Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Feedback on resurrection debate

I recently had a radio debate with Canon Michael Cole on the Resurrection

Here is some of the feedback the programme received.

From: Nick P.
Sent: 12 April 2009 23:58

Honestly Justin, I was quite disappointed. Stevie should have been a walk in the park as his arguments have been answered a number of times, namely by J.P. Holding. A good scholar of Pauline literature would have demolished him. My main problem was that I thought the Mormon technique was being used. Here we have Stevie saying that all Christians have is there testimony and experience and what do the callers do? Even your Christian on the program did it! They just pointed to personal testimony instead and said that they have experienced God and that Stevie just needs to ask God to reveal the truth to him.

Odd. The Mormons say the exact same thing to me.

If we have an atheist saying all Christians have is their testimony and Christians just give him their testimony, then I believe they have done a disservice to the gospel. Stevie instead has his opinion further cemented that this is all Christians do. His opponent should have used a line of argumentation much like N.T. Wright used in "The Resurrection of the Son of God." (Dang. If you'd had N.T. Wright there, it would have been a massacre.)

Looking forward to next week Justin. I always listen to your show. I was just disappointed with how the Christians did by and large on this one.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Not one word of refutation of any arguments I used, and an implicit admission that the debate was a victory for me.

Of course, I was prepared for Wright's arguments, nor can Nick Peter say just how Wright would have 'massacred' me.

From: Steps Olu
Posted At: 11 April 2009 16:10

Thanks for a brilliant forum for arguments for and against biblical doctrines/beliefs. I believe that Mr. Carr's evidence to disprove the bodily rising of Jesus from the dead from the Scriptures would fail if he looks at the whole evidence that the Bible has to offer, rather than a minute portion about the order of resurrection in different planes. If we start from the premise that there was a resurrection (of Jesus that is), be it spiritual or physical, then we can proceed to identify (from the Scriptures) the actual nature of it.

When Jesus rose, his body was no longer where it was laid. He Himself later stated that He couldn't have been a mere spirit as he had flesh and bones.

Paul said further in 2 Corinthians 5 that our present bodies will be "clothed upon" or superimposed upon by an attribute no longer subject to death. Futher he wrote in 1 Thessalonians that the dead shall rise first and we that are alive and remain will be caught up in the air to meet the Lord (being our futuristic experience of resurection life). The resurrected body is the original physical body but changed through an operation of GOD into an eternal imperishable body. That's why even those dead already will have their decayed bodies reconstituted and turned into one that will withstand eternally.

Even as in Revelation 20, the unsaved dead will have their bodies back!

Having said all that however, it takes a spiritual mind to see and understand that these things are true, but it is unusual (but not impossible) for God to impose spiritual truths about Himself on our wills and minds, especially if we have become predisposed to disbelieve Him. If Mr. Carr is willing to approach GOD with the openess of a child, he might have a life-transforming experience! (or is he a bit afraid that it might actually happen that way?)


Johnson Oluwasegun.

Of course, Paul never says in 2 Corinthians that 'our present bodies' will be clothed upon. Paul says the earthly body is destroyed. 'Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.'

The present body is destroyed, not saved.

It is always good to know Christians can only refute you by making things up , in this case, making up the claim that Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5 that 'our present bodies' are clothed upon.

Revelation might well contradict Paul, but that proves only that Christians contradict each other.

Similarly, Luke 24 does make Jesus say he was not a spirit (pneuma)

But Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15 that 'the last Adam became a life-giving spirit (pneuma)

It seems Christians think that if they find a bit of the Bible which contradicts another bit, then they have proved the Bible is true....

From: Andy Evans
Posted At: 11 April 2009 19:52

I'm one of your few atheist listeners and normally enjoy your show. This week was an exception. Not only am I surprised that you got Steven Carr on (who as far as I can make out has no credentials whatsoever) but out of all the shows in your archive you chose this one to repeat!

As far as I'm aware Steven Carr has been heavily influenced by Richard Carrier. Now I don't for one moment think that Richard Carrier has the best arguments atheism has to offer (Mike Licona refuted them in his debate with Richard Carrier ages ago and last month William Lane Craig did the same thing. In fact Richard Carrier admitted on his blog that william lane Craig won which for someone liek carrier who is not famous for their modesty is quite astonishing!) Nonetheless if you wanted a debate on this subject why not get someone like Richard Carrier who at least has some credibility. Carrier says on his website that he is more than willing to do debates (

Nonetheless you could probably do better still. Why not try and get Robert Price onto your show and do a debate?

If I hadn't listened to your other shows then I would asusme you got an Internet troll like Steven Carr on to give the Christian an easy target to destroy...I hope this blip in the quality of your guests was a one off.

Mr. Evans is unable to find one word of criticism of what I actually said, or one word of praise for anything Canon Michael Cole said.

He cannot produce one word of these alleged 'refutations', and contents himself with personal abuse, as for some reason known only to him, he is unwilling to tell people what these 'refutations' are.

Guess what? There are no refutations.

Or else Mr. Evans would have produced them, rather than claim that the Emperor has Clothes, even if he cannot say what they look like.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

NT Wright on the discontinuous resurrected body

1 Corinthians 15:51-52
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.

In my resurrection debate with Canon Michael Cole , I argued that Paul did not believe corpses were resurrected, so did not believe the corpse of Jesus rose from the grave.

