Catholic apologists argue wrongly against Sola Scriptura

#21

I agree and of course at that time we are not talking about the bible but the individual writings that were written on parchment which was not durable. It wouldn’t be for another few hundred years before the paper would be strong enough to endure. Put that together with the persecution of the early Christians and it’s easy to see why the original writings haven’t survived. (or as Friardchips says, not that we know about).

The question for me is why haven’t early copies of the koran survived because it would not have had to endure the same difficulties. There really is no reason why there shouldn’t be very early copies from Uthman after he burned all the others and made his version standard).

We know that there was no existing copy of the koran at the time of Muhammad’s death which is remarkable considering that the whole Muslim faith is based on God revealing a book to Mohammad.

Early Koran

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#22

The Catholic Bible even says that one language cannot be translated accurately to different language. That is problem number two for SS. Plus…

ReggieM- good point but I think the time for patience has passed and a plain truth should not be suppressed or subordinated.

Thinkandmull – there are some passages in the Bible that cannot be translated at all. Proverbs 26:10 has 10 possible, valid translations. Copiest gloss has been incorporated into the body of the text and so on.

Gorgias - Chaucer and Caesar are not claimed to be the eternal work of the Holy Spirit so the comparison does not work with believers in SS.

Fnr – as good as it may be it does not originate from the original autographs because the original autographs do not exist. That is common knowledge. If they were destroyed due to natural decay of the substrate, then that is what God purposely allowed.

I think Catholic apologists debate with one arm tied behind their back. They are arguing according to SS rules so they are on an uphill battle where the opponent has a running head start. They should begin first by defining what is, and what is not, the inspired Bible. The Bible on your desk or the Bible at the book store is not “God breathed”. It is a work of human copiest and human translators and MUST therefore contain errors and omissions. SS believes in something that does not exist anymore and SS believes in the infallibility of humans.

Apologists everywhere, shout out with St Augustine “I would not believe the Gospel, except the authority of the Catholic Church moved me.”!

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#23

Chris,

I’m not addressing your claim of ‘divine protection’ here. Rather, I’m pointing out that “lack of original document” doesn’t equate to “the document has vanished”, as you assert.

After all, if your claim of “vanishing Scripture” doesn’t hold up – and I don’t think it does – then there’s no argument to be made against sola scriptura on that basis. (After all, sola scriptura falls on the strength of other, stronger arguments… :wink: )

Moreover, this approach you’ve suggested would likewise weaken the Catholic faith in Scripture, as well, and we as Catholic Christians just can’t accede to that line of argument. :shrug:

I think Catholic apologists debate with one arm tied behind their back. They are arguing according to SS rules

I would disagree. We concur on certain doctrines, but we cannot agree on those principles which diverge from constant and traditional teachings of the Church.

The Bible on your desk or the Bible at the book store is not “God breathed”. It is a work of human copiest and human translators and MUST therefore contain errors and omissions.

Umm… no. The Catholic Church holds that Scripture is inerrant – even in translation. In his Providentissimus deus, Pope Leo XIII asserted, “It follows that those who maintain that an error is possible in any genuine passage of the sacred writings, either pervert the Catholic notion of inspiration, or make God the author of such error. And so emphatically were all the Fathers and Doctors agreed that the divine writings, as left by the hagiographers, are free from all error, that they laboured earnestly, with no less skill than reverence, to reconcile with each other those numerous passages which seem at variance” (PD, 21).

Again, he asserts, “so far is it from being possible that any error can co-exist with inspiration, that inspiration not only is essentially incompatible with error, but excludes and rejects it as absolutely and necessarily as it is impossible that God Himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true. This is the ancient and unchanging faith of the Church” (PD, 20).

Fifty years after the publication of PD, Pope Pius XII published his own Divino Afflante Spiritu, reaffirming Leo’s teaching of inspiration and inerrancy.

The Second Vatican Council affirmed the inerrancy of the inspired word in the Scriptures in its Dei verbum.

And so, although we as Catholics deny the idea of ‘sola scriptura’, we too believe in the Scriptures, not only as they were originally written down, but in the form in which we have access to them today.

