WELL I'LL BE A MONKEY'S UNCLE: Humans and Chimpanzees Share 96% Of Genes

Humans and chimpanzees share 96 percent of the same genetic material yet are profoundly different creatures, a mystery scientists hope to begin to unravel with Wednesday’s announcement that the genes of humanity’s closest cousin have been cataloged.

Publication of the complete chimp genome, marked by a celebratory issue of the journal Nature, is viewed by scientists as a landmark event that will lead to a better understanding of how the human genome has evolved and insight into diseases that people get but chimpanzees rarely suffer, including cancer and Alzheimer’s.

It long has been speculated that humans and chimpanzees diverged from a common ancestor between 6 and 7 million years ago, a relative eye-blink in evolutionary terms. Their genes are quite similar, as are certain behaviors, posing a direct challenge to the uniqueness of humans.

``Humanity’s special place in the cosmos is one of abandoned claims and moving goalposts,’’ primatologist Frans B.M. de Waal wrote in Nature, citing 40 years of studies showing that humans are not the only animals who hold close family bonds, play Machiavellian power politics and form alliances, make and use tools, or engage in warfare.

The scientific value of the chimp genome, researchers say, lies in the subtle differences. Data are now at hand that can be used to figure out what makes us human, they said.

``This genomic comparison dramatically narrows the search for the key biological differences between the species,’’ said the study’s senior author, Dr. Robert Waterston, chair of the department of genome sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle.

Nature asked Wen-Hsiung Li, a pioneering genetic evolutionist at the University of Chicago, to write a commentary on the work.
Because the genomes are huge - 3 billion base pairs of DNA - the differences in molecular terms are quite a lot,'' Li said. Most of them probably will not be biologically significant, but some may be crucial. Our task now is to identify those that are meaningful and prove it in the laboratory.’’

Comparison of the human and chimp genomes reveals that their genetic sequences are directly comparable over 96 percent of their lengths, and these regions are 99 percent identical.

Out of the 3 billion base pairs of DNA in each genome, about 35 million differ, of which as many as 3 million may lie in crucial protein-coding genes.

The number of genetic differences between a human and a chimp is about 60 times less than that between a human and a mouse and about 10 times less than between a mouse and a rat - but it is about 10 times more than between any two humans.

Some 67 geneticists formed the Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium and share authorship of the main Nature paper.

Most of the work of sequencing and the assembling the chimp genome was done at the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University and the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. More work was done at U.S. institutions and others in Israel, Italy, Germany and Spain.

The chimp DNA came from a male named Clint, who died last year of heart failure at the relatively young age of 24 at the Yerkes National Primate Center in Atlanta.

Tarjei S. Mikkelsen, an MIT graduate student of such promise that his elders honored him by making him senior author of a major paper, said researchers will be studying genetic changes that may be related to such human-specific features as walking upright on two feet, a greatly enlarged brain and complex language skills.

Among the discoveries so far is that three key genes involved in inflammation appear to be deleted in the chimp genome, perhaps explaining some of the known differences with humans in respect to the immune inflammatory response.

On the other hand, humans appear to have lost function of the caspase-12 genes, which produce an enzyme that may help protect other animals from Alzheimer’s disease.

`The sequencing of the chimp genome is a historic achievement that is destined to lead to many more exciting discoveries with implications for human health,’’ said Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Genome Research Institute, which funded the project at a cost he put at $20 million to $40 million.

``It has become clear that comparing the human genome with other genomes of other organisms is an enormously powerful tool for understanding our own biology.’’

The researchers warn against the breeding of transgenic chimps, as is often done with mice, and called for more effective policies to protect chimps in their wild habitat.

``We hope that elaborating how few differences separate our species will broaden recognition of our duty to these extraordinary primates that stand as our siblings in the family of life,’’ they wrote.

Sorry to go George W. Bush on everyone, but here is another point of view.

Do Human and Chimpanzee DNA Indicate an Evolutionary Relationship?
by Brad Harrub, Ph.D. and Bert Thompson, Ph.D.

The collision occurred without warning. Prior to the impact, thoughts had revolved around dinner plans. Images of fried chicken and mashed potatoes, however, now have been replaced by an ear-piercing siren and flashing strobe lights, that dance off of street signs and store windows. Following the injured person’s six-minute ambulance ride, emergency room doctors assess the situation. There is extensive internal damage, and several organs are beginning to shut down. The prognosis is dim—unless a healthy kidney and liver are transplanted within the next 12 hours. A call is made to the National Organ Donor Registry, and the gravity of the situation is relayed to several donor officials. Within a matter of hours, a chartered air ambulance delivers the organs in a bright red Igloo™ cooler. As the anesthesiologist begins the necessary preparations for surgery, the patient notices the surgeon walk over and inspect the donated organs. The last words the patient hears as he drifts off to sleep is the surgeon saying, “Well, I guess chimp organs will have to do; after all, we share over 98% of the same genetic material.”

While many evolutionists proclaim that human DNA is 98% identical to chimpanzee DNA, few would lie by idly and allow themselves to receive a transplant using chimpanzee organs. As a matter of fact, American doctors tried using chimp organs in the 1960s, but in all cases the organs were totally unsuitable. The claim of 98% similarity between chimpanzees and humans is not only deceptive and misleading, but also scientifically incorrect. Today, scientists are finding more and more differences in DNA from humans and chimps. For instance, a 2002 research study proved that human DNA was at least 5% different from chimpanzees—and that number probably will continue to grow as we learn all of the details about human DNA (Britten, 2002).

In 1962, James Dewey Watson and Francis Harry Compton Crick received the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for their discovery concerning the molecular structure of DNA. Just nine years earlier, in 1953, these two scientists had proposed the double helical structure of DNA—the genetic material responsible for life. By demonstrating the molecular arrangement of four nucleotide base acids (adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymidine—usually designated as A,G,C, and T) and how they combine, Watson and Crick opened the door for determining the genetic makeup of humans and animals. The field of molecular biology became invigorated with scientists who wanted to compare the proteins and nucleic acids of one species with those of another. Just thirteen short years after Watson and Crick received their famed Nobel Prize, the declaration was made “that the average human polypeptide is more than 99 percent identical to its chimpanzee counterpart” (King and Wilson, 1975, pp. 114-115). This genetic similarity in the proteins and nucleic acids, however, left a great paradox—why do we not look or act like chimpanzees if our genetic material is so similar? King and Wilson recognized the legitimacy of this quandary when they remarked: “The molecular similarity between chimpanzees and humans is extraordinary because they differ far more than many other sibling species in anatomy and life” (p. 113). Nevertheless, the results were exactly what evolutionists were looking for, and as such, the claim has reverberated through the halls of science for decades as evidence that humans evolved from an ape-like ancestor.

One year following Watson and Crick’s Nobel ceremony, chemist Emile Zuckerkandl observed that the protein sequence of hemoglobin in humans and the gorilla differed by only 1 out of 287 amino acids. Zuckerkandl noted: “From the point of view of hemoglobin structure, it appears that the gorilla is just an abnormal human, or man an abnormal gorilla, and the two species form actually one continuous population” (1963, p. 247). The molecular and genetic evidence only strengthened the evolutionary foundation for those who testified of our alleged primate ancestors. Professor of physiology Jared Diamond even titled one of his books The Third Chimpanzee, thereby viewing the human species as just another big mammal. From all appearances, it seemed that evolutionists had won a battle—humans were more than 98% identical to chimpanzees. However, after spending a lifetime looking for evidence of evolution within molecular structures, biochemist Christian Schwabe was forced to admit:

Molecular evolution is about to be accepted as a method superior to paleontology for the discovery of evolutionary relationships. As a molecular evolutionist, I should be elated. Instead it seems disconcerting that many exceptions exist to the orderly progression of species as determined by molecular homologies; so many in fact that I think the exception, the quirks, may carry the more important message (1986, p. 280, emp. added).

In 2003, the completed human genome study is scheduled to be published. Before this massive project was created, scientists estimated that humans possessed 90,000 to 100,000 genes (a gene is a section of DNA that is a basic unit of heredity, while the genome constitutes the total genetic composition of an organism). With preliminary data from the genome project now in hand, scientists believe that the actual number of genes is around 70,000 (Shouse, 2002, 295:1447). It appears that only about 1.5% of the human genome consists of genes, which code for proteins. These genes are clustered in small regions that contain sizable amounts of “non-coding” DNA (frequently referred to as “junk DNA”) between the clusters. The function of these non-coding regions is only now being determined. These findings indicate that even if all of the human genes were different from those of a chimpanzee, the DNA still could be 98.5 percent similar if the “junk” DNA of humans and chimpanzees were identical.

Jonathan Marks, (department of anthropology, University of California, Berkeley) has pointed out the often-overlooked problem with this “similarity” line of thinking.

Because DNA is a linear array of those four bases—A,G,C, and T—only four possibilities exist at any specific point in a DNA sequence. The laws of chance tell us that two random sequences from species that have no ancestry in common will match at about one in every four sites. Thus even two unrelated DNA sequences will be 25 percent identical, not 0 percent identical (2000, p. B-7).

Therefore a human and any earthly DNA-based life form must be at least 25% identical. Would it be correct, then, to state that daffodils are “one-quarter human”? The idea that a flower is one-quarter human is neither profound nor enlightening; it is outlandishly ridiculous! There is hardly any biological comparison that could be conducted that would make daffodils human—except perhaps DNA. Marks went on to concede:

Moreover, the genetic comparison is misleading because it ignores qualitative differences among genomes.... Thus, even among such close relatives as human and chimpanzee, we find that the chimp’s genome is estimated to be about 10 percent larger than the human’s; that one human chromosome contains a fusion of two small chimpanzee chromosomes; and that the tips of each chimpanzee chromosome contain a DNA sequence that is not present in humans (B-7, emp. added).

The truth is, if we consider the absolute amount of genetic material when comparing primates and humans, the 1-2% difference in DNA represents approximately 80 million different nucleotides (compared to the 3-4 billion nucleotides that make up the entire human genome). To help make this number understandable, consider the fact that if evolutionists had to pay you one penny for every nucleotide in that 1-2% difference between the human and the chimp, you would walk away with $800,000. Given those proportions, 1-2% does not appear so small, does it?


It would make sense that, if humans and chimpanzees were genetically identical, then the manner in which they store DNA also would be similar. Yet it is not. DNA, the fundamental blueprint of life, is tightly compacted into chromosomes. All cells that possess a nucleus contain a specific number of chromosomes. Common sense would seem to necessitate that organisms that share a common ancestry would possess the same number of chromosomes. However, chromosome numbers in living organisms vary from 308 in the black mulberry (Morus nigra) to six in animals such as the mosquito (Culex pipiens) or nematode worm (Caenorhabditis elegans) [see Sinnot, et al., 1958]. Additionally, complexity does not appear to affect the chromosomal number. The radiolaria (a simple protozoon) has over 800, while humans possess 46. Chimpanzees, on the other hand, have 48 chromosomes. A strict comparison of chromosome numbers would indicate that we are more closely related to the Chinese muntjac (a small deer found in Taiwan’s mountainous regions), which also has 46 chromosomes.

This hurdle of differing numbers of chromosomes may appear trivial, but we must remember that chromosomes contain genes, which themselves are composed of DNA spirals. If the blueprint of DNA locked inside the chromosomes codes for only 46 chromosomes, then how can evolution account for the loss of two entire chromosomes? The task of DNA is to continually reproduce itself. If we infer that this change in chromosome number occurred through evolution, then we are asserting that the DNA locked in the original number of chromosomes did not do its job correctly or efficiently. Considering that each chromosome carries a number of genes, losing chromosomes does not make sense physiologically, and probably would prove deadly for new species. No respectable biologist would suggest that by removing one (or more) chromosomes, a new species likely would be produced. To remove even one chromosome would potentially remove the DNA codes for millions of vital body factors. Eldon Gardner summed it up as follows: “Chromosome number is probably more constant, however, than any other single morphological characteristic that is available for species identification” (1968, p. 211). To put it another way, humans always have had 46 chromosomes, whereas chimps always have had 48.


