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IZHARUL HAQ READING CONTINUED

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THE BIBLICAL TEXT ; ARE THEY REVEALED? THE ARGUMENTS

We intend to show in this chapter that the Judaeo-Christian claim that the
Bible, – both Old and New Testaments, was revealed to and written down by
men inspired by God, is false and ungrounded. There are numerous arguments
to prove this but we will confine ourselves in the following pages to seventeen
of them which, in our opinion, are more than sufficient to prove our claim.

DISTORTIONS
A large number of clear contradictions are to be found in the books of the
Bible. The Christian scholars and commentators have always been at a loss to
find any way of explaining them. For some of the textual differences they have
had to admit that one of the texts is correct and the other false, due either to
deliberate distortion on the part of later theologians or to mistakes of the
copiers. For some contradictory texts they have put forward absurd explanations
that would never be accepted by a sensible reader. These have already been
discussed.
The Biblical books are full of errors and we have pointed out more than one
hundred of them already. It is self-evident that a revealed text must be free from
errors and contradictions.
There are also many cases of distortion and human manipulation in the texts
of these books. The alterations and changes which have been deliberately or
unknowingly made have even been admitted by Christian theologians. Texts
which have been definitely changed or distorted cannot be accepted as revealed
or inspired even by the Christians. We intend to present a hundred examples of
such distortions in the Bible later in this book.
As we mentioned previously, certain books or part of books are accepted by
the Catholics as being the revelations of their Prophets while the Protestants
have proved that these books were not divinely inspired. These books are: the
Book of Baruch, the Book of Tobit, the Book of Judith, the Wisdom of
Solomon, Ecclesiastes, Maccabees I and II, chapters eleven to sixteen of the
Book of Esther, and ten verses from chapter ten of the same book, and the song
of the three children from chapter three of the Book of Daniel.
These books are considered by the Catholics to be an integral part of the Old
Testament, whereas the Protestants have rejected them and do not include them
in the Old Testament. We, therefore, leave them out of our discussion. Any
readers particularly curious about these books should refer to the books of the
Protestant scholars. The Jews do not accept these books as genuine either.
Similarly, the third Book of Ezra is considered part of the Old Testament
according to the Greek Church, while both the Catholics and the Protestants
have proved conclusively that this book is not genuine. The revealed status of
the Book of Judges is also in question for those who claim it to be written by
Phineas or Hezekiah, and the same applies to the Book of Ruth, according to
those who perceive it as being written by Hezekiah. Nor, according to the
majority of writers, is the Book of Nehemiah divinely inspired, especially the
first twenty-six verses of chapter twelve.
The Book of Job was also not considered revelation by Maimomides,
Michel, Semler, Stock, Theodore and Luther, the founder of the Protestant faith.
The same opinion is held by those who attribute this book to Elihu or to
someone unknown. Chapters thirty and thirty-one of the Book of Proverbs are not divinely inspired. According to the Talmud, Ecclesiastes is not an inspired
book.
The same applies to the Song of Solomon according to Theodore, Simon,
Leclerc, Whiston, Sewler, and Castellio. Twenty-seven chapters of the Book of
Isaiah are also not revelation according to the learned scholar Lefevre d’Etapes
of Germany. The Gospel of Matthew, according to the majority of ancient
scholars and almost all later scholars who consider it to have been originally
written in the Hebrew language and that the present Gospel is merely a
translation of the original which has been lost, is not, and cannot be, divinely
inspired.
As for the Gospel of John, the scholars, Bretschneider and Lefevre d’Etapes
have refused to accept it as genuine. The last chapter was certainly rejected by
the scholar Grotius as being neither genuine nor inspired.
Similarly all the Epistles of John are not accepted as prophetic by
Bretschneider and the Alogi School. The Second Epistle of Peter, the Epistle of
Jude, the Epistle of James, the First and Second Epistles of John and the Book
of Revelations are not considered as genuine by most of the scholars.