SS believes in something that does not exist anymore

No. The doctrine of sola scriptura embraces the same Scriptures that Catholics do (deuterocanonicals notwithstanding); it simply makes claims about it that the Catholic Church does not.

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#24

Hi Gorgias, thanks for the thoughtful reply. I will try to supply specific validity to my argument.

Just to be clear I want to repeat that none of the original Biblical writing exist anymore. None of St. Luke, none of St Paul, none of Moses, none of anybody’s. That is common knowledge and those were the only ones guaranteed “inspired” by the Holy Spirit. Copies are not inspired, copies are not “God breathed”, copies are not inerrant.

Vatican 2 said that the Bible is without error in the things that pertain to salvation. That does not mean that every passage is without error or omission.

See below these two serious errors in a Catholic Bible that even a lowly grocery store clerk like me is aware of…

Gen 3:15
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel." Vatican NAB

I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel. Douay-Rheims

The difference between HE and SHE and HIS and HER is dramatic and one of them is wrong.

Galatians 19-21
Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Vatican NAB

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, Idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects, Envies, murders, drunkenness, reveling, and such like. Of the which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God. Douay-Rheims

That the Vatican NAB omits murder as a sin that leads to Hell is an outrageous omission that is inexcusable.

Back to my original point that our Bibles are not strictly the Word of God. It is the Word of God in English copied and translated by fallible men and cannot be considered “God breathed” as Protestants claim: therefore Sola Scripture is baseless.

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#25

You’re off to a start.

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#26

This simply isn’t true. It wasn’t the paper that was inspired or God breathed, but rather the words of the human author who was inspired by God. “God inspired the human authors of the sacred books. ‘To compose the sacred books, God chose certain men who, all the while he employed them in this task, made full use of their own faculties and powers so that, though he acted in them and by them, it was as true authors that they consigned to writing whatever he wanted written, and no more.’” (CCC106) We still have those words–the inspired words, the God breathed words. All the evidence would really suggest that we do indeed have the words of the sacred authors.

Vatican 2 said that the Bible is without error in the things that pertain to salvation. That does not mean that every passage is without error or omission.

See below these two serious errors in a Catholic Bible that even a lowly grocery store clerk like me is aware of…

Gen 3:15
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel." Vatican NAB

I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel. Douay-Rheims

The difference between HE and SHE and HIS and HER is dramatic and one of them is wrong.

First --it’s not the Vatican NAB, but simply the NAB translation. Second, to address one of your translation concerns --the difference is not as dramatic as you make it out to be and one of them is not necessarily wrong. I would refer you to Jimmy Akin’s "The Woman, the Seed, the Serpent–which you should easily be able to find on Catholic Answers–where this is discussed. I will note just two quick things–1. “the original Hebrew passage allows for either reading”, and 2. “regardless of whether the human author of Genesis understood the passage in the ‘she/he’ sense or the ‘he/him’ sense, the ideas expressed by both readings are true.” Please seek out and read the article–perhaps a little study investigating these questions would be useful before you come here with these claims of “serious errors” in the Catholic Bible.

The peace of Christ,
Mark

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#27

You’re confusing a piece of paper with the words on that paper–words which can be faithfully and accurately preserved. The remnants, as you call them, allow us to be relatively certain that the words we have today are the words as written by the sacred authors. Contrary to your assertion that God abandoned the scripture, let the scripture perish, that God willed the scripture out of existence–I see the numerous copies and fragments of copies as evidence of Gods protecting his word in the scripture by giving us a means to know/confirm that what we have today is indeed the word as written by the sacred authors.

Even if we had the “originals”–that wouldn’t prove the inspiration of the words written on the paper–it is the Church that declared certain writings inspired and what was declared inspired were the copies at the time of that declaration. It is the Church that has preserved Gods word as passed down in both oral tradition and in written scripture–it is because of the Church that we can trust the Scripture that we have today.

