Episode 004

Today on The Human Bible, we first talk about the pivotal Biblical character Marcion of Pontus and what he had to do with the formation of the New Testament. We read from and discuss one of the Bible’s best erotic poems, the Song of Solomon. (Yes, you read that correctly.) In this week’s Prophetic Scorecard, we wonder how Jesus managed to mess up that whole the world ending in his generation thing and what we can learn from it. And, we answer a listener question about the concept of grace and what the Bible really has to say about it.

Special thanks to Steven and Simon for the questions answered in today’s episode.

The Bible, love it or hate it, is a book filled with puzzles and mysteries. It will be a hard task to one Ravell as many of them as possible. We want to understand the Bible is a human book, not a book inspired by a God. I’m Robert M. Price, and this is the third one. 

I am your host, Robert M. Price, and this is the Huband Bible, the Human Bible is a radio show and podcast of the Center for Inquiry, a think tank advancing science reason, freedom of inquiry and humanist values in public affairs. And at the grass roots. 

I’d like to do one of my favorite segments of the human Bible that I call up to speed up to speed. 

This is the one where we try to fill in the background. So I don’t fire everything over your head and give me a probable case that you’re not already a Bible fanatic who’s read up on all the esoterica in the field. And I that’s probably not the case. But you know what the heck, it’s not a bad idea to go back and review some basic elements that are going to come up again and again. Has I answer questions? And today I thought I’d like to zero in on a very important character, a pivotal character in early Christianity who is almost mentioned in the New Testament, if that makes any sense to you. There’s a couple of places where you get the impression that you’re hearing an echo of this character. 

And I’m thinking of Marcey own of Pontoise. Pontoise is in in Asia Minor Turkey on today’s maps and the end of specifically, he was in the town of Cyno Pay, which, oddly enough, was also the home of the great cynic philosopher Dionne Jenise Marcy Owen, whose name just means little markets like Marcie. Marcy Owen was a wealthy ship builder and he took an interest in theology and Christianity and he was active around the turn of the first to second century or a bit later. There’s tradition that he was active around 140 CE, but it’s not absolutely clear when when he was active. I mean, it’s you know, that’s already a fairly narrow range. But the it does make some difference because there are some traditions that make him a contemporary of the apostles. Now, you know, I think we don’t really know much about the apostles, who they were, if they were fictional characters or not. But the point is, some imagined him as having been associated with John’s son of Zebedee and so forth. And it’s it’s murky any way you cut it. 

But why was this guy so important? Well, Marcy Owen was the first great Paul leanest for years or decades. I’ve read about and studied the Pauline epistles. And if you take them literally, it’s another thing to say about a letter. But if you take them literally, here is Paul writing in the just after the middle of the first century, see the Common Era A.D., whatever you want to call it. And he is writing to churches, most of which he started in Corinth Vessel at NYK, Philip Pae, cetera, et, etc.. Some he hadn’t but hoped a minister in like Rome and emphasis. And so we think that these people who hung on every word were Paul Earnest’s and Pauline. 

Christianity was very important. Some scholars even say Paul was the second founder of Christianity, that he put such a pronounced stamp on the whole thing. 

Well, in fact, the first if you bracket all of that, you know Paul to the Corinthians, Paul to the Philippians, etc., if you bracket that on the chance that these might be pseudonymous letters like Bard Urman writes about in his book, Forged. If you think that these this may be a literary device that the real intended readers are not to that early and you ask, well, bracketing that, who are the earliest? Paul insists that we know of Pauline Christians who regarded the Paul line writings as their big authority. Well, the first ones we ever really hear about are Gnostics like Valin timers who claim to have been taught by a man named Theo Otis, a disciple of Paul. And then, of course, there is Marcy Owen. 

And there there might have been previous Paul line Christians, but I don’t think we really have sufficient evidence of that. And the Christianity that was around was either Jewish Christianity like the Nazarene’s and the EBC Knights who believed God to keep the Torah in the Jewish law, even if you were a Christian, etc. and there may have been other Greek speaking Hellenized Christians who with all sorts of beliefs. But the earliest Pauline Christians we we know of were these Gnostics like Vallentine, US and the Mars Semites, because one thing Marxian did was to found his own church, which succeeded fantastically and spread quickly all over the Roman Empire and on into Asia, where it lasted for some hundreds of years. 