THE ADMISSIONS OF CHRISTIAN SCHOLARS

Home says on page 131 of Vol. I of his commentaries printed in 1822:
If we accept that some books of the Prophets have been lost and have
disappeared, we shall have to believe that those books were never written
with the help of inspiration. St. Augustine proved this fact with very strong
arguments saying that he had found many things mentioned in the books of
the kings of Judea and Israel, but could not find any description of the things
in these books. For their explanations, they have referred to the books of
other Prophets, and in some instances they have also mentioned the names of
the Prophets. These books have not been included in the canon
acknowledged by the church, which has not assigned any reason for their
exclusion, except to say that the Prophets, to whom significant religious
instructions are revealed, have two kinds of writings. Writings without
inspiration, which are similar to the writings of honest historians, and
writings guided by inspiration. The first kinds of writings are attributed to
the Prophets themselves, while the others are ascribed directly to God. The
first kinds of writings are meant to add to our knowledge while the others are
the source of the law and religious instructions.

Further on page 133 of Vol. I, discussing the cause of the disappearance of
the Book of Wars of the Lord, mentioned in the Book of Numbers 1 (21:14), he
said:
The book which has disappeared was, according to the great scholar Dr.
Lightfoot’s findings, the one that was written for the guidance of Joshua
under the command of the Lord after the defeat of the Amalekites. It seems
that the book in question contained some accounts of the victory of this war
as well as strategic instructions for the future war. This was not an inspired
book nor was it a part of the Canonical books.
Then in the supplement of his first volume he said:
When it is said that the Holy books were revealed by God, it does not
necessarily signify that every word and the whole text was revealed. The
difference of idiom and expression of the authors show that they were
allowed to write according to their own temperament and understanding. The
knowledge of inspiration was used by them similar to the use of the current
sciences. It cannot be imagined that every word they said or every doctrine
they passed was revealed to them by God.
Further he said that it was confirmed that the writers of the books of the Old
Testament were ”sometimes inspired”.
The compilers of Henry and Scott’s Commentary, in the last volume of their
book, quote. From the Alexander Canon, that is, from the principles of faith laid
down by Alexander:
It is not necessary that everything said by a Prophet should be an
inspiration or a part of the Canon. Because Solomon wrote some books
through inspiration it does not mean that everything he wrote was inspired
by God. It should be known that the Prophets and the disciples of Jesus were
sometimes inspired for important instructions.
Alexander’s Canon is held as a book worthy of great respect and trust in the
eyes of the Protestants. Warn, a great scholar of the Protestants, has used
arguments from this book in his discursive examination of the authenticity of
the Bible.

THE OPINION OF ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA

The author’s entry “Inspiration” 2 in the Encyclopaedia Britannica 3 has this
statement on page 274 vol. 11
It has always been a matter of controversy whether everything which is
written in the sacred books is inspired or not. Similarly all accounts of the
events described in them are not inspired by God according to Jerome,
Grotius, Papias and many other scholars.
Further in vol. 19 on page 20 it says:
Those who claim that everything of the Gospels is inspired by God
cannot prove their claim easily.
It also says:
If ever we are asked which part of the Old Testament is held by us as
inspiration of God, we would answer that the doctrines and the predictions
for future events which are the foundation of Christian faith cannot be other
than inspiration. As for other descriptions, the memory of the apostles is
enough for them.

