The Reliability of the Bible (Part 6)

1) There is no book in history that has been more reliably preserved and translated than the Bible; 2) There is no book in history that has more power to change the human condition than the Bible; 3) There is no book in history that is more important for knowing The God Who Is There than the Bible.

I have been discussing for several blogs the authority of the Bible based on its reliability.  Now let me enter some dangerous theological ground.  Believing the Bible is the Word of God is not necessary for salvation.  In fact, a LOT of what Christ-followers believe is not necessary for salvation, but complementary to it.  Do you believe He was born from a woman who did not have sex?  Do you believe He was the agency of creation?  Do you believe in the Triune character of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, ever existent as the Trinity, One True God in three persons?  Do you believe Jesus is coming again at the end of this age and will judge the living as well as those who have already died?

Each of these are solid Biblical teachings, and for the Christ-follower, will become part of the belief system you will claim as you study the Bible and “grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  (2 Peter 3:18)

Crucifixion 1But consider the thief on the cross next to Jesus who asked Jesus, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (Luke 23:42)  He did not know any of these things we have just listed, yet Jesus personally assured him they would be together in Paradise that day!  Here was arguably “the first Christian” and he never attended a Bible study and may not have known anything about his Old Testament (the Hebrew Bible of the day).  So what was the source of Jesus’ promise?  It was the man’s faith that Jesus was the sinless Messiah, the Son of God.  That was the sum total of his “theology” and it gained him Jesus’ assurance of salvation.  He argued with the other thief on the other cross, We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong. (Luke 23:41)  He saw what was written above Jesus head as an accusation, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS,  but he believed that Jesus would “come into [His] kingdom.”

So how does this relate to the Reliability of the Bible?  Go back to Calvary and the Empty Tomb of Jesus.  This is what it is all about.  If Jesus did not rise from the dead, we who follow Him are the most miserable of all people, because we are placing our hope in a Savior who cannot save from sin’s penalty; in a Deliverer who cannot free us from the chains of sin; in a King without a kingdom, no authority, no power, no promise of eternal life.  We give our money, our time and energy to helping people come out of false teaching; we forgo many of the world’s pleasures to gain eternal life; we spend hours reading, studying (and writing blogs 😉 ), and for what?  For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” (1 Corinthians 15:16-18)

Early in His career, Jesus said “Study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about Me.” (John 5:39)  Jesus validated the Scriptures as the Word of God, and the subsequent reports of His life, death and resurrection are the historically validated and reliably transcribed teachings that we have in the New Testament.  I hinted in The Reliability of the Bible (Part 1) [May 17, 2015], that doubt is not the opposite of faith.  Unbelief is.  That is, God is never annoyed by honest doubts and does not condemn us for them.  Unbelief, on the other hand, is a choice, to refuse to believe no matter what evidence is presented.

If Jesus is who He said He was, then we must study the Bible, not just the Old Testament, but the New Testament as well, provided by the Holy Spirit through the apostles and others chosen to record the lessons we are to learn.  And we will discover as we study the truths we laid out in our first blog about the Bible: 1) There is no book in history that has been more reliably preserved and translated than the Bible; 2) There is no book in history that has more power to change the human condition than the Bible; 3) There is no book in history that is more important for knowing The God Who Is There than the Bible.

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Let me conclude with a quote from C.S.Lewis in Mere Christianity:  “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” 

Construction Continues – The rough-in plumbing and basement floor

IMG_3196IMG_3187May 26 and 27 were important days in the construction work, as these were the days the plumbers installed the rough-in plumbing for the basement.  These are the pipes that have to be placed before the basement floor gets poured.

Grubb Plumbing did an excellent job getting the work done in the heat of the day, and had the work inspected on the 28th so we could proceed with the pour of the basement floor.  We had left a “penetration” through the footer (visible in the first photo) where the house drain would exit.  They installed the rough-in for two bathrooms and a kichenette unit in the basement.  They also put in the floor drains for the furnace and the hot water heater.

IMG_3215IMG_3217Note the deeper places where the gravel has been dug out, besides where the plumbing pipes are.  These are where we will have weight-bearing walls and must be twice as thick as the slab for most of the floor.  But they had to dig out quite a bit more than I had expected, as we had asked out grader, who leveled the gravel to leave “trenches” for the plumbing, but apparently we didn’t leave them deep enough.  So after we passed inspection, my guys and I had to throw most of the dirt out on May 28 and 29, except what we needed to re-level the floor.

IMG_3237IMG_3231On Monday, June 2, my guys and I rolled the Barrier, a vapor barrier and insulating membrane with an R-5 for the floor, so the cold ground will not feel so cold under foot, especially after we put in carpet and tile.  While we were preparing the floor, the flat-work concrete guys started marking out the level for the pour of the concrete.  IMG_3285The “valleys” where we needed a thicker slab for weight-bearing walls could not be accommodated with the Barrier, so we taped a 15 mil plastic vapor barrier to it in those places.  Where we plan to put steel columns in the walls for extra strength, we put rebar in the “wells” that were an extra four inches deep.

IMG_3289The final touch before beginning the concrete pour was the center stakes to make sure the pour would stay level across the middle of the floor.  The overcast skies gave us some concern, but all the clouds did was keep the sun from baking us!  No rain all day!! 🙂

The rest of the pour actually went very smoothly, though you would not have known it from the complaints of the concrete boss.  The trucks were significantly delayed and did not come on schedule, but eventually we got the entire job completed by late afternoon.  A little “creative” unloading of one truck, and did I mention the blessing of no rain? 😉

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The Reliability of the Bible (Part 5)

There has been much written about the Bible being the Word of God, and I have enjoyed presenting some of these ideas in original blogs.  However, it appears the Genesis Park staff, edited by Dave Woetzel, has done such a superb job presenting the remaining evidence in an essay that I am humbled to simply steal from his website the following blog:

For other fascinating articles about creation and ancient earth, dinosaurs, evolution and a host of other topics, I refer you to the source of this blog: http://www.genesispark.com/.

