Jump to content

Recommended Posts

First up, I think I've made three threads in three different forums. This one, the 'Hello - Intros' one, and I asked about hell in the 'Got Questions' forum. Sorry about that, but i'm not sure where I should post when I have questions so I hope this forum will be ok. 

 

Was there a census taken by Caeser Augustus (whilst Qurinius was governer) that initiated Mary and Joseph travelling to Bethlehem, and thus fulfilling an ancient prophecy?

 

Here are the reasons why it never could have occurred:

 

(1) nothing is known in history of a general census during the time of Augustus

(2) in a Roman census Joseph would have not had to travel to Bethlehem, but would have registered in the principle town of his residence, and Mary would hat have had to register at all

(3) no Roman census would have been made in Palestine during Herod’s reign

(4) Josephus records nothing of a Roman census in Palestine in the time of Herod – rather the census of A.D. 6-7 was something new among the Jews

(5) a census held under Qurinius could not have occurred during Herod’s reign for Quirinius was not governor until after Herod’s death.

 

But wouldn't you know it, apologists have rebuttals for them. At least, I remember delving into this years ago and came away thinking the apologists were correct. Today, I'm not so sure because my 'research' might have been a little biased toward Christianity. 

 

Does anyone know if this census took place or is it a biblical contradiction?

 

Thanks all. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Geezer might be able to help you out but I think he was pretty young then.  :lol:

 

Sorry. Couldn't resist.

I'll shut up and let the smart folks hash this one out.

  • Like 4
  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Moderator

A census is one thing... its possible - the Romans liked their records.

 

A census that required people to move to their home city was extremely unlikely. The Bible states that "the whole world" (KJV) would be taxed. The new translation corrects this to the whole empire.

 

Imagine, everyone in the ENTIRE Roman empire somewhere between 4 BCE and 6 CE having to go to their home town for registration. This would be mass disruption. The only place it talks about this is... the Bible.

 

Roman records indicate there was a local census in Judea as it was a new territory for the Romans. There is no indication that people were required to go to their home city. This is a contrived attempt at trying to make real events justify getting Jesus to be born in Bethlehem. 

 

Luke was apparently a learned man, yet didn't know that Herod had died before Quirinius undertook the census.

 

So like much of the bible, it is a contrived story that took real events to try and justify the story line. It's just as contrived as the virgin birth prophesy. The only way to say that Isiah 7:14 has anything to do with Jesus is to introduce the concept of 'double or hidden' meanings in scripture. This is awesome because then you can make it say anything. No Christian will admit that all the prophesies about Jesus are not actually prophesies about Jesus. The are OT writings that the NT writers then shoehorned into their narrative.

 

The End. :D

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, LogicalFallacy said:

A census that required people to move to their home city was extremely unlikely....

 

Imagine, everyone in the ENTIRE Roman empire somewhere between 4 BCE and 6 CE having to go to their home town for registration....

 

There is no indication that people were required to go to their home city.

 

And we're really not even talking about their home cities, but rather their ancestors' home cities. How realistic is that?

 

Think about it this way. I live in Pennsylvania and my parents live in Indiana, but my dad's ancestors lived in North Carolina. The alleged census requiring Joseph to take his family to register in Bethlehem because he was decended from David would be like requiring me to take my family from Pennsylvania to register in North Carolina. What in the world would that accomplish for a friggin' census? I mean, my family and I live in Pennsylvania, so why wouldn't we be counted in Pennsylvania?

 

The Romans were surely more intelligent than that, and even if they hadn't been, what measuring criteria would they have utilized to determine how many generations to go back in one's ancestry? And what if those ancestors hadn't even lived in an area that had then come under Roman control? And what if some didn't know where their ancestors lived?

 

The whole thing is ridiculous and serves no purpose other than being a literary device to get Jesus to be born in Bethlehem while still having him be a Nazarine as well as connecting him to King David. It's fiction, plain and simple. 

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, SeaJay said:

First up, I think I've made three threads in three different forums. This one, the 'Hello - Intros' one, and I asked about hell in the 'Got Questions' forum. Sorry about that, but i'm not sure where I should post when I have questions so I hope this forum will be ok. 

 

Was there a census taken by Caeser Augustus (whilst Qurinius was governer) that initiated Mary and Joseph travelling to Bethlehem, and thus fulfilling an ancient prophecy?

 

Here are the reasons why it never could have occurred:

 

(1) nothing is known in history of a general census during the time of Augustus

(2) in a Roman census Joseph would have not had to travel to Bethlehem, but would have registered in the principle town of his residence, and Mary would hat have had to register at all

(3) no Roman census would have been made in Palestine during Herod’s reign

(4) Josephus records nothing of a Roman census in Palestine in the time of Herod – rather the census of A.D. 6-7 was something new among the Jews

(5) a census held under Qurinius could not have occurred during Herod’s reign for Quirinius was not governor until after Herod’s death.

 

But wouldn't you know it, apologists have rebuttals for them. At least, I remember delving into this years ago and came away thinking the apologists were correct. Today, I'm not so sure because my 'research' might have been a little biased toward Christianity. 

 

Does anyone know if this census took place or is it a biblical contradiction?

 

Thanks all. 

 

Christian apologists often lie, misrepresent and are duplicitous.  Some are worse than others.  Don't trust them...even for an inch.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems there are logical reasons why the census never took place, even before you look at the actual details. But let me play defendant here, just so I can use Christian sources to get my questions across (I'm honestly not trying to push any beliefs here, merely trying to formulate my questions the best I can). I'm not even sure I understand most of this:

 

Luke 2: 1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed,b who was with child. 

 

The Issues

(1) There is no record nor apparent possibility of a census of the kind Luke describes

(2) There is no record that Quirinius was governor of Syria at the time Luke describes

 

Luke’s description of the census is difficult for three reasons.

 

(a) no record of a singular, empire-wide census instituted by Augustus.

(b) A Roman census would have required Joseph register not at his ancestral home in Bethlehem but in the principal city of his “taxation district,” presumably Galilee (not to mention, Mary would not have been obliged to go with him.)

(c) Roman censuses were not administered in client kingdoms, such as Herod’s was.

 

Also, Quirinius’ involvement with such a census is difficult for two more reasons.

 

(d) Luke describes Jesus’ birth and the census as taking place during Herod the Great’s reign - a reign ended by Herod’s death in March/April of 4 B.C.