One of the downfalls of previous molecular genetic studies has been the limit at which chimpanzees and humans could be compared accurately. Scientists often would use only 30 or 40 known proteins or nucleic acid sequences, and then from those extrapolate their results for the entire genome. Today, however, we have the majority of the human genome sequences, practically all of which have been released and made public. This allows scientists to compare every single nucleotide base pair between humans and primates—something that was not possible prior to the human genome project. In January 2002, a study was published in which scientists had constructed and analyzed a first-generation human chimpanzee comparative genomic map. This study compared the alignments of 77,461 chimpanzee bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) end sequences to human genomic sequences. Fujiyama and colleagues “detected candidate positions, including two clusters on human chromosome 21, that suggest large, nonrandom regions of differences between the two genomes” (2002, 295:131). In other words, the comparison revealed some “large” differences between the genomes of chimps and humans.

Amazingly, the authors found that only 48.6% of the whole human genome matched chimpanzee nucleotide sequences. [Only 4.8% of the human Y chromosome could be matched to chimpanzee sequences.] This study compared the alignments of 77,461 chimpanzee sequences to human genomic sequences obtained from public databases. Of these, 36,940 end sequences were unable to be mapped to the human genome (295:131). Almost 15,000 of those sequences that did not match human sequences were speculated to “correspond to unsequenced human regions or are from chimpanzee regions that have diverged substantially from humans or did not match for other unknown reasons” (295:132). While the authors noted that the quality and usefulness of the map should “increasingly improve as the finishing of the human genome sequence proceeds” (295:134), the data already support what creationists have said for years—the 98-99% figure representing DNA similarity is grossly misleading, as revealed in a study carried out by Roy Britten of the California Institute of Technology (see Britten, 2002).

Exactly how misleading came to light in an article—“Jumbled DNA Separates Chimps and Humans”—published in the October 25, 2002 issue of Science. The first three sentences of the article, written by Elizabeth Pennisi (a staff writer for Science), represented a “that was then, this is now” type of admission of defeat. She wrote:

For almost 30 years, researchers have asserted that the DNA of humans and chimps is at least 98.5% identical. Now research reported here last week at the American Society for Human Genetics meeting suggests that the two primate genomes might not be quite as similar after all. A closer look has uncovered nips and tucks of homologous sections of DNA that weren’t noticed in previous studies (298:719, emp. added).

Genomicists Kelly Frazer and David Cox of Perlegen Sciences in Mountain View, California, along with geneticists Evan Eichler and Devin Locke of Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio, compared human and chimp DNA, and discovered a wide range of insertions and deletions (anywhere from between 200 bases to 10,000 bases). Cox commented: “The implications could be profound, because such genetic hiccups could disable entire genes, possibly explaining why our closest cousin seems so distant” (as quoted in Pennisi, 298:721).

Britten analyzed chimp and human genomes with a customized computer program. To quote Pennisi’s article:

He compared 779,000 bases of chimp DNA with the sequences of the human genome, both found in the public repository GenBank. Single-base changes accounted for 1.4% of the differences between the human and chimp genomes, and insertions and deletions accounted for an additional 3.4%, he reported in the 15 October [2002] Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Locke’s and Frazer’s groups didn’t commit to any new estimates of the similarity between the species, but both agree that the previously accepted 98.5% mark is too high (298:721, emp. added).

While Locke’s and Frazer’s team was unwilling to commit to any new estimate of the similarity between chimps and humans, Britten was not. In fact, he titled his article in the October 15, 2002 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “Divergence between Samples of Chimpanzee and Human DNA Sequences is 5%” (Britten, 99:13633-13635). In the abstract accompanying the article, he wrote: “The conclusion is that the old saw that we share 98.5% of our DNA sequence with chimpanzee is probably in error. For this sample, a better estimate would be that 95% of the base pairs are exactly shared between chimpanzee and human DNA” (99:13633, emp. added). The news service at NewScientist.com reported the event as follows:

It has long been held that we share 98.5 per cent of our genetic material with our closest relatives. That now appears to be wrong. In fact, we share less than 95 per cent of our genetic material, a three-fold increase in the variation between us and chimps.

The new value came to light when Roy Britten of the California Institute of Technology became suspicious about the 98.5 per cent figure. Ironically, that number was originally derived from a technique that Britten himself developed decades ago at Caltech with colleague Dave Kohne. By measuring the temperature at which matching DNA of two species comes apart, you can work out how different they are.

But the technique only picks up a particular type of variation, called a single base substitution. These occur whenever a single “letter” differs in corresponding strands of DNA from the two species.

But there are two other major types of variation that the previous analyses ignored. “Insertions” occur whenever a whole section of DNA appears in one species but not in the corresponding strand of the other. Likewise, “deletions” mean that a piece of DNA is missing from one species.

Together, they are termed “indels,” and Britten seized his chance to evaluate the true variation between the two species when stretches of chimp DNA were recently published on the internet by teams from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and from the University of Oklahoma.

When Britten compared five stretches of chimp DNA with the corresponding pieces of human DNA, he found that single base substitutions accounted for a difference of 1.4 per cent, very close to the expected figure.

But he also found that the DNA of both species was littered with indels. His comparisons revealed that they add around another 4.0 per cent to the genetic differences (see Coghlan, 2002, emp. added).

It seems that, as time passes and scientific studies increase, humans appear to be less like chimps after all. In a separate study, Barbulescu and colleagues also uncovered another major difference in the genomes of primates and humans. In their article “A HERV-K Provirus in Chimpanzees, Bonobos, and Gorillas, but not Humans,” the authors wrote: “These observations provide very strong evidence that, for some fraction of the genome, chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas are more closely related to each other than they are to humans” (2001, 11:779, emp. added). The data from these results go squarely against what evolutionists have contended for decades—that chimpanzees are closer genetically to humans than they are to gorillas. Another study using interspecies representational difference analysis (RDA) between humans and gorillas revealed gorilla-specific DNA sequences (Toder, et al., 2001)—that is, gorillas possess sequences of DNA that are not found in humans. The authors of this study suggested that sequences found in gorillas but not humans “could represent either ancient sequences that got lost in other species, such as human and orang-utan, or, more likely, recent sequences which evolved or originated specifically in the gorilla genome” (9:431).

The differences between chimpanzees and humans are not limited to genomic variances. In 1998, a structural difference between the cell surfaces of humans and apes was detected. After studying tissues and blood samples from the great apes, and sixty humans from various ethnic groups, Muchmore and colleagues discovered that human cells are missing a particular form of sialic acid (a type of sugar) found in all other mammals (1998, 107[2]:187). This sialic acid molecule is found on the surface of every cell in the body, and is thought to carry out multiple cellular tasks. This seemingly “miniscule” difference can have far-reaching effects, and might explain why surgeons were unable to transplant chimp organs into humans in the 1960s. With this in mind, we never should declare, with a simple wave of the hand, “chimps are almost identical to us” simply because of a large genetic overlap.


Homology (or similarity) does not prove common ancestry. The entire genome of the tiny nematode (Caenorhabditis elegans) also has been sequenced as a tangential study to the human genome project. Of the 5,000 best-known human genes, 75% have matches in the worm (see “A Tiny Worm Challenges Evolution”). Does this mean that we are 75% identical to a nematode worm? Just because living creatures share some genes with humans does not mean there is a linear ancestry. Biologist John Randall admitted this when he wrote:

The older textbooks on evolution make much of the idea of homology, pointing out the obvious resemblances between the skeletons of the limbs of different animals. Thus the “pentadactyl” [five bone—BH/BT] limb pattern is found in the arm of a man, the wing of a bird, and flipper of a whale—and this is held to indicate their common origin. Now if these various structures were transmitted by the same gene couples, varied from time to time by mutations and acted upon by environmental selection, the theory would make good sense. Unfortunately this is not the case. Homologous organs are now known to be produced by totally different gene complexes in the different species. The concept of homology in terms of similar genes handed on from a common ancestor has broken down... (as quoted in Fix, 1984, p.189).

Yet textbooks and teachers still continue to proclaim that humans and chimps are 98% genetically identical. The evidence clearly demonstrates vast molecular differences—differences that can be attributed to the fact that humans, unlike animals, were created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-27; see Lyons and Thompson, 2002a, 2002b). Elaine Morgan commented on this difference.

Considering the very close genetic relationship that has been established by comparison of biochemical properties of blood proteins, protein structure and DNA and immunological responses, the differences between a man and a chimpanzee are more astonishing than the resemblances. They include structural differences in the skeleton, the muscles, the skin, and the brain; differences in posture associated with a unique method of locomotion; differences in social organization; and finally the acquisition of speech and tool-using, together with the dramatic increase in intellectual ability which has led scientists to name their own species Homo sapiens sapiens—wise wise man. During the period when these remarkable evolutionary changes were taking place, other closely related ape-like species changed only very slowly, and with far less remarkable results. It is hard to resist the conclusion that something must have happened to the ancestors of Homo sapiens which did not happen to the ancestors of gorillas and chimpanzees (1989, pp. 17-18, emp. added).

That “something” actually is “Someone”—the Creator.


Barbulescu, Madalina, Geoffrey Turner, Mei Su, Rachel Kim, Michael I. Jensen-Seaman, Amos S. Deinard, Kenneth K. Kidd, and Jack Lentz (2001), “A HERV-K Provirus in Chimpanzees, Bonobos, and Gorillas, but not Humans,” Current Biology, 11:779-783.

Britten, Roy J. (2002), “Divergence between Samples of Chimpanzee and Human DNA Sequences is 5%, Counting Intels,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 99:13633-13635, October 15.

Coghlan, Andy (2002), “Human-chimp DNA Difference Trebled,ׇ [On-line], URL: http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99992833, September 23.

Fix, William R. (1984), The Bone Peddlers: Selling Evolution (New York: Macmillan).

Fujiyama, Asao, Hidemi Watanabe, et al., (2002), “Construction and Analysis of a Human-Chimpanzee Comparative Clone Map,” Science, 295:131-134, January 4.

Gardner, Eldon J. (1968), Principles of Genetics (New York: John Wiley and Sons).

King, Mary-Claire and A.C. Wilson (1975), “Evolution at Two Levels in Humans and Chimpanzees,” Science, 188:107-116, April 11.

Lyons, Eric and Bert Thompson (2002a), “In the ‘Image and Likeness of God’ [Part I],” Reason & Revelation, 22:17-23, March.

Lyons, Eric and Bert Thompson (2002b), “In the ‘Image and Likeness of God’ [Part II],” Reason & Revelation, 22:25-31, April.

Marks, Jonathan (2000), “98% Alike? (What Similarity to Apes Tells Us About Our Understanding of Genetics),” The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 12.

Morgan, Elaine (1989), The Aquatic Ape: A Theory of Human Evolution (London: Souvenir Press).

Muchmore, Elaine A., Sandra Diaz, and Ajit Varki (1998), “A Structural Difference Between the Cell Surfaces of Humans and the Great Apes,” American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 107[2]:187-198, October.

Pennisi, Elizabeth (2002), “Jumbled DNA Separates Chimps and Humans,” Science, 298:719-721, October 25.

Shouse, Ben (2002), “Revisiting the Numbers: Human Genes and Whales,” Science, 295:1457, February 22.