The peace of Christ,
Mark

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#28

Hi Mark,

You confirmed what I have been saying all along. You have admitted that we are only “relatively certain” and we have some “evidence” and that it is the Church that “preserves” the Scripture, not the Scriptures copies standing alone. The Scriptures ultimately depend on the Church for their accuracy, not the Scripture copies and fragments themselves as being regarded as inerrant and unfailing as they are not. That is the primary reason Sola Scripture fails which no Catholic apologist ever says.

You have confirmed my original premise that the Scripture words were inspired, not the actual copies which are not inspired as the originals were.

You have also confirmed my secondary point when Jimmy Akin says “This probably happened either due to a copyist error or to a scribe trying to harmonize Jerome’s text with the other tradition.” Scribes did make mistakes and changes when copying Scripture. I notice you did not comment on the Galatians 19 omission.

I thought it would be easily understood that I was referring to the NAB on the Vatican website.

Thanks
Chris

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#29

I don’t think so. I also don’t think your claim is the primary reason, or even a reason, sola scriptura fails–and I believe that’s why apologists don’t use it. Your claim actually undermines both the Church and Scripture. Your assertion basically says the Scripture we have is not what the Church teaches us it is–you’re saying we can’t trust either–though I don’t think you realize that’s what you’re essentially saying. I’m saying that we can trust both.

You have confirmed my original premise that the Scripture words were inspired, not the actual copies which are not inspired as the originals were.

I don’t read that as your original premise. Your premise, at least as I read it, is that Scripture does not exist anymore, that none of the Biblical writings we have are inspired–you have claimed that only the first “original” writing in the hand of St. Luke or St. Paul or whoever was inspired by the Holy Spirit and seem to imply that even if we have an exact copy of those words–some how the words of that copy are not inspired by the Holy Spirit. I take issue with that. You’re free to dispute translation and argue that this or that is a better translation of the inspired text–I don’t have an issue with that, but that has nothing to do with inspiration and in some ways you seem to be conflating the two.

You have also confirmed my secondary point when Jimmy Akin says “This probably happened either due to a copyist error or to a scribe trying to harmonize Jerome’s text with the other tradition.” Scribes did make mistakes and changes when copying Scripture. I notice you did not comment on the Galatians 19 omission.

No–the point is we have the original Hebrew word that is being translated. No one has argued that the translation is inspired–no one ever argues that to the best of my knowledge. You’re acting as if we think this or that translation is inspired and you’re complaining about the various translations. Translation is why I have a NT with eight different translations–as I don’t read the original languages–and it’s why if there are questions I study to see how scholars and the Church deal with those questions. You are hung up on the Genesis 3:15 translation issue, but we know the original word and it’s ambiguity – translation differences have no bearing on that original words inspiration–you’re acting as if they do. Our job is to translate it as best we can and to try to understand it’s meaning as best we can in light of Church teaching and Tradition–which is guided and protected by the Holy Spirit.

I didn’t comment on your Galatians passage because I didn’t have time to do any research on the translations and I assumed that with the example regarding the first translation issue you raised you might take the time to do some study on the passage yourself, but again this is a translation issue not an inspiration issue–do you not see this?

I thought it would be easily understood that I was referring to the NAB on the Vatican website.

When you call something “Vatican” it tends to imply that it is something official from the Vatican–I’m not sure the NAB should be considered the official Vatican translation–that would be my concern. The NAB is also found on the website for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops–so why not call it the USCCB NAB?

The peace of Christ,
Mark

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#30

The Reformation is alive and well, in this thread as well as on the streets of my city.

There are some people who will not let you tell them the truth.

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#31

Hi!

:rotfl::rotfl::rotfl:

…I think it’s more like: 're-formation" as man reforms God and the Word of God according to his image and likeness!

Jesus warned about the usurper/s!

Maran atha!

Angel

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#32

Hi again Mark,

Obviously you are well read and studious, so I will try to be more specific and exact in my wording to the best of my ability.

“Your claim actually undermines both the Church and Scripture.”.
I see no basis for you to claim this. I have quoted St Augustine in my previous post- “I would not believe the Gospels unless the Catholic Church moved me so.” I said the accuracy of the Scriptures depends ultimately on the Church.

