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Posts Tagged ‘Bible:fact or fiction’

Is the Bible real?

In the first two articles on this subject I suggested answers to the first two of the three questions I proposed are essential:

Are today’s Bibles accurate copies of the original writings?

Were the original writers recording the events accurately?

Is the Bible, in its entirety, really God’s personal message to mankind, that is, the inspired (directed by God), inerrant, and completed writings to us from God?

In this third article on the topic, please don’t think I am undertaking to prove that God Himself penned each letter. I think it’s obvious that the supernatural cannot be proven by any natural means. But the evidence available infers God’s authorship to a compelling degree — at least it seems so. You decide.

Most who have tackled this subject use text within the Bible itself as evidence of its Holy origin. Technically, this is circular reasoning. So let’s look at other facts first.

Harmonious internal consistency. If just 10 people today were picked who were from the same place, born around the same time, spoke the same language, and made about the same amount of money, and were asked to write on just one controversial subject, they would have trouble agreeing with each other. But the Bible stands alone. It was written over a period of 1,600 years by more than 40 writers from all walks of life. Some were fishermen; some were politicians. Others were generals or kings, shepherds or historians. They were from three different continents, and wrote in three different languages. They wrote on hundreds of controversial subjects yet they wrote with agreement and harmony. They wrote in dungeons, in temples, on beaches, and on hillsides, during peacetime and during war.[1] Yet the Bible is one story. Characteristics of the content throughout the Old Testament and New Testament have a surprising congruence, pointing to a single Author.

The underlying heptadic structure. Ivan Panin devoted 50 years — his life — analyzing the Bible for what he came to be certain was an inexplicable structure in the original writing of all 66 books. The recurrence of the number seven – or an exact multiple of seven – he found occurs throughout the Bible. This has been verified and is widely recognized. The Sabbath on the seventh day; the seven years of plenty and the seven years of famine in Egypt; the seven priests and the seven trumpets marching around Jericho; the Sabbath year of the land and the Sabbath of Sabbath years of the land, 49 (the year of Jubilee), are well-known examples of which there are many, many more.

But it turns out this pattern continues below the surface in the numerical properties of both the Greek of the New Testament and the Hebrew of the Old Testament. One of the simplest – and most provocative – occurrences of this pattern shows up in the vocabulary used. Usually one finds no repetitive relationship between the number of vocabulary words used in a section of writing and the total number of words in that section. Not so in the Bible. For example, in the opening passage of Matthew recording the genealogy of Christ, 72 Greek vocabulary words are used. The number of those words which are nouns is exactly 56, or 7 x 8. A gee-whiz happenstance? Not so fast. The Greek word “the” occurs most frequently in this passage: exactly 56 times, or 7 x 8. Also, the number of different forms in which the article “the” occurs is exactly 7. In the first of the two main sections of this passage (verses 1-11) the number of Greek vocabulary words used is 49, or 7 x 7. Of these 49 words, the number beginning with a vowel is 28, or 7 x 4. The number beginning with a consonant is 21, or 7 x 3. Also in these 49 words, the number of words which occur more than once is 35, or 7 x 5. The number of words occurring only once is 14, or 7 x 2. The number of words which occur in only one form is exactly 42, or 7 x 6. The number of words appearing in more than one form is also 7.[2]

There are more examples in just this one passage from Matthew than space here allows. Moreover, Panin alone recorded occurrence of these repetitive structures of 7 in over 43,000 pages of his work! Coincidences of textual analyses (although wildly impossible to find in any other writing) or a divinely planted authenticating message? Certainly no human intelligence could have written this way.

Prophesy. Throughout the Bible there are prophecies concerning nations, historic events and individu­als. But what lends such overwhelming creditability to the divine origin of these prophecies is the fact that hundreds have been literally fulfilled in the most minute detail. God Himself established the issue of prophetic fulfillment as a legitimate test of divine authorship and authenticity, Isaiah 41:21-23, 26.