THE REES ENCYCLOPEDIA

In volume nineteen of the Rees Encyclopedia, the author says that the
authenticity and divinity of the Holy books has been debated because there are
many contradictions and inconsistencies found in the statements of the authors
of these books. For example, when the texts of Matthew 10:19,20 and Mark
11:13 are compared with Acts 23:1-6, 4 the contradictory nature of these books
becomes all the more serious.
It is also said that the disciples of Jesus themselves did not know one another
to be receiving inspiration from God, as is evident from their debates in the
council of Jerusalem and from Paul’s blaming of Peter. Moreover it is clear that
the ancient Christians did not consider them innocent and free form faults, since  they sometimes made them subject to their criticism. This is obvious from Acts
11:2,3 5 and also Acts 21:20-24.
It has also been mentioned that Paul, who considered himself not less than
the disciples of Jesus (see 2 Corinthians 11:5 and 12:11), nevertheless
mentioned himself in such a manner as to show that he did not feel himself
constantly to be a man of inspiration 6 the author also said:
We are not given a feeling by the disciples of Jesus as speaking on behalf
of God every time they spoke.
He has said that:
Michaelis thoroughly examined the arguments of both the groups, which
was necessary for a matter of such importance, and decided that the presence
of inspiration in the Holy Book is certainly of great use, but even if we
dispense with the presence of inspiration in the Gospels and the Acts, which
are books of an historical nature, we lose nothing and they still remain as
useful to us as before. It does not damage anything if we accept that the
historical descriptions of the evangelists in the gospels, are similar to the
descriptions of the historians, since, as was observed by Christ, “And ye also
shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.” John
15:27.
It is therefore unnecessary to prove the truth of these books to a non-
Christian, on the basis of his acceptance of the truth of some of the evangelic
descriptions. On the contrary you should put forward arguments in favour of
such miracles as the death and resurrection of Christ as related in the
writings of the evangelists, always bearing in mind that they are historians.
For anyone who wishes to examine the foundation and origin of his faith, it
is necessary to consider the statements of the evangelist about those
particular matters as similar to the statements of other historians. Because it
would be physically impossible to prove the truth of the events described by
them, it is necessary that we accept their descriptions in the manner we
accept the descriptions of other historians. This line of approach would save
Christianity from all dangers. We do not find it mentioned anywhere that the
general events experienced by the apostles, and perceived by Luke through
his investigations, were inspired.
If however we are allowed to admit that some evangelists made mistakes
and that they were later corrected by John, this would he greatly
advantageous and facilitate conformity in the Bible. Mr. Cuddle also favoured the opinion of Michaelis in section 2 of his book. As far as the
books written by the pupils of the apostles are concerned, like the Gospels of
Mark and Luke and the Book of Acts. Michaelis has not given his decision
as to whether they were inspired or not.

WATSON’S ADMISSION


Watson, in volume four of his book on Revelations, which was based on the
commentary of Dr. Benson, remarks that the fact that Luke’s writing is not
inspired is evident from the dedication of his Gospel to Theophilus:
For as much as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration
of those things which are most surely believed among us, even as they
delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and
ministers of the word; it seemed good to me also, having had perfect
understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order,
most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those
things, wherein thou hast been instructed 7
Watson says about this:
The ancient writers of Christian theology have also given a similar
opinion. Irenaeus said that Luke conveyed to us the things which he learnt
from the apostles. Jerome said that Luke does not depend only on Paul, who
was never in the physical company of Christ. Luke also acquired the
knowledge of the Evangel from other apostles as well.
He further elucidates:
The apostles, when they used to speak or write anything concerning the
faith, were protected with the treasure of inspiration that they had. Being,
however, human beings, and men of reason and inspiration, they were just
like other people when describing common events.
This made it possible for Paul to write in his first epistle to Timothy, without
inspiration:
Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and
thine often infirmities.

further:
The cloak that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with
thee, and the books, but especially the parchments 9
And that he could write to Philemon, “But withal prepare me also a
lodging.” (v.22) And as he wrote to Timothy, “Erastus abode at Corinth; but
Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick 10”
However there are other occasions when it is clear that Paul speaks by
inspiration, as in his first letter to the Corinthians:
And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let the wife
depart from her husband. 11
But in verse twelve of the same epistle he says:
But to the rest speak I, not the Lord.
Then in verse twenty-five he says:
Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give
my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.
The book of Acts contains this statement:
Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia,
and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia. After they
were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered
them not.
From the above we are given to understand that the apostles’ work was
based on two things: reason and inspiration. They used the first to speak of
general events, while through the other they gave religious instructions related
to the Christian faith. This is why the apostles, like other human beings,
committed mistakes in their domestic affairs and in their intentions. This is quite
evident from Acts 23:3; Rom. 15:24,28; I Cor. 16:5,6,8 and 2-Cor. 11:15-18.
The nineteenth volume of the Rees Encyclopedia contains this description
under the entry ”Dr. Benson”:

Whatever he has written in connection with inspiration seems to be clear
and logical and, indeed, unique in its application.

 

 

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