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Actually, that's not in the Bible
Satan tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden right? Nope. That's one of many phantom passages that people think are in the Bible.
June 5th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

Actually, that's not in the Bible

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) – NFL legend Mike Ditka was giving a news conference one day after being fired as the coach of the Chicago Bears when he decided to quote the Bible.

“Scripture tells you that all things shall pass,” a choked-up Ditka said after leading his team to only five wins during the previous season.  “This, too, shall pass.”

Ditka fumbled his biblical citation, though. The phrase “This, too, shall pass” doesn’t appear in the Bible. Ditka was quoting a phantom scripture that sounds like it belongs in the Bible, but look closer and it’s not there.

Ditka’s biblical blunder is as common as preachers delivering long-winded public prayers. The Bible may be the most revered book in America, but it’s also one of the most misquoted. Politicians, motivational speakers, coaches - all types of people  - quote passages that actually have no place in the Bible, religious scholars say.

These phantom passages include:

“God helps those who help themselves.”

“Spare the rod, spoil the child.”

And there is this often-cited paraphrase: Satan tempted Eve to eat the forbidden apple in the Garden of Eden.

None of those passages appear in the Bible, and one is actually anti-biblical, scholars say.

But people rarely challenge them because biblical ignorance is so pervasive that it even reaches groups of people who should know better, says Steve Bouma-Prediger, a religion professor at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

“In my college religion classes, I sometimes quote 2 Hesitations 4:3 (‘There are no internal combustion engines in heaven’),” Bouma-Prediger says. “I wait to see if anyone realizes that there is no such book in the Bible and therefore no such verse.

“Only a few catch on.”

Few catch on because they don’t want to - people prefer knowing biblical passages that reinforce their pre-existing beliefs, a Bible professor says.

“Most people who profess a deep love of the Bible have never actually read the book,” says Rabbi Rami Shapiro, who once had to persuade a student in his Bible class at Middle Tennessee State University that the saying “this dog won’t hunt” doesn’t appear in the Book of Proverbs.

“They have memorized parts of texts that they can string together to prove the biblical basis for whatever it is they believe in,” he says, “but they ignore the vast majority of the text."

Phantom biblical passages work in mysterious ways

Ignorance isn’t the only cause for phantom Bible verses. Confusion is another.

Some of the most popular faux verses are pithy paraphrases of biblical concepts or bits of folk wisdom.

Consider these two:

“God works in mysterious ways.”

“Cleanliness is next to Godliness.”

Both sound as if they are taken from the Bible, but they’re not. The first is a paraphrase of a 19th century hymn by the English poet William Cowper (“God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform).

The “cleanliness” passage was coined by John Wesley, the 18th century evangelist who founded Methodism,  says Thomas Kidd, a history professor at Baylor University in Texas.

“No matter if John Wesley or someone else came up with a wise saying - if it sounds proverbish, people figure it must come from the Bible,” Kidd says.

Our fondness for the short and tweet-worthy may also explain our fondness for phantom biblical phrases. The pseudo-verses function like theological tweets: They’re pithy summarizations of biblical concepts.

“Spare the rod, spoil the child” falls into that category. It’s a popular verse - and painful for many kids. Could some enterprising kid avoid the rod by pointing out to his mother that it's not in the Bible?

It’s doubtful. Her possible retort: The popular saying is a distillation of Proverbs 13:24: “The one who withholds [or spares] the rod is one who hates his son.”

Another saying that sounds Bible-worthy: “Pride goes before a fall.” But its approximation, Proverbs 16:18, is actually written: “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

There are some phantom biblical verses for which no excuse can be offered. The speaker goofed.

That’s what Bruce Wells, a theology professor, thinks happened to Ditka, the former NFL coach, when he strayed from the gridiron to biblical commentary during his 1993 press conference in Chicago.

Wells watched Ditka’s biblical blunder on local television when he lived in Chicago. After Ditka cited the mysterious passage, reporters scrambled unsuccessfully the next day to find the biblical source.

They should have consulted Wells, who is now director of the ancient studies program at Saint Joseph’s University in Pennsylvania. Wells says Ditka’s error probably came from a peculiar feature of the King James Bible.

