Credit to Islam for Scientific Revolution? What about Christianity?

The following post is from a colleague of mine at Reasons To Believe:

I was looking at the claim that Islamic apologists are making that a Muslim named Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥasan ibn al-Ḥasan ibn al-Ḥaytham (965 – c. 1040 CE) (see invented the scientific method today and that it’s Islam which is actually responsible for the rise of modern science in the world. Continue reading “Credit to Islam for Scientific Revolution? What about Christianity?”

DNA as Language – Evidence of Intelligent Design?

ASCII – American Standard Code for Information Interchange

Binary code language is any “alphabet” made up of only 2 letters. Such systems date back to at least 1679 when a french mathematician by the name of Gottfried Leibniz discovered that using the numbers 1 and 0 could create a mathematical language able to store any amount of information. In our modern day world of computers and software programs, this exact same system is used. The 1’s and 0’s in our hard drives store pictures, videos, text and allow us to Skype each other around the world and play live action video games. This uber-fast and hyper-dense world of information is predicated on the simple but powerful system known as binary code language.

After Leibniz’ work others also utilized the binary code system to transfer information. In 1829, a young blind man by the name of Louis Braille published his work on a two “letter” system of raised and non-raised dots which allowed people to read by rubbing the dots with the tips of their fingers. To this day it is the preferred method of reading for those who’ve lost their sight. Another example of binary code language is the Morse Code. After helping to invent the telegraph machine in the mid 1800’s, Samuel Morse went on to help originate the binary code language of “dots and dashes.” A binary code system that is still in use by aviators and military personal to this day. In short, these small alphabet languages are the most effective information transfer systems we have ever discovered.

James Watson and Francis Crick with their “Double Helix” model of deoxyribonucleic acid (a.k.a.: DNA)

Interestingly it was in the 1900’s that mankind looked inward and discovered within his own cells the most information-rich language code system in the known universe: human DNA. Francis Crick and James Watson were two British scientists who uncovered the core of what makes biological organisms tick. And it was reems and reems of information held in a four letter language.

Man had discovered that the principles of mathematics and logic were also the backbone of life itself. Bill Gates, when commenting on DNA stated plainly that it was “like a computer program but far, far more advanced than any software ever created.”(1) Famous atheist biologist Richard Dawkins himself said “the machine code of the genes is uncannily computer-like.” (2)

Deoxyribonucleic Acid, or DNA, is a four letter alphabet comprised of large, interlocking molecules. These macro-molecules connect like lego. Although they are made up of 4 different molecules (adenine, thymine, cytosine, guanine), these can only lock together in two types of pairs. Adenine can only bond to thymine (the A-T “letter”) and cytosine only works with guanine (the C-G “letter”). dnaYet they can be arranged as A-T or T-A as well as C-G or G-C, thus forming a four “letter” alphabet and classifying it as a quaternary code language. Exactly like the 1’s and 0’s of software programming guide every aspect of our video games, internet browsing and computer activity, DNA programs every ounce of our bodies.

In the year 2000, the Human Genome Project was completed. This massive enterprise read every single A-T and C-G letter in human DNA. As a result, we now know that our binary code language is made up of over 3 billion letters or 600,000 pages of information. Our famed encyclopedia Brittanica had 32 books in all. Our DNA represents over 30 times that much information. The color of your eyes, your bone density, the amount of cholesterol you naturally create and almost every conceivable detail that makes you a unique individual is literally written in computer language in your DNA. And every single cell in your body carries a full copy of this massive library in such a small “hard drive” that you could fit tens of thousands of copies on the head of a pin. You would only need one of these micro machines to recreate the blue print for your entire body and chemical make-up.

It is amazing to think that we are super-complex computer programs. The question is then begged, who did the programming?…

(1) Bill Gates “The Road Ahead,” page 188

(2) Richard Dawkins “River out of Eden,” page 17

The Secular Story of Everything PART 3: The Big Bang

The first serious proponent of the Big Bang Cosmological Model was a jesuit priest and astrophysicist named Abbé Georges Lemaitre. The year was 1925 and the reception from many scientists was negative. Unlike the previous centuries, the early 20th century saw a shift in the culture of Western Civilization towards secular atheism. And one of the primary motivations for resisting the Big Bang model was articulated by Sir Arthur Eddington, a famous cosmologist of the time, he said plainly: “It seems to require a peculiar and sudden beginning of things… …philosophically, the notion of a beginning is repugnant to me…” Sir Eddington went on to develop his own failed model of cosmology, attempting to allow “evolution an infinite time to get started.”It was an ideological addiction to Darwin’s macro-evolutionary model that was galvanizing resistance to what seemed a supernatural beginning to the cosmos.

Today, we would find it hard to believe that the secular scientists of the time suspected religious poison at play in the early proposals of a hot Big Bang event.

In fact, because of the predominant secular view of cosmology following the wake of the Darwinian revolution, Albert Einstein changed his own math in his early work on relativity. His calculations began to point to a universe that had a beginning. He knew the grain of the scientific establishment and introduced the “cosmological constant” into his theory to “correct” for the math’s tendency to show a starting point for the cosmos.

Make no mistake. The secular worldview was resistant to the Big Bang when it was first introduced.

In fact, the very name came from the scoffing criticism of Sir Fred Hoyle, whose “steady state” theory of an eternal cosmos was being challenged by the new view of a universe with a beginning. In the 1950s Sir Hoyle jokingly referenced the new theory as a “big bang,” in attempts to frame the science as simplistic and stupid.

Ironically, his insult is forever frozen as the lasting name of the science which sent his work to the dust bin.

