From Mark Copeland... "THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD" An Important Subject For Our Study

                        "THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD"

                   An Important Subject For Our Study


1. This lesson begins a series of studies on the Holy Spirit...
   a. One might ask, "Why such a study?"
   b. Is it important to spend several lessons dealing with this subject alone?

2. An understanding and appreciation of the Holy Spirit is indeed
   important, and the purpose of this introductory lesson is to make sure we understand why

[The value of studying about the Spirit is to be seen in noticing His prominence in several areas...]


      1. The O.T. mentions the Holy Spirit 88 times
      2. 23 books in the O.T. refer to the Holy Spirit
      3. Although the actual expression "Holy Spirit" is used only 3 times - e.g., Ps 51:11
      4. Other expressions referring to the Spirit are used (e.g., "the Spirit of God") - Gen 1:2

      1. The N.T. mentions the Holy Spirit 264 times
      2. 60 or more references in the gospels
      3. Acts has 57 references (which is why some call it "The Acts Of The Holy Spirit")
      4. The epistles refer to the Holy Spirit 132 times
      5. Only 3 epistles make no mention of the Spirit (Philemon, 2 & 3 John)

[To understand much of the Bible itself, one needs to understand (as
much as humanly possible) such a prominent figure as the Holy Spirit! 
Imagine someone saying they understood the story of the Bible, but did not know much about Abraham!  Note also...]


      1. Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary - Mt 1:20; Lk 1:30-35
      2. Various individuals were filled with the Spirit to make pronouncements about His birth
         a. Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist - Lk 1:41-42
         b. Zacharias, father of John the Baptist - Lk 1:67-79
         c. Simeon, who saw the infant Jesus when presented in the Temple - Lk 2:25-35

      1. Descended in bodily form like a dove - Lk 3:21-22
      2. Even "alighting upon Him" - Mt 3:16
      1. Jesus was "filled with the Holy Spirit" - Lk 4:1
      2. He was "led by the Spirit" into the wilderness - Lk 4:1; Mt 4:1

      1. Jesus returned from His temptations "in the power of the
         Spirit" to teach in the synagogues - Lk 4:14-15
      2. He applied Isaiah's prophecy to Himself, which said "The Spirit
         of the LORD is upon Me..." - Lk 4:16-21
      3. On one occasion it is said that Jesus "rejoiced in the Spirit"
         - Lk 10:21
      4. Jesus claimed to cast out demons by the power of the Holy Spirit - Mt 12:28

[As Christians, can we really hope to grow in the knowledge of our Lord
and Savior, without at least an elementary understanding of the Holy
Spirit, so prominent in His earthly life?  Consider also...]


      1. We are convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit - Jn 16:7-8
      2. We are "born again" of the Spirit - Jn 3:5-8
      3. We are "renewed" of the Holy Spirit - Tit 3:4-6

      1. We "live in the Spirit" - Ga 5:25a
      2. We are to "walk in the Spirit", producing the "fruit of the Spirit" - Ga 5:25b,16-18,22-23
      3. We must set our minds on "the things of the Spirit" - Ro 8:5-6
      4. It is "by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body" 
         - Ro 8:12-13
      5. Only when "led by the Spirit" are we truly the "sons of God" 
         - Ro 8:14
      6. The Holy Spirit "makes intercession for us" in our prayers - Ro 8:26-27
      7. God strengthens us "with might through His Spirit" in the inner man - Ep 3:16
      8. Thus we can enjoy the "communion (fellowship) of the Spirit"  
         - 2Co 13:14; Php 2:1

[Future lessons will discuss these things in greater detail.  Suffice it
to say that since the Holy Spirit is so involved in our lives as
Christians, it behooves us to understand the proper relationship we are
to sustain with the Spirit!  Finally, the need to study what the Bible 
teaches concerning the Spirit is seen when we consider...]


      1. The O.T. scriptures with their prophecies came through the
         agency of the Holy Spirit - 2Pe 1:20-21; 1Pe 1:10-11
      2. Jesus told His apostles that the Holy Spirit would teach them
         "all things", and guide them "into all truth" - Jn 14:25-26; 16:12-13
      3. There is no other way to know the truth of God's Will except by
         what the Holy Spirit revealed to the apostles - 1Co 2:10-13

      1. Much error is taught about the nature of the Holy Spirit
         a. Some think He is an impersonal force expressive of God's power
         b. Others think He is really Jesus in another form
      2. Many people misunderstand:
         a. The baptism of the Holy Spirit
         b. The gift of the Holy Spirit
         c. The spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit
         d. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit
      3. Many attribute "impressions or "intuitive feelings" to being "led by the Spirit"
         a. Ignorant of how the Holy Spirit leads us
         b. Attributing to the "Holy Spirit" what is really the "human spirit"


1. It should be evident that our chosen subject is indeed an important one...
   a. As our understanding of the Holy Spirit increases, so will our appreciation for Him
   b. Our next study will consider what is revealed about the personality of the Holy Spirit

2. As important as understanding the Holy Spirit might be...
   a. It is not essential to have a comprehensive knowledge of the
      Spirit to become a child of God
   b. Any more than understanding the birth process when we were physically born

What is essential is that we respond to the terms of pardon revealed by
the Holy Spirit in the gospel of Christ - cf. Act 2:36-38

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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Militant Atheism by Eric Lyons, M.Min. Kyle Butt, M.A.


Militant Atheism

The stereotypical scientist in a white lab coat who follows the facts wherever they may lead, and reports those data without prejudice, often does not correspond to reality these days. In fact, a large majority of scientists now believe that God does not exist. These scientists feel that they should militantly spread their ideas of atheism and evolution as far and wide as possible. They abhor the idea of a supernatural Creator and believe it should be eradicated from human consciousness. Just how determined are some of the leading atheistic evolutionists to expunge theism from the world? A recent issue of the journal New Scientist, which just celebrated its 50th anniversary, sheds some light on the subject. In an article titled, “In Place of God: Can Secular Science Ever Oust Religious Belief—and Should It Even Try?,” Michael Brooks recounted a recent meeting of “some of the leading practitioners of modern science” in La Jolla, California (2006, 192[2578]:8). They had gathered to discuss, among other questions, “Should science do away with religion?” Their answers are alarming. [NOTE: The following quotations are extracted from Brooks’ report.]
Cosmologist Steven Weinberg was first to address the question, “Should science do away with religion?” He responded with an unequivocal “yes,” saying: “The world needs to wake up from the long nightmare of religion.... Anything we scientists can do to weaken the hold of religion should be done, and may in fact be our greatest contribution to civilization” (p. 9, emp. added). Since scientists at the symposium used the terms “religion” and “God” interchangeably, Weinberg in essence was saying that ridding God from the world would be one of science’s greatest achievements. He seemed so certain that scientists could achieve this goal that he actually admitted he would “miss it once it was gone” (p. 9). How were Weinberg’s comments received, you might ask? According to attendee Michael Brooks, he received “a rapturous response” (p. 9), before being heavily criticized by some, such as Richard Dawkins, surprisingly enough, “for not being tough enough on religion” (p. 9).
Dawkins, who is perhaps the most celebrated evolutionist alive today, was one of the most militant atheists at the conference. He stated: “I am utterly fed up with the respect we have been brainwashed into bestowing upon religion,” i.e., God (p. 9; cf. Ecclesiastes 12:12-13). Passive atheism apparently should not be tolerated. Dawkins is “ready to mobilize” his “big...enthusiastic choir” of evolutionary colleagues (p. 11). He said: “There’s a certain sort of negativity you get from people who say ‘I don’t like religion but you can’t do anything about it.’ That’s a real counsel of defeatism. We should roll our sleeves up and get on with it” (p. 11, emp. added). Dawkins even compared evolutionary scientists’ position in the 21st century to that of homosexuals in the late 1960s: everyone needs to be “willing to stand up and be counted,” so that “they could change things” (p. 11).
Dawkins likely called for such drastic action because he has seen atheism lose some of its battles. In his book, The Blind Watchmaker, he admitted that modern creationists have been “disturbingly successful” in their attempts to combat evolution in “American education and textbook publishing” (1996, p. 241). He also wrote: “There are still those who seek to deny the truth of evolution, and there are disturbing signs that their influence is even growing, at least in local areas of the United States” (p. x). The influence of anti-evolutionists disturbs Dawkins greatly—so much so that he and his colleagues feel compelled to advance evolution, while doing “away with religion” (Brooks, 192[2578]:9).
Evolutionist Neil deGrasse Tyson of the Hayden Planetarium in New York “spoke with an evangelist’s zeal” (p. 10, emp. added). He referred to a recent poll taken of members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences which revealed that 15 percent did not indicate they were atheists, and asked: “How come the number isn’t zero?... That should be the subject of everybody’s investigation. That’s something that we can’t just sweep under the rug” (p. 10). To Tyson, theistic members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences represent “a problem that needs to be addressed” (p. 10). One wonders what Tyson would suggest if Louis Pasteur, Isaac Newton, Carolus Linnaeus, and other brilliant theistic scientists from the past were members of this group? Kick them out for not being atheists, even though their contributions to science likely far exceed any efforts put forth by most current members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences? Even the staunch evolutionist Niles Eldredge admitted that “all the great biologists and geologists prior to Darwin were, in some sense at least, creationists” (2001, p. 49).
Dr. Harry Kroto of Florida State University also stepped forward at the conference declaring himself “ready to fight the good fight” (Brooks, 192[2578]:11). He proposed the launching of “a coordinated global effort at education, media outreach and campaigning on behalf of science,” using especially the Internet to take evolutionary science into every home (p. 11). If you think students in private religious schools will be untouched and invulnerable to the efforts of modern-day evolutionists, consider that Kroto has these schools in his sights as well. He declared: “We must try to work against faith schooling” (p. 11).
Michael Brooks summarized the overall attitude at the La Jolla, California symposium in the following words: “science can take on religion and win” (p. 11, emp. added). So, in the words of Richard Dawkins, “We [evolutionists—EL/KB] should roll our sleeves up and get on with it” (p. 11).
The irony of this militant attitude toward religion is that evolutionists sometimes downplay such aggressive tactics in an attempt to lull the religious populace into thinking that no battle is taking place. Niles Eldredge, the Curator in the Department of Invertebrate Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History, wrote a book titled The Triumph of Evolution and the Failure of Creationism. In that book, he said: “Creationists have spuriously convinced many citizens that huge hunks of science are antithetical to their religious beliefs” (2001, p. 174). One would not have to read past the first page of Brook’s New Scientistarticle to understand that the evolutionists themselves openly admit that their atheistic, evolutionary beliefs are antithetical to religion. To add further irony to Eldredge’s statement, the back of his book quotesBooklist as saying that Eldredge’s book is “a clarion call rallying evolutionist [sic] to battle.”


