Printed from http://tektonics.org/mcpherson01.php
J. B. McPherson's Holey Bible - Old Testament -- hereafter HBOT -- according to OCLC's WorldCat, was never followed up with a promised NT version. The appearance of the book by itself offers little encouraging: It is badly typeset, and is illustrated with drawings that appear to have been done by an artistic prodigy from the local daycare.
The contents are no more promising in terms of substance. There are many of the standard objections we've covered hundreds of times (and a few new to my eye which will warrant attention) but what makes HBOT unique is it's central thesis: "God" is neither god nor deity, but extraterrestrial; the Israelites "invented a personal 'God' from the astronauts who first came from other planets to colonize (Earth)." [i]
If you're a Skeptic, though, this will make you shake your head: Mark Twain is listed in the bibliography with books like Chariots of the Gods.
By now I need hardly point out that McPherson is no Biblical scholar. It should come as no surprise, though, that McPherson is an example of the bills of a negligent church coming due; which is not to say she is not responsible for his own fate. The twin themes of "fear and ignorance" are repeated time and time again, apparently having had their roots in McPherson's Pentecostal/Church of God background, which was also apparently filled with preachers who rather than answer his questions just told her to have faith and believe.
She did, all right: What she has now is a mix of Rosicrucianism, Unity, Erich von Daniken, and Edgar Cayce. But now would McPherson have had us shed those "tired, shopworn and outdated dogmas of today's religious teachings"  -- and put in their place God as an E.T.?
Errors abound, as noted. Oral transmission is regarded not as the reliable method of transmission that folklore experts have shown it can be in the short term, but is incorrectly compared to the modern "whisper around the room" game [ii].
Questions of translation are dealt with via this approach: "Considering the many translations and changes from one language to another, it is easy to see why much of the bible does not make sense." [iii]
Make sense to whom? McPherson? What about Biblical scholars and those who know the languages well?
I have already shown enough that it will hardly be necessary to service McPherson's book point-by-point. Rather, we shall select from the bulk of McPherson's book -- which is devoted to wisecracking commentary on the books of the OT -- some of the most unusual points I discoved:
- A regularly-repeated theme of McPherson's runs like this, with specific reference
here to the Exodus: "Why not just zap the whole kit and kaboodle
over to the land where he wanted them and save all the time and
trouble involved?" 
Skeptics regularly ask questions of this sort, and there is a very simple answer: God does not take the high hand in these things because, first, it is coercive, and true love does not rely on coercion; second, and most importantly, we have shown every time we sin that we do not want God's personal guidance in such high-handed fashion.
Skeptics and critics who believe that the God of the Bible, rather than punishing sin justly, ought to simply pick us up, dust us off, and pat us on the head like a senile grandpa, show thereby exactly the God they want. A senile grandpa god would not just "zap the whole kit and kaboodle" over to Canaan because he would be too "out of it" and senseless to care.
God is not like that, but in sinning, and in constantly rebelling against God and His direction, we show that we wish He were like that. He is not coercive, but rather patient, even in judgment: We will get exactly what we want -- and it will not be a "mail-order" deity.
On the other hand, those who ask for God's interference had best watch out, because the first thing on the list to be zapped is most likely you, because before you ever got to the podium someone else who was wronged by you beat you to it. See more here.
- Confusion is alleged between Numbers 25 and 31 [34-6], in that
in 25:1-5, Israel is influenced by "Moabite" women, yet later in 25
and in 31 it is the Midianites who are blamed and punished.
A little social data solvescthis: The Midianites were the subjects of the Moabites (cf. Gen. 36:35). The Moabites stayed in their own land and the Israelites went to where the Moabites lived to participate in their ceremonies, as verses 1-5 indicate.
Now as long as this was the case, God's determination was that the Moabites, who were passive in the situation, were to be left alone: It was Israel's fault. But in verse 6, a woman of the Midianites was brought into the Israelite camp. A situation like this, in the social context, indicates a marriage that was arranged by one of the Midianites. So now, rather than being passive participants like the Moabites, the Midianites were taking active steps towards infiltration and assimilation. That's the key difference.