Since the jesuit priest Lemaitre first introduced the notion of a hot flash point as the beginning of our physical reality, several discoveries have converged to provide stunning confirmation for the Big Bang model.

Edwin Hubble’s 1929 discovery of the “spectral line redshifts” in distant stars and galaxies showed that the cosmos was stretching out and away from a primary location. Like the outside of a balloon as more air is introduced.

Hubble’s discovery prompted Einstein to try his math without the “cosmological constant” he’d previously introduced. And long and behold, his theory of relativity held up and paralleled Hubble’s observations.

With the modern day advent of super space telescopes, scientists have been able to carry out numerous tests to try and confirm or debunk the now prevailing Big Bang model. One such test is the Cosmic Background Radiation tests. Astronomers can look into the night sky and record the radiation “echo” from the most distant reaches of the cosmos. They can also check radiation levels from nearer — and therefore more recent — parts of our cosmos. This background radiation check is the comparison of old and younger radiation “temperatures” that prevailed in the entire cosmos throughout different stages of its history. It is consistent with an initial, super-massive hot flash “big bang” event that has since cooled off at a constant rate.

Other observations such as Stellar Burning have helped increase confidence in the Big Bang model. Simply put, Stellar Burning is a measure of how long a star has been burning.

To those unfamiliar with astrophysics, it can appear extravagant to claim to measure distant stars’ age, but interestingly, it is easier to do so than to determine the precise burning time of a piece of campfire wood. Wood is incredibly complex on a molecular level, whereas stars are almost purely hydrogen and helium. They are pure gas. No solids or liquids and they are in a near perfect vacuum and are spherical with completely evenly distributed surface and internal pressures. Therefore, all we need to know is the amount of time helium or hydrogen takes to “burn” and the mass of a star (ie.: the amount of hydrogen/helium involved) and we get a fairly accurate age determination.

Astronomers have age-checked thousands and thousands of stars. Their findings parallel the redshift data, the cosmic background radiation and other measurements not mentioned in this article. Furthermore, these different measurements by several teams of scientists over several years have delivered a nearly identical estimated age date for the beginning of our cosmos. This number is universally held to be approximately 13.7 billion years.

Our earth is aged at approximately 4-5 billion years old. As old as this may seem, it was — and continues to be — an uncomfortably short amount of time for evolutionary mechanisms to produce the degree and amount of complexity found in the ecosystem. Remember, the cooling of earth and its multiple preparatory stages leave life far less than a billion years to “grow” the Animal Kingdom from single cell organisms.

It is long forgotten — although not by all — that the original introduction of a universe starting from scratch and expanding into life suddenly was considered unscientific by secular minded men and women. It was ridiculed because it seemed supernatural.

Personally, I don’t blame a secular person’s weariness on the supernatural implications of the Big Bang cosmology. In fact, the term “Big Bang” is very misleading. We are not dealing with a clumsy, forceful explosion. The numbers surrounding this event are stunning. For example the ratio of mass-density have to be precise to 1 x 10 to the 60 and 1 x 10 to the 120. This is a 1 with 60 zeros behind it and a 1 with 120 zeros behind it. The initial velocity of this event was also incredibly calibrated to prevent collapse or over-shot.

All energy, space, matter and time were introduced from apparently nothing with a force that was nearly infinite in scale and a precision that boggles the mind of scientists to this day.

Isaiah 42:5 states that “He who created the heavens and stretched them out….”

Job 9:8, Psalm 104:2, Isaiah 40:22, 44:24, 44:24, 45:12, 48:13, 51:13, Jeremiah 10:12, 51:15 and Zechariah 12:1 all make references to a “stretching out’ of the heavens. In fact, this description of the night sky is the most prevalent framework presented in the Old Testament. Interestingly, this is the most well established view of our balloon-like 4 dimensional expanding universe. The greeks never thought of our night sky like that. In fact, no one except modern day astrophysicists and the Old Testament authors have ever described our night sky as an expanding system.

Genesis 1:1 states:

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

The hebrew word re’shiyth is used for “beginning.” It signals the “chief part” or the “original” or “first” portion of something. Bara’ is used for “created” and is different from the word hayah used in other portions of Genesis 1 and beyond. Bara implies an “ex nihilo” or “out of nothing” creation. Someone outside of space, time and energy causing the sudden, ultra-massive and incredibly well engineered introduction of all space, time, energy and matter.

Before modern science forced us to shift our frame of reference, most secular thinkers, and even ancient greeks, believed in the eternal nature of space, time and matter. Yet the opening lines of the Bible gave us parameters that have proven accurate.

Unlike the intuition of secular men and women….

Is The New Testament Reliable Evidence for Christianity?

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The New Testament is considered to be evidence for the historical existence of Jesus of Nazareth. In order to establish its credibility, we must examine this ancient text to determine the degree of validity which can be lent to its claims.

One thing that is interesting concerning the New Testament is that it is the most well attested work of antiquity. For one, the sheer number of manuscripts still in existence is impressive: 5,300 texts in Greek , 10,000 in Latin Vulgate and 9,300 other early versions, adding up to more than 24,000 chunks and/or complete copies of the NT.[1] These 24,000-plus chunks and books and scrolls date from the first to the fifteenth century A.D. (until the invention of the printing press). These manuscripts have been found in Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Turkey, Greece, and Italy, making it impossible for early Christians — who were in hiding and had no overseeing editorial body — to simply make up fictional details about Christ. If they had done so, we would now see these obvious discrepancies between the different translations. Instead, we see that whether we gather an early Greek manuscript or a Syrian one, or a Turk text, when we re-translate them all into a single language, say English, they are nearly word for word identical. There is not an original concept, or fact found in one early version that is not in another. There are a handful of verses in question but this amounts to about 0.5% of the total word count of the New Testament. And the verses do not change any of the established facts or doctrines of Christ’s life and teachings. This shows that these early Christians, who were of differing ethnicity, language and location and had no contact with each other,  simply stuck to the original story given by the apostles who had personally lived with Jesus.[2] 1

