We continue our apologetics series, next focusing on the incredible document called the Bible. It, too, must be denied today (in any way possible) as it infringes on the willful rebelliousness of those who reject God and the Creator’s authority. However, it is a document with a pedigree that goes far beyond human possibility.
Do you know the real facts … the undeniable proofs of the Bible? The evidence crushes the arguments of the careless and foolhardy skeptics. However here again, we discover that facts alone will not necessarily be received by people. Why? They choose not to conform because they do not want to. Nevertheless, we hope that all would know the “facts” so that at least none would be the incidental casualty of ignorance.
Reference to the Bible in the popular media is usually in the form of a token quote or an implied lampooning. In the public square, the Bible isn’t imbued with any particular authority. The only thing biblical that inspires awe today is when natural phenomena or trends are of “biblical proportions.”
And so, few people in public life these days will venture the opinion or the personal belief that the Bible is the infallible Word of God. After all, just how could that be? It would mean that one believes that Noah actually took a pair of most species of animals onto the ark; that Jonah really did get swallowed by a big fish; that evolutionism is not scientific; and that one might be inclined to believe in the “young earth” view? There are many other taunts against Bible believers.
But again, we want to appeal to facts, proofs and reasonable faith. As we can show, there is no viewpoint (once thoroughly examined) that threatens the veracity of the Bible. There is no reason to abandon the Bible—other than cowardice, fear, intimidation and lack of knowledge.
The reality is that very few people know the provenance of the Bible and just how incredibly impossible its existence is in naturalistic terms. This compilation of books from 40 some authors, its interweaved consistency and unlikely preservation is beyond probability. As a matter of fact, since the advent of recorded history on earth, there is no literature that can compare in any way. Not even close.
As this writer often admits, he is a person of poor faith. Before believing anything, facts and evidence are required as well as reasonableness. Not every concept in the metaphysical domain (including such theories as evolution) can be fully proven. In fact, in some religions, none of their respective tenets or beliefs can be proven either through logic, historical evidence or reasonableness.
Before venturing an opinion—most certainly so when applying to a belief—one should know the facts and the alternatives. Viewpoints and conclusions must be evidential and reasonable, meaning supported by facts and evidence. We realize that setting such a standard for one’s beliefs is out of bounds in the popular perspective of today. To illustrate, the advertising and entertainment media incessantly exhorts one to “believe” … to “be a believer.” It doesn’t matter what and for no supportable reason. Believe.
After all, you can make your own reality … and if you believe, ostensibly it will come about. The hope for the world and one’s personal life is to “stay positive” (despite the contrary evidence of the rapidly-increasing, world-wide epidemic of depression and legions of other psychological problems). The facts and reality are best denied and lied about. Think positive and imagine your own reality!
To no surprise, the Bible has been under a withering attack over the last several centuries. Indeed, Scripture has been under attack from the beginning; however, a renewed systematic effort to invalidate it has taken place the last 300 years or so. It became “higher criticism” and scholarly to cast doubt and aspersions on the Bible. No other document ever in the history of mankind has faced such hateful and unfair attacks. Popular lore is that the Bible represents nothing more than imaginative stories, fiction and hyperbole. Its statements are not considered verifiable. None of it should be considered actual history.
And, of course, in this day and age of “free living” in the way that seems right to the individual, a document such as the Bible is considered all too constraining. How dare it pronounce such a thing as sin. How dare it claim that it is the guidebook of the most exclusive of all other faiths and that it is “infallible.” What apparent impertinence for modern humanity!
As such, the Bible today is therefore considered “hate” literature in many countries in the world. All the above viewpoints reveal a rejection of the Bible’s provenance in both earthly and heavenly terms. We will explain the logical justification for that perspective.
The key question to pursue is this: Just what is the balance of evidence? I am not a Bible scholar any more than any and every Christian should be. I reject the ecclesiastical elitism that says you must be a priest to be able to read and understand the Bible… or that you need a PhD in Biblical studies. It is true, of course, that there are many gifted scholars and teachers that are of great benefit to us. I will quote various such experts. Nevertheless, the Bible says: “As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit–just as it has taught you, remain in him” (1 John 2:27).
So with that proviso in mind, we lay out 15 cornerstones and arguments for the veracity of the Bible, together evidencing that this collection of books is indeed infallible and has been God-breathed through human writers.
We begin with the words of an expert.
1. No Comparable Validity Amongst Ancient Books. [The entirety of this section is quoted from an excerpt from In Defense of the Faith (pp. 75-79) by Dave Hunt.]