The Old Testament, written over a 1,000 year period up to about 400 years before the birth of Christ, contains 300 hundred references to his coming — all of which were fulfilled exactly by Jesus Christ.[3] Peter Stoner, in his book Science Speaks, offers the statistics that the chance of any one man fulfilling just eight of these 300 prophesies is 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000. If the State of Texas was covered with this many silver dollars (the depth would be two feet) and just one of them was painted red, the odds of a blind man picking it up with just one try is the same. And these odds are for fulfilling only eight of the 300 prophesies Jesus fulfilled! Proof the Bible is God’s Word? No, but the inference is … what?

Scriptural writings authenticate God as author. The Bible focuses on one message: the Person and mission of Jesus, The Christ, God incarnate, and Savior of the World. Outside the Bible, there are several ancient writers who verify the life of the Lord Jesus Christ:

Tacitus—in Book XV, Ch. 44—writing in A.D. 114, tells us that the founder of the Christian religion, Jesus Christ, was put to death by Pontius Pilate in the reign of the Roman Emperor, Tiberius.

Pliny the Younger wrote a letter to the Emperor Trajan on the subject of Christ and Christians (Book X—96).

Josephus, the Jewish historian, in A. D. 90, has a short biographical note on Jesus Who is called Christ in his Antiquities —Book XVIII, Ch. III, Section 3 .

The Babylonian Talmud makes mention of Jesus Christ.[4]

Historical verification of Jesus of the Bible lends credence to the Bible itself which, in turn, speaks to its own authenticity. Old Testament (OT) passages identify the Mosaic law and the words of the prophets, both spoken and written, with God’s own speech (cf. 1 Ki. 22:8-16; Ne. 8; Ps. 119; Je. 25:1-13; 36, etc.). New Testament (NT) writers view the OT as a whole as ‘the oracles of God’ (Rom. 3:2), prophetic in character (Rom. 16:26; cf. 1:2; 3:21), written by men who were moved and taught by the Holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:20f.; cf. 1 Pet. 1:10-12). Christ and his apostles quote OT texts, not merely as what, e.g., Moses, David or Isaiah said (see Mk. 7:10; 12:36; 7:6; Rom. 10:5; 11:9; 10:20, etc.), but also as what God said through these men (see Acts 4:25; 28:25, etc.), or sometimes simply as what ‘he’ (God) says (e.g. 1 Cor. 6:16; Heb. 8:5, 8), or what the Holy Spirit says (Heb. 3:7; 10:15). Furthermore, OT statements, not made by God in their contexts, are quoted as utterances of God (http://ref.ly/Mt 19.4f.; Heb. 3:7; Acts 13:34f., citing Gen. 2:24; Ps. 95:7; Is. 55:2 respectively). Also, Paul refers to God’s promise to Abraham and his threat to Pharaoh, both spoken long before the biblical record of them was written, as words which Scripture spoke to these two men (Gal. 3:8; Rom. 9:17); which shows how completely he equated the statements of Scripture with the utterance of God.[5]

Can the Bible be its own “proof”? No, that’s circular reasoning. But once more, what’s the inference?

Jesus teaching (Wikipedia)

Divine Inspiration. Inspiration is that mysterious process by which the divine causality worked through the human prophets without destroying their individual personalities and styles to produce divinely authoritative and inerrant writings.[6] The belief that the Jewish and Christian Scriptures are “inspired” by God—that is, that their language and imagery are directly willed by God and committed to writing under his direction—is ancient and influential.[7] Just how such divinely directed writing could be accomplished is beyond comprehension, which has given rise to doubts and entirely new schools of scholarly criticism. Again, supernatural acts cannot be proved, or disproved, by natural means. Not proof, but inference remains, and compellingly so.

Inerrancy. Is all of Scripture God’s personal word to mankind or does the Bible only contain God’s word, that is, is scripture without error? Modernist thinking and the Higher Critical interpretation of the Bible challenges both of these choices — as well should be the case if the metaphysical can be proven by the physical. But that’s not possible. If it is sensible, as inferred by the information I have presented, that the Bible is God’s Word then the inference must also extend to inerrancy of what He superintended the inspired writers to write. But what about the contradictions and errors? Paradoxes? Yes. Contradictions? No. Invariably, passages which seem to contradict simply show us we didn’t understand the meaning of one, or the other, or both passages. Apparent errors are resolved in much the same way. Are there hard passages? Certainly. Is there any person, any theologian, who understands God’s message in every detail? Absolutely not. Understanding is, in itself, a gift from God — which is why so many non-Christian Bible scholars find reason to criticize.

