"...but try the spirits whether they are of God..." (1 Jno. 4:1)


McDonald-Hadley Debate: The Inspiration Of The Bible


McDonald's First Defense

I want to thank Tedd for agreeing to debate me on this issue. This is an issue that is important to all. Please observe how each of us handles ourself in the course of the debate. By this you can often tell the strength and weakness of a position.

The proposition states: "Resolved: The Bible is verbally and fully inspired by Jehovah God and is completely inerrant."

My obligation here is to give a precisely stated argument, an argument that is valid (that is the form of the argument must be correct) and an argument that is sound (that is the premises must be true and the conclusion must logically follow). When I have accomplished this I will have given an argument in favor of my obligation. The second thing that I must do is to prove that my argument is true. I intend to do this by giving evidence (both internal and external) affirming that the Bible is inspired by God. When I have done that I will have fulfilled my obligation. My obligation, in this discussion, is to prove that "The Bible was verbally and fully inspired by Jehovah God and is completely inerrant."

The argument that I will give is called "The Constituent Element Argument." This argument simply says that when you prove all the parts to be factual, then you have proven the whole to be true.

THE ARGUMENT

Major Premise: "All total situations, the constituent elements of which are factual are total situations which are true."
Minor Premise: "The total situation described by my proposition is a total situation the constituent elements of which are factual."
Conclusion: "The total situation described by my proposition is a total situtation which is true."

DEFINITIONS

By way of definition by "Bible" I mean the sixty-six books of the Bible commonly known as the Old and New Testaments. By "in its original autographs" I mean the original manuscripts that God inspired the Bible writers to write. By "was" I mean past tense. By "verbally and fully inspired" I mean that all of the Bible was given by God who by the Holy Spirit revealed his word to certain men who wrote it down, or spoke it using words which were selected by the Holy Spirit. By "Jehovah God" I mean the God of the Bible who is mentioned as the creator of all things. By "and is therefore completely inerrant" the word "completely" denotes the "all" or "whole" of it. The word "inerrant" means: "free from error; infallible" (Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, p.584).

WHAT I AM NOT AFFIRMING

1. I am not affirming that any translation of the Bible is inspired.
2. I am not affirming that every translation is a correct translation.
3. I am not affirming that translators were inspired.
4. I am not affirming that every doctrine of inspiration put forth is correct.

WHAT I AM AFFIRMING

1. I am affirming the existence of God.
2. I am affirming that God inspired men to write the original autographs of the Bible.
3. I am affirming the doctrine of "verbal, plenary inspiration."
4. I am affirming that the original manuscripts were free from error and that a translation is translated correctly it will convey the same message as did the original.

What I need to do now is to give the constituent elements of my argument to affirm my obligation in this discussion. If all the parts are factual, then the whole is true. The argument is valid. It conforms to the rules of this type syllogism. Both premises are precisely stated and the conclusion follows. The question is "Is the argument a sound argument?" The major premise is true, if all the parts are factual, then the whole is true. Are all of the parts factual? Let us find out.

ELEMENT NUMBER ONE:  "God Does Exist." I believe that the subject of the existence of God is essential to any discussion (of this type) on the inspiration of the Bible. I realize that Farrell Till and I disagreed on this in our written debate (where I will be taking most of my material), but I agree with Dave Matson, who in 'The Skeptical Review' (Spring 1992, p.11) stated: "It won't do any good to claim that God wrote the Bible, thus conferring inerrancy on it. We don't know a priori what God wrote--if anything. Indeed, in this line of thought we must first establish God's existence, and, even if we could do that, we would still have to prove that, in fact, God wrote the Bible. No short cuts here!" I agree with that statement. Before we can establish that God wrote the Bible we must first establish God's existence. Thus I will set forth the evidence that I have to establish the existence of God. When I am through with this discussion, although some of you will continue to disagree with me, at least you will know that I know why I believe what I believe.

I will not attempt to give all the evidence I have in one posting, but as the debate goes along, I will eventually give it all. I expect Tedd to challenge what I have said and I will respond to his challenges along the way. However, I will continue to give new evidence each time I post along with my responses to your challenges.

The arguments that I am using here came from brother Thomas B. Warren's debates with Antony G. N. Flew, Wallace I. Matson and Joseph E. Barnhart (all atheists) and from his charts that he has published. To him, I am endebted for this material.

THE ARGUMENT FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD

Major Premise: "If there is even one characteristic, attribute or property of even one human being which could have come into existence only by the creative power of God, then that one human being constitutes proof that God exists."
Minor Premise: "There is one characteristic, attribute or property of at least one human being which could have come into existence only by the creative power of God."
Conclusion: "Therefore, that one human being constitutes proof (when the evidence is recognized and reasoned about properly) that God does exist."

Proof for the argument: (1) Either human beings owe their ultimate origin to creation or evolution. (2) If human beings owe their ultimate origin to creation then God does exist. (3) If human beings owe their ultimate origin to evolution then this evolution must have happened on one of two ways. [A] Either some human being was born of some non-human thing, or [B] some human being was transformed from some non-human thing. I submit that these are the only two ways it could have happened. If you know of any other alternatives, then please point them out. I believe that it is false that any human being was born of some non-human thing. I also believe that it is false that any human being was transformed from some non-human thing, Thus the following argument:

Minor Premise: "If it is the case that no human being was ever born of or transformed from some non-human thing, then it is the case that man owes his ultimate origin to creation which proves that God does exist."
Minor Premise: "It is the case that no human being was ever born of or transformed from some non-human thing."
Conclusion: "Therefore, it is the case that man owes his ultimate origin to creation which proves that God does exist."

