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Do you mean by "the Scriptures", or by "these Scriptures", the authorised English version of the Bible, commencing with Genesis, and ending with Revelations?--Yes.

Do you agree that the attributes I stated in my speech for Deity are fair attributes?--Not as to one item, with the construction you put upon it.

Which is that?--All-goodness.

You think Deity is not all-good.--In the sense contended for by you, I think He is not.

Will you tell me the sense, if any, in which you would use the word "all-good"?--That His designs, judged by the long run of the thing, are "all good", but that in the realisation of those all-good designs, there maybe many measures of extremity and severity.

Do you mean for "goodness" as applied to God the same as "goodness" as applied to man?--If you will define goodness as applied to man, I will be in a position to answer.

I mean by goodness applied to man that that is good which tends to the greatest happiness of mankind, with the least injury to any of mankind--I do not admit that definition as applicable to God.

What definition of the word "good" will you give me, then, that is applicable to God?--The development ultimately of the highest good, He only being the judge of what that is.

Do you know what is meant by good?--I have some slight conception; but I don't govern God by my slight conceptions.

Will you give me your slight conception of it?--That He will ultimately upon the earth develop complete well-being for every person that will finally be alive, on the basis of complete obedience to and honour of Him.

Do you think He could have done that before now?--Not upon the principle He has been pleased to adopt in the development of it, which is a principle requiring the free agency of man.

On any principle could God have done that which you define as "good" before now? Yes or no? on any principle?--It is not for me to say what God could do or could not do; I merely contend for what He has done.

Do you hold that He is all-powerful?--I do.

Do you hold that He is all-wise?-I do.

Do you hold that He knew how to do what was good?-I do.

Do you hold that He could have done what was good?--I won't answer that, because it implies a case that I don't recognise.

Will you kindly give me one of the points which you consider a surface contradiction in the Bible?--Well, Solomon in the Proverbs says: "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou be like unto him;" and adds immediately: "Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit".

Will you kindly give me the evidence to connect the person you call Solomon with the book you call Proverbs?--Yes; I produce Josephus.

Which of Josephus's works are you quoting--his "Antiquities" or his "Wars"?--Both.

Do you know that Josephus, in his references to Bible matters, states many facts which are not in our Bible at all?--In matters of detail, that is correct.

Do you consider Josephus trustworthy or not?--Where he is a personal witness I consider he is.

Do you think he was a personal witness to Solomon writing the Proverbs?--He was a personal witness to the evidence which proved Solomon to have been the writer.

Will you give me a statement of the evidence which Josephus personally witnessed?--He is a witness to the fact that the book constituting the Scriptures--

That is not the question.--You don't know till I have completed my answer.

My question is: what is the evidence of which Josephus was a personal witness in relation to Solomon and the Proverbs?--My answer is: the evidence of a nation's history, of which he was a personal witness, being himself an official person in that nation before its nationality was broken up.

Are you prepared with the evidence from Josephus which verifies that he is a personal witness of any such evidence?--If you deny it, I will perhaps prove it.

Will you undertake to produce that in your first speech to-morrow night?--It may interfere with my argument.

Will you to-morrow night--Yes or no?--Oh! I have my evidence here; I do not need to wait till to-morrow night.

Will you produce it now, then?--Yes.

Then I will ask you to refer to book and section. Mind, my question is not to show that the Jews accepted the Book of Proverbs, but the evidence which you say he was a personal witness of, to justify him in making that statement.--In Josephus against Apion, Ist bk., 8th section, he says:-"We have not an innumerable multitude of books amongst us, disagreeing from and contradicting one another, as the Greeks have, but only twenty-two books, which contain the records of all the past times, which are justly believed to be divine, and of them, five belong to Moses, which contain his laws and the tradition of the origin of mankind till his death. This interval of time was little short of 3,000 years; but as to the time from the death of Moses to the reign of Artaxerxes, King of Persia, who reigned after Xerxes, the prophets who were after Moses wrote down what was done in their times in thirteen books. The remaining four books contain hymns to God and precepts for the conduct of human life" (including, of course, Proverbs). "It is true our history hath been written since Artaxerxes very particularly, but hath not been esteemed of the like authority with the former by our forefathers, because there hath not been an exact succession of prophets since that time; and how firmly we have given credit to those books of our own nation is evident by what we do, for during so many ages that have already past, no one has been so bold as either to add anything to them, or take anything from them, or to make any change in them."

