Mr. Emmett F. Fields alleges that the Christian concept of God evolved over centuries.  He states,

In the New Testament we find a God that evolved during the first few hundred years of the Christian era. Christianity developed through religious hate. The weak were called heretics and their teachings were brutally suppressed, and so the Christianity that survived is the orthodoxy of the strong and the ruthless. Orthodoxy destroyed the meek and filled Christianity with hate, fire and fury.1

Inherent within his assumption that the Christian concept of God as found in the New Testament evolved over centuries is the presumption that the Gospels and the Epistles were not written by the apostles and prophets of Christ in the first century, but much later by people who composed according to their own will, and without any real knowledge of what happened.  Even worse than this, Fields believes that Jesus never lived and assumes that the New Testament is nothing more that a fictitious account that has been foisted on mankind as truth.

Now concerning the allegation that Jesus is a myth, this will be covered on the page entitled Jesus is a Myth.  On this page we will examine how the New Testament was formed, for if historical evidence shows that the New Testament was substantially completed by the end of the first century AD, then Fields' allegation that God evolved over centuries will be shown to be without historical confirmation.

F. F. Bruce (1910-1990), a renowned Greek scholar, was Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis at the University of Manchester, England.  During his life he wrote more that 40 books.  However, his book entitled The New Testament Documents, Are they Reliable? is undoubtedly his most read book, and it is still being printed to this day and can readily be found through such sellers as  Bruce states with confidence,

The New Testament was complete, or substantially complete, about AD 100, the majority of the writings being in existence twenty to forty years before this.2

He specifically states this regarding the gospels:

...for the first three Gospels were written at a time when many were alive who could remember the things that Jesus had said or did, and some at least would still be alive when the fourth Gospel was written.3

Bruce recognized the objections of certain scholars to the early dates of the New Testament documents, but says that with the large amount of evidence now available, "...a first-century date of most of the New Testament writings cannot reasonably be denied...."4 

Thus the evidence base that Bruce, as a expert in Greek, was working from was substantially different than Fields' sources, whatever those sources may have been, since Fields chose not to provide any specific references for his position that God evolved over the first few centuries AD.

Bruce gives an overview of the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, which now number in excess of 5000.  He points out that the best preserved and most important of these documents date to about 350 AD, and identifies these as the Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus.  Also of great importance is the Codex Alexandrinus and Codex Bazae, which date back to the fifth and sixth centuries AD.  However, more recent discoveries of fragments of papyrus copies of the New Testament push the authenticity of the New Testament to as early as 130-200 AD.  He specifically says this about the papyrus evidence:

In addition to the two excellent mss of the fourth century mentioned above, which are the earliest of some thousands known to us, considerable fragments remain of papyrus copies of books of the New Testament dated from 100-200 years earlier still.  The Chester Beatty Biblical Papyri, the existence of which was made public in 1931, consist of portions of eleven papyrus codices, three of which contained most of the New Testament writings.  One of these, containing the four Gospels with Acts, belongs to the first half of the third century; another, containing Paul's letters to churches and the Epistle to the Hebrews, was copied at the beginning of the third century; the third, containing Revelation, belongs to the second half of the same century.4

Bruce cites even older papyrus evidence, as follows

Earlier still is a fragment of a papyrus codex containing John 18:31-333, 37-38, now in John Rylands Library, Manchester, dated on palaeographical grounds around AD 130, showing that the latest of the four Gospels, which was written, according to tradition, at Ephesus between AD 90 and 100, was circulating in Egypt within about forty years of its composition (if, as is most likely, this papyrus originated in Egypt, where it was acquired in 1917).  It must be regarded as being, by a half a century, the earliest extant fragment of the New Testament.5

Bruce points out that the evidence for the New Testament writings is substantially greater than that afforded to many writings of the classical authors.  These writings of the classical Greek authors are without question in terms of their authenticity in spite of the fact that the existing manuscripts are as much as 1300 years later than the originals, and the number of available manuscripts are comparatively tiny compared to that of the Greek New Testament documents.  Thus, since the classical Greek manuscripts have far less evidence for authenticity than the Greek New Testament documents, the same courtesy should be afforded to the New Testament documents as is given to the classical authors regarding authenticity.6

However, there is still more evidence that this.  The New Testament was alluded to and quoted from by other early writers known as the "Apostolic Fathers."  These men wrote from 90 to 160 AD, and they clearly quoted from the most of the books in the New Testament.7  Please see Bruce for a detailed account of these.

Bruce ends his chapter having established historically the undeniable authenticity of the New Testament by quoting from Sir Frederic Kenyon:

The interval then between the dates of original composition and the earliest extant evidence becomes so small as to be in fact negligible, and the last foundation for any doubt that the Scriptures have come down to us substantially as they were written has now been removed.  Both the authenticity and the general integrity of the books of the New Testament may be regarded as finally established.8

The point could not be clearer:  There are no "centuries of time" for the Christian concept of God to "evolve."  The evidence for the authenticity and the general integrity of the New Testament documents is undeniable, and this disproves one of the major presumptions that Fields has regarding the New Testament.  The New Testament documents were composed by the apostles and prophets of the Lord Jesus Christ in the first century AD, and not by anonymous writers centuries later pretending to be the Lord's apostles and prophets.

  2. Bruce, FF. The New Testament Documents, Are they Reliable?  WB Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI/Cambridge, UK, © 1981, p 7.
  3. Bruce, ibid., p 7.
  4. Bruce, ibid., p 11, 12.
  5. Bruce, ibid., p 12.
  6. Bruce, ibid., p 11.
  7. Bruce, ibid., p 13.
  8. Bruce, ibid., p 15, quoted from The Bible and Archeology (1940), pp 288-89.