Because Christianity was a missionary faith from its very inception (Matthew 28:19-20), the scriptures were immediately translated into the known languages of that period. For that reason other written translations appeared soon after, such as Coptic translations (early 3rd and 4th centuries), Gothic (4th century), Armenian (5th century), Georgian (5th century), Ethiopic (6th century), and Nubian (6th century).[3] These multiple versions, made in different languages, continents and multiple cities, made it impossible for these early Christians to corrupt the New Testament. A person living at that time would have to have secured all the texts, from all three continents, geographical locations and in all languages, in order to cover their tracks were they to introduce even a single faulty line! Today so many more translations and copies exist that the attempt at corruption would be multiplied in difficulty.

At this point, skeptics bring up the notion that many mistakes or variations can be found when comparing all the different manuscripts of the New Testament. Critics will usually say that there are 200,000 variations found when cross-analysis is performed. This is misleading because when one word is spelled differently from one family of texts to another, a variant is allotted for each and every single copy of that text. So, for example, if there are 3,000 copies of a particular New Testament, the one word found to be in error gets counted as 3,000 separate variations. This is like making 3,000 photocopies of a single misspelled word and saying 3,000 words are misspelled! In actuality, there are only 400 separate words in question in all of the New Testament manuscripts. This represents one-half of one percent of the text (0.5%). Furthermore, these errors can be attributed (in some instances) to difficulties encountered in the act of translation from one dialect to another, not to sloppiness with theology.[4]

The large number of early manuscripts and the range of geographical areas from which they were gathered  makes it relatively easy to recreate the New Testament as it would have been for the early church. To appreciate this we must take note that Caesar’s Gallic Wars, which was composed between 58 and 50 B.C., is recreated from about 10 pieces (incomplete “chunks”), the oldest of which is over 900 years after the original writing of Caesar’s work. Of Livy’s 142 books of Roman history (59 B.C. – A.D. 17), only 35 remain. Of the 14 books of the Histories of Tacitus (circa A.D. 100) only four and half survive, and of his 16 books of Annals, 10 survive in full and two in part.[5] Comparatively, we have every single piece of the NT by about A.D. 350 (only 250 years after the original writings).[6]

We currently possess pieces of the New Testament that date all the way to within the very beginning of the second century as well as late within the first century. Considering that the last New Testament books to be written were finished in late first century, this makes a relatively small time span when compared to the very best of ancient writings and their surviving manuscripts.  See the table below for comparisons:

Manuscript Evidence for Ancient Writings



Earliest Copy
We Currently Possess

Time Span

Number of Manuscripts


100-44 B.C.

900 A.D.

1,000 yrs



427-347 B.C.

900 A.D.

1,200 yrs



460-400 B.C.

900 A.D.

1,300 yrs



100 A.D.

1100 A.D.

1,000 yrs



75-160 A.D.

950 A.D.

800 yrs


Homer (Iliad)

900 B.C.

400 B.C.

500 yrs


New Testament

40-100 A.D.

70-125 A.D.

25-50 yrs


Table 2[7]

The following table lists the individual manuscripts (chunks) of the New Testament with their approximated dates. The earliest known pieces of our Scripture include the p52 John Rylands papyrus which contains parts of the Gospel of John and is dated to about 125 AD (approx. 25-35 years after this gospel is expected to have been written) and manuscripts from the Dead Sea Scrolls dated from 50-70 AD. Recently, a manuscript containing Paul’s letters and Hebrews, a.k.a. p46, have been re-dated to 85 AD, making them around 25-30 years after the expected originals. The following table lists all early N.T. manuscripts, their respective dates as well as the portions of the N.T. that they contain:






50-70 A.D.




117-138 A.D. or
110-125 A.D. (
The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts p.367)

Qumran cave 7





p52 (John Rylands) (= Papyrii Rylands 457)





7q4 1,2 is 1 Timothy 3:16-4:3
7q8 is James 1:23-24
7q6 1,2 is Mark 4:8 and Acts 27:38

7q5 is Mark 6:52-53



John 18:31-33, reverse side 37-38

100-150 A.D.

p104 (=P. Oxyrhynchus 4404)



Matthew 21:34-37,43,45(?) Matthew 21:44 was not originally present

c.125 A.D.

p87 – The handwriting is nearly identical to p46.

Phm 13-15,24 (part),25b with gaps


100-150 A.D. (Comfort) 81-96 A.D. (Young Kyu Kim)


Chester Beatty II (p46)

It has 1,680 verses from Paul and Hebrews. This is 70% of the 2,389 verses in Paul and Hebrews.





Romans 5:17-6:3; 6:5-14; 8:15-25,27-35; 8:37-9:32; 10:1-11:11; 11:24-33; 11:35-15:9; 15:11-16:27; Hebrews 1:1-9:16; 9:18-10:20,22-30; 10:32-13:25 (all but 3 verses); 1 Corinthians 1:1-9:2; 9:4-14:14; 14:16-15:15; 15:17-16:22 (all but 5 verses); 2 Corinthians 1:1-11:10,12-21; 11:23-13:13 (all but 3 verses); Ephesians 1:1-2:7; 2:10-5:6; 5:8-6:6, 8-18, 20-24 (all but 5 verses); Galatians 1:1-8; 1:10-2:9, 12-21; 3:2-29; 4:2-18; 4:20-5:17; 5:20-6:8, 10-18 (all but 9 verses); Philippians 1:1, 5-15, 17-28; 1:30-2:12, 14-17; 2:29-3:8, 10-21; 4:2-12, 14-23 (all but 20 verses); Colossians 1:1-2, 5-13, 16-24; 1:27-2:19; 2:23-3:11, 13-24; 4:3-12, 16-18 (all but 16 verses); 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 1:9-2:3; 5:5-9,23-28

2nd century

Magdalen papyri



Matthew 26:7-8, 10, 14-15, 22-23, 31-33

150-200 A.D.
(Muslims source says this is c.200 A.D.)


