THE INSPIRATION OF SCRIPTURE: An Explanation and a Response to Creation Ministries International’s Problematic View

THE INSPIRATION OF SCRIPTURE: An Explanation and a Response to Creation Ministries International’s Problematic View

© 2020, by John Tors. All Rights Reserved.

Introduction

As we have seen numerous times in the past, whenever Creation Ministries International (CMI) functionaries wander away from the organization’s core competency, scientific creationism, and dabble in other areas, trouble may follow.[1]  Their foray into the area of Biblical inspiration, “The inspiration of Scripture comes in various forms,” by Lita Cosner and Robert Carter[2], is no exception.  It is problematic from start to finish.

At the very beginning, Miss Cosner and Carter write, “Most evangelical Christians would say the Bible is ‘inspired’. Yet if we scratch beneath the surface, most would be hard-pressed to explain, much less defend, the inspiration of Scripture,” and then they proceed to put themselves into that very category by failing even to define inspiration – and this even under their heading “Defining Inspiration”!  Ironically, the authors go on to say that “The good news is that the doctrine of inspiration is easy to explain,” though apparently it is not so for them, as they never do it.  Throughout, they confuse inspiration with inerrancy, which are certainly related but are two different things.  Nor at any point do they “defend” inspiration; they merely assert it repeatedly.

The Inspiration and Inerrancy of Scripture

Let us first do what Miss Cosner and Carter failed to do: explain the doctrine of inspiration.  Consider the following passage:

All Scripture (πᾶσα γραφὴ) is God-breathed (θεόπνευστος), and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16)

To say this is to say that God breathed out the very words (and all of the words) that make up Scripture, so, while He used human authors putting pen to paper, the words are His words, not theirs.  How did He do this?  We are told this:

No prophecy (προφητεία) of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved (φερόμενοι) by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:20b-21)

Prophesying, contrary to popular opinion, is not merely foretelling the future; it is proclaiming an inspired revelation,[3] so all of Scripture is, in fact, prophecy, and the authors were “moved” or, more accurately, carried or driven[4] by the Holy Spirit, so that what they produced is the very word of God Himself.[5]  That is what is meant by the inspiration of Scripture.  Inspiration applies to all of the Scriptures (which is known as “plenary” inspiration) and to the level of the very words chosen (which is known as “verbal” inspiration).

Inerrancy is a corollary of inspiration.  Since God breathed Scripture and He is both omniscient[6] and truthful,[7] whatever He says cannot be in error, which is why we assert, per Psalm 119:160a, “The entirety of Your word is truth,” and why Jesus Himself said,

“The Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35b).

It seems, after all, that it is not actually difficult to explain the inspiration of Scripture.

Errors and Problems

Miss Cosner and Carter commit a plethora of errors throughout this article.  Some are more problematic than others, but all betray a lack of careful examination that is simply unacceptable from those who take on the mantle of apologists.

Problem 1

Under the heading “Defining the autographs,” Miss Cosner and Carter write,

How can we be certain that Scripture was preserved, especially since the earliest copies of the OT books we have were written hundreds or even thousands of years after the originals? One big reason is that Jesus never felt the need to correct the Scriptures that they had in His day. In fact, it was preserved so well that He could turn an entire argument on a verb tense (Matthew 22:32). Especially since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, we know that the OT Scriptures we have today are the same as Jesus had in His day.[8]

Then, under the heading, “From the autographs to today,” they continue:

in the DSS, the Great Isaiah Scroll, in particular, is nearly identical to the Masoretic text which forms the basis for the translation we read in our Bibles.[9]

That is not even remotely correct, and it is disturbing that CMI functionaries continue to make such claims.  The “Great Isaiah scroll,” 1QIsaa, differs from the Masoretic text in hundreds of places; even in the twelve verses that make up Isaiah 53 there are twenty-three differences between 1QIsaa and the Masoretic text.[10]  Jesus did indeed endorse the Old Testament of His day, but it was not the Masoretic text.