(e) Luke describes both events as also taking place during the time when Quirinius was governor of Syria.

 

Proposals

(a) extant records point to censuses both in Roman provinces (with some taking place regularly and, presumably, involving non-Roman citizens) and occasionally in client kingdoms.

(b) extant records indicate Rome at times accommodated local customs in such censuses

(c) extant records indicate Herod’s relationship with Augustus had turned sour near the time of the census, making his client status a less formidable obstacle

 

Support for Quirinius’ involvement as Syria’s governor generally proceeds (sometimes simultaneously) along the following two lines:

 

(a) Extant records indicate Quirinius served in several official capacities, (perhaps) even in Syria, before his well-known Syrian governorship in A.D. 6

(b) Textual and grammatical evidence allows for other readings of Luke’s text, readings which do not demand that Quirinius’ governorship in Syria be contemporaneous with Herod’s reign or Christ’s birth.

 

It is generally acknowledged were Quirinius to have previously served as governor of Syria, this service could not have taken place during the time Luke describes (i.e. during Herod’s lifetime and the time of Jesus’ birth). This is indicated by Josephus, who states that P. Quinctilius Varus was governor in Syria until after Herod’s death, which occurred in March/April of 4 B.C. Therefore, some suggest a census begun by Varus was completed by and thus, associated with his successor, which is presumed to be Quirinius. Others suggest Quirinius held some other office at the time of Jesus’ birth, a tenable hypothesis especially since Quirinius’ precise capacity at this time is unknown.

 

First, it should be said that for either of these to work Luke’s record must be read somewhat less than obviously*. I.e. in the former, Joseph and Mary’s registry does not technically occur during Quirinius’ reign and in the latter, Quirinius is not technically Syria’s governor. The latter is slightly less difficult since hegmoneuontos can refer to offices other than governor (or legate). Still, by using protē Luke seems to indicate that another census occurred that too could be modified by hegmoneuontos. Thus, the first office must not be too distinct from the second or the present logic of the verse cannot be sustained.

 

* What? :huh:

 

Second, those solutions involving textual and grammatical evidence suggest either one of the following understandings of (prwth) protē in Luke 2:2:

 

(1) (prwth) prō, normally a superlative, could be a comparative and thus render a translation: “This census was before [the census]” which Quirinius, governor of Syria, [made]; or

(2) (prwth) prō could be adverbial and thus render a translation: “This census took place before Quirinius was governor of Syria.”

 

In both the difficulty of Luke’s reference to Quirinius is mitigated, since either allows for something other than a reference to a census taken at the time of Jesus’ birth under the oversight of (governor) Quirinius.
 

Prospects

(1) Luke’s census is not a historical impossibility. Rather at all points, historical analogies can be drawn.

(2) Quirinius’ personal chronology is not fully known, particularly around the years of Jesus’ birth. Thus, it is not impossible that he held another office at the time which Luke appropriately describes with a description as we saw which could also appropriately describe the office from which he took his well-known census. In short, it is most likely under this otherwise unattested office that Quirinius officiated over what Luke describes.

Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, SeaJay said:

First, it should be said that for either of these to work Luke’s record must be read somewhat less than obviously*. I.e. in the former, Joseph and Mary’s registry does not technically occur during Quirinius’ reign and in the latter, Quirinius is not technically Syria’s governor.

 

In other words, the supposedly infallible Bible can't mean what it actually says. Isn't it interesting how apologists want you to take the Bible's word for truth, but when there are clear problems that they cannot reconcile, then all of a sudden the actual word of the Bible isn't the truth, but instead they spin it into something else? Luke 1:3 claims that the author carefully investigated everything in the book and was giving an orderly account, but now, all of a sudden, the details aren't meant so orderly when they're clearly wrong?

 

I'll let others who are more qualified in the history department tackle the historical aspect, but I thought I'd bring another angle into this. In addition to the issues that LogicalFallacy and I have already raised that show the ridiculousness of the alleged census, I'd like to also point out that the entire Nativity story clearly isn't reliable because of how Matthew and Luke contradict each other. Right now I have to get to work, but perhaps tonight or sometime this weekend I can post more details explaining several problems that completely undermine the Gospels' credibility.

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's the follow-up on my last post. I thought I'd share a couple excerpts from a letter I wrote a few years back. Although they don't deal specifically with the census, they are relevant. The first excerpt demonstrates that the Nativity story in Luke (which is where the census claim comes from) contradicts Matthew's version. The second excerpt demonstrates that the genealogy in Luke (which claims to demonstrate decent from David, which is also part of the census claim) contradicts Matthew's version. Since Matthew and Luke are contradictory (not only here, but many other places as well), they can't both be totally accurate. They can, of course, both be false, and since they are so inconsistent, they are definitely not reliable as sources of information. Hopefully this (in addition to the previously mentioned absurdities with the census) will help demonstrate to you that Luke isn't trustworthy and therefore the census claim doesn't hold water. Anyway, here are the excerpts:

 

The Nativity

    After Matthew tells of the birth of Christ (Matt 1:18-25), it includes a visit of "wise men" (Matt 2:1-12), also known as Magi (they were essentially astrologers). During the text about the Magi, Matthew has Joseph, Mary and Jesus living in a "house" (Matt 2:11), having lived in Bethlehem for a while (presumably around two years since Jesus' birth, based on Matt 2:16) as the Magi made their journey. After the Magi leave, an angel tells Joseph to take his family to Egypt to avoid Herod's murderous ploy (Matt 2:13-18). Then, after living in Egypt for a while, Herod dies and they leave Egypt and settle in Nazareth (Matt 2:19-23).

 

    Luke mentions Jesus' birth and a visit of some shepherds (Luke 2:1-20), and Jesus being taken to the Temple (Luke 2:21-38). In keeping with Old Testament Law, Jesus is circumcised "when eight days were accomplished" (Luke 2:21). The "days of her purification according to the law of Moses" (Luke 2:22) would be an additional 33 days (Leviticus 12:4), after which they make their "sacrifice" (Luke 2:24), where Simeon and Anna worship God (Luke 2:25-38). Then Luke says, "And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom" (Luke 2:39-40).

 

    So, based on Luke's account, Jesus' family headed to Nazareth a mere 41 days after Jesus' birth, while Matthew implies a couple years in Bethlehem and then an unspecified amount of time in Egypt, all before going Nazareth! That is a very substantial difference.

