Re: Descendants and Thomas Trap

Glenn R. Morton (
Sun, 22 Nov 1998 17:37:29 -0800

Hi George
At 03:55 PM 11/22/98 -0500, George Murphy wrote:
>> But I still disagree with you about Genesis 1:1. It can't be true in any
>> sense if god didn't actually create the universe.
> I don't, & never have, argued with that. But I understood your original
>claim to be that Gen.1:1 can be verified by natural science. That isn't
the >same thing - unless you think that only scientific claims can be true.

Then maybe we agree here. My original claim was made at 6:35 11/18/98. I

>>>I keep finding it fascinating that the Bible says 'In the Beginning God
created the heavens and the earth" and that is the only part of Genesis
1-11 we believe. But if all the rest of Genesis 1-11 is
wrong/allegory/whatever, why should I believe that Genesis 1:1 is telling
me of a real creation by a real God?<<<<

I never made the claim (at least originally) that science was even
involved. If you believe that Genesis 1:1 is historical rather than
allegorical, then we have achieved agreement at least on Genesis 1:1. Want
to go for Genesis 1:2? :-)

>> Rather than turning it around, I still would like an answer to this
>> unanswered question (and I asked first). How do you ever propose to prove
>> a given body is the earthly remains of Jesus Christ, son of Mary wife of
>> Joseph?
> Your initial question wasn't unanswered. You asked for a finding which
>would tend to disconfirm the message of the resurrection and I gave one.
I >agree that it would be hard to say with certainty that a certain
skeleton >_was_ that of Jesus of Nazareth. Too bad. The fact remains that
the way to >disprove a claim that a person lives is to show that that
person is dead.

You had said at 9:59 PM 11/19/98 :

>>>Well, if someone finds a skeleton unmitakeably identifiable as that of
of Nazareth there would be such a misfit.<<<

Since you say that it is 'hard' (I say impossible as you haven't given a
way for this to be accomplished), this does not work as a case of a misfit
which falsifies the Bible.

>> If proving that Jesus didn't resurrect is the only way to disprove the
>> Bible, then it can't be disproven. And this divorces the Bible from
> How would we prove that Socrates didn't survive the hemlock & continue
>to live? As is the case with Jesus, we could disprove that _in principle_
by >identifying his remains, but in practice that's pretty remote. Does
that mean >that the claim that Socrates died, as in the Phaedo, is
unscientific? I don't >think so.
> a. We have to take seriously the textual evidence, which is not the
>stuff of natural science. I.e., we are dealing with human history.
> b. The continued survival of Socrates has never been claimed & would,
>if true, simply be an isolated bizarre fact. As far as we know now,
nothing >would follow from it. A lot follows from the resurrection of
Jesus - which >returns to the statements I made earlier about evaluating
the consequences of >presuppositions.

Before I answer I want to clarify something. You were the one that raised
the resurrection (or lack there of as a means of falsifying the Bible) I
didn't.I would have been perfectly content if you had said that a disproof
of the exodus would disprove the Scripture. And I never claimed that there
would be scientific evidence of the resurrection. In fact when I pressed
you about mtDNA and DNA fingerprinting, I was implicitly pointing out that
there is no scientific evidence which could be used to verify the
But your question is a fair one so I will answer it.

Contrary to you view of Socrates death, I would say that the death of
Socrates is unscientific. It IS historical. There is no scientific evidence
that I am aware of, of Socrates personal existence much less of his death.
But there is much historical evidence to support his existence. (obviously
I differentiate between copies of ancient documents which were copied in
1000 AD which purport to be written by Socrates and direct observational
evidence of Socrates existence.) I would say the same about Jesus. So, I
would agree with you option a. which is not the stuff of science. And to be
> My attempt to turn the question around is not simply for the sake of
avoiding your question. I really would like to know what scientific
evidence you expect to find for the resurrection.

None as noted above. All we can look for is consisstency in the documents
and the reaction of the individuals.


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