Examining Objections About The Bible:
First Baptist Church
Des Moines, NM
This week on KLMX I’ve been looking at objections and misunderstandings toward the Bible. Establishing the authority of the Bible is absolutely crucial to understanding Christianity since the Bible is the sole source of information regarding God Almighty, Jesus, The Holy Spirit, and how man fits into all this. Today, what I’d like to do is sum up this week’s study and try to bring it all together. May God grant me the words to speak, you ears to hear, and may this glorify His name, thru Jesus Christ. Amen.
I started off this week by discussing how we might establish the validity of any document, whether it’s the Bible or the "Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin." I pointed out that to be secure in the authenticity of a document, we’ll likely gather information from several different points. We’ll look at the established historicity of the document; that is, is there evidence that the author wrote what they said they wrote, and are there any witnesses to testify to the writing? In the case of a book, or collection of books like the Bible, which claim to present information, we will probably judge whether or not that information is true. For instance, if you’re using a travel guide to a foreign country, you probably would like to know whether or not the information is accurate. If you’re studying history, it would be good to know how factual a particular textbook might or might not be. In the case of the Bible, we have some hard-cut statements like "Thus says the Lord" and "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except thru me" (John 14:6) and "…unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3). These are statements which challenge us to the core. Therefore, it is critical to determine whether or not the Bible is true.
The Bible itself tells us a little bit about judging truth. As I mentioned earlier in the week, the criteria for a true prophet come from:
Deuteronomy 18:20-22 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.' (21) And if you say in your heart, 'How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?' (22) when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.
So, if a so-called prophet says something will happen and it doesn’t, that man is not a prophet. The opposite of this is that for a prophet to be true, his prediction must come true. Not only is this what the Bible says, but our common sense also agrees to it. I mean, who would call a person a "prophet" if only 5% of what he said came to pass? Suppose he was 50% accurate? No, a prophet must be 100% accurate. Applying these criteria to the Bible itself, then, what do we find?
If you recall, I brought up a recent discussion where I laid out 6 points of misunderstandings. Point 6 was this:
6) The biggest single problem that I see is that people, even Christians, fail to understand who God is and who we are. We simply do not understand our natural hatred of God, our subsequent rebellion, nor the severity of those actions. In our error, we expect God to be our genie and for everything to be done to our benefit. Rather, God does everything for HIS glory. I bet many of you are going to immediately say "How arrogant!" That's your natural reaction and it only displays your enmity with God. Our reaction should be "You and you alone are worthy of our praise (Revelation 4:11, for one). Our reaction should be "Not my will, but yours be done" (Matthew 26:39, for one). And our reaction should be "Have mercy on me, a sinner!" (Luke 18:13). But no... we create instead other gods or we try to eliminate God altogether or we worship the creation instead of the Creation (Jeremiah 10, Psalm 14:1, Romans 1). That's what we do and that's what Bible says we do.
This point is a synthesis of several Bible passages.
Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?"
In this passage, we see the serpent tempting the woman by saying "Has God indeed said…." In other words, he’s casting doubt on the literal words of God. Just a little later, he says;
Genesis 3:4-5 Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. (5) For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
The serpent is again casting doubt on God’s word, but this time he’s also putting forth the idea that eating from the tree will make the man and woman "like God." The woman thought this was a good idea and ate from the tree. Here we see clearly that man desired to be like God and thought it was an achievable goal. That’s really the sin of the whole thing- not that they wanted to be like God, but that they thought it was something they could indeed grasp. God then calls Adam to account for his actions and the result is Adam saying this to God:
Genesis 3:12 Then the man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate."
Note here how Adam lays the blame squarely at God’s feet- "the woman whom You gave to be with me…." In other words, "it’s all your fault, God!" Moving from Genesis to Jeremiah, we find this passage:
Jeremiah 6:16 Thus says the LORD: "Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, 'We will not walk in it.'
Here we see the Bible text claiming to be a statement from God. Let’s examine this statement a bit- God tells the people "…ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls." But, did the people do that? No. Instead "..they said, ‘We will not walk in it." Again, man is being disobedient to God. Man thinks that he has a better way than God Almighty. In the Garden, man thought that he could be like God and in Jeremiah man thinks that he knows better than God.
Moving on down to Paul and the New Testament, we see:
Romans 5:8-10 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (9) Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. (10) For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
There are many key points here, but note that the passage says "while we were still sinners…", "we shall be saved from wrath…", and "…if when we were enemies…" These three sections show clearly that natural man is disobedient toward God’s commands, we will be recipients of His wrath, and we are enemies of God. This is nothing new- we’ve seen this all throughout the Bible- but I just want you to see the consistent theme being presented here.
Are these points true? In my recent discussion, I laid out these facts and immediately the disagreements came- ranging from "I’m not an enemy of God! I love God! And God loves me!" to "God does not exist. God is a fairy tale invented by ignorant savages." As the discussion progressed, these very same people began saying things like "I don’t think God wants us to worship him" to "Why did God put the tree in the middle of the garden where he knew man could get to it? It’s all God’s fault" to "Oh…so Adam ate from the tree, all of mankind dies, and God sends his son? Thanks a lot, God." Now, I ask you…do these statements not point out exactly what we’ve seen in our brief survey of the Bible? First, these statements are doing exactly as Adam did in attempting to blame God for Adam’s own failure. Next, the Bible says "In the beginning, God…" (Genesis 1:1). When the person says "God does not exist" we should see the serpent’s deception still in action: "Did God really say that?" And this lie is deceiving the person who says "God doesn’t want me to worship Him!" because the Bible is full of statements like "I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised…" (2 Samuel 22:4) and "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing!" (Revelation 5:12). To say that God does not desire our worship is to deny:
Isaiah 43:7 Everyone who is called by My name, Whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him."
In addition to these, though, we also see truth in these statements:
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
And a passage a little further along:
1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Are these statements true? Is the message of the cross foolishness to those who are perishing? Does the natural man receive the things of God, or not? Let’s look back to the statements I’ve heard in my discussions with non-believers: "that’s ridiculous! Why does God have to die for me? If he’s knows that I’m sinful, then why doesn’t he just overlook my problems and accept me as I am?" The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing.
I see the Bible as exactly what it claims to be- the living word of Almighty God- for numerous reasons. It’s a proven document both historically and thru the testimony of witnesses. The prophecies in it have come true in very specific and very complex ways that defy randomness. The complexity and interlocking of the themes in the Bible also defy the idea that one man wrote it or that men modified it to fit their ideas. The Bible rings true- the things it says about man are quickly and easily seen in the actions of natural men. But I didn’t come to faith because of these things- all they did was strengthen my confidence in it. I believe the Bible because God has given me ears to hear and eyes to see and opened my heart to the truths in the Bible. It was no conscious decision of mine- it was a calling by God to which I responded, thanks to the faith which God gifted to me (see Ephesians 2:8-9).
So, in discussing the Bible with non-believers, I must always remember that I, too, was once a non-believer and I, too, criticized the Bible, and I, too, used the exact same arguments I hear from them. As we saw in Matthew 13, the truth of the cross will remain hidden except to those whom God, out of his grace and mercy, calls to Christ. If I turn to the Bible for guidance in talking to non-believers, I find this:
2 Timothy 2:23-26 But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. (24) And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, (25) in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, (26) and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.
This is why I always pray for God to open ears and eyes. I can’t do it. So, in closing, may God call you to repentance and to the salvation that is in Jesus Christ and Him alone, to the glory of God the Father, through the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
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