 

    Many suggest that after the temple visit, the family went back to Bethlehem and then to Egypt before going to Nazareth, thus attempting to insert Matthew's account between Luke 2:28 and 39. However, Luke 2:39 clearly says that Jesus' family returned to Nazareth"when they had performed all things according to the law," not sometime later, so the proposed resolution really doesn't work.

 

    Another interesting thing is that Matthew's account does not mention Nazareth before Jesus' birth. It only mentions Bethlehem (Matt 2:1), giving no suggestion whatsoever that the previous events (Matt 1:18-25) happened anywhere else. Thus, an unbiased reader of Matthew (that is, one who had not been influenced by Luke's account) would have the impression that they were already living in Bethlehem and that Jesus was probably born in the "house" that Matthew mentions (Matt 2:11). Luke's account, however, places Mary and Joseph initially in Nazareth (Luke 1:26-27), only to travel to Bethlehem (Luke 2:4) because of orders to participate in a census (Luke 2:1-3).

 

    In an effort to downplay the apparent difference here about Mary and Joseph's initial residence, it is often argued that the claim of a contradiction is merely based on Matthew's silence about them being in Nazareth prior to Jesus' birth. However, if you look at the flow of events in Matthew, you see that there is more to contend with than simply the author starting with Bethlehem and having the family in a house. There is also the return from Egypt, where the author indicates that the reason the family settled in Nazareth was because Joseph learned that Herod's son Archelaus was reigning in Judea (Matt 2:22-23), which is the region Bethlehem is in. In other words, Nazareth was a Plan B in Matthew's account, which would not be the case if they were actually residents of Nazareth who only went to Bethlehem for a census (as Luke claims), would it? The fact that in Matthew their Plan A was to return to the region where Bethlehem was, coupled with the previous mention of them being in a house there and no prior mention of Nazareth, certainly makes it sound like Matthew's account was written from the perspective that they were Bethlehem residents (as opposed to Luke's version where they were Nazareth residents only visiting Bethlehem for a census), does it not?

 

    Also, there is an overarching issue with the two different accounts of Jesus' birth. You see, other than the names Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, and the birth taking place in Bethlehem, the accounts of the Nativity presented in Matthew and Luke bear virtually no resemblance to each other. These are two completely different Nativity stories.

 

Jesus' Genealogies

    Matthew traces Jesus' genealogy chronologically from Abraham through Joseph (Matt 1:1-17), claiming that there are three sets of "fourteen generations" from Abraham to Christ, which equals 42 generations. However, when you count the generations listed in Matthew, there are only 41. As such, Matthew contradicts itself here.

    A text note in my KJV Bible says that there are a few ancient manuscripts with an additional name Jakim (in Matt 1:11), which some could argue resolves that contradiction because it brings the total generations to 42. However, the name is not in the actual Biblical text, nor is it even mentioned in most Bibles' text notes. Even if Jakim had been included in the original text of Matthew, where it lists the three sets of "fourteen generations," one of those sets of 14 generations is "from David until the carrying away into Babylon" (1:17). Where the name Jakim is inserted would make for 15 generations there, and therefore we would still have a contradiction here.

 

    Moving on, we see that Luke traces Jesus' genealogy in reverse-chronology through Joseph all the way back to Adam (Luke 3:23-37). The interesting thing when comparing the Matthew and Luke's genealogies is that the sections between David and Joseph are completely different except for three names, Salathiel, Zorobabel and Eliakim (Matt 1:12-13; Luke 3:27,29), and one similar name, Matthan (Matt 1:15) and Matthat (Luke 3:24)! Of those names, Eliakim cannot be the same person in the two genealogies because Matthew has him as a descendant of Salathiel and Zorobabel (Matt 1:12-13) while Luke has him as their ancestor (Luke 3:27,29)! So, with Salathiel and Zorobabel being the same, and accepting Matthan and Matthat as possibly referring to the same person, we are left with 22 names in Matthew and 37 names in Luke (between David and Joseph) that do not match!

 

    In fact, Matthew says that Joseph was the son of Jacob (Matt 1:16), while Luke says that Joseph was the son of Heli (Luke 3:23), so the genealogies don't even agree a mere two generations back from Jesus! In addition, the portion in Luke's genealogy that traces Jesus back to Abraham (Luke 3:23-34) has 56 generations, which is 15 more generations than in Matthew's genealogy (a 37% increase). These genealogies are utterly contradictory!

 

    There are a few ways that Christians try to get out of this conundrum. One suggestion is that Luke was actually tracing Mary's genealogy instead of Joseph's. However, Luke does not mention Mary in his genealogy, but it specifically lists Joseph (Luke 3:23)! This is clearly meant as Joseph's lineage.

 

    Another suggestion is that there may have been some adoptions in one of the genealogies, making it a legal lineage instead of a physical one. However, there is no indication of that in either genealogy, so it is basically a shot in the dark. Also, it fails to account for the 15 extra generations in Luke's genealogy. In addition, Jesus was supposed to be "the seed of David" (Romans 1:3), which means physical descendant, so adoptions wouldn't count and would therefore render such a genealogy meaningless.

 

    And, speaking of "the seed of David" (Rom 1:3) and physical lineage, both Matthew and Luke trace Jesus' genealogy through Joseph (Matt 1:16; Luke 3:23), whom they both claim was not Jesus' physical father (Matt 1:18-23; Luke 1:26-38)! As such, both of these contradictory genealogies are completely useless, because they do not establish that Jesus is a physical descendant of David! In addition to that, kingship was traced through the men, and with Jesus not having a physical father, there is no male through which to trace his kingship!

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the reply Citsonga

 

The way some reconcile the alleged contradictions is by saying Matthew was writing to Christians and so left certain things out that might upset them, and Luke was writing to a Roman official, and so left out things that might upset him, like, for example, the part where Herod (a Roman vassal) had the children slaughtered. 

 

Something like that

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Moderator
1 hour ago, SeaJay said:

The way some reconcile the alleged contradictions is by saying Matthew was writing to Christians and so left certain things out that might upset them, and Luke was writing to a Roman official, and so left out things that might upset him, like, for example, the part where Herod (a Roman vassal) had the children slaughtered. 

 

So we make stuff up to make the narrative work? We just reconcile it by asserting possibilities which we cannot show to be true. I thought the Bible was the inerrant word of God, not something that might have contradictions because a Roman official might get offended.

 

My point here is aimed at apologists not you, but to show that if you want to justify something and make it work you can. People will find a way to reconcile because they must to keep their faith intact.

