The Acts of the Apostles (Acts) is a New Testament book that helps us to understand early Christian beliefs and practices. But when was it written? Was it produced during the lifetime of the witnesses who engaged with Jesus of Nazareth and the Apostles? Or was it composed much later by an individual or individuals unconnected with the events? If it can be argued that Acts is an early text, then its closeness to the events and its eyewitness testimony both give credibility to the miracles that it documents.
Also, did the Apostle Paul’s companion Luke write it? If so, that places its author within the circle of those who participated in the events being reported. Further, if Acts is early, then by extension the Gospel of Luke should also be dated within the lifetime of the eyewitnesses and given the same credibility as Acts. The gospel was composed first.
Historian Colin J. Hermer lists various reasons for accepting the traditional composition date for Acts. This date is around AD 62, only 30 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection. This publication date would place the extensive research and writing of Acts well within the lifetime of many eyewitnesses of Jesus and the events in the early church and Paul’s missionary journeys.
In this blog I will focus mainly on the nine arguments themselves, tho I do mention one skeptical response.
The nine arguments supporting the early authorship of Acts are:
- Omission of the fall of Jerusalem in Acts
- No Mention of the Jewish-Roman War in Acts
- No Mention of the Deteriorating Relations between Emperor Nero and the Christian church in Acts
- No Mention of the Martyrdom of James in Acts
- Lack of knowledge about Paul’s Letters in Acts
- The Abrupt Ending of Acts
- Sense of immediacy in Later Chapters of Acts
- Undesigned Coincidences Between Acts and Paul’s Letters
- Author’s Specialised Knowledge is Evident in Acts
Some of these arguments for the early dating of Acts rely on arguments from silence. I will assess this approach of argumentation next.
Assessing the Historical Argument from Silence
The argument from silence is a probabilistic type of argument and is used as a ground for inferring a conclusion. There is disagreement over the effectiveness of the argumentum ex silentio for assessing historical arguments. For example, while one historian describes this as “nothing more or less valid than the universally valid method of historical investigation,” another claims the argument is weak at best. It is important when using this approach to form a strong argument, as weak arguments of this type are common.
Tim McGrew observes three steps that must be present for a strong version of the historical argument from silence:
- the event in question would almost certainly have come to the notice of the author in question.
- the author would have recorded or given evidence of the fact had they been aware of the event in question.
- the works in which this was recorded would have survived to the present era and come to the notice of contemporary scholars.
He gives the example of Bergen in Norway. Archaeological digs have uncovered evidence of a major fire there between 1225 and 1230 AD. Various Annals document the history of this region, but do not mention any fires between 1198 and 1248. Which evidence – the archaeology or the documentation – should take precedence? Archaeologists and historians working together agreed that the archaeological evidence takes precedence. Clearly, the writers of the Annals did not record the fire that has left physical evidence of its occurrence. This suggests the writers did not have “recording fires” as a goal in their writing. So, in our list of three steps above, step 1 is probably satisfied, but step 2 was probably not satisfied because it was not important for the writer to record the fire.
This example from Bergen shows us that we must be very careful before drawing an argument from silence, and we must take all the data into consideration before making an inference. An argument can fall down on any of the three steps above. It seems that in the Bergen case, the argument from silence fails at step 2.
Next, we will discuss the arguments supporting a dating of Acts to around AD62.
Omission of the Fall of Jerusalem in Acts
In AD 70, the Roman army besieged the city of Jerusalem, centre of Jewish resistance in the Roman province of Judea. After a brutal five month siege, the Romans destroyed the city and the Jewish Temple. This was a major turning point in Jewish history because the Temple was central to 1st century Jewish and early Christian culture and life. Historian Josephus records the horror of the fall of Jerusalem.
As the flames went upward, the Jews made a great clamour, such as so mighty an affliction required; and ran together to prevent it. And now they spared not their lives any longer, nor suffered any thing to restrain their force, since that holy house was perishing, for whose sake it was that they kept such a guard about it.Flavius Josephus, Of the War – Book VI
The stated purpose and content of Acts is that it is a work of history. Acts 1:1 continues the intentions of Luke’s Gospel to “draw up an account of the things fulfilled among us … handed down … by eyewitnesses.”Authors in the late first century who know this area would have been painfully aware of the events Josephus describes.
It is interesting to note that many other significant events in the life of the fledgling church are recorded in Acts. For example:
- the Jewish authorities and their persecution of the Apostles Peter and John (Acts 4-5)
- persecution of the church by Saul (Acts 8)
- scattering of some people from the church in Jerusalem (Acts 8)
Given the effect the fall of Jerusalem would have had on the lives of the Jewish and Christian population there, it is hard to think of a reason why the author of Acts would not have mentioned this highly significant and unique event – the destruction of the Temple. Consequently, this is a very unlikely omission by the author. This would suggest the fall of Jerusalem had not happened while the book was being written.
