We live in an age of disbelief. Our culture as a whole seems to pride itself in what it does not believe. Our newspapers are almost totally committed to negativism, and journalism as a whole has taken to interpreting the news and history of our day--not reporting it. This is bad enough, but the fact that the interpretation is almost always negative makes it even worse. Our political figures may have many negative qualities, but the media's obsession with their weaknesses instead of their strengths has caused many of us to become totally apathetic toward our government at best and opposed to it at worst. The problem of our schools makes the front page in our newspapers. I can tell you as a high school teacher with 41 years in the classroom that a vast percentage of those problems are completely misrepresented by the media. I can also tell you that when a teacher has something positive about the school or students to get presented to the community through the media, it is almost impossible to get the media to reproduce it without finding some negative way to present it. I have been told by media people that the negativism is necessary because it is the only thing that sells. The tabloids at the grocery store certainly back that view.
This spirit of disbelief has manifested itself in an especially destructive way in matters related to faith. It is easy to get the media to put a story of religious failure or inconsistency on the front page. The good and the great stories of people who bring solutions to our world through their faith do not make the papers at all. It has also become fashionable in religious circles to disbelieve the Bible and attack its credibility. The classic example of this is the "Jesus Seminar," and there are religious periodicals like Biblical Archaeology Review, Biblical Review, and others that devote vast numbers of pages to the denial of sections of the Bible or at least to the inspiration of sections of the Bible. This seems to be unique to Western culture. Finding a Moslem, Buddhist, Hindu, or Bahai scholar who would write whole books denying the credibility of the Koran, Vedas, etc. would be very difficult to do. Rather than pursue the many reasons for this, what we would like to do here is suggest five reasons why the Pentateuch is in fact inspired by God and given to us through Moses--a suggestion that seems to be increasingly unpopular with many writers, both religious and skeptical.
The Pentateuch itself indicates Moses was the author.Exodus 17:14 and 24:4 both indicate Moses wrote the words of Jehovah. Claims that Moses could not write are not thought through. He was educated in Egypt and we know writing was prevalent in Egypt. In Numbers 33:1-2, the "journey of the children of Israel" are indicated as having been written by Moses. Skeptics respond that records of Moses are not found in Egyptian writings so the biblical record is not verified. There are two problems with this objection. The first is that we have no way of knowing exactly when Moses lived so we really do not know where to look. The more important point is that no nation makes exhaustive records of its failures. It is very difficult for me to explain the Viet Nam period of U.S. history to my students, especially the actions that were taking place here at home. The Kent State activities at that time are incidents I find very little discussion of today, and frankly I find them hard to discuss myself. I do not think you would expect Egyptian confirmation of the biblical account, but you have to virtually deny the Pentateuch itself to deny Moses as its author.
Other Old Testament writings refer to Moses. Joshua 8:31 records "As it is written in the book of the law of Moses.." Similar statements are found in Joshua 1:7-8; 1 Kings 2:3; 2 Kings 14:6; and 21:8. The assertion that "Law of Moses" is a phrase and concept invented in the days of Jesus is not supported by the evidence.
New Testament writings support the inspirations of the Pentateuch and of Moses as its author. In John 5:46- 47, Jesus said, "If you believed Moses, you would have believed me, for Moses wrote of me. But if you do not believe the words of Moses, how will you believe my words?" Many times Jesus referred to Moses and the Transfiguration certainly underlined the relationship between Jesus and Moses. Other passages say things that refer to Moses. An example is Romans 10:5 where Paul wrote "For Moses writes that.."
A wealth of secular evidence supports the Pentateuch as having divine origin. For the past 32 years, the Does God Exist? program has been presenting evidence on the credibility of the Pentateuch. Because our primary field is science and especially the physical sciences, we have focused on the Genesis account. Our archaeology consultant, the late Dr. Harvey Porter, in this journal and in our video series has shown the archaeological support for the historical validity of the Pentateuch as well as later Old Testament and New Testament accounts. It is true that not everything stated in the Pentateuch has been proven to be correct. It is also true that many things thought to be untrue 100 years ago have turned out to be correct.
Geneses 1:1 states that there was a beginning. The very first word in the entire Bible is a statement of testable scientific fact. Mankind's negativism has tried to disprove this and just about every other statement of the Bible. In cases like the Jesus Seminar, the criteria was the critics' own feelings of whether or not that statement was so hard to believe that they personally could not accept it. To ignore a mountain of evidence because there are some statements we cannot validate is an illogical decision. I believe that America is the greatest country in the world. I have not visited every other country in the world, and there are many things about this country that I do not understand--even a few I disagree with. The fact is, however, that I have a mountain of evidence that convicts me so strongly about this land in which I live that I would give my life to defend it. It seems to me that this analogy is very close to the belief that I have in the Bible as God's Word.
The consequences of rejecting the inspiration of the Pentateuch are horrific. The issue involved here is not just Moses, the Pentateuch, or the Old Testament. The whole concept of Christianity and the biblical way of life hangs in the balance. We are told in the New Testament that the Old Testament is a "school master" to prepare for the Christian system (Galatians 3:24-25). If the Pentateuch is rejected, then all references to it must also be rejected. This is not just a question about Israelite history, but statements like John 1:1, Colossians 1:16, and even Revelation 22:13 become at least disconnected.
Not only are the connections between Christianity and all of the Old Testament lost, but there is also a question that arises as to what we are willing to accept and what we are unwilling to accept. If we reject the creation account because we are unwilling to believe anything we cannot perceive through our senses, then we have flat out said we will not accept miracles of any kind. The spiritual world is totally rejected and all of our existence is reduced to our physical existence. This is, of course, atheism in its simplest form.
The problem is that in the process of doing this, the atheist has also closed the door to most of the soft sciences like psychology and to quantum mechanics and all of its spin-offs. This limitation of our thinking and rejection of wide areas of understanding is destructive in many ways. Just as we have faith when we drive down the road that the driver coming the other way will not cross into our lane and hit us head on, we need to accept God as the author and inspirer of the Bible, understanding that "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable. (2 Timothy 3:16).
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