Contradictions, Contradictions!

“But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’” (John 16:5 ESV)

Jesus to his disciples.  Did he forget what just happened?

  • Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.”” (John 13:36, ESV)
  • Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”” (John 14:5, ESV)

Perhaps this is one of all of those contradictions in the Gospel accounts that Reza Aslan likes to complain about?

The sort of intellectual somnolence that the unfortunately named Mr. Aslan exhibits is deplorable.  He is either too lazy to delve deeply into questions like this, or so philosophically opposed to the possible truth of the gospel writers that he doesn’t care to do so.

Scholars often overlook the possibility that an author has something in mind other than a strict recounting of events in the life of Jesus.  They also seem to forget that the gospel writers did not have access to computers, nor to printed versions of the Scriptures, nor did they care about western 21st standards of scholarly investigation [They were obviously super lazy!  So what if they didn’t live in an age of footnotes.  They should have known better.  Heck, they should have invented footnotes!].

Don Carson takes the time to point out that unbelieving theologians might perhaps take a course in literary and lexical interpretation:

“One suspects that part of the problem lies in a fairly mechanical approach to the text, an approach that is sometimes insensitive to literary nuances. In the flow of the argument both in 13:36 and in 14:5, it is not clear that either Peter or Thomas was really asking the question formally represented by their words. A little boy, disappointed that his father is suddenly called away for an emergency meeting when both the boy and his Dad had expected to go fishing together, says, ‘Aw, Dad, where are you going?’, but cares nothing at all to learn the destination. The question is a protest; the unspoken question is ‘Why are you leaving me?’ The disciples have been asking several questions of that sort; they have not really asked thoughtful questions about where Jesus is going and what it means for them. They have been too self-absorbed in their own loss.”

Moral of the Story:  If you are going to be an unbelieving theologian and attempt to shred the New Testament page leaf by page leaf, take a course in literary nuance before you begin said project.

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