 

Re the slaughter of children - why does no other source mention this? 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, LogicalFallacy said:

 

So we make stuff up to make the narrative work? We just reconcile it by asserting possibilities which we cannot show to be true. I thought the Bible was the inerrant word of God, not something that might have contradictions because a Roman official might get offended.

 

My point here is aimed at apologists not you, but to show that if you want to justify something and make it work you can. People will find a way to reconcile because they must to keep their faith intact.

 

Re the slaughter of children - why does no other source mention this? 

 

 

This is an excellent point. I wish I could think this way; be able to discern illogical thinking the way most everyone else seems to be able to do

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, SeaJay said:

Thanks for the reply Citsonga

 

The way some reconcile the alleged contradictions is by saying Matthew was writing to Christians and so left certain things out that might upset them, and Luke was writing to a Roman official, and so left out things that might upset him....

 

It's not just a matter of certain details being left out, though. In what I posted above, you'll notice that I didn't make an issue of some of the differences between the two accounts, such as Matthew having an angel appear to Joseph and Luke having an angel appear to Mary. Differences like that are not irreconcilable, so they aren't a primary issue for me. Sure, when all taken together we see that the two Nativity stories as a whole are drastically different, but that sort of detail is not, in and of itself, irreconcilable between the two accounts.

 

The issues I raised are ones that cannot be reasonably reconciled. They are blatant contradictions. Thus, it's not just about details being left out, but about stories that cannot both be true. Thus, an apologetics argument such as you've mentioned simply doesn't work, unless the point is to acknowledge that there are things in the Bible that are wrong, that it's not the divinely inspired and infallible Word of God that many Christians claim it is.

 

11 hours ago, SeaJay said:

like, for example, the part where Herod (a Roman vassal) had the children slaughtered.

 

There are serious problems with this part of the story as well. It's not just a detail left out of one of the two accounts (and not mentioned anywhere else, as LogicalFallacy has pointed out), but it's presented in Matthew as a prophetic fulfillment. However, is it really a fulfillment of prophecy?

 

The two excerpts I posted previously from a letter I wrote several years ago were from a section dealing with contradictions in the Bible. I actually tackled a lot of issues in that letter, and one of the other categories deals with some of the New Testament's passages that take Old Testament texts completely out of context in order to fabricate prophetic fulfillments. If you'd like to read the whole letter, you can download it from post #13 in the thread linked in my signature (if signatures don't show up on the device you're using and you're interested in it, the thread is currently pinned in the Ex-Christian Life forum). Anyway, in the section about the fabricated prophetic fulfillments, I tackle the issue of the slaughtered children, so I'm posting that excerpt here for you to see yet another problem with the Bible's Nativity stories. Here is that excerpt:

 

The Slaughtered Children

    Matthew continues his story by telling that Herod "sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof" (Matt 2:16). Then we read, "Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not" (Matt 2:17-18). The use of this prophecy implies that the "children" being "not" is a reference to their deaths, and we have yet another claim of fulfilled prophecy, right?

   

     Let's take a look at Jeremiah's context. After making the statement that Matthew quoted (Jeremiah 31:15), it goes on to say, "Thus saith the Lord; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border" (Jer 31:16-17). It goes on to say, "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; As yet they shall use this speech in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof, when I shall bring again (from) their captivity" (Jer 31:23).

 

    At the time that this was written, the Israelites had supposedly been conquered and many of them taken into exile. When Jeremiah said that Rachel's "children... were not" (Jer 31:15), he was referring to Rachel's descendants being removed from their land. As such, the prophecy in question is referring to what had already happened, not a future event, and clearly indicated that they would return. So, was Jeremiah talking about a slaughter of infants and toddlers hundreds of years later, as Matthew claims? Obviously not.

 

    So, we have yet another case of Matthew misusing an Old Testament text by taking it out of context in order to fabricate fulfilled prophecy.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, I guess I should have also included some of the other problems I pointed out in the Fabricated Prophetic Fulfillments section. The first four issues that I tackle are from the Nativity story. Since I already posted the fourth one (about the slaughtered children), here I'll post the first three, as well as the introduction to that section. Hopefully these things will be enough to show just how problematic the Bible really is. Immediately following the excerpt below is where the excerpt in my previous post came from.

 

FABRICATED PROPHETIC FULFILLMENTS

     One of the most significant Christian claims is that Jesus fulfilled numerous Old Testament prophecies, and therefore he must be the Messiah. If Jesus had indeed fulfilled numerous prophecies specifically directed at him, then that would definitely be something to strongly consider. Many Christians assume, as I did for many years, that such is the case, and that there is no question that Jesus of Nazareth is the prophesied Savior. But did he really fulfill numerous prophecies? Let's take a look at some of those claims.

The Virgin Birth

    After Matthew mentions Mary's virginal conception from the Holy Ghost and the angel visiting Joseph (Matt 1:18-21), we read, "Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us" (Matt 1:22-23). So, Matthew quotes a prophecy and says that it was fulfilled in Mary and Jesus. But is this really a fulfilled prophecy?

 

    Matthew was quoting Isaiah saying, "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14). But is this really the open-and-shut case that it may appear on the surface to be? Let's take a look at the context.

 

    During the time when Israel had split into two, with Judah in the south and Israel in the north, Isaiah says that Aram and Israel (also referred to as "Ephraim") came against Judah during the reign of King Ahaz, and Ahaz and the people of Judah were afraid (Isaiah 7:1-2). So God sent Isaiah to comfort Ahaz, telling him that he will not be defeated by the other two kingdoms (Isaiah 7:3-9), and even gives a specific time-frame by saying, "Within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken" (Isaiah 7:8). Thus, Judah's enemy Ephraim is to be broken in no more than 65 years from the time of this prophecy.

 

    Isaiah says that "the Lord" told Ahaz, "Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God" (Isaiah 7:10-11). After that, Isaiah goes on to say, "Hear ye now, O house of David: Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign" (Isaiah 7:13-14). Now, who is this "sign" supposed to be for? Isaiah is speaking to King Ahaz concerning the battle issues he was dealing with right then, hundreds of years before the time of Christ! King Ahaz would be long dead before Jesus would arrive on the scene, at which time it would be much later than the 65 year limit specified in the previous verses! Clearly, there is a problem here.