What what did he teach? What was his take on Paul? Well, he thought Paul was really the only apostle of Christ. 

He knew about the twelve and he believed that they had been the pupils of of Jesus Christ or as he would have said, Jesus Christ is Jesus the good very close in pronunciation and spelling to Chris Stoss, the Christ, the Anointed One. But from Marciani was Jesus the good Christoph’s. 

He believed that these guys, Peter James, John, Andrew Bartholomew, the whole bunch were disciples of Jesus and had been taught. But what’s the impression you get of these guys in the Gospel of Mark, especially, isn’t it that they really didn’t understand the darn thing with Jesus constantly had to correct them, even express his disgust and impatience on more than one occasion? They virtually never get anything right. One of them denies them. One of them betrays him. And there’s no reconciliation or anything. It’s an unremittingly bad portrayal of these guys. And Marcy Owens said, well, it’s obvious that Christianity was in the wrong hands. What was the chief error of the disciples? Well, they failed to grasp that Jesus was starting a new religion. He wasn’t fulfilling Judaism or any such thing. And their error was to understand Jesus in the context of Judaism and to try to combine the two. Big mistake, because Marcey own figured that that Christ had come into the world. From a different God, not the God of the Bible. But that is the of the Old Testament, the Hebrew scriptures, the. There was a God who created the world and gave the Torah the law to Moses. This God was concerned about Israel and would send a Jewish messiah to free them from Roman oppression. I am sure this God was even righteous, though, a kind of rough customer, a bit of a bad ass and a soldier. 

The Old Testament. Sure. It’s it’s true. I accept that. Even thought it was historical. But he said this does not sound like the God that Jesus describes a god of love, a god of forgiveness, a God who has children, not slaves. A God who doesn’t judge. And so he. And after all, doesn’t Jesus say no one knows the father except for the son and any one to whom the son deigns to reveal him? How could he be talking about the God of Israel, the God of Judaism? Nobody knows him. What? He’s revealing a new deity. Well, yeah. He came to offer the prospect of adoption to the creatures of the Hebrew God, Jehovah or Ofay or whatever you want to call them that. Yes, you’re the creatures of this God. But my father wants to offer you the chance to become his children. He is not a vengeful God. He forgives. He does not punish. He does not judge. Those who come to him. And love will be saved. And the others, well, they’ve made their own bed. I’m afraid it’s up to the creator what he wants to do with them. But you can be adopted as the children of my father. And so whole different religion, not anti Semitic, as some people say. Marcio on was not even a.. Judaic. In fact, it’s a very ecumenical sort of a stance. Had this prevailed in church history as as mainstream Christianity, I believe you would not have had these awful Christian persecutions of Jews. No, he said, yeah, those people there. Right. As far as they go, what they believe. Yeah, it’s true. It just doesn’t have anything to do with Jesus. It just doesn’t have anything to do with Christianity. Well, the twelve disciples didn’t get that. And so Jesus, having returned to heaven, decided he needed to start over with somebody who would get it. And that was Paul. 

And so he revealed himself to Paul and made Paul the apostle. Naturally, he clashed with the twelve. And with the Torah, Christianity they represented. 

And and you read things like the epistle to the Galatians and so on, where there’s no love lost between Paul and the Jerusalem Apostles and so forth. 

Now, he was important also because since he rejected Judaism in the Jewish scriptures, he said, well, we we do need a scripture now, at least Marci Benites did. It’s it’s very difficult to tell what Marxian himself said and what his successors and followers did. You know why that is? By the way, Gord’s should do the Orthodox Catholic Christians destroyed most of the Marcio Tonight writings, but they also talked about them and critique them. So we have a pretty good idea of what they thought and Marcey own or Marsia nights of thought. Well, we could use a Christian scripture. And so very shortly they had a gospel. 

They called the just the Iwan Gallion or the Gospel. It appears to have been an earlier shorter version of what we know as the gospel of Luke. They did not attribute it to Luke, though. 

It was just called the Gospel of the Lord. They also had the apostolic cut of the Book of the Apostle, which was a collection of Paul’s letters. 

