Monday, 18 February 2008

Response to the Reverend James Hollingsworth

First of all, I should respond to claims by the Reverend Hollingsworth that Gospel writers would have known that the testimony of women was not taken seriously.

Firstly, it appears that the Gospel writers were just not aware of this fact. John 4:39 says 'Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the women's testimony.'

Another anachronism in the Bible - for the Reverend Hollingsworth has spoken and stated that the testimony of a woman would not be persuasive.

Secondly, it appears that the anonymous authors of Mark and Matthew had to spin away the known fact that these alleged 12 disciples just don't seem to have done anything. Paul never mentions any 12 disciples doing any evangelising, for example. He only knows of 3, and one of them was not even alleged to be a disciple.

So Matthew comes up with an absurdity that some of them were doubters - even after allegedly seeing proofs supplied by the Son of God Himself. It is easy to see how absurd it is by looking at my opponents in the debate who have no doubts, despite never having seen one of these alleged proofs.

And the anonymous author of Mark simply has no disciples at the scene.

And Mark claims that these women told no one. The reader is informed by a young man of the resurrection, but the reason nobody had heard of this story is that, according to the anonymous author of Mark, the women did not tell anybody.

It would be interesting to visit the Reverend Hollingsworth's church - the one where the preacher never mentions Gospel stories when talking about the resurrection, and where new converts to Christianity are baffled by the idea that God would choose to raise a corpse.

He has trouble understanding my arguments. For this I must plead partly guilty, but I also feel Paul must share some of the responsibility.

As he had never seen a resurrected body, nor met anybody who had seen a resurrected body, he was forced to work from theological reflection and reasoning, rather than personal testimony. Hence his obscure statements about 'this perishable must put on imperishability'

It seems that even after his first letter to the Corinthians, they were still puzzled. So Paul wrote a second letter, making even clearer his view that the body we live in now will be destroyed, not saved.

In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul writes 'For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made from hands, eternal in the heavens.'

For Paul, our current body was a tent, or a set of clothes. Come the resurrection, we would move to a new building, or change our clothes.

The current body will be destroyed. The spirit and the body will not be saved together. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 5:5 'You are to hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord', Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 10 'For all of us must appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each may receieve recompense for what has been done in the body...'

The body was only temporary. It was an earthly thing, and so could not become a heavenly thing.

As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 5:13 'Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food', and God will destroy both one and the other.

Paul did not have a model of resurrection that involved earthly bodies being restored to life. The Christian converts he was writing to thought that resurrection would have to involve a corpse being raised, and so they naturally scoffed at the idea.

For who had ever heard of a corpse rising from the dead?


  1. John 4:39 says 'Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the women's testimony.'

    Is that not a misquote? Is that not "the woman's testimony"?

    1) It is the Gospeller that calls it her or their "testimony", not a court of law;
    2) It is "many Samaritans" who believed because of it, not a court of law;
    3) Samaritan culture is less machist than Jewish anyway.

  2. For who had ever heard of a corpse rising from the dead?

    Any Jew having read Hezekiel and any Pharisee awaiting resurrection.