In the mid-1990s, philosopher Daniel Dennett wrote a book titled Darwin’s Dangerous Idea. Leading evolutionists such as Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker, Philip Kitcher, and Edward O. Wilson highly recommended the book, calling it “surpassingly brilliant” and “essential,” as it persuades readers that “evolution by natural selection is vital to the future of philosophy.” One of the most disturbing comments in Dennett’s book concerned parents who teach their children (among other things) “that ‘Man’ is not a product of evolution” (1995, p. 519, emp. added). Dennett wrote: “[T]hose of us who have freedom of speech will feel free to describe your teachings as the spreading of falsehoods, and will attempt to demonstrate this to your children at our earliest opportunity” (p. 519). Notice the jab at religious parents—accusing them of lying and not “freely” telling the truth about man’s origins. More important, observe how he then proceeded to testify that evolutionists like himself will endeavor to convince the children of theists that evolution is not fiction, but a fact that will be communicated “at our earliest opportunity.” How early? Consider one example.
The toddler pop-up “history” book titled Life on Earth was published in 2002 by Barron’s Educational Series. It is 21 pages of colorful illustrations, captivating pop-ups, and evolutionary dogma. It tells the story of evolution with less than 10 words per page. Beginning with “the first living things” in the seas, it proceeds with fish crawling out onto land and becoming amphibians. It then tells of the reptiles’ appearance, followed by the mammals, and eventually the first “hairy” humans. In case a child misses the point of the book, placed strategically just above a baby in diapers sliding down the tail of a large dinosaur, the text on the back cover reinforces the main point: “Millions of years ago life on Earth started in the oceans. Then it moved onto the land and eventually led to YOU!”
Those who teach evolution target children. Niles Eldredge wrote: “I maintain my conviction that the realbattleground is in the classroom” (2001, p. 157, emp. added). In the same book, he asserted: “The realbattle is still being fought at school board meetings and in public school classrooms” (p. 149, emp. added). Notice the military terminology used. Mark it down. Many within the evolutionary community recognize that the ideas of a supernatural God and organic evolution are at war. Eldredge and others offer a glimpse into their battle strategy: start early in the school system.
Near the end of his book, Eldredge included a list from Eugenie Scott, Director of the National Center for Science Education, of 25 things “parents, teachers, and even scientists” can do to help evolution win its battle over creation. The number one item listed: “Donate books and videos about evolution to school and public libraries” (p. 178, emp. added). Number eight: “Share your views with school board members, legislators, textbook commissioners, and other educational policy makers” (p. 179, emp. added). Number 16: “PARENTS: Make sure your child’s teacher knows s/he has your support for teaching about evolution” (p. 179). Number 22: “K-12 TEACHERS: Work with your colleagues to create a supportive atmosphere in your school and community” (p. 180). Number 23: “K-12 TEACHERS: Work with colleagues to develop or publicize workshops and in-service units about evolution; take advantage of them yourself” (p. 180). A cursory reading of the list shows exactly the primary target of evolutionists: children and educational systems.
Dr. Dennett and his band of evolutionary guerrillas are serious about teaching evolution at the “earliest opportunity.” It can start with what parents perceive as “innocent” pop-up books, and continue into elementary school, middle school, and high school. Then, generally with more fervor than ever before, many evolutionary college professors make it their mission to verbally beat God out of their students. Sometime ago a gentleman visited one of our creation/evolution seminars. He had attended a well-known university in the southeastern United States. He recounted how he entered one of his science classes at the beginning of the semester, and heard his professor ask the class to stand up if they believed in God. Seven individuals stood up. The professor then went on to say that by the end of the semester not one of them would stand up when he asked that question. Sure enough, toward the end of the semester the professor posed the question again, “How many of you believe in God?” Only one student stood up.