Interestingly, Luke’s gospel does appear to refer to the fall of Jerusalem. During a discussion about the beauty of the Temple, Jesus says:
“As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.”
Some skeptical scholars do not believe that Jesus could supernaturally know about the destruction of the temple. Consequently, they use this verse as evidence that Luke’s gospel was written after AD 70. However, if miracles do occur, there is no need to date Luke after AD 70.
So – do miracles occur? While skeptics will quickly oppose the notion of the occurrence of miracles, I have yet to hear a convincing argument disproving the possibility of the supernatural. These arguments tend to cut the ground from under their own feet.
For example, David Hume’s attempt is mired in circular argumentation. He assumes miracles cannot happen to argue that they do not. Unfortunately, there are volumes of documented miracles from Hume’s time, as well as earlier and later in history. Further, Anthony Flew’s argument that one-off miracles are not permitted also disallows some important events that are recognised by believing and unbelieving scientists. For example, the origin of the universe and the origin of life on earth. Further, if one-off events (miracles) must always be overturned by the normal flow of events, no new scientific discoveries could ever be made. For these and many other reasons, the skeptical argument against miracles cannot disallow the occurrence of miracles. Skeptics therefore cannot reasonably require that Luke 21:6 points to a date of composition for Luke’s gospel beyond AD 70.
No Mention of the Jewish-Roman War in Acts
Tensions between the Jews and Romans were the precursor to the fall of Jerusalem. These tensions are dated to AD 66, and we would expect this to be mentioned in Acts if it had already occurred because again, it was significant and relevant to the church and the local community and would have been important to the author of Luke-Acts.
No Mention of Deterioration in Relations between Emperor Nero and the Christian Community in Acts
There are many facets to this highly significant period in the life of the early Christian Church. In his Annals, Roman historian Tacitus records Nero’s persecution of the Christians in various brutal ways. And he pinned the cause of the fire in Rome on the Christians. This is dated to the mid to late AD 60s. It is not mentioned in Acts, suggesting it is yet to occur while Acts is being written.
If the author of Acts recorded earlier persecution by the Jewish authorities, and persecution by the Roman authorities, why not this Roman persecution that was happening close to home? Again, given the significance of these events, it is hard to see why the author of Acts would not have mentioned Nero’s persecution if it had already occurred. This suggests it had not yet occurred while Acts was being written.
No Mention of the Martyrdom of James in Acts
In his Antiquities, Josephus records the Sanhedrin’s killing of the Apostle James around AD 62. This would be an important event in the history of the Christian church as it involved the death of one of their first leaders. The omission of this event suggests it had not happened yet while the author was researching and writing.
The Author of Acts Does Not Appear to Know About the Apostle Paul’s Letters
If Acts was written later in the 1st century, surely the author’s research would have included reading the Apostle Paul’s letters and informing his account with the details recorded in there. However, there is no evidence this was the case from the Acts text.
Now, it is possible that the author simply didn’t have access to these letters. The 1st century was not an information-rich age like ours is today. Yet at a time when these documents were being copied and distributed amongst the earliest churches, it seems reasonable to assume he would have known about the existence of the letters from the people he was interviewing as part of his research. If Luke is the author, and he is a companion of Paul, you would think he would know about some of Paul’s letters.
This is a weaker argument from silence compared to the previous two. But silence on the letters may suggest an early date for the research and writing of Acts, perhaps prior to the wide distribution of some of Paul’s letters. The fact he doesn’t mention them suggests the author’s research happened around the time Paul was writing his epistles.
The Abrupt Ending of Acts
There is a suddenness about the conclusion to Acts. The Apostle Paul makes his final journey to Rome and arrives after surviving a shipwreck. Paul is awaiting the outcome to his appeal to the Roman emperor. Through other writers of the time (1 Clement 5, Eusebius) it is recorded that Paul is released in AD 62 only to be reimprisoned and executed a few years later. Acts reports none of this important detail. It seems the author writes up to his understanding of contemporary events, without knowing what the outcome for Paul would be.
Also, scholars have noted the parallels the writer of Luke-Acts seems to draw between the lives of Jesus and Paul. If the author had been aware of Paul’s martyrdom, they would have reported it in Acts to draw the parallel even closer. Its omission suggests it had not happened yet, and the author recorded as much as he could based on prior known events.
