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Reasons to Believe

INTRODUCTION

The purpose of this booklet is to give you a “Quick Start” on the evidences and reasons to believe.  This is a type of “digest” with a quick overview on the overwhelming evidences there are to believe in the Christian faith.  It is surprising that there are so very many reasons and evidences to believe in God, the Bible and Jesus Christ. The facts enclosed here are generally known facts, which can be accessed through many other more thorough books.

After this overview, individuals can go as deeply as they wish. Indeed, Christianity has the “high ground” when it comes to reasons and evidences for faith.  Indeed Christianity is the best faith one can have for support in the modern age, because of its evidences and reasons.  It came about in openness in our history.

As the Apostle Paul said to a government official of his time:  For the king knows about these matters, and I speak to him also with confidence, since I am persuaded that none of these things escapes his notice; for this has not been done in a corner.

This booklet is not a Bible study, though verses and Scriptural principles are included.  


The goal of this quick study is to give you “handles”, those memorable facts and reasons you can easily remember and refer to.  

This study is the first quarter of a year’s worth of discipleship materials.  The purpose is to give a “quick start” basis for a strong faith that will bring you into spiritual maturity in Christ.  For that is our goal:  See Colossians 1:28.

A Misconception

There is a great misconception about believing in Christianity.  It often goes like this:  "When there is no reason to believe that is called faith." This idea is generally in the population of non-believers and believers all the way up to church theologians.  Let me clarify this.  That is a very dumb idea. The general impression among non-Christians is that people have no reason to believe so they just pick and choose whatever fable, philosophy, deception they want.  No wonder so many people think there isn’t much to Christianity.

The truth is, we believe because of the facts, yes facts and reasons.  When I started studying Christian evidences, I found them to be overwhelming.  There are so many more reasons and evidences leading us to faith than not to believe.

I trust because of the facts, I believe because the evidences convince me.  I have faith because I know the God and Savior Jesus Christ. Because I know Him, I trust Him.

In this short booklet, we cover chapters relating to reasons to believe

1. According to logic and reason

2. According to proofs about the Bible

3. According to proofs about Jesus Christ

Being Open-Minded

If we are sincere in our search for truth, we must be open.  Now some people think that anyone holding to strong views, especially religious views, must be narrow-minded.  On the contrary, anyone who thinks they are open-minded will, hopefully, by their open-mindedness be even more open to see the evidences and reasons and be therefore more able to come to a reasonable conclusion as to what is true.

Is a scientist who carefully studies all possibilities considered narrow-minded because he comes to conclusions that there are natural laws of physics.  Do we condemn him because he insists there is gravity or electro-magnetism?  The truth of God is therefore open to reason and yet declaring certain spiritual laws at the same time.

Indeed the Bible speaks of God’s wisdom:   "The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable…" James 3:17.

When skeptics offer their challenges, they may at first sound weighty, but when fully examined and reasoned through, they are found to be very weak.  Usually what I find is, when critics deny what we believe they substitute some other idea, but when you ask to see their reasons and evidences, there aren’t any, or they have very poor logical reasons for their support.  Faith has the High Ground.

Not a Man-Made Faith

Here is a major point, Christianity is a “Revealed Religion,” meaning, it is not a philosophy of men, but God Himself has made Himself and His will known; that is a very strong point of the Gospels:

II Peter 1:16 We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

God has revealed Himself in our history, openly, for the record.  Jesus and His Miracles are a fact in our history.  As the early witnesses of Christ said, these facts were “not done in a corner” and were addressed by “eye-witnesses.” There is no reality, which I can just choose to create.  I just do not have the brainpower to create the world and reality.  If it is only a made-up belief in my mind or the mind of others, I am sadly lacking.  What matters is what has God revealed and commanded.

In the search for God’s truth we must be careful to, objectively, keep our own thoughts and intentions out of the way of truth.  As someone has pointed out, Christianity has stood the extreme tests over 2000 years of its existence, so no question is going to bring it crashing down.  I trust by now you understand that to be a Christian does not mean we do not use academics, science, or reason; in fact, we should be better at these things than anyone should be.

