“You can’t believe the Bible.” Ever heard that? It’s a pretty common mantra in our society.
Some of you reading this column used to go to church, and you used to believe the Bible — until you went to college and a professor told you that the Bible was untrustworthy. At that point, you chucked the whole thing and haven’t looked back.
The reason we’re told we can’t believe the Bible is because what we have in our modern Bible is just a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy; therefore, it can’t be true.
The problem is, when we go to our history books and we read about people in ancient history, the source of that information is a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy. Somehow, it never dawns on us that the argument we use to discount the Bible is acceptable to us as we rebuild the rest of history.
Take the history of Caesar Augustus for example. The information we have on him comes from two sources both commissioned by him to write about him. I may be wrong here, but that right there kind of makes me suspicious of their accuracy. I mean, if they write something he doesn’t like, they’re dead.
I believe that the information we have on Caesar consists of 10 copies of the biography he commissioned. The closest we can get to the original writings is about 900 years or so.
No one questions the accuracy of this historical information and, if I were to suggest differently, you’d question my sanity. I mean, 10 copies by a mere 900 years. Historians think that’s pretty incredible and accept the accounts as accurate.
When it comes to the New Testament, we have over 5,000 copies of the text. Some can accurately be dated to 125 A.D. Nine hundred years: no problem; 125 years: huge problem — why?
The issue isn’t evidence; the issue is presuppositions. Those who reject the writings of the Bible do so because they have a presupposition against the supernatural. Because they haven’t seen it themselves, or experienced a miracle, they form the opinion that miracles don’t happen and can’t happen.
With their minds already made up, they go to these ancient texts and say, “You can’t believe them because I don’t believe them.” That is the essence of their argument. Not a very good argument I would say.
Then there’s “The Bible talks about Creation, therefore you can’t believe the Bible because we know we got here through a process of evolution.” Really? There was nothing and then there was something, and you’ve got to explain how that something got here from nothing.
Because you reject the possibility of a cosmic designer you have to come up with alternative explanations which, face it, don’t make a whole lot of scientific sense.
That’s why guys like Richard Dawkins now suggest that we got here because our world was “seeded by aliens.” Dawkins has actually said that he prefers to believe in invisible little green men who brought life to this planet rather than believing in a God who gave life to this planet. Not very scientific, but very telling.
Here’s the bottom line. No one can “prove” history. We have people today who deny the Holocaust and claim that the pictures are faked. They have predetermined that they don’t believe in the Holocaust and no matter what evidence you present for it, they’ll deny it.
The same is true among those who claim you can’t believe the Bible. They are asking you to agree with a presupposition and they find ways to support it, rather than letting the evidence speak for itself.
Maybe it’s time you stopped accepting the word of some authority, and checked out for yourself what the Bible actually says. I challenge you, just start with one of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John). You don’t even have to read the entire New Testament, just one book.
Look at it and then ask yourself this question: does the evidence of history seem to support or discount what I’ve just read?
Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church in Covington. For more information, visit the Gateway Web site at www.gatewaycommunity.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.