A great many people possess an inherited religious faith. They believe what they believe because that is the way they were raised and that is what is socially acceptable in the culture in which they live. In reality they have accepted something instead of having a living dynamic faith. Acceptance breeds indifference, apathy, and a lack of involvement. Faith breeds enthusiasm, involvement and positiveness. We can know why we believe what we believe. There is a great deal of evidence to support the belief that the God of the Bible is the true and living God, that Jesus is His Son, and the Bible is His Word.
There is a great deal of evidence within the Bible that demonstrates that it is not just the work of men. In spite of its great antiquity, the Bible is easy to understand. Genesis 1, for example, was written around 1500 BC. It is easy to understand and clear in its meaning. Works like the Iliad by Homer are not that clear or easy to understand even though they were written hundreds of years after Genesis. In the same way, we find that many religious works like the Vedas are extremely difficult to understand and lack clarity. The Bible also radiates authority. “Never a man spake like this man,” was the comment of those of Jesus’ day. There was no appeal for belief or credibility. Jesus spoke differently than any man has before or since. C.S. Lewis says:
|A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic--on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg--or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.|
|Jesus lived about||12,000 days|
|His ministry||1,200 days|
|Total days accounted for in Bible||34 days|
|Christ’s baptism||4 verses|
|His transfiguration||5 verses|
The Bible is also free of whitewash. It is objective. When we read about Abraham, we read about a man who was so weak that on two different occasions he was willing to let his wife become a part of another man’s harem. We read about David’s terrible sin with Bathsheba and his murder of her husband. Unlike the work of men that delete the negative things, the Bible tells it all.
The Bible is unique in the fact that it makes statements which can be checked to see if they are true or not. In science, history, psychology, medicine, literature, and a myriad of other fields there are statements which can be investigated to see if they are true and if they could have been known by the Bible writers in the day they were written. In science, there are hundreds of examples of knowledge totally beyond the Bible authors’ knowledge that are nevertheless in the Bible. The ability to check this data provides strong evidence that the Bible is from God.
||turtle with four elephants
||man named Atlas
||in a lake inside a plastic-like
hemisphere with a beetle pushing the sun across the sky
||in a river with the sun god Ra
driving a chariot across the sky
In the picture above we see the Hindu concept of how the earth is held “up” in space. The explanation is logical, clear, and reasonable. Elephants are very strong. The reason that objects in the sky move very slowly is that turtles are slow. While logical, the view is incorrect. The chart below the picture shows other concepts of the suspension of the earth as seen in ancient records and traditions. Nowhere in the Bible is there an indication that the Earth is physically supported. The only references we do find are poetic passages like Job 26:7 and even these passages are accurate. At the end of this lesson is a partial list of other passages in the Bible which demonstrate similar accuracy. Similar charts could be drawn up in all disciplines known to man. When alleged conflicts do appear, a close examination shows that either assumptions made about the passage are causing the conflict or language difficulties exist.
In addition to the freedom from error and knowledge beyond the date of its writing, the Bible has cause-and-effect promises which can be checked out. As an example:
The system taught in the Bible works. In all areas, it shows logic and practicality. Consider the chart below and notice that the Bible contains wisdom far beyond the human alternatives offered by man-made systems.
|God seeks man (Revelation 3:20; John 10:14-18)||Man seeks God|
|Church is people (Matthew 18:20; 1 Corinthians 3:16)||Shrines, temples, cathedrals|
|Heaven (Revelation 21:4; 1 Corinthians 15:51-57; Luke 19:12-26)||Reincarnation or nothing|
|Use and management of creation (Genesis 1:28; 2:15; Acts 11:8-9)||Pantheism, exploitation, food restrictions|
|Home (Mark 10:4-12; Genesis 2:24)||Polygamy, polyandry, none|
|Dealing with others (Matthew 5-6; Luke 10:30-37; Acts 10:34-35, John 4:3-24)||Selfishness, prejudice, bigotry, anarchy|
|Self (Matthew 5-6; 1 Corinthians 10:13)||Overt control, no responsibility|
|Pain and suffering (Romans 8:28; John 9:1-3)||Nothing, suicide, punishment for wrong doing|
The Changing of Lives
What is it about the Christian system that motivates its adherents to do the things that they do in reference to their fellowman? Even when partially followed, the Christian system brings incredible benefits into the lives of men and women. All over the world, one can see hospitals built by various “Christian” groups as devices to serve the needs of man--totally motivated by the philosophy and teachings of Jesus Christ. Alcoholic treatment centers, drug rehabilitation programs, educational institutions, jail ministries, programs for the poor, and a myriad of other totally unselfish and serving type of organizations have been built by people expressing their faith in the teachings of Jesus Christ. These groups do not agree on all points of doctrine, and some of their theology is not consistent with the Bible; but even when partially followed, the biblical system brings great fruit of a beautiful and indisputable nature.
