Our next question--the same question, rather: Why do we think and believe that the 66 books are the inspired Word of God?
Believing what we're told
Dennis Diehl: The reason why we believe that the Bible is what it is is because we've been told, and programmed, to think it. Just because the Bible says it's inspired, that's not good enough for me, and that shouldn't be good enough for anybody.
Jesus even said: If I give witness to Myself My witness is no good. He also said later on: If I give witness to Myself it's good. There's another contradiction. Which one did He mean?
But, in this context, just because the Bible says it's true doesn't mean it's true in the sense that we've taken it to be true.
The books of the Bible were voted upon. They were added by vote. The books that were excluded were excluded by vote. It's not that sacred a process.
The book of Revelation--which is one of the kingpins of offensive books that has caused more carnage in fundamentalism and has produced more splinter churches because it's based on a failed prophecy--is not a book that has anything to do with tomorrow's news.
It's a failed prophecy, and it came to an end on Oct. 8 in 70 A.D. when it failed to produce the results that it was written for.
A book to encourage
The book of Revelation is a book written by Jewish Christians to encourage Jewish Christians to hang in there while the Romans raped their country. [The Romans will come and go, but] the Kingdom's going to come, we're going to win.
Unfortunately, they lost. The Romans scoured them from the face of the earth. That's when Revelation failed. It didn't produce the desired effect.
I am inclined to believe that the false prophet of Revelation--according to Jewish Christians who hated him--was the apostle Paul. Vespasian was the beast.
In the letter to the Ephesians Jesus praises the Ephesians for trying those who say they are apostles and are not--and for getting rid of them. The apostle Paul says he was in Ephesus. The apostle Paul said all those in Asia have forsaken me.
If you put the pieces together you have to ask yourself why the Ephesian church forsook Paul. Did they decide he wasn't an apostle and they threw him out? I think so because they were Jewish Christians just like you.
Jewish or gentile Christian?
We've been taught that the apostle Paul was a Jewish Christian, that he did keep the holy days even though it sounds like he didn't, that he loved God's law even though he says these other things, that he kept the Sabbath even though he said these other things.
The answer is the apostle Paul was a gentile Christian. He's the author of gentile Christianity. He did away with those things [the holy days and Sabbath]. He hated those things.
I would also take exception to the fact that the Gospels are the best account of Phariseeism in history. They are the worst account. The Pharisees as portrayed in the Gospels are not the Pharisees of reality. The way they're cursed and described is not the way they were viewed by the community. That's my opinion.
I can't argue with your [Dr. Moseley's] education, but I see what I see. The reason we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God is because we've been told it is. We have to make a choice whether we understand that to be true or perhaps have questions about it.
Belief in God without the Bible?
Reg Killingley: We go to the next question. For this question Mr. Diehl is first. Can you believe in God without believing in the Bible?
Dennis Diehl: Absolutely. The God that we think is is not the sum total of whatever God is. We have a limited sense. I have my prejudices. I have my filters.
Do I believe that a cultically described God in the Old Testament who was the God of a cultic people on an obscure mountain in an obscure land is the God that is--after you've seen what the Hubble telescope can see? Of course not.
The God of the Old Testament says in the Ten Commandments, which we tend to revere, you shall have no other gods before Me, right? That's how we view it in our culture.
From what I understand, a better rendition of that is you shall not bring any other gods into My presence.
At the time of the giving of the Ten Commandments polytheism was alive and well, and God was not offended that there were other gods. There were. There were lots of gods. Just don't bring them into My presence, because I the Lord your God am jealous.
And as a kid, pre–Worldwide Church of God, I thought: What kind of God is jealous? That's a human thing.
Can't mean what it never meant
But when you understand the context--you shall not bring any other gods, which we all know exist because we're polytheists, into My presence because I'm a superior god, and I'll tell you why, it's because I'm a jealous God and I don't want them around--that's far different from there are no other gods and what we have evolved that scripture into meaning.
You cannot make it mean what it never meant. It never meant monotheism was always the truth of the Old Testament.
God used to have a consort, Asherah. She's been written out of the text and turned into a wooden pole. But God had a consort. All the gods had consorts.
Can God be jealous?
So can you believe in God without a Bible? Absolutely. I do. I just don't know how to define it. But it's not the cultic god, the only description we see in the Bible. I would like to think that God isn't jealous, that God doesn't kill people randomly, doesn't slaughter His way through the Old Testament.
In the Bible God is credited with 2,138,000 murders. If you add up the numbers, just the numbers in Chronicles: 2,138,000 killings by God's request of Israel or deliberately doing it Himself, according to the story.
In the Bible, Satan kills 10 people, with God's permission: the children of Job.
That's disturbing to me. I have a hard time following a God who allows pregnant women to be bashed and their children to be smashed against the wall, and I have trouble with a rule in the Old Testament that you can take the virgins, kill any woman that's not a virgin, get rid of her. But the virgins you can keep for yourselves.
For what purpose? What do you think?
It's rude, it's crude, and it's not to me the ultimate definition of a God being.
I believe in God. I just don't know much more about it. But I don't believe in slaughter God. I don't believe in cultic God. I don't believe in jealous God.
I believe that human beings are more than what we are. But I just don't know what it is. I'm willing to spend the rest of my life wondering and being grateful for the ability to think it through. I'm not inspired by the Old Testament. It's a vicious, violent book, and there are parts of it you wouldn't read to your children.
Reg Killingley: Thank you, Mr. Diehl. And now the same question: Can you believe in God without believing in the Bible?
Art Mokarow: I think I want to give a principle here.
Ron Moseley: All right. Leave me some time. I'm wound up.
Art Mokarow: Well, me too.
Dennis Diehl: I was wondering when you were going to get wound up.
Art Mokarow: You know what? I'm following, in the last 63 years in my Bible study, your path. Everything he brought up I agree with. Everything.
Ron Moseley: Not me.
Art Mokarow: This is not fair. It's not fair because he [Mr. Diehl] doesn't have the opportunity to explain everything that brought him to his thinking.
I went through all his thinking. He hasn't said one thing that I already hadn't already checked and studied. Not one.
And everything he said was right. It's all correct. He's just on the path and hasn't finished.
I haven't finished. I believe in the God he talked about. He's nondescriptive. You see, because He is the JHVH He can be whatever He wants to be. You can't describe God.