“As for the validity of the Old Testament manuscripts and their reliability, consider the following from Princeton’s Robert D. Wilson in his book Scientific Investigation of the Old Testament. Fluent in over 40 Semitic languages, he was one of the greatest language experts and scholars of all time. Professor Wilson writes:
‘For forty-five years continuously I have devoted myself to the one great study of the Old Testament, in all its languages, in all its archaeology, in all its translations.
[T]he critics of the Bible who go to it in order to find fault claim to themselves all knowledge and all virtue and all love of truth. One of their favorite phrases is, “All scholars agree.” When a man [says that] I wish to know who the scholars are and why they agree. Where do they get their evidence? I defy any man to make an attack upon the Old Testament on the ground of evidence that I cannot investigate.
After I learned the necessary languages I set about the investigation of every consonant in the Hebrew Old Testament. There are about a million and a quarter of these; and it took me many years to achieve my task. I had to observe the variations of the text in the manuscripts, or in the notes of the Masoretes or in the various versions, or in the parallel passages, or in the conjectural emendations of critics; and then I had to classify the results to reduce the Old Testament criticism to an absolutely objective science; something which is based on evidence, and not on opinion.
The result of those 45 years’ study which I have given to the text has been this: I can affirm that there is not a page of the Old Testament concerning which we need have any doubt. [For example, to illustrate its accuracy]: There are 29 ancient kings whose names are mentioned not only in the Bible but also on monuments of their own time. There are 195 consonants in these 29 proper names. Yet we find that in the documents of the Hebrew Old Testament there are only two or three out of the entire 195 about which there can be any question of their being written in exactly the same way as they were inscribed on their own monuments [which archaeologists have to date discovered]. Some of these go back 4,000 years and are so written that every letter is clear and correct.
Compare this accuracy with the greatest scholar of his age, the librarian at Alexandria in 200 BC. He compiled a catalogue of the kings of Egypt, 38 in all. Of the entire number only 3 or 4 are recognizable. He also made a list of the kings of Assyria; in only one case can we tell who is meant; and that one is not spelt correctly. Or take Ptolemy, who drew up a register of 18 kings of Babylon. Not one of them is properly spelt; you could not make them out at all if you did not know from other sources to what he is referring.
If anyone talks about the Bible, ask him about the kings mentioned in it. There are 29 kings referred to, and ten different countries among these 29; all of which are included in the Bible and on monuments. Every one of these is given his right name in the Bible, his right country, and placed in correct chronological order. Think what that means!
While the study of the religious systems of the ancient peoples has shown that there was amongst them a groping after God, nowhere is it to be seen that they reached any clear apprehension of the One True God, the Creator, Preserver, Judge, Saviour and Sanctifier of His people. Their religions were of an outward kind; the Old Testament religion is essentially one of the mind and heart; a religion of love, joy, faith, hope, and salvation through the grace of God. How can we account for this?
The prophets of Israel declared that their teaching came from God. The modern critical school is antagonistic to this claim. They say that the prophets gave utterance to the ideas of their own time, and that they were limited by their environment. But if this is so how does it come about that neither from the oracles of Thebes and Memphis, nor from Delphi and Rome, nor from Babylon, nor from the deserts of Media, but from the sheep-folds and humble homes of Israel, yea, from the captive by the river of an alien land, came forth those great messages of hope and salvation?’”
2. The Collective Amnesia of History. Try as one might, one will not be able to disprove that a certain person, Jesus Christ, existed on earth at a particular time. Furthermore, you will also not be able to disprove in a court of law today that this man was crucified, died, was buried, and was resurrected. You cannot deny these facts without destabilizing the foundations of the entirety of ancient history.
What do we mean by this? Consider this example: Did Hannibal (248–183 BC), the Carthaginian, cross the Pyrenees with his elephants to fight the Romans? Why, of course he did, you may say. Indeed, on the basis of the account of Polybius (ca. 200–118 BCE), these general events did occur.
However, this would be an accepted historical fact based on a single surviving account and one from a source that was neither a direct observer nor old enough to provide an account at the time. There is no other reference in any document of the antiquities that makes an earlier reference to this event. Yet, Hannibal’s actions and loss against the Romans is considered proven, historical fact … history beyond reproach.
This is one of potentially thousands of examples of historical accounts that are held to be true on flimsy or narrow evidence. No one takes umbrage or tries to attack or refute these histories.
Then what are we to make of the historical account of Jesus Christ? His existence is the most documented fact of ancient history. Then why not consider the life and times of Jesus Christ proven and factual? Why is the existence of Jesus denied and attacked? Why are his spoken words regarded as myth and mere fairy tales?