Now, I think based on an interesting statement by Tertullian that namely that Marcey own discovered the letter to the Galatians, that Marcey own, or Marsia Knights wrote up the basic draft of Galatians. Are Joseph Hoffman argues that they wrote up the basic draft of Ephesians as well, which they called Lay Out His Sins. It was called Ephesians later on. And there are probably other items that Marcey a Knights and wrote that you find in most of the ten episodes of Paul. That is minus the so-called pastoral epistles first and. Second, Timothy and Titus that he didn’t know them because they hadn’t been written yet. 

And so this was the the Marcy Anite canon of scripture, the official list of books, the the gospel and the the letters attributed to Paul Spuriously Pseudonymously again. Take a look at barman’s fascinating book, Forged. 

And this was the first known New Testament. 

Marcy Owen or Marcy Anight said they were the first to have the need for such a thing. Catholic Christians, if you want to call them that. Yeah, it was all very, you know, amorphous and in the process of forming, they when they talked about the Bible or the scriptures, they just meant the the Old Testament, the the usually the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. And they kind of rewrote it in a sense by rereading it. 

They thought it was all full of predictions of Jesus and so forth. 

Well, they had to react to what I like to call the Marcey a night Sputnik. That is the launch of this New Testament, the the Evangelion and the Apostolic Hohne. And so what was their their strategy? Well, they wanted to try to co-opt the the marcey in a church, attract their people over. And and to do that, they had to co-opt the Marcey unites scripture. 

They said, well, what the heck. I guess it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a distinctively Christian scripture, but we’d rather added on to the Jewish scripture and interpret the Old Testament by the New Testament. But of course, the Marcey unites scripture, has various heresies in it. So I’m afraid we’re going to have to supplement it and edit it and pad it out a bit. And so what they seem to have done is to take the Marcey, unite gospel and add a good bit to it, including a lot of Old Testament references and the like. And it became the gospel, according to Luke. 

But they also wanted to supplement it. So they got the gospel, according to Mark, apparently not noticing how Marsia might that sounded. And some of even the thought that Mark and Marcey own have some kind of a link. But at any rate, they tossed that one in. And then how about the gospel of John and the Gospel of Matthew, which has some pretty anti Marsia night material? You know, I don’t believe anybody that says I came to abolish the law and the prophets. Oh, no. Sounds time tonight. So four gospels. How about that epistles? Well, again, that kind of teaches heresy. So let’s add some material here and there to domesticate Paul, to make him less radical. And let’s supply three new letters that will kind of guide the reading of the other ones. 

And those are the pastoral epistles. First and second, Timothy and Titus. 

They even mention a book by Marci Owen, the so-called antithesis of the which was a book detailing contrast between the old and the New Testaments at the end of one of these Timothy letters and says, don’t pay heed to the antithesis seize. Interesting of the Gnosis falsely so called interesting. 

So. And they wrote the Book of Acts. What was the point of that? Well, to rehabilitate the idea of the Twelve Apostles, Paul is not the only one, but he fits right in with them. If you like Paul, you should like Peter and the others and and you non Marcy and I too, like Peter and the rest will give Paul a chance. And this is why act parallels Peter and Paul. They all they both do the same things, preach to Gentiles, heal the flame, raise the dead and so on and so on. 

I mean, you can just make a list of parallels between them. This is why. So also, let’s have some epistles by other people to take that to try to dilute. 

Paul. A bit to to broaden the thing. Well, we’ve got a few short when here and there. 

Here’s one by somebody named James. Well, maybe it was James, the the brother of Jesus. Whatever that means. 

Who’s mentioned in the acts. 

Here’s three anonymous ones that are just said to be by the elder. Well, what say we put the name of John on those? He was a big apostle. 

And here’s a couple by Peter that were inauthentic. But somebody wrote him in his name and so forth. And. 

So what happened, I’m saying the big point here is that Marcy Owen was the stimulus for the creation of the New Testament. The Marsia Knights were the first to come up with the idea of a New Testament and the Catholic Church got it from them. And our present New Testament put together probably by Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna, a noted opponent of Marcio, and he’s probably the one that got the idea. Now, this is going to come up quite a bit from time to time when we talk about who edited the New Testament and why and what they do to it and what is Paul and isn’t really about and so forth. So keep in mind that old Marcio. 

That’s very, very important figure in New Testament scholarship. 