“My hunch on the Ditka quote is that it comes from a quirk of the King James translation,” Wells says. “Ancient Hebrew had a particular way of saying things like, ‘and the next thing that happened was…’ The King James translators of the Old Testament consistently rendered this as ‘and it came to pass.’ ’’

When phantom Bible passages turn dangerous

People may get verses wrong, but they also mangle plenty of well-known biblical stories as well.

Two examples: The scripture never says a whale swallowed Jonah, the Old Testament prophet, nor did any New Testament passages say that three wise men visited baby Jesus, scholars say.

Those details may seem minor, but scholars say one popular phantom Bible story stands above the rest: The Genesis story about the fall of humanity.

Most people know the popular version - Satan in the guise of a serpent tempts Eve to pick the forbidden apple from the Tree of Life. It’s been downhill ever since.

But the story in the book of Genesis never places Satan in the Garden of Eden.

“Genesis mentions nothing but a serpent,” says Kevin Dunn, chair of the department of religion at Tufts University in Massachusetts.

“Not only does the text not mention Satan, the very idea of Satan as a devilish tempter postdates the composition of the Garden of Eden story by at least 500 years,” Dunn says.

Getting biblical scriptures and stories wrong may not seem significant, but it can become dangerous, one scholar says.

Most people have heard this one: “God helps those that help themselves.” It’s another phantom scripture that appears nowhere in the Bible, but many people think it does. It's actually attributed to Benjamin Franklin, one of the nation's founding fathers.

The passage is popular in part because it is a reflection of cherished American values: individual liberty and self-reliance, says Sidnie White Crawford, a religious studies scholar at the University of Nebraska.

Yet that passage contradicts the biblical definition of goodness: defining one’s worth by what one does for others, like the poor and the outcast, Crawford says.

Crawford cites a scripture from Leviticus that tells people that when they harvest the land, they should leave some “for the poor and the alien” (Leviticus 19:9-10), and another passage from Deuteronomy that declares that people should not be “tight-fisted toward your needy neighbor.”

“We often infect the Bible with our own values and morals, not asking what the Bible’s values and morals really are,” Crawford says.

Where do these phantom passages come from?

It’s easy to blame the spread of phantom biblical passages on pervasive biblical illiteracy. But the causes are varied and go back centuries.

Some of the guilty parties are anonymous, lost to history. They are artists and storytellers who over the years embellished biblical stories and passages with their own twists.

If, say, you were an anonymous artist painting the Garden of Eden during the Renaissance, why not portray the serpent as the devil to give some punch to your creation? And if you’re a preacher telling a story about Jonah, doesn’t it just sound better to say that Jonah was swallowed by a whale, not a “great fish”?

Others blame the spread of phantom Bible passages on King James, or more specifically the declining popularity of the King James translation of the Bible.

That translation, which marks 400 years of existence this year, had a near monopoly on the Bible market as recently as 50 years ago, says Douglas Jacobsen, a professor of church history and theology at Messiah College in Pennsylvania.

“If you quoted the Bible and got it wrong then, people were more likely to notice because there was only one text,” he says. “Today, so many different translations are used that almost no one can tell for sure if something supposedly from the Bible is being quoted accurately or not.”

Others blame the spread of phantom biblical verses on Martin Luther, the German monk who ignited the Protestant Reformation, the massive “protest” against the excesses of the Roman Catholic Church that led to the formation of Protestant church denominations.

“It is a great Protestant tradition for anyone - milkmaid, cobbler, or innkeeper - to be able to pick up the Bible and read for herself. No need for a highly trained scholar or cleric to walk a lay person through the text,” says Craig Hazen, director of the Christian Apologetics program at Biola University in Southern California.

But often the milkmaid, the cobbler - and the NFL coach - start creating biblical passages without the guidance of biblical experts, he says.

“You can see this manifest today in living room Bible studies across North America where lovely Christian people, with no training whatsoever, drink decaf, eat brownies and ask each other, ‘What does this text mean to you?’’’ Hazen says.

“Not only do they get the interpretation wrong, but very often end up quoting verses that really aren’t there.”

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Books • Christianity • Faith

soundoff (8,604 Responses)
  1. JB

    "Why "phantom verses" have become so prevalent."

