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. Lionel Gambill

    Where in any translation of the Bible is an apple mentioned? Some argue that the forbidden fruit was a fig from a sycamore fig tree (maybe the one from which the fallen couple grabbed the leaves to cover their privates). The sycamore fig tree, according to some, was also known as "The tree of the knowledge of good and evil," and was a symbol of the Great Goddess (Ana, Anu, Anat, Anath; Ashtoreth; Asherah). I've read that the Old Testament word for a graven image was "Asherah," and that an Asherah was a statue of the Goddess, carved from the wood of the (you guessed it) sycamore fig tree. It's well known that the serpent was a symbol of the Goddess as regeneratrix, because a snake "dies" (sheds its skin) and continues to live. Much of the Old Testament can be understood as polemics against Goddess-worship, as Jews were divided, some worshipping Yahveh, some worshipping Anath. I've also read that the creation story in Genesis is really two different creation stories telescoped into one. And don't the Canticles read like hymns to a Goddess?

    July 5, 2011 at 12:01 am |
  2. John

    what an utterly useless article..and NO thats not in the bible.
    Just pompous dribble

    July 4, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
    • Big Dan

      Then John realized that he had been confusing "dribble" with "drivel" his entire life.

      July 5, 2011 at 6:33 am |
  3. ben bailey

    Very interesting and informative article...However, ironically the example of Eve being tempted to eat from the “Tree of Life” is incorrect...It is the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil” that she had to be tempted to eat from

    July 4, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
    • Elizabeth

      . . . and the type of fruit was not mentioned either.

      July 4, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
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  4. do you not read the bible CNN

    Prov 13:24: "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes (diligently)."
    Prov 19:18: "Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying."
    Prov 22:15: "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him."
    Prov 23:13: "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die."
    Prov 23:14: "Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell (Shoel)."
    Prov 29:15: "The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame."

    July 4, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • Muneef

      In Manhood the child will be grateful to who used the rod on him to teach him while might grow ungrateful to the one who gave him his full freedoms laughing at their mistakes...

      July 4, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
    • Stacy

      Amen! This article seems very haughty and yet, the author has no idea what he is talking about. PLUS, he must be getting his information from the NIV, which does a great job of deceiving many! I would like to add an addition on to your quotations of proverbs: Matthew 12:40 DOES SHOW THAT JESUS HIMSELF says "whale's belly" NOT a great fish!

      Matthew 12:40 (1611 King James Bible)

      Viewing the 1611 King James Version. Click to switch to 1769 King James Version of Matthew 12:40

      For as Ionas was three dayes and three nights in the whales belly: so shal the sonne of man be three daies and three nights in the heart of the earth.

      There ya go...I hope this sparks your interest in actually reading God's word instead of pointing the finger at those who are just as ignorant of the word....I will pray for you, author.

      July 4, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
    • Stacy

      And before anyone says I have grammar problems, this is the 1611 version of King James, so some words are original Old English. Just trying to save some people the suffering of challenging my spelling, lol!

      July 4, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • Layne Richards

      Though these passages do talk about action and consequence I believe the writers intent was to talk specifically about the wording "spare the rod, spoil the child." Using the argument that these passages you quoted in essence say "spare the rod spoil the child would also mean that Prov 23:14: "Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell (Shoel)." says "beat them to keep them from going to hell." So please quote what the bible says and do not make up "tweets" as he called them. God knew what He was saying.

      July 4, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
    • Jagged

      Praise GodI

      July 4, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
    • Observer

      CNN is correct. You didn't read what he said.
      A quote means using the EXACT WORDS. Talking about the same subject is not the same.

      The Bible never uses the phrase "Spare the rod, spoil the child.”

      July 5, 2011 at 12:44 am |
    • Muneef

      It was a mammal a blue whale and maybe Amber whale that latter had vomited him out as with Amber...