This article could go on and on. There is much more evidence to commend God’s personal authorship of the Bible. For example, the Bible’s power to change lives, the incredible way it interacts with those who seek answers from its pages, even that it has survived repeated annihilation attempts. By 1930 over one billion Bibles had been distributed and over 200 million are being printed each year. Nothing compares.

That’s all for now. I apologize for letting this go so long.

Next: article #5 GOD’S GARDEN — HIS PERFECT CREATION


[1] Jordan and Justin Drake, ed, from The Evidence Bible, pinpointevangelism.com/The_Bible_Stands_Alone.pdf

[2] Chuck Missler, PhD, (1995) Personal Update News Journal, Feb 1995, citing:

McCormack, R., (1923), The Heptadic Structure of Scripture, London, Marshall Brothers Ltd; E. W. Bullinger, Numbers of the Scriptures; F. W. Grant, The Numerical Bible (7 vols.); Brown, Ordo Saeculoreium, et al., and

Ivan Panin (various works), Bible Numerics, P. O. Box 206, Waubaushenen, Ontario, L0K 2C0.

[3] Ibid, Drake.

[4]Tan, P. L. (1996, c1979). Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations  : A treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers. Garland TX: Bible Communications.

[5]Wood, D. R. W., & Marshall, I. H. (1996). New Bible dictionary (3rd ed.) (508). Leicester, England;  Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.

[6]Geisler, N. L., & Nix, W. E. (1996, c1986). A General Introduction To The Bible (Rev. and expanded.) (39). Chicago: Moody Press.

[7]Fahlbusch, E., & Bromiley, G. W. (1999-2003). The Encyclopedia Of Christianity (2:713). Grand Rapids, Mich.;  Leiden, Netherlands: Wm. B. Eerdmans;  Brill.

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I began a summary discussion of the credibility of the Bible in the previous article. In it I addressed the first of three questions that should guide inquiry into this subject:

Are today’s Bibles accurate copies of the original writings?

Were the original writers recording the events accurately?

Is the Bible, in its entirety, really God’s personal message to mankind, that is, the inspired (directed by God) and inerrant Word of God?

This article will look at the second question: Were the bible’s authors accurate in recording biblical events?

In recent years authors of fictional writings such as The Da Vinci Code have raised controversy about the accuracy of the Bible. Their story line is admittedly fiction. The problem comes from their treatment of the historical background which is portrayed as authentic to help create realism in the story. Any reasonable examination reveals gross inaccuracies in this facet of the novels.

Arches of Chorazin (Luke 10:13)

Archaeological findings consistently substantiate biblical accuracy. As the noted Dr. J. O. Kinnaman said: “Of the hundreds of thousands of artifacts found by the archaeologists, not one has ever been discovered that contradicts or denies one word, phrase, clause, or sentence of the bible, but always confirms and verifies the facts of the biblical record.”[1] This holds for both the Old and New Testaments as more and more excavations of ancient sites have shown. A few such discoveries, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, have become well known; most have not. “Any student of archaeology familiar with specific sites like Megiddo, Samaria, or Lachish, can multiply such instances of confirmation for every era of Hebrew history.”[2]

“There have been thousands — not hundreds — of archaeological finds in the Middle East that support the picture presented in the biblical record. There was a discovery not long ago confirming King David [Old Testament, 1,000 BC]. The Patriarchs — the narratives about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob [also O.T., 2,100 BC] — were once considered legendary, but as more has become known these stories are increasingly corroborated. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was thought to be mythological until evidence was uncovered that all five of the cities mentioned in Genesis were, in fact, situated just as the Old Testament said. As far as their destruction goes, archaeologist Clifford Wilson said there is ‘permanent evidence of the great conflagration that took place in the long distant past’.”[3],[4]

“In principle the archaeologist has no particular interest in “proving the truth” of the Scriptures, and it is obviously impossible for a spade or a trowel to prove or disprove the spiritual revelations and assertions of Scripture. But it is fair to say that archaeology validates Hebrew history and explains many formerly obscure terms and traditions in both the Old Testament and New Testament.”[5]

Consistency with non-biblical ancient writings also adds to the veracity of the authors of the Bible. “Sometimes uninformed critics of the Bible, particularly of the New Testament, claim that since there are no references outside the New Testament to events of the New Testament, therefore the New Testament testimony is suspect. The truth is that there are several references to New Testament events outside the New Testament. For example, Suetonius, in his The Twelve Caesars says:

Because the Jews at Rome caused continuous disturbances at the instigation of Crestus [a Latin reference to Christ], he [Claudius] expelled them from the city.[6]

Compare this reference to Acts 18:2 which clearly refers to the same event.

