He doesn’t need a Mosaic Law which is a schoolmaster overseeing and keeping chosen Israel in line until the coming of the promised Seed who is Christ.

    Bones is the classic universalist deist. Or so he claims.

    But hang on a minute, though. Let’s take it to its logical conclusion here. Because, although he claims to be a universalist, and a deist, Bones eliminates many of the essentials for both standards.

    Bones doesn’t really need God. He overrules God.

    He overrules the justice of God by removing the judgment which normally accompanies justice, because when justice is defiled or broken there is usually a penalty or a price or a punishment for breaking the laws which accompany justice.

    And, because Bones has removed justice by removing judgment he no longer needs an arbitrator of justice, because now Bones is the law and he has removed all of God’s law and replaced it with Bones’ law, which is without judgment.

    Therefore he no longer needs a Judge. He has eliminated the need for a Righteous Judge.

    So he needs no God.

    Thus, by his denial and removal of all things to do with justice, judgment, sin and consequence, Bones declares himself an atheist.

    Who needs God when you know it all and are a law unto yourself?

  39. But when Aaron made the golden cow for the people to worship, Moses had yet to come down from the mountain and bring the law.

    Therefore, according to you they werent sinning.

    Yet 3000 were killed.


    You would think there would be a two-strikes and your out policy, or a stern warning.

    But no, its instant death.

    For breaking the unwritten law.

    Its a bit like the old Monty Python sketch

    Rogers: But the police have film of Dinsdale actually nailing your head to
    the floor.
    Stig: (pause) Oh yeah, he did that.
    Rogers: Why?
    Stig: Well he had to, didn’t he? I mean there was nothing else he could do,
    be fair. I had transgressed the unwritten law.
    Rogers: What had you done?
    Stig: Er… well he didn’t tell me that, but he gave me his word that it was
    the case, and that’s good enough for me with old Dinsy. I mean, he
    didn’t *want* to nail my head to the floor. I had to insist. He
    wanted to let me off. He’d do anything for you, Dinsdale would.

  40. Why don’t you just read the text, wazza, then you will know exactly what took place. Otherwise I am going to have tell you everything you could find out for yourself with a simple reading. Maybe then you will not be shown to be such an ignorant oaf with your scoffing.

    Of course Israel knew the commandments. They were spoken to them in chapter 20, which is where the commandments were first given.

    The judgment was given in chapter 32 when Moses came down from the mountain with the same commandments written in stone, which were to be kept as a witness in the ark of the covenant for future generations.

    If you read from the end of chapter 19 into 20…

    So Moses went down to the people and spoke to them. And God spoke all these words, saying: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. “You shall have no other gods before Me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”

    So God spoke those words through Moses to the people of Israel at the foot of Mount Sinai long before Moses went up into the mountain to receive the same commandments written in stone.

    The fact is that they immediately broke the first three commandments whilst Moses was up in the cloud of the mountain.

    Therefore they were without excuse.

    They were warned.

    Why you and Bones are continuing this mockery of Almighty God is beyond me.

  41. Nope didn’t answer that. And you can’t, so you resort to hurling insults.

    You seem to think that no one has read these ‘stories’ apart from you and that if you repeat them long enough they will make sense.

    God didn’t speak those words and Moses is a fictitious creation. That is certain.

    God doesn’t bring iniquity. If He does, He’s not God.

  42. according to Prof. Ze’ev Herzog who teaches in the Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv University, in “Deconstructing the Walls of Jericho”, states as follows:

    “This is what archaeologists have learned from their excavations in the Land of Israel: the Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel. Perhaps even harder to swallow is the fact that the united monarchy of David and Solomon, which is described by the Bible as a regional power, was at most a small tribal kingdom…… Most of those who are engaged in scientific work in the interlocking spheres of the Bible, archaeology and the history of the Jewish people – and who once went into the field looking for proof to corroborate the Bible story – now agree that the historic events relating to the stages of the Jewish people’s emergence are radically different from what that story tells.” (in an article in the Jewish magazine Haaretz, as republished on):


  43. Who says I support anything. I just reported what it actually says. I put you straight on the order of events. You, on the other hand, mocked God with a simplistic Monty Python sketch.