In fact, what the Dead Sea scrolls indicate is that on balance the OT Scriptures that Jesus endorsed were closer to the Septuagint (LXX) than to the Masoretic text.[11]  CMI’s slavish adherence to the Masoretic text[12] is incompatible with a belief in Biblical inerrancy, as it puts errors into the mouth of Jesus Himself.  For example, in Matthew 15:7-9, Jesus said,

“Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:

‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”

Now, if Isaiah did not say this – and in the Masoretic text he did not – then either Jesus was wrong or the Gospel According to Matthew is wrong; either way, inerrancy is dead in the water.[13]  It is high time for CMI to face these facts.

Problem 2

In the sections headlined “The spectrum of inspiration” and “Styles of inspiration,” Miss Cosner and Carter aver that

It only takes a cursory look at the Bible to notice that there are different types of writing within it, which means that God didn’t always inspire in the same way.

That is a false conclusion; even a single human author can produce “different types of writing,[14] so why cannot God inspire “different types of writing” in the same way?

Here is where it would have been helpful had Miss Cosner and Carter provided their definition of inspiration, but they failed to do so previously and they fail to do so now; they do say that “We need a doctrine of inerrancy that encompasses everything, from God’s dictated words, to the overflow of David’s praise recorded in the Psalms, to the research process that led to putting together of Luke’s Gospel,” but they provide no such a doctrine – and again confuse inspiration with inerrancy.  What they do do is provide a list of supposed genres of writing in the Bible, confuse “genres” with “different types of inspiration,” and make the bald assertion that “All of these are ‘inspired’ forms of writing” without offering either theory or proof for the claim.

In point of fact, there is only one “type” of inspiration, and we are told of it in 2 Peter 1:20-21, as we have already seen: God carries the prophet in such a way that what he says is actually God’s words.  God is actually speaking through the prophet:

  • So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying (Matthew 1:22)

  • that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.” (Matthew 2:15b)

  • “As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, who have been since the world began” (Luke 1:70)

  • But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. (Acts 3:18)

  • whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. (Acts 3:21)

  • Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says:

    “Today, if you will hear His voice,
    Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
    In the day of trial in the wilderness” (Hebrews 3:7-8)

Regarding in particular David, we read

  • “For David himself said by the Holy Spirit:

    ‘The Lord said to my Lord,
    “Sit at My right hand,
    Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’” (Mark 12:36)

  • “who by the mouth of Your servant David have said:

    ‘Why did the nations rage, and the people plot vain things?’” (Acts 4:25)

Inspiration, then, is a far more profound matter than simply having God ensuring no errors when the authors “write with their own emotions and experience, as Miss Cosner and Carter suggest.

There is, not surprisingly, a plenitude of other errors in these sections.  These may be considered less problematic and attributed to a lack of careful thought.

Compiling notes from various sources?

Miss Cosner and Carter write,

In other places, it is clear that someone built up a text by compiling notes from various sources.

Really?  Such a proposal is very much open to question, and, in making the assertion, these two bear the burden of proof, yet the offer no evidence for it.

Research process?

Miss Cosner and Carter write of “the research process that led to putting together of Luke’s Gospel.”  Again, we have to ask where is the evidence to support this claim.  What Luke says in the prologue to his Gospel account is this:

Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed. (Luke 1:1-4)[15]

Ἐπειδήπερ πολλοὶ ἐπεχείρησαν ἀνατάξασθαι διήγησιν περὶ τῶν πεπληροφορημένων ἐν ἡμῖν πραγμάτων καθὼς παρέδοσαν ἡμῖν οἱ ἀπ᾽ ἀρχῆς αὐτόπται καὶ ὑπηρέται γενόμενοι τοῦ λόγου ἔδοξεν κἀμοὶ παρηκολουθηκότι ἄνωθεν πᾶσιν ἀκριβῶς καθεξῆς σοι γράψαι κράτιστε Θεόφιλε ἵνα ἐπιγνῷς περὶ ὧν κατηχήθης λόγων τὴν ἀσφάλειαν (Luke 1:1-4)

Now, the astute reader will notice that Luke asserts that (a) many have set in order a narrative of the things which happened (regarding Jesus) among us, (b) these accord with what the eyewitnesses presented to us, (c) Luke has his own understanding, and (d) Luke has decided to write his own orderly account of these things.  What he does not say is that he consulted any of these other sources in making his own account, nor does he indicate anywhere that he did a “research process.”  While it is not impossible, of course, that he did so, Miss Cosner and Carter should not be asserting this as if were a fact, let alone an obvious one.[16]