And he [Paul] found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome); and he came to them.

Another clear reference outside the New Testament to a New Testament event is found by the Roman historian Tacitus in his work The Annals of Imperial Rome.

To suppress this rumour [that the massive fires of Rome had been deliberately set by men], Nero fabricated scapegoats – and punished with every refinement the notoriously depraved Christians (as they were popularly called). Their originator, Christ, had been executed in Tiberius’ reign by the governor of Judea, Pontius Pilatus.

The Jewish historian Josephus (ca. 90-95 AD) mentions the martyrdom of the apostle James, refers to James as Jesus’ brother, mentions the martyrdom of John the Baptist, and mentions Jesus a second time. Other references include the Roman historian Thallus (ca. 52 AD) as quoted by Julius Africanus concerning the darkness at the crucifixion, the Roman author and administrator Pliny the Younger’s (ca. 112 AD) mention of the early Christians’ worship of Christ, and historical references from the Roman Emperors Trajan and Hadrian.”[7]

Scripture often verifies itself. In his excellent book, The Reason For God, Belief in an Age of Skepticism, Timothy Keller, Pastor of the 6,000 member Redeemer Presbyterian Church, in Manhattan, New York, NY, points out three compelling arguments for self-verification of Scripture. First, the timing is far too early for the Gospels to be legends. As cited in my previous article, virtually all of the New Testament was written within 25-50 years of the recorded events. Keller comments that Richard Bauckham’s research[8] revealed that “at the time the gospels were written there were still numerous well-known living eyewitnesses to Jesus’ teaching and life events. … the gospel writers named their eyewitnesses within the text to assure readers of their accounts’ authenticity. Mark, for example, says the man who helped Jesus carry his cross to Calvary, “was the father of Alexander and  Rufus” (Mark 15:21). There is no reason for the author to include such names unless the readers know or could have access to them. Mark is saying, “Alexander and Rufus vouch for the truth of what I am telling you, if you want to ask them.”[9] Similarly, Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:1-6 refers to 500 eyewitnesses who saw the resurrected Jesus. You can’t make up a story like that in a public document while those witnesses are still alive. To do so would discredit the entire document which the rapid spread of Christianity shows did not happen. Many, many instances like these fill the New Testament.

Secondly, the content is far too counter-productive for the gospels to be legends. Keller observes the working theory of many people today is that the gospels were written — not by the apostolic authors — but many years later by the leaders of the early church to promote their policies, consolidate their power, and build their movement. He cites several passages in Scripture that, if that theory is true, what these bogus writers wrote would jeopardize their own self-serving purposes.[10] For example, in those times the accepted public view of any who were crucified was that they were the worst of criminals. So in what way would the early Christian movement benefit by making Jesus out to be a terrible criminal by extolling his crucifixion? And how would it be advantageous to portray Jesus as just a weak human by writing of his begging God in the garden of Gethsemane to let him out of his reason for coming to earth? (Matthew 26:39). Or why depict the apostles — the eventual leaders of the early church — as petty and jealous, almost impossibly slow witted, and in the end as cowards who either actively or passively failed their master (remember Peter’s denial of Christ three times, Matthew 26:69-74)? And if the New Testament message was fabricated how can we explain how each of the twelve apostles (except John) and countless of the early Christians died for their belief in known lies by horrible, tortured deaths — sawed in half, boiled in oil, torn apart by wild animals for entertainment, set afire as human torches? How could this have been sensible faith?