This article appears at this website under the Essays tab, Evidence That The Bible Is God’s Word.  Quite a bit longer than my usual blogs, this is worth your time to read, to evaluate and to explore the truths that 1)There is no book in history that has been more reliably preserved and translated than the Bible; 2) There is no book in history that has more power to change the human condition than the Bible; 3)There is no book in history that is more important for knowing the God Who Is There than the Bible.

“There is much that even a superficial examiner will discover about the Bible that recommends it as the true, timeless revelation of God to man. The Bible succinctly addresses both origins and future events, credibly answering the three greatest questions ([Where am I from? Where am I going? and Why am I here?]). It marshals the full contingent of rhetorical instruments into a single message: poetry, philosophy, pithy proverbs, parables, prophecy, and poignant historical narratives alike speak in a compelling manner. The pathos of the crucifixion account is an event worthy of being the pinnacle of world history, that Omnipotence would submit to death at the hands of His own creation! The resurrection of the founder and the message of salvation by faith apart from human works stand in stark contrast to every other religious system known. But to fully appreciate the weight of the evidence, one must dig deeper than this. There are several lines of reasoning that give testimony to the fact that the Bible is the Word of God. They can be generally grouped into five broad topics, each of which deserves a great deal more attention than is currently given here. For further information, Josh McDowell’s book Evidence That Demands a Verdict is a good resource.

“First let us consider the uniqueness of the book. The Bible is unique in preparation, circulation, translation, and preservation. The Bible was written over a period of 1,500 years by a great variety of men who were inspired of God. From the king of Babylon writing in Chaldean to the humble prophet of Samaria; from an educated doctor writing in Greek to the beautiful lyrics composed by a Hebrew shepherd in the field; from a statesman born in ancient Egypt to a fisherman of the Roman era; it is difficult to conceive of a more diverse group! Writing any volume of such length and being in complete harmony would indeed be a wonder, much less dealing with a topic so controversial as religion. No book in the history of the world has been as widely circulated as the scripture. Every year it outsells all of the top best-sellers and it has now been translated into over 1,200 different languages. Despite the hammers of higher criticism and the black-listing of dictators, the anvil of God’s Word survives after the hammers wear out. The noted French infidel Voltaire was convinced that he could destroy Christianity and the Bible. At one point, he held up a copy of the Bible in the air and smugly proclaimed, “In 100 years this book will be forgotten and eliminated…” Among the places Voltaire lived was an estate in Geneva, Switzerland, called Les Délices. After Voltaire moved on, the residence was occupied by the Tronchin family. Colonel Henri Tronchin was President of the Evangelical Society of Geneva and Les Délices is reliably reported to have been used as a repository for Bibles, the very book Voltaire had assigned to extinction!

Discoveries of hundreds of copies of the ancient texts from a millennium before Christ reveal the remarkable preservation of the message throughout time. The Bible is also unique in message and influence. The Bible unequivocally claims to be the word of God (II Timothy 3:16, II Peter 1:16-21). Either it satisfies that claim or it is not a “good book.” From beginning to end the Bible carries a message of the Messiah, God in the flesh. C.S. Lewis effectively countered the myth of Jesus Christ being merely a “good man.” Christ claimed to be God. So either He was divine, or he was a deceitful impostor, or he was pathetically self-deluded. This has been called the Lord/Liar/Lunatic trilemma. Great men the world over have sought to [drown] the message of the scriptures. From common people with no formal education to the brightest minds in the scientific world, most have found intellectual challenge and many have come to know spiritual fulfillment in the message of this unique book.

“Secondly, archaeology has independently confirmed the historical accuracy of the scriptures. Not only have many of the locations and traditions that are mentioned in the Bible been confirmed by field workers in the Middle East and researchers that study ancient histories, but specific events cited have often been shown to match in great detail. Associates for Biblical Research has extensively excavated Jericho. Just one of the interesting features about this city is that the walls appear to have fallen outward. While an invading army would typically ram the walls inward upon the debris, the Bible declares that God caused the walls to fall flat so that the Israelites could go straight in. Skeptics once believed that the book of Daniel was in error when it discussed Belshazzar ruling Babylon. The dynasties were revealed on cuneiform tablets excavated from ancient Babylon and Belshazzar did not appear on the list. Yet Unger’s Bible Dictionary tells how a later find revealed that the sovereign, Nabonidus, traveled extensively and in his absence left his son Belshazzar to rule as co-regent. That is why, in seeking to offer the ultimate reward to anyone who could interpret the mysterious message of doom, Belshazzar offered the position of “third in the kingdom” (Daniel 5:7). He could do no more since he was only second himself. Sir William Ramsey is regarded as one of the greatest archaeologists ever to have lived. Skeptical of the authorship and accuracy of the gospels and Acts, Ramsey set out to investigate. Yet he concluded after 30 years of study that “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, W.M., The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament, 1953, p. 222, as cited in McDowell, 1991, p.71.)

“Thirdly there is the evidence of fulfilled prophecy. It is interesting to note how many times the scriptures say, “It is written” and [looks] back to one of the many prophecies. Making predictions in the Old Testament era was no light matter. The test for a prophet was 100% accuracy (Deuteronomy 18:20-22). The penalty for failing the test was death. Yet, in marked contrast to any other religious writings, about 30% of the Bible is prophecy! Let’s just consider two of the many types of prophecies contained in the Bible: those regarding the Messiah and those that apply to Ancient Cities. McDowell presents 61 specific prophecies that were clearly fulfilled in Christ. These include: His birthplace, the flight to Egypt, His ancestry, the slaughter of the innocents, His being preceded by a messenger, the ministry starting in Galilee, His teaching with parables, His entry into Jerusalem on a colt, His betrayal by a friend for 30 pieces of silver, His death upon a tree, the garments parted and lots cast, the gall and vinegar offered, His side pierced but no bones broken, the darkness over the land, and His burial with the rich, and His resurrection. Even if an impostor sought to pawn himself off as meeting some of these, there are a great many (like the events of one’s birth) beyond his control. In his book Science Speaks, Peter Stoner has calculated the odds of just eight of the most remarkable prophecies coming true in the life of any man in human history as a mind-boggling 1 in 10 17. These are not common predictions that have decent odds of happening. No other religion in the world even makes a pretense that its founder is still alive, yet the prophets predicted the resurrection (Psalm 16:10). Remarkably, the exact timing of the Messiah’s arrival was given in Daniel 9:24-26. Many of the Old Testament prophecies (like Malachi 3:1) demand that the temple be standing when the Messiah came. It was destroyed in A.D. 70 in fulfillment of Christ’s prophecy (Matthew 24:2). Indeed, there was a narrow historical window in which the Messiah could come. For it was determined in Genesis 49:10 that he would be born before Israel lost the governmental scepter (the rabbis lost the right of capital punishment so important to their law in AD 7). That is why they had to appeal to Pilate in John 18:31. But Messiah had to be condemned after the Jews lost that right because it was predicted that he was to die by crucifixion (Psalm 22:16), rather that the Jewish method of stoning.