 

    Let's go on. What is the "sign"? The description that follows says, "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14). Now, one thing that needs pointed out about the word "virgin" is that Jewish scholars say that the Hebrew term "almah" in Isaiah's account actually means "young woman" or "girl of marriageable age," with no necessary "virgin" connotation. The Hebrew term "bethuwlah" is the word that means "virgin," but it is not the word used in Isaiah 7:14. As such, they insist that the text should read the way the NRSV translates it: "Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel."

 

    When the Hebrew for Isaiah 7:14 was translated into Greek, "almah" was rendered as "parthenos," a Greek term usually meaning "virgin." Many scholars believe that this is a mistranslation. In turn, the author of Matthew clearly used the Greek translation as his source, and therefore used "parthenos" when quoting Isaiah in Matthew 1:23. Thus, Matthew did use a word usually meaning "virgin," but it appears to be based on a faulty Greek translation of Isaiah. In turn, it appears that most modern Christian translators base their translation of Isaiah on the Greek translation and the quotation in Matthew.

 

    On the other hand, many Christian commentators agree that the Hebrew term "almah" means "young woman," but insist that it does have a "virgin" connotation, and therefore it is accurate to translate it as such. However, could this insistence that it be translated "virgin" be fueled by the Christian's theological necessity for it to mean "virgin"? After all, they clearly have a motivation to justify the use of this prophecy in Matthew. Beyond that, I have already demonstrated that the contextual limits on the passage indicate that it could not be about Jesus hundreds of years later, so the meaning of "almah" is not the only problem here anyway.

 

    What then can we make of this debate about "almah"? Let's continue to examine the context to see what Isaiah was talking about.

 

    Isaiah continues with, "For before the child shall know to refuse evil, and choose good" (Isaiah 7:16). Here we see another problem with the Christian claim that the prophesied child is Jesus. According to Christian belief, Jesus was completely sinless (1 John 3:5), so how could there be a time when he wouldn't know to refuse evil and choose good?

 

    Continuing on, Isaiah tells King Ahaz that during the prophesied son's early years, "the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings" (Isaiah 7:16). This is consistent with what Isaiah said earlier in the chapter: "For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin; and within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people" (Isaiah 7:8-9a). It is interesting that Isaiah goes on talking about what it is supposed to be like "in that day" (Isaiah 7:18-25) and mentions the "king of Assyria" (Isaiah 7:20), and Assyria ceased to exist several centuries before the time of Jesus!

 

    So, exactly who is the "son" that Isaiah was referring to? Perhaps his own! Take a look at what immediately follows this account. Isaiah says, "And I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived, and bare a son. Then said the Lord to me, Call his name Maher-shalal-hash-baz. For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria" (Isaiah 8:3-4). This is a direct parallel to the prediction in the previous chapter. Isaiah and his wife (the "prophetess") conceive a son, and shortly thereafter Damascus/Syria and Samaria/Ephraim are supposed to be attacked and plundered (Isaiah 7:8-14; 8:3-4). Following the child's birth there is even a poetic oracle from "the Lord" (Isaiah 8:5-10) in which the term "Immanuel" is reiterated (Isaiah 8:8; compare to 7:14).

 

    Some try to get around this glaring problem by arguing that Isaiah 7:14 is a "dual prophecy," having an immediate fulfillment and then an ultimate fulfillment in the virginal conception of Jesus (assuming that "almah" means "virgin"). However, such an argument requires that there was another virginal conception before Mary's! Of course, Christians would refuse to consider that possibility. Also, there is absolutely nothing in the context of Isaiah's prophecy to suggest that it was meant as a "dual prophecy." That concept is forced onto the text by Christians in an attempt to make it be something that it clearly isn't.

 

    Beyond that, from Isaiah's account of the child's conception, it is apparent that the child was conceived in the normal way, because Isaiah says that he "went unto the prophetess; and she conceived" (Isaiah 8:3). From this, it is quite clear that the prophecy in question (Isaiah 7:14) does not refer to a virginal conception. From this, we can conclude that either the Jews are correct in asserting that the Hebrew term "almah" does not mean "virgin," or, if the Christians are correct in asserting that it does connote "virgin," then Isaiah must have simply meant that she was a virgin at the time the prophecy was issued, but not at the time of conception.

 

    From this, the obvious conclusion is that the story of Mary and Jesus simply is not a fulfillment of a prophecy of a virginal conception, because that is not what the prophecy was claiming, nor does the context of the prophecy allow it to be about Jesus!

 

    So, what really happened is that Matthew's account took Isaiah's statement out of context and inaccurately included it as a fulfilled prophecy of Jesus' alleged virgin birth. The author of Matthew clearly misused the prophecy he relied on and fabricated a prophetic fulfillment.

 

Bethlehem as Jesus' Birthplace

     Matthew says that when some "wise men" go to Jerusalem seeking the "King of the Jews" (Matthew 2:1-2), King Herod calls the "chief priests and scribes," demanding that they tell him "where Christ should be born" (Matt 2:3-4). They reply, "In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel" (Matt 2:5-6). Afterwards, Herod sends them on their way, and they go and find Jesus in Bethlehem, just as the scribes and priests had indicated was prophesied (Matt 2:7-11; ref 2:1). So, we have another claim of fulfilled prophecy.

    Matthew was loosely quoting from Micah 5:2, but can Jesus really be the fulfillment? In context, the "ruler" (Micah 5:2) is supposed to "deliver (Israel) from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders" (Micah 5:6). Now, when did Jesus ever fight against and defeat Assyria? Not only was Jesus not depicted as a warrior in the gospels, but Assyriaceased to exist several centuries before the time in which Jesus allegedly lived! Not only that, but Jesus' kingdom is supposedly "not of this world" (John 18:36), so why would he be concerned about the "land" and "borders" (Micah 5:6) of Israel anyway?

Again, some allege that this is a "dual prophecy." Again, though, there is nothing in the context to suggest a dual prophecy. Some also try to get around the warrior aspect of Micah's prophecy by alleging that it refers to Jesus' second coming, when he's supposed to defeat the world. However, as already pointed out, the prophecy deals specifically with Assyria (Micah 5:5-6), which no longer exists to be defeated! Some argue that "Assyria" is meant figuratively. But, once again, there is nothing in the context to support the argument. Not only that, but there is nothing in Micah's prophecy to suggest two separate comings. Also, if the person being prophesied about was supposed to be identifiable by fulfilling the prophecy, then how can he be identified as the one when he has not fulfilled the whole prophecy?