Titus 1:1-15; 2:3-8 (21 verses)

100-150 A.D. (Hunger, Philip Comfort)
or 125-175 A.D.
c.200-250 A.D. (Turner due to broad delta, broad theta, narrow alpha, finial end on the crossbar of epsilon, apostrophe between double consonants like other third century manuscripts.
However, we go with Hunger and Philip Comfort because second century manuscripts have been found with these features. This was discovered close to Nag Hamadi (second century). Hunger has found many late first and early second centuries manuscripts that are closer to p66 than 3rd century documents.

Bodmer II (p66 and p14/15, p75)
808.5 verses, which is 92% of the 879 verses in John




John 1:1-6:11; 6:35b-14:26, 29-30;15:2-26; 16:2-4, 6-7; 16:10-20:20; 20:22-23; 20:25-21:9, 12, 17. (John 7:53-8:11 is missing)

c.175 A.D.

p90 (P. Oxyrhynchus 3523)

John 18:36-19:7

2nd century

p98 (P.IFAO Inv. 237b [+a]

Revelation 1:13-2:1 (9 verses)

Mid to Late 2nd century

p77 and p103

Matthew 23:30-39; Matthew 13:55-57; 14:3-5 (10 + 6 verses)




Late 2nd / early 3rd century

p38 (P. Michigan Inv. 1571)

Acts 18:27-19:6, 12-16

Late 2nd / early 3rd century

Uncial 0189

Acts 5:3-21 (earliest parchment of the N.T.)

c.200 A.D.


Matthew 1:1-9,12,14-20; 2:14? (17 or 18 verses)

125-150 A.D. (Comfort)

p64 and p67. All agree these are from the same manuscript.

(p67) Matthew 3:9,15; 5:20-22,25-28
(p64) Mt. 26:7-8,10,14-15,22-23,31-33
(19 verses)

Early to mid 2nd century
In 1963 Aland dated it to the third century. However, if it is the same original as p64 and p67 then it would have to be early to mid 2nd century.

p4 (the handwriting is the same as p64 and p67.) (Aland disagreed but never gave a reason.) Also, all three have an unusual abbreviation for “Jesus”.). p4 was used as padding for a copy of Philo’s works that was hidden to avoid confiscation in either 292 A.D. or 303 A.D. The Philo Codex was written about 250 A.D.

Luke 1:58-59; 1:62-2:1,6-7; 3:8-4:2,29-32,34-35; 5:3-8; 5:30-6:16

200-225 A.D.


Acts 26:7-8, 20

200-225 A.D.

p45 (Chester Beatty I)
Matthew 71 verses
Mark 147 verses
Luke 242 verses
John 84 verses
Acts 289 verses

Much of Acts and the Gospels. Mt 20:24-32; 21:13-19; 25:41-26:39 [71 verses]; Mk 4:36-5:2; 5:16-26; 5:38-6:3; 2 letters of 6:15; 6:16-25, 36-50; 7:3-15; 7:25-8:1; 8:10-26; 8:34-9:8; 4 letters of 9:9; 9:18-31; 11:27-12:1; 12:5-8,13-19,24-28 [147 verses]; Luke 6:31-41; 6:45-7:7; 9:26-41; 9:45-10:1; 10:6-22; 10:26-11:1; 11:6-25, 28-46; 11:50-12:13 (12:9 was never written); 12:18-37; 12:42-13:1; 13:6-24; 13:29-14:10; 14:17-33 [242 verses]; John 4:51,54; 5:21,24; 10:7-25; 2 complete out of 16 letters of 10:30; 10:31-11:10; 11:18-36,42-57 [84 verses]. Acts 4:27-36; 5:10-20; (8 out of 33 letters in 5:21) 30-39; 6:7-7:2; 7:10-21; 7:32-41; 7:32-8:1; 8:14-15, 8:34-9:6; (8:37 was never written); 9:16-27; 9:35-10:2; 10:10-23, 31-41; 11:2-13; 11:24-12:6; 12:13-22; 13:6-16,25-36; 13:46-14:3; 14:15-23; 15:2-7,9-27; 15:38-16:4; 16:15-21,32-40; 17:9-17) At Acts 15:7 this scribe lost his place and repeated from Acts 15:2. [289 verses]

Early 3rd century

p5 (=Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 208 1781)

John 1:23-31, 33-40; 16:14-30; 20:11-17, 19-20, 22-25 (47 verses)

ca.200 A.D. (Comfort and Barrett) vs. 3rd century (Aland)

p23 Urbana (=Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1229)

James 1:10-12, 15-18

200-250 A.D


John 8:14-22

c.170 A.D.


Diatessaron (Harmony of the Gospels) Matthew 27:56; Mark 15:40; Luke 23:49b-c; Luke 23:54; Matthew 27:57; Mark 15:42; Matthew 27:57; Luke 23:50; Matthew 27:57; Luke 23:51b; Matthew 27:57; Luke 23:40; John 19:38; Matthew 27:57; Luke 23:51c; Luke 23:51a

225-250 A.D.