All right, let’s take a question. 

This one is from Steve, who says there’s a big think article, I guess that’s being if that’s capitalized, that must be a Web site or something. But you’re technologically challenged. Host doesn’t quite know all about that anyway. There’s a big think article on the Song of Solomon about how it is arguably the best erotic poem in literary history and that, ironically, it happens to be in the Bible. What are your thoughts on why that is in the Bible? And are there any other erotic themed stories like this in the Bible? 

Yeah, it is pretty hot stuff. 

And let me just read you a little of this. The way it begins ain’t bad. The song of songs, which is Solomon’s. Oh, that you would kiss me with the kisses of your mouth. For your love is better than wine. You’re anointing oils are fragrant. Your name is oil poured out. Therefore the maidens love you. Draw me after you. Let us make haste. The King has brought me into his chambers. We will exalt and rejoice in you say her handmaids. We will extoll your love more than wine rightly. Do they love you? 

And then, though the bride says I am very dark. But comely o daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kaede, are like those curtains of Solomon and so on and so on. 

Oh, how about number no. 

Chapter two. Verse one. She says, I am a rose of Sharon. A lily of the valleys as a lily among Bramble’s. So is my love among maidens of his back and forth between the bride and the groom as an apple tree among the trees of the woods. 

So as my beloved, among young men with great delight, I sat in his shadow and his fruit was sweet to my taste. He brought me to the banqueting house in his banner over me was love sustain me with raisins. Reflect, refresh me with apples for I am sick with love. Oh that. His left hand were under my head off in his right hand. Embrace me, I adjure you. Oh daughters of Jerusalem by the gazelles of the hind’s of the field that you stirred not up nor awaken love until it please chapter for behold. You are beautiful my love. Behold you are beautiful. Your eyes are doves behind your veil. Your hair is like a flock of goats moving down the slopes of gelee. Add your teeth are like a flock of sheep use that is the very white of it have come up from the washing, all of which bear twins. Your lips are like a scarlet thread and your mouth is lovely. 

Your cheeks are like halves of a pomegranate behind your veil, so on. 

Your two breasts are like two fons twins of a gazelle that feed among the lilies until the day breathes in the shadows flee. 

I will he me to the mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense. You are all fair, my love. There is no flaw in you and so on. You have ravished my heart, my sister, my bride and so on and so on. 

Yeah, it’s pretty good stuff in virtually any translation you want to read. What is this still in in the Bible. Well, you know that Christian commentators say, well, this is an allegory of the spiritual love between God and or Christ and Christians. Hey, yeah. 

This is borrowed from the rabbis who said, now, here, here, stop singing the Song of Solomon in the saloons as a body drinking song. 

That’s what they were doing. 

No, it’s really about the love of God for Israel. Yeah, right. Yet there is a strange element of truth in this. The the original point of all of this was it was the liturgy of the coat of Ishtar. And Tamou is very, very old. And Tamils was a dying and rising God rescued from the nether world by Ishtar, who went there to take his place for half the year and so on. They were brother and sisters and lovers, just like ISIS and, oh, Cyrus and so on. That explains why in a Jewish book, you have such a levitical outrage as brother and sister and my sister. 

My bride. What the heck? 

I mean, you don’t even expect that is metaphore given Jewish ethics the way it developed. The woman is called in the text. The Shula might well ish. Tar’s whole name was Ishtar Shool. A myth now of well, why isn’t Tamaz mentioned? Well, in order to get in the. Heibel if there were going to save this work, which was a literary classic already, they couldn’t very well have explicit pagan gods names on it. So they had to trim that. But the rest of it is in there and they made of it what they could. Yeah, this I say, what’s the liturgy, because they they mourned for the death of Tamou, as Ezekiel mentions that that the daughters of Jerusalem, the same phrase used here, were ritually mourning. And so this was about the love between the God and the goddess. And this stuff about the better is your love than than wine. 

My love is stronger than death. Stronger than the grave. Well, that’s because Ishtar went down to the grave to save him, et cetera. Take a look at Martin Pope’s commentary on the anchor Bible. He says that there is a parallel after parallel between the lines of this song and the list of titles of Assyrian songs, hymns about the God and goddess. It’s, it seems to me. Case closed. That’s what it’s about. And it just was it had too much clout. People didn’t want to get rid of it, so they just lightly edited the thing and left it in there. Certainly it’s a typical. But that’s what it’s doing there. 

