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Monday, 19 May 2014

Can you trust the Bible?

A common question
In the West this is a common question and we ought to have to hand some ready responses. People asking the question may actually have other questions in mind, "Can you trust the science in the Bible?" or "Can you trust the historical facts in the Bible?" or, "Can you believe the miracles in the Bible?" or perhaps, "Can you trust the Bible when it talks about morals, right and wrong?"

Reasons for the question
Some are genuinely interested, but some who ask this question have been infected with the skeptical spirit of Dawkins, Dan Brown, or the universities of the world.

At these universities they adopt methodological naturalism in all their departments (otherwise they'd loose credibility as mind-only institutions and thus q-dos in the eyes of their peers and the world). Methodological naturalism says that there is no God or any such entity, everything in the universe must be explained by natural law. So when you come to miracles of the Bible, they are out, for example. Not surprisingly then, they don't think much of the Bible. After all, "no-miracle method" research leads to "no-miracle output". I mean you don't really need to study the Bible if you adopt methodological naturalism, because you know the answer before you study.

The Bible is completely trustworthy - three good reasons
The Bible is completely trustworthy in every way, and here are three good reasons to believe that.

(1) It comes from God - and there are good reasons to accept that
The Bible is a human book in that it was written by real people whose personalities, life experience and outlook played a full part in what they wrote, but supervising and inspiring them was the Spirit of God, in such a wonderful way that they ended up writing what he wanted them to write. Consider these evidences of divine authorship:
  • they all speak with the same voice though spread over 1500 years. Ask one author what sin is and then another author, and they all give the same answer. How could this be so unless behind the human book was a single Divine Hand?
  • they make predictions which come true. No human being could predict into the future, only God, who knows can. But the authors make all kinds of predictions, such as where Jesus would be born, what tribe he would be from, that people would cast lots for his clothes and so on. Daniel predicts future world powers. They must have been under the influence of the future-knowing omniscient God
  • they teach doctrines the human mind can't understand! Such as the Trinity, such as two natures one human one divine combined in one Person, Jesus Christ. It is impossible to invent something you cannot understand. You can describe something you cannot understand, because that thing was outside of yourself, there already, and you just stumbled upon it and you seek to describe it (there are many such things in the natural world), but you cannot invent something you do not understand. With humans, understanding must precede invention.
(2) The Bible has always influenced societies an civilisations for good.
Wherever the Bible has gone - or should we say wherever people have responded to the message of the Bible, the Gospel, and sought to live out those teachings - good  has come. So take the book by the Indian writer Vishal Mangalwadi, "The Book that made your world". Having lived in both India and the West he has seen the enormous differences between the two and credits this with the influence of the Bible. This is a well known fact - the Bible influences culture for the good.

Plenty of books have changed societies - for the worse. But a book that changes cultures for good must surely make us wonder about its origin, since no other book has had that influence. 

(3) The message of the Bible transforms lives for the good.
 Wherever the message of the Bible, which is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, has been believed it has changed lives. Drunks have been freed of their drink, the down-hearted lifted up, the depairing brought hope, and the empty filled. There is no earthly message that transforms lives for the good. Which should make us wonder if this message is from God.

In the end it requires faith which comes from God to trust in the Bible - not because faith is against reason, but because the fall has so twisted reason that it is no longer a reliable guide to truth. And that miracle of Faith comes by reading or listening to the Bible.

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