mardi 23 décembre 2014

Refuting Sceptics Annotated Bible : Acts 9 (v.26 with "contrary passage")

1) Refuting Sceptics Annotated on Conversion of St Paul (Acts 9:7 with "contradicting passages") ; 2) Refuting Sceptics Annotated Bible : Acts 9 (v.26 with "contrary passage")

Again Sceptics Annotated looks for and thinks to find a contradition or two that isn't there.

Sceptics Annotated : Did Paul go to Jerusalem from Damascus immediately after his conversion?

And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. Acts 9:26*To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Galatians 1:16-17

Sceptics Annotated : Did Paul visit all of the disciples when he went to Jerusalem after his conversion?

Yes.No, only Peter and James.
And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. Acts 9:26-28Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother. Galatians 1:18-19

Both difficulties have their resolutions given in Haydock comment in Acts 9.

Ver. 23. When many days were passed. By the account St. Paul gives of himself, (Galatians chap. i.) soon after his conversion he went into Arabia, and about three years after he might come to Damascus. Then it seems to have happened that they were for killing him, for becoming a Christian; and the brethren saved his life, by conveying him down the walls of the town in a basket. After this, he went to Jerusalem, where the disciples knew little of him, and were afraid of him, till St. Barnabas introduced him to the apostles, and gave an account of his conversion. (Witham) --- Many days. That is, three years. For Saul went for a time from Damascus to Arabia. (Galatians i. 17. and 18.) It was on his return from thence, that the Jews conspired against his life, as is here related. (Tirinus)

In other words, the voyage to Jerusalem was right after his second stay in Damascus, not right after the first one right after conversion; and while Acts 9 might give the impression there was only one, it doesn't specifically say so.

Ver. 27. Brought him to the apostles Peter and James. See Galatians i. 18. and 19.

St Luke in Acts 9 doesn't say which Apostles and doesn't specify all of them. Why did he not use "some apostles"? Because Sts Peter and James-the-brother-of-Christ were in a sense THE Apostles, St Peter the chief Apostle of the 12 and the head of the Church Universal, St James chief of the 70 (or those of them who were not of the 12), and preparing to become first Bishop of Jerusalem./HGL

* As in previous, I exchange the link to their Acts 9 comment to a link to the Haydock - and same for Galatians.

vendredi 19 décembre 2014

Refuting Sceptics Annotated on Conversion of St Paul (Acts 9:7 with "contradicting passages")

1) Refuting Sceptics Annotated on Conversion of St Paul (Acts 9:7 with "contradicting passages") ; 2) Refuting Sceptics Annotated Bible : Acts 9 (v.26 with "contrary passage")

Changing Bible references to links to chapters in Haydock, but otherwise citing and linking to Sceptics annotated:

Did the men with Paul hear the voice?

Yes, they heard the voice.No, they didn't hear the voice.
And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. Acts 9:7And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me. Acts 22:9

9 : Ver. 7. [...] Hearing, &c. This may be reconciled with what is said in the 22nd chapter by supposing they heard only St. Paul speak, or heard only a confused noise, which they could not understand. (Calmet)

22 : Ver. 9. Heard not the voice. To reconcile this with chap. ix. ver. 7. where it is said that they heard the voice; it may be answered that they heard a noise, and a voice, but heard it not distinctly, nor so as to understand the words. (Witham) --- They heard not the voice of him who spoke to the apostle, but they heard the latter speak; (Acts ix. 7.) or perhaps they heard a noise, which they could not understand. They perhaps heard the voice of Paul answering, but not that of Christ complaining.

Were the men with Paul knocked to the ground?

Yes, they fell to the ground.No, they remained standing.
And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? Acts 26:14 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. Acts 9:7

Here the comment to chapter nine gives nothing and the one to 26 only tells us why St Paul specifies "in the Hebrew tongue":

26 : Ver. 14. It is generally supposed that St. Paul addresses king Agrippa in the Greek language, which was the common tongue of a great part of the East. (Bible de Vence)

So, I'll take my stand on my own here.

All fell down. Christ told Saul to rise. The men rose too. And standing up after having fallen down they stood - speechless.

Sorry, probably wrong. Probably they stood up after the shock and saw the light but no man.

Another possibility is that while falling down he thinks the other fell down too, while they didn't, as St Luke will get to know.

On the what they heard question, here is my solution:

  • 1) Before this happens, Saul and the rest are infidel Jews of the Synagogue, bent on persecuting the true Church, the true Qahal : none of them was in a state of grace.

  • 2) While it happens, when all fall down, the future St Paul is treated better than them, since they will later convert after his example, like when seeing his explanation for it worked by Ananias curing his blindness.

    • a) Saul - on his way to becoming St Paul sees the blinding light and so do the others but when looking they see no one - not any more than Saul.
    • b) The others hear the voice as a sound of a human speeking, but do not hear the actual speech, while St Paul on the other hand does.

  • 3) St Paul after they rise and is blind ask the others if they saw and heard it. They are still not Christians, they are not in a state of grace, they want to say sth like "we heard the voice but not the words" but are so shocked they only say "we heard no voice".

    Of course they have time to speak before reaching Damascus.

    Or perhaps they even tried to deny hearing the voice for therapeutical purposes.

  • 4) He converts and they convert when they see him healed from blindness.

  • 5) When he speaks the speech in Acts 22, he tells the story he recalls them as having told him.

    He was human, he was not immune to being fooled into an error on non-essentials. In Acts 22 he speaks as a man and not as an inspired Holy Writer. But St Luke takes his exact words down as an inspired Holy Writer.

  • 6) St Luke has completed part of Acts, gets to Holy Land, does research for Gospel and completes it before completeing Acts.

  • 7) While there the men with him - by now good Christians and in the state of grace, no longer shellshocked, tell him the story (which St Paul perhaps never heard on earth) and he writes Acts 9.

  • 8) St Luke completes Acts after completing the Gospel (see prologue of Acts where he refers to Gospel as already compelted). And of course he put chapter 22, though written earlier, after chapter 9, though written later. Because the events told are in the order Acts 9 before Acts 22.

As Kent Hovind - a good inerrantist, like the Catholic Calmet above cited and like the other commenters in Haydock - once said : "when someone is speaking, pay attention to WHO is saying it!"

There is a passage which if not taken so would indeed contradict all the rest. Someone says - in his heart even - "there is no God". Look up who that is before you come saying this is a contradiction in the Bible, please!

Now, I will have to tell you how I came across this particular problem. Arnaud Dumouch* is unlike me a Frenchman. Like me he is a Catholic - as far as historic confessions go - but unlike me he accepts "Pope Francis" and he is NOT an inerrantist. He also is a radio man, on Radio Maria France.

He actually gave the supposed "contradiction" as a proof that while Scripture is indeed inerrant on DOCTRINE it is somehow not so on history. While doing the research for answering him, I came across the idea of asking him whether he got this supposed contradiction from Sceptics Annotated Bible - it was SO their usual approach. But I haven't done so yet, I googled it and came across the appropriate passage with the two questions in the margin. Btw, while we are at "where did you get it from" I wonder how much THEY took from Sic et Non by poor Pierre Abailard.**

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St Timothy Deacon
Martyr in Mauritania

* Répliques Assorties : Arnaud Dumouch II - Inerrance Biblique

** Hint: if a contradiction or supposed such is in Sic et Non, Catholic Churchmen have already answered it WELL before the Reformation. I haven't read Sic et Non, I cannot swear these two are from there.