Thursday, March 22, 2012

External Evidence for the Gospels by Timothy McGrew Audio and Video - Apologetics 315

Here is a really good lecture that Dr Timothy McGrew gave last month relying on historical evidences from non Christian witnesses and culture and history to show consistently accurate the Biblical Gospels and Acts are. Of course, it does not prove that they are true by themselves but it is good evidence that they are true. If the Bible authors had gotten so many easily checked things wrong, it would be enough to throw them out as true. I'be got to ask why doesn't the fact that they get these things right not evidence that the books are true? It truly is a sad, double-minded, and inconsistent methodology for determining if something is true.



External Evidence for the Gospels by Timothy McGrew Audio and Video - Apologetics 315

42 comments:

  1. If the Bible authors had gotten so many easily checked things wrong, it would be enough to throw them out as true. I'be [sic] got to ask why doesn't the fact that they get these things right not evidence that the books are true?

    Um, because they are easily checked? So it's not a big deal that they got them right. It's expected that anyone would get them right.

    When Frey wrote "A Million Little Pieces", he both intentionally, and in all likelihood, unintentionally, distorted a lot of facts. And granted, if he'd described Chicago as being in Arizona, mentioned Herbert Hoover running against George Bush in the 1992 election or said the doctors used Cocaine instead of Novocain, it would be a clue that other facts in the memoire were likely also wrong. But, as we know, actually getting those (and many other) minor details correct, did not mean that most of that book wasn't completely made up.

    I'll ask you one question, with little hope of an honest answer, and your answer will determine if I frequent your blog any further. Can you admit that it's at least a little suspicious that no one, no Roman or Jew, except a single gospel author made mention of what was potentially one of they most amazing events in human history, many tombs breaking open and the bodies of dead saints arising.

    I'm not asking you to comment on whether it actually happened or not. I'm asking you to comment on if you find it suspicious, or at least surprising, that no one but the Matthew Author, in all of antiquity mentions it.

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  2. Um, because they are easily checked? So it's not a big deal that they got them right. It's expected that anyone would get them right.

    The whole point to Dr McGrew's argument is that many of the facts that show in the Gospels would have not been known or available to the authors if they had been written generations afterward. Some of the reasons why we can "easily" check them today is through archaeology and external sources that the authors would not have access to.

    I'm not asking you to comment on whether it actually happened or not. I'm asking you to comment on if you find it suspicious, or at least surprising, that no one but the Matthew Author, in all of antiquity mentions it.

    I'm curious as to why it's not mentioned in the other Gospels or other sources but that doe not mean it didn't happen.there is no need for suspicion or to cry "foul". Also I think that the reason why a big issue was not made out of it then because it was recently dead people that came back then. We know that because they were recognized by the inhabitants of Jerusalem at the time. Had these people been long dead, they would not have been recognized.

    Now something you should answer: Why is it that when the Gospels agree - contain the same accounts - you find it so easy to assume copying and then want to throw out the account, but when they don't contain the same account, you want to throw it out? What would you accept as true?

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  3. The whole point to Dr McGrew's argument is that many of the facts that show in the Gospels would have not been known or available to the authors if they had been written generations afterward.

    Even though 40 years is technically another generation, it's not too long for details to have changed, especially in the ancient world (i.e. the approach to Jerusalem is STILL up a hill, 40 years or 2000 years later...)

    there is no need for suspicion or to cry "foul".

    Of course there is, but I appreciate your milquetoast acknowledgement that it's at least curious. I've seen you "cry foul" over less suspicious bits from Islam.

    Also I think that the reason why a big issue was not made out of it then because it was recently dead people that came back then.

    Reread this and please admit that what you wrote here makes no sense.

    Why is it that when the Gospels agree - contain the same accounts - you find it so easy to assume copying

    It's not that they say the same thing, it's the 300 or so verses that the matthew author copies verbatim from mark that lead on to the conclusion that one was copying from the other. There are other reasons to "throw out the account".

