Author Topic: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.  (Read 2827 times)

Offline Daniel

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Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
« Reply #30 on: December 23, 2018, 02:17:15 PM »
http://www.comereason.org/roman-census.asp

Just to put in a antidote to Pon de replays poisonous remarks..
Pon de Replay was only explaining Dr. Ehrman's line of reasoning (which I had asked about), not necessarily endorsing it.

But thanks for the link. I'll check it out.


And I'll also put out there, if anyone is interested in a good defense of the traditional view regarding the authorship of the gospels, I would recommend The Case for Jesus by Brant Pitre. Gardener gave me it a while back... it does a good job showing that the gospels were probably actually written by St. Matthew (eyewitness), St. Mark (student of eyewitness St. Peter), St. Luke (student of St. Paul), and St. John (eyewitness), all of whom knew the material inside and out... as opposed to the modern view / Dr. Ehrman's view which holds that the four gospels were written anonymously by early Christians who may or may not have been using reliable sources and who may or may not have had inside knowledge of the material. Nevertheless, Dr. Pitre's book does not have all of the answers, and, as far as I remember, it makes no real attempt to answer the question about the census.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2018, 02:43:56 PM by Daniel »
 

Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
« Reply #31 on: December 23, 2018, 04:03:52 PM »
In my defense, the link I posted does contain mention of the rebuttal to the mainstream scholarship: "some conservative scholars have argued that Quirinius may have had an earlier and historically unattested term as governor of Syria, or that he previously held other senior positions which may have led him to be involved in the affairs of Judea during Herod's reign, or that the passage should be interpreted in some other fashion."  Neither the Wikipedia entry nor the Come Reason Ministries article, however, offers an explanation of why everyone would've been made to physically return to their town of ancestral origin for the census, as Luke contends.

I am sympathetic to Professor Ehrman's stance, but I also find Marcion's excision of the Lucan infancy narrative interesting.  Marcion's gospel was either a judicious editing of Luke or a proto-Luke.  Marcionite Christianity is the form of Christianity I presently find most plausible.  However, it is also improbable, being a dead religion.  Of course the same might be said for orthodox Early Christianity.

A month or so ago I watched a movie called The Case for Christ, which is a dramatization of Lee Strobel's apologetic book documenting his conversion from atheism to Evangelical Protestantism.  He makes some good points, but he also makes some bad ones, and even lets himself be convinced by poor explanations.  There's one scene where he calls up William Lane Craig and confronts him with the inconsistencies between the four gospels.  Dr. Craig tells him that it's like if you had four separate witnesses to a car accident, you would get four accounts that differed and even contradicted each other.  And that, he says, is how we can trust the gospel as eyewitness accounts.  Unfortunately, this seems like it would only work if the bible was purely a human record and not said to be divinely inspired and inerrant.  Yet in the movie, Lee Strobel accepted this explanation seemingly without issue.  It's available for streaming on Netflix.

Whether it's fulfilled prophecies or biblical inerrancy, it all ends up as a Rorschach test where people will see what they want to see.  Atheists working from the starting point of skepticism and hostility will see only discrepancies, and believers working from the starting point of inerrancy will see only the perfect elegance of the explanations that resolve these issues.  Then there is a middle ground of people who can be persuaded and / or attain faith.  There are Jews who convert to Christianity.  The number is surely smaller, but there are also Christians who convert to Judaism.  And Muslim converts to Christianity and vice versa, and so forth and so on.


« Last Edit: December 23, 2018, 04:09:55 PM by Pon de Replay »
 

Offline Daniel

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Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
« Reply #32 on: December 23, 2018, 06:21:48 PM »
Neither the Wikipedia entry nor the Come Reason Ministries article, however, offers an explanation of why everyone would've been made to physically return to their town of ancestral origin for the census, as Luke contends.
Yeah, I don't know. Sounds kind of unusual. Though I'm not a historian.