    For the very same reason why bible and other religious scriptures are so prevalent. Gullible people would believe anything. We are in 21st century and people still believe in Jesus!!

    June 5, 2011 at 11:23 am |
  2. Karen Flanders

    My belief is that we should all rightly divide the word.

    People who feel that there is not a God have had things occur in their life to make them lose faith. God's ways aren't mans ways. We don't even know why God created us in the first place, as the half has not yet been told.

    People look at Christians and don't want to be like them, because a lot are just Pharisees and hypocrites. I would advise people not to look at man, as we all human, and just look at the life Jesus Christ led and lived. Strive to be like HIM!!

    Seek and you shall find. Knock and it shall be opened.

    If anyone would like to discuss anything more, please write me at karenmmc3@gmail.com

    I do not claim to be an expert, but my hope is that I could help someone along the way. We are to be anxious for nothing, and have perfect peace. Yes, perfect peace.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • JB

      What about the third category who haven't lost any faith because they never had any to start with. There are many such people who were never indoctrinated by their parents to believe in any myths or skydaddies.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • Karen Flanders

      Hi JB
      If they are God's children, they will hear and follow His voice, regardless of how they were raised.

      I come from an overly indoctrinated end of the spectrum. It's been a hard road getting to "peace" versus bondage.

      Cheers!

      June 5, 2011 at 11:35 am |
  3. James Black

    '
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGSvqMBj-ig&w=640&h=390]

    June 5, 2011 at 11:23 am |
  4. Andrew

    Poeple might blamr Martin Luther, but they would be wrong. People forget that Roman Catholics were completely FORBIDDEN to read the Bible until the mid 1960s. Therefore, priests told them what was in it, or made up things to suit their own purposes. Perhaps a milkmaid would have a have time "getting the bible right" in the interpretation of a scholar, but I bet she would do better that he would milking a cow.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • humberto

      That was the old testament you weren't supposed to read, stupid.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • MommaMarti

      Catholics were NOT forbidden to read the Bible. I was encouraged to read it from grade school on...way before the 60's And in the Mass, passages from the bible are read and have been read even way back in the Latin days.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • shofar

      And the reason why was because people with no training were creating their own interpretation of the bible. Hence the protestant movement. Here we are in 2011 and protestant keep making things up because the think they know how to read the book. If protestant stop using the bible as shield, they won't have any religion to work on. Their Bible is conveniently compiled and leave behind materials that was at the beginning, part of the religion knowledge . They made up their own religion from pieces of the Catholic church. And that is a fact. Very convenient, but very poor.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:55 am |
  5. jon

    When I was in college, a professor totally misquoted the Bible to embellish a point he'd made. The quote was something to the effect that Jesus said that "the blind should lead the blind", which is not at all accurate. Now, I mentioned this to him but he would not back down and it was made pretty clear to me on my next assignment that he had not liked "being shown up". Misquoting goes all kinds of ways. The reason? The Bible is influential and respected by most people, and can back up arguments. The worst examples of misquotes are accurate quotes, take out of context and used improperly to further an agenda.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • humberto

      What do they mean by blind ?

      June 5, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • Leon

      Blind being not seeing the truth or the true way .

      June 15, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  6. KC

    Basically, every statement or phrase that has the word God in it DOES NOT MEAN it came from the Bible! Forget the radicals and terrorists..but I will say this. the Common mainstream Muslim and Jew know their scriptures in the Koran and Torah (Old Testament) better than the common mainstream everyday professed Christian in the Bible or even at least the New Testament. The Mormon actually knows the Bible better. whether you practice it or not is another issue, but I am talking about knowing the scriptures (note I did not say understanding but knowing–because everyone has their own take on it)

    June 5, 2011 at 11:22 am |
  7. abda addi

    ... ahh, actually the statement in your lead story" is in the Bible... "Pro 13:24 (He that spareth his rod "hateth" his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes). Those who are serious about Bible Study have researched this a little know the meaning of this passage and do not play with words.

    the results of not following is evidenced all throughout this thread and our world today. Be wished to all who spare the rod and spoil their children, you're going to need it. The sad part is most of those who are opposed to this teaching have never seen a loving example of discipline, but it's not too late search the scriptures and find out for yourself about the love of the Father.