      July 5, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
  5. Muneef

    Sorry have misunderstood your question but if you meant to ask where in the Quran it is mentioned Satan and Adam here I will quote for you in the classic form ;
    Adam and the Forbidden fruit tree;
    Al-Baqara sura 02:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    And We said: O Adam! Dwell thou and thy wife in the Garden, and eat ye freely (of the fruits) thereof where ye will; but come not nigh this tree lest ye become wrong-doers. (35) But Satan caused them to deflect therefrom and expelled them from the (happy) state in which they were; and We said: Fall down, one of you a foe unto the other! There shall be for you on earth a habitation and provision for a time. (36) Then Adam received from his Lord words (of revelation), and He relented toward him. Lo! He is the relenting, the Merciful. (37) We said: Go down, all of you, from hence; but verily there cometh unto you from Me a guidance; and whoso followeth My guidance, there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve. (38) But they who disbelieve, and deny Our revelations, such are rightful owners of the Fire. They will abide therein. (39).

    Al-Araf sura 07:
    And (unto man): O Adam! Dwell thou and thy wife in the Garden and eat from whence ye will, but come not nigh this tree lest ye become wrong-doers. (19) Then Satan whispered to them that he might manifest unto them that which was hidden from them of their shame, and he said: Your Lord forbade you from this tree only lest ye should become angels or become of the immortals. (20) And he swore unto them (saying): Lo! I am a sincere adviser unto you. (21) Thus did he lead them on with guile. And when they tasted of the tree their shame was manifest to them and they began to hide (by heaping) on themselves some of the leaves of the Garden. And their Lord called them, (saying): Did I not forbid you from that tree and tell you: Lo! Satan is an open enemy to you? (22) They said: Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If thou forgive us not and have not mercy on us, surely we are of the lost! (23) He said: Go down (from hence), one of you a foe unto the other. There will be for you on earth a habitation and provision for a while. (24) He said: There shall ye live, and there shall ye die, and thence shall ye be brought forth. (25).

    Ta-Ha sura 20:
    And when We said unto the angels: Fall prostrate before Adam, they fell prostrate (all) save Iblis; he refused. (116) Therefor we said: O Adam! This is an enemy unto thee and unto thy wife, so let him not drive you both out of the Garden so that thou come to toil. (117) It is (vouchsafed) unto thee that thou hungerest not therein nor art naked, (118) And that thou thirstest not therein nor art exposed to the sun's heat. (119) But the Devil whispered to him, saying: O Adam! Shall I show thee the tree of immortality and power that wasteth not away? (120) Then they twain ate thereof, so that their shame became apparent unto them, and they began to hide by heaping on themselves some of the leaves of the Garden. And Adam disobeyed his Lord, so went astray. (121) Then his Lord chose him, and relented toward him, and guided him. (122) He said: Go down hence, both of you, one of you a foe unto the other. But if there come unto you from Me a guidance, then whoso followeth My guidance, he will not go astray nor come to grief. (123).

    July 4, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
    • Muneef

      You see ; "Iblis , Satan , Devil" all three names are of one thing that caused Adam & Eve be expelled from The gardens of Heavens out of jealousy...and still is mankind's number one enemy...

      July 4, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
  6. Anti-theist

    What is great about this discussion–credulity notwithstanding– is listening to Christians argue about a talking snake.

    I think that pretty much sums up the why dogmatic religious beliefs are on the out.

    July 4, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
  7. Jesse D. Bryant

    Let's remember that the same level of ignorance can be pointed out in so many other areas of belief. As one song has put it, "All we are is what we're told, and most of that's been lies."

    July 4, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  8. Grave Digger

    Next someone will say "Keep off the grass" is not in the Bible either. What is this world coming to.

    July 4, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  9. jose martinez

    The passage that the coach is referring to is the same one when Jesus says that the earth and heavens will pass away but not his words!

    July 4, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  10. Light

    It doesn't make any sense at all....

    July 4, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  11. Andrew

    The idea that Satan is the serpent in the Genesis story comes from the New Testament itself. Come on bible scholars, I only have a BA in Religion and I know this.

    Second, the coach's quotation, although a misquotation, has similarities in the bible:

    "And the things I have given them shall pass away from them."
    "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away."

    "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."

    I suspect it was this last passage that the coach was referring to.

    The coach's statement was not a direct quotation of scripture. Come on, I know you can do better than this.

    And apparently it is a direct quotation from the lyrics of a song. Simple google search.