    What would you accept as true?

    I said previously, it would be more compelling, although not convincing in and of itself, if there were contemporary Roman or Jewish accounts of any of the miracles.

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  4. Of course there is, but I appreciate your milquetoast acknowledgement that it's at least curious. I've seen you "cry foul" over less suspicious bits from Islam.

    Give an example.

    It's not that they say the same thing, it's the 300 or so verses that the matthew author copies verbatim from mark that lead on to the conclusion that one was copying from the other. There are other reasons to "throw out the account".

    How do you know who copied from whom, if there was any copying going on? What other reasons do you have for throwing out any accounts recorded in the Gospels?

    Reread this and please admit that what you wrote here makes no sense.

    I'll rephrase. Do you really think that people who rejected Jesus' resurrection as being true would have accepted some of the recently dead people in Jerusalem also coming back to life? even if they saw it? I'm more than willing to bet that some people who saw Lazarus being raised from the dead did not believe it. I think that much was the same for the people who were raised to life (not resurrected) after Jesus died. I also don't think that it was a great number of people either.

    Even though 40 years is technically another generation, it's not too long for details to have changed, especially in the ancient world (i.e. the approach to Jerusalem is STILL up a hill, 40 years or 2000 years later...)

    You always use that example,but that isn't the only one and it's not dependent on only that time. There are better examples of details only someone having close knowledge - other details of the Greco-Roman world that would have only made sense in the context of the 1st Century.

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  5. Give an example.

    If only I had a cray supercomptuer so I could search your blog quickly. Rest assured I've seen you do it, and I have to imagine you know you've done it.

    How do you know who copied from whom...

    Irrelevant. Either way!

    ...if there was any copying going on?

    VERBATIM!!!!

    who were raised to life (not resurrected)

    Differentiate please.

    I also don't think that it was a great number of people either.

    The word is "many"

    other details...

    Cite them. Glassware? Which was used prior to the 1st century?

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  6. other details of the Greco-Roman world that would have only made sense in the context of the 1st Century.

    33 CE = 1st Century.

    100 CE = 1st Century.

    67 year = LONG TIME

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  7. If only I had a cray supercomptuer so I could search your blog quickly. Rest assured I've seen you do it, and I have to imagine you know you've done it.

    You made a claim. You should back it up. You don't need a search engine to search the blog. That is what labels are for. Every single post dealing with Islam has such a label: Koran, Qur'an, Muslim, Muhammad. Either provide an example or retract the charge.

    Also dismissing a question about how do you know who copied what from whom as irrelevant is sad. Just admit that you don't know and can't prove it.

    The fact that you don't know the difference between Resurrection and all the other cases of the dead being raised to life only goes to show how much you don't understand what you reject. Jesus is the only one was raised from the dead and never died again. He is the only one to get an immortal body. All the other cases resemble people being resuscitated in hospitals.

    The word is "many"

    You don't seriously mean thousands? I don't. Many more than 10 but seriously smaller than a horde.

    Cite them. Glassware? Which was used prior to the 1st century?

    I don't have to. The examples are in Dr McGrew's lectures.

    33 CE = 1st Century.

    100 CE = 1st Century.

    67 year = LONG TIME


    What is your point?

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  8. That is what labels are for.

    It's less about the labels and more about the crushing slowness of the blog.

    Also dismissing a question about how do you know who copied what from whom as irrelevant is sad.

    The point being given 300 verses shared verbatims, someone copied from someone (I think the Markian priority case is strongest).


    All the other cases resemble people being resuscitated in hospitals.

    Is this your addition to the text?

    Many more than 10 but seriously smaller than a horde.

    Is this your addition to the text?

    What is your point?

    You said other details of the Greco-Roman world that would have only made sense in the context of the 1st Century.

    Given that 33 CE and 100 CE were both the "1st Century", I was simply pointing out that your statement really didn't say anything.

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  9. Is this your addition to the text?