If militant evolutionists have their way, what ultimately will become of nonconformists and disbelievers of evolutionary theory? Let us allow the evolutionists themselves to tell us. Richard Dickerson, a molecular biologist, wrote an article titled “The Game of Science.” In that article, he insisted that science cannot tolerate a supernatural Creator Who would perform miracles or create the Universe in six, 24-hour days. He also proposed that real science never can resort to invoking miracles as a legitimate explanation for anything that happens in the real world. Dickerson said: “[I]nvoking miracles and special creation violates the rules of the game of science and inhibits progress” (as quoted in Scott, 2004, p. 254). According to Dickerson, then, what should be done with any person who does believe in a supernatural Creator and a straightforward reading of Genesis 1? He is quick to offer his opinion. He says: “People who do not understand that concept (evolution—EL/KB) can never be real scientists, and should not be allowed to misrepresent science to young people from whom the ranks of the next generation of scientists will be drawn” (as quoted in Scott, p. 254, emp. added). Richard Dawkins quipped: “No serious biologist doubts the fact that evolution has happened, nor that all living creatures are cousins of one another” (1996, p. 287, emp.).
Consider one example of intolerance toward creationism in 2002 at Texas Tech University. When undergraduate student Micah Spradling requested a letter of recommendation from a biology instructor in order to enroll in a pre-medical program, Professor Michael Dini informed him that he needed to “‘truthfully and forthrightly’ believe in human evolution to receive a letter of recommendation” (see Kitchen, 2002). At the time, Dr. Dini’s Web site contained the following defense of why he asked students if they believed in the factuality of evolution:
Why do I ask this question? Let’s consider the situation of one wishing to enter medical school. Whereas medicine is historically rooted first in the practice of magic and later in religion, modern medicine is an endeavor that springs from the sciences, biology first among these. The central, unifying principle of biology is the theory of evolution, which includes both micro- and macro-evolution, and which extends to all species. How can someone who does not accept the most important theory in biology expect to properly practice in a field that is so heavily based on biology? It is hard to imagine how this can be so, but it is easy to imagine how physicians who ignore or neglect the Darwinian aspects of medicine or the evolutionary origin of humans can make bad clinical decisions....
Good medicine, like good biology, is based on the collection and evaluation of physical evidence. So much physical evidence supports the evolution of humans from non-human ancestors that one can validly refer to the “fact” of human evolution, even if all of the details are not yet known. One can deny this evidence only at the risk of calling into question one’s understanding of science and of the method of science. Such an individual has committed malpractice regarding the method of science, for good scientists would never throw out data that do not conform to their expectations or beliefs. This is the situation of those who deny the evolution of humans; such a one is throwing out information because it seems to contradict his/her cherished beliefs (as quoted in Thompson and Harrub, 2002).
In the eyes of some, such as Dr. Dini, it is no longer acceptable simply to know about the theory of evolution and be able to discuss it intelligently. Now, if you do not profess it, even though, admittedly, it is still simply a “theory” and “all of the details are not yet known,” you may risk the opportunity to further your education—a risk that Christians must be willing to take.
In 2003, following an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department, Dr. Dini supposedly “eliminated the evolution belief requirement from his recommendation policy and replaced it with a requirement that students be able to explain the theory of evolution” (Taylor, 2003, 27[4]:6). The wording in Dr. Dini’s policy changed to the following: “How do you account for the scientific origin of the human species? If you will not give a scientific answer to this question, then you should not seek my recommendation” (as quoted in Taylor, 27[4]:6, emp. added).
Notice that Dr. Dini simply changed his criteria to demand a “scientific” answer. Yet, when one explores the writings of these militant evolutionists, it becomes apparent that the word “scientific” is simply a synonym for “evolutionary.” For instance, Eugenie Scott wrote: “To scientists, using God to explain natural phenomena of any kind violates the practice of methodological naturalism, in which scientific explanations are limited only to natural causes” (2004, p. 119, emp. added). In other words, any idea that contains a hint of a supernatural, non-material Creator is, according to their definition, “unscientific.” In the National Academy of Science’s book Science and Creationism, the “steering committee” members, such as Stephen J. Gould, Eugenie Scott, Francisco Ayala, and others, put it like this: “[T]he teaching of evolution should be an integral part of science instruction, and creation science is in fact not science and should not be presented as such in science classes” (1999, p. 2). How convenient. Simply demand that all answers must be “scientific,” then define scientific as excluding any reference to a supernatural Creator. Needless to say, the great scientists of the past like Newton, Farraday, and Carver never would have accepted such a biased definition of science. Nor should thinking people today allow these sneaky, semantic tactics to go unchallenged and unanswered.
Ultimately, evolutionists would like to marginalize completely those who believe in a supernatural Creator. They would like to relegate all non-evolutionists to a tiny a band of “know-nothings,” or as Dawkins puts it, “backwoodsmen” who do not deserve the name “scientist” (1996, p. x). If these militant evolutionists have their way, no creationist will be allowed to enroll in the prestigious institutes of higher learning to earn advanced accredited degrees, much less have the opportunity to teach on college campuses. In the introduction to his 1996 edition of The Blind Watchmaker, Dawkins said as much: “I was reminded of the creationist student who, through some accident of the selection procedure, was admitted to the Zoology Department at Oxford University” (p. xi). To Dawkins, and others like him, a “properly” working selection procedure would have disallowed a creationist to enroll in an institute like Oxford, regardless of his or her intellectual accomplishments or abilities. Dawkins’ sentiments are clear from his statement in 1989: “It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid, or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that)” (7:34, parenthetical item in orig.). In contradistinction, the Bible says: “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1; 53:1).
The fact that these militant evolutionists want to silence the idea of creation is ironic in light of beliefs held by Darwin himself. In his book, Origin of the Species, Darwin wrote:
I am well aware that scarcely a single point is discussed in this volume on which facts cannot be adduced, apparently leading to conclusions directly opposite to those at which I have arrived. Afair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question... (1956, p. 18, emp. added).
Judging from the comments by Dawkins and others, Darwin’s suggestion that both sides should be heard was far too tolerant and soft on the “unscientific” idea of creation.


Highly acclaimed evolutionary scientists recognize that a war is going on—a war between atheistic evolutionary science and anti-evolutionary science. Evolutionists are ready to “get on with it” (Brooks, 192[2578]:11). They are speaking “with an evangelist’s zeal” and are “ready to fight the good fight” (pp. 10,11). Even now, they are attempting to position themselves to set evolution “in place of God” (p. 8).
Creationists must not shy away from this battle. We, too, must roll up our sleeves and heed the apostle Paul’s admonition to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12). We must strive to “speak the words of truth and reason” (Acts 26:25), and “be ready to give a defense to everyone” (1 Peter 3:15). Indeed, “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
What can creationists do? How can we fight against atheistic evolutionary science? If evolutionists have benefited from Eugenie Scott’s to-do list for the advancement of evolution, perhaps it is fitting to close this article with a list of suggestions for creationists in their fight against atheistic evolution.
  • Recognize that there is a battle over the most fundamental pillar of Christianity (the existence of God), and resolve to do something.
  • Begin teaching your children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, etc. the case for creation and the caseagainst evolution before they ever enter school. Then continue this instruction as they get older.
  • Encourage your children to ask questions about God, creation, and evolution. If you don’t answer their questions, someone will—and that someone probably will be an evolutionist.
  • Give your children (and yourself!) the tools needed to build a strong faith—one that is based on both reason and revelation.
  • Familiarize yourself with Web sites such as ApologeticsPress.org and ChristianCourier.com, which provide immediate answers to many of your questions. They also aid students with term papers, reports, speeches, etc.
[The final five suggestions are adapted from Eugenie Scott’s list (see Eldredge, 2001, pp. 178-180).]
  • Donate books and videos about creation to school and public libraries.
  • Make it a point to share your views about creation with school board members, legislators, textbook commissioners, and other educational policy makers.
  • Let your children’s teachers know that they have your support if they choose to teach about the errors and weaknesses of evolutionary theory.
  • Attempt to create an open-minded atmosphere in your school and community, so that creation and evolution can both be discussed.
  • Work with parents, teachers, churches, etc. to develop or publicize workshops or seminars about the errors of evolution and the evidence for God’s existence.


Brooks, Michael (2006), “In Place of God,” New Scientist, 192[2578]:8-11.
Darwin, Charles (1956 edition), The Origin of Species (New York: J.M. Dent & Sons).
Dawkins, Richard (1989), “Book Review,” The New York Times, section 7, April 9.
Dawkins, Richard (1996), The Blind Watchmaker (New York, NY: W.W. Norton).
Dennett, Daniel (1995), Darwin’s Dangerous Idea (New York, NY: Simon and Schuster).
Eldredge, Niles (2001), The Triumph of Evolution and the Failure of Creationism (New York, NY: W.H. Freeman).
Kitchen, Sebastian (2002), “Professor Rigid on Evolution,” Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, A-1,9, October 6.
Life on Earth (2002), (Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s Education Series).
Science and Creationism (1999), (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press), second edition.
Scott, Eugenie (2004), Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction (Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press).
Taylor, Larry (2003), “Biology Professor Alters Evolution Statement for Recommendations,” Skeptical Inquirer, 27[4]:6, July/August.
Thompson, Bert and Brad Harrub (2002), “Quick, Let’s Discriminate Against the Creationists!” [On-line],URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2504.

Intricate and Masterful Design of the Human Ear by Aaron R. Morrison, M.D.