A Sense of Immediacy in the Later Chapters of Acts
The early chapters report events in an indirect way, while the later chapters (e.g. Acts 27 – 28) report things more immediately. This suggests that the author relied on eyewitnesses testimony for the early parts of the book, and switched to his own memories for the events he was personally involved in.
Undesigned Coincidences Between Acts and Paul’s Letters
While Acts does not seem to use Paul’s letters as a source, nevertheless it reports events that are consistent with those letters. For example, Paul’s ministry in Macedonia is reported in Acts 16 and 19, and also in Romans 15 and 2 Corinthians 8 and 11. Multiple documents separately attesting to the same event is an undesigned coincidence and a mark of historicity.
Specialised Knowledge is Evident in Acts
The author comes across as someone who is well acquainted with the region. For example:
- topography of Jerusalem is shown (Acts 1:12, 19 and 3:2,11)
- knowledge of the Roman military guard and other Roman terms are clearly shown (Acts 12:4)
- Cyprus is correctly described as a proconsular province
- The part played by Troas in communication is acknowledged
- Acts 13 – 28 show an intimate knowledge of local circumstances. There are many “we” passages in the later chapters of Acts
Implications of the Dating of Acts on Luke’s Gospel
These arguments for the early research and composition of Acts also by implication support an early date for Luke’s Gospel since the style of writing demonstrates the same author wrote both works.
Placing both of these works at an early period in the first century, around AD 62, means the author researched and wrote within the lifetime of the eyewitnesses. This, therefore, gives further support to the original Christian belief in Jesus’ death and resurrection, as these are prominent in both works. This was not a later idea imposed on 1st-century events.
Authorship of Luke-Acts
The church fathers Papias and Irenaeus lived at a time near the events reported in Luke-Acts. Given that Luke’s Gospel was essentially distributed anonymously, as it didn’t have the author reported on the front of the scroll, its authorship would have been part of the oral testimony that accompanied copies of the document.
The traditional authorship of Luke, Mark, and Matthew’s gospels are affirmed by Papias and Irenaeus. Matthew was written by the disciple of that name, Mark was written by John Mark as a memoir of Peter, and Luke was a close companion of the apostle Paul. We do not know for certain that this traditional authorship is correct, but this tradition has a definite ring of truth about it; “Why would Christians as early as the second century ascribe these otherwise anonymous Gospels to three such unlikely candidates if they did not, in fact, write them?”
I have presented nine arguments for the early authorship of Luke-Acts. Five of these are arguments from silence. How well do these arguments meet McGrew’s three steps? I would argue that it is highly likely that arguments 1 to 4 easily meet step 1. Argument 5 is less certain. Although I think it is likely Paul’s letters would have come to Luke’s attention. I would suggest all five arguments meet step 2 because the importance of the events, and the relevance of Paul’s letters, mean Luke would have very likely referred to them during his research and writing. Finally, all five arguments easily meet McGrew’s step 3. Acts is an important early work. At the time of writing, the earliest copy of Acts is found in P45. The Chester Beatty Papyri are dated to the third century and preserve much of the four gospels, and Acts itself.
I have shown how nine arguments together argue for the early authorship of Acts at around AD 62. I think together these meet the criteria laid down by McGrew for a strong argument. Some of these events have a very major significance to everyone living in this 1st-century Jewish/Christian community. To suggest that the author would not record them because they were not relevant, seems unlikely. Given that there is an incremental quality to these arguments, taken together, this forms a strong argument suggesting research and authorship of Acts prior to the important events that are not mentioned, at around AD 62.
 Normal L. Geisler, The Big Book of Christian Apologetics, (Baker Books, 2012), 10-12.
 Reference 2 in The Argument from Silence, Timothy McGrew, DOI 10.1007/s12136-013-0205-5.
 Reference 4 in McGrew.
 Flavius Josephus, Of the War – Book VI, accessed 24th May 2022, https://penelope.uchicago.edu/josephus/war-6.html.
 Luke 1:1, Acts 1:1, NIV.
 Luke 21:6, NIV
 Cornelius Tacitus, The Annals, accessed 24th May, 2022, https://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.02.0078%3Abook%3D15%3Achapter%3D44.
 Craig L. Blomberg, The Historical Reliability of the New Testament Countering the Challenges to Evangelical Christian Beliefs, (Nashville: B&H Academic, 2016), 14.
 Ibid., 16.
 Craig Blomberg, “Where Do We Start Studying Jesus?”, mentioned in Kenneth Richard Samples, God Among Sages Why Jesus Is Not Just Another Religious Leader, (Baker Books, 2017), 61.
 Papyrus 45, Wikipedia, accessed 25th May, 2022, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papyrus_45.