How many Muslim, Buddhist, Bahai, Hindu, or any other religious service facilities do you find any place in the world? Even when there are such centers they are usually situations where they took over a program initiated by followers of Christ, as is the case in nearly all Muslim countries today. There is something different about Christianity. The biblical message produces different fruit. We do need to point out that when a “Christian” group does something bad, it is always totally in opposition to what Jesus taught. The Crusades were exactly the opposite of the concept of “turning the other cheek,” “loving your enemy,” “living peaceably with all men,” “going the second mile,” and so forth. The Jim Jones massacre in Guyana cannot be attributed to the biblical system. On the other hand, we do see Muhammad advocating force and killing as a means of spreading his doctrine. There is a difference.
A subject we will touch on only briefly as we end this lesson is the fact that there is a power in Christianity that is not found any where on the earth in any other system and that is a power to overcome problems and temptations in our lives that we cannot do alone. This is hard to convey to a person who has never tried it; but when a person who is committed and serving God tries to overcome something in their lives that is lacking or negative, they see incredible things happen. Alcoholics whip their addiction to their recreational drug. Addicts on other drugs are able to clean up their lives. Prostitutes are able to escape useless lives of exploitation. People with moral problems are able to overcome them. There is always a solution to every problem that we can be confronted with in life. What is the source of that power? Why is it that Christianity changes lives when no other system on earth seems to have that ability? At the end of this course, your author would like to share with you some of his own experiences in this regard. I would submit that the uniqueness of Christianity to accomplish renovation in shattered, meaningless lives is another testimony to the fact that there is one true and living God--the God of the Bible.
Checkable Biblical Accuracy
|Fact as Stated in the Bible||Biblical Reference||Common Belief of Day in Which Author Lived|
|Blood is essential to Life||Leviticus17:11-14||Disease and spirits reside in blood. To cure disease, bleed patient.|
|Both male & female possess “seed of life.”||Genesis 3:15; 22:18||Male has baby in him. Woman is the incubator.|
|Eating blood of animals forbidden.||Leviticus 17:12,14||Raw blood used as beverage.|
|Do not eat animals that died naturally.||Leviticus 17:15||No restrictions on manner of death.|
|Quarantine of certain diseases.||Leviticus 13-15||No isolation of diseased.|
|Do not eat pork or scavengers (In Moses’ day).||Leviticus 11||No food restrictions.|
|Principles of avoiding bacterial contamination--one person to another.||Leviticus 15:19-33||No rules of hygiene or isolation.|
|Human waste products to be buried.||Deuteronomy 23:12-14||Human waste left on ground.|
|Human body can be opened for surgery.||Genesis 2:21||First operations done secretly because populace threatened doctors.|
|Burning clothes, washing self after contact with deceased man or animal.||Numbers 19:5-22||No recognition of contagion problem.|
|Earth is round, day and night taking place simultaneously.||Isaiah 40:22; Proverbs 8:27; Luke 17:34.||Earth is flat.|
|Earth is not physically supported.||None mentioned and Job 26:7||Earth held up by four elephants or Atlas (a man), etc.|
|The North is empty (our North Pole points out of our galaxy).||Job 26:7||Seeing a few stars to the North refuted this idea until 1932.|
|Space and stars are too large to be measured or counted.||Genesis 15:5; Jeremiah 33:22||Attempts to number the astronomical bodies went on until 1932.|
|The creation sequence--plants, water creatures, birds, mammals, man, in that order.||Genesis 1:11-28||Most had man first. All varied from correct concept.|
|The age of everything in the creation is the same.||Genesis 1:1||Different times for different objects|
|The continents have “floated” away from a singular original land mass.||Genesis 1:9; 10:25||Each continent was autonomous (until 1970).|
|Hubert Spencer’s scientific principles.||Genesis 1||No scientific system of statements.|
|Lightning is produced naturally.||Jeremiah 10:13; 51:16||The gods throw lightning bolts.|
|All men are blood relatives.||Acts 17:26||Men have different origins.|
|The water cycle.||Ecclesiastes 1:7; Job 36:27,28||The gods pour new water on land continuously.|
|Use of genetics in livestock.||Genesis 30:30-43||No recognition of inherited physical properties.|
|Snow and ice seen as valuable.||Job 38:22||Snow and ice seen as a scourge and waste.|
|Seaworthy ration for ship construction--30x5x3.||Genesis 6:15||Ships ratio not considered; only the beauty.|
|Concepts of id and ego.||Romans 7||Explanations of behavior induced by gods.
|Animals can be changed (mutated).||Genesis 3:14||No change possible.|
|Directional correctness.||Luke 10:30||Directional error.|
|Distance accuracy.||Luke 24:13||Errors in distance.|
|Hittite nation’s existence.||Genesis 10:15; 23:10; 25:9||Denied until 1906.|
© 1985, John N. Clayton
Lesson 3 Questions
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