Marcionite Christianity is the form of Christianity I presently find most plausible.  However, it is also improbable, being a dead religion.
I don't know the history of Marcionism, but isn't Marcionism just Marcion's personal attempt to syncretize/hybridize/reconcile Christianity with some form of Gnosticism? (I mean, as far as I know, Marcion did not claim that his teachings/canon was from Christ.) If that's the case, then it's clearly a man-made religion and almost certainly false.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2018, 06:25:20 PM by Daniel »
 

Offline Sempronius

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Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
« Reply #33 on: December 24, 2018, 12:38:20 AM »
Neither the Wikipedia entry nor the Come Reason Ministries article, however, offers an explanation of why everyone would've been made to physically return to their town of ancestral origin for the census, as Luke contends.
Yeah, I don't know. Sounds kind of unusual. Though I'm not a historian.


Some historians say that they had to take an oath of loyalty to Augustus.
 

Offline Arvinger

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Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
« Reply #34 on: December 24, 2018, 04:15:45 AM »
The issue of census of Quirinus was beaten to death, but it is an interesting case demonstrating presuppositions and bias of non-believers when it comes to Christianity. It is alleged that St. Luke was mistaken, describing the census of Quirinus from year 6 AD and placed it in the time of Herod. The obvious question is - why is St. Luke's Gospel in itself not treated as evidence that another, earlier census actually occured in year 4 BC? You can reject it only if you presuppose that St. Luke's Gospel is not historical and cannot be treated as evidence that another census occured. Otherwise, the text is a historical document which in itself attests that earlier census, different from that of Quirinus in 6 AD, happened at the time of Herod. It is interesting that Quirinus' census from 6 AD is mentioned by St. Luke in Acts 5:37, so he was well-aware of it and distinguished the two. So, you have to a priori consider the Bible to be ahistorical in order to consider this an error.

There are also historical arguments from other sources - when St. Justin the Martyr in First Apology refers to Quirinus, he calls him procurator rather than a governor, indicating that at the time of first census Quirinus might not have been a governor of Syria yet. This is also consistent with St. Luke's Gospel, as the word used to describe Quirinus does not mean a governor, but is a generic word to describe a ruler.   
« Last Edit: December 24, 2018, 04:17:31 AM by Arvinger »
 
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Offline Xavier

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Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
« Reply #35 on: December 24, 2018, 05:30:48 AM »
Merry Christmas, everybody!  :cheeseheadbeer: Glory to God in the Highest and Peace on Earth to all people of good will. As the Angels sang that first Christmas day, as the Christ Child lay in the Manger, and Heaven and Earth rejoiced that God was born of a Virgin Mother and had become Man for our salvation. For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ: that whosoever believeth in Him may not perish but have everlasting life. Merry Christmas to all!
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
« Reply #36 on: December 24, 2018, 09:29:29 AM »
Some historians say that they had to take an oath of loyalty to Augustus.
I suppose that's a possible motive for the census, but it still doesn't answer the question. Why would such a census require everyone (or, at least every adult male) to return to his family's town of origin, especially in a time when some of the Jews were already quite upset at the situation and were ready to start a rebellion? Why couldn't the census be conducted locally so as not to inconvenience the people any more than necessary? It also doesn't sound very efficient... are there any other historical examples of Roman censuses which required everyone to return to their families's towns of origin? Again, I'm not a historian so I'm in no real position to judge... but it sounds unusual to say the least.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2018, 09:38:55 AM by Daniel »
 

Offline Sempronius

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Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
« Reply #37 on: December 24, 2018, 01:19:03 PM »
Some historians say that they had to take an oath of loyalty to Augustus.
I suppose that's a possible motive for the census, but it still doesn't answer the question. Why would such a census require everyone (or, at least every adult male) to return to his family's town of origin, especially in a time when some of the Jews were already quite upset at the situation and were ready to start a rebellion? Why couldn't the census be conducted locally so as not to inconvenience the people any more than necessary? It also doesn't sound very efficient... are there any other historical examples of Roman censuses which required everyone to return to their families's towns of origin? Again, I'm not a historian so I'm in no real position to judge... but it sounds unusual to say the least.