23 thoughts on “Nine Arguments for the Early Authorship of Luke-Acts”
if you are inventing a story, you do leave out those parts that make your story not agree with reality.
The criteria of embarrassment would count against your idea there. Why invent an embarrassing story about yourself when you are trying to start a new movement?
“In all four Gospels the disciples are portrayed as lacking understanding and as disloyal at the key moment of Jesus’s arrest…for the core texts of Christianity to contain so much material critical of the first Christian leaders is unusual when considered against other religious or political movements. A simple interpretation is that the critical accounts of early leaders signal the trustworthiness of the sources.”
— Peter J Williams, Can We Trust The Gospels, (Crossway, 2018), 129.
The criterion for embarassment fails in all cases. You falsely assume that any of the details are considered embarassing.
In the gospels, if there is no betrayal, then the whole claim of the story of this character as being a martyr and sacrifice fails. Those dramatic elements are required for the myth to make any sense at all.
First – this is importing modern storytelling tropes into ancient historical biographies. Why do you think this is a rational thing to do? And why should I agree with you that Luke-Acts is mythological given all the evidence to the contrary? Are there any other ancient biographies that do this that can support your theory? I’m interested whether you can support it.
Second – my question stands. Based on the writings of that culture (not our modern culture) why would anyone starting a movement invent embarrassing stories about themselves? Selfishness, getting it wrong and denying your friends are never seen in a positive light whatever the culture.
No, respond, it is humans telling stories, and those myths you have are not biographies since you can’t show that these characters even existed. That’s why it a rational thing to do.
There is no evidence that any of the gospels or Acts are true. But do present what you think is the evidence that does.
I do have to wonder what exactly you mean by “ancient historical biography”. Now, if you are meaning a “bios” or what the greeks and romans had as stories about various figures using them as ideas of what correct actions are, you have a problem since they did not determine if their stories were factually true. Do you want to claim that these stories are literally true or do you want ot consider them as the moral myths that other bios are?
As I noted in my response to your claims about embarassing stories, you can’t have your martyr without these events to make him a martyr. Remove the betrayal and poof goes your myth.
Okay – it seems all you can do is assert your assumptions. Fair enough. Thanks.
Nice attempt to lie but I do far more than just “assert opinions”. Try again, R. It is notable that you cannot show I’m wrong.
Unfortunately – the burden of proof doesn’t tend to work like that.
You seem to be claiming Luke-Acts is “made up.” Well – to see some evidence to justify your claim seems like a reasonable request from me. Particularly in light of the blog I wrote which puts forward an argument for historicity.
I expect you will respond with something like – “There is no God and the gospels are myths.” Again – the burden of proof exists and is yours in this instance.
Actually the burden of proof works exactly like that. But of course you can’t support your claim it doesn’t. Now, why is that? I can of course show that the burden of proof is on the person who makes a claim and says it is true. This holds for any discussion. If I were to claim that I have a dragon in my garage, I would need to show it exists. You have made a claim that your god exists, and therefore you need to show it exists. I suspect you would hold any non-christian theist to this standard. Am I correct?
Luke and Acts are indeed made up, since not one of the events in them can be shown to have happened. No jesus wandering around with a literal roman legion’s number of men following him in Roman-occupied Palestine. No one noticing a day where there was a major earthquake, the sky darkening and dead Jews wandering around in Roman-occupied Jerusalem on a Passover. No one noticed Paul existing at all nor having audiences with the Roman emperor. Do tell why a guy from a little cult would get that far and how it happened.
No one also noted any of the apostles, even though they were supposedly talking before crowds. You see, Respond, you need to provide evidence for the positive claims you make. I can just point out that nothing you said has evidence and there is evidence of Jerusalem just going on as it did, no gathering of thousands of followers of Jesus anywhere.
> You have made a claim that your god exists, and therefore you need to show it exists. I suspect you would hold any non-
> christian theist to this standard. Am I correct?
You are invoking Carl Sagan’s dragon in the garage metaphor to say, “The proof that God doesn’t exist is that no one can prove he does exist.” This is – again – trying to shift the burden of proof that you are unwilling to bear for your own unfounded claims, friend. This is faulty logic. You continually type the equivalent of the words “there are no gods” without even realising that this is a claim for you to justify. The dragon doesn’t do so. It dodges your need to justify your claim that there is no God.
You have also just continued to make claims about Luke-Acts that are unjustified. And you ignorred the carefully constructed arguments in my blog.
If you can engage thoughtfully with me by attempting to support your counter claims – I’ll be happy to talk with you.