The only other erotic stuff like anywhere near that, I would say in the Bible is the story of Ruth in New Testament Times. Many Jews understood that there was something risque about Ruth. She her she’s a widow and she finds that she has a wealthy kinsman kinsman of her late husband. And so she’s going to try to attract his attention and get him to marry her. And they go to the wheat harvest, which often was a sort of an orgiastic affair. 

It doesn’t tell you that, but we know that from various sources. And it says while he’s past staff, asleep or drunk, I don’t know which, she uncovers his feet and lies there. And in the morning, he says, Holy mackerel. Who are you? I’m Ruth. Are you married to your kinsman? So they get married. You may know that feat is two or three times in the Hebrew Bible, a kind of euphemism for penis. And so to uncover the nakedness of someone is to have sex with him. So people knew this meant that Ruth had somehow seduced Boaz. So, I mean, that’s that’s kinda close. There’s not a whole lot more about it because the Bible is pretty straight laced, but that’s at least something else. 

So Song of Solomon, also known as the Song of Songs or the Book of Canticles or Canticle of Canticles. 

Take your pick. Pretty strange stuff, but that certainly is good. 

Did I mention that I when I married my my beautiful wife Carole in the First Baptist Church of Montclair, I planned out the service and had a couple in the congregation go up to the lecterns and one read Chapter two of the Song of Solomon. 

The other Chapter four. I figure, you know, this is great stuff. It’s sexy. It’s biblical. Let’s toss it in. I tell you, it’s great. 

And now, of course, that brings us to prophetic scorecard. Prophetic scorecard where we try to see how well the biblical prophets did when they predicted stuff. Did they not get out of the park? Did they strike out? Now, you would generally expect that most of the predictions recorded in the Bible would have seemed to come true. That’s either because very often they are written as what’s called Vata Synthia X Eventa that his predictions after the fact. So of course they’re going to be right 100 percent hindsight. Right. 

Or if if there was a genuine prediction that came true. Well, all right. Are probably loads that didn’t and they haven’t been recorded. Right. 

And one of one reason I think that is that any Zeke Hill, there is a prediction that never could. Nasr is going to conquer tire and he doesn’t. And as a said, well, OK, God will give you a consolation prize. You can conquer. This is dead. And there must have been a lot more than that that didn’t make it in. And on the other hand, Jeremiahs to pick that is predicting the Babylonian exile. I mean, that that didn’t you didn’t have to be Christian to do that, because it’s pretty obvious that what’s going to happen. He just descended from the jingoistic prophecies of others set out. God never let them beat us. Oh, but he said that this exile that some of the people would be taken off to resettled in battle and that wouldn’t last forever. It would only last 70 years. And then some would return. Well, looks like it took only 50 years. So is that a true prophecy or not? I would say I am not an Old Testament scholar. I don’t know who they are. Those who are would agree with this. But it occurs to me that since it it didn’t comport exactly with what happened, it probably wasn’t made up afterward. And it probably was. I don’t know what true prophecy. Lucky guess. Who knows. But that that sounds like something someone did say beforehand and then it more or less came true. 

I suppose if he got out of Babylon 20 years early. It wouldn’t be complaining about it. 

So. So sometimes they they fit. Sometimes they don’t now. You can often date prophetic, apocalyptic works that do predict the future by seeing when their predictions start to fail. Sometimes they will have they will narrate things that happened in the past, but they’re posing as as a prophet who lived before that and narrating these events in the future tense. So those are, you know, Vata sending a max to predictions after the fact. But then they they’re feelin, feelin pretty good and start actually predicting things. 

And then it doesn’t work. Right. And that’s when the book was written, when they really launch into blue skies and crash. So yeah, that’s why you do have some blatantly wrong predictions. And I want to get to the most blatant of all, the prediction of Jesus that the world would end within the contemporary generation. Got to read you a few Bible verses here, Mark. 13 24. And following this is in the Olivet discourse, as it’s called. 