We should also pay attention to Luke’s use of the word ἄνωθεν (anōthen) here.  The word can mean “from the beginning,[17] but of the other twelve times the word appears in the NT, it is translated that way only once (in Acts 26:5).  Three times it is translated as “again,[18] and nine times it is translated as “from above.[19]  This raises the question as to why ἄνωθεν is not translated as “from above” in Luke 1:3.  Add to this the fact that Luke does say “from the beginning” in v. 2, using the expression ἀπ᾽ ἀρχῆς, which at least suggests that Luke would have used this expression in 1:3 if he meant to say “from the beginning”; why, if he wishes to pass on information accurately, would he instead use an ambiguous term?

Thus, it is entirely possible that Luke is actually claiming divine inspiration for his Gospel book here (it seems to me that the burden of proof is on those who would argue against this).  But, whether that is the case or not, he is certainly not claiming to have followed a “research process.

Amanuenses?

Miss Cosner and Carter write,

Paul often used what is called an amanuensis (professional scribe) to help him write his letters (For instance, see  Romans 16:22). He may not have actually penned any NT book … This means that the amanuensis may have added personal flourishes to Paul’s writing as they took their notes and turned them into the final document.

On the contrary, Tertius identifies himself as the man who actually penned the epistle to the Romans (Romans 16:22), and this is not a “for instance”; it is the only case in which the use of an amanuensis is indicated.  There is no intellectual justification for the bald assertion that Paul “often” used amanuenses, nor would such a use “mean that the amanuensis may have added personal flourishes to Paul’s writing[20]; if he had, it would be the letter of Paul and Tertius to the Romans, and not Paul’s alone.  Miss Cosner and Carter really need to learn not to make bald assertions for which they offer no proof.[21]

Coauthorship?

Miss Cosner and Carter avow that

The careful reader of Scripture will notice that most of Paul’s letters are coauthored (1 Corinthians 1:1; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1; Philemon 1:1), even though Paul speaks in the first-person singular most of the time.

Now, that’s an interesting claim, inasmuch as the two points listed are prime facie contradictory.  Either the letters are indeed coauthored and the authors view themselves as some sort of gestalt like Star Trek’s The Borg, so that they refer to the group of them in the singular, or “I, Paul” is writing on behalf of the others who are mentioned in the opening.  The second option is the one that seems reasonable.

Problem 3

Under the heading “Styles of Inspiration,” Miss Cosner and Carter provide a list of genres of writing that are used in the Bible, erroneously calling them “the different types of inspiration.”  Again, these are literary genres, not “types of inspiration.[22]

The seriously problematic issue here is Miss Cosner’s and Carter’s claim that

The Bible contains an early form of biography that presents factual information about an individual that is intended to persuade the reader about the positive or negative qualities of the subject. Examples: the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

This is very, very bad.

John tells us the reason he wrote his Gospel book:

And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. (John 20:30-31)

Luke also does so:

it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed (Luke 1:3-4)

Now, a rational person would think that if an author is writing a work in order to persuade people to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, he will put pen to paper and pick and choose the things he wants to include and write them in such a way as to achieve that purpose.  And if an author is writing a work in order to ensure that “most excellent Theophilus” knows the certainty of those things in which he was instructed, he will put pen to paper and pick and choose the things he wants to include and write them in such a way as to achieve that purpose.  That is what a rational person would think.

No, says the Bible scholar; authors cannot do such a thing.  Bible scholars proclaim from on high and by fiat that writers of the time had to pick one of the already existing literary genres and write according to its rules and conventions.  From at least the time of the publication of Richard Burridge’s What are the Gospels? A Comparison with Graeco-Roman Biography,[23] it has become scholarly orthodoxy that the Gospel books are actually specimens of the Greco-Roman bios.  Miss Cosner and Carter uncritically accept this view, saying, as we have noted, that

The Bible contains an early form of biography that presents factual information about an individual that is intended to persuade the reader about the positive or negative qualities of the subject. Examples: the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.[24]

What is wrong with this?

