Saturday, November 19, 2011

When the Saints Go Marching In

Licona's latest response to Geisler:

I myself affirm the historicity of the reported incident.


  1. I also believe the event is historical.

    And I agree with Licona that on can hold to inerrancy and a non-literal interpretation of Mt. 27:52-53.

    But this isn't saying much and I think misses the point of why people like Geisler may be making an issue out of it (and why persons like Mohler make an issue out of non-YEC).

    For, ultimately, one can make the words of Scripture "mean" virtually anything they want. And with a little ingenuity one can argue that the author intended that meaning. So holding to inerrancy while manipulating the text isn't very hard.

    When you get some great minds and put them to work on coming up with a case that the author meant 'x' they can even come up with a sophisticated case that the author meant 'x' to the point that perhaps only the author himself could settle the issue on whether he actually meant 'x' or 'y'.

    Take the example of YEC vs. TE. Sophisticated cases can be made for either interpretation being the author's intent. Yet one or the other (or both) is owing its plausibility simply to the natural plasticity of language and the ingenuity of the purveyors.

    So why not just humbly embrace all interpretations which have some sophisticated defense that this is what the author meant?

    I think it's because our BS detector goes off. We suspect, whether from various evidences or from intuitions, that some interpretations are being motivated by some vice or morally deficient motive.

    This is what goes on between YEC and TE all the time. e.g., When persons like Enns scoff at the idea of "apparent age" as being totally implausible outside of a YEC precommitment.

    I suspect this is also a factor in the Licona controversy. The reasoning goes, outside of the influences of liberal scholarship and its skepticism to the miraculous, there is very little reason to take the Matthew event as anything but history.

    This is why having a sophisticated case that this is what the text means (and so see we can be orthodox too!) will never be sufficient to let us all hold hands and sing kumbaya.

  2. I, too, adhere to historicity as you.

    Top of page 12: "... Not only must you fall in line with
    this interpretation, you must also condemn those who won’t or you, too, will
    suffer consequences. ..."

    That line made me chuckle and refreshed my memory what the Apostle wrote when defining "variance" (KJV, Gal. 5:20) as one of the fruits of the flesh!

    As I recall, only Enoch and Elijah went up without the taste of death. Moses was not nearly as fortunate.

    However, it was Moses and Elijah who met down on the mount of transfiguration so brilliantly Peter wanted to build three tabernacles!

    Then we have these verses:

    Psa 68:17 The chariots of God are twice ten thousand, thousands upon thousands; the Lord is among them; Sinai is now in the sanctuary.
    Psa 68:18 You ascended on high, leading a host of captives in your train and receiving gifts among men, even among the rebellious, that the LORD God may dwell there.


    Psa 132:6 Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah; we found it in the fields of Jaar.
    Psa 132:7 "Let us go to his dwelling place; let us worship at his footstool!" ....Psa 132:17 There I will make a horn to sprout for David; I have prepared a lamp for my anointed.


    Heb 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
    Heb 12:2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

    Two questions then.

    How did Peter know that was Moses and Elijah?

    How did so many get there to sit as witnesses from there to what we are now the witnesses of here?

    What amazes me is why it should be an issue seeing fundamentally once our mission is over (hopefully before I pass) this present creation dissolves and our new digs become apparent to us as well?

    Mat 28:16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.
    Mat 28:17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.
    Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
    Mat 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
    Mat 28:20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

  3. At the end of the fourth century, Marcellinus would write, “no wild beasts are such dangerous enemies to man as Christians are to one another.”

    I wish Licona had give the reference to that, and what he was referring to.

    Arian conflict ? Nestorian conflict?

  4. I agree with Licona that both views of Matthew 27 are consistent with inerrancy. But he underestimates the evidence for the traditional view. See here. And the objections usually raised against the traditional interpretation aren't of much significance, for reasons discussed here.