Sinnot, E.W., L.C. Dunn, and T. Dobzhansky (1958), Principles of Genetics (Columbus, OH: McGraw Hill) fifth edition.

Schwabe, Christian (1986), “On the Validity of Molecular Evolution,” Trends in Biochemical Sciences, 11:280-283, July.

“A Tiny Worm Challenges Evolution” (no date), [On-line], URL: http://www.cs.unc.edu/plaisted/ce/worm.html.

Toder, R. F. Grutzner, T. Haaf, and E. Bausch (2001), “Species-Specific Evolution of Repeated DNA sequences in Great Apes,” Chromosome Research, 9:431-435.

Zuckerkandl, Emile (1963), “Perspectives in Molecular Anthropology,” Classification and Human Evolution, ed. S.L. Washburn (Chicago, IL: Aldine).


Where does the conclusion come from? How can creationism explain a creator separating the chimp from man and have everything created at the same time? Why would evolution exclude a God? What arrogance to describe what is not understood as “Junk DNA”.

The Conclusion is Junk Science, wishful thinking by those who want to believe there has to be something better. There isn’t. Get over it. There is only what we have and what we make of it. :slight_smile:

Evolution does not exclude a God. However, for fundamentalist Christians, evolution requires that there is death before the fall of man when death was first introduced. So, for those Christians, evolution is contrary to what they believe. There are many Christians who believe in the theory of evolution.

In regards to “junk DNA”…the term was first used by evolutionists. The creationist view is that there is no “junk DNA”, just stuff we don’t know enough about yet to say what it is there for.

Junk DNA (again)

by Don Batten

When introns were discovered, some evolutionists suggested that these represented ‘junk’ DNA. Introns, as well as other sequences which did not code for protein, were considered to be left-overs of evolutionary ancestry — ‘vestigial’ DNA.

History has shown the foolishness of rushing to the ‘vestigial’ argument. Well over 100 organs in the human body were pronounced as useless left-overs of evolution at one stage, but the list has shrunk to almost zero as research has revealed the functions.1

Little by little, the so-called ‘junk’ DNA is revealing its functions.2 In a further revelation, researchers have found that mutations in an intron interfere with imprinting, the process by which only certain maternal or paternal genes are expressed, not both. Expression of both genes results in a variety of diseases and cancers.3,4 The discovered intron segment in some way promotes the transcription of an antisense-RNA sequence which is involved in suppressing the expression of the paternal gene in this case.

The burgeoning field of molecular biology continues to reveal unimagined complexity in the biochemistry of cells. It would be foolish indeed to pronounce anything as ‘junk’. Like the ‘vestigial organs’ idea, it seems that evolutionary ideas about the molecular machines in cells feed on lack of knowledge.

  1. See our ‘Vestigial’ Organs Questions and Answers. For a comprehensive book on this topic, see Bergman, J. and Howe, G., 1990. ‘Vestigial Organs’ are Fully Functional, Creation Research Society Books, Terre Haute, IN, USA. Return to text
  2. Wieland, C., 1994. Junk moves up in the world. CEN Tech. J., 8(1):125. Return to text
  3. Reik, W., and Constancia, M., 1997. Making sense of antisense? Nature 389:669–671. Return to text
  4. Wutz, A., Smrzka, O.W., et al., 1997. Imprinted expression of the Igf2r gene depends on an intronic CpG island. Nature 389:745–749. Return to text

The conclusion isn’t as simple as merely saying it is junk. “There is only what we have” and I would add, how we interpret it. The facts are the same for both sides.

For a healthy dose of the side that most aren’t exposed to: http://www.drdino.com/downloads.php

“``Humanity’s special place in the cosmos is one of abandoned claims and moving goalposts,’’ primatologist Frans B.M. de Waal wrote in Nature, citing 40 years of studies showing that humans are not the only animals who hold close family bonds, play Machiavellian power politics and form alliances, make and use tools, or engage in warfare.”

He did leave out the one distinguishing feature though: Chimpanzees don’t write for Nature.

This is why scientists should stick to collecting data and leave the interpretation of their interpretation to others. Whenever I read something like this I get a mental image of a band of dwarfes trying to overthrow the heavens.

And to think we share almost 100% of genes with these scientists…scary!

Don’t worry! Scientists don’t wear jeans. they wear corduroy and sandals with socks.

Ah yes, from the worlds greatest book of Mythology! written by so called “prophets” (profits) and re-written by many others…

The New American Standard, New International Version, King James, New King James, etc.–are not translations of translations of translations. They are translations directly from the best Greek manuscripts we possess. It’s a direct translation from the Greek to the English, a one-step process.

The Bible: Myth or History?

By Peter Kreeft, Ph.D., is a professor of philosophy at Boston College.

Sal: Chris, I’ve got to ask you something personal.

Chris: Go ahead, Sal: We’re friends, aren’t we?

Sal: How do you know so much about God? Are you a theological brain?

Chris: No, not at all. I’m just an ordinary person.

Sal:You must have taken some high level religion courses somewhere.

Chris: No . . .

Sal: Then you must have read hundreds of books.

Chris: No, Sal. Actually, what I know about God for sure comes from just one book. In fact, what the whole human race knows about God for sure, and not just as a matter of speculation and guesswork, comes from just one book.

Sal: The Bible, you mean?

Chris: Yes.

Sal: You really believe that one book gives you all the facts about God?

Chris: All the facts? Of course not. How could we ever have all the facts about the Infinite One? None of us can have complete knowledge of God, any more than a clam could have complete knowledge of us. Less so, in fact, because the difference between us and clams is only finite, but the difference between us and God is infinite.

Sal: Some facts, then?

Chris: Yes, what he told us.

Sal: So you think you’ve got some hard facts there in the Bible, eh?

Chris: I don’t know what you mean by “hard facts”.

Sal: Like the stuff science gives us.

Chris: No. Science measures things. We can’t measure God.

Sal: So it’s just myth, then.

Chris: No, it’s truth.

Sal: You mean you really think God sits up there in the sky on a golden throne and has a strong right hand, and gets angry?

Chris: No. That’s poetic language. But you can tell the truth in poetic language, you know. God really is exalted—though not physically, in space, in the sky. God really does rule the universe, though not from a physical golden throne. God really does have all power, though he doesn’t have the same kind of strength as Muhammad Ali had in his right hand. And God really does want us to do good and not evil, though he doesn’t get hysterical and red in the face.

Sal: So it’s just symbolism.

Chris: But true symbolism. Not just a made-up story, like Santa Claus.

Sal: So you admit the whole Bible is poetic symbolism, not literal history.

Chris: No, I didn’t say that. I said that the language it uses to describe God has to be symbolic. God can’t be described literally because we can’t see him. He doesn’t have a physical body. But there are a lot of things in the Bible that are described literally -things we can see.

Sal: How can you tell what parts of the Bible to interpret symbolically and what parts to interpret literally? Isn’t it just your personal preference?

Chris: No, there’s an objective standard.

Sal: Well, what is it?

Chris: It’s quite simple, really. Language about visible things is meant literally, language about invisible things is meant symbolically.

Sal: So the story of the creation of the world in Genesis is meant literally? It is about visible things, the universe.

Chris: But before the creation of Adam and Eve there was no human eye around to see it. So the account isn’t an eyewitness account. It’s true, but not literal. The “6 days” of creation, for instance, don’t have to be 24 hour days.

Sal: And the last book in the Bible, the book of Revelation—all that stuff about the end of the world, horses and burning mountains going through the sky and angels blowing trumpets—that’s not literal either, right?

Chris: Right. That’s symbolism. But it’s true. It’ll happen, just as the creation happened.

Sal: But it’s not literal because nobody’s there to see it yet. It’s future.

Chris: Well, prophecies of the future can be literal. You could predict something literally. Some passages in the Bible do. For instance, the Old Testament predicts dozens of specific details about the Messiah that happened, literally, to Jesus, like being sold for 30 pieces of silver, and having his clothes gambled for.

Sal: I guess I’m really concerned with whether you interpret the miracle stories literally or not.

Chris: If they’re meant literally, yes.

Sal: Like Noah’s flood and the ten plagues in Egypt and the crossing of the Red Sea? And all Jesus’ miracles? And the literal Resurrection?

Chris: Yes.

Sal: Well, I don’t.

Chris: Don’t what?

Sal: Believe the miracle stories. So I don’t interpret them literally, I interpret them symbolically.

Chris: You’re confused, Sal.

Sal: You mean you think I’m wrong. But I’m not confused. I know what I believe and what I don’t believe.

Chris: No, I mean you’re confused. You’re confusing two different questions: interpretation and belief

Sal: What do you mean?

Chris: The question of interpretation is: What did the writer mean? The question of belief is: Do you agree with him? The question of interpretation is: What does the Bible claim to be true? The question of belief is: What do you believe really is true?

Sal: Well, I interpret the Bible according to my beliefs.

Chris: But that’s your confusion, Sal: Suppose I read a speech by Hitler that said we should create a super-race of Germans and kill all the Jews. Suppose I didn’t believe that, so I interpreted the speech according to my beliefs and I said that what the speech really meant was that all races were equal and we should love one another. Do you see how I would be confused?

Sal: Not about race, or love.

Chris: But about what Hitler meant.

Sal: Oh. Yes. I see. But wouldn’t it be good to improve on such a terrible speech?

Chris: If you want to make a speech yourself, yes. If you want to choose what to believe in, yes. But if you want to know what Hitler meant, no. That’s your confusion. You think the Bible’s stories of miracles are false. Why not just say so, clearly? The miracle stories are either lies or true history. They’re not myth. They’re not meant mythically, or poetically, or symbolically.

Sal: But I think they are. What could be more poetic and symbolic than life coming out of death—Jesus’ Resurrection is just like spring. And Moses’ crossing the Red Sea is a perfect symbol for overcoming death, or any obstacle. There are all sorts of poetic, symbolic meanings in the miracles.

Chris: I agree. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t literal too. They’re signs. But if a sign isn’t really there—if there’s no literal piece of wood on a pole—then it can’t symbolize anything, can it? So if Moses didn’t really cross the Red Sea, it’s not a real sign of anything. I believe the miracles are signs and symbols, all right. But I also believe they really happened. They’re not just stories, myths. You think that’s all they are, right?

Sal: Right.

Chris: So you agree with the demythologizers.

Sal: What’s that?

Chris: The word was made popular by a German theologian named Rudolf Bultmann. It means that the miracle stories are only myths, and that we should believe the rest of the Bible, but not the myths. A lot of theologians believe that. Many rabbis and priests and ministers do too. Some writers of catechism textbooks too.

Sal: So I’m in good company.

Chris: No, in numerous company. Truth isn’t found by counting noses. I’d rather agree with God even if only a few human beings agreed with me, than agree with millions of humans but disagree with God.

Sal: Well, doesn’t the clergy teach demythologizing? You said a lot of rabbis and ministers and priests believe it. Are they heretics?

Chris: Technically, yes. If they disagree with essential teachings of the Bible. But the word heretic isn’t used much any more.

Sal: You sound sad. Do you want to burn heretics, like the Inquisition?

Chris: Of course not. You can label an idea accurately without wanting to burn the people who hold it.

Sal: I’m glad to hear that. Because I guess I’m a heretic. I think for myself I don’t just swallow whatever line the Church gives me.

Chris: Then you have your reasons for disagreeing?

Sal: Certainly.

Chris: I think you can guess what my next question is going to be.

Sal: We went over those reasons in that conversation we had about miracles.