    No given the similarity between what happens when someone is resuscitated in a hospital and those raised from the dead (examples of miraculous gifts of God) compared to Jesus' Resurrection, the statement stands.

    Matthew gives no reason to imagine a "zombie" horde raising out of the ground. It states that saints were raised. I see no reason to think that it was a large number of people.

    Given that 33 CE and 100 CE were both the "1st Century", I was simply pointing out that your statement really didn't say anything.

    You missed the point. The point is that I would expect the authors of the New Testament to get such details correct prior to 100 AD. And they do. Most skeptics try to date the Gospels much later out. And don't forget that the Gnostic texts and other Christian writings pretending to be scripture that we know are not scripture don't get those kind of things correct.

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  10. No given the similarity between what happens when someone is resuscitated in a hospital and those raised from the dead (examples of miraculous gifts of God) compared to Jesus' Resurrection, the statement stands.

    You said nothing in the above statement. What in the text tells you that it was similar to someone being resuscitated?

    I see no reason to think that it was a large number of people.

    Except that the text reads "Many Corpses". Bear in mind, I'm not saying it was a Walking Dead, flesh feasting undead zombie horde, just that it was NOTEWORTHY.

    Why do you think "πολύς σῶμα" doesn't mean "many corpses".

    Many corpses appeared to Many people. But no one else in the ancient world thought this was noteworthy.

    But you believe whatever it is you've got yourself stuck believing.

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  11. Honestly, given "ἐμφανίζω", you'd have a better shot making a case that they were apparitions.

    But then why's a gheist need to break open it's tomb?

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  12. "resuscitation" does not equal "resurrection". Learn the difference. Being "raised from the dead" is not sum total of what Resurrection is.

    Many corpses appeared to Many people. But no one else in the ancient world thought this was noteworthy.

    And What translation did you get that from? Translations I looked at used "bodies" not "corpses". I think you have a problem. Given that Jesus seemed to have routinely raised the dead, this doesn't seem out of place at all. Brings up questions, but no reason to conclude that it did not happen.

    Many translations seem to disagree with you.

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  13. "resuscitation" does not equal "resurrection".

    Yeah, probably not. Now explain you think ἐγείρω refers "resuscitation"?

    Learn the difference.

    Is this difference in the text somewhere? Perhaps you can point it out.

    But this is all besides the point. Supposedly, these people were in tombs, so it's unlikely they were all very recently deceased. You seem to be implying that because they were "resuscitated" (as opposed to ἐγείρω, you know, the word used to describe Jesus' ressurection in all the gospels...), nobody would have thought twice about it.

    And What translation did you get that from?

    No translation. The greek. What does σῶμα mean to you?

    Jesus seemed to have routinely raised the dead

    Funny that these events are missing from external sources as well. I mean, I get them ignoring the water into wine thing, but seriously, raising the dead???

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  14. 1. Let me be clearer. I'm not saying that "resuscitation" is equivalent to being raised from the dead. I'm saying that the saints in the tombs were not resurrected in the same way that Jesus was - never to die in a new body - but arose like Lazarus who did did.

    2. Everyone in the Bible who was raised from the dead died again - except Jesus. See the difference?

    3. nobody would have thought twice about it. I'm not making an implication. I'm saying that it might explain why it's not written in other accounts. For example none of the other people Jesus raised from the dead are mentioned in pagan sources either.

    4. What makes your translation better than all these other scholars?

    5. Funny that these events are missing from external sources as well. I mean, I get them ignoring the water into wine thing, but seriously, raising the dead???

    Records were lost. We don't know what was recorded or where. Just because we don't have those records does not mean that no one noticed.

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  15. I'm saying that the saints in the tombs were not resurrected in the same way that Jesus was - never to die in a new body

    Well sure, either the whole things made up, or they eventually died (well, I guess they could be secretly hiding out, like Conner McCloud, Ramirez and The Kurgan.)