The Sumerians started all faiths, all religions, all denominations, Christian and otherwise, at the Tower of Babel. All the splits we have today, all the denominations, all started there.
I could go through each of their history, because I went from where he [Mr. Diehl] is and now am beyond that because of gentlemen like Dr. Moseley.
I tell you this: The day's going to come he's going to change, and I'm saying this because it changed me.
Now, why do I believe in the Bible? Because I try to disprove it. I spent 60 years, 40 of which to disprove it, and all I did was prove it. Do I believe the Bible is the holy Word of God? Yes, because I can't disprove it.
Ron Moseley: You need to leave me some time.
Three people at different places
Art Mokarow: What I'm saying is this: We are all on paths. He's [Dr. Moseley's] my friend. He's my blood brother.
We're on the same path, but I'll be somewhere else, God willing, in a year from now. Or five years from now.
Or otherwise I'm believing in dogmatic doctrine and I bury my talent and I'm not growing.
When you leave here, understand you're hearing three people at different places in their life of understanding what the world's about. We're just telling you where we are. Okay?
Reg Killingley: Mr. Diehl has graciously agreed to give up his next five minutes so Dr. Moseley can have a full five minutes.
Ron Moseley: Well, bless your heart. I'm going to have to give you a raise.
Art Mokarow: Hey, I'm going to send you some of my books, because I went through jealousy and all that.
Good and bad jealousy
Ron Moseley: All right, here we go. Jealousy, the Hebrew word for jealousy, has a good and bad side to it. When He says I'm a jealous God, if you read the context, He says I'm jealous like a husband.
Then He goes on clearly in the other verse about worldly jealousy. God does not have that type of jealousy. So, yes, a good husband could be jealous if some rinky-dink was trying to run off with his woman.
But monotheism is completely the story of the biblical text. They asked Jesus what is the most important thing in all the Hebrew scriptures. [Dr. Moseley quotes it first in Hebrew, then in English:] Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one.
Now, secondly--or twenty-secondly, who knows?--it says God said to them take all the virgins for yourselves.
But that's not what it says. Even in the King James it says take all the children virgins so they will not be raised in paganism, and then you turn them into good godly wives: children virgins. It doesn't say take a bunch of virgins and make polytheistic concepts out of it or anything else. It says the children virgins.
Does God tempt or not?
Every time you see God killing someone He's warned them, forewarned them, He's said if you don't repent you will be wiped out, and then, when they're about like in Noah's day, when they're about to corrupt the whole world and send the whole thing to hell with a hat on, then He wipes them out. Only then.
Satan is the tempter. James 1 says I [God] tempt no man, but you say [referring to Genesis 22:1] that the Bible says He tempted Abraham.
Do you know there's 50 different definitions for the word say in Hebrew? It's a pictorial language. Likewise when God said "tempt" He meant I'm going to test you.
I don't know where you all come from, but from where I come from you can't get out of the first grade without a test.
I don't want to be on pabulum all my life. I want to have some steak every once in a while, but I'm going to have to grow some teeth. Can I get a witness in here? That's what we Baptists used to say: Can I get a witness?
But the devil's a killer, not God. God said I don't want you to offer these children to these pagan gods.
By the way [regarding the alleged inequality of women in the Bible], in Genesis, when it says I've given you a help meet, the word ezer kenegedo there is "help meet," and it means equal.
God's not for slavery. So you say why'd He give rules for slavery. Because it was already there. But He says if you're going to have a slave, as we see with Philemon in the New Testament, He says you're going to treat him right.
Art Mokarow: Could I just say one thing? The word isha in the Hebrew: He made woman equal to man. The word isha means in Hebrew "another point of view."
The answers shall be first
Ron Moseley: Paul does quote Jesus all the time. He [Mr. Diehl] said why did Paul write two thirds of the New Testament. Because, in the New Testament, all these cats who were with Jesus died or had gone off to India: Matthew and all these guys except John.
He tells John on the cross take care of my mother because you're the only one not going to get killed here. Even his brother gets killed.
Paul is like the game show Jeopardy! We don't have the questions, so it's dangerous for us to make doctrine out of Paul's writing.
All we see is him fire back and say put that old boy on some kind of excommunication for two weeks and I'll be down there with a stick. I'm going to hit him in the head with an eight-iron, and we're going to straighten this thing out.
So we have the answers, like the game show Jeopardy!, but we don't have the questions.
Accurately quotes OT
As far as James and Paul teaching something different, Paul went to the gentiles.
Paul said: The law is good, spiritual and perfect, and there wasn't any Scripture, by the way. Why didn't Paul quote Jesus? Because the Gospels weren't written down when Paul took off. So he didn't have any scriptures except the Old Testament.
And Paul quotes the Old Testament so accurately that he had to know Hebrew because the Bible says that when Paul says you're the temple of the Holy Ghost that's what it says in Hebrew. And God came and dwelled in him, in men.
But in the English version and most translations it says He dwelled among them. But the Hebrew says in him, as a tabernacle. So Paul catches that and puts it right in there accurately.
OT violence justified?
Reg Killingley: Okay, thank you very much, Dr. Moseley. We will skip the one question I had here and go to the next one. This is the time that Mr. Diehl has given up. So it will be, if I'm correct, answered by this team.
Now, the question is: Why is the God-ordained violence of the Old Testament justified? Mr. Diehl had addressed this already.
Ron Moseley: We just did address this. Let's go to another one.
Art Mokarow: Can I just say one thing--because God did flood the world and kill everybody? God cannot murder. The reason: because He'd break His commandment. But the reason He can't murder is because He can resurrect you.
You see, the difference between murder and killing: Only man can kill you, or murder you, because he can't bring you back to life. God cannot murder anybody because He can bring you back to life--and will.
Ron Moseley: But the Ten Commandments don't say thou shalt not kill. It says thou shalt not murder. Premeditated murder, actually.
Okay. Let's look at another one. Inspiration can be "verbal plenary," which means full. I don't know what your belief is, don't really care, but--I mean I don't because I'm not threatened by what you believe. You could say everything you said is malarkey and I'd say amen, I'm glad you're happy with that.