Chris: Yes. You see, everything is connected. If there’s no supernatural God with the power to work miracles, then miracles can’t happen. If miracles can’t happen, then Christ didn’t really rise from the dead. If Christ didn’t really rise from the dead, the story is only a myth, and the demythologizers are right. (Though they’re still confusing the two questions of interpretation and belief; they should say the story is a lie, not a myth.) Do you have any other reasons, any new reasons for being a demythologizer of the Bible?

Sal: Yes, I do. I’ve been reading some books about this, and I think I’ve found at least four good reasons for being skeptical about the Bible.

Chris: Go ahead. What are they?

Sal: For one thing, there’s what they call “form criticism”. That means you should interpret a text not absolutely but relative to its literary form. If the form is poetry or myth or parable, you just don’t take the story literally.

Chris: That’s a good principle. So apply it to eyewitness descriptions too, and historical narratives, and interpret them literally, just as you interpret symbolism symbolically. The miracle stories have the form of history, not myth.

Sal: No they don’t. And that’s my second point: the resemblances between the Bible’s miracle stories and myth. They’re both full of magic. And things like magic numbers: ten plagues, forty days of fasting, three days in the tomb.

Chris: Do you mean to say no one ever really fasts forty days, and plagues can really come in any number but ten? Or that if Jesus had spent four days in the tomb you’d be more likely to believe it?

Sal: Well, no. But mustn’t we distinguish two different, questions, the question of belief and the question of history? That’s my third point. Whether Moses really crossed the Red Sea or not is not important; that’s the question of history. The important thing is whether or not God was there; the point of the Bible is religion, not history.

Chris: But the Bible’s religion depends on history. Its God works in history. Your distinction between history and religion fits Oriental religions, but not Western religions. It’s not important whether Buddha ever really lived; the only important thing is meditation and practicing Buddha’s way. But Christianity is different: it’s about Christ. If he never lived, or never died and rose again, then Christianity is simply a lie. Aren’t you honest enough to call it that, if that’s what you believe?

Sal: But it has so much good stuff to say about ethics and love and neighborliness.

Chris: Everybody knows that already, even though they don’t practice it. Remember our first conversation? If ethics is all that Christianity means, forget it.

Sal: Why?

Chris: Because then it’s just copying all the other good philosophies and moralities. It claims to be different; it claims to be history, “good news”, Gospel: that God came to earth and died on the cross and rose again to save us from sin and death and Hell.

Sal: That’s what you say it is.

Chris: That’s simply what Christianity is, and always was from the beginning. If you don’t believe that, you’re not a Christian. Just agreeing with Jesus’ ethics doesn’t make you a Christian, any more than agreeing with Buddha’s ethics makes you a Buddhist.

Sal: Well, I guess I’ll have to say I’m not a Christian, then.

Chris: Good! That’s the first step to becoming one.

Sal: But I still have another reason for not believing in the stories in the Bible. We haven’t finished my four points, remember?

Chris: Sorry. What’s the fourth one?

Sal: There are contradictions in the Bible, internal in the Bible? consistencies in the stories. They can’t all be true.

Chris: Name one.

Sal: Did Jesus speak the Sermon on the Mount all at once, as Matthew reports, or on different occasions, as Luke reports?

Chris: Why couldn’t it be both? In any case Matthew didn’t say Jesus said it all at once, he just said Jesus said it.

Sal: Well, what about the sign on the cross? How many words were on it? Each of the four Gospels has a different version.

Chris: Why couldn’t they all be right, but some are condensed, sort of Reader’s Digest versions, so to speak? If the sign really read, “This is Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews”, then the account that says simply “Jesus, King of the Jews” isn’t false, just condensed. The essential point is the same. Show me a single contradiction about an essential point of substance, not just a matter of verbal style.

Sal: Well, they’re different, anyway.

Chris: The very fact that the four Gospels tell the same story in different ways is strong evidence that the story is true—like four witnesses in court telling the story in four different ways. If they agreed word for word, you’d think they had made it up and collaborated beforehand. The differences don’t amount to contradictions. And the four Gospels agree remarkably—more so, much more so, than any other set of ancient documents about any other ancient event.

Sal: But an event so long ago—isn’t it likely that the telling of it got garbled, like the party game where you sit in a circle and tell a message around?—by the time it gets to the tenth person it’s a completely different message.

Chris: That’s why the Church wrote it down in the Bible, and preserved this book with infinite care.

Sal: Well, even so, no matter how carefully the book is preserved, it’s just a book. Written by human beings. Their ideas about God.

Chris: That’s the essential question about the Bible: Is it our ideas about God or is it God’s ideas about us? Is it God’s Word to us or our words about God?

Sal: Yes, that’s the essential question all right. It’s like the question about God: Did he create us in his image or do we create him in our image?

Chris: Yes, and that’s like the essential question about the Christian story too: Is it the story of our search for God or the story of God’s search for us? Is it God coming down in Christ, the “one way” down, or is it us trying to get up to God, with Christ just one of the many human ways up, one of many manmade religions?

Sal: At least we’ve got the questions straight. And I see that all these questions are parts of one question: the question about the Bible being God’s Word or ours, the question about God being Creator or created by us, the question about Christ being God’s way down or our way up, and the question about the Christian religion being the one divine way or just one of many human ways. It all fits together.

Chris: Did I fail to answer any of your reasons for not believing the Bible?

Sal: Well, no, not really.

Chris: Then your reason for not believing it must be something else than what we’ve talked about. We’ve clarified the question, but not your real motive for answering it “no”.

Sal: What do you think my real motive is? Are you going to psychoanalyze me?

Chris: No, but I have a good guess, and I can only ask you to honestly ask yourself whether this guess is accurate or not. You want to believe the demythologizers, right?

Sal: Right.

Chris: Why? Because you don’t believe in miracles, right?

Sal: Right.

Chris: And why don’t you believe in miracles? Because if miracles happen, then Christ really did rise from the dead, and then he is not just a human ideal but he is really God—everyone’s God, your God too, Sal. Then he has claims on your soul and on your life, right here and now. Then you have to face him and repent, turn around, beg forgiveness, let him be your Lord rather than you being your own lord. That’s not an easy or comfortable thing to do, and I’m not trying to put you down for not doing it. I’m just trying to help you be honest with yourself and know yourself. Only you can answer the question: Is that really your motive for not believing? The reason I suspect it is, is because none of your arguments seem to stand up. The house of your beliefs doesn’t stand on rational foundations. All your arguments can be answered. You just choose to believe there’s no God, or no miracles, or no Resurrection, or no salvation.

Sal: Maybe so, Chris we’re friends, so we have to be honest with each other. I appreciate your speaking so frankly about this—acquaintances have to be polite, but friends can say hard things to each other. And I have to be as honest with you as you were with me: I just don’t know.

Chris: That’s a wonderful discovery, Sal: that you don’t know. That’s the beginning of wisdom.

I’m familiar with the work of Boltmann. Especially his cinematic masterpiece, Boltmann goes to Rio. Oops! That’s Buttman. Never mind!

  1. Greek is NOT the only translation used! 2. The bible was written and revised by more than one individual…

A Brief History of the King James Bible

By Dr. Laurence M. Vance
As the reign of Elizabeth (1558-1603) was coming to a close, we find a draft for an act of Parliament for a new version of the Bible: “An act for the reducing of diversities of bibles now extant in the English tongue to one settled vulgar translated from the original.” The Bishop’s Bible of 1568, although it may have eclipsed the Great Bible, was still rivaled by the Geneva Bible. Nothing ever became of this draft during the reign of Elizabeth, who died in 1603, and was succeeded by James 1, as the throne passed from the Tudors to the Stuarts. James was at that time James VI of Scotland, and had been for thirty-seven years. He was born during the period between the Geneva and the Bishop’s Bible.

One of the first things done by the new king was the calling of the Hampton Court Conference in January of 1604 “for the hearing, and for the determining, things pretended to be amiss in the church.” Here were assembled bishops, clergymen, and professors, along with four Puritan divines, to consider the complaints of the Puritans. Although Bible revision was not on the agenda, the Puritan president of Corpus Christi College, John Reynolds, “moved his Majesty, that there might be a new translation of the Bible, because those which were allowed in the reigns of Henry the eighth, and Edward the sixth, were corrupt and not answerable to the truth of the Original.”

The king rejoined that he:

“Could never yet see a Bible well translated in English; but I think that, of all, that of Geneva is the worst. I wish some special pains were taken for an uniform translation, which should be done by he best learned men in both Universities, then reviewed by the Bishops, presented to the Privy Council, lastly ratified by the Royal authority, to be read in the whole Church, and none other.”
Accordingly, a resolution came forth:

“That a translation be made of the whole Bible, as consonant as can be to the original Hebrew and Greek; and this to be set out and printed, without any marginal notes, and only to be used in all churches of England in time of divine service.”
The next step was the actual selection of the men who were to perform the work. In July of 1604, James wrote to Bishop Bancroft that he had “appointed certain learned men, to the number of four and fifty, for the translating of the Bible.” These men were the best biblical scholars and linguists of their day. In the preface to their completed work it is further stated that “there were many chosen, that were greater in other men’s eyes than in their own, and that sought the truth rather than their own praise. Again, they came or were thought to come to the work, learned, not to learn.” Other men were sought out, according to James, “so that our said intended translation may have the help and furtherance of all our principal learned men within this our kingdom.”

Although fifty-four men were nominated, only forty-seven were known to have taken part in the work of translation. The translators were organized into six groups, and met respectively at Westminster, Cambridge, and Oxford. Ten at Westminster were assigned Genesis through 2 Kings; seven had Romans through Jude. At Cambridge, eight worked on 1 Chronicles through Ecclesiastes, while seven others handled the Apocrypha. Oxford employed seven to translate Isaiah through Malachi; eight occupied themselves with the Gospels, Acts, and Revelation.

Fifteen general rules were advanced for the guidance of the translators:

  1. The ordinary Bible read in the Church, commonly called the Bishops Bible, to be followed, and as little altered as the Truth of the original will permit.

  2. The names of the Prophets, and the Holy Writers, with the other Names of the Text, to be retained, as nigh as may be, accordingly as they were vulgarly used.

  3. The Old Ecclesiastical Words to be kept, viz. the Word Church not to be translated Congregation &c.

  4. When a Word hath divers Significations, that to be kept which hath been most commonly used by the most of the Ancient Fathers, being agreeable to the Propriety of the Place, and the Analogy of the Faith.

  5. The Division of the Chapters to be altered, either not at all, or as little as may be, if Necessity so require.

  6. No Marginal Notes at all to be affixed, but only for the explanation of the Hebrew or Greek Words, which cannot without some circumlocution, so briefly and fitly be expressed in the Text.

  7. Such Quotations of Places to be marginally set down as shall serve for the fit Reference of one Scripture to another.

  8. Every particular Man of each Company, to take the same Chapter or Chapters, and having translated or amended them severally by himself, where he thinketh good, all to meet together, confer what they have done, and agree for their Parts what shall stand.

  9. As any one Company hath dispatched any one Book in this Manner they shall send it to the rest, to be considered of seriously and judiciously, for His Majesty is very careful in this Point.

  10. If any Company, upon the Review of the Book so sent, doubt or differ upon any Place, to send them Word thereof; note the Place, and withal send the Reasons, to which if they consent not, the Difference to be compounded at the general Meeting, which is to be of the chief Persons of each Company, at the end of the Work.

  11. When any Place of special Obscurity is doubted of, Letters to be directed by Authority, to send to any Learned Man in the Land, for his Judgement of such a Place.

  12. Letters to be sent from every Bishop to the rest of his Clergy, admonishing them of this Translation in hand; and to move and charge as many skilful in the Tongues; and having taken pains in that kind, to send his particular Observations to the Company, either at Westminster, Cambridge, or Oxford.