    I don’t have to support what the OT says as a current legal system because I am not under the OT. I am a Christian, wazza, not a pre-christian Jew, or a Mosaic era Israeli, or an idle worshipping heathen.

    In fact, all I have done is demonstrate how poverty stricken your understanding of scripture is.

    You and Bones are so lacking in a basic grasp of Biblical theology, and so far removed from faith, that it would be nigh on impossible to show you what is actually taking place in the OT accounts, and why it is significant to Christians today.

    You failed utterly to get the sequence right and mocked God simply because you were too lazy to read it for yourself, which shows gross ignorance for someone who presents himself as mildly intellectual and ‘knowing’ (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

    When it was pointed out to you that you were in error, you neither acknowledged your mistake, nor apologised for your accusation of God.

    Neither you nor Bones is really interested in knowing who God is or what God has done for us.

    You seem more interested in throwing down some kind of juvenile ‘gotcha’ pithy sentence showing how your prey is in some way beneath your superior understanding of life, and God’s nature is the tool you are currently using to subtly accuse.

    In fact, your continual atheistic stance towards just about everything that has been written on these threads merely demonstrates that you have been trolling the site for as long as you have contributed.

    This is a Christian theological discussion site as far as I understand, but you have not ceased to present atheistic views, and, increasingly, Bones has made a point of producing atheistic arguments on almost every topic. Except the catholics, of course, when he suddenly becomes defensively religious.

    You have gradually put those of us who are genuine believers into a position of abandoning serious reference to scripture on this site when engaging with either of you because of your stance of ridiculing and diminishing the importance of the Bible to Christians. Your ignorance and rudeness knows no bounds whenever we discuss scripture.

    Bones began with rejecting a few NT passages, then started taking out entire books and epistles, and has just graduated to the entire Old Testament.

    So he is gone as far as I am concerned.

    But you are now questioning covenants and showing how far short of Biblical understanding you are. It is pitiful watching you and painful discussing anything good, righteous and holy with you as you profane everything we say which references God.

    Give me one good reason to persist with you.

  44. You huff and puff and insult but that just makes your argument weaker.

    You have argued that the Israelites were without excuse because they were warned.

    So I asked you whether you supported Gods actions, and then you went birko

    That shows you there is something quite wrong.

    If you are going to make a law, you at least write it down. You tell people what the punishment is before carrying it out – especially if it is capital punishment. You give people a chance to explain or defend themselves. You take into account circumstances such as Aarons leadership and complicity.

    This is all basic and the minimum we would expect of a fair, just let alone loving leader. Why should we not expect it of God?

    Que another rant about how I dont understand the firat thing about scripture or spiritual things. But maybe its better not to have such an understanding if it justifies genocide.

  45. wazza,
    You huff and puff and insult but that just makes your argument weaker.

    No insult. Just telling it as it is. I don’t need an argument. It is you and Bones who are arguing against God. I am just pointing out to you that you clearly do not grasp what is happening in the passages you are mocking.

    To remind you, it was you who completely got the sequence of events wrong, blamed God for murder, and added some unrelated Monty Python sketch about Dinsdale as a sarcastic put down. You haven’t even acknowledged your mistake.

    It was Bones who completely misrepresented the reason God judged idol worshippers. He completely misrepresented what God had done before the judgment.

    Bones doesn’t believe in judgment anyway, so why would he have any understanding of why God judged Israel?

    Bones eliminates justice by rejecting judgment. It seems you are in agreement with him.

    I am not huffing and puffing. I am very relaxed, thank you. I could say more, but I am trying to avoid assisting you and Bones with getting any deeper into your attack on God than you already have.

    There is no argument with God or how he dealt with Israel from my perspective. I have merely pointed you to the order and sequence of scripture to assist you with your understanding so that you can revise your argument with God.

    God actually did consider wiping out the entire nation of Israel because of their idolatry and offered to start all over with Moses, but Moses talked him out of it and God elected to make an example of those who refused to denounce their idol worship.

    God is God. He makes the rules.

    If you want to argue with Him go ahead, as I have said, but at least show some respect. We may be under grace right now but that is no reason for mockery.

    Even if you don’t respect the God of the OT, at least show some respect for those who do believe it.