But nevertheless the word inspiration has been blown--I couldn't more agree with you--it's been stretched, pulled--
It's like when one of these old boys gets a tattoo of an ant on his shoulder and by the time he's 60 years old it looks like an eagle drug down to his knees. Can I get a witness?
A good definition, I think a biblical definition, of inspiration is--since we don't have autographed originals anymore--that it is a man-written translation that points us--
It may have some mistakes, but none of the general stuff's changed. For example, Isaiah in the Dead Sea Scrolls is 95 percent accurate.
It points us to Him who is perfect, and I dare you to find something wrong with Him. So that's the purpose of the book: to point us to Him who is perfect.
These little nitpicky things, I could explain them--I will if I have time--like the thing with the birth narratives. All of this is very easily explained because I had the same questions and went through every one of them. I haven't found one today that I'm having a problem with.
Revelation was a booklet
In 70 A.D. the book of Revelation was a pamphlet passed around to encourage people not to quit when the temple era stopped. It was written, by the way, about 68, and I can prove that if I have the time.
It was written before the destruction of the temple. It never mentions the destruction of the temple, which is the most important thing ever among the Jews.
The book of Hebrews says when this happens do not accept Jesus and then go back and lose your faith. Why were they saying that?
Because the temple basically, for many, was almost their faith, and it was about to be destroyed. It says Jesus is better than the temple, He's better than the altar, He's better than the blood of goats and bulls. And He's preparing them not to go back.
Here's why they would go back. Nero was the emperor, and Nero had a rule.
Leaving the umbrella of Judaism
Now, Christianity was a part of Judaism up till about 64, then it really separated about 90, but in 64 they began to branch off in two groups. When they got out from under the umbrella of Judaism, Rome said to Judaism, as long as it's peaceful, we will leave you alone because you were grandfathered in as a faith before Rome.
Every new religion [in the Roman Empire] has to give a sacrifice and get a little certificate saying the emperor is honored. Christians wouldn't do that. Jews wouldn't do that, but they let the Jews slide as long as they were peaceful.
But, when the Christians separated, Nero said you guys are a new religion. You say you're not a part of Judaism anymore? You're going to have to give sacrifice to the emperor.
Many of them were big-mouthers, but when it came to giving their life they went back into Judaism.
That's why Hebrews 6 says how dare you taste of the goodness of God and go back, denying Jesus.
The book of Revelation? It was a gospel tract passed around in the 1st century. That's why they put it in in the 2nd century as part of the canon because they said God's going to win in the end.
The primacy of Paul
Art Mokarow: Could I just make one point?
Reg Killingley: In fact, your side will get this first question, so Dr. Mokarow will go first. The question is: Why is Paul so prominent when he was never one of the 12? You first, Dr. Mokarow.
Art Mokarow: That's a very good question. Who thought up that question?
Ron Moseley: He did.
Art Mokarow: Very good.
I wanted to say this one thing. Read and hear everything Dennis is telling you because everything he's saying is right, basically. Everything he's [Dr. Moseley's] saying is right. Everything, you'll find out, I'm saying is right.
And I'm for you [Mr. Diehl] in your experience with dogma because I was in the same institution. Right? Same prison.
Dennis Diehl: Good word.
Truth never stops
Art Mokarow: But anyway truth is ongoing. It never stops.
The Sabbath was written two different ways to the Israelites.
In Exodus 20 the Sabbath was a sign to enter God's rest.
You read Deuteronomy 5 when he [Moses] came down from the mountain after he broke the scroll, and that Fourth Commandment is written differently. Read it. That commandment [in Deuteronomy 5]: They're not going into God's rest into the Promised Land but 40 years into the wilderness, coming out of slavery yet. That's the difference. You read it. It's there.
God changed the sign and meaning [of the Sabbath] from that given by God before Moses went up to the mount to another meaning in Deuteronomy 5 that was only given to Israel. That covenant was never given to the gentiles.
Now the question. The reason Paul is mentioned so long is because the attack upon the Church of God, which Dennis brought up very adequately, was by gnosticism. Gnosticism is not a religion. Too many people think gnostics were a religion that crept in like Simon Magus.
The fathers--the church fathers--were gnostics.
Ron Moseley: Some of them.
Gnosticism means knowledge
Art Mokarow: Yes, some of them. I mean, Eusebius and [unintelligible], they were all gnostics. Gnostics are the politically correct of the day. They started in the Garden of Eden.
Gnosticism means knowledge. You want to read what a gnostic was? Read Daniel, where they were the wise men of the time. They had astrologers, magicians, right? And Daniel, a true prophet. They were all gnostics, or knowledge people, or the wise. You following me? All right?
That's why Paul deals so much with it, because it was the political correctness. There are Egyptian gnostics, Indian gnostics, Chinese gnostics, Babylonian gnostics. I'll give you a book you could read, very tedious and hard. It's called Gnosis. It goes through the whole history of all gnosticism, all right? That's why Paul had to do that and spend that time. I'm finished.
Ron Moseley: Paul was so prominent and not one of the 12 apostles because Jesus said to the 12 apostles go only into the Jews and nobody else because you guys got real problems with circumcision and even touching, eating, with these other cats.
Remember, God had to tell Peter three times in Acts 10 to go see Cornelius, and then when he finally went he apologized first thing for even coming in his house.
But Paul had a non-Jewish dad.
The letters were written to Paul. They're not going to write to a guy who tells them they've got to be circumcised when these guys are God-fearers, meaning that you can get all the benefits of Judaism; it's called proselyte at the gate. They came to the gate but never joined. They never were card-carrying Pharisees. They never joined the church.
Circumcision not necessary
But they could come, they could fellowship, they could enjoy, they could go to all the festivals, they tithed, they gave. But they did not have to be circumcised.
And why would you run to some old boys trying to cut you when you could go to Paul, who said you can come in free?
And they're writing him letters. He's just answering their letters. That's why he's got two thirds of it. And why's the New Testament called the New Testament? Because he's writing to non-Jews instead of Jews. The whole Old Testament's to Jews.
Reg Killingley: Dennis, you have your five minutes on this question about Paul's prominence when he was never one of the 12.
Paul by the book
Dennis Diehl: Thank you. I think I've answered it, you know, to my satisfaction. I told you where I stand on Paul. Paul is the author of Christianity, not Jesus. It's just that simple. If you go by the book, Paul is the author of Christianity.