Third, and finally, the literary form of the gospels is too detailed to be legend. C. S. Lewis, renown Oxford and Cambridge professor and scholar, and a world class literary critic, when reading the gospels, noted:

I have been reading poems, romances, vision literature, legends and myths all my life. I know what they are like. I know none of them are like this. Of this [gospel] text there are only two possible views. Either this is reportage … or else, some unknown ancient writer … without predecessors or successors, suddenly anticipated the whole technique of modern novelistic, realistic narrative …[11]

Lewis meant that ancient fiction was nothing like modern fiction. The latter contains details and dialogue and reads like an eye witness account. This genre of fiction, however, only developed in the last three hundred years. … The gospel accounts are not fiction.[12]

So I come to the conclusion: were the original writers recording the events of the bible accurately? It certainly appears that they did. I suppose the accounts of research from which I have drawn this summary have not accounted for every sentence and verse in the Scriptures. So unless the forty or so authors of the Bible were supernaturally inspired and guided, one could always raise a remote question about the accuracy of this detail or that. So, …

Next time:

Is the Bible, in its entirety, really God’s personal message to mankind, that is, the inspired (directed by God) and inerrant Word of God?

Until then, consider:

You don’t need to have all your questions answered to come to faith. You just have to [acknowledge] that the weight of evidence seems to show this is true, so even though I don’t have all the answers to all my questions, I’m going to believe and hope for the answers in the long run.[13]

Ask yourself: Is Faith Sensible?

That’s what happened with me.

Next: #4c IS THE BIBLE REAL? – Part III – IS IT REALLY GOD’S WORD?


End Notes

[1] Dr. Paul Lee Tan, ThD (1996) Encylopedia Of 7,700 Illustrations: Signs Of The Times, (391), Bible Communica­tion, Inc,.

[2]Henry, C. F. H. (1999). God, Revelation, and Authority (4:79). Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books.

[3] See: Clifford A. Wilson (1977), Rocks, Relics, and Biblical Reliability (42), Grand Rapids, Mich, Zondervan.

[4] quoting Norman L. Geisler, PhD, Philosophy, Loyola University in Chicago; Lee Strobel (2000) The Case for Faith (128), Grand Rapids, Mich, Zondervan.

[5]Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (160). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House.

[6] Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, (4:202),trans. Robert Graves, revised (1989) with and introduction by Michael Grant London: The Penguin Group.

[7] The Issachar Institute (1994), http://www.answering-islam.org/Case/case2.html

[8] Richard Bauckham (2006), Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, (chps 2, 3, and 6), Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Mich.

[9] Rev. Timothy Keller (2008), The Reason For God, Belief in an Age of Skepticism, (104-105), Riverhead Books, New York, NY

[10] ibid. (107-109)

[11] C. S. Lewis (1967), Christian Reflections, (155), Walter Hooper, ed., Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Mich.

[12] ibid, Keller (110)

[13] Lee Strobel (2000) The Case for Faith (61), Grand Rapids, Mich, Zondervan

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Unless you, the reader, accept that there is at least a reasonable probability that God exists and is interacting in His creation today, read no further. Perhaps reading, or rereading, the articles numbered #3 may help (at the tab above the picture labeled “Is There A God?”). Failing this, I’m afraid that this post, and all the articles that follow, will simply be an irritant to you if you are philosophically unconvinced that God exists.

If you doubt the credibility of the Bible, or have acquaintances who do, three questions should dominate:

Are today’s Bibles accurate copies of the original writings?

Were the original writers recording the events accurately?

Is the Bible, in its entirety, really God’s personal message to mankind, that is, the inspired (directed by God) and inerrant Word of God?

You may be surprised to learn that extensive work has been done to answer those questions. So much information is so readily available that I am wondering why am I trying to add another “grain of sand to the beach?” Because I must. Because you may find this article while missing the others. And because resolving these three issues is essential to the credibility of the writings you will find here in the future – many of which will differ in important ways from traditional writings.

So all I can give you in this small space is unsatisfyingly brief summaries together with references to help you find more complete treatments of the material.

First, are today’s Bibles accurate copies of the original? The accepted method for verifying the authenticity of an ancient writing is to (a) compare the date of the writing with the time of the historical events, (b) If a copy, determine the time gap between it and the original writing, (c) determine the number of existing copies of the writing, and (d) compare the texts of the new find with the existing copies. The closer the date of the writing with the historical events or other existing copies the more accurate it is. The fewer textual differences with other copies the more accurate, and the more existing copies the greater the confidence in accuracy.