Based on the stated purposes of John and Luke and the contents of all four Gospel books, the authors were manifestly not trying to “persuade the reader about the positive or negative qualities of the subject.”  Furthermore,

  • The Gospel books are manifestly not Greco-Roman bioi; the differences between them and bioi are far more numerous and far more significant than the similarities,[25] which is something Miss Cosner and Carter could have easily discovered had they exerted themselves to check. And when we consider the fact that the early Church Fathers, who were certainly very well acquainted with Greco-Roman historiography and who utterly rejected the idea that the Gospel books were patterned after them[26], the claim that the Gospel books are Greco-Roman bioi is seen to be a complete farce.

  • The idea that authors could not write what they wanted how they wanted but could only use the already existing genres is daft on the face of it.

The real problem is that this false claim that the Gospel books are Greco-Roman bioi is not a victimless crime, but is being used by scholars to destroy the credibility of the Gospel books.  The process is as follows:

  • The Gospel books are of the same genre as the Greco-Roman bios.

  • The genre of bios was flexible, mixing truth and legendary material.

  • Therefore, the Gospel books are a mix of truth and fiction.

There is a certain Gnostic element here, in that there are supposed to be codes in the text that tell the readers which events that are described as happening did not actually happen, and presumably readers in the ancient world were all familiar with them; sadly, this knowledge had been lost, but is being regained by our scholars, so that they can understand which parts of the historical narratives in the Gospel books are true and which are not and they will deign to inform us.

Dr. Michael Licona drew attention to this with the publication of his book The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach [27] in 2010, which gained notoriety for Licona’s claim that the resurrection of the Old Testament saints described in Matthew 27:51-53 never actually happened but was a coded poetic device.  He asserted that

  • In Greco-Roman bioi, the death of an important mean was often described as being accompanied by such things as darkness, earthquakes, opened tombs, and resurrected bodies. Such things described in these bioi didn’t actually happen; the descriptions of them were merely poetic devices to emphasize the importance of the man who died.

  • The description of the resurrection of OT saints in Matthew 27:51-53 is an example of such poetic language associated with the death of the great man Jesus.

  • The readers of the Gospel According to Matthew would no doubt have understood that the events of Matthew 27:51-53 never actually happened, but were simply poetic devices, due to the presence of darkness, earthquake, opened tombs, and resurrected bodies in the narrative.

Licona’s farrago is unsustainable.  It was pointed out that in the very next chapter of the Gospel According to Matthew the same sorts of “devices” occur – darkness, earthquake, opened tomb, resurrected body – describing the resurrection of Jesus, and if such “devices” indicate that the text is poetic and not historical, then the resurrection of Jesus did not happen.  Licona blustered that this is different, as all subsequent commentators believed that Jesus did rise from the dead.[28]  But if that is so, it means that early readers could read accounts with darkness, earthquakes, opened tombs, and resurrected bodies and not take them to mean that the account was poetic rather than historical, which means there is no reason to think that they took the account in Matthew 27:51-53 as poetic rather than historical.  Thus, Licona’s irrational argument collapses under the weight of its own inconsistency.[29]

It was stunning how few Christian apologists took Licona to task for this and how many proclaimed that Licona’s views were consistent with Biblical inerrancy.[30]  Perhaps emboldened by this support for his “trial balloon,” Licona followed up in 2018 with an entire book explaining Why Are There Differences in the Gospels?[31]  His answer is that, inasmuch as the Gospels are in the genre of Greco-Roman bioi, which are flexible in mixing historical fact with legendary and poetic material, the differences are due to the fact that the Gospel writers forgot some things, got some things wrong, and made up things to make the stories more interesting.

It is to such skubala, folks, that Miss Cosner and Carter insouciantly give aid and comfort by proclaiming that

The Bible contains an early form of biography that presents factual information about an individual that is intended to persuade the reader about the positive or negative qualities of the subject. Examples: the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

For shame.

Problem 4

Miss Cosner and Carter commit an egregious error under the heading “What about historical updates?” by claiming,

There are some places in Scripture that appear to have been updated by later scribes.