 Intricate and Masterful Design of the Human Ear

by Aaron R. Morrison, M.D.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: One of the strengths of Apologetics Press for the past 28 years has been the way A.P. publications have reflected an accurate blending of science and Bible. Since the Creator produced both the Bible and the physical Universe, no contradiction between the two is possible. Yet much of the “science” being alleged today is pseudo-science rooted in evolutionary theory. And much of the “religion” being perpetrated today is pseudo-religion rooted in human theology. In reality, true science is in complete harmony with a correct interpretation of the teaching of the Bible.
Through all these years, A.P. has maintained its longstanding tradition of providing the public with cutting edge analysis of the central scientific and religious issues of the day. In that spirit, we are expanding our science department by building a team of scientists who are academically credentialed in their respective fields of scientific expertise. They are well-qualified to address matters of science as they relate to the overall creation/evolution controversy. Articles by these auxiliary staff scientists will be appearing both in Reason & Revelation as well as on the A.P.Web site.
With this issue of R&R, we provide our readers with the first of these articles written by one of our scientific writers. Dr. Morrison holds an M.D. from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine and is completing his residency in Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery.]
Have you ever escaped the haste of society and taken refuge on an ocean beach, lakeshore, or riverbank, and listened to the calming sound of the waves as they collapsed upon the shore? Have you been amazed at the powerful crash of thunder overhead during a thunderstorm? Do you enjoy listening to the peaceful and varied songs of nature’s winged vocalists? Do you ever take solace hearing the comforting words of a loving friend or family member?
The human hearing mechanism is tremendously complex and wonderfully designed. A brief look at the structure and function of the ear will, at a minimum, lead one to a greater appreciation for the complexity of the ear. More important, it should lead one to a greater appreciation for the One who is responsible for the intelligent design of the ear. For those who contend that organic evolution is responsible for the development of the human body (and nature in general), a closer look at this organ system ought to provoke reconsideration and an honest assessment of the impossibility of random events leading to such marvelous complexity.
The ear is divided into three parts: the external, middle, and inner divisions. The structures of the inner ear are responsible not only for sound processing, but also balance. First, let us identify the structures contained within each division of the ear; then we will examine how a sound wave travels through each portion of the ear and eventually is perceived as sound.


Figure 1: The Pinna
The external ear is composed of the pinna (auricle), the external auditory canal (EAC), or simply ear canal, and the outer layer of the tympanic membrane (TM), also known as the eardrum. [NOTE: The TM itself is composed of three layers: the outer squamous epithelial layer, the middle layer of tough connective tissue, and the inner layer of cuboidal epithelium.]
The pinna confers an acoustical advantage of approximately 2-5 decibels (dB) in humans (see Figure 1). The EAC serves not only to protect the middle ear but also enhances hearing by 5-10 dB at frequencies near 2000 Hertz (Hz) which are important frequencies for understanding human speech. The outer third of the EAC is surrounded by cartilage while the inner two-thirds are surrounded by bone.


The middle ear is composed of the middle and inner layers of theTM, the ossicles, also known as the malleus (or hammer), incus (or anvil), and stapes (or stirrup), the smallest bones in the human body (see Figure 2), the two smallest muscles in the body, the stapedius and tensor tympani, and the opening to the Eustachian tube.
Figure 2: The Ossicles
Together, the middle ear structures function as a transformer of sound energy from the air (in the EAC) to the fluids of the inner ear (cochlea). As sound waves contact the TM and create movement of the eardrum, the ossicles (malleus, incus, and stapes) are set in motion. The malleus is connected to the TM, while the incus is connected to the malleus, and also to the stapes. The stapes, in turn, is in contact with the oval window of the cochlea (see Figure 3). The stapes is the smallest ossicle and, interestingly, is of adult size and form at birth (Lee, 2003, p. 13). The stapes’ foot plate rests in the oval window of the cochlea and acts like a piston. Carefully note the beautiful design of this mechanism: as sound energy is collected over the relatively large surface area of the TM and concentrated on the small footplate of the stapes, the mechanical advantage results in an increased auditory sensitivity of approximately 24-25 decibels. An additional auditory advantage of 2-3 decibels is obtained by the lever action of the ossicles themselves, resulting in a total middle ear auditory advantage of approximately 27 decibels (Templer, et al., 1987, p. 21).
Middle Ear
Figure 3: The Middle Ear
Fig. 1,2,3 LifeArt image copyright 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
All rights reserved.
It is interesting to note that the two smallest muscles in the human body are located in the middle ear space. The smaller of these two muscles, the stapedius, is just over one millimeter in length. As its name suggests, it is attached to the stapes. What is the function of the smallest muscle in the body? When loud sounds are encountered (sounds louder than approximately 80 decibels), the stapedius contracts and holds the ossicular chain in a more rigid position in order to prevent excessive movement of the stapes (Calhoun, et al., 2001, p. 1624). This serves to buffer the intensity of sound wave transmission to the cochlea. If an individual develops paralysis of the stapedius, this buffering mechanism is lost and loud noises become deafening.
The stapedius plays a very important role in preserving our hearing. The “hair cells” in the cochlea (discussed below) are highly sensitive and repeated exposure to loud noises over time destroys hair cell function and is irreversible. Hearing loss is the unfortunate consequence of hair cell destruction. This is why otolaryngologists encourage everyone to use hearing protection when they are working around loud machinery or taking part in recreational activities that result in significant noise exposure (e.g., gunfire).
The second smallest muscle in the human body is the tensor tympani. Despite years of technical research and study, the role of this muscle is not fully understood. Among other functions, it has been credited with decreasing the amplitude of sound energy transmitted to the cochlea. However, acoustic reflex data has suggested that the tensor tympani does not normally respond to intense sounds (Calhoun, et al., 2001, p. 1624). The tensor tympani is connected to the malleus, the ossicle which itself is connected to the tympanic membrane. When the tensor tympani muscle contracts, it pulls on the malleus and tenses, or tightens, the tympanic membrane (hence the name, tensor tympani). This appears to dampen the vibrations of the eardrum and may indeed reduce the amount of energy carried along the ossicles to the cochlea.
Figure 4
Figure 4
The eustachian tube connects the middle ear with the nasopharynx (the area behind the nasal passages and above the oral cavity) and serves to equalize the middle ear pressure (see Figure 4). When individuals suffer from eustachian tube dysfunction (where the eustachian tube fails to open and close normally), there is development of excess negative pressure in the middle ear space. This leads to retraction of the tympanic membrane and decreased efficiency of the conductive mechanism that transmits sound from the eardrum to the cochlea (via the ossicles). The negative pressure also can lead to fluid accumulation in the middle ear space, which further impedes the conduction of sound energy. Children suffer from eustachian tube dysfunction more frequently than adults. Consequently, many children must undergo myringotomy (incision in the tympanic membrane) and placement of pressure equalization tubes (i.e., ear tubes) to relieve the negative middle ear pressure and allow drainage of fluid that may have collected in the middle ear space.


The internal ear is composed of the cochlea and the vestibular system. The vestibular system is composed of the semicircular canals, utricle, and saccule.