“Biblical prophecies with regard to ancient cities is equally remarkable. Skeptics have suggested that a message of impending doom spoken against an ancient city must come true eventually. Yet the dire predictions in the Bible are very specific such that the details of one city’s prophecies do not fit the next one. The detailed prophecies involving ancient cities include Babylon, Chorazin-Bethsaida-Capernaum, Gaza-Ashkelon, Jerusalem, Moab-Ammon, Nineveh, Petra-Edom, Samaria, Sidon, Thebes-Memphis, Tyre, and others (McDowell, 1991). Contemplate just a few of them:

        1. Among the several specific predictions with regard to ancient Edom are those in Ezekiel 25:13-14. It claims that Edom’s destruction would leave the land desolate as far as Teman and that Israel would participate in their destruction. In Ezekiel 35:7 the prophet further notes Edom would no longer be a place of merchants and trade. Isaiah 34:14-15 claims it would be the habitation of wild animals. Lastly Jeremiah 49:18 predicts that it would never be inhabited again. This is a daunting series of prophecies, particularly when one considers that Petra, the capital of Edom, was one of the wonders of the ancient world – literally a city carved into a mountain and the Jews were in bondage when the prophecy was made! Yet under the Maccabean era the resurgent Israelites pillaged Edom. In dramatic fulfillment the Edomite empire was finally destroyed right up to the city of Teman. (Only Teman, or Maan, was left and survives still today.) When the capital city of Petra was rediscovered (to the chagrin of critics who maintained that the Edomite civilization was mythical), it was found to be a ghost town, inhabited only by eagles, scorpions and other wild creatures.
        2. By way of contrast, one can consider the prophecies against Moab and Ammon. Though in Ezekiel 25:3-4 the prophet had predicted the fall of these city-states, Jeremiah 48:47 (Moab) and 49:6 (Ammon) predicted that they would rise again. Indeed these cities are in existence and thriving today.
        3. One is hard-pressed to find superlatives to sufficiently convey the splendor of ancient Babylon. The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia tells of a city covering 196 square miles, surrounded by double walls and a 30-ft. moat. The outer wall was over 300 feet high and wide enough to race 8 chariots abreast! Upon entering one of the one hundred solid brass gates, the visitor would be struck with the majesty of the hanging gardens, massive palaces, exquisite temples, and flowing Euphrates. The prophets foretelling its demise is akin to someone today forecasting the utter desolation of London or New York. But more than that, Isaiah 13:19-22 states that it will be overthrown, never to be inhabited again, except by desert animals. This has indeed come to pass. But interestingly, Jeremiah 51:26 declares that it would not be torn down to be used for construction elsewhere. While the Bedouins avoid the old city of Babylon, archaeological activity has been ongoing since many interesting ruins of the dead city remain.
        4. The story of ancient Tyre is given in Unger’s Bible Dictionary: “an ancient Phoenician city, located on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea… It once consisted of two parts – a rocky coast defense of great strength on the mainland, and a city upon a small but well-protected island about half a mile from the shore.” A merchant nation, the mariners of Tyre traveled the known world, making their home a successful trade port with a great, walled city on the mainland and a wealthy enclave on the island. In Ezekiel 26 the prophet details the destruction that will befall Tyre. Let us note the specificity: (1) vs 3 claims that multiple nations would be involved; (2) vs 4 tells that the walls and towers were to be broken down; (3) vs 4 states that the dirt was to be scraped off the area revealing the underlying rock and (4) All the debris of the city was to be dumped in the water; (5) vs 7-11 tell that Nebuchanezzar would break into the city; (6) vs 14 predicts that it would become a place of fishermen spreading their nets and (7) that the site would never be rebuilt. Nebuchanezzar attempted to subdue proud Tyre but because the inhabitants of this seacoast city all abandoned Tyre proper to escape to the large island fortress off the coast, he never looted its treasury or conquered its royalty. Nevertheless, Nebuchanezzar’s siege and destruction of the seacoast city was praised and actually rewarded by God (Ezekiel 29:18-20). His destruction of the mainland portion of Tyre certainly fulfills verses 7-11 which apply to him. The dramatic fulfillment of the prophesied judgment was not completed in Nebuchanezzar since the inhabitants outlasted him on their Alcatraz-like island. When Alexander the Great came through to conquer Tyre, the citizens tried the same trick – evacuating for the island fortress. Alexander took a cue from the failure of Nebuchanezzar. He took ALL of the debris from the city of Tyre (literally scraping it bare), built a causeway out to the island, and proceeded to demolish it, selling the surviving inhabitants into slavery. Attempts were made to rebuild Tyre and it was again destroyed. The modern city called Tyre was NOT constructed on the ancient mainland site. In fact the ancient plot is largely barren rock (somewhere inland from the modern construction), and has quite literally been used by local fishermen to lay out their nets! “If Ezekiel had looked at Tyre in his day and had made these seven predictions in human wisdom, these estimates mean that there would have been only one chance in 75,000,000 of their all coming true. They all came true in the minutest detail.” (Stoner, Peter, Science Speaks, 1963, p. 80.)