James was eventually written out of the text. Peter disappears. John disappears. And that was very accurate. I think we would be better off if we realize that Paul and his Jesus, this cosmic, hallucinatory, not earthly, Gospel Jesus, was the Jesus he understood because the Gospels were not written until long after he died.
Paul came first in the New Testament, not the Gospels. So when you put things in a little better order you get a little perspective, perhaps, of how that came about.
The apostle Paul never met Jesus in the flesh. He says that he was a Pharisee of the Pharisees in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus' life, so why doesn't Paul show up in the Gospels as one of Jesus' persecutors? According to the texts, the Pharisees were his chief persecutors.
I don't know. Nobody knows. If Paul was there, why isn't he in the Gospel story?
The answer would be, from most theologians: because the Gospel stories never heard of Paul.
The book of Acts is an apologetic written to connect Paul's writings to the Gospels to make them seem more synchronistic, or more homogenous, with each other.
I'll tell you what I disagree with. I disagree with the concept that the New Testament is an accurate description of Pharisees. I disagree with the concept, that you just gave, that Paul got to write most of the New Testament because he was addressing gnosticism and so on.
Ron Moseley: I didn't say that.
Art Mokarow: I said that.
'Not come in the flesh'?
Dennis Diehl: Okay, one of the controversies in the early church was if any man says that Jesus Christ has not come in the flesh he's an Antichrist. Let him be accursed.
How on earth can there be a controversy so quickly after the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that has people in the church believing He never existed in the flesh?
Ron Moseley: Good point.
Dennis Diehl: How can that possibly be recorded in the Bible so quickly as a problem in the church? That would be like me saying there was no Elvis, there was no John Kennedy, there were no Beatles.
Art Mokarow: That's a good question.
Dennis Diehl: I can see it coming up a thousand years later, but not decades, not two decades, later. I can't envision it, so I'm suspicious.
I recommend if you want to read the other side of the Paul issue Hyam Maccoby's book Paul the Mythmaker [full title The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity]. It's excellent.
Ron Moseley: It is a good book.
Dennis Diehl: Hyam is writing from the Jewish perspective about this man called the apostle Paul.
Reg Killingley: For our last part--and I gather that Dr. Moseley has a plane to catch so we do need to wrap up--I have a couple more questions that I have written down. I could read one of the questions and then open it up to the floor.
So first question, and we can start out with Mr. Mokarow, Dr. Moseley: If the Bible is indeed the Word of God why don't all human beings accept it as such? Or does it appeal only to weak or superstitious people who need a crutch or who are afraid of the unknown?
Art Mokarow: Excellent. Excellent. Who thought of that question?
Ron Moseley: I think that was you.
Art Mokarow: That's why I thought it was an excellent question.
Reg Killingley: The clock is running.
Art Mokarow: Okay. For one reason: free choice. It all started in that garden. Now, it wasn't a snake wrapped around a tree. It was a beautiful cherub, and he preached the gospel. That's another question. I'm not going to get into it.
He never lied. He didn't lie. He just deceived you. Someday I'd like to tell you what Babylon is, but that's another subject.
When God gave His Commandments and the statutes or the law, he had to because humans were criminals. They had a weak nature to sin.
The New Covenant and Old Covenant difference is very simple.
One, God tells you what sin is for criminals, which we need to know, don't we?
The other is people who are being changed into the nature of God where those laws become part of the makeup of your being.
You see the difference? You read Matthew 5, 6 and 7. It starts with the letter of the law and it ends with the spirit of the law, where you become perfect like your Father in heaven.
And that has to do with the word pleroo, which all the Sumerians knew and understood. They all knew about perfection. They knew the whole gospel.
But why free choice? Because God's making sons, and sons are what you are. You're gods when you become like Him, just like Jesus today is God.
Right? He's the Son of God, just what you will be, okay? It doesn't mean you're the God, the one true God, no. But you're going to think like Him, because you have faith and trust in Him. Whatever He becomes you'll always obey, like Abraham did, and that's why he kept the Commandments and statutes and the Torah.
Free choice is there because God's creation is multiplied by free-mind thinking, like all of us are doing here. God will allow free choice for Dennis and Ron and me. All right? He'll allow it because when we become like Him, when we see Him as He is--all right?--we will always follow Him in faith. Right?
But we will be individually thinking and coming up with our imaginations, which Adam and Eve weren't ready to handle. Okay?
Evolution is out of time
Ron Moseley: There's five points to having a hypothesis proven in science, and evolution doesn't have enough time or fossils to be any one of them, and I would love to talk to you at another time about that, because my science teacher was my Hebrew teacher, and he also taught sex therapy. But we won't go into that.
Art Mokarow: I just want to add one thing, and there's one top cosmologist who said mathematically if we put together all the time you want--forget thirteen and a half billion years, okay?--if we went to a trillion or a googol, okay?--
Ron Moseley: A googolplex.
Art Mokarow: It doesn't matter. The best you would have had today, if evolution were true, is one cell. Mathematically it's impossible. There's not enough time. And I mean these are top, top people in the field who admit it.
Ron Moseley: The word rib means cell. I'm not saying He cloned Eve, but the word dust [in Genesis 2:7] goes back to the root of a-tom, not Adam but a-tom, like atom.
Art Mokarow: And Genesis goes back to gene, doesn't it?
Ron Moseley: You said that. I don't know about that.
People have books
Reg Killingley: All right. We certainly don't have a googolplex of time, but we do have the opportunity for Mr. Diehl to answer the same question about the Bible:
If it is indeed the Word of God, why don't all human beings accept it as such? Or does it appeal only to weak and superstitious people who need a crutch or who are afraid of the unknown?
Dennis Diehl: All cultures have their books. The Islamic culture has its books. Those books are the Word of God to them because that's their experience.
The Bible is a Middle Eastern book that has made its way to the West and been redacted, changed, applied, read in certain ways, and it's our book. The Buddhists have their books. The Hindus have their books. People have books.
And nobody belongs to the wrong church. I've never met one human being who said to me I know I belong to the false church. I've never met one human being who said I know that the books of the culture that I grew up in are [nonsense].
Because that's their experience. If you had grown up in India you would be just as vocal about the Upanishads as you might be about the Bible in the Western culture.