Chapter One - Belief in God

PART I – Belief in God Makes Sense



The Obvious

Because we cannot put God in a test tube, some erroneously charge we cannot prove the existence of God.  Such reason equals that of a person riding in a car denying the existence of a carmaker.

In Psalm 139 David sees the amazing facts of our creation:

For You formed my inward parts;

You wove me in my mother’s womb.

I will give thanks to You,

For I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Wonderful are Your works,

And my soul knows it very well.

Now in our scientific, time we have more reasons than ever to believe.  Science is increasingly detailing the amazing intricacies of everything in our universe.  How many times I have heard it said, if something was not in place just so, we could not have life on earth, in our bodies, in our universe.  If it were not for the extremely complicated and balanced machinery of our bodies, we would not have life.  If it were not for the right balance of the solar system, we would not have life on earth.  If we did not have a moon, there would not be life on earth.  If there were not diatoms (small microscopic organisms), we would not have life on earth.  If the earth was not tilted at the exact degree it is, there would not be life on earth.

The extremely complicated and complex machinery of the universe is astounding.  Increasingly scientists are coming to faith from this obvious fact.  It is too ludicrous to deny a creator.



The Human Cell



The unveiling of scientific knowledge, even the very smallest part of our bodies, the human cell, is astounding scientists.  They used to say the cell was just proto-plasma, or just a blob of jelly.  Now scientists are saying each cell is as complicated and involved as New York City, for there is tremendous manufacturing, communication, and transportation going on in each cell.

The Human Genome Project has mapped a sequence of DNA representing the functional blueprint of the human species.  Here is a picture of a “map” from the Human Genome Project from the National Center for Biotechnology Information web site.  They are trying to categorize the millions of bits of information contained in each cell.  It is obvious; there is a “blueprint” that constructs us all.  Each cell contains over 3 million bits of information detailing how each person is uniquely made: the color of your hair, your stature, fingernails, longevity, etc.  All of this is going on in each of your 60-77 Trillion cells that make up YOU!

One amazing fact is that there are 60,000 different types of proteins within every cell of your body.  Each type of protein has its own particular function and has its own “zip code” where it is to go to, so little traffic bots know where to deliver them in the cell.

If you would unravel all the DNA ladders that are twisted up in the chromosomes of your body and put them end to end they would reach from the Sun to Jupiter, and back, seven times.  This is obviously coded information.  Somebody, a GREAT Creator, has put a lot of time and thought into you!

Another report said, if you put this genetic code, which is in the chromosomes in one cell into a computer code written in a book.  The book would be as tall as the Washington Monument!!!  Now remember – all of this is going on in just one of your cells, which is so small you need a microscope to see it!

Each process in each cell is a great study in itself.  I remember seeing on Television a class on cellular biology.  In order for a cell to reproduce a chromosome, the chromosome would split and float into a type of “garage” where it would have to connect perfectly onto one part of the system that had a unique four-part connector.  Once it was found to be perfectly connected then the “garage” would recreate another identical chromosome.  In this way, the chromosomes could be reproduced and cause growth of more cells.

There are many intricate components of cells such as power stations and numerous “floating”, “intelligent” gates on the cell walls which discern what substances are helpful and harmful.  Then they only let in the helpful substances. All this is floating unattached within the cell.  The cell is floating by itself without strings attached yet, all this, works together to form you - your body.  Design, plan, and purpose are overwhelmingly present.



Scientists Discover God

In a Newsweek’s cover story “Scientists Discover God” it said, many scientists are being over-whelmed with the complexity in everything.  Many are concluding it is too improbable, anymore, to say it could have all just happened - God must be behind it all.

New studies continue to reveal the great complexities of creation, even parts of our bodies, like the eye, or the human brain, which defies evolutionists.  For instance, the cells in the retina of your eye are processing 10 billion calculations a second.  That is a phenomenal computer function which evolution could never produce or explain.

For example Carl Sagan admitted the extreme complexities of the human brain and said of the bits of information in a brain: “If written out in English, say, that information would fill some twenty million volumes, as many as in the world’s largest libraries. . . . The neurochemistry of the brain is astonishingly busy, the circuitry of a machine more wonderful than any devised by humans.” -Carl Sagan, Cosmos p.4.

