Category Archives: Religious

The Bible’s Historical And Scientific Relevance

A while back, I was asked to write an article for the Carolina Messenger about the Bible’s Historical and Scientific Relevance. It was published last month, and I am reprinting the article in this forum as well as giving a link to the Carolina Messenger page. Be sure to check them out. There are lots of good articles there!

The Bible’s Historical And Scientific Relevance

Jesus taught that the Bible speaks truthfully about both the physical world and the spiritual world. John 3:12 is proof that Jesus “did not accept the false idea that the Bible could tell you how to ‘go to Heaven’ but not ‘how the heavens go’” (Geisler & Turek, 358). Put another way, if the Bible is not trustworthy in what it says about the physical world, it cannot possibly be trusted on spiritual matters. And so, if we are to teach, as Jesus did, that the Bible is accurate in matters of faith, we must teach that it is accurate in matters of history and science.

Failure to teach an evidence based faith is in direct contrast to Hebrews 11:1.  Faith is the evidence of things unseen. We are poor stewards of the inerrant, inspired Word of God, if we accept the false notion that true science and religion are at odds with each other (Keller, 92). In fact, the honest seeker has far more information available to confirm the truth of the Bible today than in any generation before. In a world dominated by scientific thinking, few people will hear the truth of the gospel if the church fails to teach the reliability and relevance of scripture.

The Sincere Seeker

Many intelligent people have the false notion that all science is based on what is observable or known, while all faith is based on the unseen and unknown. When confronted with the unknown or unseen, the atheist responds “no God,” and the agnostic says “unknowable.” But the Bible gives verifiable, testable data when it speaks about the physical world. So the question is not necessarily, “Can a smart person believe in God” as Michael Guillen asks in his book by that name. Rather, what evidence are we giving to intellectuals to help them make an informed decision? I pray that every person would ask, as I did in my own journey, two simple questions and be willing to trust the evidence that demands a decision.

How did we get here?

No reasonable explanation has ever been given, outside of the Bible, for the most basic question of life: “How did something (matter, energy, space, time, etc.) come from nothing?” The God theory isn’t just convenient. Rather, it is the only answer to the Cosmological Statement: Every beginning has a beginner; the universe had a beginning; therefore, the universe had a beginner. Some have referred to this first cause as the “Unmoved Mover” (Craig, 97).

Einstein’s oscillating universe theory was proven false in 1922 by Alexander Friedman and others who displayed that Einstein had divided by zero in his cosmological constant or “fudge factor” (Geisler & Turek, 74). But it was the Hubble telescope that proved that the universe was not only expanding, but its rate of expansion was increasing! The universe has not always been here, oscillating in and out for eternity. Rather, it had a beginning, ex nihilio (out of nothing). The Bible explains this as, “In the beginning, God created…” (Genesis 1:1). It is a blind faith that would believe that trillions of stars, planets, and every living creature came from nothing. The evidence points to an intelligent being that caused matter to come into existence.

Is the Bible God’s inerrant Word?

The Bible is not meant to be a scientific textbook. Nevertheless, where the Bible speaks on any topic, it has been shown to be reliable. The Bible withstands attacks from every religion, theory, supposition, and fantasy; yet it shines despite rigorous scrutiny.

Inerrancy in Astronomy

Though Bible believers have been accused of thinking the world is flat, the Bible has always taught a round Earth (Isaiah 40:22). God wants us to use our ability to view the stars as a means of confirming Him. In Psalm 19, David wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.” It is telling that many intelligent design proponents can be found in the field of astronomy. Isaiah wrote, “Lift your eyes and look to the heavens”(Isaiah 40:26).

Inerrancy in Physics

There is no new energy being created in the universe today. The Bible accurately reflects this in the words, “God created” and “rested” when the “heavens and earth were finished” (Genesis 1:1; 2:1). Though scientists traditionally argued this idea, it is now incontrovertible that nothing new is being created in this system. Matter and energy change form, but nothing new is being created (Thompson, 233).

Inerrancy in History

Archeology “does not prove the truth of the Bible in its theological and spiritual statements” (Hoerth & McRay, 11). Yet, archeology can correct historians who claim that Bible stories are myths. (Bryant, 54-56). As archeology unearths more data, the Bible has maintained trustworthiness. Whether it is Tel Dan proving David’s existence, the Black Obelisk of Shalmanesser III proving tribute from Jehu, the Taylor Prism declaring Sennacherib’s invasion of Judah, The Moabite Stone (c. 850 B.C),found in 1868, confirming 1 Kings 16:1, or the excavations of Nineveh, Egypt, Palestine, etc., each new dig leads to greater Biblical reliability (Bryant, 55; Hoerth & McRay, 50-129; Thompson, 240).