    July 4, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
  12. Muneef


    On the authority of Abu Muhammad al-Hasan ibn 'Alee ibn Abee Taalib (r.a), the grandson of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w), and the one much loved by him, who said: I memorized from the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w): 

    "Leave that which puts you in doubt for that which does not put you in doubt
    [At – Timidhi]"

    Lessons from the Hadith

    1- It is essential to leave the doubtful things.

    2- Leaving doubtful things protects one's Deen (Religion Beliefs) because if he were to do it and it was Haram (Condemned), it would have harmed him.

    3- It is difficult to live honorably when doing the doubtful because when people see someone doing it, they will no longer respect him. 

    4- One cannot continue doing the doubtful when one knows of an alternative with certainty.

    5- Doubtful things weaken ones Imaan (Faith) and leads to indulge in haram (Condemned)  later.

    6- Halal is enough for a believer with the grace of Allah (s.w.t) so we must avoid doubtful things to protect our deen (Religion Belief)
    He is successful whose heart Allah has made sincere toward faith, whose heart He has made free from unbelief, his tongue truthful, his soul calm, his nature straight, whose ear He has made attentive and his eye observant. The ear is a funnel and the eye is a repository for what the heart learns. He is successful whose heart is made retentive. ( Tirmidhi)

    Quotes from the Holy Quran;

    You Shall Not Bear False Witness

    [4:135] O you who believe, you shall be absolutely equitable, and observe GOD, when you serve as witnesses, even against yourselves, or your parents, or your relatives. Whether the accused is rich or poor, GOD takes care of both. Therefore, do not be biased by your personal wishes. If you deviate or disregard (this commandment), then GOD is fully Cognizant of everything you do.

    [4:136] O you who believe, you shall believe in GOD and His messenger, and the scripture He has revealed through His messenger, and the scripture He has revealed before that. Anyone who refuses to believe in GOD, and His angels, and His scriptures, and His messengers, and the Last Day, has indeed strayed far astray.

    [4:137] Surely, those who believe, then disbelieve, then believe, then disbelieve, then plunge deeper into disbelief, GOD will not forgive them, nor will He guide them in any way.

    [4:138] Inform the hypocrites that they have incurred painful retribution.

    [4:139] They are the ones who ally themselves with disbelievers instead of believers. Are they seeking dignity with them? All dignity belongs with GOD alone.

    [4:140] He has instructed you in the scripture that: if you hear GOD's revelations being mocked and ridiculed, you shall not sit with them, unless they delve into another subject. Otherwise, you will be as guilty as they are. GOD will gather the hypocrites and the disbelievers together in Hell.

    July 4, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • Dave

      @ Muneef: thank you for the information. I do like reading about the teachings of Muhammad. The Quran was one of my favorite parts of my world religions class and I remember that he's the last of the messengers of god in this religion. Now, can you tell me exactly were in this specific article the Quran is mentioned?

      July 4, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • Blob

      Is God a He?

      July 4, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • Muneef


      Hi there you got me confused which article do you mean? This blog article or you mean the Hadith if in the Quran?

      But let me make a wild guess and take it that you mean what connects the Quran to the Bible since the Bible is the Article...! If that what you mean then to me all the Holy Books are of God sent to us mankind and we are God servants therefore we ought to be where a word of truth or a reminder has to be said or told... So that what connects this to that is being all one Essage from one God...
      Another thing if the word Quran was not mentioned in the Bible then they say that Muhammed s.a.w was mentioned in the Older Holy books as being as the following comer....but was changed to show as being the Holy Spirit probably meaning the arch angel "Gabriel"....
      But then the whole Holy Quran was brought to Muhammed by the arch angel "Gibreil" meaning they should have followed it but even that was rejected....

      July 4, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
  13. justin

    First off...since everyone here seems to think the bible is original the story of adam & eve was copied from the Enki and Ninti thousands of years ago...do some research outside of a book created in the 1600s and maybe you'll actually learn something. There are no records of any biblical person in history because they didnt exist. The bible is a book of allegorical stories TAKEN from ancient cultures when Europeans invaded. It is proven and non disputable

    July 4, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • ReadyourBibles

      Well since, yet again, humans claim to know it all, even if they weren't present for hundreds (even thousands) of years for the occurances, I would like to see this "indisputable proof." If you would actually do a little reading, you'll understand that everything in the Bible is profitable for everyday life. For instance, our system of laws, which was derived from the 10 Commandments, is still (for the most part) intact. And I hate to break it to you, but there was no "invading" from Europe to the Middle East.. it was vice versa.. again, read a bit of the Old Testament and learn about the 12 tribes of Israel, that might shed some light on your claim. AND, as far as people not being recorded in the Bible because they "don't exist," take yourself to Daniel Ch. 8 or 9... you'll be interested to know that ALEXANDER THE GREAT was PROPHESIED to overtake Persia and Media, along with the most of the known world at that time.. like I said, do some reading..

