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Twitter Facepalm: @biblealsosays

I’ve been engaging a Twitter “twit” who goes by @biblealsosays.  In one of our conversations, he insisted that he knew the Bible better than any Christian, especially me.

After reading a recent tweet from him, I respond (with all due respect to Brian Van Hoose): “You are wrong, now let me tell you why!”

The tweet in question:

https://twitter.com/#!/BibleAlsoSays/status/64852405308768256

How could Billy Graham possibly know that?  Likely, Billy read this:

But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain.But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish.There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another.There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.

 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual.The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. (1 Cor 15:35-49)

That’s pretty clear.  And it’s in the Bible that @biblealsosays insists he knows better than Christians like Billy Graham!  The Bible unequivocally states that, in the Resurrection, we will receive new bodies–bodies that aren’t corrupted by sin like the ones we wear now.

So, kids, our lesson today is as follows: “Please read carefully that which you wish to criticize.  Otherwise, you run the risk of looking really stupid.”  Class dismissed.

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About Cory Tucholski

I'm a born-again Christian, amateur apologist and philosopher, father of 3. Want to know more? Check the "About" page!

Posted on May 1, 2011, in Apologetics, Bible Thoughts and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Sorry, Cory, but that is simply not clear at all. “bear the image of the man of heaven” does not imply a body, it just states “image of the man” which could be anything between a rock carving of the likeness to a see-through mirage to a symbolic language of spirits having some imagery attached or pure poetry or just dribble from someone who clearly have no idea. Any of these options could be true.

    A body is a very physical thing, and I’d like to point out the old conundrum of what happens to amputated limbs in heaven? Do little kids get an adult body, or must they stay kiddies forever? What about older people? What about someone who’s born crippled? Comatose people? And on and on, with all this physical body imagery that lie at the core of the question at hand. Hand-waving and theological back-flips doesn’t answer these questions where “spiritual body” is mysteriously vacuous and unspecific. The bible does not say what the difference between a physical and spiritual body even is. So much for the clarity of the bible.

    Do we get a new body in heaven? The bible /doesn’t/ say, and even though you know your Bible and what it’s supposed to say, it doesn’t look like you know what your bible actually say.

    • Let’s start with the idea of a body being physical and see if I can answer the question of what happens to amputated limbs, little kids, old people, crippled people, and comatose people. We have to wipe a few things out before we can answer.

      The first thing we need to clear our minds of is imperfection. Imperfections, such as genetic defects, mental disorders, crippled, comatose, or anything of the sort. These are exactly the sorts of afflictions God will eliminate in the New Heaven and New Earth.

      The second thing we have to wipe out is the three-fold problem of time, duration, and cause-and-effect. Heaven is eternal, and thus not time-bound in a way that we understand. So no one is old, young, middle age; or even needs to age at all. These things function only under the current scheme of time. Eliminating that method of time passing in favor of something more fluid makes this “conundrum” meaningless.

      The second overall item to address is one of interpretation. I’m not like most Protestants–I don’t feel the need to invent my own interpretation for every Bible verse. After all, the Bible itself exhorts us to honor tradition and to interpret in line with what has been previously taught by the church. And so, with that, I turn to the record of tradition. The early church fathers believed in a physical resurrection of the dead, and that we would be raised in a new body that perfected the sinful flesh of the old one. A primer.

      The passage I quoted couldn’t be clearer about that.

      You are deliberately introducing obscurity into it. For example, “the man of heaven” is clearly Jesus, and Jesus has a physical body in heaven. He ascended, body and soul, into heaven to assume his position of honor and glory at the right hand of the Father, until he returns to judge the living and the dead.

      • Hiya, and thanks for the reply. A few follow ups;

        “imperfection”

        In what form does this new body come? A body is physical, and as such embodies an age and a look. Saying that heaven is eternal doesn’t solve the problem of what age the body will take (nor does it solve the question about whether heaven thus is a physical, ethereal or spiritual place, and where would it be?). For the sake of argument, if a child is born with only one leg and dies at age 12, what will his body be like? Someone born blind, will they see?Note that none of these are restoring things to normal, it’s making a huge change to the person (and destroying free-will in the process?) Saying God will eliminate this imperfections doesn’t address the underlying question of how that will go; it’s akin to saying that it’s a mystery, and that is no answer at all.

