Sunday, September 01, 2013

The mundane and the supernatural

I listened to another podcast of the Unbelievable show the other day. This one featured J Warner Wallace, author of "Cold Case Christianity", a book I intend to read someday. The basic underlying theme of the discussion on this particular show was how the gospel stories can be treated like witness statements in a police investigation. I remain to be convinced of this point, but I'l deal with that when I read the book.

One thing that was said along the way regarded the supernatural events in the gospels as well as the mundane ones. I don't remember if the word 'mundane' was actually used, but that's the distinction I remember being discussed. The point seemed to be that if you put the supernatural stuff to the side for a bit, the mundane stuff in the gospels can be shown to be accurate history. And the case for historical accuracy is sufficiently strong that you end up realising the supernatural stuff must be historically accurate too. They didn't say it exactly that way on the podcast, but this is my paraphrase.

But then I found myself wondering... what mundane events?

What mundane stories in the life of Jesus are there? Everything he is recorded as doing has a supernatural component. He was born, mundane enough, but of a virgin, which makes it supernatural. He was baptised in water, but then a supernatural dove comes down and a voice speaks from out of thin air. Even when he's just asking a woman for water from a well, he exhibits supernatural knowledge and insight. I actually can't think of any mundane events in the gospels other than the teaching passages, most of which come without any specific geographical or historical setting, so we can't really learn anything about history from them.

But if there are no mundane events described, then the line of reasoning that leads to acceptance of the supernatural events is a false one. 

But probably more on this issue when I get around to reading the book. Don't hold your breath though, I have several other books lined up to read before that.

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