Yes, indeed, I am invoking Sagan’s dragon. And surprise, you have no evidence for your dragon at all, Respond. And no, I am not saying that the proof that god doesn’t exist is that no one can prove he does exist. The proof that this god doesn’t exist is that there is no evidence for this god at all. Not one essential event that this god supposedly caused can be shown to have happened. Now, why is that, Respond? Why is there no evidence for your dragon?
Again, you make the positive claim “God exists”. You would ask for evidence from any other theist that their god exists and not accept that you didn’t have to show they didn’t exist, so I am asking the same of you. You are quite a hypocrite. And no this isn’t faulty logic at all. What you have claimed is indeed the dragon dilemma since you have to invent excuses why no one can find your god. That’s what apologetics is.
And you have yet to show that my points about Luke and Acts are wrong. You just say “nuh-uh” and nothing more. Do address my points if they are wrong. And since I addressed the arguments you made, you have evidently decided to lie about what I have done. That is rather pitiful, Respod. Your arguments failed, I did not ignore them at all.
I have engaged with you thoughtfully, Respond. You have returned that with false claims, which is always great fun to see in a recording medium. I have addressed the false claims about embarrassment. I have addressed why parts are missing. I have pointed out that none of the events in Luke and Acts cannot be shown to have happened and not a single person noted all of these rather amazing events at any time period you might want to propose. I have shown that you have a problem with trying to claim that the stories are literal, when a “bios” is known to not be a verified account of a life story. I can show that
All of these counter claims against your baseless myths have yet to be shown wrong.
Why do you think you should be able to use empirical tools to prove the existence of a God who is space-less and time-less? The dragon illustration is just confused when applied to God (rather than aliens). I argue you use philosophical not scientific or empirical tools. Also…please form arguments rather than always making assertions. For example – you say you can show a “bios” is not a verified account of a life story. Please show me this. Thanks.
Your post is a classic apologetic, Respond. You try to claim *now* that there is no way to find this god, since it is supposedly “space-less” and “time-less”. Per your bible, that is not the case at all, and again, this god supposedly caused all of those events in the bible, interacting with the physical world constantly. The attempts by Christians to invent a vague god that they don’t have to defend is a relatively recent evolution. Unfortuantely for Christians, it does come with one big problem: if this god is outside of time, how can it ever know when to do something? If it is outside of reality, how does it influence it? How does something immaterial interact with the material? Will you retreat to “Mysterious ways”?
You still have the problem that there is no evidence for those supposed events. Again, you follow the dragon dilemna perfectly, with making excuses on why no one can find your dragon, by changing the characteristics of the dragon you claimed existed.
I use evidence to determine your god doesn’t exist, Respond. I have evidence of abscence and absence of evidence. Like every other religion that you claim isn’t true, yours is exactly the same, lacking evidence for your claims.
I make assertions and back them up with evidence. If I am wrong, make your own assertion and back it up with evidence.
“Ancient biography, or bios, as distinct from modern biography, was a genre of Greco-Roman literature interested in describing the goals, achievements, failures, and character of ancient historical persons and whether or not they should be imitated.” – Marincola, John, ed. (2010), A companion to Greek and Roman historiography, John Wiley & Sons pg 528-531.
And since people like Plutarch wrote about Alexander the great, someone he couldn’t have researched with other than legend, like Christians love to claim, do tell how a bios is a verified story, Respond.
Ok – good. There are some arguments here at last.
> You try to claim *now* that there is no way to find this god…
> if this god is outside of time, how can it ever know when to do something? If it is outside of reality, how does it influence it? How does
> something immaterial interact with the material? Will you retreat to “Mysterious ways”?
Oh – I’m not claiming you cannot find God. I am saying that the approach that one takes has typically been misunderstood by people who make the illogical assumption that God can only be found using empirical methods. Like a dragon in the garage. Why would you think that God could be found this way? Surely if God created space and time – he cannot also be contained within and resident in space and time. That would be absurd. Do you see that? If i’m creating something I must be independent of it. The same argument can be made for God’s creation of the universe.
Why do you think that a timeless God is unable to do something? It sounds like you are saying that – because you are personally time bound, that God must also be time bound. Hmmm. That’s a big assumption! The God you disbelieve in sounds rather close to yourself, doesn’t it? Why do you think that your limitations must necessarily be God’s limitations?
On the Roman bios…yes indeed. I would say that ancient biographies were very different from modern biographies that we might write today. John Marincola is making an important point. But are you then claiming that because Plutarch wrote his biography of Alexander 400 years after Alexander’s life, that means that the gospels and Acts must also have been written that distance of time as well? Do I understand what you are saying?