    Or not. Go ahead. Scoff. Be a bighead. Your choice. Your deal. Go on. Offend Christians. Why not? Insult God. You’re free to. At the moment.

  46. wazza,
    If you are going to make a law, you at least write it down. You tell people what the punishment is before carrying it out – especially if it is capital punishment. You give people a chance to explain or defend themselves. You take into account circumstances such as Aarons leadership and complicity.

    Well, it’s not exactly a democracy. The people were caught in the act. It wasn’t exactly a situation where they had any defence for their actions. God doesn’t need a jury, or a magistrate, or an excuse from the offenders. They were in the middle of an idolatrous orgy when God sent Moses down from the mountain to deal with them.

    God’s word is surely enough when it is spoken directly to His people. Now you want a democratic process with God. No. You are just playing around with words yourself because you know God was right to have judged the people who brazenly rejected His word.

    But, even in this situation, Moses stood as a defence attorney and God actually did listen to his plea for leniency.

    He was going to take the whole lot of them out, but Moses’ intervention caused God to relent of his first decision to end the continual rebellion.

    This was not the first incident they had to deal with. It was the most rebellious of a series of contentions by Israel as a whole. God had had enough of it and regretted having them as the seed-bearers to Christ.

    God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. Why does he need a specific trial, when we are being tried for every moment we live? For you and I, aside from the civil law and the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, we are being tried every day by our own words and deeds.

    What? You don’t think these are being recorded? You don’t think the Almighty is trying us all as we go along? Every idle word is recorded. Every deed is written down.

    What? You don’t think your words and actions count for anything with the Judge of all?

    The only difference between Israel, the world and the Church is that God’s grace is present during this age. The wrath of God is still over those who condemn themselves by their words and deeds. But his grace covers us until the time when he calls time.

    Bones removes the OT from his equation without realising that the same God judges us all for our words and deeds by the same standards as the Law judged Israel.

    No, in fact, according to Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount, we are judged by an even higher standard than the Mosaic law. Where the Law spoke of murder, Jesus spoke of hatred. We will be judged by the Perfect Law of Liberty which commands love for God and love for our neighbour and fulfils the Law and the Prophets.

    What? Do you think God’s grace is a license to sin?

    Jesus said we will be judged for our faith or lack of faith. “Nevertheless, will the Son of man find faith in the earth?” “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for those who come to Him must believe that He is, and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”. “We are not of those who shrink back to perdition; as it s written, ‘the just shall live by faith'”.

    “God is a Consuming Fire”. New Testament.

    And it is all written down. The problem is, as far as you are concerned, that you reject it.

    The only thing you have between you and the wrath of God is the cross of Christ.

  47. I think the difficulty for some of us is that the goalposts keep changing.
    Started talking with people who originally just had problems with mega-churches.

    To Bones and Wazza
    1. Is there anything in the OT that you think was factual. Are all the characters fictitious.
    2. Are any of the accounts in the gospels and Acts actual history
    Ie Did Jesus exist. Did he perform any of the miracles recorded? Did he say any of the things in the accounts?
    Did he rise from the dead?

    I actually don’t know where you are both at.

    But the answers to the above would help further discussion. Or might show that a lot of discussions here are a waste if time.

  48. There are undoubtably parts of the OT that recount facts. Many of the people mentioned actually existed. Jesus existed.

    But they are not actual history. Thats simply a fact. No historian accepts these documents as a historical account. The majority of Christians and Jews do not accept them as historical documents. At the time they were written, there was little concept of history but if you asked the writers whether they were recounting strict actual facts they would think you were crazy. It simply would have been a nonsensical question for them.

    From the earliest days of Christianity it was accepted that the writings were not to be taken strictly literally. The literal historical interpretation of the bible is a fairly recent invention, really starting with Darby in the 19th Century. But its still a minority position.

    I dont mind if you want to accept the literal truth of every word in the Bible as an article of faith, but I do mind if you want to claim that this is the only way to understand the Bible, and indeed the only way to be a Christian. I also think its silly to say that you wont consider an argument merely because it conflicts with your assumptions. If that is the case then you will never change your view.