These Christian arguments are forced onto the text, not gleaned from it, and are nothing more than attempts to get Micah's prophecy to fit with Matthew. As such, it looks like Matthew has once again taken a prophecy out of context in order to fabricate a fulfillment in Jesus of Nazareth.

Out of Egypt

    Matthew goes on to describe an angel telling Joseph to protect Jesus from being killed by Herod by taking the family from Bethlehem to Egypt (Matt 2:13), where they stay "until the death of Herod" (Matt 2:15). Then we read, "That it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son" (Matt 2:15). Here we have another claim of fulfilled prophecy, but is it really?

 

    Take a look at what Matthew was actually quoting from: "When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt" (Hosea 11:1). The alleged prophecy is not even about a future event at all, but a past event! Hosea is talking about the early years (relatively speaking) of "Israel," personifying the nation as a "child" and a "son," and referring to their release from bondage to Egypt (depicted in Exodus 12)! It has nothing whatsoever to do with a single individual hundreds of years later, but an entire nation hundreds of years before!

 

    Not only that, but the context presents a huge problem if Jesus is to be identified with this passage about Israel. It goes on to say, "They sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to graven images" (Hosea 11:2). Did Jesus turn away from God and sacrifice to idols?

 

    So again, Matthew has taken an Old Testament text out of context in an attempt to make Jesus fulfill prophecy.

 

 

 

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

SeaJay, I hope that I haven't bombarded your thread with too much. It's not an attempt to derail the thread, but instead to give some further context to the problem of the census. The census is not only irrational (as was mentioned early on by LogicalFallacy and myself), but this particular census is not mentioned anywhere outside of Luke, and there are so many additional problems with the Bible's Nativity stories in Matthew and Luke that it should become abundantly clear that none of the claims in there should be taken as reliable sources of information.

 

It's fiction, plain and simple.

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, Citsonga said:

SeaJay, I hope that I haven't bombarded your thread with too much. It's not an attempt to derail the thread, but instead to give some further context to the problem of the census. The census is not only irrational (as was mentioned early on by LogicalFallacy and myself), but this particular census is not mentioned anywhere outside of Luke, and there are so many additional problems with the Bible's Nativity stories in Matthew and Luke that it should become abundantly clear that none of the claims in there should be taken as reliable sources of information.

 

It's fiction, plain and simple.

 

 

No this is exactly the kind of thing that I want to research. I'm reading up rebuttals to the census topic now and I'll post my findings later. 

 

Thank you for the information 

Link to post
Share on other sites

(I won't include footnotes as this post is too long as it is. But if anyone is interested, they can be read here: 

http://berea-portal.com/a-survey-of-schurers-challenges-to-the-lukan-census-1/

Census

 

Problem #1: Schürer interprets Luke 2:1 as describing a single, empire-wide Roman census ordered by Augustus around 6 BCE. There is currently no historical evidence of any such imperial edict

 

Proposal: Current scholarship agrees, however, that Augustus did conduct numerous and varied census activities throughout the empire and its provinces.1 Because of this, scholars on both sides of the discussion suggest Luke was not referring to a general, imperial census as Schürer posits, but to a currently unidentified registration activity2 that affected Judaea in some way.

Luke’s words may intend no more than to express simply the fact that the census in Palestine took place as part of a coordinated empire-wide policy of Augustus.3

Luke’s description (2:1) that such an edict is empire-wide may simply reflect the ongoing census process of this period.4

The biblical scholar R. E. Brown, a noted critic of the Lukan Census, accepts this position.5

Did Augustus ever issue an edict that the whole world, i.e., the Roman Empire, be enrolled in a census? Certainly not in the sense in which a modern reader might interpret the Lucan statement! In the reign of Augustus there was no single census covering the Empire; and granted the different legal statuses of provinces and client kingdoms, a sweeping universal edict seems most unlikely. But Luke may not have meant a single census. […] what Luke may be telling us in an oversimplified statement is that the census conducted (in Judea) by Quirinius as governor of Syria was in obedience to Augustus’ policy of getting accurate population statistics for the whole Empire.

====================================================================================================

Problem #2: Schürer here argues that Roman censuses did not require travel for registration purposes, pointing out that Rome would have considered such activities ‘troublesome’ and ‘inconvenient’, as well as outside the normal structure of a Roman census.1

 

Proposal: There is evidence, however, that Rome did adapt its governance to local customs of vassal states, to include allowing the continuation of former regime administrative practices.2 These adaptive practices extended to census activities, as we have come to know from papyri discovered (c. 1905) documenting an Egyptian provincial census conducted in 104 CE that required travel to familial homes.3 Scholars cite this as favorable for Luke, removing the logistical impracticability posed by Schürer.4

Ever since the discovery of papyri recording house-to-house censuses at fourteen-year intervals in Egypt…we can be sure that a hard core of historical fact lies behind the passage from Luke, even if we cannot reconcile the time of the census with the traditional date of Jesus’ birth.5

2a. Did Mary have to go to Bethlehem?

Schürer contends that Roman censuses would not have required Mary to travel with Joseph, suggesting that women were not required to personally register,6 though he does concede that in some parts of the empire women were liable for the poll-tax.7 However, recent discoveries8 of registration documents from an early second century CE Arabian provincial census detail a woman traveling to her administrative district to personally register her property.9  While some details differ between the Arabian registration and Luke 2:5, this new evidence provides a historical context for Mary’s travel.10

 

====================================================================================================

Problem #3. Schürer notes that a Roman census with the purpose of imposing a Roman tax would not have occurred in Judaea. For Schürer, the sovereignty extended to client kings precluded direct Roman intervention over administrative matters.12 

 

However, a number of scholars question Schürer, pointing out that evidence from Josephus strongly suggests Augustus exercised considerable control over Judaea, displaying a personal interest in Herod’s affairs and interceding when he was displeased, or concerned, about Herod’s actions.3 For Rome, client kingdoms were clearly meant to temporarily serve as such. Primarily occupying Rome’s borders in order to buffer against frontier lawlessness, once sufficiently ‘Romanized’ these client kingdoms were to be annexed into the Empire.4

 

While scholars are still undecided over Schürer’s third challenge, conservative scholarship finds it difficult to dismiss that Rome exercised a much more restricted governance of its client kingdoms than Schürer allows.

