Did God Edit the Bible?

I’m still learning about the Bible–I will never be an expert.  There is one thing I think I understand.

It starts with the observation there are many contradictions in the Bible.  There are stories about the same events that differ.  Family genealogies differ.  The time periods for the same events differ.

How could it be there is such variation when allegedly the Bible contains the faith’s message for the ultimate end of the world?  Why doesn’t it start at square one and proceed methodically to its point?

It doesn’t because it is a collection of many points of view, not one.  Those who wrote it did not see themselves as writing one of several chapters is a longer book, but one self-contained piece of writing that would read by itself at that time.  That is to say, each part of the Bible was written by someone with a specific objective in mind aimed at a specific group back then.

The Bible, then, is most accurately read as a collection of separate views of many separate people, not a book guided by either an devine or human editor.  There is no evidence it was guided by a god.

Since very few could read or write during that period, the purpose of the each writer was to have his essay read aloud at gatherings of worshippers.  One assumes people wrote their essays because either none other was available, or, the author wanted to correct other writing.

In either case, God was not involved.

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

66 Responses to Did God Edit the Bible?

  1. entech says:

    Did God edit the Bible
    Apart from the fact that we cannot demonstrate that there is a God that wrote or inspired the Bible, once written it should not be changed according to its own words and one of the great Jewish theologians
    The eighth of Maimonides’ 13 Principles of Judaism is that the entire Torah is God’s word. As God knows all, His will that Torah remains unchanged throughout every generation teaches that the Torah’s ideas are eternally true; they are applicable to all generations.

    or according to the Bible itself
    Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
    Deuteronomy 4:2 KJV

    The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
    Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
    Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
    Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

  2. H.P.Drifter says:

    Hard to edit fiction like this. I just think of people who just started to read when this was only book around (the only part deleted was that these are stories and some good advice (in some cases)
    I am sure if there was a God doing the writing he or she or both or it would have done a better job. (just think if they would have had a creative writing academy at the time) and someone from one of the big publishing and staff (who know maybe there would be more believers) To believe is easy, to not believe is freedom from domination. Your choice, hope your happy with the one you make, it makes all the difference. Each is readily at hand ,which are you the most comfortable with? think or think not.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      H,P.D. “I am sure if there was a God doing the writing he/she would would have done a better job.”

      Great summary. An all powerful god with the goals assigned to this god would have to power to write his/her instructions, list sins and let us know whatever his will in our native language using modern well know terms. The god would not leave “his word” to be destroyed (no original copies of the Bible exist) in an obscrue ancient language.

      I’ve mentioned this to our believing friends here before but have never had an explanation.

      • entech says:

        A good start to a better job would be to undo the Babel so that it could be understood by all, rewrite it in plain unambiguous grammatically correct language so that it would be understood the same way by all.

        A vain wish because there will always be people who think they know what God meant better than he did himself.

        A couple around here think they know what you and I and others really mean, or at least try to make it seem to mean what they think it should mean.

        • Avatar of realist realist says:

          I believe the Mormons have done this, although their effort has suffered from the passing years and no longer is the current document it once was. Time for an update.

          • entech says:

            If you want to bring the Book of Mormon into it why not an analysis and revision of the works of L. Ron Hubbard.

          • Henry says:

            r:“Time for an update.”

            Why? It wouldn’t make any difference. It would then become a moving goalpost effect trying to appease the atheists.

          • Avatar of realist realist says:

            That’s the spirit, Entech. L. Ron could use some clean up, but why stop there? The Bhagavad Gita is really a dusty piece.

      • Henry says:

        Jon:“The god would not leave “his word” to be destroyed (no original copies of the Bible exist) in an obscrue ancient language.”

        Right. It should have been originally written in modern English.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Henry 2:45 “Right. It should have been originally written in modern English.”

          Yes. You’ve got it, Henry. If a God is all knowing and all powerful, this is what would have happened.

        • entech says:

          Henry, good one. But as we both know that would have been silly and no one outside of Texas would believe it anyway.

          It is doubtful that many of the audience of the time could have read it in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek or Latin. or some of the other local languages in use when it was written. Actually I understand that the Hebrew Bible wasn’t actually written down until after the sojourn in Babylon about 600 BCE. Then the NT in Greek (and some in Hebrew or Aramaic?), later translated into Latin and for hundreds of years couldn’t be read by the general poulation, people were actuallu burned for translating, one caused such rage that he was dug up from his grave and burned post humorously (pun intended, so funny).

          What should not be too much would be for a Supreme Being to provide a modern version of what is intended in a modern world, you have the OT replaced by the NT surely time for an MT.