Glenn Miller has addressed this objection, using a much more developed form of my own argument, here.
2 Chr. 17:5-6 The LORD established the kingdom under his control; and all Judah brought gifts to Jehoshaphat, so that he had great wealth and honor. His heart was devoted to the ways of the LORD; furthermore, he removed the high places and the Asherah poles from Judah.
2 Chr 20:33-4 The high places, however, were not removed, and the people still had not set their hearts on the God of their fathers. The other events of Jehoshaphat's reign, from beginning to end, are written in the annals of Jehu son of Hanani, which are recorded in the book of the kings of Israel.
Contradiction is alleged here for obvious reasons, but I think it hardly needs pointing out that Josiah's reign didn't last just a few minutes. The latter verse obviously reflects conditions at the end of Jehoshaphat's reign, for of course we may be sure that some were quite inclined to put the high places back whenever they thought they could get away with it.>
Ex 22:31 You are to be my holy people. So do not eat the meat of an animal torn by wild beasts; throw it to the dogs.
Lev. 17:15 Anyone, whether native-born or alien, who eats anything found dead or torn by wild animals must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he will be ceremonially unclean till evening; then he will be clean.
Dt. 14:21 Do not eat anything you find already dead. You may give it to an alien living in any of your towns, and he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner.
McPherson supposes that these three verses represent "changes of heart" on the subject of eating dead animals.
But a careful reading tells us otherwise. The Exodus verse refers only to animals that are mauled by other animals and have died. Deuteronomy refers only to animals found dead of natural causes. Leviticus refers to both types and tells what to do if someone (whether native or stranger) consumes such an animal in spite of the rule against doing so.
The stranger of course would have to decide whether it would be worth it to have to do the washing ritual in order to eat the animal -- chances are, in this age before there was a supermarket on every corner, they wouldn't have minded.
- It is asked: Why did God choose people like Abraham, Saul, and David to do His bidding when they turned out to be such rotten eggs?
May I just say that this objection is highly presumptuous in that it assumes without the least hint of proof that someone better must have been available. God chose Abraham -- who else was available? Perhaps if (allow me to be facetious here for a moment) unknown to divinity some large chunk of masonry had come crashing down on Abraham's head when he was 20, someone else would have been second choice, anyone from Farmer Nxlhtl in the Yucatan jungles to Sheepherder Wong in desert China.
But unless someone can prove (and they obviously cannot) that there was another person in the world who would have been both more moral and better able to do God's bidding, then this objection is of no use.
- The "angel of the Lord" is not recognized as a theophany, but is rather assumed to be a subject angel of God's; from that are other false conclusions drawn. 
- 2 Chron. 17:3 ("The LORD was with Jehoshaphat because in his early years he walked in the ways his father David had followed. ") is read as saying that Jehshaophat was David's physical son ; McPherson is missing the variable use of such familial terms in this period. For the same reason, she supposes that the Song of Solomon describes incest, since it describes Solomon's lover as his "sister".[175-6]
- Rhetorical inquiries made by God (such as the location of Abel), which are reflective of typical ANE interrogation methods, are taken as indications of God's lack of omniscience and used for McPherson's "astronaut" thesis.
- Ps. 78:35 ("They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer.") and 86:13 ("For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.") are taken not as emphasizing poetry, as ANE scholars understand it, but as meaning that David was "under the impression that there was a high God and a low God as well as a high and a low hell." [62-3]
- Amos 4:10-12 ---
I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt: your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away your horses; and I have made the stink of your camps to come up unto your nostrils: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.
-- is taken to mean that "God" and "the Lord" are two separate entities. McPherson fails to appreciate the theological distinction between "Yahweh" (the covenant name of the God of Israel) and "Elohim" (a power and majesty general name and noun).
- The command to have "no other gods before me" is taken (as Twain, as I recall, took it) to mean that there could be other gods in second and third place; on that, see here.