    Here is a little commentary for the rest of you... "Note, 1. To the education of children in that which is good there is necessary a due correction of them for what is amiss; every child of ours is a child of Adam, and therefore has that foolishness bound up in its heart which calls for rebuke, more or less, the rod and reproof which give wisdom. Observe, It is his rod that must be used, the rod of a parent, directed by wisdom and love, and designed for good, not the rod of a servant. 2. It is good to begin betimes with the necessary restraints of children from that which is evil, before vicious habits are confirmed. The branch is easily bent when it is tender. 3. Those really hate their children, though they pretend to be fond of them, that do not keep them under a strict discipline, and by all proper methods, severe ones when gentle ones will not serve, make them sensible of their faults and afraid of offending. They abandon them to their worst enemy, to the most dangerous disease, and therefore hate them. Let this reconcile children to the correction their good parents give them; it is from love, and for their good, Heb. 12:7- 9.

    http://www.gbcs.us

    June 5, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • jay

      WHEN WILL ATHIEST'S AND PEOPLE OF THE BOOK REALIZE THAT THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD AND THAT ISLAM IS THE ONLY TRUE RELIGION LEFT WITH THE ORIGINAL ONE BOOK FROM GOD NOT WRITTEN BY ANY MAN AND PLENTY OF PROOF IN THE BOOK TO SUPPORT IT– SEE FOR YOUR SELF-- DO A GOOGLE SEARCH AND READ FOR YOURSELF THERE HAS BEEN ALOT OF INNOVATIONS IN MANY RELEIGIONS AND ISLAM IS LEFT AS THE ONLY TRUE AUTHENTIC FAITH CONFIRMING THAT WHICH CAME BEFORE IT.. PEOPLE NEED TO GO BACK TO THE ONE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE THE GOD OF ADAM, ABRAHAM, MOSES , JESUS , NOAH, MUHAMMAD ETC, PEACE AND BLESSINGS BE ON THEM ALL.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • Leon

      To Jay - I agree with you . There IS only 1 God . But Islam was NOT the first faith on earth . Book or not , God did create us Humans . People have actually lived for a few centuries , before Islam came around .
      But there is only 1 God . Father to ua all .

      June 15, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  8. paganguy

    Don't you people have something better to do? Bible? The hoax of centuries written by Greek travelers.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:21 am |
  9. Vera Waitress

    These misquotes are better than what's written. So, the bible should be adapted to include them. Just as it has in the past.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • Nabuquduriuzhur

      A common myth. The Dead Sea scrolls, despite dating from a few hundred years before Christ to around 70 A.D., are the same as the modern old testament, except for one word in Isaiah that no one can figure out. The New Testament has copies of all books dating back to the second century.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:24 am |
  10. Nabuquduriuzhur

    As a long-time scholar of the Bible and it's history and the cultures that produced it, it's just as often for pastors to blow it. It's funny (and makes one cry) when long time pastors of 25+ years blow something a first year Bible student would get. OUCH. One radio pastor I quit listening to (I've listened occasionally since the 1993) recently claimed that one could sin only every few weeks. Or the pastor a couple years ago who claimed that the oft quoted Genesis 2:18 didn't exist, apparently not realizing that the verse did exist. Rookie errors from those that should know better. Disturbing also is the practice of "ignoring that which we don't like" such as taking Exodus 20:4-6 (and the repeat of the TC, in Deuteronomy 5:8-10) out of the Ten Commandments to allow for the CC tradition of images of Mary to be worshiped in churches.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • jay

      WHEN WILL ATHIEST'S AND PEOPLE OF THE BOOK REALIZE THAT THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD AND THAT ISLAM IS THE ONLY TRUE RELIGION LEFT WITH THE ORIGINAL ONE BOOK FROM GOD NOT WRITTEN BY ANY MAN AND PLENTY OF PROOF IN THE BOOK TO SUPPORT IT– SEE FOR YOUR SELF– DO A GOOGLE SEARCH AND READ FOR YOURSELF THERE HAS BEEN ALOT OF INNOVATIONS IN MANY RELEIGIONS AND ISLAM IS LEFT AS THE ONLY TRUE AUTHENTIC FAITH CONFIRMING THAT WHICH CAME BEFORE IT.. PEOPLE NEED TO GO BACK TO THE ONE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE THE GOD OF ADAM, ABRAHAM, MOSES , JESUS , NOAH, MUHAMMAD ETC, PEACE AND BLESSINGS BE ON THEM ALL. ISLAM IS THE NUMBER ONE CONVERTED TO RELIGION BECAUSE PEOPLE FOUND THE REAL TRUE FAITH. THE MESSENGERS CAME AS A WARNING AND IT IS IMPORTANT FOR ALL TO HEED THAT WARNING