  13. The Directors in each Company, to be the Deans of Westminster, and Chester for that Place; and the King’s Professors in the Hebrew or Greek in either University.

  14. These translations to be used when they agree better with the Text than the Bishops Bible: Tyndale’s, Matthew’s, Coverdale’s, Whitchurch’s, Geneva.

  15. Besides the said Directors before mentioned, three or four of the most Ancient and Grave Divines, in either of the Universities, not employed in Translating, to be assigned by the vice-Chancellor, upon Conference with the rest of the Heads, to be Overseers of the Translations as well Hebrew as Greek, for the better observation of the 4th Rule above specified.

The work began to take shape in 1604 and progressed steadily. The translators expressed their early thoughts in their preface as:

“Truly (good Christian Reader) we never thought from the beginning, that we should need to make a new Translation, nor yet to make of a bad one a good one,…but to make a good one better, or out of many good ones, one principal good one, not justly to be excepted against, that hath been our endeavor.”
They had at their disposal all the previous English translations to which they did not disdain:
“We are so far off from condemning any of their labors that travailed before us in this kind, either in this land or beyond sea, either in King Henry’s time, or King Edward’s…or Queen Elizabeth’s of ever renowned memory, that we acknowledge them to have been raised up of God, for the building and furnishing of his Church, and that they deserve to be had of us and of posterity in everlasting remembrance.”
And, as the translators themselves also acknowledged, they had a multitude of sources from which to draw from: “Neither did we think much to consult the Translators or Commentators, CHaldee, Hebrew, Syrian, Greek, or Latin, no nor the Spanish, French, Italian, or Dutch.” The Greek editions of Erasmus, Stephanus, and Beza were all accessible, as were the COmplutensian and Antwerp Polyglots, and the Latin translations of Pagninus, Termellius, and Beza.

Four years were spent on the preliminary translation by the six groups. The translators were exacting and particular in their work, as related in their preface:

Neither did we disdain to revise that which we had done, and to bring back to the anvil that which we had hammered: but having and using as great helps as were needful, and fearing no reproach for slowness, nor coveting praise for expedition, we have at the length, through the good hand of the Lord upon us, brought the work to that pass that you see.
The conferences of each of the six being ended, nine months were spent at Stationers’ Hall in London for review and revision of the work by two men each from the Westminster, Cambridge, and Oxford companies. The final revision was then completed by Myles Smith and Thomas Bilson, with a preface supplied by Smith.

The completed work was issued in 1611, the complete title page reading:
“THE HOLY BIBLE, Conteyning the Old Testament, and the New: Newly Translated out of the Originall tongues: & with the former Translations diligently compared and revised, by his Majesties Special Commandment. Appointed to be read in Churches. Imprinted at London by Robert Barker, Printer to the Kings most Excellent Majestie. ANNO DOM. 1611.”
The New Testament had a separate title page, the whole of it reading:

“THE NEWE Testament of our Lord and Saviour JESUS CHRIST. Newly Translated out of the Originall Greeke: and with the former Translations diligently compared and revised, by his Majesties speciall Commandment. IMPRINTED at London by Robert Barker, Printer to the Kings most Excellent Majestie. ANNO DOM. 1611. Cum Privilegio.”
The King James Bible was, in its first editions, even larger than the Great Bible. It was printed in black letter with small italicized Roman type to represent those words not in the original languages.

King James Version Bible
Translation Errors
(Part 1)

We use the King James Version as our main study Bible. Why the King James? Because all the major Bible aides are based on the KJV. We have documented KJV translation errors and have marked them in our Bible. Newer versions are often not as faithful to the original text.

What’s Wrong With Modern Translations?

The Old Testament has been faithfully preserved by the Jews in what is known as the Masoretic Text. There are few translation problems with the Old Testament.

However, most modern translations, from the Revised Standard Version (RSV) to the New International Version (NIV), use as their source for the New Testament a Greek Text based upon the Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus of the fourth century. This text, publicized by Westcott and Hort, is also known as the Alexandrian Text. It originated in Egypt and has been massaged by “higher critics” down through the ages. These manuscripts, used in the RSV, represent less than 5% of known Greek Biblical manuscripts, but are supposedly more authentic because they are “old.”

The bulk of New Testament manuscripts were copied century after century from earlier ones as they wore out. Older copies did not survive because these texts were used until worn out. This text, the so-called “Received Text” or “Byzantine Text” (also termed “Syrian”, “Antioch”, or Koine text) was used in the King James Version. Nearly 4,000 manuscripts of this Byzantine or Official Text agree almost perfectly with each other, and are a far better standard to go by than corrupt copies no matter how early they were made. Located primarily at Mt. Athos in Greece, copies of the Official Greek Text give us a very reliable record of the New Testament scriptures.

Proof the Received Text is Correct

Jay P. Green, Sr., General Editor and Translator of the Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, states in his preface:
"The market-place is being glutted with new books which are being represented as versions of the Bible. Each one claims to be the very word of God, yet there are literally thousands of differences between them . . . . they all leave out dozens of references to the deity of Jesus Christ, and they add words which tend to question His virgin birth, His substitutionary, fully satisfying atonement. This is due to their decision to depend upon an Alexandrian [Egyptian] textbase, instead of that body of God’s words which has been universally received and believed in for nineteen centuries, known to us as the Received Text. These new versions [such as the NIV, New Jerusalem Bible and others] are not only marked by additions, but also by subtractions, since some four whole pages of words, phrases, sentences and verses have been omitted by these new versions. And these are words attested to as God’s words by overwhelming evidence contained in all the Greek manuscripts . . . .

" . . . it has been written, ‘For I say to you, Until the heavens and the earth pass away, in no way shall pass away one iota or one point from the Law, until all things come to pass.’- -Matthew 5:18 [Green’s paraphrased] . . . .

"What then is the evidence these Bible-alterers offer to persuade you to give up the precious words they have removed from their versions? Mainly, they cite two manuscripts, admittedly old, but also admittedly carelessly executed. The Sinaiticus was so poorly executed that seven different hands of ‘textual critics’ can be discerned as they tried to impose their views on the Bible . . . it was discarded, found in a wastebasket fourteen centuries after it was executed. The Vaticanus manuscript lay on a shelf in the Vatican library at Rome until 1431, and was considered so corrupt that no one would use it . . . . they have systematically removed Luke’s witness to the ascension of Christ–and of course they have done away entirely with Mark’s witness to the ascension, simply because these last twelve verses do not appear in those two corrupt manuscripts, the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus . . . .

" . . . Origen, an early textual critic . . . said, that ‘the Scriptures are of little use to those who understand them as they are written’ . . . . given the opportunity, many like Origen will actually alter the manuscripts to make them say what they understand them to mean…Justin Martyr, Valentinus, Clement of Alexandria, Marcion, Tatian, and a horde of others practiced their ‘textual science’ by operating on manuscripts, or by writing their own ‘versions’ . . . .

" . . . Today there are more than 5,000 manuscripts and lectionaries in Greek as witnesses to the New Testament text. And 95% of them witness to the Received Text readings [contained in Green’s Interlinear and the King James Version]. Partly due to the fact that ancient manuscripts containing the Received Text were worn out by use, while the Alexandrian textbase manuscripts were preserved by the dry conditions of Egypt, some have sought to discredit the Received Text because they say it is not ancient. But now that manuscript portions from the second century are being unearthed, it is found that many of the readings of the Received Text which had been tagged scornfully as ‘late readings’ by nearly unanimous consent of the ‘textual scientists’ are appearing in these [newly found] manuscripts. Readings which were before called late and spurious have been found in these early-date manuscripts . . . . Yet strangely, in textual criticism classes, such discoveries are swept under the rug, not reported to the class."

We use the King James Version exclusively as our main study Bible, only using other translations to aid study of certain passages, to get another perspective. The fact that modern versions slavishly depend on the Egyptian and Vatican corruptions of the New Testament should make us avoid them as a “main Bible.”

Why Are There Errors in the King James Version?

You have probably heard the joke about the bigoted Protestant fundamentalist who said, “If the King James Version was good enough for the apostles, it is good enough for me!” People sometimes forget that the KJV was published in 1611 A.D.

For centuries prior to 1611, Latin was the only scholarly language in Europe. The Latin Vulgate translation of Jerome, based upon a corrupt Alexandrian Text, was the “official” text of the powerful Roman Catholic Church.

Protestant translators sometimes did not have access to all of the Received Greek Official Text, and being familiar with the Vulgate, they sometimes put words into their translations based upon the Latin which were never there in the original Greek. Schaff points out that in about 80 places in the New Testament, the KJV adopts Latin readings not found in the Greek. Erasmus had a corrupt, incomplete text of Revelation to work from, and hence this book has many errors in the KJV.

The King James translators did a marvelous job with the materials they had. While this article is necessary to point out the KJV errors, it should be noted that the errors, omissions and additions made by the RSV, NIV, and other modern translations are much, much worse!

Translation Errors

Here is a partial listing of King James Version translation errors:

Genesis 1:2 should read “And the earth became without form . . . .” The word translated “was” is hayah, and denotes a condition different than a former condition, as in Genesis 19:26.

Genesis 10:9 should read " . . . Nimrod the mighty hunter in place of [in opposition to] the LORD." The word “before” is incorrect and gives the connotation that Nimrod was a good guy, which is false.

Leviticus 16:8, 10, 26 in the KJV is “scapegoat” which today has the connotation of someone who is unjustly blamed for other’s sins. The Hebrew is Azazel, which means “one removed or separated.” The Azazel goal represents Satan, who is no scapegoat. He is guilty of his part in our sins.

Deuteronomy 24:1, “then let him” should be “and he.” As the Savior explained in Matthew 19, Moses did not command divorcement. This statute is regulating the permission of divorce because of the hardness of their hearts.

II Kings 2:23, should be “young men”, not “little children.”

Isaiah 65:17 should be “I am creating [am about to create] new heavens and new earth . . . .”

Ezekiel 20:25 should read “Wherefore I permitted them, or gave them over to, [false] statutes that are not good, and judgments whereby they should not live.” God’s laws are good, perfect and right. This verse shows that since Israel rejected God’s laws, He allowed them to hurt themselves by following false man made customs and laws.

Daniel 8:14 is correct in the margin, which substitutes “evening morning” for “days.” Too bad William Miller didn’t realize this.

Malachi 4:6 should read " . . . lest I come and smite the earth with utter destruction." “Curse” doesn’t give the proper sense here. Same word used in Zechariah 14:11.

Matthew 5:48 should be “Become ye therefore perfect” rather than “be ye therefore perfect.” “Perfect” here means “spiritually mature.” Sanctification is a process of overcoming with the aid of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 24:22 needs an additional word to clarify the meaning. It should say “there should no flesh be saved alive.”

Matthew 27:49 omits text which was in the original. Moffatt correctly adds it, while the RSV puts it in a footnote: “And another took a spear and pierced His side, and out came water and blood.” The Savior’s death came when a soldier pierced His side, Revelation 1:7.

Matthew 28:1, “In the end of the sabbath as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week . . .” should be translated literally, “Now late on Sabbath, as it was getting dusk toward the first day of the week . . . .” The Sabbath does not end at dawn but at dusk.

Luke 2:14 should say, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men of God’s good pleasure or choosing.” That is, there will be peace on earth among men who have God’s good will in their hearts.

Luke 14:26 has the unfortunate translation of the Greek word miseo, Strong’s #3404, as “hate”, when it should be rendered “love less by comparison.” We are not to hate our parents and family!

John 1:31, 33 should say “baptize” or “baptizing IN water” not with water. Pouring or sprinkling with water is not the scriptural method of baptism, but only thorough immersion in water.