Old Testament: Before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, our earliest Hebrew copy of the Old Testament was the Masoretic text, dating around 800 A.D. The Dead Sea Scrolls date to the time of Jesus and were copied by the Qumran community, a Jewish sect living around the Dead Sea. We also have the Septuagint which is a Greek translation of the Old Testament dating in the second century B.C. When we compare these texts which have an 800-1000 years gap between them we are amazed that 95% of the texts are identical with only minor variations and a few discrepancies[1].

New Testament: The supporting evidence for the New Testament is far greater. There are tens of thousands of manuscripts from the New Testament, in part or in whole, dating from the second century A.D. to the late fifteenth century, when the printing press was invented. These manuscripts have been found in Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Turkey, Greece, and Italy, making collusion unlikely[2]. In comparison, the evidence for the widely accepted ancient classics such as Homer’s Iliad and Plato’s works is embarrassingly meager causing many historians like F. F. Bruce to exclaim, “The evidence for our New Testament writings is ever so much greater than the evidence for many writings of classical author, the authenticity of which no one dreams of questioning. And if the New Testament were a collection of secular writings, their authenticity would generally be regarded as beyond all doubt.”[3]

Consider the following:

Manuscript Evidence for Ancient Writings[4],[5]

Author          When Writtten    Earliest Copy   Time Span   Nbr of Copies

Homer (Iliad) 900 B. C. 400 B. C. 500 yrs 643
Herodotus (hist) 480-425 B. C. 900 A. D. 1,300 yrs 8
Thucydides 460-400 B. C. 900 A. D. 1,300 yrs 8
Plato 427-347 B. C. 900 A. D. 1,200 yrs 7
Aristotle 384-322 B. C. 1,100 A. D. 1,400 yrs 5
Caesar 144-100 B. C. 900 A. D. 1,000 yrs 10
Pliny (history) 61-113 A. D. 850 A. D. 750 yrs 7
Suetonius 75-160 A. D. 950 A. D. 800 yrs 8
Tacitus 100 A. D. 1,100 A. D. 1,000 yrs 20
New Testament 40-100 A. D. 125 A. D. 25-50 yrs 24,000

For me, this comparison is astonishing! How is this possible when we know that, without the invention of the printing press, copies had to made by hand for 1400 years? The human effort in the copying process was huge. It was so meticulous that every character and every word was counted; any discrepancy resulted in destruction of the entire copy – probably years of work.

The result? New Testament manuscripts agree in 99.5% of the text[6] compared to only 95% for the Iliad for example. Most of the discrepancies are in spelling and word order. A few words have been changed or added. There are two passages that are disputed but no discrepancy is of any doctrinal significance, i.e., none would alter basic Christian doctrine[7].

In addition, there are so many New Testament quotations in the non-Biblical writings of the Church Fathers of the day that even if all 24,000 N. T. manuscripts were lost and all Bibles existing today were destroyed, the entire New Testament could be reconstructed except for eleven verses!

Any impartial examination of this mountain of evidence simply has to conclude the New Testament we have today is a faithful and accurate copy of the original writings. Further, this highly credible New Testament text repeatedly quotes, verbatim, the text we have in the Old Testament, greatly enhancing the credibility of today’s Old Testaments.

“But what about all these translations lying around today?” you ask, and rightly you should. The copy accuracy to which the above material refers is today’s text in its original language, that is, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Preserving the original meaning of words is always a challenge in any translating task and the Bible is no exception. Still, the Bible translators have done an amazing job, especially considering how rapidly today’s “street language” changes. When in doubt, or when correct translation is critical to an important doctrine, the student is well advised to consult a good interlinear and/or dictionary-commentary.

I think I have summarized the case for the accuracy of today’s copies of the Bible pretty well, but we still have two more important questions to answer, namely:

Were the original writers faithfully recording actual events?

Is the Bible, in its entirety, really God’s personal message to mankind? That is, is it the inspired (directed by God) and inerrant Word of God?

I think I must address these in the next article – I’m already well beyond the length here I like to stay within.

More thoughts next time . . .