If that’s what you are saying, then I see no reason to accept your assumption. There is nothing in the STYLE of bios that demands a long duration between the events and the record. Its just a style of composition. Now – I have presented 9 arguments in my blog that argue that Luke-Acts were written before AD66. That argument is quite distinct from the suggestion the gospels themselves are written in the style of bios.
Its telling that you don’t seem to want to respond to those 9 points of evidence for early composition in my blog. Or have I missed it? Maybe you can remind me what your respons to these arguments is?
Wow, Respond, nice to see you still making false claims about me. How unsurprising. Funny how I’ve been making arguments this entire time. I am always amused by Christians who evidently don’t believe that their god exists since they make such easy to disprove claims and don’t think this god will notice.
You have claimed that this god is “spaceless” and “timeless”, aka outside of reality, so do tell how one is supposed to find this god, Respond. With your claims, any god can exist now since no one has to show any evidence except entirely subjective claims. Since this god supposedly has interacted repeatedly with this material existence, there should be evidence of this. Where is the evidence of any of the essential events in the bible, Respond? A magical creation where things just poofed into existence? A worldwide 28,000+ foot deep flood? Language changing suddenly? An “exodus” of 600,000+ people and the decimation of Egypt? A day where there was a major earthquake, the sky darkening and the dead walking around? Funny, how despite thousands of years of looking, theists have not one bit of evidence for this god.
Per your bible, this god is very much physical, having feet to stand on things, loving the smell of burning flesh, desiring tons of gold, silver, precious gems, fine leathers and fabrics, etc. It is limited by distance and awareness. There is nothing to show that this god exists, much less creating space and time, Respond. Your argument depends on premises that cannot be shown true. The claims of supposed omnipotence and omniscience are claimed but never shown by action in the bible; the opposite is demonstrated. Yes, if one creates something, it is outside itself. We don’t see that with this god. It is nothing more than yet one more god invented by bronze/iron age people, just humans writ large.
If there is no time, do tell how something is started, Respond? Time is a sequence of events, so when do things begin? You claim this god experiences no time, correct? But funny how it does in the bible, dependent on actions to be followed by reaction. Per your own bible, it is limited by time.
So, now you agree with me that ancient biographies are not sets of verified truth. We have no evidence that Luke or Acts were written by eyewitnesses and evidence that they were written decades after the supposed events. It is not a matter of distance of time, it is a matter of verification. So, you do need to accept my point.
Your claims about luke acts being written before 66 CE fail, Respond, for the reason I mentioned first off, they are a story invented and the events you claim are missing aren’t. They were never needed for the story in the first place. You have claimed that the gospels were written as “ancient historical biographies” aka “bios”, and that failed too.
I have responded to your “9 points”, Respond. You just don’t like what I’ve said. That you would repeatedly try to lie and claim I haven’t is notable.
> You have claimed that this god is “spaceless” and “timeless”, aka outside of reality, so do tell how one is supposed to find this
> god, Respond.
What would stop William Shakespeare from writing himself into one of his literary plays? And interacting with the people and the places and objects he has created in that fictional universe? Answer – nothing. There is excellent historical documentary evidence that Jesus of Nazareth lived, acted, and spoke like the God worshipped by the Jews and he rose from the dead to confirm it. Countless people including myself have had experiences that seem to be best explained by God’s intervention in our lives.
Now – if we can simultaneously exist outside and inside of our creations, this is also true of the creator of the actual universe to a whole new level. Seems to me that you have decided this cannot be true while at the same time, you lack any reasons to explain why.
> There is nothing to show that this god exists, much less creating space and time, Respond. Your argument depends on
premises that cannot be shown true.
No – you WANT this to be the case. This is probably why on this post you have just returned to aggressive assertions again. You’ve lost your arguments. Rail on my claim that the universe was created by God all you like. Your problem is – you have to come up with a better explanation than mine. And I’m waiting for that explanation.
> Per your bible, this god is very much physical…
Oh – sure thing. God can do things we cannot. He can simultaneously exist inside and outside his physical creation.
> Your argument depends on premises that cannot be shown true.
You have continually failed to show that God’s existence cannot be true. You just state it and think your job’s done.
> If there is no time, do tell how something is started, Respond?
You sound like a literary character exclaiming, “What do you mean someone wrote this story? It’s crazy to think that this story came into existence.” Why do you even think that way? Stories come into existence when they are written. This happens all the time for the science fiction stories you enjoy. What book, movie, or tv show are you looking forward to. Did someone create it? Of course they did, and we judge them on how good the story is.