John 1:17 is another instance of a poor preposition. “By” should be “through”: “For the law was given by [through] Moses . . . .” Moses did not proclaim his law, but God’s Law.

John 13:2 should be “And during supper” (RSV) rather than “And supper being ended” (KJV).

Acts 12:4 has the inaccurate word “Easter” which should be rendered “Passover.” The Greek word is pascha which is translated correctly as Passover in Matthew 26:2, etc.

I Corinthians 1:18 should be: “For the preaching of the cross is to them that are perishing foolishness; but unto us which are being saved it is the power of God”, rather than “perish” and “are saved.” Likewise, II Thessalonians 2:10 should be “are perishing” rather than “perish.”

I Corinthians 15:29 should be: “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the hope of the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the hope of the dead?”

II Corinthians 6:2 should be “a day of salvation”, instead of “the day of salvation.” This is a quote from Isaiah 49:8, which is correct. The day of salvation is not the same for each individual. The firstfruits have their day of salvation during this life. The rest in the second resurrection.

I Timothy 4:8 should say, “For bodily exercise profiteth for a little time: but godliness in profitable unto all things . . . .”

I Timothy 6:10 should be, “For the love of money is a [not the] root of all evil . . . .”

Hebrews 4:8 should be “Joshua” rather than “Jesus”, although these two words are Hebrew and Greek equivalents.

Hebrews 4:9 should read, “There remaineth therefore a keeping of a sabbath to the people of God.”

Hebrews 9:28 is out of proper order in the King James. It should be: “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them without sin that look for him shall he appear the second time unto salvation.”

I John 5:7-8 contains additional text which was added to the original. “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.” The italicized text was added to the original manuscripts. Most modern translations agree that this was an uninspired addition to the Latin Vulgate to support the unscriptural trinity doctrine.

Revelation 14:4 should be “a firstfruits”, because the 144,000 are not all the firstfruits.

Revelation 20:4-5 in the KJV is a little confusing until you realize that the sentence “This is the first resurrection.” in verse five refers back to “they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years” in verse four.

Revelation 20:10, “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are [correction: should be ‘were cast’ because the beast and false prophet were mortal human beings who were burned up in the lake of fire 1,000 years previous to this time, Revelation 19:20], and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” The point is that Satan will be cast into the same lake of fire into which the beast and false prophet were cast a thousand years previously.

Revelation 22:2 should be “health” rather than “healing.”

Italics: Sometimes Helpful, Sometimes Wrong

No language can be translated word for word into another language. Hebrew and Greek idioms often do not come through clearly into literal English. Thus, beginning in 1560 with the Geneva Bible, translators initiated the practice of adding italicized clarifying words to make the original language more plain. The fifty-four King James translators did the same. Often, the added italicized words do help make the meaning clearer. At other times, the translators through their doctrinal misunderstandings added errors instead.

In Psalms 81:4, “was” is totally uncalled for and not in the original Hebrew. New Moons are still a statute of God.

We have shown how in Revelation 20:10 that the italicized “are” is incorrect and that “were cast” in italics would have been more appropriate. Another instance is John 8:28 where Jesus said (KJV), “I am he.” The “he” is in italics and was not actually spoken by Jesus, completely obscuring the fact the Jesus was claiming to be the great “I AM” of the Old Testament, John 8:58 and Exodus 3:14.

In Luke 3:23-38, the italicized words “the son” are not in the original Greek. Actually, Luke gives the fleshly descent of the Savior through Mary, while Matthew gives the legal descent through Joseph.

Matthew 24:24 should not have the italicized words “it were”. It IS possible for the elect to be deceived. We need to be on guard!

Romans 1:7 incorrectly has the italicized words “to be.” The fact is, Christians are now saints.

I Corinthians 7:19 needs some italicized words to make the meaning clear. It should say: “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but [the important thing is] the keeping of the commandments of God.”

Colossians 2:16-17 can be properly understood only if the KJV italicized word “is” in verse 17 is left out, as it should be. The message of these verses is: don’t let men judge you as doing wrong when you observe the holy days, new moons and sabbaths; let the body of Christ (the Church) do the judging.

I Timothy 3:11 has “their” in italics, which is not implied in the original.

II Peter 2:5 should not have “person, a.” Noah was the eighth preacher of righteousness.

I John 2:23 has “[but] he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also” in italics. This is an addition based upon the Latin text and not in the original Greek.

Punctuation Problems

Luke 23:43 has been erroneously used by some to claim that Jesus went straight to heaven at His death. The original Greek did not have punctuation marks as we do today. The KJV states, “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” The comma should not be after “thee”, but “day.” The believing malefactor would be with Christ in the paradise of the redeemed when he was resurrected far into the future.

Mark 16:9 does not say that Jesus was resurrected Sunday morning. There is a missing implied comma between “risen” and “early” and there should be no comma after week as the KJV has it: “Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene . . . .” Thus, it should say, “Now when Jesus was risen, early the first day of the week he appeared first to Mary Magdalene . . . .”

Written by: Richard Nickels

I hope everyone gets a chance to see “Inherit the Wind”, the brilliant movie about the Scopes Monkey Trial. The real case was an incredible explosive drama which unfolded after a teacher had the temerity to teach his high school class about evolution. The Chicago papers sent the greatest lawyer of the day, Clarence Darrow to defend the teacher and America’s most sarcastic writer, HL Menckin to cover it for the paper. The prosecution countered with the former Populist Presidential candidate, Willian Jennings Bryant as the prosecutor. It’s a truly brilliant tale and the highlight the movie’s equivalent of Darrow cross examining the movie version of Bryant.

The Scopes trial was really important. So important, in fact, that I still remember all the details about it after being taught it last year. Scary sometimes when you remember what your taught in school!

Inherit the Wind: an historical analysis

by David Menton
The film and play of the most publicized creation/evolution trial of all time are seriously biased and inaccurate.

Rarely does a year go by that the Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee play and film Inherit the Wind is not produced by a local school, or shown on television somewhere. Inherit the Wind is not a documentary, but it is perceived by many viewers to be a documentary–drama of the famous 1925 Scopes ‘monkey’ trial.

The trial pitted William Jennings Bryan against Clarence Darrow in a classic confrontation over the teaching of evolution and creation in public schools. Theatrical liberties were exercised in developing the plot, but occasional courtroom exchanges were taken word–for–word from the transcript of the Scopes trial. Unfortunately, the composite that resulted has become widely perceived as a historical account of the trial. But the play is not a fair and accurate representation of the great battle of ideas and beliefs that was waged at the Rhea County Court House in Dayton, Tennessee.

Curiously, Inherit the Wind (unlike other documentary–dramas such as Gandhi and Patton) does not use the actual names of the participants or the places it portrays. Some characters, like the Reverend Jeremiah Brown and his persecuted daughter, Rachel, are fictitious. The rest of the principal characters of the play represent well-known participants in the Scopes trial. The character Matthew Harrison Brady represents William Jennings Bryan; Henry Drummond represents Clarence Darrow; Bert Cates represents John Scopes; and E.K. Hornbeck represents H.L. Mencken.
The Main Participants
William Jennings Bryan (1860–1925)

Bryan was a famous politician and orator, who unsuccessfully stood three times as the Democratic candidate for the USA Presidency. He became Secretary of State under President Woodrow Wilson, where he tried his best to keep the USA out of the First World War. A great Populist leader, he was known as the Great Commoner. He was influential in the eventual adoption of such reforms as popular election of senators, income tax, creation of a Department of Labor, Prohibition and women’s suffrage.

At his funeral, Darrow told reporters that he had voted for Bryan twice and respected his ‘sincerity and devotion.’
Clarence (Seward) Darrow (1857–1938)

Darrow was a lawyer whose defence work in a number of dramatic trials made him nationally famous. He was also a prominent public speaker and debater, and an outspoken agnostic. His cases ranged from representing striking miners during the Pennsylvania anthracite coal strike of 1902–3, pointing out the arduous conditions and extent of child labour; to securing the acquittal in 1907 of the labour leader “Big Bill” Haywood for the assassination of the former governor of Idaho.
H(enry) L(ouis) Mencken (1880–1956)

Mencken was a controversial satirical journalist and pungent critic of American life. He was a reporter for the Baltimore Morning Herald and later joined the staff of the Baltimore Sun. He also became a scholar of American idioms, publishing many editions of his volume American Language.

Mencken was highly antagonistic towards biblical Christianity, but was even more contemptuous of liberal ‘Christianity’, calling it ‘not only foolish but dishonest.’

I have chosen to use the proper names of the principals in the trial to avoid confusion, since there has never been doubt whom the chief characters in the play represent. In the observations that follow, segments from the play are preceded with the heading The Play. Analysis of the segments are preceded with the heading The Facts.

The Play: Great effort is made to solicit sympathy for John Scopes, the much persecuted school teacher cast into jail for teaching evolution, and who risks losing his job and his girlfriend. We are repeatedly reminded that ‘fine and imprisonment’ are possible consequences of his crime.

The Facts: Scopes was never jailed, nor was he in danger of imprisonment. The maximum penalty for violating the Butler Act, which forbade the teaching of evolution in Tennessee, was a $500 fine. Scopes didn’t have a college (university) degree in science (he had an undergraduate degree in law from the University of Kentucky). Scopes was not a biology teacher; he filled in as a substitute for two weeks near the end of the school year for the biology teacher, who was ill. Scope’s involvement in the trial was a wilful decision on his part. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was seeking a teacher willing to stand trial, with all expenses paid, to challenge the Butler Act. The ACLU placed a newspaper ad that read in part:

‘We are looking for Tennessee teacher who is willing to accept our services in testing this law in the courts.’

Local businessman George Rappleyea read this ad and lost no time in seeking John Scopes and pressuring him to accept the ACLU offer. In his autobiography, Scopes details this conversation with Rappleyea, Robinson, and other Dayton businessmen:

I said, ‘If you can prove that I've taught evolution, and that I can qualify as a defendant, then I’ll be willing to stand trial.’

‘You filled in as a biology teacher, didn’t you?’Robinson said.

'Yes.’ I nodded. ‘When Mr Ferguson was sick.’

‘Well, you taught biology then. Didn’t you cover evolution?’

'We reviewed for the final exams, as best I remember.’ To tell the truth, I wasn’t sure I had taught evolution.

‘Robinson and the others apparently weren’t concerned about this technicality. I had expressed willingness to stand trial. That was enough.1 

So John Scopes was not being attacked at all; rather it was he who was on the attack. Scopes willingly joined ranks with the ACLU in an attempt to repeal or nullify the Butler Act. In Sprague de Camp’s book, The Great Monkey Trial, a remarkable conversation between Scopes and reporter William K. Hutchinson of the International News Service reveals that Scopes’ defence lawyers had to coach his students to perjure themselves by claiming that John Scopes had taught them evolution when in fact he hadn’t.2

The Play: Throughout the play, William Jennings Bryan is portrayed as closed-minded, pompous, stupid, intolerant, hypocritical, insincere and gluttonous. The following dialogue between Darrow and Bryan appears on page 51:

DARROW: ‘I don’t suppose you’ve memorized many passages from the Origin of Species?’

BRYAN: ‘I am not the least interested in the pagan hypotheses of that book.’

DARROW: ‘Never read it?‘

BRYAN: ‘And I never will.’

The Facts: Bryan is reported by one of his biographers, Lawrence W. Levine, to have read Darwin’s On the Origin of Species 20 years before the Scopes trial! Bryan’s reservations about the theory of evolution were certainly influenced by his religious beliefs, but he had written many well–argued articles critical of the evidence used to defend the theory of evolution.