Hebrews 2:14-5:5; 10:8-22; 10:29-11:13; 11:28-12:17

3rd century

p9 (= Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 402)

1 John 4:11-12, 14-17

3rd century

p20 (=Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1171)

James 2:19-3:2; (6 out of 96 letters of 3:3); 3:4-9)

3rd century

p27 and p40

Romans 1:24-27; 1:31-2:3; 3:21-4:8; 6:2-5, 15-16; 9:17,27

c.250 A.D.

p22 (=Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1228)

John 15:25-16:2; 16:21-32

c.260 A.D.


Matthew and Acts

285-300 A.D.


Hebrews 1:1

3rd century


Romans 8:12-22; 24-27; 8:33-9:3; 9:5-9

3rd century

p28 (=Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1596)

John 6:8-12, 17-22

200-225 A.D.


Acts 26:7-8, 20

early 3rd century


1 Thess. 4:12-13, 16-17; 5:3, 8-10, 12-18, 25-28; 2 Thess. 1:1-2; 2:1, 9-11

3rd century


Matthew 25:12-15,20-23

3rd century

p70, p101


3rd century

P Antinoopolis

Matthew 6:10-12 (Part of the Lord’s prayer)

Mid 3rd century

p49 + p65

Eph 4:16-29; 4:31-5:13

3rd century


Luke 22:40, 45-48, 58-61. It never contained Luke 22:43-44

3rd century


Matthew 2:13-16; 2:22-3:1; 11:26-27; 12:4-5; 24:3-6, 12-15

Mid 3rd century


Matthew 26:19-52

Mid 3rd century

p53 (= Papyrus Michigan Inv. 6652)

Matthew 26:29-40; Acts 9:33-38; 3 letters of the 124 letters in 9:39; 9:40-10:1

Late 3rd century


1 Corinthians 7:18-8:4

Late 3rd century


Philippians 3:10-17; 4:2-8

250-300 A.D.

Chester Beatty III (p47)

Revelation 9:10-11:3; 11:5-16:15; 16:17-17:2 (125 verses)




3rd/4th century?



3rd/4th century


Revelation 1:4-7

3rd/4th century


Matthew 26:19-52

c.300 A.D.

p72, somewhat similar handwriting to p50. 1 and 2 Peter have page numbers 1-35. Jude has page numbers 62-68. Also contains the Nativity of Mary, the apocryphal letter of Paul to the Corinthians, the 11th Ode of Solomon, Melito’s Homily on the Passover, part of a hymn, the Apology of Phileas, and Psalm 33 and 34.

1 Peter 1:1-5:14, 2 Peter 1:1-3:18 and Jude 1-25

c.300 A.D.


Acts 18:27-19:6, 12-16

ca.300 A.D.

0162 (P. Oxyrhynchus 847)

John 2:11-22

ca.300 A.D.

0171 (PSI 2.124)

Matthew 10:17-23,25-32; Luke 22:44-50,52-56,61,63-64

ca.300 A.D.

0220 (MS 113)

Romans 4:23-5:3, 8-13. 100% agreement with Vaticanus except Romans 5:1

ca.300 A.D.

0232 (P. Antinoopolis 12)

2 John 1-9

325-350 A.D.

Vaticanus (B)

Most of the Old Testament and all of the New Testament up to Hebrews 9:15

340-350 A.D.

Sinaiticus (Aleph)

Almost all of the New Testament and half of the Septuagint Old Testament

4th century



4th century



late 3rd century


Hebrews 9:12-19

4th century


Revelation 5:5-8; 6:5-8

3rd/4th century


Matthew 25:12-15, 20-23

4th century

p62 (Oslo)


4th century



Late 4th century



c.400 A.D.



Table 3[1][2][3]

[1] Comfort, P. W., and Barrett, D. P. 2001. The Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts. (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale.)
[2] Metzger, Bruce M. Manuscripts of the Greek Bible: An Introduction to Palaeography. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1981.)
[3] Aland, Black, Metzger, Wikren, Martini, Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Bruce Metzger, Allen Wikren, Carlo Martini, The Greek New Testament. 4th edition. (Stuttgart: United Bible Societies 1993).

The following are of some of the earliest New Testament pieces of papyri. Unlike the codexes of the 3rd centuries and beyond, we only possess “chunks” of actual writings:

Rylands Papyrus (P52)
One of the earliest surviving pieces of New Testament Scripture is a fragment of a papyrus codex containing John 18:31-33 and 37-38, called the Rylands Papyrus (P52). This papyrus was found in Egypt, and has been dated at about 125 A.D.
It currently resides at the John Rylands Library in Manchester, England.


Bodmer Papyrus (P66, P72-75)
This collection of approximately fifty Greek and Coptic manuscripts was purchased by M. Martin Bodmer of Switzerland in 1955-56, and has been dated at around 200 A.D. Most of the collection is located in the Bibliotheca Bodmeriana in Cologny (near Geneva). The exception is Pap. VIII (including 1 & 2 Peter), which was given as a gift to Pope Paul VI in 1969; it is in the Vatican Library. The documents were discovered in Egypt. They are from both codices and scrolls; most are papyri, but three are on parchment (Pap. XVI, XIX, and XXII). The manuscripts include Old and New Testament texts and writings of the early churches. The papyrus manuscript P75 (the gospel of Luke and John) showed a virtually identical text to the Codex Vaticanus.
Seen hear is John 6:58-71


The Chester Beatty Papyrus P45
Dated 200-250 A.D.), made public in 1931, contains the Gospels, Acts, Paul’s Epistles, and Revelation.