Will you kindly give me that for a moment? Now, will you find me a word there which says, first, that Solomon wrote Proverbs? and next, the evidence on which Josephus makes the statement?--Solomon's name is not there, the word Proverbs is not there, but the book is there.

Now, I ask you whether you did not tell me that you had the evidence there that Josephus said that Solomon wrote Proverbs, and that Josephus was a personal witness of the evidence?--l did not say so; I said Josephus was a witness of the evidence on which that fact stands.

Then I will ask you to find from Josephus the fact that Solomon wrote Proverbs?--I produce that evidence in what I have read.

It is not in what you have read?--I will show it you. I have admitted that the name of Solomon and Proverbs is not there.

Then do you mean when a man does not mention another man, it is evidence that he thinks he wrote something?--No, I do not. The Book of Proverbs is included there.

What I have denied and what you have said was there, are two things. First, you said that Josephus was witness that Solomon wrote Proverbs: that I did not care about; next, you said that Josephus was a witness on evidence of which he had personal witness. I ask you to prove both those statements, and you prove neither. Do you abandon them or confirm them?--No, indeed, I do not abandon them; I do not affirm what you have put in my mouth.

Do you think that, although neither Proverbs nor Solomon are named in the extract, there is positive evidence, in what you have read from Apion, of what you said?--Yes.

That is your sort of positive evidence. Well, will you kindly now give me another instance of a contradiction which you consider a contradiction on the surface?--I did not come prepared with a list of these.

Then may I ask you whether you know anything at all of Egyptian chronology?--I know a little about it, not so much as I know about the Bible.

Do you know that the contention of Bunsen, in his Egypt's Place in the History of the World, and of Lepsius, and of Champollion Figeac, is that the Hebrew chronology, as contained in the authorised version, does not allow sufficient time for the proved civilisation of Egypt?--I am aware that this is the contention of those writers.

Do you know that Professor Rawlinson, lecturer for the Christian Evidence Society, has admitted that the Hebrew chronology does not allow sufficient time for civilisation?--I am not aware of it, but I am disposed to accept it on your declaration.

Is it your opinion that the Hebrew chronology does or does not allow sufficient time?--I think it allows sufficient time in view of a circumstance which has not been taken sufficiently into account by those authorities you refer to, and that is, the far greater capacities of men in these ages, as evidenced by the erection of the Pyramids, and sundry other things, to turn to account the forces of nature, steam excepted. In view of that, I think there is ample time allowed in the Hebrew chronology for the civilisation of Egypt.

Do you know that he says that he hesitates to carry the date farther back for fear of interfering with the deluge of Noah?--As his opinion does not bear on the question, I do not concern myself with it one way or another.

Do you deny that that is so?--I prefer dealing with the first records, the first evidences.

Tell me what book you should consider the best authority for me to take against you as an authority on Egyptian chronology?--I am not prepared to give you an opinion.

Do you know a book which is a good authority on Egyptian chronology?--Generally, I do.

Which one?--Particularly, I do not.

Give me a general one?--I am simply aware of the existence of such books and of the general tenor of their arguments, but I am not familiar in that particular way which your question wishes to commit me to.

But name me some one of them whom you have read and think I may fairly take?--My attention has been devoted to the first authorities, and not to the secondary.

But give me a first authority.--I am prepared to debate the question on the first principles of the thing.

Give me what you consider a first authority upon Egyptian chronology.--Egyptian chronology is presented to my mind in a sufficiently satisfactory form in the Hebrew Scriptures.

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The Historical Library is provided for those doing research into the history of nontheism. It is not intended to be--and should not be used as--a source of modern, up-to-date information regarding atheistic issues. DO NOT CONTACT US ABOUT THESE DOCUMENTS. Please read the full Historical Library Disclaimer
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