Luke 3:36 and the alleged LXX
Who is Cainan in Luke 3:36?
"Answers in Genesis" is usually a very good ministry which defends creationism versus evolution. However the textual consultant, Mr. Sarfati, does the usual tap dance when discussing the inspiration of Scripture. Here are some of his comments.
Cainan: How do you explain the difference between Luke 3:36 and Genesis 11:12? by Dr. Jonathan D. Sarfati -
"The difference is that Luke 3:36 has the extra name Cainan. Some skeptics have used this difference to attack biblical inerrancy. However, it is important to note that Biblical inerrancy, derived from the teaching that Scripture is ‘God-breathed’ (2 Timothy 3:15-17, 2 Peter 1:20-21 and ‘cannot be broken’ (John 10:35) and many other places, has to refer to the original autographs that God directly inspired, not to copies or translations. The Cainan difference is NOT an error in the original autographs of Scripture, but one of the EXTREMELY FEW copyist’s errors in the manuscripts available today.
1. The Bible is the written Word of God. It is divinely inspired and inerrant throughout. Its assertions are factually true in all the original autographs. It is the supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.
So if a copyist of Luke’s gospel is responsible for the error, how come it is in the LXX as well? A clue to the solution is that the extra Cainan in Genesis 11 is found only in manuscripts of the LXX that were written long after Luke’s Gospel. The evidence shows conclusively that the extra name Cainan is not part of God’s original Word, but due to a later copyist’s error. The oldest LXX manuscripts do not have this extra Cainan." (End of Mr. Sarfati's comments)
A Bible Believer's Response
Mr. Sarfati starts off his "defense" of inerrancy with three huge whoppers. He says: "The Cainan difference is NOT an error in the original autographs of Scripture, but one of the EXTREMELY FEW copyist’s errors in the manuscripts available today." He then assures us that the Bible's assertions are factually true in ALL THE ORIGINAL AUTOGRAPHS and that they are the supreme authority in all matters of faith.
How can something that does not exit "be the supreme authority in all matters of faith"? Mr. Sarfati has never seen one of these "original autographs" a day in his life, simply because they do not exist, and he knows they don't exist when he says this.
He has absolutely no way on earth of knowing for sure what or what was not "in the original autographs".
His second big lie is implying "A COPYIST of Luke's gospel is responsible for the error". The simple fact is, the reading of Cainan in Luke 3:36 is not found in just one or two copies of Luke, but is the reading found in practically every known Greek manuscript in existence today.
It is in the vast Majority of all Greek copies, including Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Alexandrinus, as well as the ancient Syriac Peshitta, Harkelian, Coptic and Latin versions.
It is also the reading of the Latin Vulgate 425 A.D, Wycliffe 1395, Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, the Geneva Bible, the NKJV, NASB, NIV, RSV, ESV, ISV, Holman Standard, and every English Bible version I have ever seen.
It is also in the Spanish Reina Valera, the Italian Diodati, the Portuguese Almeida, the French Martin and Ostervald and the Louis Second 2007 and Luther's German Bible. I know of no Bible version in any language that omits this name from the genealogy of Christ in Luke chapter three.
His third big lie is telling us: "this is one of the EXTREMELY FEW copyist’s errors in the manuscripts available today." Mr. Sarfati should be well aware of the fact that there are literally THOUSANDS of variant readings, different names, numbers, phrases and entire verses found in some copies that that are not in others.
The New Testaments of such versions as the NASB, NIV, ESV (none of which totally agree with each other) differ from the New Testament of versions like the King James Bible, NKJV, Young's, and the Geneva Bible, by about 5000 words! This can hardly be called "extremely few".
Mr. Sarfati also assures us that the oldest LXX manuscripts do not contain the name Cainan, though he has never seen one of these because, again, they don't exist.
Mr. Sarfati continues to make his case for "Christian Logic 101" even worse by saying: "Either way, this extra name ‘Cainan’ cannot be used as an argument against biblical inerrancy."
Why not, Mr. Sarfati? IF it is an ERROR found in every Bible on the earth today, then why is it not proof that the Christian Bible is not inerrant?
Then Mr. Sarfati attempts to bolster his absurd arguments by quoting a certain Mr. Pierce who summarizes: "I think we have more than enough evidence that would stand up in any court of law to show that EVERY SINGLE COPY WE HAVE OF THE LXX TEXT WAS CORRUPTED SOME TIME AFTER AD 220."
Notice here that Mr. Sarfati quotes from another man who tells us that every copy of the LXX we now have is corrupted, yet Mr. Sarfati earlier referred to the oldest LXX which did not contain the name of Cainan. BUT he himself has never seen, nor can he produce for us this hypothetical "would stand up in any court of law evidence", and he knows he can't. Do you see how the scholar's game is played?
MORE COMMENTS ON THE LXX
John Gill's commentary of Luke 3:36. Though I do not agree with everything John Gill states about this verse, (he does not believe Cainan should be in the text at all), yet it is to be noted that he too believed that the present copies of the LXX got their reading in Genesis from the already completed gospel of Luke.
Gill says: "Which was the son of Cainan…This Cainan is not mentioned by Moses in (Genesis 11:12) nor has he ever appeared in any Hebrew copy of the Old Testament, nor in the Samaritan version, nor in the Targum; nor is he mentioned by Josephus, nor in (1 Chronicles 1:24) where the genealogy is repeated... it indeed stands in the present copies of the Septuagint, but was not originally there; and therefore could not be taken by Luke from thence... and (it was) SINCE PUT INTO THE SEPTUAGINT TO GIVE IT AUTHORITY."