Magdalen Papyrus (P64)
The papyrus scraps had been housed at the library of Magdalen College for more than 90 years, the gift of a British chaplain, Rev. Charles Huleatt, who bought them at an antiquities market in Luxor, Egypt. Using new tools such as a scanning laser microscope along with more conventional handwriting analysis, Thiede re-dates the fragments, previously dated in the mid- to late second century, to sometime between 30 and 70 A.D.In three places on the Magdalen Papyrus, the name of Jesus is written as “KS”, an abbreviation of the Greek word Kyrios, or Lord.
Matthew 26


The Oxyrhynchus Papyri – mid second century; sayings of Jesus which have parallels in all four gospels. More than two thousand papyri from Oxyrhynchus in Egypt have been published, most of which are not Biblical. The Biblical passages are thought to have been copied from an even earlier manuscript, perhaps 110-130 A.D.


Qumran cave 7
7q4 1,2 is 1 Timothy 3:16-4:3
7q8 is James 1:23-24
7q6 1,2 is Mark 4:8 and Acts 27:38 Dated to possibly between 50-70 A.D.[11]


Qumran cave 7
7q5 is Mark 6:52-53Dated to early to mid 60’s A.D.[12]


Table 4[13]

Beyond Manuscripts: the Codex
A Codex is a book, as opposed to a papyrus which is a scroll. The Codex Sinaiticus is the earliest full copy of the New Testament found in one single book. The Chester Beatty Papyri is a compilation of papyri that make up most but not all of the N.T. It is important because of it is comprised of several papyri dating from the second and third centuries:

Manuscript (MS)










Chester Beatty Papyri


200 A.D.

Much but not all of NT on papyrus.


Codex Vaticanus


325-350 A.D.

Much but not all NT in a codex.


Codex Sinaiticus


350 A.D.

Full N.T. with some Old Testament.


Codex Alexandrinus


400 A.D.

Full N.T. with some Old Testament


Codex Ephraemi


400 A.D.

Full N.T. with some Old Testament


Codex Bezae


450 A.D.+

Full N.T. with some Old Testament


Codex Washingtonensis


ca. 450 A.D.

Full N.T. with some Old Testament


Codex Claromontanus


500’s A.D.

Full N.T. with some Old Testament


Table 5[14]


The following is a graphic evaluation of the first six centuries and the 230 of N.T. texts found in separate manuscripts/codexes: 6[15]


Putting the New Testament Timeline in the Context of 1st Century History
An important factor to consider is the extreme likelihood that what we possess today is but a remnant of what actually existed in the first century A.D. Needless to say that time and human activity will diminish the number of texts available for us to study 2000 years after a particular event. The time of writing for the New Testament books can be estimated by placing certain of its texts in the light of specific historical events and extrapolating the time of initial authorship:

  • A.D. 70 Invasion/destruction of Jerusalem (Jesus prophesized it, would have been included in ACTS to add credibility to his teachings)
  • A.D. 64 Nero’s persecution (not mentioned in ACTS)
  • A.D. 62 James martyred
  • A.D. 64 Paul martyred…
  • A.D. 65 Peter martyred…. Yet we find none of the deaths referred to in any of the 27 canonized books of the New Testament (and significantly not in Acts, the most comprehensive historical record we have of the early church).

None of these above events (which would have had an enormous impact on the nascent Christian community) are mentioned in any of the New Testament writings. On these grounds it will be argued that the New Testament books were written before these historical occurrences.

  • The only explanation can be that they were all written prior to these events, and thus likely before 62 AD, or a mere 30 years after the death of Jesus, of whose life they primarily refer.
  • Luke predates ACTS and is based on Matthew and Mark. Therefore, Matthew, Mark earlier than early 60’s. Which puts it at least into the late 50’s.

Does History Teach Us To Trust the New Testament?
The Christian authors, like their Jewish counterparts, were careful to preserve traditional material about Jesus.[16] They meticulously preserve the tradition of Jesus’ words and life. Why do so in random myth making? The date of writing places all NT books between 20 to 70 years after Jesus’ life; well within the lifetime of eyewitnesses and Jesus’ contemporaries. Making wild fantasy as difficult as possible (e.g.: imagine deifying John F. Kennedy today, 40 years after his death!)

When normal historical methodology is applied to the New Testament (as it is applied to all other ancient history literature: such as, “are there independent accounts of peoples, places, events, laws found elsewhere in civilization which corroborates the N.T.), a reliability emerges that is at least as strong and respectable as the most uncontested works of antiquity.[17]

Critics accuse Gospel and epistle authors of having an agenda to promote, and therefore making them unreliable as “journalists”. Many other works of history (e.g.: Herodotus, Livy, Tacitus) have bias injected into them by their authors who themselves admit to pursuing a moral or political ideal.[18] And yet, no critic holds it against these authors nor do they question the validity of the reporting simply because of the author’s convictions.

We must also realize that the Gospels are a unique form of literature, found nowhere else in antiquity, making it difficult to perform a side-by-side form critique to other works found in other times. The Gospels are quite close to the period of time that they record, while ancient histories such as those by Plutarch and Livy often describe events that took place even centuries earlier. Yet this poses no problem to modern historians who successfully draw correct data from these texts.[19] Ancient histories sometimes “disagree amongst themselves in the wildest possible fashion,” such as the four ancient sources for the figure of Tiberius Caesar or the great first century fire in Rome (under Nero), yet the history they record can still be ascertained. [20]

The Book of Acts’ historical accuracy is confirmed externally via non-biblical history.[21] [22] The Gospels also give historical landmarks which can be tested. Their spiritual message is infused with historical accuracy. This acts to bolster their early writing, as well as their local authorship in the time and place of Jesus’ life and travels.