Example: “Sir James Jeans one of our greatest modern astronomers said that the more he examined the vast expanses of space and the tremendous complexity of these things, the more the universe seemed to be one gigantic thought of a great mathematician.”

The word “Cosmos” means “ordered and beautiful.”  That is also, why we derive from it the word cosmetics.  There is so much evidence of beautiful order.

Another Example is in Quantum physics.  At the level of subatomic particles, there is an irresistible urge towards symmetry.  There is an amazing cosmetic aspect to the whole universe.

Max Planck started Quantum Physics in 1900, then Einstein and others continued the work.  Before Quantum Physics, mankind held to the view, in opposite contention with the Bible, that matter and energy always existed, with no beginning or end.  Yet the Bible repeatedly states that God has created everything out of nothing.  But now, Quantum physics is showing that the whole universe has had a beginning.  The Big Bang theory is showing the universe had a beginning - out of nothing.  “God spoke, and “bang” it happened!”

One of the laws of physics called “Entropy” states that everything is run- fling down and if there are any changes, they go to a more deteriorated state.  In other words, there has been a beginning and will probably be an end.  The Greeks, up to modern man, held the opposite view, but now science is catching up to what the Bible has always stated.



A Delicate Balance

We constantly see purpose in the universe and in our lives.  If we see a computer, we do not think it created itself.  We know, without question, someone created it and put it there.  Even in the smallest of details, if anthropologists see square stones on top of one another they declare these stones did not just happen that way.  Obviously, men intentionally set them there for a purpose.  When we see clear patterns of intention and purpose in creation, we would be foolish to deny God’s creative intent, intelligence, and purpose.  So much more so, when we see extremely complex machinery and balance in effect we would be foolish not to identify intentional creation.

In our solar system, Earth is the only planet tilted on its axis.  This provides equal distribution of sunlight and temperature to moderate the planet.  If the earth averaged 4 degrees colder, we would be an ice planet.

Without the moon, all life on earth would cease.  The moon causes tides which regularly clean up our shores and waterways, otherwise they would become stench pools.  The oceans are therefore aerated providing oxygen for the plankton, which is the very foundation of the food chain of our world.  Without this balance, man could not live on the earth.

The changing seasons of our world continually mix the atmosphere.  This keeps a perfect mixture of 78 percent nitrogen and 21 % Oxygen and 1 % other trace elements.

This mixing causes lightening.  Lightening places the nitrogen into the soil, which plants need to grow.  God worked it out so that the 100,000 lightening bolts strike the earth every day around the world.  This produces a hundred million tons of usable nitrogen plant food in the soil every year.  God provides the needed rains.  Trainloads of water could never provide nearly enough.

A thin layer of Ozone protects us in the upper atmosphere.  If compressed, it would only be 1/4 inch thick.  It filters out eight varieties of killer rays that come from the sun.  Yet, it filters just enough of some of these rays to kill green algae to keep them from overgrowing and filling up all our lakes, waterways, and oceans of the world.

The earth’s crust beneath our feet is relative proportionally thinner than the skin on an apple.  Below our crust is molten lava; above our air are deadly rays and the vacuum of space.

We see a constant care of countless details in full operation.  God constantly secures us by His care.  We see the magnitude of His intelligence and wisdom to give us life on this planet.

Man has never created a law of the universe.  Yet when we he discovers one, he acts so smart, yet does not acknowledge He is only coming to recognize and use what God has established.  We still don’t understand much; take for example one of the four main powers of the universe — gravity, we don’t have a clue how it works, we can only measure its effects.  

All this assures us the lawgiver cares; otherwise, it would all deteriorate into madness and chaos.  What if the sun would not come up (yes I know, please don't argue the fine details), or gravity would fluctuate?

Nature programs which espouse evolution and what “Nature” has done, constantly talk about “design and purpose,” yet they deny the Creator or our need to listen to and obey Him.  As the Bible says in Psalm 41:1-3:


The fool says in his heart, there is no God.”

They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;

There is no one who does good.

The LORD looks down from heaven on the sons of men

to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.

All have turned aside,

they have together become corrupt;

there is no one who does good, not even one.