      July 4, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • NRen2k5

      American law is not based on the Ten Commandments. It’s based on English law. And no, English law is not based on the Ten Commandments either. It just so happens that the Ten Commandments are pretty much in line with the moral values of most societies, those that follow the abrahamic religions and otherwise!!

      July 4, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • PleaseSon

      Justin I don't know where you got your information, but I'm happy to tell you that multiple historians have confirmed biblical characters. The first-century Jewish historian Josephus referred to the stoning of “James, the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ.” (The Jewish Antiquities, Josephus, Book XX, sec. 200) A direct and very favorable reference to Jesus, found in Book XVIII, sections 63, 64, has been challenged by some who claim that it must have been either added later or embellished by Christians;BUT it is acknowledged that THE VOCABULARY AND the STYLE are basically THOSE OF JOSEPHUS, and the passage is found in all available manuscripts.

      Tacitus, a Roman historian who lived during the latter part of the first century C.E., wrote: “Christus [Latin for “Christ”], from whom the name [Christian] had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus.”—The Complete Works of Tacitus (New York, 1942), “The Annals,” Book 15, par. 44.

      In summation- with reference to early non-Christian historical references to Jesus, The New Encyclopædia Britannica states: “These independent accounts prove that in ancient times even the opponents of Christianity never doubted the historicity of Jesus, which was disputed for the first time and on INADEQUATE GROUNDS by several authors at the end of the 18th, during the 19th, and at the beginning of the 20th centuries.”—(1976), Macropædia, Vol. 10, p. 145.

      I would say it's ignorant for you to claim that people in the bible were made up. Please provide proof!

      July 4, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • ReadyourBibles

      @ NRen

      Okay.. so where do you think the English got their laws from? Ya think they just decided one day that it wasn't acceptable to murder someone, or steal from someone, or to have an affair with another mans wife or vice versa? No, no, no! lol. How does that just so happen, when the 10 Commandments came thousands of years prior to English law? Doesn't sound much more difficult the using a little common sense... it was already there, that's why!

      July 4, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • Beatrix Kiddo

      PleaseSon, you are absolutely wrong. The Romans, besides being conquerors, were meticulous book keepers. Of all the lists of executions and crucifixions they recorded during Biblical times, there is no mention whatsoever of a Jesus of Nazareth being put to death. The supposed writings you claim that prove Jesus existed were written hundreds of years after his legend was spread by people repeating passed down myths. The story of Jesus is a wonderful tale, but has no factual basis.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • ReadyourBibles

      Lol you think I don't know that the Romans were valid keepers of events? I, infact do, because the Bible also tells us that..
      And if Jesus' death wasn't real, then why is it recorded in places all over the world that when he was crucified, darkness came over the land for 3 hours. That's certainly an odd feat, since even people in Egypt have recorded the same scenario.

      July 4, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • ReadyourBibles

      Sorry, didn't see that last comment was directed towards the other poster, my apologies.

      July 4, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
  14. Dave

    @ Muneef: please read my reply to Joey. Also, this article is mainly about the New King James version of the stories. Throwing the Quran interpretations into this completely derails what is already being trying to be explained (apparently) unsuccessfully.

    July 4, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Dave

      (and my reply to John)

      July 4, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
  15. John

    I think CNN editors should be well versed with the Holy Ghost before publishing things like this. You should have fellowship with the Holy Spirit before you can interpret the Bible and post articles like this. Already the editor does not know what he's writing, talking about satan was not in the garden of Eden. Speak in tongues more and that will be revealed to you!!