      June 5, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • Ted Ward

      To Jay: you're on drugs, right?

      June 5, 2011 at 11:40 am |
  11. simon

    and christians are on crack.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • myshell

      The bible isn't whacked,people who don't believe are going to be whacked.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:43 am |
  12. simon

    thus why the bible is whack.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • Nabuquduriuzhur

      There's a much simpler explanation as to why you think Christians are nuts: every "born again" believer, as Christ put it, is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, which is part of God. If you think Christians are a bit weird— we do tend to do things the world doesn't understand like help others without though of gain and actually stop for the stop light— that is why.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • John Richardson

      Yo Nabby! Christians have NO monopoly on caring, ethical behavior and the fact that you claim that they do is itself an evil.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • DVR

      We'll see what's whack when you're spending eternity in Hell.....

      June 5, 2011 at 11:32 am |
  13. Adava

    I don't think many believers would actually claim that "Cleanliness is next to Godliness" is actually in the Bible. It's just a quote. Why does this article assume that when someone that someone is quoting the Bible whenever they use it – just because the word "God" appears in it? And, are summarizing (time will pass – Ecclesiastes) and symbolism (the serpent representing evil) now off limits for the Bible? Don't get me wrong; the Bible is terribly misquoted. But, the examples given in this article are terrible

    June 5, 2011 at 11:16 am |
  14. Dr. L

    Personally, I have an understanding of the Bible as a metaphorical one; the message of the Bible is by far more important than the line and verse. Emperor Constantine and St. Paul, among many others in the 500-year long compiling of the Bible influenced the story and tradition of Christianity with many Pagan beliefs (down to the very name of Jesus, which was originally Jeshuah, Latinized among many other things by St. Paul to make the religion more appealing to the pagans of Ancient Rome), and the day we celebrate as the day of rest (it was originally Saturday, like in Judaism, Christianity's parent religion, but it was changed to SUN-day, as Constantine was a devout follower of Apollo and just wanted to get behind what he viewed to be the religion that would win out so he could put his personal touches to it). The message of The Bible is what is truly important; it goes against the very idea of Christianity that God would hate someone, or that even a Hell could exist for all who did not die Christian (what if the missionary never got there?).

    June 5, 2011 at 11:16 am |
  15. Dustin

    One thing i hear most is about the rapture, the word is NEVER mentioned in the bible. With May 21st having come and gone you think people would do a little research. Maybe it's because I live in the south now, having grown up elsewhere I don't recall hearing the word Rapture at all. Maybe its just that southern baptist hell fire and damnation sermons that southerns have grown up on. Once had a pastor challenge the church goers to find a verse that stated such an event. He offered $1000 to anyone who could find it. Needless to say after a month the money was still his. People don't really read the bible for themselves they blindly go on what their told by their preacher or pastor. Its a shame ..... anyways just thought I'd put it out there.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • Jacob

      The trinity is never mentioned in the BIble either.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • Valerie

      Jacob, you are right, the "trinity" in and of itself is never mentioned in the bible, however, Jesus says he and the father are one, and he also speaks of the "holy spirit" being among us after he left this world............so for this, man has drawn the logical conclusion of the Father, son and the holy spirit as being ONE. They are three distinct "persons" in one divine nature.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • caddiemurray

      The concept of the Rapture IS in the Bible. As is the concept of the Trinity. The Bible just doesn't use those terms.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • Jacob

      Valerie, Jesus also says when people marry they will become one. Do you take that so literally as well? The trinity was concept created by the Catholic church to deal with the problem of part of the BIble claiming there is only one god, and Christians wanting to believe that Jesus is god (even though he never claims to be).