The cochlea is shaped like a snail, having approximately 2¾ turns, and is surrounded by the hardest bone in the human body. The cochlea is composed of three fluid-filled cavities that wind around the central portion of the cochlea, known as the modiolus (See Figure 5).
Inner ear
Figure 5: The Cochlea
LifeArt image copyright 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. All rights reserved.
These three fluid-filled cavities are known as scalae (from the Latin meaning “a stairway”)—the scala vestibuli, the scala media, and the scala tympani. The scala vestibuli and scala tympani are connected via a duct at the apex of the cochlea (the helicotremma). The scala media is suspended between the scala vestibuli and scala tympani. There are two different fluids that fill the scalae of the cochlea: perilymph and endolymph. The perilymph is contained within the two continuous scalae (i.e., the scala vestibuli and scala tympani). Perilymph is very similar in composition to extracellular fluid in the human body (high sodium concentration and low potassium concentration). Endolymph is contained within the scala media and is similar in composition to intracellular fluid (high potassium content and low sodium content) (Pasha, 2006, p. 302).
If you could enter the scala vestibuli at the base of the cochlea (through a structure known as the oval window) and “swim” upward through the perilymph in a curving fashion to the apex of the cochlea, you would cross over to the scala tympani at the helicotremma and follow the curve of the cochlea downhill through perilymph, exiting through a structure known as the round window (which is covered by a thin membrane). With this understanding of cochlear anatomy, perhaps it will be easier to appreciate the path of the fluid wave that passes through the cochlea when a sound wave contacts the TM and is conducted to the oval window via the ossicles. The stapes footplate (the oval-shaped bony portion of the stapes) rests in the oval window. The movement of the ossicles and piston-like action of the stapes creates a fluid wave in the scala vestibuli. The fluid wave then travels through the scala media (which contains endolymph and is suspended between the scala vestibuli and scala tympani) and then to the scala tympani. Further discussion of cochlear anatomy is necessary to understand what happens next.
The scala media is bounded by Reissner’s membrane (upper border) and the basilar membrane (lower border). The organ of Corti (the sensory end organ for hearing) rests on the basilar membrane. The organ of Corti has special “hair cells” that rise to terminate in (or near) the tectorial membrane. There are approximately 30,000 hair cells in the cochlea (Whitehead, 2006). As the fluid wave causes vibration of the scala media, the motion of the hair cells leads to stimulation of nerve cells at the base of each hair cell. There are approximately 30,000 neurons (nerve cells) that connect these hair cells to the brain (Calhoun, 2001, p. 1631). This neural signal is communicated along the cochlear division of the vestibulocochlear nerve to the brain, where further processing takes place.
As the stapes moves inward and outward in the oval window (like a piston), a wave is created in the fluids of the inner ear (the perilymph and endolymph). This wave travels from the base of the cochlea to the apex. The wave ultimately leads to hair cell motion in the organ of Corti. The mechanical properties of the basilar membrane determine the distance that the wave travels toward the apex of the cochlea. The traveling wave activity for high-frequency sounds is more pronounced at the base of the cochlea, whereas wave activity at the apex of the cochlea is more pronounced with low-frequency sounds.
Thus, the cochlea is said to be tonontopically organized, i.e., because high frequency sounds correspond with the mechanical movement of the basilar membrane at the base of the cochlea and low frequency sounds are associated with movement of the basilar membrane at the apex of the cochlea (Templer, et al., 1987, p. 14). The cochlea also performs place analysis because of the spatial representation of frequency information (p. 14). Additionally, the traveling wave results in frequency information which is encoded by the rate of neuron (nerve cell) firing. Individual nerve cells may fire at rates up to (and beyond) 1000 times per second (p. 14). It is interesting to note that when single fibers of the cochlear nerve are studied, each neuron is specifically tuned to be activated with a low threshold at a characteristic frequency. Once again, the characteristic frequency of a nerve fiber is determined by the place of attachment to the cochlea, i.e, the low frequency fibers terminate in the apex of the cochlea while the high frequency fibers terminate in the base of the cochlea (p. 15). As one author has observed: “[T]he ear has the capability to encode acoustic signals on an array of neurons that carry frequency specific information. The resolving power of the cochlea enables extraordinary discrimination among complex signals” (p. 15, emp. added).
Note how the ear converts sound wave energy into mechanical energy as sound travels through theEAC, contacts the TM, and sets the ossicles in motion. Mechanical energy is then converted into hydraulic energy when the stapes creates a fluid wave in the cochlea. Finally, the hydraulic energy is converted intoelectrical (neural) energy with movement of the hair cells in the cochlea. Ultimately, this neural energy is transmitted along the vestibulocochlear nerve and interpreted by the brain as sound. Such sophistication and complexity simply could not have evolved.


As noted earlier, the vestibular system is also contained within the internal ear. The vestibular system includes the semicircular canals, which detect rotational acceleration and play a large role in maintaining balance (Pasha, 2006, p. 302). Also within the vestibular system are the utricle and saccule (see Figure 6), which detect linear acceleration and changes in gravity, and therefore also play a significant role in maintaining balance (p. 303). Disruptions in the function of the vestibular system can lead to debilitating symptoms of vertigo, imbalance, nausea, and vomiting.
Figure 6
Figure 6


The information collected in the cochlea and vestibule is then transmitted to the brain in the form of electrical signals (via the eighth cranial nerve, also known as the vestibulocochlear nerve). This nerve passes through the internal auditory canal, and the cochlear division of the nerve proceeds to an area in the brain known as the cochlear nucleus. The vestibular portion of the nerve travels to the vestibular nuclei.
Review of the pathways that the electrical signals navigate in the brain is beyond the scope of this article. The continued complexity of the signal transduction and processing in the brain is a separate study that further illustrates the amazing design in the hearing mechanism. The brain processes and interprets the information from the cochlear nerve, enabling us to understand speech, enjoy the relaxing sound of the waves on the seashore, or recognize warning signals such as a siren or fire alarm. The brain interprets the information that is transmitted via the vestibular nerve, allowing the body to maintain balance. As long as the vestibular system is free of any pathological condition, our body’s inner ear recognizes rotational and linear acceleration as well as the effects of gravity and processes this information in a seamless manner, allowing us to move about without giving a thought to balance. Truly,
[t]he human ear is a rather wondrous instrument. It is composed of tens of thousands of component parts, can work quite flawlessly from well before we are born to more than a century of age, and is capable of performing extremely sophisticated auditory tasks. And, it works 24 hours a day! (Whitehead, 2006).


This brief examination of the marvelous mechanism of hearing should lead to a greater appreciation for our Creator as well as His creation, and serve as a reminder that our spiritual “ears” must be attuned to hearing the Lord’s teaching and instruction (Matthew 11:15; 13:9,43). Of course, those who are physically deaf can still “hear” the Lord by reading and understanding the inspired Scriptures. In Proverbs 18:15, the author writes: “The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” Jesus made it clear that if we suffer from spiritual hearing loss, we will be unable to enjoy the blessings that are found in Him: “For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed...lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them” (Matthew 13:15, emp. added). Jesus went on to say: “But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it” (Matthew 13:16-17).
The apostle Paul also discussed the topic of hearing. He warned Timothy of individuals who desire to hear false doctrine rather than the sound teaching of our Lord and Savior: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4). We must attune our ears to listen intently to God’s Word alone and not be turned aside to the teachings or creeds of man. In doing so, we have the reassurance that we can overcome and partake of the tree of life: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7).
Certainly, the wonderful structure, function, and complexity of the human ear is evidence of the Mighty Creator, the Designer not only of the ear, but the heavens and the Earth as well (“God, who made the world and everything in it...,” Acts 17:24). David certainly appreciated God’s design of the human body when he declared: “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). Indeed, “[i]f we had no other piece of evidence in the Universe to study, the human ear would be sufficient proof of the existence of the Creator” (Miller, 2006, 12:91).
While it is interesting to learn of the intricate detail and divine design used in creating the human ear, infinitely more wonderful is the knowledge (through the Scriptures) that the Creator’s ear is open to the petitions of His children: “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (1 Peter 3:12). May we stand in awe of the matchless Creator, the Redeemer of mankind, and listen to His inspired Word, knowing that His ears are open to our prayers if we walk according to His will.


Bailey, Byron, et al. (2001), Head & Neck Surgery—Otolaryngology (Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins).
Lee, K.J. (2003), Essential Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery (New York: McGraw-Hill).
Miller, Dave (2006), “Listen For Design,” Discovery, 12:91, December.
Pasha, Raza (2006), Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Clinical Reference Guide (San Diego, CA: Plural Publishing).
Templer, Jerry, et al. (1987), Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery: Principles & Concepts (St. Louis, MO: Ishiyaku EuroAmerica).
Whitehead, Gordon (2006), “A Brief Journey Through the Ear,” [On-line], URL: http://www.digital-recordings.com/audiocd/journey.html#eighth.

Inspired Writers and Competent Copyists by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Inspired Writers and Competent Copyists

If you were to open your Bible and read Mark 14:16, you would learn that Jesus’ disciples went into Jerusalem to prepare the final Passover meal before His crucifixion. The wording of the verse is as follows: “So His disciples went out, and came into the city, and found it just as He had said to them; and they prepared the Passover” (emp. added). The highlighted conjunction “and” (kai in Greek) is found in the Greek manuscripts of Mark. It also appears in most English translations of the Bible. However, in one particular copy of the Bible that I possess, the stem of the “d” in “and” is missing, causing the word to be misspelled: “So His disciples went out, ano came into the city...” (emp. added).
Most people who read Jesus’ parable of the Wedding Feast (Matthew 22:1-14) learn of the king asking one particular attendee a very specific question: “Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?” (vs. 12, emp. added). A colleague of mine has a reliable translation of the Bible that words Jesus’ question as follows: “Friend, now did you come in here without a wedding garment?” Obviously, the “now” should be “how” (Greek pos). Similar to how the “d” in “and” was skewed so as to look more like an “o”, the “h” in “how” lost its stem, causing it to look more like an “n.” Question: Whose fault is it that “and” has been incorrectly printed as “ano,” and “how” has been copied errantly as “now”?
Surely no one would blame such errors in a modern English copy of the Bible on God or His inspired penmen (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21). Almost everyone recognizes that publishing companies are responsible for such minute mistakes. Although the accurate reproduction of books nearly has been perfected during the past few centuries (thanks in large part to the invention of the printing press), still, for various reasons, slight errors can creep onto the printed page. God did not intervene and miraculously keep the aforementioned errors from appearing in copies of His Word. Instead, He gave humankind the ability and resources to understand that such errors can be resolved rationally without assuming the inspired writers erred. We know that “ano” should be “and” in Mark 14:16 and “now” should be “how” in Matthew 22:12 partly because millions of other copies of the Bible (in both English and Greek) have the correct words “and” (kai) and “how” (pos), and also because we easily can see how a printing press might occasionally leave off the stems of certain letters.


