The Certainty Of The Bible – Reprise

chicken-3-1392636-mWhich came first, the chicken or the egg?

It’s a conundrum to many people, but for those of us who believe the Bible, not so much. God created the animals, including birds, so clearly the chicken came first.

In truth, belief in the Bible is a similar chicken-or-egg puzzle for many people. How do you know the Bible is true? Short answer: God’s fingerprints are all over it. But how do you recognize God’s fingerprints? The Bible gives us a portrait of Him.

So which comes first, belief in God or belief in the Bible?

I’d say, both. Scripture is important throughout . . . well, Scripture. For example, Philip explained to an Ethiopian the Scripture he was reading, and the man consequently believed in Jesus; in His teaching ministry, Jesus Himself elaborated on the Law of Moses; Paul and Peter quoted frequently from Old Testament prophets; and so on. Scripture values Scripture.

But there was a time before people had Scripture, and God still made Himself known, so faith in God must not be tied exclusively to faith in the Bible. In fact the book of Romans explains that God first made Himself known in what He created.

In addition Scripture records any number of direct encounters God or one of His angels had with various people. Sometimes He appeared in a dream such as He did to Jacob. Sometimes He talked directly to an individual as He did with Adam and Abraham and Samuel. At other times He appeared in the form of a man as He did to Gideon or Jacob–which may have been an angel as His messenger or Jesus before His coming to earth in the form of a baby.

Then there are the indirect messages God gave people through prophets–men who spoke His message at His prompting. People like Hosea and Jonah, Ezekiel and Jeremiah.

But here’s the thing: we know about these encounters today through the Bible. So how do you have faith in God’s ability to make Himself known apart from the Bible except by believing that the Bible record is true?

There seems to be a sort of synergistic relationship with believing God and believing the Bible. One leads to the other and the other leads back to the starting point. The Bible reveals God and God validates the Bible. Or God points to His word and His word points back to Him.

The idea that God points to His word might seem doubtful, but it’s actually Biblical. 😉 Jesus explained to His disciples that the Holy Spirit would come and guide them, and us, into all truth (John 16:13). In fact, He said,

When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me (John 15:26).

The Holy Spirit, then, is our source of truth, and as it happens, it was the Holy Spirit who breathed His truth into Scripture through the agency of humans.

But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. (2 Peter 1:20-21)

In turn, Scripture tells us about the Holy Spirit and all His work.

Seems very eggish and chickenish, doesn’t it. Except, remember, there really is an easy answer to the question that appears, on the surface, to be a puzzle. So, too, with this matter about believing the Bible.

The first step is to ask, can we know about God apart from the Bible? The answer, which the Bible verifies, but which countless humans down through the ages have discovered apart from the Bible, is yes. When we look at the vastness of space–and more so now that we can look into deep space using advanced technology–or the beauty of a sunset or the majesty of purple mountains or the thunderous power of the surf or the intricacy of a butterfly or the astounding birth of a baby or . . . pretty much anything in the natural world, we recognize we are part of all that exists, not the maker of it. There is something beyond us.

Today a popular position is to say that “something” is nature itself. This position has many problems. But here’s the thing. Having recognized that there is something beyond us, we then see God saying He has chosen to disclose Himself to us.

We ought not to be shocked if some people respond by saying, Really? I mean, it is a rather fantastic claim. An Other, a Greater, wants to stop by for a chat? Wants to introduce Himself and become friends? It’s . . . incredible.

So we can say, NOT POSSIBLE, meaning that we have determined we know what is and isn’t possible in a universe we did not create and do not fully comprehend; or we can say, the One who is Other and Greater is also Incredible.

What then can’t He do? If He chooses to disclose Himself in a written record, who am I to say, no, He didn’t.

This post originally appeared here in October 2013.

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Published in: on October 3, 2017 at 5:58 pm  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Well written post.
    http://businessmgtblog.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You said, “When we look at the vastness of space–and more so now that we can look into deep space using advanced technology–or the beauty of a sunset or the majesty of purple mountains or the thunderous power of the surf or the intricacy of a butterfly or the astounding birth of a baby or . . . pretty much anything in the natural world, we recognize we are part of all that exists, not the maker of it. There is something beyond us.”

    Yes, mother nature is beyond all of us, as you pointed out advanced technology that is a result of science can find the answers to many of our questions and will continue to do so for as long as we can.

    You said, “Having recognized that there is something beyond us, we then see God saying He has chosen to disclose Himself to us.”

    It is just too easy to put your God into the gaps of ignorance and imagine he speaks to you in your mind as conclusive evidence he exists.

    Science is good enough to answer many questions and create new technology that theists will embrace, however theists like yourself will ignore and discard any answers it may provide when it does not comply or is contrary with your ideology.

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    • Sorry for the delay in answering, Steve. I really do appreciate you engaging in the discussion. The thing I think you can’t account for is that “mother nature,” as you refer to it, can’t simultaneously be beyond us while it is part of us. One of the wonders I mentioned in the post is the birth of a baby. That is as wondrous as the thunderous power of the sea. But the power of the sea does not explain how a baby comes into being. Nor does it explain the existence of stars and planets. In other words, nature cannot be beyond nature.

      Also, I think you might be misunderstanding the Christian position. We who believe the Bible don’t put God into the gaps of ignorance.nHe is sovereign over all—the known and the known.

      As a result, you’re right to say that when science and my “ideology” collide, I’ll choose against what is temporary and partial—science—in favor of what is eternal and complete. God’s revelation of Himself is not actually in conflict with what He has made, though it can appear like it is to those who don’t accept God’s sovereignty.

      Becky

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      • Thanks Becky, no worries, I realise we are all busy these days and I want to help you with this faith stuff.

        To go back to this part of your post “pretty much anything in the natural world, we recognize we are part of all that exists, not the maker of it. There is something beyond us.”

        Mother nature is about as complicated as it gets and only beyond us in inspiration and wonder. What I do understand is nothing is beyond what we experience, and understand from modern scientific education. Nothing spiritual or out of this world could possibly have created mother nature it has been established beyond doubt by science that it has evolved to what it is today just as planet Earth and everything else has.

        I see the beauty, ugliness, life and death and the intricacies of all that exists on our planet as far too advanced for the most educated writers of any holy books in biblical times to have any basic idea of comprehending what was really involved in not only the scientific aspects but what existed outside of their own confined social, economic and political life within their small part of the planet.

        They only understood that what they saw must have been created by a god because they had absolutely no knowledge of the Earth as a whole or any minimal scientific knowledge and therefore no reason to doubt this as the only explanation. This is strongly emphasised because they also had very little understanding about many aspects of natural events that also includes the sun, the Earth and the stars with this primitive understanding clearly recorded in the Bible.

        If God existed and was sovereign over all known and unknown and chose to disclose himself in a written record, one would expect he would have written much of the record himself with his own hand and he would have been able to describe many things in the future in great accuracy and undeniably as a God.

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