Scientists tell us the universe came into existence 14 billion years ago. Are you claiming that it popped into existence all by itself? The Universe is unbelievable more complex compared to a fictional story. This idea of a universe that creates itself is profoundly unconvincing to me. It is also unconvincing to me to suggest the universe is the result of quantum fluctuations (Hawking) because the whole point of the beginning of the universe is – there was nothing. And then there was something. This is a problem for you to face friend, not me. That you don’t understand the process of creation should lead one to humility and further study of science and philosophy and theology. But – I’m not holding my breath on that happening.
> It is not a matter of distance of time, it is a matter of verification. So, you do need to accept my point.
So much confusion. You seem to misunderstand the purpose and message of this blog. History works on evidence and argument. And there is excellent evidence and a strong argument for the early authorship of Luke-Acts by the stated writer. Noone else has formed a counter argument against this. And – neither have you. So what point do you want me to accept?
> Your claims about luke acts being written before 66 CE fail, Respond, for the reason I mentioned first off, they are a story invented and the events you claim are missing aren’t.
You’ve returned to assertions again. There’s no argument here. I have presented a sophisticated argument and all you have done is to say “no its not – you have failed.” Okay friend – tell me how my argument fails? Explain it for me clearly please?
No – you have not responded to the 9 arguments for the early authorship of Luke-Acts. You have spent your time railing at me for writing the blog. That is all. You saying “there is no God” is simply empty to me. Why not do some work at explaining how and why these arguments fail – and we can talk further.
Again, where is this god if it is spaceless and timeless, Respond? This isn’t Shakespeare writing stories. Where is your god in reality? Shakespeare doesn’t interact (have conversations with, save them from real life threats, etc )with his imaginary characters, he creates them and their actions. You are comparing apples to oranges. The correct comparison is the authors of the various books of the bible creating this god, the characters, the events, and this god doesn’t exist just like the characters don’t exist in Shakespeare except as thoughts.
There is no evidence that Jesus Christ, son of God, existed at all. No historical documentary exists at all. It is unsurprising that you make that claim but can’t cite a single instance. There is also no evidence that a “historical jesus”, a deluded jewish man who thought he was the messiah, existed either. That concept does have a higher likelihood of probability but that is not the entity that Christians worship, is it, Respond?
If this god is spaceless and timeless, there is no way to know how it speaks or acts. There is also not one scrap of evidence that anyone has risen from the dead. You assume that is true and it is not.
There is also no evidence of this god intervening anywhere. All you have are subjective claims with no evidence at all. Now, we can go with that since other religions make the same claims. Are you okay with this making their gods as real as yours? Yes or no?
Nope, we do not exist within our creations. Shakespear is a writer, his creation is a set of thoughts. The thoughts are real, the characters, locations and events are not. By your analogy, we are only thoughts of this god, which is a wonderful piece of baseless nonsense.
you fail, as usual. But I do give you points for a hilarious invention. And dear, I haven’t made the idiotic claim of this god being “spaceless” and “timeless”. You did so dear, the burden of proof that this god is this way is on *you*. You can’t. You have invented this garbage to excuse this god’s absence.
Alas, you have yet to show any evidence gthis god exists much less creating space and time, Respond. I don’t care if it like this or not. My desires and wants don’t change reality and neither do yours. Where is this evidence you claim exists? We can go through it piece by piece.
The universe could have been created by any number of gods, respond. Show evidence this is the case and that is was *yours*. Your problem is that you can’t even show a god merely exists, having to create excuses on why no one can find it. You hope that the various “logical” arguments for god work, when they, at best, might indicate a beginning force was needed. Not your god, not anyone’s god. All of those “logical” arguments start with an assumption that a god is needed. We see no evidence of that, nor, again of this god’s influence in the universe at all.
Your god is very much physical, and that it supposedly does magical things does not preclude that. The pharoah’s magicians did magic too, per the bible, and they were quite physical (if they existed). You have yet to show that this god merely exists, much less that it exists simultaneously inside and outside its creation. We see no evidence of this “outside” in the bible. And we see dear ol’ God standing on things, enjoying meat smoke, enjoying gold, precious items, needing blood as sacrifice, manipulating items, etc. I do love how you keep changing your story to try to counter my points. It’s exactly like how Sagan describes this happening in his essay about the dragon in his garage. The redefinition ends up making the “dragon” not a “dragon” anymore.
I have not failed at all to show that your version of your Christian god to not be true and that the versions of all of the other Christians, and theists can’t be true. We have no evidence for the events it supposedly did just like we have no evidence for any of the events that other gods have supposedly done, Respond. Why is this the case? Did it not do these things, so it could exist but the bible is lying about the events? Did it do these things and then hide all of the evidence? That doesn’t work with the Christian claim that it wants everyone to worship it, and to worship it, we have to know that it exists.