 

====================================================================================================

Problem #4: Schürer rightly observes that Josephus does not mention a Roman census during Herod’s reign. Moreover, Schürer points out that Josephus referred to the Quirinian census of 6-7 CE as a “new and previously unheard of” event in Judea1

 

Some scholars suggest that Herod did conduct censuses, but according to Jewish models2—not Roman—to avoid upsetting Jewish religious and traditional sensibilities.3 The elaborate taxation system under Herod is often referenced as support here.45 Also of interest is the annual per capita (i.e. poll) tax imposed during Archelaus’ reign,6 which strongly indicates census activities under a Herodian ruler in pre-provincial Judea. It is currently unknown whether Archelaus’ poll-tax was a continuation from his father’s reign. The New Testament scholar, Armand Puig i Tàrrech, believes this to be the case, further arguing this poll-tax may have had its origin as far back as the Ptolemies.7

 

One last point of interest is the frequency of such Herodian censuses, if they did occur. Opinions range from six, seven, or fourteen years.8, with some commentators pointing to Josephus’ references of Herodian tax amnesties and required oaths as possible census dates.9  While Josephus does not refer to these events as censuses, it is possible that the two oaths, at a minimum, were in some way linked to census activities because of the need for personal inscriptions from the populace.10

 

4a. What did Josephus mean by “new and previously unheard of”?

The second part of Schürer’s fourth challenge argues that Josephus, in calling the Quirinian census “new and previously unheard of”, was referring specifically to the assessment of a Roman tax in Judaea.11 This makes the Lukan census—which Schürer insists was a Roman one—suspect, since it would render the Quirinian census only 12 years later neither “new” nor “previously unheard of”.12As noted already, Schürer’s insistence on the registration in Luke 2:1 being of Roman design and administration is unnecessary.

 

Some scholars alternatively suggest that Josephus was not referring simply to the imposition of a Roman tax, but specifically to the introduction of the tributum soli (property tax)13 and/or the establishing of direct Roman rule, as what was new and previously unheard of.1415 These would have stood in stark contrast to Herod’s policy of opaque Roman rule under the guise of Jewish tradition.1617

 

Without more detail from Josephus, scholars admit they can only speculate on what exactly he meant. Also to be considered when dealing with Josephus, according to scholars, is the underlying motivation for his historical perspective.18

 

====================================================================================================

5.  Schürer’s fifth challenge is the most difficult within the current discussion : Quirinius was not the Governor of Syria during Herod the Great’s Reign

 

A census held under Quirinius could not have occurred in the time of Herod, for Quirinius was never governor of Syria during the lifetime of Herod.1

 

History knows of a single legateship of Quirinius over the province of Syria, and that in c. 6 CE. His arrival in Syria coincided with the census of Judaea mentioned by Josephus.2 It is precisely this dating that presents the problem, since 6 CE is too late for the nativity.3

 

Over the centuries, many attempts have been made to reconcile Luke’s perceived discrepancy.4Conservative biblical scholarship of the last 150 years has focused on a select few of the more robust explanations that do not sacrifice Luke’s accuracy. The two most often discussed are

  1. Two Legateships of Quirinius over Syria
  2. An alternate reading of Luke 2:2, “this was the first registration…”

5a.  Quirinius governed Syria twice?

This position argues that Quirinius held some type of governorship5 over Syria on two separate occasions; the accepted date of 6/7 CE as well as an earlier date (either c. 3-2 or c. 9-5 BCE).6 W. M. Ramsey et.al, forcefully argue this position, appealing to historical records, the Lapis Tiburtinus inscription7 and supposition, in an effort to place Quirinius in Syria prior to 6 CE.8

 

The reasons for the date of 3-2 BCE centers on scholarship’s current uncertainty as to who held the Syrian legateship at this time.9

 

23-13 BCE M. Agrippa
c. 10 BCE M. Titius
9-6 BCE S. Sentius Saturnius
6-4 BCE, or later Quintilius Varus
3-1 BCE ?
1 BCE to c. 4 CE Gaius Caesar
4-5 CE L. Volusius Saturnius
6-7 CE, or later P. Sulpicius Quirinius

 

As one can imagine, this has prompted much debate over Quirinius as a possibility, which would seemingly solve the dilemma presented by Schürer.10 However, Schürer, who is familiar with the suggestion, dismisses this dating as deficient,11 observing that these dates conflict with the accepted dates of Herod’s death (5/4 BCE).1213 Ramsey rejects the late dating for the same reason.14 For Ramsey, earlier dates (c. 9-5 BCE) are more appropriate.15 Additionally, Ramsey finds that an early dating coincides nicely with the known census decree by Augustus in 8 BCE.16

 

While a popular view early on, current scholarship considers the possibility of Quirinius holding two legateships in Syria historically untenable. While some discussion continues, the overall consensus has shelved it until better evidence can be presented.

 

5b.  The Census ‘Before’ Quirinius

Setting aside the assumption that Quirinius served twice as legate of Syria (thus assigning him the single legateship in 6 C.E.) allows us to explore another possible solution to Schürer’s fifth challenge. Briefly, that there is a possible alternate reading of Luke 2:2, from this:

This was the first registration, taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.

To this:

This was the first registration, before the one when Quirinius was governor of Syria.

Or variants thereof.

 

This alternate translation, supported by a number of scholars,17 places the Lukan Census prior to the infamous census of 6-7 CE, with which Luke is also familiar (Acts 5:37). Certainly this is not a new argument; Schürer comments on it, going so far as to express its plausibility:

"That this translation in case of need might be justifiable may be admitted" (John 1:15, 30)18

But then goes on to say:

"It is indeed absolutely inconceivable for what purpose Luke should have made the idle remark, that this taxing took place before Quirinius was governor of Syria. Why would he not rather name the governor under whom it did take place?"19

Setting aside Schürer’s incredulity, scholarship remains cautious, keenly aware that this position has grammatical challenges.20

The form of the sentence is in any case odd, since it is hard to see why πρῶτος was introduced without any object of comparison, and it may be that πρῶτος should be understood as a comparative with the meaning ‘before’. Luke does write loose sentences on occasion, and this may well be an example of such. No solution is free from difficulty, and the problem can hardly be solved without the discovery of fresh evidence.21

[W]e would do better to take a plausible grammatical solution which accords with the evidence rather than to ignore the evidence on the basis of shaky grammar.22

 Despite the general acceptance of Luke’s abilities as a historian,23 Luke 2:2 in particular continues to pose problems for the student of the Bible. Critical scholarship is divided on the solution and will undoubtedly remain so until new evidence is discovered.

