Is the Bible True?
In the case of O.J. Simpson, there is no way to know beyond all doubt whether he is innocent or guilty of murder. Nor is there any way to know beyond all doubt whether the Bible is true. Faith is necessary. The best definition of "faith" I've found is, "The leap from where the evidence leaves off to where the evidence is pointing."
Evolutionists believe much of what they believe on faith, because from their perspective the evidence points in a certain direction. The evidence for evolution is not complete nor, by its nature, can it ever be complete. A natural origin of life, if it occurred, is historical rather than scientific. It cannot be replicated in a laboratory. Science can answer many important questions but cannot answer all important questions.
C.S. Lewis uses an example of Humpty Dumpty:
The story told by modern physics might be told briefly in the words 'Humpty Dumpty is falling.' That is, it proclaims itself an incomplete story. There must have been a time before he fell, when when he was sitting on the wall; there must be a time after had reached the ground. It is quite true that science knows of no horses and men who can put him together again once he has reached the ground and broken. But then you wouldn't expect her to. All science rests on observation: all our observations are taken during Humpty Dumpty's fall, because we were born after he lost his seat on the wall and shall be extinct long before he reaches the ground. From the very nature of the case the laws of degradation and disorganization which we find in matter at present cannot be the ultimate and eternal nature of things. If they were, there would have been nothing to degrade and disorganize.
There is a big difference between faith and blind faith. Faith can involve gathering all available evidence, determining which way it points, then making a leap. Blind faith is taking a leap in the dark, hoping everything turns out OK.
There's a saying, "Reality is independent of our beliefs." We are free to believe whatever we choose. I personally value integrity and prefer to believe truth. The challenge, then, is discovering truth. Reality may include more than science can reveal, and that opens the door to further investigation, without knowing in advance where that investigation will lead.
Again, C.S. Lewis:
Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important.
Christianity claims to give an account of facts—to tell you what the real universe is like. Its account of the universe may be true, or it may not, and once the question is before you, then your natural inquisitiveness must make you want to know the answer. If Christianity is untrue, then no honest man will want to believe it, however helpful it might be; if it is true, every honest man will want to believe it, even if it gives him no help at all.
Of a person who chooses not to undertake the investigation, Lewis says:
The man is shirking. He is deliberately trying not to know whether Christianity is true or false, because he foresees endless trouble if it should turn out to be true. He is like the man who deliberately "forgets" to look at the notice board because, if he did, he might find his name down for some unpleasant duty. He is like the man who won't look at his bank account because he's afraid of what he might find there. He is like the man who won't go to the doctor when he first feels a mysterious pain, because he is afraid of what the doctor may tell him.
It is impossible to determine whether Christianity is true or false without knowing what it is about. In addition, it is not possible to assume that something is false simply because people who testify that it's true are flawed or unreliable. It is easier to believe witnesses with a reputation for honesty, but truth exists independently of the people who proclaim it. It was a breakthrough for me to make this distinction. I determined to focus on the Bible and Christianity without being distracted by the bad behavior of some Christians.
I'd always intended to read the Bible someday, simply because it is the best-selling book in history. I was also curious about the fact that many intelligent people throughout history have believed it. Skeptics who set out to disprove it ended up believing it, sometimes quite reluctantly. I was interested to learn for myself what convinced them.
It took some time to overcome my reluctance to crack open the Bible because of previous negative experiences with Christians and churches. Finally I discovered the One Year Bible and decided to make a goal of reading a few pages a day and finishing it in a year. I wasn't sure what I thought about God at the time, but I was curious. I prayed, "God, if you exist, make the Bible clear. Make yourself known to me."
As I read, I wrote down questions that occurred to me. I then took those questions to a pastor and tried to get answers. He welcomed my questions and answered them as best he could or referred me to other books and resources. My search for truth began. The Bible itself invites this search:
- Matthew 7:7—Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
- Acts 17:27—God did this so that man would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.
I began reading some books about the Bible, especially apologetics (the branch of theology having to do with the defense and explanation of Christianity). C.S. Lewis is one of my favorite apologists. Josh McDowell is another.
The Bible cannot be proved scientifically any more than can the natural origin and unguided development of life. Nor is it possible to prove scientifically that Socrates taught in Athens or that Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo. All of these events fall into the realm of history and cannot be investigated using the scientific method.
My purpose in writing this section is to encourage you to embark on your own investigation if you haven't already done so. Don't believe what I say. Find out for yourself. If you investigated years ago, take another look. A former atheist who did so wrote:
Within the past twenty years, a significant body of evidence has emerged, shattering the foundations of the long-dominant modern secular worldview. These new discoveries, it seems to me, add up to a powerful — indeed, all-but-incontestable — case for what was once considered a completely debatable matter of "faith."
Different people travel different paths. The links below will lead you to some of what convinced me that the Bible is indeed God's word. There is much more, and I'd be happy to share it with anyone interested. If you have questions, e-mail me and I'll do what I can to help you find answers to your questions.
In the words of Phillip Johnson,
It may be rational to argue about whether God is real or unreal, but it is clearly irrational to assume that a God who is real can safely be ignored.
My prayer for you and for everyone I know and love is that they will make an informed choice prior to death. Even with Jesus physically present and doing miracles, many people ignored or denied His message. God in His love does not force anyone to make a "right" decision. Christians who attempt to force anyone to believe as they do are not following Jesus' example. God waits, calls, and grants time for people to seek, examine, and choose what or whom they believe. God grants people priceless freedom. Christians should do the same.
Related articles on this web site:
- Is Evolution True?
- Is the Bible True?
- Whatsoever Thing Are True (a book I wrote a few years after the articles above)
Source: www.SusanCAnthony.com, ©Susan C. Anthony