We do have entirely different evidence of what happened for any time offered by a Christian for their supposed events, Respond. So, we have evidence of absence and absence of evidence. You can invent a vague entity that does nothing, and yep, I can’t show that isn’t true, but the god you have, with all of its attributes, supposed events, etc, is easy to show as nothing more than your imagination, just like the stuff Shakespeare wrote.
Ah, I see that you can’t answer my question about how something is started if there is no time. You try to change the subject which is just sweet. Stories come into existence as soon as someone things of them. Writing isn’t required. Writing isn’t creating a universe like we see. Your desperate analogies fail again. You compare apples with oranges and you can’t answer my questions. As usual.
We do indeed judge writers for their stories. Your bible is hilariously incompetent. It was entirely made up just like Shakespeare’s stories. At least Shakespeare had a clue.
The evidence indicates that the universe came into existence around 14 billion years ago. From the evidence we have, including the laws of physics that you trust everyday, it appears to have popped into existence by itself. At this point, we do not know exactly how that happened. We may never know, and that still doesn’t mean your god did it or even exists. That’s okay. We’ll still keep looking and theists will still keep changing their “truths” to excuse their god’s evident non-existence.
The universe is indeed complex. Still no god needed. I don’t care what you find unconvincing. Your argument from personal ignorance is just a logical fallacy. Your willful ignorance is unimpressive.
No one needs you or your god, Respond. I think its hilarious that you try to lie and claim you understand the “process of creation”, when your bible has two versions of the same myth, which are just like every other creation myth. I don’t understand how the universe came to be and I don’t need to be humble or proud about that. It’s just a fact. But I can still show your god doesn’t exist.
Poor Respond, claiming that “more” investigation need to be done to show him right, that “honest, this god will pop out of the woodwork *someday*!” Hmm, it’s been two thousand plus years and still nothing at all, Respond. Creationists, all of the different contradictory versions, still promise that “real soon now” they’ll have evidence for their god being the creator. Your god doesn’t exist, and you will get to die just like me and everyone else. No sadistic fantasies coming true.
Alas, you still have no evidence and argumentn for your false claims, Respond. You have yet to present any evidence for your version of the Christian nonsense. As I have said, present what you think is ever so good “evidence” and we can talk about it. I have already given a counter argument to your nonsense about Luke-Acts. It took one sentence. It’s a story, things were made up in it like so many other stories. And not one event in Luke/Acts can be shown to have happened, so there is no reason to think it is anything else but a story.
Your argument is not sophisticated at all, Respond. It’s long and convoluted and does not reflect reality. There is nothing to show that Luke/acts was written before 66 CE. You claim it was since there are things not mentioned, that happened after 66 CE. Those things weren’t part of the story told, so of course they weren’t mentioned. It’s like someone wrote a story about the US in 1999 in the years 2002, and didn’t mention the WTC being flown into since that happened in 2001. By your argument, that story written in 2002 would have *had* to have been written in 1999.
So, here we go again with you lying about what I answered. Oh well.
I’ll respond to what I think is your best counterargument:
> It’s like someone wrote a story about the US in 1999 in the years 2002, and didn’t mention the WTC being flown into since
> that happened in 2001. By your argument, that story written in 2002 would have *had* to have been written in 1999.
If the written piece was carefully researched and intended as a history of the events in the US – I would think that if 9-11 was not mentioned, this would count as strong evidence that the piece was written before 9-11 occurred. Wouldn’t you, friend? I’m not saying this HAS to be the case – you are misrepresenting my claim. I am saying – this would be a strong evidential argument that it was written prior to the events of 9-11… And this is a simpler version of the blog’s argument for the early authorship of Luke-Acts
There is nothing at all to indicate that Luke/Acts is a record of actual events. Nothing corroborates the claims in your stories.
I am not misrepresenting your claim at all. I am pointing out how it fails.
If only you did clearly argue why the historicity of Luke-Acts fails!! No. Boot prints are produced by the pressure of a genuine boot. This is true whether we’re talking muddy fields, or human history. It’s also true whether or not someone merely asserts the contrary (in your case, “It fails.”)
I am enjoying your continued attempt to pretend my points are not “clear”, etc. It is also amusing that you try to claim what I’ve said is “not clear” and then you try to claim that I’ve only said “it fails. Which lie do you want to go with, Respond?
There are no boot prints and thus no boot. All you have is a single source of claims, no evidence that this nonsense ever happened at all.
Your points are generally emotional outbursts rather than rebuttals, friend. I know of no reputable NT scholar who thinks there’s just one source in Luke-Acts.
Thank you for the fantastic article! I never knew there were so many good arguments to support the early dating of Acts. I will definitely refer back to this if I get asked about it by an unbelieving friend.