“A most remarkable Old Testament prophecy has been fulfilled in the modern era. In keeping with the warning of Leviticus 26:33 and Deuteronomy 28:64 the children of Israel were scattered and tormented. From the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, to their banishment from Rome, to the pogroms of eastern Europe, to the holocaust; the Jewish people have suffered greatly. But Ezekiel 36:33-35 and 38:8 makes it very clear that the Jews were to return out of the other nations, rebuild their wasted cities, and cultivate their land (See also Jeremiah 16:14-15). It would seem highly unlikely that the Jews would remain distinct as a people, having no country and every motivation to intermarry and escape the stigma. Yet this Biblical prophecy has been completely fulfilled in recent history. From a population of only 20,000 identifiable Palestinian Jews in 1900, the modern reemergence of the Israeli nation has swelled that number to 6 million Jews. No other nation has been similarly reborn. Small wonder when the rationalist king Frederick the Great demanded of the court chaplain an unanswerable proof of the Bible’s authenticity, the answer was given: “the Jew, your majesty!” As a prophet Himself, Christ made numerous predictions. In Matthew 24:3 the disciples posed a question about the timing of the end of the world, Armageddon, and the new kingdom. Jesus predicted in vs 14: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” He later would command them to go “into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). That was a command it would seem impossible for a motley group of followers of an itinerant preacher in the obscure nation to do. How could they go through all the world spreading His teachings and getting people to believe the incredible story of His death and resurrection? Yet they have done just that. Interestingly, even the advent of the modern skeptical era with a worldview based upon uniformitarianism was foretold in the scriptures (see II Peter 3:3-7). In Isaiah 41:23 the prophet lays out a challenge: “Show me the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods.” The God of the Bible has dramatically met that challenge!

“Fourthly, there is the fact that the Bible is scientifically accurate. One must always be cautious against using circular reasoning such that scientific theories are enlightened by the scripture and then those theories are used to show that the scriptures are reliable. But quite aside from the evidence for controversial theories like special creation, or the co-existence of men and dinosaurs; there are a number of rather startling statements in the Bible which appear to be far more advanced than the scientific knowledge at the time of writing. Moreover, there has never been an irreconcilable discrepancy between scientific facts or laws and the scriptures.