Absolutely not!  As we have seen, the Bible makes it clear that the very words were God-breathed, via authors who were driven where God wanted them to go.  What is in the original autographs of the books of the Bible is God’s perfect, inspired word, and no scribe could or would dare to alter them.[32]  And if such an alteration did take hold in the manuscript tradition, the doctrine of verbal plenary inspiration would be dead in the water.  We would have a mix of God’s words with men’s, and no way to distinguish between them.

It is noteworthy that Miss Cosner and Carter earlier said that

In fact, [the OT] was preserved so well that [Jesus] could turn an entire argument on a verb tense (Matthew 22:32).

In another article, CMI Chief Scientist Dr. Jonathan Sarfati uses this same fact to prove verbal plenary inspiration,[33] the very thing that Miss Cosner and Carter are heedlessly putting at risk here.

For the record, Miss Cosner’s and Carter’s claim that “There are some places in Scripture that appear to have been updated by later scribes” is without foundation, and their examples are risible.  They say,

For instance, Moses is the traditional author of the Torah (Genesis through Deuteronomy), but he probably did not write the account of his own death (Deuteronomy 34) or claim for himself that he was the most humble man in the world (Numbers 12:3)!

In fact, Moses could certainly have written the account of his own death in advance, just as Jesus was able to foretell the destruction of the temple long before it happened (Mark 13:1-2).  But if someone else wrote it later, it would be a new author writing new Scripture as moved by the Holy Spirit to do, not someone changing (“updating”) already existing Scripture.  Furthermore, Moses certainly could have written that he was the most humble man in the world if the Holy Spirit drove him to write that.  That would seem obvious, so we wonder why God’s role is being studiously overlooked here.  And not one of the supposed “editorial comments” listed by Miss Cosner and Carter is such that it could not have been written by the original author of the book in which it is found.

We are also curious as to why Miss Cosner and Carter call these “editorial comments” instead of what they are, viz. supplementary comments; “editorial comments” by definition are added to a work by an editor.  While it is standard liberal tommyrot that most of the books of the Bible were stitched together by unknown redactors (editors), that is a baseless view and one wonders why professing evangelicals would blithely use language that implies such a view is true.

Is just another example of carelessness on the part of Miss Cosner and Carter?  That would be bad enough, but unfortunately, we find that that is not the case.  In their “Case Study: Rameses,” discussing the use of the Egyptian name “Rameses,” which was supposedly not in use in Egypt until after the time of Moses, Miss Cosner and Carter say this:

it is highly likely that a later editor updated the text of Moses to reflect the then-current situation as the manuscripts were brought into their final form. Think about it: we know Moses wrote (e.g. Exodus 24:4, Numbers 33:2). But we also know that he could not have written about his own death. Therefore, the books attributed to Moses had to have an editor. We also know that editorial comments (e.g. “to this day”) were sprinkled into the Scriptures and that this was probably from the hand of multiple people. It would be a trivial matter for someone to simply update the name of an Egyptian city so that the people to whom they are writing would understand what was being written.[34]

This is entirely a witch’s brew.  First, one would like to ask Miss Cosner and Carter how their claim that Moses “probably did not write the account of his own death” turned into “we also know that he could not have written about his own death[35] a scant ten paragraphs later.  Did some amazing new information present itself to them between the writing of these two paragraphs?  Did they just forget what they wrote?  Or are they not even listening to themselves?

Second, Miss Cosner and Carter now intone that

it is highly likely that a later editor updated the text of Moses to reflect the then-current situation as the manuscripts were brought into their final form.

Wow.  Previously, these two CMI paladins told us that the autograph “refers to the first copy of a book or letter,” which means that, according to them, Moses did not produce the autograph of Deuteronomy (and perhaps not any of the books of the Pentateuch); it was done by an unknown redactor at some later, unknown date who brought the text into its “final form.”  Oh, wait; Miss Cosner and Carter now tell us that

the books attributed to Moses had to have an editor.[36]

So there we have it; Moses did not produce the autographs; they were only attributed to him.  It was actually produced by a redactor – according to Miss Cosner and Carter.