          • Wolfy32 says:

            Well, Revelations includes a curse for anyone that modifies it at the end…

            “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. “

  3. Henry says:

    Jon:“Why doesn’t it start at square one and proceed methodically to its point?”

    It does.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Henry 2:48 “It does.”

      I can’t speak for you, but to me it seems to get a little off the mark when it discusses which foods to eat together and which fabrics. That, and a few other things.

      • entech says:

        It does, if you take into account that it moves in mysterious ways its conclusion to reach. Never mind footsteps on the sea give us some words on a page!

      • Henry says:

        Jon:“I can’t speak for you, but to me it seems to get a little off the mark when it discusses which foods to eat together and which fabrics.”

        I was unaware you were a Jew that concerned yourself with those items.

  4. Doubtful says:

    I have often commented here about the juvenile understanding of religion expressed by Jon and many others. Marcus Borg was raised very close to Jon, possibly in the same church and has recently blogged about the growth of his understanding of religion.
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/marcusborg/2014/01/memories-conversions-and-convictions/

    It is quite meaningful relative to today’s discussion.

    • entech says:

      Probably neither better nor worse than the Christians on this site understanding of atheism.

      Part of the problem is that without belief and faith it is hard to take religion seriously and that obviously affects the level of understanding.
      Conversely the religious do not seem to be able to understand that we simply do not agree that what to them is obvious and true is, in fact, true.

      • Wanna B Sure says:

        Interesting last sentence. Can you please clarify? Do you mean to say what/ that you “simply do not agree” is true, or …”what to them is obvious and true is, in fact true”? Thanks.

      • Wanna B Sure says:

        PS; Not trying to be smart. It is a little fuzzy.

        • Henry says:

          He didn’t have his clause correctly separated by commas.

          • entech says:

            Henry correct punctuation can make all the difference.
            Little Johnny says, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
            This should be:
            In the beginning, was the word? and the word was with, God? and the word was God ????

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            entech 12:03 “In the beginning, was the word? and the word was with God? and the word was God????”

            Since there was no puncuation in the first writing of the Bible, the question marks are just as accurate as whatever was made up to put there.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            The context is one flowing statement, not a series of questions. The following verses make that point clear, and nullify the rather childish prank.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            That is to say, the rather childish prank of the question marks. Don’t want to be misunderstood. Punctuation or not.

        • Wanna B Sure says:

          Good thing he didn’t write the Bible, but then there wasn’t punctuation marks back then. Context was the primary determining factor. Unfortunately there are those today that still have a problem with context, Punctuation or not.

        • H.P. Drifter says:

          Answer

          The Question mark at the end, looks like this ?

        • entech says:

          Middle of a heat wave here, yes more than a little clumsy. So in point form.
          > Religious people have a set of beliefs regarding their religion, they believe these “truths” to be obvious.
          > Non religious people do not believe that these “truths” are in fact true and/or valid and obvious.
          > Religious people find it difficult to accept that the non religious do not believe as they do, that they reject (a word in popular usage) the validity of the basis.
          > The outcome of this, from the last topic about hate, means that they always try and find some reason for the non belief.
          > the religious seem to unable to accept the simple fact that we do not believe what they believe.

          The result of this is that religious people have a juvenile understanding of atheism. as juvenile as doubtful says the understanding of religion is by non believers.

          I have been writing “as if” all religious people thought like this, this is of course not true, there is a variety of opinion.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Doubtful 1:15 “…about the juvenile understanding of religion expressed by Jon and many others. Marcus Borg ..recently blogged about the growth of his understanding of religion.”

      Good post. My question is, who are you referring to as having a “juvenile understanding of religion” besides me? I would generalize about those who post here as:

      a.) absolute literalists
      b.) those who are absolutely confident they know which parts of the Bible to take literally and which not, though they do not agree on these.
      c.) those who do not treat virtually any of the Bible as literal, except the parts that refer to history confirmed by nonBiblical sources but retain a view there exists a spiritual god–I would call this the Borg version though I haven’t reread my Borg book for a few years.
      d.) those, like myself, who also do not take virtually any of the Bible literally except the parts that refer to histor confirmed by nonBiblical sources and do not see evidence of a spiritual being, though we don’t deny someday some kind of evidence could show up.

      Which of the above are the “juvenile” views?