        • Jeremiah 33:22 claims that the stars of the heaven are innumerable. Hippocrates, before the invention of the telescope charted and numbered 1,022 stars. Kepler later recounted and revised the number. Today scientists agree with Jeremiah. There are billions just in our galaxy! It is interesting that the Bible makes the number of stars roughly equivalent to the number of grains of sand on the seashore (Genesis 22:17; Hebrews 11:12). Carl Sagan also compared these two, leaning towards the number of stars being greater. Amazingly, the latest estimates of the gross number of sand grains are comparable to the modern estimated number of stars in the universe!
        • Judges 5:20 mentions “the stars in their courses.” While it was once believed that the stars were fixed, today we know that they too move in a predictable way.
        • Job 38:19 is accurate in the way it characterizes light. Note that darkness is in a place but light is in a way. It travels a path.
        • Job 38:24 indicates the light of the sun (by heating) makes the wind.
        • In Genesis 1:1 and Hebrews 1:10-12 the Bible is unequivocal that the universe had a beginning. When the Bible was written many people believed the universe was eternal. Starting with the studies of Albert Einstein in the early 1900’s and continuing still today, science has confirmed the biblical view that the universe had a beginning.
        • Moreover, the universe is expanding (Job 9:8; Isaiah 42:5; Jeremiah 51:15; Zechariah 12:1). Repeatedly God declares that He stretches out the heavens. During the early 20th century, most scientists (including Einstein) believed the universe was static. Others believed it oscillated and would eventually collapsed due to gravity. Then in 1929, astronomer Edwin Hubble showed that distant galaxies were receding from the earth. This discovery revolutionized the field of astronomy. Einstein admitted his mistake, and today most astronomers agree with what the Creator told us millennia ago – the universe is expanding!
        • Job 36:27 asks how the rain drops stay small (discrete even in a strong wind)? One of the reasons is found in Psalm 135:5-7. Because of the electrical charges in the clouds, the rain drops repel each other as they fall. This is why electrical static during a rain or snow storm can interrupt transmissions.
        • Ezekiel 5:5 and 38:12 claim that Jerusalem is the center of the earth. ICR commissioned a computer analysis of the earth’s land-masses and discovered that the geographic center is in Palestine, near the holy city.
        • Psalm 103:12 The Psalmist seeks to describe how far away God has removed the sins of those who have been forgiven. Interestingly, one can go west or east forever, unlike north and south.
        • Hebrews 1:11-12 describes the wearing down of the creation in language that nicely mirrors the second law of thermodynamics and II Peter 3:12 describes the heavens one day passing away in a fire that causes the elements to melt in fervent heat (a pretty accurate description of nuclear meltdown).
        • Ecclesiastes 1:4-6 describes the whirling motion of the winds and the movement of storm fronts long before the advent of modern meteorology. Unlike other ancient [non-Biblical] wisdom narratives, like The Book of Enoch 33:3-4, that claim the wind comes from a heavenly portal, this Biblical passage explains that the winds circle back to their starting point.
        • Ecclesiastes 1:7 says, “All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again.” Such a correct view of the hydrologic cycle eluded ancient civilizations up until a few centuries ago. Only in recent times have scholars appreciated the remarkable significance of the clear, scientifically-accurate description of water found in the Bible’s section of wisdom literature. For example, Job 36:27-28 states, “He draws up the drops of water, which distil as rain to the streams; the clouds pour down their moisture and abundant showers fall on mankind” (Job 36:27-29).
        • Job 37:16 also gives significant meteorological information, including the balancing of the vapors in the clouds. Job 36:27 adds that the quantity of the rain is proportional to the amount of vapor aloft.
        • Job 26:7 The ancients Greeks believed that the world was held up by Atlas. Other civilizations held similar ideas. The Bible made an unusual claim: God did not hang the world on anything.
        • Psalm 8:8 discusses the “paths of the seas.” The story is told that when the man we call “the Father of Oceanography,” Matthew Fontaine Maury, read Psalm 8, the aforementioned phrase stuck in his mind. He later sought to confirm the idea and eventually wrote The Physical Geography of the Sea in1855. It was the first textbook on modern oceanography. The state of Virginia erected a memorial to him that cites this passage.
        • [Because of] Isaiah 40:22, some have claimed that the Bible supports the “flat earth theory.” But this passage declares that God sits upon the “circle of the earth.” (See also the mention in Proverbs 8:27 of a compass or a circle about the original earth.)
        • Job 38:13-14 conveys the idea of the earth rotating on its axis: “the earth…is turned as clay to the seal.”
        • In Luke 17:34-36 the worldwide event of Christ’s return is being discussed. The scientifically significant fact is that these verses allude to the different time zones around the globe long before the earth’s rotation was understood by scientists. Note that when Christ comes, some will be enjoying nighttime sleep while others are grinding in preparation for the day’s baking (typically morning) and others are working in the field (typically afternoon).
        • One of the directors of Standard Oil Company read in Exodus 2:3 how Moses was placed in an ark “daubed with slime and pitch.” He sent the company geologist Charles Whitshott to determine if there was still oil in that region. The discovery of oil led to Standard having very successful well operations in Egypt. (Tan, Paul L.,Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations, p. 191.)
        • The practice of medical bleeding as a treatment (often with leeches) was common until the middle of the 19th century. Historians believe that George Washington’s bleeding caused his death. (Thayer, William R., George Washington, 1922, p. 240) Ironically, by his bedside was a Bible that stated in Leviticus 17:11 “For the life of the flesh is in the blood.”
        • Linguists have determined that all the earth’s peoples must have originally shared a common language. That is precisely what the Bible declares in Genesis 11:1.
        • The concept embodied in the laws of thermodynamics: the constant of the universe’s mass/energy and the universal tendency towards decay and disorder are clearly articulated in Ecclesiastes 3:14 and Romans 8:21-22.
        • Ancient cultures believed that the moon was the same size as the sun. For example, the Book of Enoch 77:3 declares their dimensions to be equal. They appear similar because the moon is so much closer to the Earth. But Genesis 1:16 stated it correctly. The Sun is approximately 400 times larger than the Moon.
        • Jonah wrote that there are mountains on the bottom of the ocean floor (Jonah 2:5-6). Only in the last century have we discovered that there are towering mountains and deep troughs in the sea.
        • In Job 38:16 God challenged Job to find the “springs of the sea.” But the ocean is so deep that almost all the ocean floor is in total darkness and the water pressure becomes enormous. It would have been impossible for Job to have explored the “springs of the sea.” Until recently, it was thought that oceans were fed only by rivers and rain. Yet in the 1970s, with the help of deep diving research submarines that were constructed to withstand the pressure, oceanographers discovered springs on the ocean floor!
        • Much of the Old Testament Levitical law is comprised of health-related restrictions involving diet, cleansing, and quarantine. The book “None of These Diseases” demonstrates the healthfulness of following that advice. Human medicine did not realize this until thousands of years after it was written! For example, the Bible cautions against consuming fat (Leviticus 7:23). Only in recent decades has the medical community determined that fat clogs arteries and contributes to heart disease. In Leviticus 11 the Scripture commanded Jews to avoid sea creatures which do not have fins or scales. We now know that bottom-feeders (those with no scales or fins) tend to consume waste and are more likely to carry disease. Then the Bible warns against eating birds of prey. Scientists now recognize that those birds which eat carrion (putrefying flesh), often spread disease. The Bible prohibited the Israelites from eating swine (Deuteronomy 14:8). Not so long ago, science learned that eating undercooked pork causes an infection of parasites called trichinosis. When dealing with diseases, the instruction was that clothes and body should be washed under running water (Leviticus 15:13). For centuries people naively washed in standing water. Today we recognize the need to wash away germs with fresh water.
        • The Bible declares that life begins at conception (Jeremiah 1:5) and God declares that He knew each of us before we were born (Psalm 139:13-15). In Exodus 21:22-23, the biblical penalty for killing an unborn child was death. Today, it is an irrefutable biological fact that the fertilized egg is truly an entire human being. Nothing will be added to the first cell except nutrition and oxygen.
        • The Bible commanded circumcision of baby Jewish boys on the eighth day. (See Genesis 17:12; Leviticus 12:3; Luke 1:59). Medical science has discovered that the blood clotting chemical prothrombin peaks in a newborn on the eighth day. This is therefore the safest day to circumcise a baby. How could Moses have known this?
        • Wise pest-control procedures are given in Leviticus 25:1-24. Modern farmers are still plagued by multiplying insects. Yet God gave a remedy to control these pests centuries ago. Moses commanded Israel to set aside one year in seven when no crops were raised. Insects winter in the stalks of last year’s harvest, hatch in the spring, and are perpetuated by laying eggs in the new crop. If the crop is denied one year in seven, the pests are [substantially] controlled. And this promoted soil conservation.
        • Long before the theory of plate tectonics provided a mechanism for continental drift, and before the German climatologist Alfred Wegener proposed an original supercontinent he called Pangea, the idea that the continents had drifted apart had been suggested by a creationist, Antonio Snider. He was struck by the statement in Genesis 1:9-10 about God’s gathering together the seas into one place and thought that there may have been only a single landmass. Noticing the close fit of the coastlines of western Africa and eastern South America, he proposed that a supercontinent underwent horizontal separation to form the existing continents catastrophically during the Flood.
        • When Noah was instructed to build the huge barge that would preserve his family and two of each kind of land creature, the Lord specified for him the perfect dimensions for a stable water vessel (Genesis 6:15). Ship builders today are well aware that the ideal dimension for ship stability is to have the length about six times that of the width. Dr. Werner Gitt demonstrated that the ark had the ideal dimensions to optimize both stability and economy of material. Yet God gave Noah these ideal dimensions over 4,500 years ago.
        • We note in Acts 7:22 that “Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians…” Yet the errant “scientific” practices of Egypt are absent in the first five books of the Bible, written by Moses approximately 1491-1451 B.C. The Torah is famous for its advanced knowledge about diet, hygiene, quarantine and sanitation. It far surpasses that possessed by the Egyptians and other ancient societies of that day (even including the Romans and Minoans). In fact, it far exceeded medical standards practiced as recently as the early 1900’s in modern society.