In many articles that I found they have this:

"Gaius Vivius Maximus, Prefect of Egypt [says]: seeing that the time has come for the house to house census, it is necessary to compel all those who for any cause whatsoever are residing out of their provinces to return to their own homes, that they may both carry out the regular order of the census and may attend diligently to the cultivation of their allotments."

http://www.faithhelper.com/ntrel3.htm

Don't know about the source so maybe its spurious

This edict is from 104 AD

 
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Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
« Reply #38 on: December 24, 2018, 01:50:10 PM »
In many articles that I found they have this:

"Gaius Vivius Maximus, Prefect of Egypt [says]: seeing that the time has come for the house to house census, it is necessary to compel all those who for any cause whatsoever are residing out of their provinces to return to their own homes, that they may both carry out the regular order of the census and may attend diligently to the cultivation of their allotments."

http://www.faithhelper.com/ntrel3.htm

This Egyptian census makes sense, because it asks the citizens who are currently outside of their provinces to return to their own actual homes.  It's aiming for accuracy. 

The census mentioned in Luke, though, is asking people to leave the provinces where they dwell and return to the home of their ancestors.  Like Daniel, I must say that "I am no historian" but this scheme appears unusual and counterproductive in terms of taking a census.  It seems more like a genealogical survey of some sort, the undertaking of which would've hurt the regional economy: if people have to travel, they're not working.  I also don't know how they were determining one's "ancestral home."  How did they decide how far back to go?  One hundred years ago, my paternal-line ancestral home was New Jersey.  Five hundred, and it was East Anglia.  One thousand, and I don't even know.  But Joseph and King David were separated by a thousand years.


« Last Edit: December 24, 2018, 02:18:10 PM by Pon de Replay »
 

Offline Sempronius

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Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
« Reply #39 on: December 24, 2018, 02:36:15 PM »
Wouldn’t Joseph be proud of being a descendent of David? Family pride. His father maybe said to him many times:”remember son, you are a descendent of David, so make sure you behave in school”

 

Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
« Reply #40 on: December 24, 2018, 02:55:34 PM »
Wouldn’t Joseph be proud of being a descendent of David? Family pride. His father maybe said to him many times:”remember son, you are a descendent of David, so make sure you behave in school”

Surely he would.  But this has no bearing on why a Roman census would compel everyone to enroll at their ancestral home of a thousand years ago.  Not everyone is descended from a notable, and not everyone knows their family history going back a millennia.  It seems like it would be a logistical nightmare for the census-takers.  How did someone attest to their lineage of a thousand years hence?  Even a modern DNA test wasn't enough to be perfectly conclusive that the descendants of Sally Hemmings are descendants of Thomas Jefferson.  Presumably there would've been all kinds of familial disputations and false claims.  Why would the administrators want to get involved with all that?


« Last Edit: December 24, 2018, 02:58:05 PM by Pon de Replay »
 

Offline Daniel

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Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
« Reply #41 on: December 24, 2018, 03:06:26 PM »
Wouldn’t Joseph be proud of being a descendent of David? Family pride. His father maybe said to him many times:”remember son, you are a descendent of David, so make sure you behave in school”

Surely he would.  But this has no bearing on why a Roman census would compel everyone to enroll at their ancestral home of a thousand years ago.  Not everyone is descended from a notable, and not everyone knows their family history going back a millennia.  It seems like it would be a logistical nightmare for the census-takers.  How did someone attest to their lineage of a thousand years hence?  Even a modern DNA test wasn't enough to be perfectly conclusive that the descendants of Sally Hemmings are descendants of Thomas Jefferson.  Presumably there would've been all kinds of familial disputations and false claims.  Why would the administrators want to get involved with all that?
Well, I did notice that St. Luke's gospel only says, "And all went to be enrolled, every one into his own city." Not "All went to be enrolled in the cities of their ancestors." So maybe the Roman government did not require it... maybe St. Joseph simply chose to enroll there rather than at his current residence. I don't know.
 