Next: article #4b  IS THE BIBLE REAL? – DID IT REALLY HAPPEN THAT WAY?


[1] “Is Our Copy of the Bible a Reliable Copy of the Original?”, Rich Deem, Evidence For God.

For the referenced text in full, click here (http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/bibleorg.html#6v7VQ7FsT66w).

[2] ibid

[3] F.F. Bruce, (1988), The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? 5th rev. ed., Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press.

[4] ibid, Deem

[5] The Case for Cristianity, Part I, The Historicity of the Bible

For the referenced text in full, click here http://www.answering-islam.org/Case/case1.html

[6] Metzger, Bruce M. (1992). The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

[7] ibid, Deem

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Some say you can’t be an educated, thinking person and believe there is a God. The existence of God cannot be “proved” anymore than it can for any other spirit being. In fact, so goes the argument, just because man is a self-aware creature doesn’t mean he has a spirit or that there is any such thing as a spirit. It can’t be proved.

Fair enough. Let’s accept that. So then, what’s with all these Biblical Christians?

In the first two postings we examined what “faith” is and “how we choose to trust.” How do I choose to have faith that driving is save on the interstate with all those trucks and crazy drivers? (clarity of the following depends on your already having read those postings).

Does the decision to be a Christian involve study of the factual evidence for the existence of God? Can there be any “factual evidence” for His existence? Or does being a Christian simply rest on a few magic words and a strange little procedure. Maybe, sorta like choosing a political party, a lot of people decide to be a Christian only because their parents were. Then they find that their church is a warm, friendly place so, like membership in the Rotary, they decide to stay and “play church” without ever looking much for factual evidence.

Can we be any less harsh on the unchurched person? How has he decided to ignore the existence of God, if God really does exist? Do scientists reason that since the existence of God cannot be explained by the physical laws of nature, He cannot exist? Therefore, any evidence suggesting His possible existence is categorically discarded without serious consideration. Such thinking does not substantiate the conclusion that God does not exist, it only establishes that the scientist exercised no thought process at all, that he decided to reject objective examination of the question. Very human.

Is faith sensible for either of the persons described? And make no mistake about it – contrary to what you might think, the scientist’s choice to place no faith in God requires every bit as much faith [that he is right] as that held by some Christians who choose the opposite. So, is science right or is Christianity right? Or what if our examination of this question in the upcoming postings turns out that both are right?

To quote Werner von Braun: The vast mysteries of the universe should only confirm our belief in the certainty of its Creator. I find it as difficult to understand a scientist who does not acknowledge the presence of a superior rationality behind the existence of the universe as it is to comprehend a theologian who would deny the advances of science.

To repeat all the pros and cons on each side of this so-called “war” is way beyond what can be done here, especially in view of all the issues to be addressed beyond this one. But I think I can summarize most of the main arguments and refer you to good, reliable reading covering material we can’t get to here. I’m going to try to cover: (3a) this posting, (3b) The Big Bang, (3c) The Age Of The Universe, (3d) Life’s Safe Zones In The Universe, (3e) Fine Tuned for Life: Planet Earth, (3f) The Six Days of Genesis, (3g) Origin of Life, Evolution and Darwinism, (3h) Statistics Versus Random Mutations, and (3i) The Watchmaker and the Watch.

For those who would like to read along as I develop these topics, you may want to get Darwin’s Origin of The Species, Craig and Smith’s Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology, and, of course, the Bible, probably an NIV or ESV translation. With the exception of the Bible, these books demand pretty focused reading. Therefore, you may be happier with the excellent The Case For The Creator (Lee Strobel), and equally outstanding The Science Of God (Gerald L. Schroeder).

Some may find this “war” between Christianity and science interesting but, c’mon! Eight postings, all on this one subject?! So I’m going to try to find a way to make postings beyond these available in a parallel stream so one can move on without having to wait. If that will work, posting (4) will be: The Authenticity Of The Bible (Parts I, II, and III), and (5) will be: The Garden, God’s Perfect Creation, and (6) What Happened To Paradise? Beyond these? There’s much, much to get to, but my crystal ball gets a little cloudy way out there in the future.

Click here for the next article in this series, #3b “God, Are You There?” – The Big Bang.

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