    July 4, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • Dave

      I understand what you mean in the translation of the serpent. The CNN editors are commenting and writing about professional university scholars that study and teach about the bible. Interpretation (explaining the meaning of what a person or text is saying) and translation (direct, word per word conversion) are two different things. In Interpretation you are completely correct. What they are explaining is like a step back...not going into meaning...they are literally translating what this story says word per word and, although it is obvious that the serpent is Satan, it does not say his name in these passages. That's all they're saying. So when someone says 'Satan' with regard to this passage they are technically incorrect with regard to literal translation... Again, you are correct, but this argument is not about interpretation. With this said, they (the professionals that study this for a living and are renowned enough to be qouted by CNN) are also correct.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • NRen2k5

      No, the serpent is just plain not Satan. The idea of it being Satan is a later invention.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  16. joey

    You are so wrong in your statement that satan wasnt in the garden. Satan was in the garden and this can be seen even in the king james version. First off a regular snake/serpent can not speak words we all know this. Unless it is actually not a regular snake/serpent. The serpent in the Garden was Satan in the form of a snake. Satan knew what would happen if Eve and Adam ate the fruit. He knew exactly what would happen so he heard God in the Garden telling them that in that day they ate of the fruit they would surely die Satan is not all knowing like God so he thought he would tempt Eve to eat the fruit and thus he would have some small victory over God. Of course his plan didnt work very well because Jesus came for us to save us. So anyways the serpent was actually satan in that form attempting to prohibit mankind from coming to be which eventually would see our Lord and Savior to be born. I hope this helps and sets the record straight. A snake cannot speak words but satan in the form of the serpent can! if he can resemble a dragon and a lamb with 3 horns he can resemble a serpent. Also there are other verses in the new testament that refer to satan as that old serpent. so there u go the serpent was satan!

    July 4, 2011 at 1:52 am |
    • Dave

      I think you're right and the general consensus is that the serpent was Satan. I think all these scholars were trying to say was that literally, word per word, the name Satan isn't in that part of that specific text.

      July 4, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • Muneef

      Satan was mentioned in the Quran speaking to Adam&Eve but there was no mention at all of any serpent although even if there was a serpent talking then it is still Satan speaking...after all Satan is able to show up in any unlimited form of disguise except for some that God knows of...so you see whether it was a pea-co-ck or a serpent that spoke to Adam&Eve it is still Satan voice speaking to them...

      July 4, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • MUSEinIN

      I thought that "satan" was a thing – something that blocked one's path and could lead to either positive or negative outcomes. When did "satan" become a single being?

      July 4, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • mantooth

      To say the serpent was a snake is to take up on representations of the serpent that people have painted since then

      In case you are unaware the serpent was punished by being forced to crawl on its belly for the rest of eternity, in case this flies over your head, it would suggest the serpent did not crawl around prior to this, so would not be a snake, unless you think snakes have some other means of transportation

      The reason it is not Satan, is because at the time of writing the story of Adam and Eve, Satan had yet to be invented, it could not be Satan, because Satan did not appear in Biblical texts until many years later (as stated in the article)

      This is not hard to understand, it is like saying that God switched on a lightbulb when he created light, it doesn't make sense to say that, because funnily enough no lightbulbs existed at that time, or perhaps to suggest that was hiding behind the burning bush that spoke to Moses...

      July 4, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  17. Big M

    Brings to mind a lyric from a Michael Stanley (Cleveland rocker) song. "The Lord uses the good ones, the bad ones use the Lord"

    July 4, 2011 at 12:39 am |
  18. Curtis Arduino

    I main reason people don't want to recognize God is because that would make them accountable to a higher authority. Also in the article it says that the bible doesn't say spare the rod, Spoil the child, That is a paraphrase from 3 verses in Proverbs

    Proverbs 22:15
    Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him.

    Proverbs 23:13
    Do not withhold correction from a child, For if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.

    Proverbs 29:15
    The rod and rebuke give wisdom, But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

    July 4, 2011 at 12:04 am |
    • Marina

      I think stpiud and wrong. They are not dead and it's not their Schuld.lassen You should see me

      March 1, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  19. Muneef

    A famous Dua (supplication) that the Prophet Muhammad
    (Peace be upon him) used to say at times of Anxiety or Sorrow.
    The dua is:

    "‘O Allaah", I take refuge in You from Anxiety and Sorrow, Weakness and
    Laziness, Miserliness and Cowardice, the Burden of Debts and from being Over Powered by men.’