  49. Bones and wazza reject the OT.

    Yet the NT has as much to discomfort them as the OT, and it confirms some of the powerful language of the OT with descriptions of the awesome fury of God.

    Surely Bones, nervous of judgment, will reject the NT as much as the OT when he reads of God’s fearsome nature when aroused.

    Take the opening lines of 2 Thessalonians, for instance.

    We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.
    2 Thessalonians 1:3-10

    When we declare that we are followers o the Lord Jesus Christ we need to take on the whole package, not just the safe portions which don’t rock any boats or challenge our sensibilities.

    Bones, as a deist, wants God on his own terms. He can’t adjust his thinking or life view to accommodate God’s zeal for His people, or for righteousness. Bones wants to mould God in his own image.

    Wazza, on the other hand, wants to believe something but can’t accept God outside of his own conditions. He has a criteria for God and if God doesn’t fit with it he will reject God.

    The God of the Bible is too extreme for these men because they have to fashion God according to their own projection.

    It is one of the great errors of the world. People say they have their own beliefs, their own concept of God their own opinion of what constitutes righteousness – i.e., being good, doing good things, etc. – they want their own personal god to idolise and cannot come to terms with Almighty God because he doesn’t fit into anybodies concept, or anyone’s box for God. He is Who He is. He is the Great I AM.

    It is the greatest dilemma in evangelism. Getting people to denounce the idol of their personal god and accept God for Who He is as He reveals Himself to us.

  50. Youve descended to ad- hominem and speculations about our spiritual state.. These are logical fallacies and mean that you have lost the argument.

    If the Bible was fact and history as you contend , then you would be able to defend it with facts and history.

  51. Why is it ad hominem to state facts. Do you deny that you can’t believe God outside of your own conditions? If you reject this then say so and tell us what you actually do believe.

    You told us you were a lapsed atheist. Should we believe you or are you being disingenuous?

    Are you saying you once didn’t believe but now you think there might be a God, or not? Are you also saying that you can’t believe in the God of the Bible on the basis of the Biblical record, or not?

    If you can’t believe in the God of the Bible, then which God are you being drawn towards?

    If not the Bible, then is it your own construct? In other words, on your terms and not on the Bible’s terms?

    If you deny these things then tell us, but if not, why say I am being ad hominem or speculative when I have based what I say on what you have said?

    The Bible says the just shall live by faith, but you say you can only believe by facts and history. Why are you relying on history for your faith? Do you believe more in history than in what the creation reveals to you? Have you never seen a Creator in creation?

    Can you trust history? Do you even remember what you were doing three weeks ago at a certain time. Do you believe the history of the popes, or the cardinals, or the historians of Roman times, Greek times, where do you want to go with this?

    History over scripture. Now there’s a thing.

    And the archaeological record, which is very incomplete and speculative, subject to the researchers’ understanding, worldview and ability. Do they even seek a spiritual account of history, or the scrapings of natural sciences?

    You have the recorded history of Israel by 66 independent authors covering thousands of years in front of you and you say ‘bring me history’.

    You base your historical demands on the rejection of the Bible accounts by those who believe nothing and have spent a lifetime digging holes and finding nothing which suits their criteria for the existence of God.

    The greatest evidence isn’t an archaeological dig. It is the evidence of faith and the demonstration of the power of the Word to change a life.

    Has this ever happened, do you think? Has the application of what the Word says to us ever applied to the present time? Has anyone ever had their life profoundly changed because they heard the words of the Bible preached or taught? What do you think? What changed them? History? Science?

    God is not the God of history. He is the I AM, the God of Today.

    He is the same yesterday and today and forever.

    You seek the past to prove your present.

    God is with us now.

  52. By the way, I have never said I accept every word of the Bible as literal or a historical account. Those are your words.

    I have often acknowledged that there are portions of scripture which are the thoughts of men and not the words of God. There are portions which are poetic. There are portions which are songs. There are portions which are men’s understanding of situations and scenarios. There are portions which are records of God’s words and dealings with men, especially Israel and their ancestors. There are passages which even contradict, seemingly, other passages which demonstrates human element. There are passages which are historical records of kings, people and events.