      June 5, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • Jacob

      caddiemurray, so is the concept of infanticide and polytheism and pantheism.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • jjjj4567

      I think the current popularity of Rapture comes from the "Left Behind" series of books, not the bible. Rapture has been part of Christian religious tradition for a long time. It always has seemed to me that it is pieced together from different parts of the Bible. The parts of the New Testament where it is mentioned seem to convey something different to me than they do to the folks who wrote the "Left Behind" series, but I can see how a bit of embellishment the Bible can be seem as the source for their stories.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:39 am |
    • Leon

      To Valerie - So , let us say that you are correct . What you speak of here is actually skizofrenic . Multiple personality disorder .
      Are you absolutely about this ?
      I mean , the whole modern world look down on us small people with that diagnose .
      Try read revelation 1:1 . That alone should tell you that they are NOT one .
      Just remember that Christ said they were AS one , not that they WERE one .
      They are 3 different . Unless you actually think and can prove that God has a multiple personality disorder problem , then you have made me a happy man , because then suddently all skizofrenic people are suddently above everyone else .
      ......... I DO NOT HOLD TO THAT !
      We are all equal .
      Sick or not , dealy or not . We are all equal .

      June 15, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  16. Justin

    It's a good thing the bible was written by men and isn't actually the "Word" of any sort of higher being.

    Science disproved god a long time ago. Take your heads out of your asses and live. Stop being enslaved by this false hope you call God.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • blondie

      I think you and I are the only ones who know this…

      June 5, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • Dude

      The Bible was written by man through the word of God (meaning -God told man what to write). Maybe if you actually took time to read the Bible and understand it you might know this.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • Dr. L

      How, exactly, did science disprove the idea of a higher power? I am sure that it has disproved portions of the Bible, but where has anyone found hard evidence that God cannot possibly exist? If anyone has found it, I would be interested to find how one draws this conclusion.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • svann

      Science never disproved God. You have a poor understanding of the word proof I guess. Try taking some science classes or better yet a geometry class where the meaning of proof is taught.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • Rapp

      Wow!!! I am so glad I read your comment today. After a lifetime of study which I thought convinces me of the reality of God, Justin tells me science has proven he does not exist. How did I miss it? Such brilliant reasoning, after all this time, has convinced me to turn.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • Valerie

      Wow. Thank you Justin. The world has endured for 2000 YEARS since our Lord has walked this earth and thankfully, YOU, yes, YOU alone have finally shared the truth with all of us! I am so thankful for you, and for this day, to finally be set strait. The rest of us? Well, we have been lost just waiting for YOU to finally lift the dark cloud of lies from us.................NOT! LOL!

      June 5, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • RT

      Justin, get a grip and choose life - choose God. Take you head ou of the sand before it burns in the Lake of Fire (and it is Revelations in case you wanna dispute that it is mentioned).

      June 5, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • DoubtSalmon

      It has been disproved in the scientific sense of the word in that there hasn't been any real supporting evidence. With the null hypothesis the burden of proof lies with those who propose an idea (otherwise we'd all have to believe in Russell's Teapot) because you can never prove a negative through logic. However, the existence of a higher power cannot be disproved either the mathematical or epistemology senses. However, it would be possible to scientifically prove the existence of a god if one exists, but so far this hasn't been done.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • Stormy One

      RT, where is the love?

      June 5, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • Robert

      Justin,
      How has science disproved, God? Who was around to film, see, record, tape, witness, the big bang? How are we sure that is what happened? If there was no life, nothing, zero...then a big bang...where did all the traceable physical elements come from? How can therenbe nothing, no life, darkness, and then a bang that produces all this things? Where did those things come from? How do cells know what to do? How do cells know what a spider, human, shark, tree, bird, will need to function and live? How come there is no life on nearby planets? Why did it all land on earth? If it was scattered all around the universe, then why just here? No, sir...Jesus is Lord God, the son of God, raised from the dead!