Scholars are a funny bunch. Get five scholars in a room, and you will come out with seven different opinions. Some scholars emphatically tell us that Luke got his reading of 'Cainan' from the LXX itself. Others tell us the opposite, saying that the LXX got it from Luke. And then there are those that tell us that the name Cainan was not in the original LXX NOR in the original gospel of Luke! Go figure.
So there you have the thoughts of "scholars" who assume there is no way the Holy Bible can be correct as it stands today, yet they assure us there is really nothing to worry about, and that God's words were once inspired in the "originals", though they have never seen them.
In a somewhat similar fashion to the appearance in the Bible of the name of Cainan, we have the names of two individuals listed in the New Testament, which are not found in the Old Testament. In 2 Timothy 3:8 we read: "Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith."
This is an interesting verse in light of those who criticize the Holy Bible and tell us it contains errors, isn't it?
"Men of corrupt minds, reprobate concering the faith."
It seems, though we are nowhere told this directly, that Jannes and Jambres were probably two of the magicians in Pharoah's court who performed miracles imitating those God did through Moses.
Where did Paul get this additional information about the specific names of these individuals? God revealed it to him. The Bible is a supernatural book.
Likewise I do not believe that the additional name of Cainan, who is listed as a "son" of Arphaxad is an error in the Holy Bible.
Those who tell us the name Cainan is not in the original have only two manuscripts of very dubious character that either do not contain the name Cainan (Manuscript D) or, to quote many scholarly articles, "appears not to contain this name" - (P75).
It should be noted that neither does manuscript D contain many other whole verses or sections of Luke's gospel, though found in the others. Manuscript D is notorious for adding large sections to the gospel of Luke which are not found in any other manuscript, and D is also well known for omitting other large portions of Luke's gospel.
One example of many that could be provided is the additional reading found in manuscript D, also known as Codex Bezae, in Luke 6:5. There our Lord says: "And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath".
Then D alone adds: "On the same day seeing some one working on the Sabbath, He said to him: man, if you know what you do, blessed are you; but if you do not know, you are cursed and a transgressor of the law."
Manuscript D also omits all of Luke 23:34 "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them: for they know not what they do."
It also alone omits Luke 24:6 "He is not here, but is risen"; Luke 24:12 "Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass."; Luke 24:36 "and saith unto them, Peace be unto you"; Luke 24:40 "And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet."; and Luke 24:51 "and carried up into heaven."
These are just a very few of the many omissions found in manuscript D. Not very reliable, is it?
As for P75, not only does it "appear" to omit the name Cainan from Luke 3:36, but P75 also is missing all of Luke 3:23 to 3:33! It also is missing Luke 4:3 to 4:33; 5:11 to 5:36; 6:5 to 6:9; 7:33-34; 7:44-45; 17:16-18, and from Luke 18:19 all the way to Luke 22:3!
Such is the scant evidence for the omission of the name Cainan from the gospel of Luke 3:36.
So how do we explain who this man Cainan is? In Luke 3 we read of the lineage of the Lord Jesus from the side of Mary. There we see "Heber, which was the son of Sala (Salah), which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad, which was the son of Sem (Shem), which was the son of Noah..."
In the Bible, the words "begat" and "son" do not necessarily imply a direct father to son relationship. For example: Matthew 1:8 "And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias." Did you know that Uzziah (Ozias) is the great-great-grandson of Joram? Yet the text says, "Joram begat Ozias".
In the book of Ruth we read in 4:17 "And the women her neighbours gave it a name (the child Ruth just gave birth to), saying, There is a SON BORN TO NAOMI; and they called his name Obed; he is the father of Jesse, the father of David."
Naomi was actually the grandmother of the child, yet Scripture calls the grandchild her son, and says he was BORN TO Naomi.
Likewise the gospel of Matthew 1:1 starts off saying: "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham." Obviously the word "son" does not always mean a direct line from father to son.
The word "son" is also used to denote a son-in-law. King David was Saul's son-in-law, yet Saul calls David his "son" several times in Scripture. In the book of Ruth, Naomi calls Ruth her "daughter", yet in fact she was her daughter-in-law.
Among the various possibilities of who this man Cainan was are the following two.
#1. Cainan may have been the firstborn son of Arphaxad who married at an early age. Cainan conceives Salah with his wife, but he dies before his son Selah is born. So Arphaxad, his father, adopts Salah and becomes his "father". Remember, the word "beget" does not necessarily mean direct father-son relationship.
Or #2. Cainan may have married one of Arphaxad's daughters and Salah was his son. However, in the genealogy listed in Genesis chapter 11, Arphaxad is listed as having "begotten" Salah, even though he was the grandfather. Genealogies often skip over generations, and sons are not always listed in the order in which they were born.
See Genesis 6:10 where Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Though Japheth was the elder (Genesis 10:21) yet he is listed last. In Luke, Cainan is listed as Arphaxad's "son", even though he was in fact his son-in-law.
These are the two possibilities that make the most sense to me, and do not in any way call into question the reliability or accuracy of the Scriptures.
The King James Holy Bible is always right. Get used to it.
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