    But I object to Bones’ abject rejection of the OT, of the God of the OT, and of his mockery of those who consider the OT to be an important part of what the NT is and necessary to the correct understanding of the NT.

    I can’t help it if you have aligned yourself with Bones’ view and defend it.

    And it does seem that the two of you reject everything evangelical Christians stand for. And not in a pleasant manner, either, although you are generally very civil. But please don;t cry foul because someone challenges you when you have often challenged me on an ad hominem basis, albeit without being overly rude.

    But you seem to have joined Bones in his campaign of atheistic tendencies.

    This is unfortunate. And unhelpful. Especially on a site which purports to be a Christian theology blog.

  53. Wazza, I wasn’t attacking you but rather seeking clarification. Trying to find some common ground on which to base further discussions.

    I can talk to an atheist about certain issues without mentioning the Bible. I just wanted to know what parts if any you accept as factin the OT and New Testament. If you don’t believe that Jesus performed any miracles or healings or that he never said anything is written then there won’t be much point referrring to them.

    That”s easier than you asking about Judas, then another couple of hundred specific questions. Much easier if you can Bones can say which parts of the Bible you accept.

    btw, as I’ve said before, I’m familiary with liberal theology. I studied it. My professor probably believed in less of the Bible literally than you.

  54. Feel free to believe that snakes talk, divinely ordered genocide, ancient legends, the planet xenu and the rainbow serpent.

    Dont attack those who dont share ridiculous beliefs.

  55. Get your fact straight Bones, Xenu was not a planet he was the dictator of the “Galactic Confederacy” who 75 million years ago brought billions of his people to Earth (then known as “Teegeeack”) in a DC-8-like spacecraft, stacked them around volcanoes and killed them using hydrogen bombs.

    On my view or beliefs about the Bible:

    I agree with Greg’s post from a few months ago which said (from memory) that the Bible is too important to be taken literally. It is a record of the relationship of a people with God, and it reflects their changes in understanding and relationship with God over a period of several hundred years.

    It cannot be taken as a history book, otherwise it would be simple to answer the question :

    “How did Judas die?”

  56. I really dont think israels relationship with god was any different to any other civilisations.

    Yahweh was a canaanite god.

  57. LIke I said Wazza, I can answer you later. Just want to know first of all if you believe Judas actually existed etc and that Jesus said things.

    I’m aware of all the problem texts. I’m not even arguing with you as to whether the gospels can be taking literally. Just want to know if there is ANYTHING in there you can trust.

  58. Yes, I believe Judas existed. That there are different versions of what happened to Judas actually gives me more certainty that he existed than if there was just one story.

    Yes, I believe that Jesus said most of the things attributed to Him. It distressed me to find out that though that the passage in John 8 “let him who is without sin, cast the first stone” was a later addition. Nevertheless I think Jesus did say that.

    So whats your opinion on whether the Gospels, or indeed the whole Bible, can be taken literally?

  59. Greg, joining in with an inopportune question,
    You have claimed that Genesis is a literal account of how the world was created – word for word, exactly how it happened – do you now move away from that belief?

    Have I? Where?

    You see. You have all stereotyped what I believe because when you discuss issues with me you think of all the stereotypes you have difficulties with and argue with them and forget to ask me what I believe. I have caught Bones out doing this so many times I have to remind him every now and then that he is arguing with his imaginary nemesis again.

    I don’t think I mentioned Genesis. I have, however, stated a few times that I do not think it is a literal, scientific explanation of the creation of the world. How could it be? Like the writer of Revelation Moses could only filter his interpretation of what he was revealing through his understanding of the world as it was. The term ‘science’ was light years from even being coined.

    God spoke through holy men. Through them. Through. Men.

    Therefore they related His revelation according to their understanding. As Paul said, he saw and heard things too amazing to utter in the common language. Even he could not explain what he saw and heard of God. Daniel was told to close the book and seal it for another time. He sought to see things with more clarity and precision, but God would not allow him to. The prophets, we are told, did not understand what they were saying as God impressed upon them his plans for the future. Angels, we’re told, are watching to see how God’s plan unfolds in our era because they do not know.