One of the most popular books of the 21st century has been Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code. Since 2003, some 50 million copies of this book have been sold worldwide (“The Official...,” n.d.). Imagine for a moment the potential differences in the millions of copies of The Da Vinci Code if, instead of being printed on a press, they all were reproduced by hand. No doubt, many copyists’ errors would have been made. Occasionally, names would have been misspelled, numbers would have been inverted, and there would have been the occasional duplication or omission of words or entire lines. However, if several million copies of The Da Vinci Code were retrieved from all over the world, and then compared, contrasted, and critiqued by hundreds of scholars over several decades in an effort to recover the precise wording of Dan Brown’s original manuscript, the text, in effect, would be restored to its original condition. Most copyists’ errors would be weeded out. Through textual criticism, the text of The Da Vinci Code eventually would be restored.
Whether one is referring to secular works or the Bible, prior to the invention of the printing press, copies of books were made by hand, and thus were susceptible to errors. In the 19th century, respected Christian scholar J.W. McGarvey noted: “There is not a writing of antiquity which has come down to our age without many such changes” (1886, 1:7-8). In fact, “[a] large part of the labor of the editors of Greek and Latin classics consists in correcting as best they can the erroneous readings thus introduced into these works” (McGarvey, 1:8). Take, for instance, the comedies of Terence (c. 190-158 B.C.). Seventeenth-century English scholar Richard Bentley noted how Terence’s works were some of the better preserved classical texts, yet Bentley testified that he had witnessed “twenty thousand various lections [readings—EL] in that little author, not near so big as the whole New Testament” (as quoted in “The Text...,” 1822, 15(37):476; see also McGarvey, 1886, 1:8). Consider also the writings of Tacitus. They are known to contain at least one numerical error that Tacitean and classical scholars have acknowledged as a copyist’s mistake (Holding, 2001). Scholars recognize that, at some point in history, a copyist accidentally changed a number (from CXXV to XXV). Although such copyists’ errors are known to exist, historians around the world cite such ancient works as Herodotus, Josephus, Pliny, Tacitus, Suetonius, etc., and consider them trustworthy, educational, and worthy of study.
If scholars defend the integrity of ancient authors partly by acknowledging that many of the mistakes contained within their writings are the result of copyists’ errors, it is only reasonable for these same scholars (whether atheists, agnostics, skeptics, or Christians) to recognize that alleged problems within the biblical text may be the result of scribal errors rather than mistakes on the part of one or more of the original Bible writers. Just as those who copied secular historical documents sometimes made mistakes (e.g., misspelling names, omitting words, etc.), scribes who copied the Bible from earlier texts also had the opportunity to err. As Gleason Archer observed: “Even the earliest and best manuscripts that we possess are not totally free of transmissional errors. Numbers are occasionally miscopied, the spelling of proper names is occasionally garbled, and there are examples of the same types of scribal error that appear in other ancient documents as well” (1982, p. 27).
Norman Geisler and William Nix have mentioned several ways that a scribe might accidentally change the biblical text, including: (1) omissions or repetitions of letters, words, or lines; (2) reversals (transpositions) of letters or words; (3) divisions of words in the wrong places (since words in the early manuscripts were not divided by spaces); (4) errors of hearing (such as when scribes copied the Scriptures by listening to someone read them); (5) trusting in memory instead of relying on exactly what the text says; (6) errors of judgment (possibly caused by insufficient lighting or poor eyesight); (7) poor penmanship; etc. (1986, pp. 469-475). Recently, I wrote a note asking an assistant to send a package to a Mrs. Ward. Unfortunately, the package got mislabeled “Mrs. Word,” either because my handwriting was too poor to distinguish adequately between an “a” and an “o,” or the assistant simply misread the name. This example shows how easily copyists’ mistakes can occur, even in modern times.
How many Bible students have memorized passages of Scripture and quoted them for months or even years without realizing that at some point in time they mistakenly changed, added, or omitted a word from the text. I once memorized 2 Peter 3:9 (“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness...,” emp. added), only to find, several years later, that at some point I had incorrectly made “promise” plural, and had quoted it that way for months. One of the occasional mistakes copyists made was to trust too much in their own memory. Instead of carefully noting every letter in every word on every line, some copyists might have memorized too much at a time without looking back at the text. Keep in mind that scribes did not have computer keys that made the same letters every time, or that allowed them to copy and paste a paragraph of text with the push of a few buttons. Copying the Bible in ancient times was a painstaking, tedious job that required constant attention and care even in the best of circumstances.


Luke 3:36 is the only verse in the Bible where one can read of the patriarch Arphaxad having a son named Cainan. Although another Cainan (the son of Enosh) is mentioned seven times in Scripture (Genesis 5:9-10,12-14; 1 Chronicles 1:2; Luke 3:37), outside of Luke 3:36, Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, never is mentioned. He is omitted in the genealogies of Genesis 10 and 11, as well as in the genealogy of 1 Chronicles 1:1-28. When the son of Arphaxad is listed in these genealogies, the name always given is Salah (or Shelah), not Cainan.
One important thing we learn from the various genealogies in Scripture is that sometimes they contain minor gaps—gaps that are both intentional and legitimate (see Matthew 1:1; see also Thompson, 1989, 9[5]:17-18). Thus, just because Luke 3 contains a name that is not recorded in Genesis 10 or 11, or in 1 Chronicles 1, does not have to mean that someone made a mistake. The fact is, terms such as “begot,” “the son of,” and “father”—often found in genealogies—occasionally have a much wider connotation in the Bible than might be implied when such words are used in modern-day English (cf. Genesis 32:9; John 8:39). Simply because one genealogy has more (or fewer) names than another genealogy, does not mean that the two genealogies are in disagreement.
Still, the insertion of the name Cainan in Luke 3:36 most likely has a far different explanation—one that may be more plausible, yet at the same time is more complicated to explain, and thus less popular. It is very likely that the “Cainan problem” is the result of a scribal error made when copying Luke’s gospel account.
Realizing that the New Testament originally was written in Greek without punctuation or spaces between words, the insertion of the name Cainan easily could have crept into Luke’s genealogy. Notice in the following chart, what the original text (in agreement with Genesis 10:24, 11:12, and 1 Chronicles 1:18,24) might have said:
If a scribe happened to glance at the end of the third line at toukainan, he easily could have written it on the first line as well as the third. Hence, instead of reading only one Cainan, what we read today is two Cainans:
As you can see, it would be easy for a weary scribe to copy “Cainan” inadvertently from Luke 3:37 as he was copying 3:36 (see Sarfati, 1998, 12[1]:39-40; Morris, 1976, p. 282).
Although some apologists reject the idea that the insertion of Cainan in Luke 3:36 is a copyist’s error, the following facts seem to add much credence to this proposed explanation.
  • As stated earlier, this part of Luke’s genealogy also is recorded in Genesis 10:24, 11:12, and in 1 Chronicles 1:18,24. All of these Old Testament passages, however, omit the Cainan of Luke 3:36. In fact, Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, is not found in any Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament.
  • Cainan is omitted from all of the following ancient versions of the Old Testament: the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Syriac, the Targum (Aramaic translations of the Old Testament), and the Vulgate (a Latin translation of the Bible completed between A.D. 382 and 405) (see Hasel, 1980, 7(1):23-37).
  • Cainan’s name is absent from Flavius Josephus’ patriarchal listing in his historical work, Antiquities of the Jews (see 6:1:4-5).
  • The third-century Christian historian, Julius Africanus, also omitted Cainan’s name from his chronology of the patriarchs, and yet he had copies of the gospels of both Luke and Matthew (1971, 6:125-140).
  • The earliest known copy of Luke (a papyrus codex of the Bodmer Collection dated between A.D. 175 and 225) does not contain this Cainan (see Sarfati, n.d.).
This manuscript of a portion of Matthew dates to about A.D. 350.
Credit: The Schøyen Collection MS 2650
Some are quick to point out that the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament) mentions the name Cainan, and thus verifies that he was the son of Arphaxad, just as Luke 3:36 indicates. The problem with this line of defense is that theoldest Septuagint manuscripts do not include this reference to Cainan (Sarfati, 1998, 12[1]:40). Patrick Fairbairn indicated in his Bible encyclopedia that this Cainan does “not appear to have been in the copies of the Septuagint used by Theophilus of Antioch in the second century, by Africanus in the third, or by Eusebius in the fourth” (1957, 2:351). He further stated that this Cainan also was left out of the Vatican copy of the Septuagint (2:351). That “Cainan” was a later addition to the Septuagint (and not a part of it originally) also is evident from the fact that neither Josephus nor Africanus mentioned him, and yet all indications are that they both used the Septuagint in their writings. They repeat too many of the same numbers of the Septuagint not to have used it. Thus, Larry Pierce stated: “It appears that at the time of Josephus, the extra generation of Cainan was not in the LXX [Septuagint—EL] text or the document that Josephus used, otherwise Josephus would have included it!” (1999, 13[2]:76). As Henry Morris concluded in his commentary on Genesis: “[I]t is altogether possible that later copiers of the Septuagint (who were not as meticulous as those who copied the Hebrew text) inserted Cainan into their manuscripts on the basis of certain copies of Luke’s Gospel to which they then had access” (1976, p. 282, parenthetical comment in orig.). Although it is possible that “Cainan” in Luke 3:36 merely supplements the Old Testament genealogies, when all of the evidence is gathered, a better explanation is that the name Cainan in Luke 3:36 is the result of a copyist’s error.


