Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him --
Hebr. 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.
Can we, indeed, go further and say that the notion of God as the perfect being gives us all the guidance we need in setting forth the divine attributes, so that our whole conception of God can be, as it were, woven in its entirety from this single thread?
Probably not, for several reasons. For one thing, although the idea of God as the perfect being has strong intuitive appeal, it is by no means the case that different theologians, even from the same religious tradition, will always agree on which conception of God's attributes has the effect of portraying God as 'more perfect" that another. For example: It seemed clear to Anselm as to Augustine (354-430) and most other ancient and medieval theologians, that in order to be perfect God must be impassable--that is, God must be incapable of emotion, and in particular incapable of feeling any sorrow or suffering as a result of the afflictions of his creatures. Since suffering is negative, a harm to the being that undergoes it, a perfect being must be incapableof suffering. Many more recent theologians, on the other hand, rebel against the notion of an "impassable" God, insisting that God's perfection, and in particular his attributes of love and sympathy, positively require that he be capable of suffering along with his creatures. Clearly, we have here a major disagreement...
"About 1880, some French teachers tried to set up a secular ethics which went something like this: God is a useless and costly hypothesis; we are discarding it; but, meanwhile, in order for here to be an ethics, a society, a civilization, it is essential that certain values be taken seriously and that they be considered as having an a priori existence. It must be obligatory, a priori, to be honest, not to lie, not to beat your wife, to have children, etc., etc. So we're going to try a little device which will make it possible to show that values exist all the same, inscribed in a heaven of ideas, though otherwise God does not exist. In other words nothing will be changed if God does not exist. We shall find ourselves with the same norms of honesty, progress, and humanism, and we shall have made of God an outdated hypothesis which will peacefully die off by itself. The existentialist, on the contrary, thinks it very distressing that God does not exist, because all possibility of finding values in a heaven of ideas disappears along with Him; there can no longer be an a priori Good, since there is no infinite and perfect consciousness to think it. Nowhere is it written that the Good exists, that we must be honest, that we must not lie; because the fact is we are on a plane where there are only men."
"...but if I've discarded God the Father, there has to be someone to invent values. You've got to take things as they are. Moreover, to say that we invent values means nothing else but this: life has no meaning a priori."
Jude 19 These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.
Isaiah. 41:22 "Bring in your idols to tell us what is going to happen. Tell us what the former things were, so that we may consider them and know their final outcome. Or declare to us the things to come, tell us what the future holds, so we may know that you are gods. Do something, whether good or bad, so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear.
Author Written Earliest Copy Time Span MSS Caesar 100-44bc 900 ad 1,000 yrs 10 Plato 427-347bc 900 ad 1,200 yrs 7 Thucydides 460-400bc 900 ad 1,300 yrs 8 Tacitus 100 ad 1100 ad 1,000 yrs 20 Suetonius 75-160 ad 950 ad 800 yrs 8 Homer(Iliad) 900 BC 400 BC 500 yrs 643 New Test. 40-100ad 125 ad 25-50 yrs over 24k!So, by the tightest standards scholars can muster (without eliminating all the other classical works), the NT we have is a trustworthy copy of the original.
disputed fact confirming discovery ------------------------- -------------------- writing at time of Moses Ebla texts multiple Pentateuch traditions, Qumran pointing to early orig. Early Domestication of Camels Byblos artifacts/Sumerian texts Abraham's selection of heir Tablets at Nuzi Transfer of Esau's birthright Tablets at Nuzi Israel early in Palestine Stele of Meneptah Unity of Deuteronomy Hittite tablets from Boghazkoy early develop. of legal codes multiple ANE sources
Isaiah. 1:10 Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom; listen to the law of our God, you people of Gomorrah! "The multitude of your sacrifices -- what are they to me?" says the LORD. I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations -- I cannot bear your evil assemblies. Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood; Is A. wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. "Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword." For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
Acts 7:52 Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him --
On Feb. 23, 303 ad., at Nicomedia, the Roman Emperor Diocletian issued an edict enjoining the demolition of Christian churches and the burning of all Christian books in the empire. Half a million Christians were killed in the process. (There were 9 previous official persecutions of Christians in the empire, but this was the first one that prescribed destruction of the sacred texts.) That ANY texts survived is barely believable...that we have SO MANY surviving mss. borders on the incredible!
Acts 26:25 "I am not insane, most excellent Festus," Paul replied. "What I am saying is true and reasonable. The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner.
Very young babies present an extraordinary range of auditory abilities. There have been several experiments in which different sounds are played to babies, and their responses monitored. For example, day-old babies have been played their mother's voice speaking normally, the same voice speaking abnormally (in a monotone), and a stranger's voice: only the first caused them to attend. Other studies have shown how babies turn their heads towards the source of a sound within the first few days of life, and prefer human voices to non-human sounds as early as 2 weeks.We bring this personal context to seemingly everything we do--we personify everything from Mother Nature to Lady Justice to Father Time to 'those stubborn bosons!'...If we see a chaotic stretch of debris, we assume vandals or passersby or maybe natural forces (like hurricane Camille!)
The feature-extraction and feature-combination processes underlying pattern recognition are NOT available to conscious awareness. What we are aware of are the patterns (Epis. and Cognition, p. 186)
In addition to bottom-up processing, there is considerable evidence for top-down processing, in which higher-level beliefs, or background beliefs, influence the interpretation of low-level perceptual units. Psychologists have particularly shown that knowledge of a pattern's context influence how one perceives that pattern.
A great deal of research has been carried out on the perception of isolated sounds, syllables, or words. In connected speech, however, very different processes seem to operate. We do not perceive whole sentences as a sequence of isolated sounds. Grammar and meaning strongly influence our ability to identify linguistic units. (p147)
One reason why we are able to recognize speech, despite all the acoustic variation in the signal, and even in very difficult listening conditions, is that the speech situation contains a great deal of redundancy--more information than is strictly necessary to decode the message. There is, firstly, our general ability to make predictions about the nature based on our previous linguistic experience -- our knowledge of the speaker, subject matter, language, and so on. But in addition, the wide range of frequencies found in every speech signal presents us with far more information than we need in order to recognize what is being said. As a result, we are able to focus our auditory attention on just the relevant distinguishing features of the signal. (TCEL, p146)
Normal speech proves to be so rapidly and informally articulated that in fact over half the words cannot be recognized in isolation--and yet listeners have little trouble following it, and can repeat whole sentences accurately." (TCEL,p147)