Professor, Was Jesus Really Born to a Virgin?

There are 7 Comments

Jim's picture

Q: You don’t believe the Genesis account that the world was created in six days, or that Eve was made from Adam’s rib, do you? If the Hebrew Bible’s stories need not be taken literally, why not also accept that the New Testament writers took liberties?

A [William Lane Craig]: Because the Gospels are a different type of literature than the primeval history of Genesis 1-11. The eminent Assyriologist Thorkild Jacobsen described Genesis 1-11 as history clothed in the figurative language of mythology, a genre he dubbed “mytho-history.” By contrast, the consensus among historians is that the Gospels belong to the genre of ancient biography, like the ‘Lives of Greeks and Romans’ written by Plutarch. As such, they aim to provide a historically reliable account.

 

Q: How do you account for the many contradictions within the New Testament? For example, Matthew says Judas hanged himself, while Acts says that he “burst open.” They can’t both be right, so why insist on inerrancy of Scripture?

A [William Lane Craig]: I don’t insist on the inerrancy of Scripture. Rather, what I insist on is what C.S. Lewis called “mere Christianity,” that is to say, the core doctrines of Christianity. Harmonizing perceived contradictions in the Bible is a matter of in-house discussion amongst Christians. What really matters are questions like: Does God exist? Are there objective moral values? Was Jesus truly God and truly man? How did his death on a Roman cross serve to overcome our moral wrongdoing and estrangement from God? These are, as one philosopher puts it, the “questions that matter,” not how Judas died.

 

William Lane Craig: Why should we suspend our emphasis on science and rationality just because of weakly evidenced, false claims in other religions? I champion a “reasonable faith” that seeks to provide a comprehensive worldview that takes into account the best evidence of the sciences, history, philosophy, logic and mathematics. Some of the arguments for God’s existence that I’ve defended, such as the arguments from the origin of the universe and the fine-tuning of the universe, appeal to the best evidence of contemporary science. I get the impression, Nick, that you think science is somehow incompatible with belief in miracles. If so, you need to give an argument for that conclusion. David Hume’s famous argument against miracles is today recognized, in the words of philosopher of science John Earman, as “an abject failure.” No one has been able to do any better.

 

TylerR's picture

Editor

This is WLC's standard "mere Christianity" approach, and I think it was a terrible interview and a very compromised, watered-down, sub-biblical defense of Christianity.

And some people think I'm not a fundamentalist!

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Jim's picture

TylerR wrote:

This is WLC's standard "mere Christianity" approach, and I think it was a terrible interview and a very compromised, watered-down, sub-biblical defense of Christianity.

And some people think I'm not a fundamentalist!

Ditto: A massive disappointment. 

Jim's picture

Q: How do you account for the many contradictions within the New Testament? For example, Matthew says Judas hanged himself, while Acts says that he “burst open.” They can’t both be right, so why insist on inerrancy of Scripture?

Better answers:

  • What many contradictions?
  • Judas: He hung himself and falling forward his guts came out
T Howard's picture

This is where MacArthur's interview with Ben Shapiro can be helpful. He responds to Ben's question about using Biblical principles without actually citing the Bible with a great answer. WLC seems to jettison the authority and and inerrancy of Scripture in this exchange. That ultimately weakens his argument because you can't get to "Was Jesus truly God and truly man? How did his death on a Roman cross serve to overcome our moral wrongdoing and estrangement from God?" without relying on the authority and inerrancy of Scripture.

TylerR's picture

Editor

WLC answers thee question like a "mere Christianity" academic; tepid, lukewarm, full of caveats. He doesn't answer like a pastor. That's what's really wrong. He has no passion, no life ... and his approach is flawed anyway. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?