    Everyone in the Bible who was raised from the dead died again - except Jesus. See the difference?

    Yes, except that your original point was that somehow resurrection light (occurring to many bodies, and observed by many) wouldn't somehow be amazing enough to warrant mention from ANYONE else, which makes less than no sense.

    For example none of the other people Jesus raised from the dead are mentioned in pagan sources either.

    DING DING DING!!!!!!!

    What makes your translation better than all these other scholars?

    It's not my translation. It's freaking Strong's. Have you even had any exposure to Koine?

    Records were lost.

    1st Century Palestine was one of the best documented areas/periods in antiquity. But punt away!

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  16. What makes your translation better than all these other scholars?

    To expand on this, I think the issue is that "corpse" is not poetic enough for the context. But make no mistake, σῶμα, in the context means "body" in the same sense that one would say "hey look at that dead body". Another way to say that would be "hey look at that corpse".

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  17. Everyone in the Bible who was raised from the dead died again

    And to pull a Marcus, there's nothing in the text that said the saint who arose when Jesus died ever died again.

    YOu cant prove they died!!!!!1!!!11eleven!!

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  18. Well sure, either the whole things made up, or they eventually died (well, I guess they could be secretly hiding out, like Conner McCloud, Ramirez and The Kurgan.)


    Thanks for conceding the point.


    Yes, except that your original point was that somehow resurrection light (occurring to many bodies, and observed by many) wouldn't somehow be amazing enough to warrant mention from ANYONE else, which makes less than no sense.


    I said no such thing. Matthew reports that saints who were known to have died were seen alive. This means that they had not been dead long because they were recognizable to those who were alive. And I said nothing about a light. We don't know what was said outside of what was reported.

    DING DING DING!!!!!!!

    Hold your horses. That doesn't mean no one was raised from the dead or that Jesus was resurrected.


    1st Century Palestine was one of the best documented areas/periods in antiquity


    So why don't you believe them?

    But make no mistake, σῶμα, in the context means "body" in the same sense that one would say "hey look at that dead body"

    I've never contradicted that. Those people (however many there were) had been dead and buried in those tombs then raised back to life. And another reason we know that they had not been buried or dead long was because in Judaic custom at the time, the bones had not yet been moved to ostuaries.

    And to pull a Marcus, there's nothing in the text that said the saint who arose when Jesus died ever died again.

    YOu cant prove they died!!!!!1!!!11eleven!!


    No, wait, you already conceded that point. Care to dig yourself out?

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  19. Thanks for conceding the point.

    ??? Now that's just lazy.

    I said no such thing. Matthew reports that saints who were known to have died were seen alive. This means that they had not been dead long because they were recognizable to those who were alive.

    So you are saying that "many" "saints" died within a week or so of Jesus' death? Remember, no formaldehyde...

    And I said nothing about a light.

    I should have said "resurrection lite". Whatever your "resuscitation" version is...

    That doesn't mean no one was raised from the dead or that Jesus was resurrected.

    Just means we have less reason to believe the gospel accounts.

    No, wait, you already conceded that point.

    Lazy.

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  20. So you are saying that "many" "saints" died within a week or so of Jesus' death? Remember, no formaldehyde...

    I never said that. Recent means that there were people still alive who knew who they were. Do try to keep up.

    Lazy

    Me? You are the one who conceded the point:

    Well sure, either the whole things made up, or they eventually died (well, I guess they could be secretly hiding out, like Conner McCloud, Ramirez and The Kurgan.

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  21. I never said that. Recent means that there were people still alive who knew who they were. Do try to keep up.

    AH! So you are saying they were recognized because people who knew them in life were still living (so the longest they would have been dead would have been 30-50 years or so).

    I thought you were saying they were recognized because they hadn't been dead long enough for decomposition to make them unrecognizable (so the longest they would have been dead would have been <1 month)

    And yet they didn't get new bodies. So, in your eisegesis, "resuscitation" includes the deputrification of organs and the unjellification of brains? That's quite a resuscitation!!!

