For the last few weeks we have been discussing the Bible. There was a time when the Bible was considered by the majority of people to be an authoritative work. Beginning in the 19th century its authority began to be questioned. Claims were made (many of which are now totally disproven) and for many, the authority of Scripture began to crumble.
Today, the reigning view seems to be that since the Bible was written by men, it can’t be trusted. While people seem to accept that position readily when it comes to the Bible, it is a view we selectively embrace only when we want to see things a certain way. If we truly believed that something written by men cannot be trusted, we wouldn’t have any history and science itself would become impossible.
Last week we looked at a claim one of the human writers made about Scripture; a claim found in no other writing ancient or modern. “Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.” (2 Peter 1:20–21, NLT).
This is an incredible claim, which is why some have an instant problem with it. Our modern anti-supernatural bias immediately protests against any supernatural-sounding claims. However, instead of rejecting something outright because we can’t understand it, the wise course of action is to pause and consider whether there is evidence supporting the claim.
In the 1800s, three men, Louis Pasteur, Joseph Lister and Robert Kock, began advancing a theory of disease that the majority of the general population, as well as most physicians and scientists, not only questioned but ridiculed! Pasteur, Lister and Kock suggested that there was an unseen invisible world that impacted this seen, visible world. Today, the theory they advanced, germ theory, is accepted by all and common practice by most. As I write this article, the big news is the world-wide coronavirus pandemic which we combat by following protocol that was once considered unthinkable.
How did we go from a questionable theory to common practice? We followed the evidence. When it comes to Scripture, let me suggest that it would be wise for us to moderate our skepticism (don’t just drop it; use it) and follow the evidence.
In the last article we ended with the fact that the Scriptures contained in our modern Bible were written over a period of 1,500 years by at least 40 different authors, and yet it is a unified whole. The statistical changes of that happening by chance are astronomical, which is why I personally have been led to believe that the Bible is more than just a man-made book.
Unfortunately, today most people’s view of how we got our modern work we call the Bible is based on well-documented facts that have long been disproven but have been reintroduced to us in the form of novel by Dan Brown. The beauty (if you want to call it that) of such deception is that as a novel, the work is not read critically, it is read merely for enjoyment. Defenses come down, the misinformation finds fertile soil in our minds and takes root. Without realizing it, a novel idea then becomes confused as historical fact.
Now, quickly, the idea Mr. Brown introduced was the idea that there were other valid manuscripts that were simply ignored, rejected and hidden because the church had an agenda. This is where we will pick up next week.