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Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
« Reply #42 on: December 24, 2018, 03:45:49 PM »
Well, I did notice that St. Luke's gospel only says, "And all went to be enrolled, every one into his own city." Not "All went to be enrolled in the cities of their ancestors." So maybe the Roman government did not require it... maybe St. Joseph simply chose to enroll there rather than at his current residence. I don't know.

That has to have been the case.  It would go this way: when they were betrothed, Mary lived in Nazareth and Joseph lived in Bethlehem.  When the census was ordered, Joseph was temporarily staying in Nazareth on account of his betrothal to Mary, and then they both left to be enrolled in Joseph's town of Bethlehem.  This resolves the nature of the census, but it returns us to the dispute over the dating:

It is alleged that St. Luke was mistaken, describing the census of Quirinus from year 6 AD and placed it in the time of Herod. The obvious question is - why is St. Luke's Gospel in itself not treated as evidence that another, earlier census actually occured in year 4 BC? You can reject it only if you presuppose that St. Luke's Gospel is not historical and cannot be treated as evidence that another census occured. Otherwise, the text is a historical document which in itself attests that earlier census, different from that of Quirinus in 6 AD, happened at the time of Herod. It is interesting that Quirinus' census from 6 AD is mentioned by St. Luke in Acts 5:37, so he was well-aware of it and distinguished the two. So, you have to a priori consider the Bible to be ahistorical in order to consider this an error.

As I understand the problem, it's not a matter of presuming Luke to be a priori ahistorical.  It's a matter of Judea not coming under direct Roman rule until 6 AD, and Quirinius not being governor of Syria until then.  The Douai-Rheims translation says "this enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria."  Prior to his promotion to governor of Syria, Quirinius appears to have been a functionary in provinces in Asia Minor.  So if the census is alleged to have been taken earlier, I think it's a question of 1. why would a Roman administrator in Asia Minor be taking a census in a Jewish tetrarchy during the reign of Herod, and 2. why does Luke say it took place during his term as governor of Syria?  Luke is being considered a posteriori ahistorical, I think, because of the latter question.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2018, 04:04:09 PM by Pon de Replay »
 

Offline Arvinger

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Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
« Reply #43 on: December 24, 2018, 03:55:05 PM »
As I understand the problem, it's not a matter of presuming Luke to be a priori ahistorical.  It's a matter of Judea not coming under direct Roman rule until 6 AD, and Quirinius not being governor of Syria until then.  The Douai-Rheims translation says "this enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria."  Prior to his promotion to governor of Syria, Quirinius appears to have been a functionary in provinces in Asia Minor.  So if the census is alleged to have been taken earlier, I think it's a question of 1. why would a Roman administrator in Asia Minor be taking a census in a Jewish tetrarchy during the reign of Herod Antipas, and 2. why does Luke say it took place during his term as governor of Syria?  Luke is being considered a posteriori ahistorical, I think, because of the latter question.

That is another part of it, and I addressed that in later part of my post - apparently St. Luke does not explicitly call Quirinus a governor of Syria (he calls him hegemon rather than legatus, which was an official title for a Roman governor), while St. Justin the Martyr refers to him as a procurator, indicating that Quirinus was involved in Syria also in other position than a governor, which makes another census during the time when he occupied a different position than a governor (procurator according to St. Justin) possible. Now, some object that there is no evidence for the 4th BC census in historical sources - to which I point out that St. Luke's Gospel in itself is a historical source, so to reject it as evidence for another census is to consider Scripture to be ahistorical a priori.   
 

Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
« Reply #44 on: December 24, 2018, 03:55:23 PM »
On second thought, if Joseph was returning to Bethlehem because it was his actual place of residence, why did they have to stay in a manger because "there was no room for them in the inn?"  I guess this is why Dr. Ehrman and co. maintain that Joseph appears to be going to Bethlehem out of some ancestral origin thing as mentioned in Luke 2:4, and not because it's where he lived.  I don't know.

 :-\