Jehoiachin’s Age When He Began to Reign

In 2 Kings 24:8, we read that Jehoiachin succeeded his father as the 19th king of Judah at the age ofeighteen. However, 2 Chronicles 36:9 informs us that he was “eight years old when he became king.” Fortunately, there is enough additional information in the biblical text to prove the correct age of Jehoiachin when he began his reign over Judah.
There is little doubt that Jehoiachin began his reign at eighteen, not eight years of age. This conclusion is established by Ezekiel 19:5-9, where Jehoiachin is described as going up and down among the lions, catching the prey, devouring men, and knowing the widows of the men he devoured and the cities he wasted. As Keil and Delitzsch observed when commenting on this passage: “The knowing of widows cannot apply to a boy of eight, but might well be said of a young man of eighteen” (1996). Furthermore, it is doubtful that an eight-year-old child would be described as one having done “evil in the sight of the Lord” (2 Kings 24:9).
The simple answer to this “problem” is that a copyist, not an inspired writer, made a mistake. A scribe simply omitted a ten (the Hebrew numeral letter ח [yod], which made Jehoiachin eight (Hebrew י) [heth]) instead of eighteen (Hebrew יח). This does not mean the inspired penmen erred. Rather, it indicates that minor scribal errors have slipped into some copies of the Bible. Indeed, if you ever have seen the Hebrew alphabet, you doubtless recognize that the Hebrew letters (which also were used for numbers) could be confused quite easily.

The Spelling of Hadadezer

Should the king’s name be spelled with a “d” (2 Samuel 8:3; 1 Kings 11:23) or an “r” (2 Samuel 10:16; 1 Chronicles 18:3; KJV and ASV)? It would appear that the difference in spelling came about through the mistake of a scribe. Most likely Hadadezer (with a “d”) is the true form since, “Hadad was the chief idol, or sun-god, of the Syrians” (Barnes, 1997; cf. Benhadad and Hadad of 1 Kings 15:18; 11:14; etc.). As William Arndt stated, “D and R may be distinct enough in appearance in English, but in Hebrew they are vexingly similar to each other” (1955, p. xv). The Hebrew daleth = ד, while resh = ר. There should be little doubt in our minds that Hadarezer simply is a corrupted form of Hadadezer. One can see how easily a copyist could have made this mistake.

When Did Absalom Commit Treason?

When David’s son Absalom finally returned after killing his half-brother Amnon, 2 Samuel 15:7 indicates that “after forty years” passed, Absalom left home again and committed treason. Anyone who knows much Israelite history quickly realizes that Absalom most certainly did not spend 40 years at home during this time, for David’s entire reign was only 40 years (2 Samuel 5:4). The number given in 2 Samuel 15:7 likely should be four years, which is more in keeping with the lifetime of Absalom, who was born in Hebron after David’s reign as king began (2 Samuel 3:3). The number “four” also agrees with such ancient versions as the Septuagint, the Syriac, the Arabic, and the Vulgate. There is little question that the number “forty” represents a copyist error.


Although scribes are mentioned in the Bible as far back as 1000 B.C. (e.g., Samuel 8:17), history records three general periods of Jewish scribal tradition: (1) the period of Sopherim (from Ezra until c. A.D. 200); (2) the Talmudic period (A.D. 100–c. 500); and (3) the period of the Massoretes (c. 500–c. 950) (Geisler and Nix, 1986, p. 502). Jewish copyists were aware of the importance of their work and took it very seriously. They were not flawless in their transcription work (as noted above), but the evidence shows that they were very conscientious. Infinitely more important than students copying spelling words, cooks copying recipes, or secretaries copying a boss’s memo, scribes understood that they were copying the Word of God. Even the important work of medical transcriptionists cannot compare with the copyists of old. McGarvey noted how copyists in the Talmudic period “adopted for themselves very minute regulations to preserve the purity of the sacred text” (1886, 1:9). Later, the Massoretes took even more stringent steps to insure top-quality manuscripts. With a deep reverence for the Scriptures, they went above and beyond the “call of duty,” laboring under ultra-strict rules in order to make the most accurate copies possible. In hisIntroduction to the Old Testament, Professor R.K. Harrison addressed the approach of the Massoretes to the Scriptures and their professionalism, saying:
They concerned themselves with the transmission of the consonantal text as they had received it [Hebrew has no vowels—EL], as well as with its pronunciation, on the basis that the text itself was inviolable and every consonant sacred.
The detailed statistical work that the Massoretes undertook on each book included the counting of verses, words, and letters, establishing the middle of the book (a procedure which was useful in the case of bifid, or two-part, compositions) noting peculiarities of style, and other similar matters (1969, pp. 212-213, parenthetical item in orig.).
By taking such precautions in the copying of letters, words, and verses (by sections and books), it could be known if a word or letter had been omitted or added. Indeed, as Eddie Hendrix affirmed: “Such minute checks contributed to a high degree of copying accuracy” (1976, 93[14]:5). No other group of ancient copyists is more renowned than those of the Old Testament.
Although much less is known about New Testament copyists, according to Philip Comfort, who wrote The Quest for the Original Text of the New Testament, paleographic evidence has revealed that “several of the early manuscripts were copied carefully with precision and acumen...,” no doubt “by educated and professional scribes” (1992, p. 51,50). New Testament copyists also had grave motivation to copy the Scriptures with care. Although not typically quoted with copyists in mind, consider the words of Revelation 22:18-19:
For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
In the second century A.D., Irenaeus applied this condemnation to copyists who knowingly contribute to the initiation and perpetuation of textual errors (5:30:1). Undoubtedly, due to the grace of God and the conscientiousness of copyists, “[t]he New Testament...has not only survived in more manuscripts than any other book from antiquity, but it has survived in purer form than any other great book” (Geisler and Nix, p. 475).