If you'd grown up Jewish you'd be just as vocal about Torah and just as anti-Christian as any Jew would be. That's your upbringing.
If you grew up with Buddhism you'd be just as Buddhist because that's your upbringing.
That's why people don't accept other people's books: because that's not their experience.
I would like to say that the comments you made on evolution, while respected, are not true.
Ron Moseley: I would like to talk to you about it.
Dennis Diehl: I'm sure.
Art Mokarow: Me too.
Hundreds of scientists
Dennis Diehl: It's an endless topic, because sometimes obviously, if one believes that Genesis has to be literally true, then evolution has to be literally false. And that's the position we defended [in the WCG].
[Regarding Dr. Moseley's comments that scientists believe in the Bible story of creation:] That's anecdotal. Who are these scientists? For every scientist that says, oh, the Bible is true and I'm a scientist, there are hundreds or thousands who say, no, you can't mix--
Once you mix the Bible in with science, you don't have science. You've got to keep them separate. It's either science or the Bible. Okay.
You can't have an equation on the wall that has mathematical symbols and then in the middle of the equation it says "Then a miracle happens," and then the equation continues.
Ron Moseley: One example.
Dennis Diehl: One example isn't going to change my mind.
Ron Moseley: No, I mean you give me one.
Hippos and whales
Dennis Diehl: I can give you plenty of evidence that a land animal about the size of a hippopotamus turned into a whale. You can take a whale skeleton apart and find hip bones and pelvis from legs that no longer exist.
Ron Moseley: You can take a cannibal apart and find my grandmother maybe but that doesn't mean she ate him.
Dennis Diehl: That kind of talk is not scientific. You can make fun of ideas, but that doesn't prove anything.
I'm simply saying that generalities about evolution not being true are themselves not true. There is plenty of fossil evidence for many, many things in this planet, and most of it has come in the last 30 years. And it's not true that the fossil record does not show evolution. It clearly shows it.
Beware of generalities
Art Mokarow: Now, Dennis, let me just say one thing. I'm willing to accept your premise. But I'm not willing to accept a lot of generality statements. The big thing that I try to be careful on is not to attack and say that's not true.
This is what I hear the liberals say. They will deny stats. They will deny data that's proven and say it's not true. Now, I'm not saying you're false.
Ron Moseley: No, me either.
Art Mokarow: What I'm saying is I don't think an honest debater makes those statements. Because you do not know--you do not know--just like I don't know what brought you to your conclusion--
Dennis Diehl: Let me just suggest a simple read of the most recent book on evolution, Donald Prothero's book Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It's Important [exact title: Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters].
Ron Moseley: I've got that book.
Dennis Diehl: I've spent time with him personally. It's an endless topic.
Art Mokarow: All I'm--
Reg Killingley: To get us back--
Art Mokarow: What I'm trying to say is you're telling these people you have the facts and we don't.
Dennis Diehl: But aren't you telling them you do?
Art Mokarow: No.
Ron Moseley: I'm not.
Art Mokarow: No.
Ron Moseley: Give me one example.
Art Mokarow: That's the difference between the three of us.
Ron Moseley: Well, the Galapagos finches were proven to be wrong. The peppered moth was proven to be wrong. The Piltdown Man was proven to be a hoax. Haeckel's drawings, these little guys evolving from a sea horse into a stallion--
Art Mokarow: See, the point--
Reg Killingley: I would really like to bring--
Art Mokarow: Go ahead, my friend.
Reg Killingley: And of course the whole topic of evolution would make for a debate of its own.
Ron Moseley: That'd be wonderful. I would love to do it, yeah.
Question from the floor
Reg Killingley: It would. And it would be fascinating, but unfortunately we do not have the time. We have several other things we want to discuss.
There is time now for a question from the floor for the speakers. Does anybody have a question that they would like to ask? You could address it to whichever side you wish to address it to. If you don't, I can move right on to the next question. Yes?
Dave Havir: [Unintelligible because Mr. Havir, in the audience, was not using a microphone.]
Reg Killingley: Just for the recording purposes, you [Mr. Havir] want to hear from both sides one item that they would like to have been able to rebut in each case. So let's start with this side, and again we have the five minutes.
Art Mokarow: I only have one thing to rebut about, which is where I am, how I approach learning, because all we're talking about is how we approach learning. That's all it is.
I have learned in my life, and this is what I was trying to say to Dennis, I have to stay away from general statements.
If you ever read Dr. [Bart] Ehrman, head of theology [formerly chairman of the department of religious studies at the University of North Carolina and currently a professor at UNC], he has found 28,000 errors in the Bible, 28,000.
I went through a big majority of them and studied them. What I'm saying: No one human being should make generalized statements as if they alone--and that's what he's saying--and not in his heart.
Ron Moseley: Probably not saying that.
We're all just learning
Art Mokarow: In other words, I'm not denying that you believe what you believe, just as I hope you don't deny what I believe, and I might be right just as you might, right? That's my point that I'd like you to carry away.
Be extremely patient with where people are. And he's absolutely right: We're a product of our experience. I agree with that 1,000 percent. But be careful. Don't make yourself the one to know, because we're all just learning.
Ron Moseley: That's true. You know, I didn't mean to be smart-mouthing. I was making a real point, but it probably came out sarcastically and I apologize. That no sea horses have ever evolved into a stallion is my point.
There is no missing link that's ever been found or it would be not a theory anymore. Evolutionary Darwinism, transformism, as it was originally called, would not be a theory anymore if it had evidence.
Theories to test
I have a list of 500 scientists, and we're not talking about rinky-dink ones. No, every one of these teaches at a major university, and teaches paleontology or science in a major regionally accredited university, and said that they cannot accept, all of them Ph.D.s, Darwinism.
But the point of it is: A theory has to be tested, and when you say a miracle is not science there's more belief in a miracle in Darwin's theory than there is in God's.
There's all kinds of things I've got to believe. I've got to believe that these things evolved and there's not one example of anything that's evolved into anything.
We've got all these theories, but every time you turn around one of them's being misproved and like the Piltdown Man and it was just absolutely--
Dennis Diehl: But science--science--found out that it was absolutely false.
Ron Moseley: They never admitted it period.
Dennis Diehl: No, they have admitted it. They were tricked by their own kind, just as theologians are tricked by their own kind.