“Other verses could be cited. A strong case has even been made that it is no accident that science has flourished to unprecedented levels in an era of Christian philosophy. Great classical scientists sought to seek God’s thoughts after Him. The Biblical view gives reason to expect orderliness, laws, and repeatability that are the foundation for the scientific method.

“The fifth area of evidence is the demonstration of changed lives. That is, there is power in the Christian experience, power in the Christian story, and power in the Christian’s departure. If the Bible only impacted a relative few in a single culture, one might be skeptical of its claims. But the message of salvation and reconciliation to the Creator has dramatically changed women and men of all ages and races throughout history. The message of the scripture is the highest of drama: the eternal omnipotent God pursuing the wayward creation to the extent of a humble birth and cruel, ignominious death. It is at once exquisitely mind-boggling and yet so simple that a child can understand and be affected by it. Millions of people from around the world can personalize the testimony of John Newton, the profane slave-trader turned Christian: “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found –was blind, but now I see!” A number of books have compiled death bead accounts, giving the stories of both saved and unsaved people passing from this earth as told in the words of eye-witnesses. One such book is Voices from the Edge of Eternity by John Meyers. The impact grows as one perceives the remarkable similarity in so many of the accounts. Christians see great brightness, give lucid accounts of observing loved ones and leave their bodies with great hope and comfort. But heart-rending accounts of the passing of many unsaved souls are also given. It recounts the details of the great French skeptic Voltaire’s passing from this life in the most awful of circumstance, crying out in darkness, hopelessness and despair. Even his nurse repeatedly said that for all the wealth of Europe, she would not see another infidel die! Hebrews 10:31 states, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

“If the Bible gives evidence of being the word of God and it is reliable when it speaks historically, prophetically, etc.; than it is also likely to be trustworthy when it speaks theologically and gives the simple plan of salvation as follows…

        • You are a sinner. (Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”)
        • The penalty for sin is eternal death, separation from God. (Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”)
        • Christ died as a substitute, paying your penalty (Romans 5:8 “But God showed His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.”)
        • If you repent and call upon Jesus to save you, He promises you eternal life as a free gift. (Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”)

“The Bible is very clear in making an exclusive claim on the path to God. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” (John 3:36) “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)”

This is both exclusive and inclusive: The only way to God is through Jesus, but anyone may come.  May The God Who Is There bless you and give you eternal life if you search for Him with all your heart.  Next Sunday,  June 28, 2015, I will examine the “Final Proof” of the Bible being God’s word.

The Reliability of the Bible (Part 4)

In the previous blogs, I have provided a very small snippet of the evidence that the Bible is the most reliable historical document we have in the world today.  No other piece of ancient literature is more validated, more collaboratively supported, and more historically preserved in its original form than the Bible.  I encourage you NOT to just take my word for this.  Read the literature, much of it is available online; study textual criticism; examine the evidence, and you will come away with the same conclusion: There is no book in history that has been more reliably preserved and translated than the Bible.   

This does not say anything about its source or accuracy; only that the text of the scripture is what the original authors wrote.  So now let’s ask about the source and the content.  Are these words that the God Who Is There revealed to several men over a couple thousand years, or is it just some fantasy musings of some hermits?  Did Noah really come out of the Ark with just his wife and three sons and their wives to restart the human race that God had destroyed in a Great Flood? (Genesis 8)  Did Moses’ face really glow after meeting with Yahweh in the Tent of Meeting? (Exodus 34)  And what about Jesus walking on water or multiplying bread and fish to feed 5000 men (not including the women and children who were there and ate, also)? (John 6)  Did He really raise several people from the dead and open blind eyes? (Matthew 11:5)

A conceited idea of this current generation is that we are somehow wiser and less likely to be deceived by charlatans and tricks than previous “primitive” people of ancient times.  Yet this idea flies in the face of all the evidence that human nature has always been suspicious of anything without proof.  Think of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  If for a moment you assume the story to be true, does it not show our own human skepticism to want to know more than we have natural access to know, to doubt what we have been told, but for which we have no proof?

In the story, Adam and Eve had everything good that God had created.  But with the seed of doubt that the serpent planted, “Did God really say. . . .?,”  they wanted some proof.  Maybe there was something more that He was holding out on them.  Their skepticism must have gone right into their DNA because every person born since wants that same proof!  So when a “primitive” man or woman is told that a “god” made the earth shake in an earthquake, why would human nature suddenly revert to accepting a preposterous claim at face value unless there was some evidence?  In the same way, when Moses’ stories of the Exodus were relayed, would not those hearing the stories wanted some kind of proof?

Moses and the Red SeaYou see, Moses’ stories were not just his, but a whole nation’s.  The events told by the Old Testament writers were not secret rites or activities hidden from public view.  Noah and his children reported what they had seen and heard to their children and it was clearly a true account (see The Reliability of the Bible [Part 1], posted May 17, 2015).  When Yahweh turned the water of the Nile to blood, thousands of people saw it happen, as with the other signs He did through Moses.  The parting of the Red Sea and the drowning of Pharaoh’s army were not stories made up by one man in a cave and then reported to Israel.  They were there!  Part of the story!!  It happened to them, so the miracles were not second-hand, but in their faces.  They could only report what they had seen and heard.

For those of us for whom these are second-hand miracles, because we were not there, we may begin with a reasonable doubt that some of the stories have become inflated or distorted over the generations since they occurred.  However, we must go back to the reliability of the Bible’s text as established by textual criticism (The Reliability of the Bible [Part 2], posted on May 31).  If any of the stories were bogus, they would have been refuted at the outset, because none of them were done in a corner (Acts 26:26; 2 Peter 1:19-20).  Furthermore, no single piece of evidence has ever been uncovered that refutes a single narrative of the Bible!  Every find by archeologists, every fact established by science, every philosophical argument, if any of these involve issues of the Bible, the Bible has been validated, and never once refuted.

Contrast this to the Book of Mormon, revealed to a single man on a mountain, hidden away from any collaborative witness, and the difficulties Joseph Smith had in establishing a following.  Because of human nature, the outrageous stories of Mormonism remain at the margin of mainstream American thought, and to this day are kept in secret because its history and events will not stand up to the light of open examination.  This same secrecy applies to the Church of Scientology, recently founded in America by a science fiction author, as well as other religions whose leader received unique “revelations” to which only he had access.  Whenever ANYONE says, “Here is the truth, revealed in secret only to one or two chosen few,” be very skeptical!  What is true about God and His creation is available for anyone and everyone to examine (Romans 1:19-20).