  5. H.P. Drifter says:

    Great Point again Wolfy

    Anybody that alters or touches these texts is in for enteral damnation. (Summary of what was said) what happened to the guys that translated the Bible from all those different languages and put their spin on a dead language or two are they in Hell as well?. Here if I was wrong and there is a heaven and hell, I was betting on go to hell, so I would not to deal with anymore self righteous religious assholes.
    At least if I can get in Hell, I can have some interesting conversation. Okay Pol Pot, I know you speak French you went to a French high school and University. I want to hear it all, give to me from the top. Or “Posting for German interpreter, time sensitive 1920- 1945 (experience preferred) have three PM appointment with Adolph, he is giving me three hours, next Thursday please respond bench number 6015 subsection K 12th level. Then perhaps I can return to my seat and hear the neighbors talk, Madoff on one side and Alan Greenspan on the other. Bernie you did not steal enough, see I stole more. They didn’t get me until later much later. Then I can go back in history and ask Adam when was it you first started thinking about stealing that first Apple, why didn’t you go for Peaches or Pears instead?

    H.P.D.

    • Wolfy32 says:

      Heh… I kinda wonder if the superbly self righteous I’m better than thou, would be in hell my friend.. Christ of the bible, didn’t tolerate pompous, pious, self righeous fools.. He wanted people that accomplished things, and were willing to do things, not people that stood around deciding which pew to sit in to make sure they nearest those that they liked most. Hoping to get an invite for coffee after church.

      • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

        Wolfy32 4:20 “..the superbly self rightous … would be in hell..”

        Look at this statistically. There have been maybe 2,000 gods various people have worshipped. That gives Christians, both the sef rightous and humble, a one in 2,000 chance of making heaven. They will be next to us in hell.

      • josh says:

        Typical stereotypical conception of christians. You need to get your information from someplace other than the media. These are the typical subtle attacks that people like you molest christians with everyday.

        • Wolfy32 says:

          Interesting choice of words.. I thought it was Christians doing the molesting?

          …. I couldn’t resist.

          • entech says:

            And neither should you resist, let the truth lead you where it will.

          • josh says:

            Typical militant atheist attack.

          • Wolfy32 says:

            How is facts an attack: fact, christians molest children. It’s a fact. So do family members, and so do public school officials.. I wasn’t attacking anyone… Just stating that institution of religion is used to corrupt people, abuse, and hurt people.

            So do public schools, religious schools, institution of families, and so much more.

            It’s not an attack, nor an accusation… Just providing a fact.

          • Henry says:

            Wolf:“How is facts an attack: fact, christians molest children.”

            You do?

          • entech says:

            Henry, Wolfy is not a Christian, a believer of some kind but not one of yours.

            Lately you are losing whatever credibility you had with every post.

          • Henry says:

            entec:“Henry, Wolfy is not a Christian…”

            Whatever. According to Wolf, he was raised Christian, and although having some very strange ideas, I haven’t heard him renounce it. If he hasn’t renounced Christianity like you and Jon have, who am I to judge? I’ll go with what he has said, unless he indicates otherwise.

          • entech says:

            Read his 8:32 he all he says is that child abuse happens, that the perpetrators come from all walks of life.

            The natural corollary to what you ask Wolfy would be to ask you the same. Do you enjoy molesting? or perhaps when did you stop?

            Save it for when you have something real to talk about, at the moment there is you and Josh, a minority of two.

            As for what he says:
            Wolfy32 says: January 17, 2014 at 1:39 pm

          • Henry says:

            Entech:“The natural corollary to what you ask Wolfy would be to ask you the same.”

            His claim, not mine. Talk to him about it.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      H. P. D. 3:50 “At least if I can get in Hell, I can have some interesting conversation. Okay Pol Pot…”

      I’ve wondered about what conversations we will have for eternity in either hell or heaven. If we are in heaven, will we have to endure endless bragging like we hear here, “I understood which parts of the Bible to take literally and which to take metaphorically. Those schmucks down there wouldn’t listen.”

      I’m hoping to spend time in hell with Marcus Borg who is a prominent clergy but takes almost nothing in the Bible literally. Of course, there is a down side to hell, it may be filled with Christians because they bought in to the wrong god.

      • H.P.D says:

        Jon
        Great laugh.
        Maybe you, me, entec, wolfy and realist can sit together. Then we can go looking for Josh

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          H.P.D. “Maybe you, me, entech, wolfy and realist can sit together. Then we can go looking for Josh.”

          The thing is, Wanna, Josh, C. Dad and the others might be assigned seats next to us in the firey pit if it turns out the real god is one of the Hindus. I hope we can all find something to talk about other than religion.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            It’s my understanding everyone finds their own seating.

          • Wolfy32 says:

            I thought it was more floating than anything… Gnashing of teath in the bottomless pit.. So, if there’s no bottom. My understanding we’re just like comet or meteor… We just float through the cold and darkness of an empty void of space…

            Never reaching an end to the universe…

          • Wolfy32 says:

            Maybe we become dark matter….