Ron Moseley: I agree. But it was still a hoax.
Dennis Diehl: But it was a trick. It was a trick and when they found it--
Reg Killingley: Excuse me. The five minutes for both sides--
Ron Moseley: Whose time is it?
Reg Killingley: It's still your time. You still have a minute.
Ron Moseley: Oh. I have a minute!
Dennis Diehl: Go for it.
These aren't goofballs
Ron Moseley: All right. For it not to be science it has to be tested. And there isn't anybody at this table, I don't think, that's smart enough to test God. I'm certainly not the one. Therefore, science says, since God cannot be tested, the creation theory cannot be proven.
If there was evidence, we wouldn't be having this argument, because it would be published and all these old boys hadn't convinced me yet.
These aren't goofballs. These are Ph.D.s teaching paleontology and archaeology and different things at regular colleges, major universities. And all have their degrees from Duke and places like that.
The point of it is: It takes as much faith to believe one as the other, and neither can be tested. It's, like you said, a moot subject.
For instance, here's a problem and I would agree completely with you. Some doofus has said that there's no way you can prove the world was created 6,000 years ago and that it was created in six days.
But the Bible doesn't say that. It says yom. Yom [translated "day" in Genesis] means the amount of time it took God to do it.
Art Mokarow: That's what yom means.
Ron Moseley: You could say that God could have done it through evolution. But I don't believe He did. That's my personal belief.
So you can't take the Bible and say it's not scientific--or it is scientific--because it wasn't written as a science book.
Art Mokarow: Now, to me the conclusive evidence is this, just this one statement: You can go to any discipline, take any group of experts, and get them together and they don't agree.
Ron Moseley: That's the truth.
The genealogies are a moot point
Reg Killingley: And apparently we don't agree on time here. Let's move on to Mr. Diehl, who was going to respond to the same question from Mr. Havir from the floor: If there's one thing that you would like to rebut from the other side--
Dennis Diehl: Yeah, very specifically you spent a lot of time on the genealogies of Jesus, the 14 generations, and that's very contrived, and that's a Jewish technique of writing what they write.
But the bottom-line question that theologians have about the genealogies is: Why are they important anyway to be in the Bible?
Christianity says God is the Father of Jesus through Mary, right? The virgin-birth story came along into the text of the Gospels after the genealogies were in there for a long time.
Once you got into the theology of Jesus--that Mary was a virgin, that God was the Father, the literal Father, the genetic Father of Jesus--genealogies become moot. They're cut off at that point.
All the people that are related to Jesus in the genealogies are not related to Jesus if God is Jesus' literal Father. You can't have genealogies and the story of the virgin birth. They're exclusive. Either one stays or one goes.
The trouble is that they're both very familiar in the documents, and they could get rid of neither because it would be very obvious.
So the whole argument of genealogies of Jesus, it doesn't matter because, theologically, God is the Father of Jesus--literally.
Now, I had a teenager ask me one time in the church: Mr. Diehl, if God is the Father of Jesus but He didn't marry Mary, isn't that fornication?
Ron Moseley: Ask God.
Dennis Diehl: Well, I can't ask God. He's not ever answered me when I've asked. I've never heard a voice. I'm glad. That's a medication problem.
I'm just saying that genealogies and the story of the virgin birth are incompatible with each other. There's no need for genealogies if God is the literal Father.
I also say that most of the people in the genealogies, there is no record of them in the Bible.
Some of those people exist, but the others that are mentioned are not in the Old Testament.
Nobody knows where they came from.
Art Mokarow: Can I just make one comment to that?
Dennis Diehl: Yes, if you're allowed.
Reg Killingley: It's your time.
Dennis Diehl: Yes, you can have the rest of my time. I've made my time.
Ron Moseley: They are in the Old Testament, No. 1. Some of them are. Right? Rahab's sure in there.
Dennis Diehl: I did say some of them. Some of them are.
Never basic enough
Art Mokarow: I'm going to become more basic than that. You see, the greatest mistake in any subject or discipline is that it never starts basic enough. They always start their subject from a point. You follow me?
Like, if I go to a school of economics, they're going to start teaching me economics. But they don't teach me the basics behind it.
What I'm telling you is: As long as it's a theory--and any true cosmologist will tell you evolution is still a theory--it's a problematic mathematical probability.
To answer his question about the genealogy, you first have to know what a human being is.
Reg Killingley: Dr. Mokarow, we'll just--
Dennis Diehl: I would like just 10 seconds--
You've made a point about being careful about saying that you know the answers to everything. I don't feel that's my point, but I would like to ask you about your book God's Puzzle Solved. "Puzzle" and "solved" are strong words. In effect you're saying I know what the puzzle is and I've solved it. So--
Art Mokarow: No, that isn't what it meant.
Dennis Diehl: The impression is also that you have the answer.
Art Mokarow: No.
Ron Moseley: One answer.
Art Mokarow: You see, you came up with that guess of what I meant. If you read the book, I don't say that.
Dennis Diehl: I read the book.
Art Mokarow: Well, then, if you did you would have learned--
The canon of Scripture
Reg Killingley: Excuse me. The question had to do with just one item to rebut. There was a question in the back. Gentleman in the back, your question is?
Man in audience: [Unintelligible because of low volume.]
Reg Killingley: The question concerns the canonization of the Hebrew scriptures and of the scriptures we know as the New Testament.
Art Mokarow: As long as we get him [Dr. Moseley] on the airplane--
Dennis Diehl: No, I'm concerned about the people [in the audience].
Art Mokarow: Is it too long for you? Hey, if we're boring you and not helping you, then we should stop.
Ron Moseley: Let me give my answer to this before they walk out.
In 400 B.C. Ezra was considered to be completed. Jesus accepted that by saying the three categories: the Psalms, the Tanakh--T-N-K is what they call it--the Torah, the first five books, the Nev'im, the Prophets, and the Ketubah, the writings, the Psalms. That's all that he ever says.
Around the end of the 1st century they already had all 27 books, but there was a strict five rule. It wasn't some casual vote. There's five things that were required. They were pretty stringent to get in there.
But Jesus could not have come on the scene, genealogywise, without having proven He was from the son of David. But you [Mr. Diehl] say He wasn't; the Father was His father.
In Judaism it doesn't matter who your father is--if your mother is a Jew--and it gives Mary's genealogy back to David.