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Independent archaeological research has solidified the authenticity and the historical reliability of the New Testament. Some of the discoveries include:

  • Luke refers to Lysanias as being the tetrarch of Abilene at the beginning of John the Baptist’s ministry, circa 27 A. D. (Luke 3:1) Historians accused Luke of being in error, noting that the only Lysanias known was the one killed in 36 B. C. Now, however, an inscription found near Damascus refers to “Freedman of Lysanias the tetrarch” and is dated from 14 and 29 A. D.
  • Paul, writing to the Romans, speaks of the city treasurer Erastus (Romans 16:23). A 1929 excavation in Corinth unearthed a pavement inscribed with these words: ERASTVS PRO:AED:P:STRAVIT: (“Erastus curator of public buildings, laid this pavement at his own expense.”)
  • Luke mentions a riot in the city of Ephesus which took place in a theater (Acts 19:23-41). The theater has now been excavated and has a seating capacity of 25,000.
  • Acts 21 records an incident which broke out between Paul and certain Jews from Asia. These Jews accused Paul of defiling the Temple by allowing Trophimus, a Gentile, to enter it. In 1871, Greek inscriptions were found, now housed in Istanbul which read:


  • Luke addresses Gallio with the title Proconsul (Acts 18:12). A Delphi inscription verifies this when it states, “As Lucius Junius Gallio, my friend, and the Proconsul of Achaia …”
  • Luke calls Publicus, the chief man of Malta, “First man of the Island.” (Acts 28:7) Inscriptions now found do confirm Publicus as the “First man”.[23]
  • Luke referred correctly to provinces that were established at that time, as indicated in Acts 15:6.
  • He demonstrated a clear knowledge of local customs, such as those relating to the speech of the Lycaonians (Acts 14:11), some aspects relating to the foreign woman who was converted at Athens (Acts 17:34), and he even knew that the city of Ephesus was known as the “temple-keeper of Artemis” (Acts 19:35) …
  • Luke refers to different local officers by their exact titles –
    • the proconsul (deputy) of Cyprus (Acts 13:7),
    • the magistrates at Phillipi (Acts 16:20,35),
    • the politarchs (another word for magistrates) at Thessalonica (Acts 17:6),
    • the proconsul of Achaia (Acts 18:12),
    • and the treasurer of Corinth (Aedile) – which was the title of the man known as Erastus at Corinth (Acts 19:22; Romans 16:23 …)
  • Luke had accurate knowledge about various local events such as the famine in the days of Claudius Caesar (Acts 11:29); he was aware that Zeus and Hermes were worshiped together at Lystra, though this was unknown to modern historians (Acts 14:11,12).
  • He knew that Diana or Artemis was especially the goddess of the Ephesians (Acts 19:28); and he was able to describe the trade at Ephesus in religious images.
  • The five porticoes of the pool of Bethesda by the Sheep Gate and the pool of Siloam mentioned in John 5:2 and 9:1-7 has now been unearthed.
  • The pavement (Gabbatha) of John 18:13 and Solomon’s porch in the Temple precincts (John 10:22-23), have been found.
  • Mark writes of Jesus healing a blind man as He left Jericho. Luke, apparently writing of the same event, says it happened while Jesus was approaching Jericho. Excavations in 1907-09 by Ernest Sellin, of the German Oriental Society, showed that there were “twin cities” of Jericho in Jesus’ time–an old Jewish city and a Roman city separated by about a mile. Apparently Mark referred to one and Luke referred to the other, and the incident occurred as Jesus traveled between the two.
  • Archaeologists have unearthed Jacob’s well at Sychar. (John 4:5)
  • An inscription found in Ceasarea confirms Pilate’s role as the prefect of Judea during the time of Christ.
  • The discovery of a bone-box of a crucified man named Johanan from the first century Palestine confirms the fact that nails were used to pierce the ankles of the victims. Such was the case of Christ, of course, and this discovery is significant in answering the skeptics who believed that the Romans used only ropes to tie the victim’s legs to the cross.
  • Finally, in 1990, the burial grounds of Caiaphas, the Jewish high priest, and his family were uncovered. This is an undeniable fact that Caiaphas existed as a true historical figure.

What Do Non-Christians Say About the Bible?
The significance of such extra-Biblical evidence is of such magnitude that honest skeptics are now forced to agree that the Bible is historically accurate and reliable. One such person was Sir William Ramsey, considered one of the world’s greatest archaeologists. He believed that the New Testament, particularly the books of Luke and Acts, were second-century forgeries. He spent thirty years in Asia Minor, seeking to dig up enough evidence to prove that Luke-Acts was nothing more than a lie. At the conclusion of his long journey however, he was compelled to admit that the New Testament was a first-century compilation and that the Bible is historically reliable. This fact led to his conversion and embracing of the very faith he once believed to be a hoax. Dr. Ramsey stated: “Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy … this author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians.” Ramsey further said: “Luke is unsurpassed in respects of its trustworthiness.”[24]

Other skeptics who have conceded the Bible’s historical accuracy include the renowned Jewish archaeologist Nelson Glueck: “It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference,” and “the almost incredibly accurate historical memory of the Bible, and particularly so when it is fortified by archaeological fact.”[25] This is a very significant statement since it is made by one who totally denied the inspiration of Scripture. Earl Radmacher, former president of Western Conservative Baptist Seminary, notes:

“I listened to him [Glueck] when he was at Temple Emmanuel in Dallas, and he got rather red in the face and said, ‘I’ve been accused of teaching the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Scripture. I want it to be understood that I have never taught this. All I have ever said is that in all my archaeological investigation I have never found one artifact of antiquity that contradicts any statement of the Word of God.’”