    If we look at all the six elements that the Dua above is asking Allah for
    refuge from, we would realise that all of them are anti-Productivity
    elements that if removed from our lives we can move forward much quicker and be more productive.

    *Anxiety & Sorrow:*
    When you’re sad, bothered, or anxious about something, you cannot be
    productive as your mind is taken over by what’s bothering you. Your thought
    process is not devoted to anything else except how to get rid of your
    anxiety or sorrow. Sometimes these anxieties are small, sometimes they are
    big, but however big/small they are, the moment these anxieties take over
    your life and blur your thoughts, then you need to make this dua.

    *Weakness & Laziness:*
    Weakness is when you cannot do something, and laziness is when you do NOT
    want to do something. And the two are inter-linked. Most people who are
    lazy, end up being weak. Because what started off as something you do not
    want to do, soon becomes something you cannot do and you end up convincing yourself that you cannot ever do. Again, both these illnesses are elements which you need to ask Allah for help in removing because they are detriment to your quality of life. Imagine not being able to achieve or do anything because you are weak or lazy, how pathetic is that for a Muslim? And as in the famous hadeeth: “Seek help from Allah and do not be weak!” That’s the formula, don’t get yourself to the level of “I cannot do it” but seek help from Allah and anything is possible!

    *Miserliness & Cowardice:*
    Productivity requires you to spend, not only money, but money, time, and
    effort. And spending needs courage, because the miserly are usually cowards
    who fear poverty or fear lack of resources, but the person with courage
    moves forward fearing nothing but Allah.

    *The Burden of Debt & Being Overpowered by Men:*
    There’s nothing more enslaving than the burden of debt, and that’s why
    there’s a number of dua that Prophet Muhammad taught his followers to removesuch social slavery from his people, including one of my  duas: ‘O
    Allaah, make what is lawful enough for me, as opposed to what is unlawful,
    and spare me by Your grace, of need of others.’ Moreover, debt can also lead you to being overpowered of men described in the dua, which mainly happens when you owe other people something.

    Such a beautiful dua should always be in our prayers and prostrations, as
    we’re not free from all the elements at any one time. Moreover, if you want
    to know the cause of the above six diseases, the answer is our sins. Nothing
    else brings about sadness, anxiety, miserliness, cowardice, weakness,
    laziness and debt except for our sins, so we need to stay guard by firstly reducing our sins and secondly making the above dua abundantly, always.

    July 3, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
    • Dave

      Preaching. Were in the article is the Quran mentioned? Can you specify? I don't see it...

      July 4, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  20. jcemmanuel

    There is a seperation of Church/Bride/Bible/10 Commandments and States, but there is no seperation of Luciferian Freemasonry and State who proclaim Yes Lucifer/George Washington is God and Christlike from behind their closed Masonic Doors.

    Bear in mind since the 10th of March 1865 both houses of Masonic Congress declared The Apotheosis of George Washington as a rule of law. Unknown to many the word apotheosis literally means to raise a person to the rank of a god or an icon – christlike figure.

    How do the new world orer conspirators explain the Latin term Annuit Coeptis found on the reverse side of the Owlgod Molech "In God we Trust" George Washington Illuminati $1 bill. Undoubtedly, the Latin term Annuit Coeptis means in English "He Lucifer/George Washington as Annuit Coeptis godhead from 1753 that is god by the undertaking of the people."

    To add more fuel to the fire of the new world order conspirators is that it must be remembered that George Wsashington and the spirit of Lucifer became one on the 4th of August 1753 from lodge # 4 Fredericksburg Virginia, yet well camourflaged by the 33rd degree of universal Freemasonry describing it as being to when George Washington became the Master Mason of the Universe at the young age of 21 years old (7+7+7).

    Recall Senator Harry Reid said via the Assimulated Press newspaper report on the 14th of December 2007 that he sold his soul to Lucifer like President GW Bush and others did....... Pay attention to the mere fact that new age Guru David Spangler also known as the Director of the Planetary Division of the United Nations said from his platform in 1991 from

    July 3, 2011 at 10:28 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.