Bryan also carried on a long correspondence on evolution with famous evolutionist Henry Fairfield Osborn. For a layman, Bryan’s knowledge of the scientific evidence for and against evolution was unusually sophisticated. By comparison, the trial transcript shows that Darrow gave the impression of having a poor grasp of evolution. Darrow appeared to rest his belief in evolution on scientific ‘authority’, which he accepted without question.

Bryan fights Darrow with his own weapons!

To support his case about the harmful effects of evolutionary philosophy, Bryan used some of Darrow’s own arguments against him. The year before the Scopes Trial, Darrow had saved two young murderers from the death sentence. He claimed ‘this terrible crime was inherent in his organism, and it came from some ancestor.’ He also claimed:

‘Is any blame attached because somebody took Nietsche’s [evolutionary] philosophy seriously and fashioned his life upon it? … it is hardly fair to hang a 19–year–old boy for the philosophy that was taught him at the university.’

Author Sprague de Camp repudiated Byran’s conservative Christianity, and missed no opportunity to criticize his scientific views. Yet honesty compelled him to give Bryan credit for at least some undeniable virtues:

‘As a speaker, Bryan radiated good-humored sincerity. Few who heard him could help liking him. … In personality he was forceful, energetic, and opinionated but genial, kindly, generous, likeable and charming. … He showed a praise-worthy tolerance towards those who disagreed with him. … Bryan was the greatest American orator of his time and perhaps any time.’3

This is obviously different from the play’s portrayal, but de Camp’s description of Bryan’s character is consistent with the major biographies of Bryan’s life (see Levine, 1965, and Coletta, 1969).

The Play: The conservative Christians of Dayton, Tennessee, are portrayed as ignorant, closed–minded, and discourteous. Here are just a few examples: When H.L. Mencken arrives in town, Elijah (a Bible salesman who can neither read nor write) asks Mencken, ‘What are you? An evolutionist? An Infidel? A sinner?’ The mayor of the town offers to look for a town ordinance that would prevent Clarence Darrow from entering the town. When Darrow finally arrives in town, a young Christian girl screams, ‘The Devil!’, and then runs off in fear.

The Facts: The following is an excerpt from H.L. Mencken’s first dispatch sent to his newspaper: ‘Nor is there any evidence of that poisonous spirit which usually shows itself when Christian men gather to defend the great doctrine of their faith. … On the contrary, the Evolutionists and the Anti–Evolutionists seem to be on the best of terms, and it is hard in a group to distinguish one from the other.’4

The following is a quotation from Clarence Darrow on the seventh day of the eight–day trial:


‘I don’t know as I was ever in a community in my life where my religious ideas differed as widely from the great mass as I have found them since I have been in Tennesee. Yet I came here a perfect stranger and I can say what I have said before that I have not found upon any body’s part—any citizen here in this town or outside the slightest discourtesy. I have been treated better, kindlier and more hospitably than I fancied would have been the case in the north’ (trial transcript, pp. 225–226).

The Play: At the prayer meeting, we read the following account from page 39 of The Play:

REV. BROWN: ‘Do we believe the truth of the Word?’

ALL: ‘Yes!’

REV. BROWN: (Pointing a finger towards the jail.) ‘Do we curse the man who denies the Word?’

ALL: (Crescendo, each answer mightier than the one before) ‘Yes!’

REV. BROWN: ‘Do we cast this sinner out of our midst?’

ALL: ‘Yes!’ (Each crash of sound from the crowd seems to strike Rachel physically, and shake her. The prayer meeting has passed beyond the familiar bounds in an area of orgiastic anger.)

REV. BROWN: ‘Do we call down hell-fire on the man who has sinned against the Word?’

ALL: (Roaring.) ‘Yes!’

REV. BROWN: (Deliberately shattering the rhythm, to go into a frenzied prayer, hands clasped together and lifted heavenward) ‘… Let him feel the terror of Thy sword! For all eternity, let his soul write in anguish and damnation.’

RACHEL: ‘No!’ (she rushes to the platform.) ‘No Father. Don’t pray to destroy Bert! [Scopes] (As she falls on her knees in front of the platform.) No, no, no … !’

REV. BROWN: ‘Lord, we call down the same curse on those who ask grace for this sinner—though they be of my blood, and flesh of my flesh!’

The Facts: Reverend Jeremiah Brown and the prayer meeting are fictitious. Earlier in the play, the mayor of the city identified Rev. Brown as the spiritual leader of the community. Since this is a fictitious character, the authors depict him as they please. One might expect the city’s spiritual leader to be a humble man of God who treats others with compassion and love. Instead, the authors introduce Rev. Jeremiah Brown as a mean–spirited man who calls down Hell-fire on his own daughter.

The Play: Scope’s fiancée ‘Rachel Brown’ is called as a witness and is badly mistreated by Bryan, who forces her to testify against her boyfriend by insisting she repeat deeply personal conversations between her and Scopes (which Bryan had pried out of her in ‘confidence’ before the trial). Bryan, always the fanatic, loses his self–control and becomes cruel and merciless in his questioning of the frightened young lady. Darrow, on the other hand, magnanimously agrees not to cross–examine Rachel lest she be further discomforted after Bryan’s abuse.

The Facts: No women participated in the trial. Scopes did not have a special girlfriend or fiancée at this time. Bryan was courteous at all times in his handling of witnesses, as the trial transcript reveals. Darrow, on the other hand, was at times condescending and contemptuous in his treatment of witnesses, jurists, opposing lawyers and even the judge. Darrow was, in fact, cited for contempt of court for repeatedly interrupting and insulting Judge Raulston.

The Play: Darrow questions Bryan on the topic of sex:

DARROW: ‘… You’re up here as an expert on the Bible. What’s the Biblical evaluation of sex?’

BRYAN: ‘It is considered Original Sin.’

The Facts: Nothing was discussed about sex in the trial. Nor does the Bible teach that the original sin was sexual in nature.

The Play: When the Judge excuses Bryan from the stand, Bryan slips into a frenzy:

BRYAN: ‘I believe in the truth of the Book of Genesis!‘ (With both clenched fists he pounds the air, rhythmic hammer blows of conviction as he fervently recites the books of the Old Testament.)

After court is adjourned, the spectators begin to leave while Bryan continues to beat the air with clenched fists.

The Facts: Bryan never went into a frenzy, nor did he recite the books of the Bible. This was just another attempt to depict Bryan as a raving religious lunatic.

The Play: The ‘prisoner’, John Scopes, is found guilty and Darrow is visibly shaken by this great injustice against his client. Bryan, on the other hand, is vindictive and complains about the paltry $100 fine levelled against John Scopes for a crime of such magnitude: ‘Your Honor, the prosecution takes exception! Where the issues are so titanic, the court must mete out more drastic punishment.’

The Facts: Violation of the Butler Act was punishable by a fine of no less that $100 and no greater than $500; imprisonment was not a provision of the law. Bryan was not the least concerned about the fine, nor was anyone else. Indeed, Bryan had offered to pay Scopes’ fine. All of Scopes’ expenses relating to the trial were covered by vested interests, as was the tuition for his graduate education after the trial.

The Play: They play builds to a noisy and chaotic climax as Bryan loses all sense of dignity and reason and goes into an incoherent tirade to read his concluding statement. The crowd is bored and walks out, while Bryan’s wife looks on in horror at what he become of her once sane and caring husband. Finally, overcome by religious zeal, Bryan mindlessly continues with his closing remarks, and collapses on the courtroom floor. As he is carried out, in a strange, unreal voice, he begins what appears to be an inaugural speech as the new President of the United States. Minutes later, his death is announced.

The Facts: Neither Bryan nor Darrow attempted to give the customary closing argument to the jury. Once Darrow accomplished his purpose of ridiculing Bryan’s beliefs in Biblical miracles, he asked the judge to instruct the jury to find Scopes guilty, and in so doing, eliminated the need for closing arguments. Bryan had put great effort into preparing his closing statement. This manoeuvre by Darrow prevented Bryan from giving his well-supported scientific and religious argument against the theory of evolution. Bryan was anxious that the text of his speech be made available to the public, and made provision for its publication only one hour before his death. The speech was cogently argued—hardly the ravings of a mad man unless, of course, all Bible-believing Christians are to be dismissed as ‘mad men’.

Finally, Bryan did not die in the courthouse in a raving frenzy. He died in his sleep at the age of 65 five days after the trial. His doctors had urged him, a diabetic, to cut his heavy workload. Insulin treatment was still in its early years.

There is considerable evidence that the play and film are not simply inaccurate, but rather are highly biased in their intent. The historical inaccuracies are systematic and of a kind that presents a consistent bias of slanderous proportions against people who believe the Biblical account of creation.

On the other hand, those critical of the miracles of the Bible are portrayed as eminently reasonable people who must suffer abuse, threats and ignorance from fundamentalist Christians.

The evidence suggests that the inaccuracies in the play and film Inherit The Wind are substantive, intentional and systematic. Christians, and particularly William Jennings Bryan, are consistently lampooned throughout the play, while sceptics and agnostics are portrayed, while sceptics and agnostics are portrayed as intelligent, kindly, and even heroic. I cannot escape the conclusion that the writers of Inherit The Wind never intended to write a historically accurate account of the Scopes trial, nor did they seriously attempt to portray the principal characters and their beliefs in a fair and accurate way.

  John T. Scopes and James Presley, Center of the Storm: Memoirs of John T. Scopes, Holt, New York, 1967, p. 60. Return to Text.
  The Great Monkey Trial, Sprague de Camp, p. 432. Return to Text.
  Ref. 2, pp. 36–37. Return to Text.
  Ref. 2, p. 147. Return to Text.
  1. Yes there was cross referencing as it says.
  2. The translation I use (ESV) was translated by a team of 100 people. http://www.esv.org/translation/team

Here is a decent article on the New Testament translation.

The Bible Translated, Retranslated, and…Changed? No Chance.

Can we know for certain that the New Testament has been handed down accurately? Yes, we can.

May/June 2000

In the spring of 1989, syndicated talk show host Larry King interviewed Shirley MacLaine on the New Age. When a Christian caller contested her view with an appeal to the New Testament, MacLaine brushed him off with the objection that the Bible has been changed and translated so many times over the last 2000 years that it’s impossible to have any confidence in its accuracy. King was quick to endorse her “facts.” “Everyone knows that,” he grunted.[1]

This invocation of common knowledge is enough to satisfy the ordinary, man-on-the-street critic of the New Testament. An appeal to the game “telephone” demonstrates how reasonable this objection is. Whisper a message to one person and transfer it from person to person, ear to ear, in a circle. Then compare the message’s final form with the original. The radical transformation of the original phrase in so short a period of time is always good for a few laughs. This comparison is enough to convince the casual skeptic that the New Testament documents are equally unreliable.

The argument against the reliability of the New Testament texts can be stated very simply. How can we know that the documents we have in our possession accurately reflect originals destroyed almost two millennia ago? Communication is never perfect; people make mistakes. Errors are compounded with each successive generation, just like the message in the telephone game. By the time 2000 years pass, it’s anyone’s guess what the original said.

It’s easy to state the problem, and some may think merely raising the objection makes the argument itself compelling. Yet offering evidence on its behalf is a bit more difficult.

Usually the complaint is raised by people who have little understanding of the real issues. In cases like this, an appeal to common knowledge is more often than not an appeal to common ignorance. Like many questions about Christianity, this objection is voiced by people who haven’t been given reliable information.

Just the Facts, Ma’am

The question of authenticity is not really a religious concern at all; it’s an academic one. It can be answered in an academic way totally unrelated to spiritual convictions by a simple appeal to facts, an apologetic technique I call “Just the Facts, Ma’am.”