Reg Killingley: Let's pass the question on [to Mr. Diehl] about the canonization of--
Written during the captivity
Dennis Diehl: Yeah, that's a huge one, and I don't claim expertise on that at all. My sense is that I don't personally believe that Moses wrote the Pentateuch. I believe those things were written during the Babylonian captivity by the Levites.
I'm not sure that Moses existed. Israel Finkelstein--who wrote extensively; I know him personally; I dug with him at Megiddo; over 15 years ago he told me that there is no archaeological evidence for the characters of Moses, that these are stories that their culture has, you know, put together to define their culture, to give them a history--is very Jewish, by the way.
Ron Moseley: Reformed.
Dennis Diehl: Yes, but he lives in Israel, and before he ever wrote his book he told me he's not personally convinced that the figures of David, Abraham or Solomon existed, or if they did they were not as presented in the Bible.
They may have existed, but the glory of it all was not quite as glorious as it's been presented.
You know, sometimes things seem true because they seem true and so often cultures will embellish their cultures far beyond the reality of how it really started.
I suspect that books like [Isaiah], Jeremiah, Ezekiel contain false prophecies because there was a battle between the Levites and the prophets to prove who gets to run the show.
The prophets lost, the Levites won, and to make a prophet look stupid and as if he was a failed prophet was an art form. Some of that is reflected in failed prophecies in the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, the prophecy of Tyre being one of them that was injected to make the prophets look stupid by the Levites.
Revelation written A.D. 68?
Reg Killingley: Let's have this as the last question, then, from the floor so that we can get ready to wrap up soon. Yes, sir?
Gary Woodring: My question is a question of fact about Revelation. Ron, you say Revelation was written in about 68 A.D.?
Ron Moseley: It has to be. I have 15 points that prove that in a course, although I'm not going to take time to do it now.
You know what the original Aramaic title of Revelation was? "This is a revelation of Jesus Christ concerning the war, the Jewish war, at the time of Nero." A.D. 68.
Gary Woodring: Do you believe, then, that Revelation had been totally fulfilled by the time of 70 A.D.?
Ron Moseley: I don't know about that. I think a lot of it was. Jesus said flee to the mountains when it hits the fan, and they fled to Pella, and you know all that.
But nobody knows everything, and I certainly don't say that I know all. It's enough fulfilled that I know something's going on there.
Tyre then and now
But I don't know one prophecy--
Tyre! Tyre! The Tyre of the Bible! It says it's going to be destroyed! It said the pillars in this great city like New York are going to be thrown into the sea.
Alexander the Great came along and made a causeway there and threw the big pillars in the sea. They said it would be fishing nets on the ground and nobody would inhabit it ever.
And the Tyre today is not where the Tyre was. The place is a fishing village 20 miles from there, and all those big pillars are fallen into the sea. I think it's a perfect fulfillment.
Revelation fulfilled in 70?
Reg Killingley: Let's get back to the question, then, of Revelation. Has that all been fulfilled, or was it all fulfilled in 70 A.D.?
Dennis Diehl: Dr. Moseley says: Who knows? I'll be more specific. The answer is yes. And I totally agree with his chronology, that it was written just months, in the last months, before the fall of the temple to encourage the people who were going to go through hell.
Over a million of them were going to be butchered on the Temple Mount.
I do not believe the book of Revelation is to be read like a newspaper.
It's a very profitable book, and in the Worldwide Church of God and all of its splinters the book of Revelation is key to financial success. There's a lot of money in Jesus almost returning. There is no money in Jesus returning.
It was John in 90 A.D.? That's baloney.
Ron Moseley: It's impossible.
Dennis Diehl: It's absolutely impossible. I think even parts of it started out as a Jewish book that was turned into a Jewish-Christian book. From my perspective the book of Revelation is history.
Art Mokarow: Can I just add one thing? The three of us are in agreement on the date. I believe all those things happened.
Okay, let me explain something where I'm a little different and I discussed it with you.
Ron Moseley: I know you have.
Art Mokarow: Okay. In Revelation 10--all right?--he [John] stops. He wants to write, and John is told to stop writing and to eat it. Right? Like honey in his mouth and then sour in his stomach. It picks it up at the seventh trumpet.
Ron Moseley: You mean Daniel.
Art Mokarow: Well, Daniel does, but it also does in Revelation 10.
Ron Moseley: Okay.
The mystery of God
Art Mokarow: Then He tells him you are going to prophesy. Remember after he ate it? You are going to prophesy to kings and nations and so forth. How could this happen since this all transpired? Okay?
As far as I'm concerned, the whole conclusion of all that both of you said I agree with 100 percent, except he [John] was told to stop the conclusion that occurs at the seventh trump.
Then it says--and this is a prophecy that did not happen then--it says the mystery of God will now be revealed. That's in Revelation 10. Okay?
Now, the problem is in the name "tribulation." We think of the tribulation that happened, and that was the great tribulation that happened to the temple when they got wiped out. I agree with all that.
Ron Moseley: But we don't want to convince anybody of it if they don't believe it, so--
Art Mokarow: No, no. But I'm saying the three of us agree on this.
However, Isaiah 66 talks about the new heaven and new earth, and it explains biblically the meaning of tribulation. It's like unto a woman in travail, or childbirth. And it tells you there are false labor pains where the son is a nation born in one day.
You see, it speaks of the lapse of time, that the tribulation, really, was not the end of it. It was the continuing pain for this woman to be born for the Messiah to return. Do you follow me?
When the true, final seventh trumpet and Christ returns and the son is born, whenever that is, that's where I am.
That tribulation of the birth of the return of the Messiah doesn't occur until that seventh trump. That has not happened.
Reg Killingley: We do have to stop there. Let's go to the final, the closing, or summary presentation that each side will give.
You will have 10 minutes, so please, Dr. Moseley and Dr. Mokarow, if you would decide how you want to split that. If one of you wants to give five minutes and the other one five minutes, that's fine, but you do have only 10 minutes to give your closing.
Mr. Diehl will also have 10 minutes for his closing summary presentation, and you can address anything that you'd like to do to leave your audience with. Thank you.
