from The Unfolding Drama of Redemption: William Graham Scroggie


!!!extrasolar-planet-4“In the Beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

The first verse of the Bible has no parallel for sublimity and comprehensiveness. In scope it is declarative, not demonstrative; affirmative, not argumentative; and historical not philosophical. There is no attempt to prove the Being of God. He is the unprovable Fact upon which all else is built, and only “the fool’ will say, ‘there is no God.’

Here the uncreated God is seen creating, and in such a manner that, as Andrew Fuller declared, a child can learn in five minutes from this verse more than all the ancient sages ever knew.

In character the verse is entirely positive, but it rules out all that is false in the thoughts and theories of men about God and the universe.

The simple statement denies at least six false doctrines.

[1]It denies the Eternity of Matter. ‘in the beginning’. There was, then, a commencement; ’the heavens and the earth’ had a ‘beginning’; they were not eternal. The antiquity of the universe is beyond human computation; but there was a time when it did not exist.

[2]It denies Atheism. The atheist says there is no god, but the Bible begins by declaring His Being. Geology and astronomy may claim a hundred million years for the existence of the universe, but whenever it began God was there; He did not begin; He eternally is. Atheism creates a  crop of problems, and solves none.

[3]It denies Polytheism. If creation were the work of many gods, the unity of the universe would have to be accounted for, and it can be accounted for only on the hypothesis that God, the one Eternal Mind, created all. ‘God created’.

‘God’, Elohim. This designation, which is plural, occurs 35 times in Chapters 1:1, 2 , 3, and in The Old Testament over 2,000 times. It certainly does not mean gods, and must be something more than plural of majesty. In the light of the entire revelation in the Bible we must regard this designation of God to be a fore gleam of the Divine Trinity (cf. ver. 26).

“Created’. In Genesis 1-2 three words are used which must be distinguished. Bara,  which occurs in 1:1; 1:21, 1:27; 2:3; is used exclusively of God, and signifies a distinctively creative act. ‘Made’, asah, and ‘formed”, yatzar, which occurred in 1:7; 1:16; 1:25; 1:31; 2:2;2:3;2:7; 2:8;2:19; signify to construct out of pre-existing materials. This distinction is of the utmost importance of an understanding of the first two chapters of the Bible. The idea of evolution can be in make and form, but not in create; so that the bringing in to existence of the universe, of animal life, and of human life, was by successive creative acts of God (1:1;1:21;1:27). By the word of his power a cosmos was created of orders material, sentient, and moral.

[4]It denies Pantheism. This teaches that God and Nature are the same, and so fails to distinguish between mind and matter, right and wrong, good and bad, and utterly confuses things which lie far apart. But this pernicious error finds its answer here: ‘God created the heavens and the earth,’ and as He could not create Himself, He, and the heavens and the earth’, cannot be the same.

[5] It denies Agnosticism. This affirms that it cannot be known whether there is a God or not. But the universe is an effect, and must have had a sufficient Cause; this building must have had an Architect; this design must have had a Designer; this Kingdom must have a King; and this family must have a Father. Legitimate inference challenges and discredits agnosticism.

[6] It denies Fatalism. Reason is against fate and chance. This wonderful universe could not just ‘happen.’ God has acted in the freedom of His eternal Being, and according to His infinite Mind, and what He  willed was and is, and can be nothing else, unless He should will it.

 The Unfolding Drama of Redemption; William Graham Scroggie

Indirect Internal Evidence [that the author of the Gospel of John was the Apostle John]


from Believing in the 21st Century:Chapter Seven

an exhortation..as 
a lay Christian examines his faith..