Oh, wait again; it’s not one redactor; Miss Cosner and Carter go on to tell us that

we also know that editorial comments (e.g. “to this day”) were sprinkled into the Scriptures and that this was probably from the hand of multiple people.[37]

They do not tell us how we “know” this – and we have already seen it is not true – but we are supposed to believe that the autographs were produced by multiple unknown redactors who acted at some unknown points in time.  And if multiple editors brought the books into their “final form,” how can we possibly know how much and how radically Moses’ original books were rewritten?  This is now indistinguishable from liberal scholarship, in essence if not in degree.

We need to ask now: Do we have any reason to believe that this unknown redactor was “driven by the Holy Spirit” as he did his editing?  If not, say goodbye to the doctrine of the inspiration of Scripture – and Miss Cosner and Carter make attempt to give such a reason, nor can they.

Third – and we will direct this one only to Carter, who, as a scientist understands how probability works – we ask regarding the claim that “it is highly likely that a later editor updated the text of Moses” how he came to that conclusion.  “Highly likely” indicates that the probability is far greater that 50%.  Can Carter tell us what data and calculation he used to reach the conclusion that it was “‘highly likely’ that a later editor updated the text of Moses”?  Or is this another example of the nearly ubiquitous practice in Biblical studies where claims of “probable” and “highly likely” are brought in to obscure the fact that the evidence for the claim is simply not there?

Finally, we note that to Miss Cosner and Carter,

It would be a trivial matter for someone to simply update the name of an Egyptian city so that the people to whom they are writing would understand what was being written.

We do not agree that a scribe taking it upon himself to remove a God-breathed word and then to substitute his own uninspired choice into the actual original-language manuscripts of the Bible is a “trivial thing.  And, if such a thing is done, perhaps Miss Cosner and Carter can tell us how we can be sure such a thing was not done on other, less “trivial” matters.  And can we still do it today?  Can we alter what we find in the original Greek and Hebrew texts to make it “more understandable”?  If not, why not?  Why not, folks?

Conclusion

We have said many times, and maintain now, that Creation Ministries International has done, and continues to do, great work in their own core focus and competency, which is scientific creationism.  We applaud them for that.

Unfortunately, we have had occasion to note that when they step outside of the area of their core competency, their teachings can become highly troubling.  They realize that the issue of the theory of evolution and its concomitants has been greatly used by the enemies of the cause of Christ to discredit the Bible.  They know that simply reading standard evangelical books and teachers on creation will not give a proper view of the topic – indeed, they spend a great deal of effort correcting such books and teachers[38] – yet they do not seem to grasp the fact that liberal depredations have infiltrated other areas of evangelical scholarship, including historical criticism and textual criticism, just as much as in the area of origins.

As we have noted, this is reflected in this article.  It is rife with errors.  Some are annoying but relatively harmless, such as writing an article about inspiration in which inspiration is not even defined and is repeatedly confused with inerrancy and bald assertions about compiling notes, the use of amanuenses, and coauthorship.

However, other errors are of more concern.  The slavish adherence to the Masoretic text, which results in Jesus misquoting the Bible, is one of these.  The uncritical acceptance of the claim that the Gospel books are of the bioi genre is another; Miss Cosner and Carter seem to have no idea of how this false idea is being used to destroy Biblical inerrancy.  And presenting the books of the Pentateuch as the “final form” into which multiple editors shaped them is a huge Wellhausian step backwards, though no doubt inadvertent.

Once again, we have to conclude that it would be better for CMI to stay within the purview of scientific creation, and leave these other topics for those better equipped to deal with them.


Footnotes

[1] See, inter alia, Tors, John. “Creation Ministries International and the Three-Headed Monster: Why the Monster Wins.” Posted at https://truthinmydays.com/creation-ministries-international-and-the-three-headed-monster-why-the-monster-wins/#CMI_on_Historical_Criticism; Tors, John. “Mark 16:9-20: A Response to CMI.” Posted at https://truthinmydays.com/mark-169-20-a-response-to-cmi/, and Tors, John. “Does Jesus Misquote the Old Testament? Creation Ministries International (CMI) Undermines Inerrancy Again.” Posted at https://truthinmydays.com/does-jesus-misquote-the-old-testament-creation-ministries-international-cmi-undermines-inerrancy-again/.