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            You may notice I said “…finds their own seating.” Not “choose their own seat”. That would be “decision seating”.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Wolfy: your “…reach the end”, implies time/space. Not so sure that applies here. One explanation I’ve heard is it’s a place, not a location. Not sure. All speculation. There is a saying; “you are what you eat”. Another could be; “You become what you were”. Again speculation. But then there is another alternative I’ve heard, and space /time is irrelevant.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Wanna 9:11 “you are what you eat”, You become what you were.”

            What about, “You have to pay to play.” Got me to thinking I should give a little money to each of the religions that has a different god. Put all your money on one horse and you can lose big.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            I’m convinced money will be of any significance no matter your “seating”, (your word). Just like an economics professor. Always thinking of money.

          • Wolfy32 says:

            The possibility exists that time is irrelevent and one goes a to a particular time and relive events over and over. Ref: “What Dreams May Come”.

            Or one can choose to live again as a person in whatever time one chooses or is Placed in. — In this case time truely has no meaning. ONe goes and lives with the dinosaurs and the future events are modified (alternative realities) by the find of human remains with a well worn dinosaur saddle.

            Or one goes and relieves WWII. etc, etc. If alternate realities exist (as proven by mathematics). Then, it is possible one’s consciousness could be born into an entirely new reality. Whether it’s hell or just another life that one won’t remember, who knows.

            Maybe one gets more choice of where and when to go to based on how they lived their current life.. If each life is lived better than the last, one gets promoted to knew and better choices of where, when, and what to live.

            The reality of each generation could just be a single moment in time when one gets to live. The next life could be 1000 years into the future or a million years in the past, or as a different being on an alien world.

            (A form of reincarnation… yet, different.)

            To use Jon’s math… 1 possibility is one is dead and there’s nothing else… there’s millions of other possibilities. 1 out of a million is a very low chance that that one possibility is right.

            The bible mentions several possibilities:

            1. Sleeping until resurrected. (kinda like being dead until woke up.)

            2. A hell, that one goes to as punishment for rejecting christ.

            3. After christ comes being sucked up to be in the air with christ. (kinda along the lines of #1. Asleep until Christ takes you with him.)

            4. Revelations says given a new body and then moved to a new earth. to have a new life in servitude of God that then resides with his people. — aka we become aliens with cool new bodies, and then serve God. (heh, mechanical suits to mine some rare ore … heh. )

            That’s the biblical options that I’m aware.. could be some I’ve missed.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Or……One is not free to “choose” anything.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            And the worm hole becomes your personal wormhole.

          • entech says:

            Wolfy @ 9: 23. Ref: “What Dreams May Come”.
            OK, It comes from Hamlet’s famous soliloquy. to be or not to be …
            To die, to sleep.
            To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there’s the rub,
            For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
            When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
            Must give us pause.

            “perchance to dream”, maybe dreaming?, is there life after death?

            More interesting though is a a few lines earlier, when Hamlet is about to enter and give his soliloquy.

            Polnius to Ophelia,
            That show of such an exercise may color
            Your loneliness.—We are oft to blame in this,
            ‘Tis too much proved, that with devotion’s visage
            And pious action we do sugar o’er
            The devil himself.

            In modern English this could translate to:
            Read from this prayer book, so it looks natural that you’re all alone.
            Come to think of it, this happens all the time—
            people act devoted to God to mask their bad deeds.

            A lot more to Shakespeare than can be imagined, “more things in heaven and earth”

        • Wolfy32 says:

          I’ve heard some Christian artists speak that God is not just a comforter..

          I wonder how much we use God to mask our lonliness within life, using God as a blanket to help us feel not so alone in our own little private worlds.

          As adults, must we crave a parent so bad that we invent one like a child invents an imaginary friend?

        • josh says:

          Good luck, I’ll be in paradise. You will be in too much pain to be worried about looking for me. Imagine that an eternity of pain. I pray for you. Come to GOD before it’s too late.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            josh 4:01 “You will be in too much pain to be worried about looking for me.”

            That’s really militant stuff. Threats of violence. Atheists do not make threats like that.

  6. H.P.Drifter says:

    You guys are so funny you, got my belly laugh for today!

  7. Bret Armstrong says:

    There are no contradictions in the Bible! You’re just reading it wrong!
    Oops, let me try that again…
    THERE ARE NO CONTRADICTIONS IN THE BIBLE! YOU’RE JUST READING IT WRONG!
    Yes, that makes the point so much better.

    • entech says:

      Bret, no need to shout like that, we heard you the first time.

      Besides you just them an excuse to start saying more of their stupid things about being angry and hating.

      Actually, if you watch you will see they don’t need an excuse, they have plenty in reserve waiting to be wheeled out. :lol:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>