 By James Ross Kelly

So again, how does any one  judge this  veracity? Some say it is truth in that it is mythological truth. I must say adamantly I know I know Him, not the myth of Him. Myth operates as powerful archetype  in the human psyche. However the  Gospel of John and all the Gospels are  presented not as mythos. There is a sense that it could be viewed as a real myth (cf., C.S. Lewis through the Shadowlands, Sibley).  Still it comes to us as a story. A story that is told as a true story. It survives as a compelling story from ancient times. Yet again, there seems to be a  media friendly secular scholastic conjecture that there was an epistemological cabal involved. One which in a carefully orchestrated fiction  was designed to belie and foster a following. Well if so, the purveyors of it all paid with their lives and made no money in doing so, nor any material gain whatsoever. Too many things stack up that surge against this secular conceit.

The reality is that the message spread of the good news that a Savior came to earth and died for all people on the planet throughout the  Judeo/Roman/Hellenistic Mediterranean in less than twenty years. All the time the message was accompanied by the same miracles that were evidenced during Christ Jesus’s lifetime— and all done mostly through working class men of the times. The letters of the New Testament were written to various Mediterranean cultures  and appeared synchronously through all the trade routes with small congregations of believers in their wake. Matthew was written to the Jewish congregations. Mark  mostly likely is an account given from Peter to a disciple  named John Mark and  was for a population in Rome.  Luke was written from a Greek  view point by a Physician who traveled with Paul who interviewed the  principals involve with the story.  Many of these men had seen, walked with, and touched the Christ. All three may have  drawn from the  extant Gospel of Mark or another now lost early  Manuscript referred to by scholars as   ‘Q’ (meaning source).3 A manuscript which may have been from Peter’s own hand. John was written later. Do they differ? Yes, slightly. . As evidenced by John’s setting the record straight about who, got to the tomb first.  But in context they do not differ in content and purpose. Jesus is the Messiah by all Gospel accounts. Attempts to make it other than that, by some form of “Christological”  fabrication on the part of early  or later believers comes from a doubting world that has not given the Gospel message its objective due—as simply being exactly what it is purported to be—Good News! It purports to be  the Good News of a message from God for the salvation of mankind! All mankind for all time! There is nothing quite like this. A critical examination of the Gospels for what they are as “a story” and a truly objective look at the Archeological record of the manuscripts themselves has an unmistakable presentiment that there has been no other phenomenon like it.

Some have suggested that the disciples, during the years following Jesus death, simply fabricated their accounts of Jesus as the advent of an ecclesiastical cabal. These critics say that the disciples, in an attempt to enhance the authority of Jesus Christ, then published the story that Jesus “claimed to be,” God and was resurrected. Anyone  should consider the historical evidence fairly before giving any credence to this conjecture of history. First, the apostles were continually threatened and pressured to deny their Lord Jesus Christ during their ministry. To this end they were constantly under the pressure of torture and martyrdom. However, none of these men who spent time with Jesus chose to save their lives by denying their faith in Him, nor did they deny  the fact that He was Who-He-claimed-to-be.

Papyri fragments exist of portions of the New Testament:1. Chester Beatty Biblical Papyri (dated 200-250 A.D.)was made public in 1931 and  contains the Gospels, Acts, Paul’s Epistles, and Revelation. 2. Payprus Bodmer Ii (dated 200 A.D.)this discovery announced in 1956 contains fourteen chapters of John, and portions of the   last seven chapters.3.John Rylands Mss (dated 130 A.D.). This is oldest fragment of the new Testament books. “Because of its early date and location (Egypt), some distance from the traditional place of composition (Asia Minor), this portion of the Gospel of John tends to confirm the traditional date of the composition of the Gospel. General Introduction To The Bible, Geisler & Nix

Recent Biblical scholarship into the “Historical Jesus,” such as the “Jesus Seminar,” and others, claim late dates of the Authorship of the Gospels. Most of these sources deny that the Gospel of John was written by the Apostle John and put a late date (2nd or 3rd Century) on its authorship. There is really little evidence to support these claims. Yet there is much evidence that shows tradition is correct and that the Author of the Gospel that claims Christ’s Deity was the Apostle John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” W. Graham Scroggie in his critical work, Guide to the Gospels provides ample objective evidence to refute this Modern, Post-Modern and de-constructionist notion about authorship of the Gospel of John.