        “time, duration, and cause-and-effect”

        Fine, heaven is eternal, but the body has an age and a look. Unless, of course, you’re going to tell me it’s one of those trinity solutions where things are one and many all the same, and at the same time not the same at all.

        “Eliminating that method of time passing in favor of something more fluid makes this ‘conundrum’ meaningless.”

        You’ve only “solved” one conundrum by replacing it with something that’s even more meaningless.

        “And so, with that, I turn to the record of tradition.”

        Hmm, that’s just high-class theology. In the same boat we have the physical appearance of rainbows (were there no rainbows before Noah, thus a completely different set of physics?) and a whole set of stuff that used to be common belief but through time theologians had to re-interpret to make it fit with what science discovers (heliocentricy, electricity, psychology, neuroscience and cognition, evolution, DNA/RNA, quantum mechanics, special relativity, and on and on … and this list will only expand into the future). If we go with medieval and earlier traditions we’re still talking about firmaments in the sky, and that the world had four corners, and that you could see it all from Mt. Ararat. All of this is long gone, the same way the concept of heaven went; it went from a physical place in the firmament in the sky into which bodies could go, to the current magical otherworldly place that no one seems to know much about. And as such, why the need for a physical or otherwise body?

        In other words, why have you updated the physicality of heaven to a more spiritual thing, but not done the same with the body? Because the NT mentions the latter and ignores the former, even if they are strongly interconnected? The early church fathers thought that a physical resurrection after the rapture was imminent, and then what? Taken up into heaven, the physical or the spiritual version? (Not to mention the Latter Days belief of a heavenly earth only)

        “a new body that perfected the sinful flesh of the old one […] The passage I quoted couldn’t be clearer about that.”

        Um, no, that’s not clear at all. What does that at all mean? Interestingly, your primer doesn’t address *any* of the questions here asked. It just reinstates that “all shall be well again” without anything nearing a clear answer. It’s just more of the “yeah, there’s a body, but it will be better”, and in fact goes on to say “will rise again with their own bodies which they now bear about with them”, which is even counter to the whole outside of time, perfectly restored to some abstract goal kinda talk.

        In summary, what you are saying fits with tradition, but not with the passage you quoted. Pointing to tradition is akin to a cop-out, I feel, and indeed Boz comment below is apt, and raises interesting questions even here;

        If the bible is inerrant, if what Paul/Saul says is true, then why not the firmament, the four corners of the world, and the many physical imagery around the concept of heaven of which a physical body comes out of? (And I suspect that people in general had no clue about cosmology until well into the nineteenth century, so theology didn’t quite hang in there, but that’s a different post)

        There’s two problems here; inerrancy is either wholesale or chosen bits, and hence the problem of selection (sources, criteria, interpretation, categorisation, etc.), and the underlying problem of *evidence* for whatever you use as a yardstick for the Bible having any inerrancy to begin with. And yes, I’d love you to expand on this a lot more.

      • I just spent 2 hours typing a reply to this. It was epic and thoughtful. As well as very respectful, since I’m trying to turn over a new leaf in that department. But, I touched the wrong key and the entire thing VANISHED, and I can’t get it back. So, I will recreate it tomorrow, because it is now almost 2am and I need to get to bed. I’m so not happy. Sorry about the wait!

  2. I have noticed a pattern in the writing of christians (and muslims). When responding to the question: “How do you know that XYZ is true”, the response is often:

    Because Paul of Tarsus said that XYZ is true; or

    Because the anonymous author of X said that XYZ is true.

    In this case, the assertion is: “Some people will go to heaven, and in heaven they will have New Bodies(undefined?)”. How do you know that this is true? Because Paul of Tarsus said that it is true.

    :

    So, my question is: How do we know that what Paul said, in this specific instance, is true?

    • This is actually a really good question and deserves a post all its own. I might do that down the road just a bit, because I have a dozen unfinished drafts of posts on this blog, my personal one, and I’m still trying to finish up three RPG adventures on the new blog dedicated to free RPG adventures. I kind of want to do those first.