- The Hebrew idiom (preserved in the KJV - cf. 1 Kings 14:10) referring to God destroying any who "pisseth against a wall" is taken as meaning that God is a fastidious fool who judges those who urinate in public . Scholars of the ANE recognize this as an idiom meaning simply "males".
- Of the extensive descriptions of the construction of the Ark and the tabernacle, comments like these are made: "It would be difficult to believe that anyone who ever read the bible got pleasure from reading this rambling drivel, much less any who were spiritually inspired by it." And: "Now, could you imagine yourself entertaining any hope of attaining heaven's gates without reading those stirring verses to inspire you?" 
Well, it's very sad that McPherson did not find herself sufficiently entertained and "inspired" by the Biblical text, but that was hardly its purpose. No one would argue that the detailed data in Leviticus has the same level of application for us today as do the Gospels: That is not the point. But we may still learn from these texts if our minds are open and questioning (see below) rather than concerned with being entertained.
- McPherson suggests that other books should have been included in the canon instead (no thanks to those conspiratorial church councils, who kicked them out). And she does have a candidate for inclusion that she says is the "most valuable"  of the excluded works: The Book of Jasher (Josh. 10:13, 2 Sam. 1:18). This book runs the same territory as Genesis through Judges, McPherson tells us, and she gives us a long summary of this work showing how much it improves upon the Biblical record -- it proves that Moses was a teller of tall tales, and fits much better with her "ancient astronaut" thesis.
If you've read my canon article section on excluded books by now, you are probably asking this question: "I thought the Book of Jasher was lost except for fragments preserved in the OT. Where did McPherson get a copy from?"
Simple -- as she says, it is "easy to obtain a copy" of this work, which is "fully documented for authenticity"  -- just write to the Rosicrucian Supply Bureau, an ever-reliable source of distribution for authentic ancient documents that all of those scholars, archaeologists, classicists, paleographers, and so on have unfortunately missed.
To put it in a nutshell, however: This "Book of Jasher" is without a semblance of authenticity.
And now the last, and most obscure: McPherson's central thesis, that the God of Israel (as well as pagan deities like Chemosh and Ishtar) were actually advanced extraterrestrial beings who came to colonize our planet and took sections of it for themselves. I think such ideas hardly need refuting in detail; suffice to say that no respectable sociologist, historian, or archaeologist believes this sort of thing, but we can add that McPherson's "evidence" for this from the Bible (which he says "overwhelmingly confirms"  her thesis) is extremely thin and relies entirely on imagination and not at all on scholarship or an understanding of Ancient Near Eastern language, literature and society.
To wit: The vision of God in Ex. 24:9-10 by the elders of Israel is best seen as "an excellent description of a spaceship landing module...or a helicopter with a semi-transparent blue plastic beneath the operator's feet and a clear plastic bubble over his head." 
Descriptions of Gabriel in the Book of Daniel bringing messages to and fro "brings to mind a picture of a man wearing a one-man backpack flying unit".
Moses' rod is thought to have been a super-space weapon provided by Yahweh the astronaut.
Jonah's whale was a submarine; God's spaceship caused the sea to rage, and when he saw the men throw Jonah overboard, he radioed the sub to pick him up. 
Elijah's "whirlwind" was a helicopter.
The sanitation and exclusion rules in Leviticus were made because God the astronaut was worried that the conditions like dwarfism might be contagious.
Do we need to go any further? Here is the conclusion to the matter.
We see once again, as I have said, a case of the church's bills of neglect coming due. The educational system can take some blame for this as well, since it has obviously failed to teach people like McPherson to think critically. But in reading McPherson, I am sadly reminded of a meeting I had with a group of 10 pastors to whom I offered my services, without any obligation, as a teacher of apologetics for their church training classes. One of the pastors actually asked before the others if I really felt there was a need for such instruction.
I say, take one look at McPherson and tell me that there isn't a need. It just isn't recognized until the apostasy occurs and it is almost too late to do anything about it.
McPherson thought she had become free of her shackles; in fact she has simply traded one master for another.