Instead, Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5 that the earthly body is destroyed, and that we get a heavenly body.

But what did Paul believe would happen to Christians of his time? He told them that they would not all die, so how could they get a heavenly body if death did not destroy their earthly body?

Paul answers that question in 1 Corinthians 15:52-52 where he says 'we' (NB not our bodies) will be changed - in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye.

Why does Paul insist this happens 'in a flash'?

It must be to emphasises the discontinuity of the old and new body. Why else emphasise the lightning speed of the change?

There is not to be one nano-second of overlap, where the old body is in a process of transformation to the new body.

Contrast that with Ezekiel 37 where clearly a transformation does not take place 'in a flash'.

In Paul's view ,we make a quantum jump from the old body to the new body, which means there is no intermediate state. One instant we are in the old body. The next instant we are in the new body.

A transformation that takes place in a flash is not a transformation at all. It is a replacement. A transformation is a process, and a process takes a finite time.

But why would Paul emphasise the speed at all if not to impress on the Corinthians the replacement of one body by another, rather than its transformation? There can be no other reason to stress the speed, other than to rub the 'foolish' Corinthians nose in the fact that there is no time for one body to turn into another.

Paul is emphasising the discontinuity between the earthly body and the heavenly body.

This ties in with the fact that he had no stories of corpses leaving tombs. He taught that we left our earthly bodies behind to be destroyed and moved into heavenly bodies.

Which contradicts Gospel stories of a body going into a tomb and a body leaving the tomb.

In 'The Resurrection of the Son of God', NT Wright has a footnote on page 359 on this very verse, where he admits the discontinuous nature of the bodies.

Wright writes 'We may note at this point that those who will be 'changed', here and in Phil. 3:21 will thus , it seems, pass directly from the present bodily life to the future bodily life without any intermediate state.'

This is the very definition of 'discontinuous'. Two states are continuous only if an intermediate state could be found between them. But instant jumps from one state to another are the definition of 'discontinuity'

So even Wright cannot spin away Paul's words entirely to make Paul say that the earthly body turns into the heavenly body, which is what is needed if Paul is not to contradict the Gospels.

Hard evidence for God

The Bible claims you can get hard evidence for God by simply asking God for sign after sign until He has proved Himself to your satisfaction.

Judges 6
36 Gideon said to God, "If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised- 37 look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said." 38 And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew—a bowlful of water.

39 Then Gideon said to God, "Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece. This time make the fleece dry and the ground covered with dew." 40 That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew.

Guess what?

Christians nowadays know perfectly well that there is no God who will give sign after sign , even though the Bible claims there is.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Faith - Belief without Evidence

AN Wilson was an atheist, but he has now returned to faith.

He writes 'Of course, only hard evidence will satisfy the secularists, but over time and after repeated readings of the story, I've been convinced without it.'

Faith - belief without evidence.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

What resurrection transformed these people?

In The Gospel of John and Christian Theology By Richard Bauckham, Carl Mosser (2008), Professor Alan Torrance of the University of Saint Andrews writes on page 254 that Mark does not mention Lazarus, because Lazarus was a wanted man and feared for his life.

Of course, there is no evidence given for this amazing claim that the author of Mark did not mention Lazarus , because that would get Lazarus killed. How?

What had transformed these people so that they went from a bunch of frightened people to people who could not even be named in Christians books because they were so scared of being killed?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Resurrection debate

I also have a debate on the Resurrection with Father John Twisleton

I recently tried to arrange a debate against Geoff Bagley but that did not happen

Friday, April 10, 2009

Debate on the resurrection

I will be debating Canon Michael Cole on Premier Christian Radio on the subject of the resurrection on Saturday 11th April 2009 at 2.30 pm BST (1.30 GMT)

Listen live at Unbelievable

There is a review of the debate at Review

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The answer is not 42

Some people are under the impression that the answer to the question of the life, the universe and everything is 42

This is not true.

This video will tell you the answer to Everything

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Gospel of Mark as a parable

Neil Godfrey has an excellent article on how the disciples in Mark's Gospel are literary devices, to be moulded at will to suit the personal agendas of whichever Gospeller was writing about them.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Some nice praise

I have just received the following email about my Debate with Dr. David Wilkinson

Hello, Steven,

I have just read the exchanges between you and Dr David Wilkinson and have to say with due honesty, he was on thin ice right from the beginning.

Like the comment you gave in your debate with Roger Steer, you have given another superlative plus performance in your debate with Dr Wilkinson. Kudos!

It beats me how anybody who has read the Bible can continue in their belief in the Maniac aka the barbaric, freakish, insane, tyrannical, genocidal God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I was a Catholic for many years [became one chiefly as a result of herd instinct] and, ironically, de-converted after immersing myself in Bible-reading. I have read many postings in the internet of other people’s de-conversion on similar grounds. The hard copy of the Bible in my house is retained by me only for reference purposes; otherwise I would have burnt it or trashed it ages ago. What a book of filth! Evil masquerading as good, immorality as morality etc.

I am keen on reading such debates and look forward to details of other debates involving your participation.

Rgds Richard Woo