One purpose in regard to God
Ron Moseley: Okay. The concept of Genesis' account I would completely disagree with, but I understand where he's coming from. There are just so many of these that I would love to get ahold to. But it's almost--
Art Mokarow: Okay. Here's my purpose. I only have one purpose in regard to God and His Son. And that's to witness Jesus. That's it. I want to be as much like Him, I want to behave like Him, live my life like Him, all right? And this Ron and I are in 1,000 percent agreement.
Ron Moseley: I completely agree that Jesus is the key.
Art Mokarow: He's the keys to the Kingdom, isn't He?
Ron Moseley: He's somebody I ain't messing with.
Nothing against Dennis
Art Mokarow: That's right. Anytime I speak, it matters not whether you're at the same place of human imagination that I am. Or Dennis!
I have nothing against Dennis, because a lot of what he presented I myself have gone through, those specific questions. He came up with different conclusions. Ron came up with different conclusions. And I come up with different conclusions.
I am glad that he believes in a God. I'm thankful for that. And I think our idea of God is the same: We don't know who He is.
I've read the Koran. I went to the trouble. They [Muslims] call it the book of the people. They do accept the Torah. They accept Moses. They even accept Jesus as a prophet. All right?
But the thing that I really have come to conclude in my life: I don't want to use human imagination or interpretation.
I remember when I was taking trigonometry in school. No, it was geometry. I remember the teacher would teach the formula to come to the answers of the geometric problem, and I couldn't understand how she came to that logic or conclusion. But I came up with the same answers with a different formula. Are you understanding me?
Maybe iPods are good
I have no confidence in human education. I believe it is good, like we know gravity is real as long as there's not a force stronger, right? I believe that. Okay? That's the good it produces. It makes iPods and televisions and all these other things. I'm not sure they're good, but they're there.
But my point is this, and this is the real thing that I try to witness:
Try not to think more of yourself where you are than you should. Don't be so sure of your human intellect and interpretation.
I'm not wishy-washy. I am very much a believer of what I believe. You follow me? And you should be too. And you move on when God decides it's time for you to grow.
That's really my purpose in my elderly age to my dying breath to get across to people, because what the Bible is really about--really--it is the book of the people, which means the story of human beings, the world, but it discloses your Father. That's its real purpose. It reveals JHVH, Elohim, the one God. That's it.
Paul quoted Jesus
Ron Moseley: Regarding the concept that Paul did not quote Jesus: All through his epistles he's quoting Him. He's, No. 1, answering questions. Acts 9:20, he said he only preached Christ and nothing else. So either he's confused about what he's doing or we're looking back 2,000 years and confused about what we think he's doing.
But it's my experience that the guy that's there knows more about it than the guy that's here.
Two hundred years from now if the scholars look back upon our society they're going to look and say, they could say, with this same thinking, that George Washington never lived.
Why would they say that? We have records. Yes, but our records contradict themselves because he was born on Feb. 11 in the 1790s [sic] but, like many countries, we have changed our celebration date because it interferes with our school system, our educational system, so we do it on the 22nd, not the 11th.
So they're saying he doesn't really exist because they've got two stories of them and they contradict.
[Editor's note: George Washington was born Feb. 11, 1731, under the Julian calendar, which became defunct in Britain and the United States during Washington's lifetime. The Gregorian calendar began in 1582, with nations over the centuries gradually adopting it. Under the Gregorian reckoning, Washington was born Feb. 22, 1732.
[Although for most of 1731 the calendars differed by only 11 days, the Julian year began each March 25, whereas the Gregorian year begins each Jan. 1. Therefore 1731 dates between Jan. 1 and March 25--including Washington's birthday--became 1732 dates.]
Ron Moseley: And those--the chief priests and the Sadducees--are the cats right there, by the way, who were trying to kill Jesus. The chief priests and the Sadducees were the same, and a few Pharisees, but basically the Pharisees were the only one of the 27 groups that believe what Christians believe today: heaven, hell, angels, demons, all of this stuff.
Now, maybe they were hypocrites but they believed the basic doctrine. A Sadducee didn't even believe in the resurrection. Herodians didn't believe.
We find that these old boys come against it, but Jesus and Paul were on the same page. Why does old Paul--?
Because he is sent not to the Jews but to the gentiles. The whole New Testament is written about gentiles' churches after we leave Jerusalem, so it should be about Paul.
And James and Paul in Acts 15 are lined up together, and it says the Holy Spirit and us all agree. So I give you my five seconds, brother--
Reg Killingley: Let me, then, give you, Mr. Diehl, your 10 minutes for a closing summary presentation, whatever you would like to leave the audience with.
Dennis Diehl: [Mr. Diehl makes extensive personal remarks, deleted here, that are not directly related to the topic of the debate.]
Ron Moseley: Dennis, we love you, buddy. You're going to be all right. I believe God's got His hand on you and you're going to be full of the Holy Ghost and back in the pulpit.
Dennis Diehl: You're scaring me. You're scaring me.
Ron Moseley: It doesn't matter. We love you, and God loves you. It's going to work out for you.
On the same path
Art Mokarow: Dennis, I had very little contact with you way back when. The irony of this whole thing when I think of the years, for me it was 40-50 years ago: I never thought in my life I'd be talking to people that I talked to 40-50 years ago.
I see we're all on the same path. Dennis is on the same path. He's just telling us Christianity is evolutionary. It's becoming like Jesus, who's like God, so we can all be one, so God can be all in all. Right?
I never liked debates. I don't regard this as a debate. I regard this as a feeding of each other. He's feeding you, and if he has struck you with something to make you check and study and find on your own what you believe, then he has blessed you. Or Ron. Or I. Or anyone.
Every time somebody asks you why you believe what you do and you tell them, you prophesy, don't you? The little widow back there, she does that. When somebody asks her why do you go to this church, and she tells them why, she prophesies.
I won't give you two cents for any guy who is dogmatic in his teaching to the people he's responsible for.
If you go to church and they say you have to think this way and if you don't you're out, run!
What's the deal?
Reg Killingley: I do again want to thank the Tyler Sabbath Fellowship and our speakers. Diehl, by the way, is spelled D-I-E-H-L if you're going to Google him, Dennis Diehl.
Dennis Diehl: I have to tell people in South Carolina: No, not like the pickle.
Ron Moseley: Diehl pickle?
Reg Killingley: So a round of applause again for our speakers.