      In brief, though, you’re asking me how I know that what Paul said was actually true. Holding to a doctrine of inerrancy of Scripture is the primary reason that I believe this is true. A follow up question would be how one arrives at such a doctrine. Inerrancy can’t be a starting point, it has to be a reasoned conclusion from multiple lines of evidence. Otherwise, you could just start with the assumption “The Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook is inerrant in all it teaches” and that then proves that Vecna exists. We must all bow to the Maimed Lord, for he knows every secret not meant for mortal ears!

      At Vecna’s coming, secrets will destroy those who keep them, which is why I revealed my crush on Angie the Anti-theist. It’s not a secret if everyone knows!

      But, seriously, this question deserves some serious consideration and I promise to get back to that. I’ll write it in my pocket book of inspirations that I carry with me at all times. Ironically, except for now. I left it upstairs. But I carry it all other times, I swear!

      • thanks for the reply, that’s no problem to respond later.

        I should clarify though, the question is: “How do WE know that X is true”. WE includes you and me and anyone else reading.

        If the question is “How do YOU know that X is true”, the response can be something like: the witness of the holy spirit, or blind faith, or my friend told me and i belive him, or a properly basic belief, or intuition. That might convince YOU, but it is useless for me and everyone else reading.

      • If the question is “How do YOU know that X is true”, the response can be something like: the witness of the holy spirit, or blind faith, or my friend told me and i belive him, or a properly basic belief, or intuition. That might convince YOU, but it is useless for me and everyone else reading.

        So, you’re going to want something objective, not subjective. Fair enough. But, in a wee preview of what’s to come, I should point out that we all pretty much get the same information and evidence laying before us. Properly basic beliefs, internal witness of the Holy Spirit, intuition, eyewitness records–this is where it’s at! Much of that stuff is subjective.

        The problem is that as humans, we have a lens by which we see the world. Unlike Twitter twit @biblealsosays’s contention, all of us, Christian and atheist, have paradigms and worldviews which either help or hinder the interpretation of the evidence for God’s presence and activity. Paradigms and worldviews are not the inventions of Christian apologists seeking to explain a faith they know isn’t true in philosophical terms. We don’t use these words and concepts to confuse or obscure the issues.

        I don’t know you, but I’m betting your worldview will get in the way of understanding what I’m going to say in that upcoming article. I’ll still post it, but I will try to address where you may have problems in a little bit more detail (objectivity vs. subjectivity, admission of evidence, and meeting the burden of proof).

        Right now, I’m trying to decide which of the dozen ideas in front of me I want to work with. Anyone who says, “I’m a writer, but I have no idea where to get inspiration” is not a real writer. I always have so many ideas for articles, books, and blog posts that I have trouble focusing my energies on the right ones. This inerrancy post might be a possible series for me, and it’s a topic that others have expressed interest in. But, I have a great idea for a novel and I would love to get it published. I could always work on both…

  3. In what form does this new body come? A body is physical, and as such embodies an age and a look. Saying that heaven is eternal doesn’t solve the problem of what age the body will take (nor does it solve the question about whether heaven thus is a physical, ethereal or spiritual place, and where would it be?). For the sake of argument, if a child is born with only one leg and dies at age 12, what will his body be like? Someone born blind, will they see?Note that none of these are restoring things to normal, it’s making a huge change to the person (and destroying free-will in the process?) Saying God will eliminate this imperfections doesn’t address the underlying question of how that will go; it’s akin to saying that it’s a mystery, and that is no answer at all.

    So here we have again another case where if I say I know, then I’m just making crap up; if I say I don’t know, then I’m not answering the question. I can’t win here. I will say that the mechanics are not revealed, just that imperfection will be gone and how is left to God. If you don’t like that answer, then I don’t know what to tell you.

    Fine, heaven is eternal, but the body has an age and a look. Unless, of course, you’re going to tell me it’s one of those trinity solutions where things are one and many all the same, and at the same time not the same at all.

    You’ve only “solved” one conundrum by replacing it with something that’s even more meaningless.

    Not really. Eternity eliminates the need to have an age. As for look, why does that matter to you so much?

