The Bible's Inspiration
Very few people in this world really consider the
Bible to be inspired, and the militant campaign of atheists, skeptics,
agnostics, and secular humanists to discredit the Bible has gotten so large
that there is a publishing company (Prometheus Press) that devotes a high
percentage of their products to the goal of destroying religion. The major
thrust of most of the attacks on the Bible are discrepancies in historical
data. Some examples are:
- How long were the Israelites in Egypt and in
Canaan? 450, 430, 400?
- Where did Aaron die?
Deuteronomy 10:6 vs.
- At what age did the Levites enter service in
the sanctuary? 30 (
Numbers 4:3) 25 (
Numbers 8:24) or 20 (
- How many stalls did Solomon build for his calvary?
2 Chronicles 9:25) or 40,000 (
1 Kings 4:26)
- How many did Jashobeam kill? 300 (
11:11) or 800 (
2 Samuel 23:8)
There are explanations for these types of claims,
and whole volumes have been compiled. The fact of the matter is that historical
documents are easy to alter, fabricate, inflate, or misinterpret. In recent
years, there have even been those who have attempted to deny or at least
mollify the holocaust of World War II. God has not struck dead any person
who mistranslated, doctored, miscopied, or deliberately altered the content
of the Bible. There have seemed to be a providentially constant flow of
manuscripts and archaeological finds to correct these man-made modifications
of biblical cannon, but the variations in modern Bibles show how patient
God is in this matter.
Over the years, we have devoted a great deal of
space in this journal to the demonstration of cases where scientific statements
are shown in the Bible that were totally beyond the knowledge of the day
in which they were written. Some examples are:
- The use of shanyhim in
Genesis 1:1 for
the word "heaven." This word literally means "heaved up
things" and is in total accord with modern understanding of the expanding
- The teaching of
Leviticus 17:11 that blood is
essential for life when most cultures of the day in which Leviticus was
written practiced blood letting due to contrary beliefs.
- The practices of quarantine in
to avoid the spread of disease.
- The sequence in which life forms appear on the
earth both in the fossil record and in biological succession today--both
in accordance with
- The recognition of lightning as a natural phenomenon,
not a supernatural act of angry gods (
The standard response of skeptics to claims of
this kind about the Bible is to attribute them to luck or genius on the
part of the author. Take a look at modern predictions by reputable, intelligent,
scientifically literate people which are all less than 200 years old.
- "The [flying] machine will eventually be
fast; they will be used in sport, but they are not to be thought of as
commercial carriers." --Octave Chanute, aviation pioneer, 1904.
- "The ordinary 'horseless carriage' is at
present a luxury for the wealthy; and although its price will probably
fall in the future, it will never come into as common use as the bicycle."
--The Literary Digest, 1889.
- "[It] is, of course, altogether valueless....
Ours has been the first, and will doubtless be the last, party of whites
to visit this profitless locality." --Lt. Joseph D. Ives, Corps of
Topographical Engineers, 1861, on the Grand Canyon.
- "Landing and moving around on the moon offer
so many serious problems for human beings that it may take science another
200 years to lick them." --Science Digest, August, 1948.
- "X rays are a hoax." "Aircraft
flight is impossible." "Radio has no future." --Physicist
and mathematician Lord Kelvin (1824-1907)
- "Everything that can be invented has been
invented." --Charles H Duell, Commissioner of the U.S. Patent Office,
- "The wireless music box has no imaginable
commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to no one in particular?"
--David Sarnoff's associates in denying his request to invest in radio,
- "I think there is a world market for maybe
five computers." --Thomas Watson, Chairman, IBM, 1943.
- "The bomb will never go off, and I speak
as an expert in explosives." --Adm. William Leahy, U.S. Atomic Energy
- "Computers in the future may weigh no more
than 1.5 tons." --Popular Mechanics, 1949.
- "We don't like their sound, and guitar music
is on the way out." --Decca Recording Co., in rejecting the Beatles,
- "There is no reason for any individuals
to have a computer in their home." --Ken Olson, founder of Digital
Equipment Corp., 1977.
- "This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings
to be seriously considered as a means of communications. The device is
inherently of no value to us." --Western Union internal memo, 1876.
The point is not that these brilliant people were
wrong, but that they were typical. For the Bible to address the needs of
people living in 1500 BC and also in the year 2,000 and do it without the
kind of mistakes we see mankind typically making is incredible.
Do not focus on a few negatives when you examine
the credibility of the Bible, but realize the preponderance of wisdom,
facts, and practical advice it gives--totally beyond the normal writing
of uninspired men.
--John N. Clayton
Back to Contents Does God Exist?, May/Jun97