Another one time skeptic was Dr. Clifford Wilson who, due to the discoveries made, concluded that, “It is the studied conviction of this writer that the Bible is … the ancient world’s most reliable history textbook …”[26]

The “Street Slang” of the Bible
After discovering non-biblical papyri and pottery inscriptions, we realized that the New Testament was written in a common form of Greek of that time.[27] Is it not wonderful to know that the most important book inspired by the Creator of the Galaxy was handed down in layman’s language?! On top of being written early and containing historically accurate information, the New Testament letters were written in a fashion which would have severely handicapped someone attempting to create a religion from scratch, based on lies: they claimed to be eye witnesses and named other such witnesses. Furthermore, the authors and their third party witnesses were currently living as contemporaries to the hostile non-believers to whom they were preaching. The writers of our N.T. repeatedly mention the names of eyewitnesses to the miraculous healing ministry of Jesus as well as His Resurrection. When outrageous claims such as these are made by several different authors, most of which are making references to third party eyewitnesses and other disciples, it becomes much easier to falsify the story if it is a hoax. The events concerning Jesus’ life, as reported by the N.T. letters, are multiple in occurrence, location and witnesses. Unlike the Book of Mormon and the Qur’an, which were created by one person’s uncorroborated, single event experience, the N.T. is written by several authors, describing several events, including several testable historical landmarks, people, places and customs.

Finally, the NT documents indicate that there were eyewitnesses present for nearly every moment of Jesus’ final hours and eventual resurrection:

  • There were eyewitnesses present at Jesus’ arrest. (cf. Mt. 26:47-56; Luke 22:44-54; John 18:1-13)
  • There were eyewitnesses present at Jesus’ trial. (cf. John 18:15-28; Luke 22:61-62)
  • There were eyewitnesses at the cross. (cf. Mark 15:40-41; John 19:25-27)
  • There were eyewitnesses to his burial. (cf. John 19:38-42)
  • There were eyewitnesses who saw the empty tomb. (cf. Matthew 28:11-15; John 20:1-7)
  • Finally, there were eyewitnesses who testified that they had seen Jesus alive from the dead, and who were willing to die for their claim. (cf. Luke 24:36-46; Acts 1:1-5; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8- more on this passage later)

We cannot prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, that texts written 2,000 years ago accurately describe the most outstanding claims ever recorded: that of the miraculous Jesus Christ. One must gather the global evidence concerning the New Testament in order to ascertain whether or not it can be trusted. I would argue, however, that if it is a hoax, it is the most cleverly devised and unspeakably odd religious phenomenon in our history. Why would men decide to nurse the N.T. letters with such unequaled care? Why would they die for a lie? How could a story so outlandish be fabricated and passed around in the lifetime of Jesus’ contemporaries and not be laughed out of existence? Imagine trying to put Gandhi through a divine and miraculous make-over even a full 60 years after his death? Would it work? The tone of the New Testament is different than that of myth. The themes are layered in historically accurate details. Other holy books describe laws, regulations and philosophical statements. The New Testament describes the actions of the early church and contains communications between pastors and their churches. Not typical fodder for false religious hoaxes. What is the New Testament if not the well preserved writings of the earliest Christians?

These questions must be answered by the skeptic if he/she wants to make an educated decision for or against the validity of the New Testament. The Christian New Testament is the most well-attested document in ancient history. It cannot be treated lightly as it makes the most astonishing claims in all of literary tradition.

[1] Josh McDowell, A Ready Defense (Thomas Nelson Publishers 1993) p.43.


[3] Josh McDowell’s Evidence That demands a Verdict, vol.1, 1972 pgs. 48-50.

[4] Geisler. Inerrancy – “Alleged Errors and Discrepancies in the Original Manuscripts of the Bible”. (Zondervan Corporation, 1980).

[5] F.F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are they reliable (InterVarsity Press 1981)

[6] Gary Habermas, The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ (College Press Publishing Company 1996) p.55.

[7] Josh McDowell, A Ready Defense (Thomas Nelson Publishers 1993) p.45

[8] Comfort, P. W., and Barrett, D. P. 2001. The Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts. (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale.)

[9] Metzger, Bruce M. Manuscripts of the Greek Bible: An Introduction to Palaeography. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1981.)

[10] Aland, Black, Metzger, Wikren, Martini, Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Bruce Metzger, Allen Wikren, Carlo Martini, The Greek New Testament. 4th edition. (Stuttgart: United Bible Societies 1993).




[14] McDowell, Josh, EVIDENCE THAT DEMANDS A VERDICT, Vol. I (San Bernardino, CA: Here’s Life, 1972), p.386

[15] derived from data of Table 4. It is only accurate in as much as Table 4 is correct and  full.

[16] A.M. Hunter, Bible and Gospels, p.32-37.

[17] A.N. Sherwin-White, Roman Society and Roman Law in the New Testament (London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1963), p 187.

[18] Michael Grant, Jesus: An Historian’s Review. p. 175-184, 198-201.

[19] Michael Grant, Jesus: An Historian’s Review. p. 186.

[20] Paul Maier, First Easter: The True and Unfamiliar Story (New York: Haper aand Row, 1973) p. 94.

[21] A.N. Sherwin-White, Roman Society and Roman Law in the New Testament (London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1963), p 189.

[22] Halley, Henry, Halley’s Bible Handbook (Zondervan Publishing House, 1959) p.579.

[23] Josh McDowell, The Best of Josh Mcdowell: A Ready Defense, pp. 110-111

[24] Josh McDowell, The Best of Josh Mcdowell: A Ready Defense, pp. 108-109

[25] Josh McDowell, Evidence That Demands A Verdict p. 65

[26] Wilson, Rocks, Relics And Biblical Reliability, p. 126