    Is a six day literal creation impossible? Not with God. Is it likely? With God all things are possible. I have not seen how this could be accomplished. But there are many things which remain a mystery to me. Do I think it was a literal six day creation? I think that with God a day is as a thousand years, so a day or a week, which, in Hebrew is a seven or or a completed period of time, could be any expanse of time and space.

    Moses was interpreting what he understood of how God put things together. Time and space are not the same with God as they are with us. He lives in the fifth dimension. How would you define this? We can only see in three, and imagine in four. We can only articulate three, at most four, dimensions of space and time. How would you explain the all dimensional God to even our modern world without referring to the things you know now? How would you explain God’s infinity and omnipresence using the terms you grasp? You could not. You cannot. You are asking too much of Moses, Daniel, John, and all.

    You are asking too much of yourself. You are asking too much of currently known science, philosophy, history and faith. You are acting as if science has solved all the problems of the universe and of time and space.

    Now we are moving away from the main thrust of this current conversation which is Bones’ rejection of the entire OT, and wazza’s support for Bones’ perspective. It is important because it changes the landscape of this blog, and has done for the last few months.

    The fact that they have declared themselves to be a deist (Bones) and a lapsed atheist (wazza), and that Bones has not only denied scripture but defied scripture and likens it to the failed philosophies of other religions.

    In short Bones is now challenging Christianity as a faith.

    We no longer discuss Biblical themes or church methodology or the various theologies, but the very validity of the Bible, God and faith. It is a quantum leap of emphasis.

    So we have two people who are prepared to oppose and challenge everything we discuss as Christians and, not only this, but mock and scoff at us for believing the Bible, and mock and scoff at Go Himself.

    And we have a moderator who supports their cause, on this thread, at least, and on others.

    So we have a serious change in the terms and conditions of the modus operandi of this blog.

    Now we find that Christianity and the Bible is abandoned by the majority shareholders on this site.

    What else is there to be said then?

    I for one am not really interested in spending hours fighting atheists.

  60. You make it sound like we are from another planet, but the difference is only one of degree.

    You dont believe literally in every word of the Bible and neither do I.

    So stop acting like you are on some different plane of understanding or even spirituality.

    You say that Genesis is an interpretation of Gods word through a fallible human being and I agree with that. I also say that the killing of the 3000 is in the same category, but you presumably do not.

    I say that the accounts of Judas’ death cannot be literally true because they are contradictory.

    Do you believe you can drink deadly poison without getting sick? Have you tried?

  61. There is no discussion.

    It is merely a series of ad hom statements which could be attributed to a person of any religion whose beliefs are being questioned.

    We find that reason and evidence is ridiculed by those who would rather keep their beliefs in fables.

  62. Bones, you have already declared yourself to be anti-Bible and anti-God. You have no part in this except to throw in your rejection of all things Christian. You have disqualified yourself from this discussion.

    Wazza, you have not said the same as I have. I believe the Bible to be inspired of God. Do you? I believe all scripture is God-breathed and relevant to who we are what we do and what our future will be. Do you?

  63. No. I think if you drink deadly poison you are likely to die. However, there may be instances where you are preaching the gospel and someone seeks to poison you and God will protect you from the effects of any poison. That is clearly the understanding of the passage of scripture which says no deadly poison will kill you, nor any serpent. Paul is said to have had a deadly snake latch onto him and to have survived, which opened up the gospel to him in a certain region. This is the application. There is no ministry of snake bites, that is both tempting God and ludicrous.

    I acknowledge, then, that you consider scripture to be inspired of God and relevant to us in all aspects of life. That gives us a platform on which to discuss issues at least.

  64. Well, Bones, you are the one who has declared himself anti-God and anti-Bible. You began this rot. You took us all down this path. And you have steadily deepened the ruts.

    It is important to the future of this blog to establish that we can at least have a conversation without the very essence of Christianity being challenged and ridiculed at every turn.

  65. No that’s what you have declared.

    Unless pro-truth and anti-God are one and the same.

    There’s no Xenu either.

  66. So now you are saying what? That you believe the Bible to be inspired of God? That all scripture is God-breathed and relevant to our lives?

    You have denied the God of the OT on this thread, and you have mocked God openly. You have declared yourself a deist, which means you consider God to be non-interventionist. You have rejected the OT on the basis of the judgments of God, when God is the same Judge in the NT.