 

Indirect Internal Evidence [that the author of the Gospel of John was the Apostle John]

(a)The Author was a Jew.

He is familiar with Jewish opinions and customs, his composition is impressed with Jewish characteristics, he is penetrated with the spirit of the Jewish dispensation. the vocabulary, the structure of the sentences, the symmetry and arrangement of the thoughts, are essentially Hebrew. The Old Testament is the source of the religious life of the writer. His Jewish opinions and hopes are taken up into and transfigured by his Christian faith, but the Jewish foundation underlies his whole narrative. The Evangelist vindicates the Law as of Divine authority.

(b) The Author was a Jew of Palestine.

This was proved by his local knowledge. He speaks of places with an unaffected precision, as familiar in every case with the scene which he wishes  to recall; he moves about in a country which he knows ( “John 1:28; “2:1; “2:11; “3:23; “4:46; “11:18, “11:54; “21:1, 21:2). The writer of the Fourth Gospel is evidently at home in Jerusalem as it was before its fall in AD 70 ( “5:2; “9:7; “18:1; “19:13;* “19:17; “19:20; “19:41). He has an accurate knowledge of the Temple and its ritual (“2:14-16; “2:20; “10:22; especially chapters. “7 , “8). The author’s quotations from the old Testament show that he was not dependent on the Septuagint (LXX), but was acquainted with the original Hebrew.

(c) The Author was an Eye-witness to what he describes.

His narrative is marked by minute details of persons, and time, an number, and place, and manner, which cannot but  have come from a direct experience.Persons: “John 6:5, “6:7; “7:21; “14:5; “14:8; “14:22; “13:25; “3:1;”7:50; “19:39; “11:1; “12:1; “12:4; “13:2; “13:26;”18:10; “18:13;;”18:26;
Time: “John 2:13; “2:23; “5:1; “6:4; “7:2; “10:22; also “1:29, “1:35, “1:43; “2:1 ;”12:1; “12:12; “13:1; “19:31;  “20:1, “20:26; “4:6 “4:52; “19:14; “13:30 “18:28; “20:1, “21:4;”6:16; “20:19; “3:2Number:”1:35; “2:6; “6:9, “6:19; “19:3; “21:8, “21:11; also, “4:18; “5:5; “7:5; “19:39
Place: “John 1:28; “3:23; “4:46; “5:14; “6:59; “8:20; “10:40; “11:30, “11:54; “11:56; “18:1
Manner: “1:35-51; “8:10-20; “18:1 “5:27; “21:1-14
Other details: “John 6:9; “11:32; “12:3, “12:13; “13:30; “18:3; “19:3; “20:7; “21:17; also, “13:24; “18:6; “19:5; “21:20

(d) The Author was an Apostle

This follows almost necessarily from the character of the scenes, which he describes. He exhibits intimate acquaintances with the feelings of the ‘the disciples.’ He knows their thoughts at critical moments (“John 2:11; “2:17; “2:22; “6:19; “6:60; “12:16; “13:22; “13:28; “21:12). He had an intimate knowledge of Jesus (” 11:33; “13:21; “2:24; “4:1; “5:6; “6:15; “7:1; “16:19; “6:6; “6:61; “6:64; “13:1; “13:3; “13:11; “18:4; “19:28).

(e) The Author was the Apostle John

As the writer is exact in defining the names in his Gospel (“1:42; “11:16; “20:24; “21:2; “6:71; “12:4;”13:2; “13:26;”14:22) it is presumed that the unnamed person of “13:23; “19:26; “20:2; “21:7; “21:20 is himself. If someone else had written this gospel it is unthinkable that he would not have mentioned by name so distinguished an Apostle as John. W. Graham Scroggie. Guide to the Gospels pp.135-139 — summary of an argument from Westcott.