And this is God’s nature: to reveal Himself through creation, through prophets and finally through Jesus, the Christ .  So we can conclude that most of the stories of the Old Testament are true because 1) they were collaborated by many witnesses, and 2) they were challenged for authenticity by the people to whom the stories were told so anyone with a brain could figure out if it was true or not.  What further evidence is there that the source of the Bible is the God Who Is There?  Let’s visit that next Sunday, June 21, 2015.

I met a man in hell last week.

“At the end of things, the blessed will say, ‘We have never lived anywhere except in Heaven.’  And the lost will say, ‘We were always in Hell.’  And both will speak truly.” C.S. Lewis

I met a man in hell last week.  Note, I did not say he was from hell, nor did I say he was going there nor that I went to hell to meet him.  He is there, even while he is here in this world.  His life is very sad, and whenever he crosses my mind, I will say a prayer for him that maybe someone else will be able to help him see where he is.

From our first meeting, there was a quiet discomfort in working together on a house my company is building.  But he seemed knowledgeable and nice enough.  More importantly he said he had done the flat-work of concrete for the house next to ours, and I had seen that work was all right.  But there it was, in the back of my mind, like a kind of gnat flying around that I could not quite see quickly enough to smack, yet not so big or nasty of a bug to gain my full attention.  So I hired him to do our flat-work and he would come back after we got the walls poured.  If I had been wise, I should have asked the builder of the house next to ours whether he would recommend this man, as I found out later, he had never heard of him.

We finished pouring the walls on May 22, followed by removal of the braces that had supported the ICFs during the pour, and that was followed by the plumber getting the rough in plumbing done for the basement – the work that would need to be below the basement floor.

So by May 27 the plumber finished as we were ready for the pour of the basement floor.  But the flat-work guy would not be available till Monday, June 1, so we thought we could wait for the job to begin.

There were problems with this guy that almost made me delay the pour and hire someone else, but he appealed to me, and part of why I started my company was to help some of the tradesmen I would encounter.

But one thing after another went wrong on the job, and in our communication.  As patient as I was with him, nothing seemed to be right; no one seemed to do their part of the job correctly;  deceit seemed to be common for him, from claiming to be married to claiming to be at one site when he was not there, to claiming his “wife” was out of town when she was not.  I really felt badly for the guy, as nothing ever seemed to work right for him; everybody seemed out to take advantage of him; no one would look out for his interests.  He accused me of ordering the concrete late; not having my act together; not knowing what I wanted to do.

When we resolved matters of how much to pay him, after two days of argument over what equipment he had, what he had promised to do, etc, I asked if we could talk for a few minutes.  Per his standard operating procedure, he said he had too much to do and other places to be, lines I had heard repeatedly in our dealings.  As conciliatory as I tried to be, he left angry and frustrated, that he had again been taken advantage of, and I assure you he was not.

I felt very sad the rest of that day, as I remember being there about 30 years ago when I was not living right.  No one understands, no one cares, nothing is ever going to go right, I was always going to be on the losing end.  I was in hell back then until I found peace in Jesus Christ.   But the next day, I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.  His life in hell had been draining me and dragging me down.  Try as much as I could, I could not get through to the man, and help him to see how he could get out of the hell he is in.  It is scary to see someone going down a path I once was on, wishing he could find the way out.  Scariest is that I could still be on that path except for the grace of the God Who Is There.

C.S.Lewis from The Pilgrim’s Regress:

Nearly they stood who fall; themselves as they look back
See always in the track the one false step, where all
Even yet, by lightest swerve of foot not yet enslaved,
By smallest tremor of the smallest nerve, might have been saved.

Nearly they fell who stand, and with cold after fear
Look back to mark how near they grazed the Siren’s land,
Wondering that subtle fate, by threads so spidery fine,
The choice of ways so small, the event so great, should thus entwine.

Therefore oh, man, have fear lest oldest fears be true,
Lest thou too far pursue the road that seems so clear,
And step, secure, a hair-breadth boundary,
Which, being once crossed forever unawares, denies return.

The Reliability of the Bible (Part 3)

Last week, we examined just a small icicle of the iceberg that is the evidence that the Old Testament has come to us as one of the most reliably transcribed and transmitted works of literature of the ages.  This does not touch on its truth or the accuracy of the stories it tells, only the fact that what we have in our modern Bible translations is what the original authors wrote.  We will address the “veracity,” that is the truthfulness, of the Bible in a later blog.

As we noted the New Testament was written in a completely different culture and society than the Old Testament, even though it was still mostly written by Hebrews steeped in Jewish traditions, history and culture.  The influence of the Greek and Roman societies and governance had profound affects on the focus of the New Testament as Hebrew society was under the dominance of these “foreign” powers for so long after Malachi completed his final prophecies of the Hebrew canon of scripture, or as Christ’s followers call it, the Old Testament.

Roman Writing UtensilAdd to that the “technological advances” in writing.  The first part of this “technological revolution” from the Iron Age (ending about 1200 BC) was the development of alphabets that included vowels (the Old Testament is written in a consonantal alphabet), the spread of tradesmen across the Mediterranean, Europe and the Arabian nations, and the refinement of tools, including utensils for writing and refinements in papyrus, vellum and parchment.  This may not be as earth-moving as the modern technological revolution with computers but in its day was a significant development.

Let’s recall our criteria for judging the reliability of ancient texts:  1) The closer you can get to the time of the original writing, the less opportunity there has been for mistakes to have made their way into the text; 2) The more agreement you have among copies of the text, the more certain you can be of the text’s accurate transcription; 3) Copies that vary greatly in time must not show significant changes.

Scholars have attempted to reconstruct something of the history of the oral traditions behind the Gospels, but the results are pretty much moot. The period of transmission is short: less than 40 years passed between the death of Jesus and the writing of Mark’s Gospel.  This means that there was little time for oral traditions to assume fixed form, and very little time for exaggerations to enter the narrative.  Any deviation from the true story would have been met by a host of reporters declaring, “That’s not the way it happened!”