But in those days after that tribulation, the sun will go dark and the moon will withhold her light and the stars will be falling out of the skies and the angelic powers in heaven will be shaken. And then they will see one like a son of man coming in cloud chariots with much power and brilliance. And then he will send out the angels and they will gather together the chosen people, Israel from the four winds from the rim of the Earth to the rim of the sky. But from the fig tree learned the parable. As soon as its branch grows tender and puts forth leaves, you know that the summer is near. So you also must recognize when these things transpire. It is knocking at the doors. A man, I tell you in answer to your question of the present generation, will by no means go past. All these things all happen. The sky and the earth will pass away. But my predictions will not fail. 

But as to that specific day or hour, no one knows that neither the angels in heaven nor the sun except the father. What’s that again, that we’re going to have all that? Of course, I only started quoting at the end. There’s all kinds of stuff about famines, earthquakes, wars, persecutions. Right. When you see this stuff happen, you’ll know that the end is at hand. And you won’t see it happen. Right. This generation won’t go by until this stuff has happened. Oh, if you look at the calendar lately, I’m afraid the train never showed up at the station. Right. This is what scholars call the delay of the pyros. See a Greek word, meaning the presence, the the appearing of Christ at the end. Boy, didn’t happen. Now, you know how Harold Camping of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and others keep predicting the same thing. And it never works. I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that kind of following in the footsteps of this. How do you get out of this? Well, I don’t think you can. All right. Some say, well, the word he uses there, this generation will not pass away. That’s the word DNA. May I? You know, sometimes that word is used to mean a race. Maybe he’s saying the Jewish people will not pass away until the coming of me. Tell me what sense that could possibly make. Right. That only sounds good to you. If you’re trying to get out of a tight spot and then you’ll grasp at any straw another one that is even more hilarious than that. People say, well, you know, Jesus doesn’t mean this generation of you guys in front of me who are live now. No, no, no. He means this generation, namely, whichever one happens to be alive at the time this stuff takes place. They will see it take place. Well, that’s like saying a bachelor is an unmarried man, right? That’s what we call a tautology. What’s the point of even saying that? Right. It’s nonsense. Know a circle is round. I meant you didn’t know that. And so, you know, that’s absurd. It’s just an attempt to get out of a colossal embarrassment. In fact, Mark is already trying to get Jesus out of it because of this thing. This disclaimer. Right. You got this whole thing about how. Oh, yeah. There won’t be any doubt. It’s just like the blossoming of the fig tree. You know, it’s got to be some has got to be at hand if you see that happen. Same thing here. Right. But then suddenly the Jesus or Mark slams on the brakes of cars as though that day or hour, who knows that? Well, I just thought you said you did pretty much. Someone has added this to try to. To me, they couldn’t really cut out the what was said because the text was already too well known. So they just add it up. But of course, I don’t really know. You know what C.S. Lewis said about this, astonishingly, in an essay called The World’s last night? He says, well, Jesus said he didn’t know. And I guess he proved it because he was wrong. Yikes. Now, what happened? The generation passed on. And as most of them were gone late in the first century, somebody said, well, maybe we better revise this. And so then we get a saying we find in March nine one. And he said to them, a man, I say to you that there are some of those standing here who will certainly not taste of death before they see the kingdom of God having come with power. Well, again, you know, the the end of the age and all that. But notice, it’s restricted only some standing here, not the whole generation, because by this time, most in that generation were dead and gone. So you got a restricted, but that fell through also. So Mark is thinking to himself, boy. Is it possible that something that did happen in that generation could be what he was talking about? OK. The second coming didn’t happen. But is there something else that he might have been different? Hey, how about the transfiguration, which many scholars think was originally a resurrection story that’s been put back here? Well, yeah, maybe that could be taken as a kind of a, you know, a preview of the coming of the kingdom. What the heck? But Jesus. 

Then what about only some standing there if a whole generation is still intact? Well, OK. How about Jesus just takes three or four of them up to the mountain with him to see this? We don’t know why. Well, I think it’s just for editorial requirements. 

We only have to have. We have to have only some of them seeing it. So he picks out Peter, Andrew, James and John. Well, you know what happened? 