[2] Cosner, Lita and Robert Carter, “The inspiration of Scripture comes in various forms.” Posted at https://creation.com/inspiration-of-scripture on September 10, 2019.  Unless otherwise indicated, all quotations from “Miss Cosner and Carter” are taken from this article.

[3] Danker, Frederick W., Walter Bauer, William F. Arndt, and F. Wilbur Gingrich. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. 3rd ed. (BDAG) Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000, p. 890

[4] BDAG, pp. 1051-1052

[5] It seems they spoke as they wrote or the amanuensis wrote (see e.g. Jeremiah 45:1.  Note that Baruch wrote the words in a book “from Jeremiah’s mouth”; he did not edit or alter them.)

[6] Psalm 147:5; 1 John 3:20

[7] Numbers 23:19; Titus 1:2

[8] Bolding added.

[9] Bolding added.  DSS is an abbreviation for “Dead Sea Scrolls.”

[10] Abegg, jr., Martin, Peter Flint, and Eugene Ulrich. “The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible: The Oldest Known Bible Tanslated for the First Time into English. New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1999, pp. 267-381. (For Isaiah 53, see pp. 359-360.)

[11] OT quotations in the New Testament agree with the LXX 93% of the times but with the Masoretic text only 68% of the times.  See Tors, John. “On the Merits of the Septuagint: A Response to Floyd Nolen Jones’ ‘The Chronology of the Old Testament’.” Posted at https://truthinmydays.com/on-the-merits-of-the-septuagint-a-response-to-floyd-nolen-jones-the-chronology-of-the-old-testament/.

[12] See, inter alia, Cosner, Lita and Robert Carter. “Textual traditions and biblical chronology.” Journal of Creation 29:2 (2015), pp. 99-105; and Cosner, Lita and Robert Carter. “Is the Septuagint a superior text for the Genesis genealogies?” Posted at https://creation.com/lxx-mt-response.

[13] For more details, including a response to Miss Cosner’s and Carter’s fatuous suggestion that Matthew was simply using the LXX because it was more familiar to his readers, see Tors, John. “Does Jesus Misquote The Old Testament?”

[14] American author Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950), for example, wrote adventure-romance, science fiction, historical fiction, westerns, contemporary social commentary, poetry, plays, and newspaper reports.

[15] Note that “having had perfect understanding” is better translated as “having accurately followed.”

[16] It should be noted that Miss Cosner and Carter are by no means the only ones to make this mistake; Luke’s prologue is often – and wrongly – appealed to by those who promote the fantasy of literary dependence among the Gospel books.

[17] BDAG, p. 92

[18] In two of those (John 3:3, 3:7), “from above” would fit; it is the context (viz. Nicodemus’ response in John 3:4) that indicates that the word should be translated “again.”

[19] In three of these (Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38; John 19:23),  it refers to a physical entity, so “from the top” is the best translation.

[20] As we have seen, Jeremiah’s amanuensis Baruch wrote the prophet’s words into a book directly “from Jeremiah’s mouth.”

[21] As to Miss Cosner’s and Carter’s claim that “Paul’s writing often sounds more like preaching than a personal letter. Part of this was likely because Paul was dictating to someone else as they took notes,” that is surely a subjective personal opinion.  It does not sound like preaching to me.

[22] Miss Cosner and Carter also list as a genre “Historical compilation. A document compiled from previous existing accounts. Examples: 1–2 Samuel, 1–2 Chronicles, 1–2 Kings. See 1 Chronicles 4:22 for an interesting admission to the struggle scholars have when working with source material.”  Here, too, they offer no evidence that these books were “compiled from previous existing documents,” and 1 Chronicles 4:22, which recites a genealogy and says, “Now the words are ancient” is not an admission – interesting or otherwise – “to the struggle scholars have when working with source material.”  Nor is it immediately obvious how “scholars” come into this.

[23] Burridge, Richard A. What are the Gospels? A Comparison with Graeco-Roman Biography. Society for New Testament Studies – Monograph series. 70. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1992.  His was not the first work in which this claim was advanced.