*you have claimed that only the first “original” writing in the hand of St. Luke or St. Paul or whoever was inspired by the Holy Spirit and seem to imply that even if we have an exact copy of those words–some how the words of that copy are not inspired by the Holy Spirit. *
You can opinion that I “seem to imply” anything you like. I simply state the fact that nobody knows if we have exact copies of the originals, so this comment is no germane.

No one has argued that the translation is inspired–no one ever argues that to the best of my knowledge.
Thank you for agreeing that our Bibles are not inspired, please tell that to the SS fans. Sola Scripture advocates believe that it is and that is their #1 mistake.

*translation differences have no bearing on that original words inspiration–you’re acting as if they do. *
Translations differences cannot change the “original” (we don’t have any inspired original autographs) but they can misrepresent or even change the “original” that we do have. That is self-evident.

but again this is a translation issue not an inspiration issue–do you not see this?
What you call a simple translation error has resulted in Gal 19 having a very grave omission in the very serious category of murder and salvation. You can try to minimize it and excuse it and rationalize it but it remains inexcusable. This is an example of why SS fans must depend first on the Church not the Bible.

I believe that Catholic apologist could be more honest and effective if they told the unvarnished truth – The original Bible does not exist and Sola Scriptura glorifies something that does not exist. Start with this foundational truth and build a case based on St Augustine “I would not believe the Gospel were it not for the Catholic Church to move me so.” Our Bibles are copies of copies subject to many kinds of human errors and the only way to correctly understand the Bible truths is through the Catholic Church. That is the basic statement which they can go ahead and demonstrate in a number of ways. If that demonstration includes Biblical errors then so be it. They never say this because they are timid/want to play nice with SS fans/ try to debate according to the other side’s rules/ they don’t think outside the box……I don’t know. I believe that my viewpoint is actually shows more forthrightness.

Sorry, I tried to do the little grey boxes but I could not get it right.

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#33

And I agree with St Augustine and I’m glad you do, but I believe St Augustine is referring to the canon of Scripture—to what is inspired—he knows the Gospels are true because the Church says they are. Let’s look at two of your comments below: “I simply state the fact that nobody knows if we have exact copies of the originals” and “our Bibles are not inspired”—this is what I base my statement on. The Catholic Church teaches: “God is the author of Sacred Scripture. ‘Divinely revealed realities, which are contained and presented in the text of Sacred Scripture, have been written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.’ ‘For Holy Mother Church, relying on the faith of the apostolic age, accepts as sacred and canonical the books of the Old and the New Testaments, whole and entire, with all their parts, on the grounds that, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author, and have been handed on as such to the Church herself.’” (CCC 105) The statements you make, that I cited above, undermine this teaching. The Church canonized the Sacred Scripture—you’re asserting they canonized something as the word of God without knowing that it is the word of God because “nobody knows if we have exact copies of the originals”. The Church is guided and protected in these matters by the Holy Spirit—so we do know the text we have is inspired—to say otherwise is to undermine the Churches authority, and to undermine the Churches authority is to undermine Scripture—that’s what I think you fail to see.

*you have claimed that only the first “original” writing in the hand of St. Luke or St. Paul or whoever was inspired by the Holy Spirit and seem to imply that even if we have an exact copy of those words–some how the words of that copy are not inspired by the Holy Spirit. *
You can opinion that I “seem to imply” anything you like. I simply state the fact that nobody knows if we have exact copies of the originals, so this comment is no germane.

No one has argued that the translation is inspired–no one ever argues that to the best of my knowledge.
Thank you for agreeing that our Bibles are not inspired, please tell that to the SS fans. Sola Scripture advocates believe that it is and that is their #1 mistake.

I’m not really agreeing with that. We have an inspired text and we have translations that attempt to be faithful to that text–and to the degree that they are successful–we are indeed reading an inspired text–we are reading what the Holy Spirit wished to communicate–we may need the Magisterium of the Church to correctly interpret the Sacred Text, but that’s a different issue. I don’t believe most Sola Scripture advocates believe what you claim they believe, but I will let them speak for themselves.