      June 5, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • Lawrence

      Justin may not be exactly correct that science has disproven the existence of a divine creator (and all the attendent blah blah blah). But, I think it is fair to suggest that modern cosmologists and particle physicists have proven the lack of need for this creator for the universe to exists as it does. Check out Lawrence Krauss's lecture 'A Universe from Nothing' and see if you don't agree with his conclusion that 'nothing' at the quantum level will always spontaneously create 'something.' No creator necessary.
      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ImvlS8PLIo&w=640&h=390]
      (He's addressing a group sympathetic to non-belief, and so his tone is a bit sassy. There are more formal versions of this talk available if you prefer.) Let's keep our eyes out for news from the Large Hadron Collider. It's sure to be unbelievably exciting, and certainly more interesting than the book of Genesis...

      June 5, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • DoubtSalmon

      @Robert Saying "where did all this stuff come from?" does not create any real evidence for god, because the next natural question is "where did all this god come from?". If you say that a god just always existed then I don't see why you ca'n't say the same thing about all of the matter and energy in the universe. The big bang does not involve all of the matter and energy in the universe suddenly existing, the big bang was the point in the constant expansion of the universe where we went over an event horizon, and the universe's gravity was no longer enough to keep the universe expanding slowly, and so it began expanding at incredible speed. Matter comes from the existence of energy in high concentration. I would suggest Brian Greene's book "The Elegant Universe" for a more thorough explanation of these concepts. These isn't any life on nearby planets because it's quite improbably and requires a suitable environment for a start. But we've already found hundreds of planets that may have life on them, but we just haven't been to them yet to check (because it's incredibly expensive and would take centuries to get there). Cells know what to do and what to be because of evolution, for which you can see "The Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin, "The Greatest Show on Earth" by Richard Dawkins, or a variety of other books. It is quite possible that a god exists, but there is no evidence to support that claim. According to Occam's Razor this is an unnecessarily complex explanation for the universe which requires too many assumptions to be viable.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • Bankerdanny

      Really, it did? I must have missed that.

      Last time I checked, the Big Bang was still the best guess that scientists have come up with based on the evidence at hand.

      Clearly the Earth and universe are far older than the number you get when you prepare a bible based time line. But that doesn't disprove the existence of God. Just that the writers of the bible didn't understand time the way that a timeless supreme being would.

      Can science disprove the concept that the big bang was caused by a higher power?

      I prefer to believe in science over mythology, but don't exaggerate the accomplishments of science when it comes to explaining the creation of the universe and the existence of God.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:54 am |
  17. Joe

    Zeus-z your just being paranoid. Do you believe that evil surfaced only with the arrival of the devil? The author is simply stating that the devil is not specifically mentioned in the genesis story. Serpents are used throughout the bible and are not simply the exclusive for of the devil. Then again if you choose to blame the devil for all of your evils, temptations, and shortcomings..you my friend are worse off for taking no responsibility for your actions. There had to be the presence of evil for Lucifer to fall by.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • reece25

      Genesis 3:1 read it

      June 5, 2011 at 11:29 am |
  18. Mark Buxman

    Spare the rod spoil the child, if you look at all the problems with kids today it seems more of a fact than a phantom biblical quote.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • Jake the Snake

      Every generation believes today's children are the worst in history. It is a sign that the speaker is getting old.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:19 am |
  19. Chad

    I think we're being a bit anal retentive in this article. Many of the adages listed above are paraphrased from actual Biblical scripture: "Spare the rod and spoil the child" is a paraphrase of Proverbs 13:24 (NIV): "Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them;" and "God works in mysterious ways" paraphrases Isaiah 45:15 (NLV): "Truly, O God of Israel, our Savior,you work in mysterious ways." I get the point of the article but this subject has been discussed ad nauseum and simply comes down to the point that people should read their Bible to know what's really in it.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • God (the REAL one)

      Better that they should read comic books. At least they have nice pictures to go with their ridiculous stories.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:17 am |
  20. palintwit

    FACT: Sarah Palin believes that the earth is only 6,000 years old and that early man walked alongside the dinosaurs. She also believes that early man rode dinosaurs to church every Sunday.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • blondie

      Man, i wish that had been true. I call the triceratops!

      June 5, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • trigtwit

      ...drool...

      June 5, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • Sean

      I don't know what's worse: Palin actually believing this, or Palin not really believing this and saying it knowing it will get her millions of votes.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:17 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.