    Hmm, that’s just high-class theology. In the same boat we have the physical appearance of rainbows (were there no rainbows before Noah, thus a completely different set of physics?) and a whole set of stuff that used to be common belief but through time theologians had to re-interpret to make it fit with what science discovers (heliocentricy, electricity, psychology, neuroscience and cognition, evolution, DNA/RNA, quantum mechanics, special relativity, and on and on … and this list will only expand into the future). If we go with medieval and earlier traditions we’re still talking about firmaments in the sky, and that the world had four corners, and that you could see it all from Mt. Ararat. All of this is long gone, the same way the concept of heaven went; it went from a physical place in the firmament in the sky into which bodies could go, to the current magical otherworldly place that no one seems to know much about. And as such, why the need for a physical or otherwise body?

    Tradition is a reasonable answer. Why does every generation of theologians have to re-invent the wheel? That’s just stupid. And none of the things you mentioned require a completely different set of answers from theologians. Not a single one.

    Rainbows wouldn’t have been seen prior to Noah, since the Bible says that it never rained before the Flood. No rain, no rainbows. Therefore, no new theology is necessary to explain why there would be no rainbows prior to Noah.

    Geocentrism is taught nowhere in the Bible. Skeptics want it taught in the Bible so that they can make fun of the Bible. The Bible is cosmology-neutral. Geocentrism is the result of a faulty interpretation of a passage, specifically the mention of stopping the sun in the sky in Joshua. That passage was written from the point of view of the observer, which would look like the sun stopped in the sky. Lest we forget: the Bible is not a science textbook! Truthfully, we don’t know what that passage actually means; it is a complex mix of poetic imagery and prose reporting.
    What would we have to change in the Bible with the discovery of electricity? I know of absolutely nothing. Please enlighten me.

    Psychology, neuroscience, and cognition point to humans being driven more by emotion than reason. All the more reason to trust the word of the omniscient God rather than the fallible “reason” of man! Truthfully, atheists have educated guesses about the world, same as the Christian. With horrid faculties of reason based findings in psychology and cognition, why trust any of it?

    Speaking of educated guesses, that’s all evolution is. And I’m generally more of a fan of it than I let on. I don’t believe it explains all of life on earth. It certainly doesn’t explain origin of life, nor was it even meant to. Evolution discusses what happens to life when it is already here, and that fact is undeniable. But the Bible talks of “kind,” not a modern “species.” So evolution doesn’t contradict the Bible the way skeptics would like it to.

    DNA requires no changes in theology. Why would it? It’s a language, which points to an intelligence behind the design of life (since someone had to write the language). If anything, DNA is evidence for God rather than a reason for critics to say the Bible is wrong.

    I don’t know much about quantum mechanics or special relativity, so you’ll have to explain how they force a change in theology.

    Heaven is still considered a physical place, but it isn’t a physical place that has been created yet. Revelation speaks of a New Heaven and a New Earth that will be created at the end of the age. The resurrection body will be gifted to us at the general resurrection of the dead, once we’ve been judged at the Great White Throne. Therefore, a physical body will still be given to us when that time comes, since we will be occupying a physical realm.

    In other words, why have you updated the physicality of heaven to a more spiritual thing, but not done the same with the body? Because the NT mentions the latter and ignores the former, even if they are strongly interconnected? The early church fathers thought that a physical resurrection after the rapture was imminent, and then what? Taken up into heaven, the physical or the spiritual version? (Not to mention the Latter Days belief of a heavenly earth only)

    I haven’t updated anything regarding heaven. You claim I have, or more generally, theists have. As a small point of order, no one believed in anything like the Rapture until the 1800s, so don’t say that the early Church Fathers believed in a physical resurrection after such an event.
    We believe that we will have physical bodies, and those will be perfect, in the resurrection. That’s all I need; you are trying to chase red herrings for some reason with all of your questions to confuse the issue.

    Um, no, that’s not clear at all. What does that at all mean? Interestingly, your primer doesn’t address *any* of the questions here asked. It just reinstates that “all shall be well again” without anything nearing a clear answer. It’s just more of the “yeah, there’s a body, but it will be better”, and in fact goes on to say “will rise again with their own bodies which they now bear about with them”, which is even counter to the whole outside of time, perfectly restored to some abstract goal kinda talk.

    Red herrings, red herrings, red herrings. I doubt you needed this level of certainty to embrace evolution, quantum mechanics, or anything of the sort. Why do you require it of something that is yet future, and which all that can be said of it is that it will happen at the will of God, for the glory of God, and he will work it all out?

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