Some may wonder how Christians can be confident that we have God’s Word today, when the original manuscripts (called autographs) are no longer available for our viewing. How can one know the Truth, if the Truth comes from copies of copies of copies...of the autographs, many of which contain various minute transcriptional errors? Should we simply give up and declare that attempts at finding the Truth are futile?
It is highly unreasonable to think that truths can be learned only from autographs. Learning and forming beliefs based on reliable copies of various written documents, objects, etc. is a way of life. To conclude that a driver in a particular state could not learn to drive adequately without having in hand the original driving manual produced by the state years earlier is absurd. To assert that no one could measure the length of one yard without having the standard yard in hand from the National Institute of Standards and Technology is ridiculous. Even if the standard yard was lost, the millions of copies of the yard in existence today would be sufficient in finding (or measuring) exactly what a yard is. Consider also McGarvey’s example of an autograph, which eventually was destroyed.
A gentleman left a large estate entailed to his descendants of the third generation, and it was not to be divided until a majority of them should be of age. During the interval many copies of the will were circulated among parties interested, many of these being copies of copies. In the meantime the office of record in which the original was filed was burned with all its contents. When the time for division drew near, a prying attorney gave out among the heirs the report that no two existing copies were alike. This alarmed them all and set them busily at work to ascertain the truth of the report. On comparing copy with copy they found the report true, but on close inspection it was discovered that the differences consisted in errors in spelling or grammatical construction; some mistakes in figures corrected by the written numbers; and some other differences not easily accounted for; but that in none of the copies did these mistakes affect the rights of the heirs. In the essential matters for which the will was written the representations of all the copies were precisely the same. The result was that they divided the estate with perfect satisfaction to all, and they were more certain that they had executed the will of their grandfather than if the original copy had been alone preserved; for it might have been tampered with in the interest of a single heir; but the copies, defective though they were, could not have been (1:17).
Everyday, all around the world, individuals, groups, businesses, schools, etc. operate with the conviction that autographs are unnecessary to learn the truths within them. Copies of wills, articles, books, etc., can be gathered, inspected, and scrutinized until new copies are published that virtually are identical to the original. “[A]ccurate communication is possible despite technical mistakes in copying” (Archer, 1982, p. 29). So it is with the Bible. Even though copyists were imperfect in their transcription work, more than enough copies of the Scriptures have survived so that, as Sir Fredric Kenyon remarked, “it is practically certain that the true reading of every doubtful passage is preserved in some one or other of these ancient authorities. This can be said of no other ancient book in the world!” (as quoted in Lightfoot, 2003, p. 204).


The Old Testament

The Dead Sea Scrolls make up one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all times. In 1947, a number of ancient documents were found by accident in a cave on the northwest side of the Dead Sea. This collection of documents, which has become known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, was comprised of old leather and papyrus scrolls and fragments that had been rolled up in earthen jars for centuries. From 1949 to 1956, hundreds of Hebrew and Aramaic manuscripts and a few Greek fragments were found in surrounding caves, and are believed by scholars to have been written between 200 B.C. and the first half of the first century A.D. Some of the manuscripts were of Jewish apocryphal and pseudepigraphal writings (e.g., 1 Enoch, Tobit, and Jubilees); others often are grouped together as “ascetic” writings (miscellaneous books of rules, poetry, commentary, etc.). The most notable and pertinent group of documents found in the caves of Qumran near the Dead Sea is the collection of Old Testament books. Every book from the Hebrew Bible was accounted for among the scrolls except the book of Esther.
One of the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered
The Dead Sea Scrolls serve as strong evidence for the integrity of the Old Testament text. Prior to 1947, the earliest known Old Testament manuscripts went back only to about A.D. 1000. With the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Bible scholars have been able to compare the present day text with the text from more than 2,000 years ago. Textual critics have found that these ancient copies of Old Testament books are amazingly similar to the Massoretic text. Indeed, they serve as proof that the Old Testament text has been transmitted faithfully through the centuries. As Rene Paché concluded: “Since it can be demonstrated that the text of the Old Testament was accurately transmitted for the last 2,000 years, one may reasonably suppose that it had been so transmitted from the beginning” (1971, p. 191). What’s more, if copies of the Old Testament in the first century were sufficiently accurate for Jesus and the apostles to quote them and teach from them, and we possess Old Testament manuscripts that date back to (or before) the time of Christ, then Christians should feel extremely confident about the condition of the Old Testament in the 21st century—at least as confident as was Jesus (cf. Matthew 22:31).

The New Testament

How confident can Christians be that the text of the New Testament is essentially the same today as it was in the first century? Could it be that one of the central tenets of Christianity (e.g., Jesus’ deity) is the result of a person’s manipulation of the New Testament text centuries ago, as is alleged in Dan Brown’s novelThe Da Vinci Code (2003, pp. 233-234)? Did someone come along in the Middle Ages and drastically change the text of the New Testament? Just what evidence do we have for the reliability of the New Testament?
Twenty-first-century Christians can be confident that the New Testament has been transmitted faithfully through the centuries in large part because of the vast amount of manuscript evidence in existence today, some of which goes back to the early second century A.D. When F.F. Bruce published the sixth edition of his classic book The New Testament Documents—Are They Reliable? in 1981, he noted that “there are in existence over 5,000 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament in whole or in part” (p. 10). Nearly 25 years later, Michael Welte of the Institute for New Testament Textual Research in Munster, Germany, indicated that the number of Greek manuscripts stood at 5,748 (2005). This number represents a far greater body of manuscripts than is known to exist for any other ancient volume (cf. Westcott and Hort, 1964, p. 565; Ewert, 1983, p. 139; Kenyon, 1951, p. 5). For example, The Histories of Herodotus, Caesar’s Gallic Wars, and the Annals of Tacitus, three well-known and oft’-quoted ancient historical works, are backed by a combined total of 38 manuscripts (Geisler and Nix, p. 408). The most documented book of antiquity next to the New Testament is Homer’s Iliad. Some 643 manuscripts of the Iliad are in existence today (p. 475), which is still 5,000 less than the number of extant copies of the New Testament.
Old, worn page of a papyrus document
Equally impressive as the number of manuscripts of the New Testament in existence is the age of the manuscripts. Whereas the extant copies of Plato, Thucydides, Herodotus, Tacitus, and many others are separated from the time these men wrote by 1,000 years, manuscript evidence for the New Testament reaches as far back as the early second century, and possibly earlier. In The Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts, a 700-page volume edited by Philip Comfort and David Barrett, more than 60 of the earliest Greek New Testament manuscripts are transcribed (2001). Many photographs of these early manuscripts (the originals of which are housed in museums throughout the world) also are contained in the book. In the introduction, Comfort and Barrett state: “All of the manuscripts [contained in the book—EL] are dated from the early second century to the beginning of the fourth (A.D.100-300)” (p. 17). In fact, “[s]everal of the most significant papyri date from the middle of the second century” and thus “provide the earliest direct witness to the New Testament autographs” (p. 18). They even suggest that “it is possible that some of the manuscripts thought to be of the early second century are actually manuscripts of the late first” (p. 23). Thus, we can have great confidence in the transmission of the New Testament, not only because of the great number of extant copies, but because of how closely these manuscripts date to the time when the autographs were written.
But, that’s not all. To the manuscript evidence, one also can add the ancient versions of the New Testament (e.g., Old Syriac, Old Latin, Coptic, etc.), as well as the “more than 36,000 patristic citations containing almost every verse of the New Testament” (Geisler and Nix, p. 467). Non-inspired Christian writings from the first few centuries (by men such as Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and many others) are saturated with quotations from the New Testament apostles and prophets. “Indeed, so extensive are these citations,” wrote the eminent New Testament scholar Bruce Metzger, “that if all other sources for our knowledge of the text of the New Testament were destroyed, they would be sufficient alone in reconstructing practically the entire New Testament” (1968, p. 86). These witnesses, along with the ancient versions, speak voluminously on behalf of the integrity of the Bible’s transmission.
Is there ample evidence from surviving manuscripts, versions, and early quotations of the New Testament documents that indicates the New Testament is essentially the same today as it was in the first century? Most certainly. The former director of the British Museum, Sir Frederic Kenyon, summed up the matter: “The Christian can take the whole Bible in his hand and say without fear or hesitation that he holds in it the true word of God, handed down without essential loss from generation to generation throughout the centuries” (as quoted in Lightfoot, 2003, p. 126).


Considering the potential over the past 1,900 years for the text of the Bible to be grossly corrupted, and the fact that such did not occur, Christians can be confident that God, though not inspiring the copyists in their transmission of His Word, used them in His providential preservation of it. Isaiah assured his listeners 2,700 years ago of the permanence of God’s Word, saying, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:6). Then, after more than seven centuries of transmission, the apostle Peter echoed Isaiah’s sentiments, describing the Word of God as “incorruptible,” and that which “lives and abides forever” (1 Peter 1:23-25).


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