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  22. Me? You are the one who conceded the point

    I unconceded with the below...

    YOu cant prove they died!!!!!1!!!11eleven!!

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  23. And yet they didn't get new bodies. So, in your eisegesis, "resuscitation" includes the deputrification of organs and the unjellification of brains? That's quite a resuscitation!!!

    The eisegesis is yours. The text plainly tells us that these saints were recognized by the people who knew them when they were living. It's not described as a Resurrection. And the "deputrification of organs and the unjellification of brains" would be healing not getting a new body.

    I unconceded with the below...

    Which is why it was confusing. You must not know what you are talking about. You can't make up your mind. I'm not surprised you don't understand the Bible because you bring a truck load of presuppositions when you "read" it just like when you "read" what I write.

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  24. The eisegesis is yours. The text plainly tells us that these saints were recognized by the people who knew them when they were living.

    Yeah, you're going to want to reread it then, because nowhere in the text does it say they were recognized by people who knew them when they were living.

    Additionally, "deputrification of organs and the unjellification of brains" would be quite a bit more than "healing".

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  25. Yeah, you're going to want to reread it then, because nowhere in the text does it say they were recognized by people who knew them when they were living.


    If the inhabitants of Jerusalem didn't recognize them, how did they know that they used to be dead? You need to re-read it.


    Additionally, "deputrification of organs and the unjellification of brains" would be quite a bit more than "healing".


    Quite different than getting a new resurrected body like the one Jesus has when He was resurrected.

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  26. If the inhabitants of Jerusalem didn't recognize them...

    Where in the text does it say they recognized them.

    ...how did they know that they used to be dead?

    Where in the text does it say they knew they were dead?

    Quite different than getting a new resurrected body like the one Jesus has when He was resurrected.

    So you claim. I can't help but recall New Body Jesus still had his wounds...

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  27. 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and[e] went into the holy city and appeared to many people. - Matt 27:52-53

    You claim that the author was not an eyewitness and unless you assume the author made it up, you would have to agree that the author was told this by people who saw these saints who were "raised to life". And if you saw a person walking down the street unless you knew that they had died you wouldn't assume that they had been dead - based on what the text says.

    So you claim. I can't help but recall New Body Jesus still had his wounds...

    Re-read 1st Corinthians 15. It will help you

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  28. You claim that the author was not an eyewitness and unless you assume the author made it up...

    There it is. You'd be able to make a case he didn't make it up if the John, Mark or Luke authors corroborated this AMAZING event.

    Re-read 1st Corinthians 15.

    So ἐγείρω, the only possible word that could give any hint to the mechanics of the raising of the Saints in Matthew. Now bear in mind that ἐγείρω is the word predominately used in 1st Corinthians 15 to describe the resurrected Christ. Personally, with a plain reading of the text (as free of bias or preconceived notions as possible), I see nothing that would differentiate the two (also see John 11-12).

    But humor me, why does your particular sect think 1 Corinthians 15 distinguishes between "resurrection types". I'm guessing it has to do with the use of ἀνάστασις, but it's used in all the other gospels to refer to "raising ups" that don't fit your "new body never dying" criteria.

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  29. Me: You'd be able to make a case he didn't make it up if the John, Mark or Luke authors corroborated this AMAZING event.

    Heck! I can't think of a better, more thematically appropriate place to corroborate Matthew 27 than 1 Corinthians 15!!!

    And yet...

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  30. There it is. You'd be able to make a case he didn't make it up if the John, Mark or Luke authors corroborated this AMAZING event.


    There it isn't. That is that there is no contradictory data anywhere else and you have no proof that the account is made-up.

    But humor me, why does your particular sect think 1 Corinthians 15 distinguishes between "resurrection types".

    1 Corinthians 15:35-54

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  31. That is that there is no contradictory data anywhere else…

    Wow, so for you to be skeptical of this fantastic claim, you’d need Josephus, the Mark Author or whomever to explicitly state that the dead definitely did not break open tombs and appear to people on or around Passover sometime in the 3rd decade of 1st century?