Conclusion

Unfortunately, too many people are fooled into thinking that true science and the Bible are at odds. God created an observable world so that we can seek Him while He may be found (Isaiah 55:6-7). The necessary information is available. Science has never answered how matter appeared ex nihilio or disproved any Bible statement. Christians should boldly proclaim the truth and reliability of God’s inspired Word (2 Timothy 3:16).

The Church must teach these truths because the world will not show interest in matters of salvation if we aren’t proving the Bible is reliable on historical and scientific matters. Faith, of course, comes by hearing (Romans 10:17). Let them hear the whole full counsel of God (Acts 20:27).

Bibliography

Bryant, Dewayne12 Compelling Truths: Why Biblical Faith is Completely Reasonable. Nashville, Tennessee: 21st Century Christian, 2010.

Craig, William L. Reasonable Faith: Christian truth and apologetics. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books, 2008.

Geisler, Norman L., and Frank Turek. I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books, 2004.

Guillen, Michael. Can a Smart Person Believe in God. Nashville: Nelson Books, 2004.

Hoerth, Alfred J., and John McRay. Bible Archaeology : an exploration of the history and culture of early civilizations. Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Books, 2005.

Keller, Timothy J. The Reason for God : Belief in an Age of Skepticism. New York: Riverhead Books, 2009.

Thompson, BertIn Defense of the Bible’s Inspiration. S.l: Apologetics Press Inc, 2001.

Greg Wanderman is the minister for the church of Christ at Clover, SC

Watch “The Bible” with A Bible!

Many of you have commented or asked about the new series on the History Channel, “The Bible.”

I would encourage you, if you are going to watch any of this program, to do so with an open bible. I think you will be surprised at the liberties taken by the producers – things we may even take for granted since we forget some details of bible stories if we don’t go back and check them.

Illustrations that help to bring to life what the bible says are not wrong in themselves. There is nothing wrong with trying to paint a picture of what things might have looked like. Nevertheless, programs like “The Bible” regularly either go too far in invention or simply contradict the bible.

We recorded the first episode on our TiVo, and we almost wore out the pause button as I would say, “ok, pause it. Is that what really happened?” or “Did the bible say that?” or “The bible actually says the opposite, doesn’t it?” For example, in order to make the separation of Abraham & Lot more dramatic, there was a wife to blame, separation was Lot’s decision, and “Abraham” was against it. Biblically, Abram was the one who told Lot to separate and it wasn’t all a woman’s fault! Then, in Sodom, the angels were portrayed as needing Lot’s help and begging him to let them in. The bible states that Lot was the one who begged the men to come to his house! Those angels didn’t need Lot to rescue them!

There were so many of these inconsistencies and corrections, that I wonder if shows like are worth watching at all. If they get us to open our bibles and check the facts, though, then I guess it is worth watching! Krista and I watched with the girls and an open bible, and I think that was time well spent…even if the first hour of the show took us 2 hours to get through with all that pausing and discussion!!!

Flash Mobs

Have you ever seen a “flash mob?” While, flash mobs are not exactly new, they are becoming a part of our every day society. Typically, they are harmless – a way a new generation can do something odd or nonconformist while not hurting anyone. People are using texting, mass e-mail, and various web sites to gather at a particular time and place to “spontaneously” dance or stand still or lie down for a few minutes and then continue as if nothing had happened. Those who are not “in” on the gag are often surprised, amused, or merely pass by, ignoring the activity. Until recently society was, at most, slightly inconvenienced by ‘flash mobs.’ A more sinister application has arisen though – “flash robs.”

“Flash robs” are when people gather together in order to barge into a theater or a stadium without paying for tickets or to enter a store simultaneously and shoplift and leave. Cases of ‘flash robs’ are popping up all over the country and are confounding law enforcement. When asked about how they are dealing with the problem, law enforcement officers have simply said that they don’t know how and don’t have the manpower to deal with this kind of crime.

In the days of Moses, there was something akin to a ‘flash rob,’ but with a very different ending. Beginning in the 16th chapter of Numbers, we learn that there were individuals in the camp who were tired of following the rules laid out by Moses. They didn’t want to follow the system anymore. They didn’t want to submit to God’s law. In fact, they wanted to steal the leadership from Moses. And so the message went out that they would meet and confront Moses. A rebellion of Korah and 250 leaders showed up and demanded that Moses and Aaron give the leadership of the Israelites to them. God told the people to remove themselves from Korah and his ‘flash mob’ and the earth swallowed them up.

God was not confounded. He didn’t worry about how to handle the situation. He wasn’t concerned about whether He had the manpower or wisdom to deal with Korah’s ‘flash mob.’ And the same is true today. God has a plan for us and has given us the road map. It says we are supposed to be kind to each other and love each other and treat others better than ourselves. We are to respect people and their property. And if we walk in the light as He is in the light, there is a wonderful inheritance laid up in heaven for us. And for those who refuse to submit to His ways…well, there is a plan there too. God’s preference is that we would follow His path and that none would perish. Are you in the practice of submitting to or rebelling against God’s will?