THE ARGUMENT FOR MAN'S RESPIRATORY SYSTEM

This argument is designed to show that man's respiratory system is one characteristic, attribute or property which could have come into existence only by the creative power of God.

Major Premise: "If the gaseous interchanges (i.e., of oxygen and carbon dioxide) in the respiratory system of a human being possesses such properties (or involve such things) as to make clear that such interchanges were not brought into being by any part of or the totality of dead matter, then the respiratory system of the human being (in which these interchanges occur) must have been brought into being by a (the) creator who transcends the universe (God)."
Minor Premise: "The gaseous interchanges in the respiratory system of a human being possess such properties as to make it clear that such interchanges were not brought into being by any part of or the totality of dead matter."
Conclusion: "The respiratory system of the human being must have been brought into being by a (the) creator who transcends the universe (God).

In regards to the argument, we find that if these interchanges could not have been brought into being by any part of dead (devoid of life or non living is how I am using the word "dead") matter (evolution) then God had to have created it, which proves God's existence. There is no way to deny this because there are only two alternatives: "Creation or Evolution." If not by evolution, then by creation. Now I must prove the minor premise to be true. These interchanges could not have been brought into being by evolutionary forces. Why? Because of the following.

(1) The alveoli of the respiratory system: [1] Alveoli are grape like bunches of very small air sacks. [2] Each person has approximately 750,000,000 of these. [3] All of them together likely have a surface area which is about 25 times that of the skin. Spread out flat, they would probably cover as much as 600 square feet. [4] Each alveolus is covered with a network of capillaries. [5] The capillaries are so small that the red blood cells must pass through them one at a time. [6] Through the very thin walls of the capillaries, the red blood gives up its waste (carbon dioxide) and takes on refreshing life-giving oxygen. Without this interchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen no human could live for more than a few moments. [7] The body's entire blood supply must pass through these small blood vessels every few minutes. {a} The Blood goes in one end a dark blue-black and out the other a bright cherrry red. {b} Day and night this process must go on without interruption.

(2) It is clear that man did not evolve by chance from non-living matter. It would have taken evolution billions of years for this system to have evolved into what we have today. It would have had to have evolved along with the human body from the one celled ameba to what we have now. Life could not have lived long enough for this to have happened. Even given Dr. Dawkins' theory on changes taking place for millions of years, some where along the line, the respiratory system had to already be there for the life when it needed it. At some point it had to be there, fully functional, for when the life needed it. Otherwise the life would simply die when it did need it. And according to evolution, things weren't just there fully functional when needed, they evolved gradually over billions of years. Thus creation is responsible for the respiratory system. Therefore God exists.

ELEMENT NUMBER TWO:  "The Bible Is Of Divine Origin."

THE ARGUMENT FOR THE BIBLE BEING OF DIVINE ORIGIN

Major Premise: "The Bible is either of divine origin, or it is of Satanic origin, or it is of human origin." Minor Premise: "The Bible is not of Satanic origin and it is not of human origin."

Conclusion: "Therefore, the Bible is of divine origin."

Now to prove the argument. By divine origin, I mean that the Bible was originated by Jehovah God.

Is it possible that the Bible is of Satanic origin? In responding to the Pharisees claim that Jesus had casted out a devil by Beelzebub, the prince of devils, Jesus stated: "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city divided against itself shall not stand. And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?" (Mt. 12:25,26). Satan could not have written the Bible because the Bible stands in opposition to him. How could Satan have written something which would cause men to live good moral lives (Gal. 5:19-23). The Bible teaches that which is good, it defines that which is good. The Bible teaches that there is no good in Satan. Thus Satan would not have written this book.

Is it possible that the Bible is of human origin? What humans would have written it? Would bad men have written something that stands in opposition to them and teaches men to have nothing to do with them? No, the Bible teaches men to avoid evil-doers. David wrote: "Depart from me ye evildoers: for I will [that I may] keep the commandments of my God" (Psa. 119:115). I don't believe that bad men would have written the Bible. Would good men have done it? The Bible claims inspiration: "All scripture is given by inspiration from God..." (2 Tim. 3:16). If good men wrote it, then they would have to have lied because the Bible says that it is inspired by God. Good men do not lie because lying is not good. The Bible states that all liars shall have their part in the lake of fire and brimstone (Rev. 21:8). You might say that these men actually thought that they were writing under inspiration, but were wrong, delusional etc.,. The apostle Paul wrote: "But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ" (Gal. 1:11,12). The word "certify" comes from the Greek word "gnridso" which means to "make known, reveal, declare" (The Analytical Greek Lexicon Revised, p.80). In other words, he is revealing or declaring to them that the gospel he has preached (by both speaking and writing) is not of man. It came by revelation of Jesus Christ. Now, either Paul didn't know what he was talking about, or he did know what he was talking about. If he didn't know what he was talking about then he either was babbling on about something that he knew nothing about or he lied. If he did know what he was talking about he either lied or he told the truth. Remember the law of excluded middle which "asserts that any statement is either true or false" (Introduction to Logic, Fifth Edition by Irving M. Copi, p.306). Paul's statement is either true, or it is false. Either he received what he preached by revelation from Jesus Christ, or he did not. If he did not then he told a lie. If he did then he told the truth. There is no way around it.

I think this is enough to get the discussion going. I have a lot more material that I will impart to you as the discussion proceeds, but for now this is enough. When I get Tedd's response I will include it in my next affirmative. Thank you for your kind attention and now I invite you to turn your attention to Mr. Hadley.


CHALLENGE is published quarterly by Challenge Publications.
Jerry D. McDonald, Editor; Michael P. Hughes, Associate Editor.


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