The original “autographs,” those copies that were actually written by the authors have all been lost, probably shortly after they were first circulated.  The reason for this loss may have more to do with God’s plan than mere human clumsiness.  We are so prone to worship of objects that if autographs of Paul or any of the gospel writers existed, how long would it take for cult-like worship of these items to develop, rather than an examination of what they say?

Mark’s gospel is likely the first book written by a protege of Peter, followed by Luke and Matthew, although there is some dispute over this order, even among evangelical scholars.  The rest of the New Testament was written between 50 AD and 90 AD with the Revelation of John (sometimes called Revelations or The Apocalypse) being the last book to be composed.

The authorship of several books is also debated, but modern scholarship is divided by those who are also Christ-followers and those who are not.  The Christ-followers tend to take the books of the New Testament at face value for what they teach, including the miraculous, which of course the atheist and non-Christian find absurd.  For example if Jesus was who He said He was, predicting the destruction of the Temple (Mark 13/ Matthew 24) would be a simple thing.  If one does not accept Jesus as the Son of God, then such detailed prediction would be unlikely even for an avid political student of the day, and most likely would be accounted by the “prophecy” being written after the event.

But the focus of this blog is on the reliability of the transmission of these books into our New Testament.  The point of this is that the New Testament authors were men who knew Jesus or his closest followers, and wrote within the lifetime of these same men, fulfilling our first criterion for reliability.

The second  criterion for reliability, agreement of multiple copies, is fulfilled in the expansive number of New Testament documents available, either in full or quotations by first or second century scholars.  There are more than 24,000 partial and complete manuscript copies of the New Testament.  Many of these manuscript copies are very ancient dating into the first, second and third centuries, and they are still available for inspection now.  There are also some 86,000 quotations from the early church fathers and several thousand church-service books containing scripture quotations used in the early centuries of Christianity.

By practicing the science of textual criticism, comparing all the available manuscripts with each other, we can come to an assurance regarding what the original document must have said.  Let us suppose we have five manuscript copies of an original document that no longer exists.  Each of the manuscript copies are different.  Our goal is to compare the manuscript copies and ascertain what the original must have said. Here are the five copies:

Manuscript #1: Jesus Christ is the Savior of the whole worl.
Manuscript #2: Christ Jesus is the Savior of the whole world.
Manuscript #3: Jesus Christ s the Savior of the whole world.
Manuscript #4: Jesus Christ is th Savior of the whle world.
Manuscript #5: Jesus Christ is the Savor of the whole wrld.

Do you think you could compare these documents and determine what the original said?  Of course!  This illustration may be extremely simplistic, but a great majority of the 150,000 variants are solved by the above methodology.  By comparing the various manuscripts, all of which contain very minor differences like these above, it becomes clear what the original must have said.  Most of the manuscript variations concern matters of spelling, word order, and tenses. Not a single doctrine of Christianity is affected by these in any way.

We must also emphasize that the sheer volume of manuscripts we possess greatly narrows the margin of doubt regarding what the original biblical document said.  If the number of manuscripts increases the number of scribal errors, it also increases proportionately the means of correcting such errors, so that the margin of doubt left in the process of recovering the exact original wording is not as large as some try to claim; it is in truth remarkably small.

Among the ancient writings, copies were always made of important works, not just scripture.  Invariably, these copies began to dissolve due primarily to the physical deterioration of the material upon which they were written. Thus a time gap developed between when the original work was written and the oldest existing copy of the original.  All things being equal, the closer the copy is to the original, the more accurate it is regarded as being, presumably because there has been less time for mistakes to creep in during transmission.  Compare the following works of ancient literature with the New Testament:

Authorship Comparison

Along with these, there were several historians of the ancient world whose works are read today.  Thucydides, who wrote History of the Peloponnesian War, lived from 460 BC to 400 BC.  Virtually everything we know about the war comes from this writing of Thucydides.  The earliest copy of any manuscripts of Thucydides’ work dates around 900 AD, making a time gap of 1,300 years.  The Roman historian Suetonius lived around AD 70 to AD 140. The earliest copy of his work The Twelve Caesars dates around AD 950, making a time gap of about 800 years.

The oldest complete manuscript of the New Testament as we know it today dates to about 250 AD, a time gap of less than 200 years.  But the many quoted sections and fragments mentioned before all match up so closely with this copy that we become very confident that the New Testament fulfills our third criterion for reliability.

As stated before, there is no book in history that has been more reliably preserved and translated than the Bible.

The question remains for next week, June 14, 2015, given that the Old and New Testaments are the most reliably transmitted literature of ancient times, how do we assess if what they they teach is true?

The first concrete pour – the basement walls

May 22 seems like ages ago even though it is only two weeks, but I am catching up on the construction reports of the house Alliance Builders is building at 108 Manitoo Place.  This was the day of our concrete pour of the basement walls.  So much happened so quickly and I was so involved in the actual work of the pour that I did not take many photos.

IMG_3166IMG_3153The pump truck had this huge boom on it with a 90 degree turn half way down to slow down the flow of the concrete.  Otherwise, it would have burst right throughthe styrofoam forms even with the bracing in place. The hose at the end of it was flexible so we could “direct” the concrete into the wall cavities.  But 4000 psi concrete coming at about 20 mph can be hard to direct, thus the splatter on the walls and my head.  I never got a chance to take a picture of the concrete delivery trucks that loaded their concrete into the pump truck for the delivery.

But we got the entire wall poured except for about 2′ (two feet ~ 60cm) of the garage walls.  I’ll explain why we held off on filling that part later when we do the LiteDeck floor of the garage, which will also be the ceiling over a Media Room.

IMG_3168 IMG_3170  IMG_3209

IMG_3172IMG_3182     IMG_3184                       The splatter of the concrete sometimes made me feel like it was raining, when I was on the ground while the pumping was going on from the walk-boards on the braces.  We had to leave the braces up for a day to let the concrete cure a little, but on May 24 we took them all down.  It seemed like an empty shell once they were gone.   And I guess that’s what it is, an empty shell until we finish the job.