Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Jacob vs. God

Two Questions Touching the Nature of God Which Arise from the Story Found in Genesis 32:24-32

  • 17 June 2016
  • Author: Marc Bayne
  • Number of views: 1673

Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are known at the patriarchs of the Jewish people. In the Bible (Genesis 32:24-32), a story is found of Jacob wrestling with a man. Before the end of the story, this man is also revealed to be a divine being, possibly an angel, or perhaps even God himself. What is most curious about this event is not that Jacob is wrestling with a divine being, but that the divine being does not prevail against Jacob.

This story thus presents at least two questions: With whom did Jacob wrestle? and Why was this person unable to prevail against Jacob? As the story clearly points to a divine being as the answer to the first question, the second question becomes much more significant. It leads us to ask how or why God did not prevail against Jacob. In fact, the paradox of this issue has led some to question or doubt the nature of the God of the Bible, and to question the Christian faith.

This article attempts to answer both questions that arise from this story: With whom did Jacob wrestle? and Why wa
s this person unable to prevail against Jacob?

Luke Got His Facts Straight

The Historical Reliability of the Writings of Luke the Historian

  • 3 June 2016
  • Author: Scott Cherry
  • Number of views: 3084


Recently someone said to me, "history is history".  I think he probably meant that history is just facts, not conjecture. It struck me because there are skeptics of history who think we can know almost nothing about the past. Apparently this person was not one of those. Since it was not the main thread of our discussion I took it at face value.  But if this is even a partly true statement, it is as true of Christianity as much as any other subject of history. 

by Scott Cherry

This is an article I wrote originally as the introduction for a series of posts for a Facebook group called "The Bridge". The series is called "The History of Christianity".  Its focus is exclusively on the formative years of Christianity and its small number of primary founders in the 1st century only.  Every history relies on sources, and Christianity is no exception.  My source is the historian Luke. First I will introduce Luke, and next I will introduce a modern historian, Sir William Ramsay, to tell us more about Luke and the credibility of Luke's writings.         

On True Legends, by Tom Gilson

Some say that Jesus was either Lord, liar or lunatic. What if we add 'legend' to the mix?

by Tom Gilson—

There are many challenges to the four gospels' authenticity and historical accuracy. The following article by Tom Gilson addresses these challenges with a unique perspective on the stuff of legend.

(summary abridged)

"'A man claiming to be God', says C.S. Lewis, 'could hardly be good unless he really was God.' If Jesus was not the Lord..." [then what?] This argument is beautiful in its simplicity: It calls for no deep familiarity with New Testament theology or history, only knowledge of the Gospels themselves, and some understanding of human nature. The questions have changed since Lewis wrote that...Today's skepticism runs deeper than that. The skeptics' line now is that...that the whole story of Jesus, or at least significant portions of it, is nothing more than legend.

"Christians have responded with arguments hinging on the correct dates for the composition of the Gospels, the identities of their authors, external corroborating evidence, and the like. All this has been enormously helpful, but one could wish for a more Lewis-like approach to that new l-word, legend—that is, for a way of recognizing the necessary truthfulness of the Gospels from their internal content alone.

"Lewis was always more at home looking at the evidence of the Gospels themselves than at the historical circumstances surrounding them. In one classic essay (variously titled "Fern-Seed and Elephants" or "Modern Theology and Biblical Criticism," depending on where you find it) he delineates the Gospels as true "reportage" rather than fable, and concludes, "The reader who doesn't see this has simply not learned to read."

*This excellent article was originally published in Touchstone Magazine. You can read the complete article by pressing the Read More button. You can read many more of Tom's articles, books and blog posts in his own website, The Thinking Christian: https://www.thinkingchristian.net/.

The Origin of Meekness

Humans value humility in each other so what should we expect from God?

  Have you ever wondered why people value humility?

The Qur'an speaks of humility. In surah 3:159 Muhammed is praised for his humility by dealing gently with those who could have been in rebellion to him.


"And by the Mercy of Allah, you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from you." [Al Imran 3:159]

Where does this value come from? If Muhammed is praised as meek then shouldn't we expect this to be an attribute of God's? How does the Muslim God demonstrate meekness?

CSI Palestine, part 2

"A day without death."

  • 11 April 2016
  • Author: Scott Cherry
  • Number of views: 8102

In 1st-century Roman Palestine it had been almost two weeks since the tomb of the executed Jesus was found empty. The New Testament narratives and other historical accounts tell us there were reports of some who claimed to have seen him alive and believed he had risen from the dead. True or not, in some sense Jesus was still causing trouble for Pontius Pilate and the Jewish authorities. They unmistakably killed him and needed him to stay dead to squash the uproar he had created. In last year's film "Risen" a Roman centurion named Clavius was forced to become a detective to find the missing corpse and was reeling from the shock of his discovery that this crucified Jesus of Nazareth may not be actually dead at all. In part 1 of this piece (two posts down) I tried to give you a good grasp of the plotline of “Risen” and some broad brushstrokes about its themes. Now I want to go deeper. Recall the last sentence of part 1 in which I said “…what started as his problem became his salvation.” Let’s explore this further.