[24] That is an accurate, albeit brief, description of Greco-Roman bioi.

[25] Ferguson, Matthew W. “Ancient Historical Writing Compared to the Gospels of the New Testament.” Posted on August 18, 2013 at https://celsus.blog/2013/08/18/ancient-historical-writing-compared-to-the-gospels-of-the-new-testament/ and reposted in 2016 at https://infidels.org/library/modern/matthew_ferguson/gospel-genre.html; Farnell, F. David. “Do the Canonical Gospels Reflect Greco- Roman Biography Genre or are They Modeled After the Old Testament Books?” MSJ 30:1 (Spring 2019), pp. 5–44

[26] Farnell, F. David. “Are the Canonical Gospels to be Identified as a Genre of Greco-Roman Biography? The Early Church Fathers Say ‘No.’” MSJ 30:2 (Fall 2019), pp. 185–206

[27] Licona, Michael R. The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2010.

[28] Actually, all of the early Christian writers who commented on it also believed that the OT saints did in fact rise as described in Matthew 27:51-53, so Licona’s special pleading here will not work.

[29] This is only one of many fundamental problems with Licona’s claims.  For a detailed discussion, see Tors, John. “The Three-Headed Monster and the Evangelical Betrayal of the Bible: Exposing the Major Weapons Levied Against the Trustworthiness of the Bible.”  Posted at https://truthinmydays.com/the-three-headed-monster-and-the-evangelical-betrayal-of-the-bible-exposing-the-major-weapons-levied-against-the-trustworthiness-of-the-bible/.

[30] ibid.

[31] Licona, Michael R. Why Are There Differences in the Gospels? What We Can Learn from Ancient Biography. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2017.

[32] At least, no Godly scribe would do so.  The Masoretes actually did alter the Hebrew text, in many cases obscuring prophetic indications of Jesus – which makes it all the more curious that CMI holds rabidly to the belief that the Masoretic text is the correct original text of the OT.

[33] “Even the Scriptures accepted by the Sadducees taught the resurrection: Christ demonstrated this with an argument depending on the present tense of the implied verb ‘to be’ implied — the patriarchs were living in a sense in Moses’ day, centuries after they had died physically. This passage shows that the Lord believed in verbal plenary inspiration of Scripture.”  Sarfati, Jonathan. “The authority of Scripture.” Posted at http://creation.com/the-authority-of-scripture.

[34] What is particularly stunning is that Miss Cosner and Carter say, “First, scholars might simply be wrong about when the word entered the Egyptian lexicon.”  Just so; there is a multitude of examples of liberal scholars claiming the Bible was wrong for saying something that was not known from other sources – and subsequently being proven wrong.  Until late 2009, for example, skeptics claimed that Nazareth had not existed at Jesus’ time, as the earliest known mention of it was in the fourth century AD.  See, for example, Kenneth Humphreys, “Nazareth – The Town that Theology Built” Posted at http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/nazareth.html.  Hilariously, Humphreys writes, “None of this would matter of course if, rather like at the nearby ‘pagan’ city of Sepphoris, we could stroll through the ruins of 1st century bath houses, villas, theatres etc. Yet no such ruins exist.”  Yet the ruins do exist, discovered and excavated by the Israel Antiquities Authority in 2009 (“Nazareth dwelling discovery may shed light on boyhood of Jesus: Finds suggest Nazareth was an out-of-the-way hamlet of around 50 houses, populated by Jews of modest means.” Associated Press in Nazareth, The Guardian, Monday 21 December 2009 17.59 GMT).  Strangely, Humphreys’ article remains posted to this day (July 23, 2020).

[35] Bolding and italics added to both of these quotations.

[36] Bolding and underlining added.  Italics in the original.

[37] Bolding, underlining, and italics added.

[38] See, for example, Sarfati, Jonathan. “William Lane Craig’s intellectually dishonest attack on biblical creationists.” Posted at https://creation.com/william-lane-craig-vs-creation and Sarfati, Jonathan. “R.C. Sproul Jr. blunders on plant death: another theologian who needs to do his homework.” Posted at https://creation.com/r-c-sproul-jr-plant-death.

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