    See the problem there?

    1 Corinthians 15:35-54

    And now here’s your problem with this, there’s nothing in 1 Corinthians that distinguishes different “types” of resurrections, it’s just Paul, in the 50s, talking about what he thought resurrection was. Paul never mentions Jesus raising anyone else from the dead, or any other miracles for that matter (hmmm, it’s almost like he had no idea those events happened…). So then decades later, as the gospels were being written, the authors probably thought it would be cool to add some pizazz to the story… I doubt they had any idea what kind of mental gymnastics it would cause you and your sect…

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  32. See the problem there?

    Yes. You haven't go a leg to stand on

    And now here’s your problem with this, there’s nothing in 1 Corinthians that distinguishes different “types” of resurrections, it’s just Paul, in the 50s, talking about what he thought resurrection was.

    Paul's description sets it apart from just returning to life and dying again.

    Paul never mentions Jesus raising anyone else from the dead, or any other miracles for that matter (hmmm, it’s almost like he had no idea those events happened…).

    I'd like to see you prove that. Don't forget that Paul himself experienced a person being raised from the dead in Acts.

    So then decades later, as the gospels were being written, the authors probably thought it would be cool to add some pizazz to the story… I doubt they had any idea what kind of mental gymnastics it would cause you and your sect

    Your contention is that the author of Matthew made it up. Why? You have nothing but mental gymnastics here. Pretty sad.

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  33. Yes. You haven't go a leg to stand on

    Why waste the electrons with a statement like that?

    Paul's description sets it apart from just returning to life and dying again.

    How so?

    I'd like to see you prove that.

    Um, read the epistles?

    our contention is that the author of Matthew made it up. Why?

    Like I've said a gazillion times already, because it's totally uncorroborated. That's more than enough to justify a belief that something is not true.

    You have nothing but mental gymnastics here. Pretty sad.

    Again, why waste the electrons with these nothing statements?

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  34. Um, read the epistles?


    Not mentioning something does not mean ignorance. Please get real.

    How so?

    42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 1 Cor 15:42,43

    "imperishable" means never dying again.

    Need more help? Read further

    52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 1 Cor 15:52-54

    What is "eternal life"? It means not dying again. See numerous passages.

    Like I've said a gazillion times already, because it's totally uncorroborated. That's more than enough to justify a belief that something is not true.

    But not proof. And it's not a belief you have that it's not true it is blind faith, because you don't have any real good evidence that it's not true.

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  36. What is "eternal life"? It means not dying again. See numerous passages.

    You missed the point of my question. Yes, Paul is describing resurrection as he sees it. I wanted you to point out where he differentiates two different kinds of raising the dead.

    My contention that Paul had no idea that there was another kind stands.

    But not proof.

    You don't have "proof" that anything you believe either. I don't think you understand what "proof" is.

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  37. My contention that Paul had no idea that there was another kind stands.

    I did point out how Paul knew about a distinction between what happened to Jesus and other people who were raised from the dead. You missed it. The passages quoted from 1 Cor 15, show that Paul understood that Jesus was resurrected in incorruptible, imperishable, and immortal body (ie He can't die) and that is qualitatively different than dying and being raised to the same life only to die at a later time. Paul knew this having being used by God in the raising of the dead. See the book of Acts)

    You don't have "proof" that anything you believe is true either. I don't think you understand what "proof" is.

    You made the claim that the account is made up in Matthew and you can't substantiate that. Don't get mad, just demonstrate that it's not true or admit that you can't categorically throw it out.

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  38. The Paul pressented in Acts isn't exactly the same Paul he presents himself as in his letters.

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  39. Just try to reconcile Paul's visits to Jerusalem in Acts vs. in his letters. That's not mentioning the theological differences, etc...

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  40. Start with the trips to Jerusalem.

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