All that generation died. And so then we get this. And John, 21, 20. Turning Peter. Oh, this is Jesus favorite disciple following them. The one who also leaned back during supper next to him and asked, Lord, who is the one betraying you? So when Peter noticed this man, he says to Jesus, Lord. And what of this one? Jesus says to him, If I wish him to linger till I come, what is it to you? You follow me. This is how it came about. The sayings circulated among the brothers. That disciple is a mortal. But in fact, Jesus did not say to him he is immortal, but rather if I wish him to linger till I come. What is that? 

Do you see what’s happened? There’s one guy from that generation. He’s finally died. They were pinning their hopes on him. It’s gotta be any time now because of this old geezer that’s still alive. What? What’s that? You say he’s. Oh, well, you know, maybe Jesus didn’t actually say the these things would happen before the generation was all gone. Just that if I wanted them to have. Boy, second Peter. Three, three. 

Same problem. First of all, be sure of this. And the last of the day is a mockers will appear following their own lusts, making wisecracks, saying things like what happened to the promise of his coming after all, from the day the fathers fell asleep. There’s that first generation, right? All remains as it was since the dawn of creation. But this is hidden from them as they wish. How in how in ancient times, a firmament and an earth emerged from water and through water held together by the command of God, through which also that former world perished in a watery cataclysm. But the present heavens and earth have by the same command gods, been slated for destruction by fire and the day of judgment and destruction for the Empire’s. But brothers don’t let this fact be concealed from you. Quote from Psalm 90 verse for one day for Advo nigh, the Lord is the same as a millennium and a millennium as a single day. It is not so much that the Lord is tardy, fulfilling his promise as some defined tardiness. Oh, it is that he is long suffering toward you, unwilling for any to perish, and hoping every one will come to their senses. 

See what’s going on there. He’s just given up on it. He’s stopped rationalizing and said, look, all right. There’s a delay. Any fool can see that. But you shouldn’t be mocking. Don’t you realize what that means? God has decided to set aside the original deadline. He’d say he’s extended it to give you idiots a reprieve. Here’s another chance to repent. Because it’s gonna come fairly soon. You don’t want to be destroyed. Delia. So as so. Don’t let him have to wipe that smirk off your face when he gets back. Repent now. Now, that’s good thinking. Right. That’s that’s dealing with reality. Course, even he didn’t get completely off boat because he certainly didn’t anticipate another nineteen hundred years. 

Ryan Morris put it best when he said, you know, none of us were there on Easter, we don’t know whether a dead man came out of his grave or not. We can argue about that, but no one will ever really know. But we we all are alive in a world that shouldn’t be here because of the prediction that it would end in ancient times. That’s enough to debunk the whole thing. 

Walter Kaufman said in his book The Faith of a Heretic. 

You know, if he’s wrong about this, how can you trust anything else? Interesting point. Now, of course, you don’t have that problem if you’re willing to just see the wisdom in the teachings attributed to Jesus when he talks about worldly matters. Right. Or even spirituality. But if you’re thinking of him as a revealer of hidden truths from heaven, here’s the one of those you can verify or falsify. And guess which happened, right. So prophetic scorecard. A big zero on that one, I’m afraid. 

Here’s another question Simon asks, coming from the reformed tradition. It’s like Calvinism, right? I heard phrases from the pulpit like Common Grace, pre, VEMA and Grace, irresistable grace and saving grace. However, I fail to find any direct reference to any of these in the Bible. Also, Jesus never uses the word grace. And yet many would describe his life as grace full. What exactly is said in the Bible concerning Grace and its meaning? Well, Protestants and Catholics differ over this. Protestants, focusing on some passages say grace seems to mean simply the unmerited favor of God. That led him to act to save us when he didn’t have to. We had fouled up our own year when we’d made up our bed and God would have been entitled Let us lie in. But he didn’t. He went to considerable trouble, didn’t have to. And that was his grace, his kindness and mercy grin. That’s what the word gratuitous comes from, right? He didn’t have to do it. When you leave a tip, you don’t actually owe it to limits a gratuity. It’s Grace. So the Protestant focus was on God’s unmerited favor. And of course, saving grace does pretty much appear in the Bible in Ephesians two eight and nine four. It is by grace, you are saved through faith. It’s not from yourselves, but the gift of God. Lest anyone should boast and there’s similar things in Romans that God gave a free gift of salvation in Christ. That’s the word grace or a KRS C.H. Aiyah, I guess in an transliteration. Right. So that one’s in there. Now, Catholics understand grace as it’s related to the word charisma. The the anointing with with spiritual power to speak in tongues, he’ll prophesy, etc. And they understand this the grace in connection with salvation to be a saving power. Now, I think that’s almost exactly the same as what Protestants mean when they talk about the activity of the Holy Spirit. Yes, I know Catholics talk about the spirit, too. But I just mean, you know, in these particular cases, the how are you regenerated or born again? Protestants would say, well, in the spirit, you’re born of the Holy Spirit. Catholics, they wouldn’t deny that, but they would say it’s saving grace. And that’s what you’re getting through the sacraments, a kind of spiritual energy of healing and salvation that passes into the soul. Again, all you have to do to make that acceptable to Protestants is to say, yeah. And it’s called the Holy Spirit. I it’s probably six or one half a dozen of the other. 