*translation differences have no bearing on that original words inspiration–you’re acting as if they do. *
Translations differences cannot change the “original” (we don’t have any inspired original autographs) but they can misrepresent or even change the “original” that we do have. That is self-evident.

but again this is a translation issue not an inspiration issue–do you not see this?
What you call a simple translation error has resulted in Gal 19 having a very grave omission in the very serious category of murder and salvation. You can try to minimize it and excuse it and rationalize it but it remains inexcusable. This is an example of why SS fans must depend first on the Church not the Bible.

I never said it was a translation error—it’s a translation issue—re: Galatians 5:19-21 I had no idea which translation might have been more literal or accurate, and I certainly don’t think this difference is the huge issue you make it out to be in post 24 where you call the omission of the word “murders” inexcusable. It’s only inexcusable if the word is clearly supposed to be there, but from the little I read there appears to be a good probability that it is not. From the very quick checking I did it appears there is considerable doubt as to whether the word should be in the text as two of the oldest sources do not include the word. Further I never read this as a complete list of sins that lead to hell—Paul says “and the like” indicating there are others. Do you think anyone reading this seriously reads it and goes—oh I guess its ok to murder? Scripture elsewhere makes it clear that murder is not ok—perhaps because of this Paul didn’t feel the need to address it here as he is addressing a specific community with specific issues. From what I can tell no one doubts the other words in the three verses you quoted—so for you to claim that on the basis of this one word that the other words are not inspired –seems to me to be an incorrect approach and not one that will bear fruit.

Those who believe in Sola Scriptura must first depend on the Church to know which writings are inspired and they do so whether or not they realize it, and this would be the case even if the “originals” existed and that’s really the point. The Scriptures don’t tell us what is inspired–the Church does. The question that needs to be addressed is once you have the sacred text–is that all you need–and that’s another discussion–and that’s where the debate is.

If the Bible doesn’t exist what did the Church Canonize? If the Bible doesn’t exist why does the Church refer to and venerate the Sacred Scripture i.e. the Bible? i’d probably like to refine this a little more, but I need to run–sorry.

The peace of Christ,
Mark

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#34

Hi Mark,

I understand your side but I find solid evidence to disagree with it. Notice – I am not disagreeing with the Church or the Catechism, just disagreeing with the Sola Scripture application of the Bible and with the concept of the Bible on my desk being inspired in each and every word and letter and phrase.

In conclusion will try to summarize my position briefly…

Sola scripture is based on a premise the Bible is the final judge of all things concerning faith and morals upon reading by anybody and the Bible is without error. That is ascription of Bible inerrancy to the works of man since they do not have the original God breathed autographs. This is expressed by Sola Scripture either in admitted theory or in practical effect. Their position is illogical.

Biblical errors, omissions, additions, changes are apparent in the Bible on your desk. Galations 19 omission shows the direct conflict between even the Catholic NAB and Douay-Rheims – one of them was not “protected” as much as the other one was “protected”. To say the NAB Gal 19 can be excused or explained away is not believable since it directly bears on faith and morals in the most serious context of salvation. (you are correct that The Holy Spirit “protected” us from NAB error in a ‘sense” by condemning murder in other NAB passages).

As I cited before there are numerous instances of non-protection by the Holy Spirit: untranslatable passages, passages with multiple possible valid translations, etc. Even the names of the Gospels MATTHEW, MARK, LUKE and JOHN are not in the earliest manuscript copies. They were added sometime later or maybe they were present in the original autographs but then some scribe deleted them, then even later another scribe added them back in. I could go on and on but I think you get the idea. This is what Sola Scriprtua fans need to understand; the Bible is not infallible unless the Church says it is.

Catholic apologists always contrast various Biblical passages to defeat Sola Scriptura and they have very little success in my opinion. They would be much more productive by making my argument above (of course much more refined, astute and comprehensive than I am able to do). They would also be more forthright in defining the basic authority of the Church.

You are welcome to have the last word. Thank you.

Chris

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closed #35
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