THE SOURCE OF TRUTH
Interestingly, the Bible is the only book that claims within its pages to be the very word of God. Many books claim to speak to spiritual matters, but only the Bible declares repeatedly that it is God speaking.
The King James Bible says “thus saith the Lord” 430 times in the Old Testament. Over 48 times the Bible refers to itself as the “word of God”. Imagine the contemptible hubris of such a claim if it is false. Such a claim, if false, is beyond despicable, it is manic.
Yet we find that for these thousands of years men have read these claims. Many died martyrs’ deaths believing the words to be true. Consider the utter stupidity of the human race if it could not recognize abject nonsense in the practical outworking of their day to day lives.
It’s one thing to have lived in a time of scientific error; you may be wrong about the moon being made out of cheese, but it’s an entirely different matter to starve to death waiting for it to fall out of the sky into your plate. The first is a silly mistake; the second is the mark of an imbecile. Could billions of people over thousands of years have all been pathetic fools?
What possible condition could have contributed to this longevity except that the truths espoused by the Bible ordered men’s lives and comforted their souls? It is beyond comprehension that delusion has been the hallmark of what men have felt in their hearts regarding their relationship with God through Scripture for thousands of years.
At some point, despite our personal misgivings we must give some kind of credence to an experience among our fellow men that appears nearly universal. I for one would be fearful to have surgery without anesthesia, yet in China this is done all the time using acupuncture. Are millions of Chinese pretending that surgery under acupuncture is painless? I think not. Rather I must conclude that I am not fully informed.
THE AUTHORITY OF TRUTH
Allow me to state the obvious. There is significance in the fact that the confirmation that men have received regarding the Bible’s impact upon them was based not only on what they believed, but also on what they experienced. That one man might claim to hear an inner voice can generally not be confirmed. That billions of men should hear the same voice over thousands of years is astonishing and cannot be reasonably dismissed. I challenge anyone to argue that such an event is not significant.
I have spoken with many men who will not read the Bible. I wonder what they fear. Somehow the tides of history have managed to preserve this book through persecution, conquest, controversy, banning and untold numbers of attempts at eliminating its existence. Somehow the human race has chosen to defend this book against the onslaught of empires, despots and tyrants (or as believers would declare, God has preserved it). A needful question must be: why?
The answer is because within its pages, the human race has found principles and guidance that have stood the test of time, reason, and conscience. There are some things which speak to our inner spirit and declare themselves to be valid. To deny them wrenches our souls. The Laws and God of the Bible have spoken to the needs of men. As Francis Schaeffer put it, God is there and He is not silent.[i]
I do not seek to persuade anyone that the Bible is the Word of God. That is far and away not remotely possible in these few pages. While it may be so for me, I recognize that the beauty of our way of life, of our Constitutional Republic, of the First Amendment, is that every man[ii] is free to believe or not to believe. To my mind this very freedom is itself a gift from God that is enshrined in our Founding documents.
To be honest, I cannot pretend to understand those men for whom the God of the Bible is so offensive that they would deny the facts of history. And history is clear. The Bible, the principles it espouses and the Laws it declares have served as the bedrock of Western Civilization for centuries.
Each of us has the right to reject the theology of the Bible. I certainly did for almost four decades, but even when I considered Christianity a refuge for losers and I personally mocked the notion of a sacrificial redemption by a God who “became a man and died for my sins”, I never doubted that Christianity held a unique place in our nation’s history.