The objection at first glance is compelling. When we try to conceptualize how to reconstruct an original after 2000 years of copying, translating, and copying some more, the task appears impossible. The skepticism, though, is based on two misconceptions about the transmission of ancient documents like the New Testament.

The first assumption is that the transmission is more or less linear, as in the telephone example–one person communicating to a second who communicates with a third, etc. In a linear paradigm people are left with one message and many generations between it and the original. Second, the telephone game example depends on oral transmission which is more easily distorted and misconstrued than something written.

Neither assumption applies to the written text of the New Testament. First, the transmission was not linear, but geometric–e.g., one letter birthed five copies which became 25 which became 200 and so on. Secondly, the transmission in question was done in writing, and written manuscripts can be tested in a way that oral communications cannot be tested.

Reconstructing Aunt Sally’s Letter

Let me illustrate how such a test can be made. It will help you to see how scholars can confidently reconstruct the text from existing manuscript copies even though the copies themselves have differences and are much older than the autograph (i.e., the original).

Pretend your Aunt Sally has a dream in which she learns the recipe for an elixir that would continuously maintain her youth. When she wakes up, she scribbles the directions on a scrap of paper, then runs into the kitchen to make up her first glass. In a few days her appearance is transformed. Sally is a picture of radiant youth because of her daily dose of what comes to be known as “Aunt Sally’s Secret Sauce.”

Sally is so excited she sends hand-written instructions to her three bridge partners (Aunt Sally is still in the technological dark ages–no photocopier or email) giving detailed instructions on how to make the sauce. They, in turn, make copies and send them to ten of their own friends.

All is going well until one day Aunt Sally’s pet schnauzer eats the original copy of the recipe. Sally is beside herself. In a panic she contacts her three friends who have mysteriously suffered similar mishaps. Their copies are gone, too, so the alarm goes out to their friends in attempt to recover the original wording.

They finally round up all the surviving hand-written copies, twenty-six in all. When they spread them out on the kitchen table, they immediately notice some differences. Twenty-three of the copies are exactly the same. Of the remaining three, though, one has some misspelled words, another has two phrases inverted (“mix then chop” instead of “chop then mix”) and one includes an ingredient that none of the others has on its list.

Here is the critical question: Do you think Aunt Sally can accurately reconstruct her original recipe from this evidence? Of course she could. The misspellings are obvious errors, and the single inverted phrase stands out and can easily be repaired. Sally would then simply strike the extra ingredient reasoning it’s more plausible one person would add an item by mistake than 25 people would accidentally omit it.

Even if the variations were more numerous or more diverse, the original could still be reconstructed with a high level of confidence if we had enough copies.

Once you understand how this works, it’s easy to see how even sixth-graders can get it right. Write two to four verses on the board, then tell the students to each make an exact copy on a sheet of paper, reminding them that their grade depends on accuracy.

When they’re finished, erase the board, destroying the “original.” Collect the papers, redistribute them, and tell the students to copy the text a second time using the first copies as a guide. This produces a third generation manuscript.

Collect the second generation copies and trash them, along with half of the third generation manuscripts. Now invite the students to reproduce the originals from what remains.

Even if some knucklehead messes up, the rest of the students will be able to repair the breach because they have the documentation needed to make the correction.

This, in simplified form, is how the science of textual criticism works. Textual critics are academics who reconstruct a missing original from existing manuscripts that are generations removed from the autograph. According to New Testament scholar F.F. Bruce, “Its object [is] to determine as exactly as possible from the available evidence the original words of the documents in question.”[2]

The science of textual criticism is used to test all documents of antiquity–not just religious texts–including historical and literary writings. It’s not a theological enterprise based on haphazard hopes and guesses; it’s a linguistic exercise that follows a set of established rules. Textual criticism allows an alert critic to determine the extent of possible corruption of any work.

How Many and How Old?

The ability of any scholar to do effective textual criticism depends on two factors. First, how many existing copies are there to examine and compare? Are there two copies, ten, a hundred? The more copies there are, the easier it is to make meaningful comparisons. Second, how close in time are the oldest existing documents to the original?

If the numbers are few and the time gap is wide, the original is harder to reconstruct with confidence. However, if there are many copies and the oldest existing copies are reasonably close in time to the original, the textual critic can be more confident he’s pinpointed the exact wording of the autograph.

To get an idea of the significance of the New Testament manuscript evidence, note for a moment the record for non-biblical texts. These are secular texts from antiquity that have been reconstructed with a high degree of certainty based on the available textual evidence.

The important First Century document The Jewish War, by Jewish aristocrat and historian Josephus, survives in only nine complete manuscripts dating from the 5th Century–four centuries after they were written.[3] Tacitus’ Annals of Imperial Rome is one of the chief historical sources for the Roman world of New Testament times, yet, surprisingly, it survives in partial form in only two manuscripts dating from the Middle Ages.[4] Thucydides’ History survives in eight copies. There are 10 copies of Caesar’s Gallic Wars, eight copies of Herodotus’ History, and seven copies of Plato, all dated over a millennium from the original. Homer’s Iliad has the most impressive manuscript evidence for any secular work with 647 existing copies.[5]

Bruce’s comments put the discussion in perspective: “No classical scholar would listen to an argument that the authenticity of Herodotus or Thucydides is in doubt because the earliest manuscripts of their works which are of any use to us are over 1300 years later than the originals.”[6]

For most documents of antiquity only a handful of manuscripts exist, some facing a time gap of 800-2000 years or more. Yet scholars are confident of reconstructing the originals with a high degree of accuracy. In fact, virtually all of our knowledge of ancient history depends on documents like these.

The Biblical Manuscript Evidence

By comparison with secular texts, the manuscript evidence for the New Testament is stunning. The count by 1986 shows 5,366 separate Greek manuscripts represented by early fragments, uncial codices (manuscripts in capital Greek letters bound together in book form), and minuscules (small Greek letters in cursive style)![7]

Among the nearly 3,000 minuscule fragments are 34 complete New Testaments dating from the 9th to the 15th Centuries.[8]

Uncial manuscripts provide virtually complete codices (multiple books of the New Testament bound together into one volume) back to the 4th Century, though some are a bit younger. Codex Sinaiticus, purchased by the British government from the Soviet government at Christmas, 1933, for £100,000,[9] is dated c. 340.[10] The nearly complete Codex Vaticanus is the oldest uncial, dated c. 325-350.[11] Codex Alexandrinus contains the whole Old Testament and a nearly complete New Testament and dates from the late 4th Century to the early 5th Century.

The most fascinating evidence comes from the fragments (as opposed to the codices). The Chester Beatty Papyri contains most of the New Testament and is dated mid-3rd Century.[12] The Bodmer Papyri II collection, whose discovery was announced in 1956, includes the first fourteen chapters of the Gospel of John and much of the last seven chapters. It dates from A.D. 200 or earlier.[13]

The most amazing find of all, however, is a small portion of John 18:31-33, discovered in Egypt known as the John Rylands Papyri. Barely three inches square, it represents the earliest known copy of any part of the New Testament. The papyri is dated on paleographical grounds at around A.D. 117-138 (though it may even be earlier),[14] showing that the Gospel of John was circulated as far away as Egypt within 30 years of its composition.

Keep in mind that most of the papyri are fragmentary. Only about 50 manuscripts contain the entire New Testament, though most of the other manuscripts contain the four Gospels. Even so, the manuscript textual evidence is exceedingly rich, especially when compared to other works of antiquity.

Ancient Versions and Patristic Quotations

Two other cross checks on the accuracy of the manuscripts remain: ancient versions and citations by the early church Fathers known as “patristic quotations.”

Early in the history of the Church Greek documents, including the Scriptures, were translated into Latin. By the 3rd and 4th Centuries the New Testament was translated into Coptic, Syriac, Armenian, Georgian, etc. These texts helped missionaries reach new cultures in their own language as the Gospel spread and the Church grew.[15] Translations of the Greek manuscripts (called “versions”) help modern-day textual critics answer questions about the underlying Greek manuscripts.

In addition, there are ancient extra-biblical sources–characteristically catechisms, lectionaries, and quotes from the church fathers–that record the Scriptures, 36,000 citations.[16] Paul Barnett says that the “Scriptures…gave rise to an immense output of early Christian literature which quoted them at length and, in effect, preserved them.”[17] Metzger notes the amazing fact that “if all other sources for our knowledge of the text of the New Testament were destroyed, [the patristic quotations] would be sufficient alone for the reconstruction of practically the entire New Testament.”[18]

The Verdict

What can we conclude from this evidence? New Testament specialist Daniel Wallace notes that although there are about 300,000 individual variations of the text of the New Testament, this number is very misleading. Most of the differences are completely inconsequential–spelling errors, inverted phrases and the like. A side by side comparison between the two main text families (the Majority Text and the modern critical text) shows agreement a full 98% of the time.[19]

Of the remaining differences, virtually all yield to vigorous textual criticism. This means that our New Testament is 99.5% textually pure. In the entire text of 20,000 lines, only 40 lines are in doubt (about 400 words), and none affects any significant doctrine.[20]

Greek scholar D.A. Carson sums up this way: “The purity of text is of such a substantial nature that nothing we believe to be true, and nothing we are commanded to do, is in any way jeopardized by the variants.”[21]

Geisler and Nix state unequivocally, “No book from the ancient world comes to us with more abundant evidence for its integrity than does the New Testament.”[22]

This issue is no longer contested by non-Christian scholars, and for good reason. Simply put, if we reject the authenticity of the New Testament on textual grounds we’d have to reject every ancient work of antiquity and declare null and void every piece of historical information from written sources prior to the beginning of the second millennium A.D.

Has the New Testament been altered? Critical, academic analysis says it has not.
By Gregory Kokul www.str.org

King James Version: 1611
English Standard Version: 2001

Manuscripts Used in Translating the ESV

Each word and phrase in the ESV has been carefully weighed against the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, to ensure the fullest accuracy and clarity and to avoid under-translating or overlooking any nuance of the original text.

The words and phrases themselves grow out of the Tyndale-King James legacy, and most recently out of the RSV, with the 1971 RSV text providing the starting point for our work.

Archaic language has been brought to current usage and significant corrections have been made in the translation of key texts. But throughout, our goal has been to retain the depth of meaning and enduring language that have made their indelible mark on the English-speaking world and have defined the life and doctrine of the church over the last four centuries.

The ESV is based on the Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible as found in Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (2nd ed., 1983), and on the Greek text in the 1993 editions of the Greek New Testament (4th corrected ed.), published by the United Bible Societies (UBS), and Novum Testamentum Graece (27th ed.), edited by Nestle and Aland.

The currently renewed respect among Old Testament scholars for the Masoretic text is reflected in the ESV’s attempt, wherever possible, to translate difficult Hebrew passages as they stand in the Masoretic text rather than resorting to emendations or to finding an alternative reading in the ancient versions.

In exceptional, difficult cases, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Septuagint, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Syriac Peshitta, the Latin Vulgate, and other sources were consulted to shed possible light on the text, or, if necessary, to support a divergence from the Masoretic text. Similarly, in a few difficult cases in the New Testament, the ESV has followed a Greek text different from the text given preference in the UBS/Nestle-Aland 27th edition.

The footnotes that accompany the ESV text inform the reader of textual variations and difficulties and show how these have been resolved by the ESV Translation Team. In addition to this, the footnotes indicate significant alternative readings and occasionally provide an explanation for technical terms or for a difficult reading in the text.

Throughout, the Translation Team has benefited greatly from the massive textual resources that have become readily available recently, from new insights into biblical laws and culture, and from current advances in Hebrew and Greek lexicography and grammatical understanding.