 

Footnote: 17. N. T. Wright, F. F. Bruce, N. Turner, C. Evans, B. Witherington III, P. Barnett, I. H. Marshall, et.al. 

====================================================================================================

 

Even apologist scholars admit there are issues with the census that cannot be easily explained away, specifically the last two issues. Still, they do seem to have good arguments for the first three perceived issues. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Moderator
20 minutes ago, SeaJay said:

Even apologist scholars admit there are issues with the census that cannot be easily explained away, specifically the last two issues. Still, they do seem to have good arguments for the first three perceived issues. 

 

The hilarious thing is they are arguing over words and meaning of a text for which no originals remain and that surviving copies differ from one another meaning there is no way to say what the originals were - despite the assurances from apologist that we have the 'gist' of the story. Oh sure, but there is no reason to conclude that the stories are true or accurate.

 

Regarding # 1, why would Luke write that a decree went out to register the whole world if Luke knew that it was only a local (Judean) census? This means that either the scriptures are not divinely inspired and can be relied upon as such, or Luke was intentionally lying - or was he trying to boost his story for his Roman audience?

 

#4 and #5 are no goes even by their own admission

 

# 2 and #3 are not strong arguments - a whole lot of possibly maybe it might have occurred based on one or two data points for different areas.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, LogicalFallacy said:

 

The hilarious thing is they are arguing over words and meaning of a text for which no originals remain and that surviving copies differ from one another meaning there is no way to say what the originals were - despite the assurances from apologist that we have the 'gist' of the story. Oh sure, but there is no reason to conclude that the stories are true or accurate.

 

Regarding # 1, why would Luke write that a decree went out to register the whole world if Luke knew that it was only a local (Judean) census? This means that either the scriptures are not divinely inspired and can be relied upon as such, or Luke was intentionally lying - or was he trying to boost his story for his Roman audience?

 

#4 and #5 are no goes even by their own admission

 

# 2 and #3 are not strong arguments - a whole lot of possibly maybe it might have occurred based on one or two data points for different areas.

 
 

That's the overall impression I got from reading the rebuttals. Nothing concretre here at all

Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, SeaJay said:

That's the overall impression I got from reading the rebuttals. Nothing concretre here at all

 

There's your answer. ;)

 

All the apologists are doing is trying to make things appear to be true in order for Christians to be able to maintain their faith. They're simply trying to polish a turd. The reality is that there are a plethora of problems with the Bible that make it an unreliable source of information, including multiple problems even within the Nativity accounts. The census in question appears nowhere except within one of the unreliable sources of information contained within the Bible.

 

Think about it this way. Even if it would be found out that such a ridiculous type of census had actually happened, what would that prove? It would only prove that a ridiculous type of census happened where people were counted in places where they did not live. It would not prove that some kid was God incarnate, born of a virgin, grew up and performed miracles, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. It would not prove that anyone is destined for Hell if he/she doesn't believe in this person. None of the core of Christianity would be validated simply because of a ridiculous census.

 

Gotta get to work. Have a great day!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Moderator
50 minutes ago, Citsonga said:

Think about it this way. Even if it would be found out that such a ridiculous type of census had actually happened, what would that prove? It would only prove that a ridiculous type of census happened where people were counted in places where they did not live. It would not prove that some kid was God incarnate, born of a virgin, grew up and performed miracles, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. It would not prove that anyone is destined for Hell if he/she doesn't believe in this person. None of the core of Christianity would be validated simply because of a ridiculous census.

 

This brings me to the point of what I like to argue about: sort out the bigger issues first. Does the Christian accept evolution? Yes/No?

 

No: You might as well cease conversation. Nothing is real, your are playing chess with a pigeon and trying to catch your shadow.

 

Yes: Ok, how do they reconcile the bible with evolution. More specifically Jesus referred to the Genesis myth as real. How could the son of an all knowing God not know Adam and Eve were myth composites?

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/30/2017 at 11:26 AM, Citsonga said:

 

 

 

    Matthew continues his story by telling that Herod "sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof" (Matt 2:16).

 

Hi Citsonga, just a detail: "coasts" doesn't seem right. The word ὁρίοις means areas on the border (ὅρος). Wouldn't it be a better translation to have "environs" or the like? Bethlehem is not near the coast.

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, LogicalFallacy said:

More specifically Jesus referred to the Genesis myth as real. How could the son of an all knowing God not know Adam and Eve were myth composites?

1

I know Jesus spoke about how Moses wrote about him, and he spoke about Noah and the flood, but any references to Adam and Eve are tenuous at best and I'm not sure he says anything about Genesis being real. I might have missed that though

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, ficino said:

Hi Citsonga, just a detail: "coasts" doesn't seem right. The word ὁρίοις means areas on the border (ὅρος). Wouldn't it be a better translation to have "environs" or the like? Bethlehem is not near the coast.

 

That's King James English for ya. It's referring to the boundaries. Of the 11 times it's used in the NT, the KJV translates it "coasts" 10 times (including the verse in question) and "borders" once.

 

http://www.blbclassic.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G3725&t=KJV

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Moderator

Mods - this is an interesting topic, and probably useful to a number of existing and potential members - would it be better under Christian Theological Issues or Lions Den rather than here in rants?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Another way to look at this is with something I mentioned in the part about the Nativity contradictions. That excerpt was a bit wordy, though, so I'd like to simplify the one point that I want to get at here.

 

There are two different Nativity stories, one in Matthew and the other in Luke, and they are significantly different on these pertinent details:

  • Matthew has Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus as Bethlehem residents living in a house when they have to flee to save Jesus from being murdered in Harod's plot. They stay in Egypt for some unspecified time until Harod dies, after which they return from Egypt but divert and settle in Nazareth after hearing that Harod's son is in charge of Bethlehem.
  • Luke has Mary and Joseph as Nazareth residents who have to go to Bethlehem for a census, and there Jesus is born, after which they return to their residence in Nazareth with baby Jesus.

Both Matthew and Luke had an agenda to have Jesus be from Nazareth but born in Bethlehem, but we can see that they accomplished this in very different ways. Seeing that those details were put there merely to accomplish the Bethlehem and Nazareth agenda, and the two versions are quite contradictory, doesn't it become obvious that they were just making stuff up? How are either version's details believable when they're clearly put there to accomplish an agenda? More specifically to the question of this thread, how is Luke's census believable when it is clearly there for no other purpose than to accomplish an agenda?

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.