    I think you have been playing games with us just to stir us up. Maybe you can clarify this.

    You have certainly led us a merry dance.

    It was important to establish whether wazza is atheist or not because he has authoring rights. You may question why this is relevant but it is. If he at least believes that the Bible is God-breathed and relevant to our lives then we can expect some related posts from him and not a stream of atheist apologetics.

    You, on the other hand, have continually pushed the blog around by playing the devil’s advocate atheist.

    Yet you say you are for truth.

    What is your truth, Bones?

  67. There is no ministry of snake bites, that is both tempting God and ludicrous.

    Well that is a sensible interpretation. But it is not necessarily suggested from the passage of scripture :

    He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

    Jesus puts the signs of being immune from poison and snake-bite among other signs that Pentecostals believe can be made at will by the power of the Holy Spirit.

    The fact that you have interpreted these two particular signs as being promises of protection is based on the application of common sense and our world view, and then backed up by readings from other parts of the Bible.

    Others though use snakes and strychnine in their services.

    Still others interpret the signs of speaking in new tongues as just the studying of other languages by missionaries in preparation for going to other countries.

    The point is that none of these interpretations is necessarily better than another. They are all however interpretations. Conservatives pick and choose what to take literally just as do Liberals.

  68. Others though use snakes and strychnine in their services.

    That is so obviously a false understanding of the scripture that those people need to be certified. And how many are there that do this? Very few, I put it to you.

    Still others interpret the signs of speaking in new tongues as just the studying of other languages by missionaries in preparation for going to other countries.

    Yes. Mostly cessationists who consistently deny all other references to speaking in tongues, a NT concept which is not isolated to Mark 16. It is also very clearly a false representation of what is being said based on a wrong premise altogether about speaking in tongues and what it is.

    We use the whole counsel of God in context, not just an isolated passage, for our understanding of it.

  69. By the way, if learning a new language is a sign for a believer then why don’t those churches which teach this set up language schools for all their members?

  70. That you believe the Bible to be inspired of God? That all scripture is God-breathed and relevant to our lives?


    You have rejected the OT on the basis of the judgments of God, when God is the same Judge in the NT.

    I reject the OT accounts of judgement. They are clearly mythical. You can take that to slurring God if you want. I take the accounts to slur God. They weren’t written as theology but as revisionist nation building chronology.

    What is your truth, Bones?

    “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”

    Wouldn’t worry me if wazza was an atheist.

    I like them.

    That wouldn’t disqualify them from anything unless you were scared at what they had to say.

  71. Apparently only some people are qualified to debate.

    OK, so only an evolutionary scientist can debate on biology, only an ancient earth scientist can debate on the age of the Earth and only archaeologists can comment on archaeology.


    You are free to enter into those debates but be ready to be wiped out if you speak nonsense.

    Yet somehow if you don’t agree with the literal Bible accounts you aren’t qualified to speak on them.

    Well there’s no evidence for Xenu so I am not qualified to speak on Scientology then.

  72. We all like atheists and they are welcome to contribute of course, but we wouldn’t want a trend of atheistic posts, surely. It’s not a matter of being scared of what they say.

    I know what they say. It’s a matter of being so distracted by godless nonsense that we lose sight of the original concept of being a Christian theology site.

    I think we were already well and truly on that journey, not because of anything wazza has posted, but because of your determination to take us that way at every opportunity.

  73. It’s not matter of science or evolution or anything similar, Bones. The chief moderator is into all that stuff, and regularly posts on it from a theological standpoint.

    You have declared yourself to be anti-OT, anti-Bible, anti-Chrstian, anti-God, and now, anti-scripture. Not only this, but you have pushed this barrow incessantly for quite a while.

    You have been so adamant and abrasive in this regard that I actively protested for a while by focusing solely on politics, much to Greg’s chagrin.

    You have made it almost impossible to even use scripture on this site.

  74. I’m anti-Xenu as well.

    Those dickheads as crazy as well. Remember them doing the old take this test. Oooh there’s something wrong with you, you need this book.

    Some of us have grown up and don’t believe that Santa really comes down the chimney.

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