And I think both are right. There are passages that that go back and forth on that and both represent different elements of New Testament teaching. 

But what about these particular phrases, common grace? What is that? Well, this is as a matter of Calvinist theological thinking. They want to separate this from saving grace, the God’s kindness in in saving you. 

Well, not everybody is saved. Not everybody is regenerated. There are plenty of centers in the world and some pretty bad ones. What keeps the world from collapsing into a hellhole? I mean, things could be a lot worse than they are. Why are they not? Well, if I understand correctly, that is common, Grace. It’s kind of another way. Referring to divine providence. Yeah, the world is sinful going to hell and all that. 

But God, maybe for the sake of his righteous elect, has kept some kind of a lid on the effects of the sin of those who are not the regenerate elect and all that. So I think that is the idea of common grace. I mean, you know, people that are kind and generous and fair but are not born again Christians. 

Well, Calvinist don’t say they’re just satanic counterfeits. They’re faking it. No, no. There is a kind of divine grace involved in keeping them from succumbing to every temptation. They couldn’t do it by themselves because we’re totally depraved. We are totally fallen. But we don’t act that way because, I mean, some people do. But luckily, it’s a minority because the common grace is keeping things on a more or less even keel. We’re lucky it’s not worse than it is. 

Now, what is pre vignacourt grace? Well, everybody is dead in sin. Total depravity, the Calvinists say. And how then could you even want to repent and be saved? 

You’re so far gone. Coming back to God wouldn’t even look good to you unless the Holy Spirit came and began to lighten the darkness so that you began to see, you know, like the prodigal son. 

Maybe I ought to go back to God. Maybe I should repent. I don’t really like the sin I live in. God be merciful to me, a sinner. You couldn’t come to that point unless you had been awakened by the grace or the spirit of God. He didn’t have to do it, but he did to to to awaken you from the death sleep of sin. 

So that’s previous. 

The grace that goes before literally non Calvinists are minions. Also talk about pre Vincent Grace, but they don’t. They say that it can be turned down. 

You were so far gone that you wouldn’t seek salvation on your own initiative. But the Holy Spirit comes and sort of frees you up so you can seriously consider the possibility of repenting. And it’s really up to you. You now have free will. You might accept the salvation of God. You might not. So the grace goes before to make it possible for you to repent. 

But according to Calvinists, you don’t really have a choice. Ultimately, if the pre vini and grace of God seeks you out, like Martin Luther, who had very similar views, said, look, are dead, you’re dead in sin. You’ve got to be spiritually resurrected from outside. And that means you’re going to be saved despite yourself. If that happens, you’re not going to say no. You’re simply going to be yanked out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of light. And that is irresistible grace. 

Right. And once God decides that you are to be safe, you will be. So that’s what some of those terms mean, it’s fascinating and I don’t know that Calvinists claim this comes right out of the Bible, they will just patiently explain their sophisticated theological reasoning to which they give these names. And I can’t blame them for that. 

They’re not just crude biblical this heavily the Bible. I hate to believe in it. Now, they say that they know that Trinity is not actually taught in the Bible, but they say they think it’s a good way of summing up the implications of the Bible. Right. That’s got to credit them for that. Well, for the moment, I think I will leave it at that. And I thank you for being with us on the human Bible. 

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The Human Bible is produced by Adam Isaac in Amherst, New York, and features contributions from Debbie Goddard. I’m your host. Robert M. Price.