Romans 1:18-23 says:

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, “since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plan to them.  For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

Thank you Lord!  Forgive us when we so shallowly dismiss you and laughingly say that all this just happened by chance.  We need you!

STORY OF THE VBS BOY:

Coming home after Vacation Bible School on a summer day the little boy marveled at the butterfly on his finger and flying around the colorful flowers.  Flopping on the grass, he was absorbed by the sky with its blue color and changing clouds.  As he skipped by his neighbors place, his middle-aged neighbor asked him “Where have you been Johnny?”  To Bible School,” he replied.  “OH?” the man, questioned, “tell you what, I’ll give you a dollar if you can show me where God is.”  “Mister,” the boy responded” I’ll give you a dollar if you can show me where He isn’t.

Hunger in the Human Heart



In the study of anthropology, we see that men have always had a constant belief in the supernatural and belief in God, a power higher than us that created and controls things.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 says of God:

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Blaise Pascal, the great 17 Century mathematician referred to the “God shaped vacuum” which is in every man. Humanity has always sought and believed in the divine, even though they do not see God or understand everything.

We do not expect to see the World Book Encyclopedia created by a print shop exploding.  So too, while Christians believe God spoke and bang it happened, it was obviously not an explosion of chaos and destruction.  Explosions do not create!  Rather, this “Big Bang” was an explosion of creativity, with intent and reason.

Creation demands the verdict - there is a Creator!

The Atheists Doctrine:

Nothing created everything out of nothing for no particular reason.


Reasons From Moral Law



Moral law makes no sense to evolution.  Think about it, if we are all just the product of an accident and survival of the fittest is the natural outcome, why would there be any higher moral law?  Self-sacrifice for others would be foolish and contrary to natural law.  Where did this idea come from?  From a higher plane!



Chapter Two - Belief in the Bible

Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation.  For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.    II Peter 1:20-21  

Many people come with the assumption that the Bible is merely the product of the imaginations of men and will say these kind of things:

It isn't historically accurate; it is fanciful stories.  

Even if it were true, it has been passed down so many years we cannot trust the reliability of it.

Here again, so much has written of the scientific and academic support of the Bible.  We can hold complete confidence in the Bible on academic and scientific reasons.

Peter tells us the first thing we must understand, of primary importance, is that the Bible is the word of God, which has come about, not by human intention, but by the will of God.  Men wrote the Bible under the inspiration of the Spirit of God.  It is our intention to give you some proofs for the Bible so you can take it in hand and with full assurance and know it is the reliable, exact Word of God.

Most all of the New Testament writings are now generally accepted by scolars as being written within the First century;  most 30 - 40 years after crucifixion.  At that, most writings were written by eye-witnesses and the receivers of the letters were well acquainted with the miracles and the people.

"There is much more evidence for the New Testament than for other ancient writings of comparable date."

"Higher Criticism has applied to the New Testament tests of authenticity so severe that by them a hundred ancient worthies would fade into Legend."



I.   The Prophetic Element

The Bible is like no other book in a variety of ways, especially when it comes to prophecies fulfilled.  Buddha, Confucius, Mohammed, The Koran have no prophecies, let alone prophecies fulfilled.  The closest thing in the Koran is when Mohammed gives one prophecy that he will return to Mecca and he does.  But in the Bible there are hundreds of prophecies fulfilled.

Dr. James Kennedy tracked, for a few years, the top 10 psychics who gave 61 prophecies in the National Inquirer.  Of the 61 not one prophecy given for the next year happened in that next year.

In the Bible there are up to 4,000 prophecies given.  They are not general, but quite specific; 2000 of these have already been fulfilled.

Lets Look At Some Examples of  Prophecies About Various Cities:

What God said would happen did happen:

All these can be shown to have been prophesied and written before the events, because many took hundreds of years to be totally fulfilled:

Tyre:  The great city of trade and culture on the Easter coast of the Mediterranean.  In Ezekiel 26:10-21 God said it would be destroyed and never rebuilt.  That would be like today prophesying that New York city would not only be destroyed and never reinhabited, but also have all these things done to it:  Quote, "They shall destroy the walls of Tyrus and break down her towers: I will also scrape her dust from her and make her like the top of a rock.  It shall be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea: for I have spoken it saith the Lord God.  And they shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water … and I will make thee like the top of a rock..  Thou shalt be built no more."

Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon later conquered the city but left the walls and most of this Prophecy still undone.  250 years later, Alexander the Great came to conquer it again.  By that time, Tyre had built part of its city as a fortified city out on an island ½ mile from the shore.  It looked impossible to conquer, but he commanded them to raze the town and scrap everything into the sea to build a causeway out to the fortified part of the city.  When he conquered the fortified island, then he had that too scraped and everything thrown into the ocean.  All that was left was just a barren rock.  The city has not been rebuilt and reinhabited.

Now we may think, maybe this is not a good location for a city, but it is on the Eastern edge of the Mediterranean.  Another interesting fact is that at the site there a great freshwater springs that run into the sea.  A modern engineer measured the output of these springs and found them to produce 10 million gallons daily, enough fresh water to supply a large modern city, yet it has never been rebuilt after 2500 years.

Sidon:  Here too, God prophesied that it would be destroyed but that it would be reinhabited and it is still with us today.

Samaria:  The city would be cast down, it would just become a heap and be turned into a vineyard Micah 1:5-6  Which is what it is today.

Jerusalem:  It too, would be destroyed, walls destroyed, its inhabitants carried away; but it would be revived and its people would be brought back.  It is with us today.

Edom - A Nation of people and cities: God said in Ezekiel 35:3-9, “I will make thee a perpetual desolation, thy cities shall not return.  A modern report of the area by a skeptic of the Bible wrote of this area saying "At present all this country is a desert."  Yet he says "the traces of many towns are met with". A noted Swiss explorer John Burkhardt says the whole plain presented to the view is an expanse of shifting sands.

Babylon  The greatest city of ancient times existed with walls 15 miles in length. Herodotus, an ancient Greek historian, said its walls were 250 feet high and its tower 300 feet high; at their base they were 187 feet thick.  He said he refused to write about the tremendously fertile area because people would think he was crazy.  History tells us of its fabulous hanging gardens and beauty. Babylon was famous for its mathematics, time measurement and science.  It was an impenetrable city and the capital of the empire.

 Yet, in Isaiah 13:19 and Jeremiah 51:58-62 God said it would be destroyed; it would be a haunt of wild animals and desolate forever.  He said the broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken.

An Interesting Note:  The final fulfillment of these prophesies happened in an interesting way.  After the time of Christ the walls still stood.  There was a Roman Emperor, called Julian the Apostate, in the 4th century.  He was a non-believing predecessor after the Christian emperor Constantine.  He wanted to return Rome to its pagan ways and greatly persecuted the church.  When he was having a problem with the Persians near Babylon, he ordered the walls completely devastated so that they would not afford the Persians any secure fortress.  Thus, he helped fulfill the Biblical prophecy of the God he was against.

The Great wall of China remains; but not the great walls of Babylon!


Alexander the Great decided he was going to rebuild Babylon and make it his capital, but immediately after making that declaration he was killed.




II.   Historic Validation

  1. There is 10 times the amount of evidences for the Bible than there is for any other comparable historical event.  Josh McDowell says, “The Bible compared with other writings, has more manuscript evidence than any ten pieces of classical literature combined.”
  2. In the first few centuries, no one questions if the miracles of Jesus happened.  In fact, the Jewish, Pagan and Roman writers validate the fact they happened by contending with how they could have happened.  As an example, one Celsius writing to a Christian in the second century was debating why the darkness happened when Christ died on the cross.  He said it had to have been just an eclipse.  However, modern astronomy has shown that an eclipse cannot happen during a full moon, which is when Passover/Easter was.  Celsius’ argument against how it happened proves it happened.
  3. No one questions the existence of the apostles who spread out from Palestine throughout the known world.  They turned the world upside down.  As one scholar said, "That a few simple men should in one generation have invented so powerful a personality, so lofty an ethic and so inspiring a vision of human brotherhood, would be a miracle far more incredible than any record in the Gospels".  Most all of these died tortuous deaths holding to their belief in Jesus and what the Bible taught.  Would men die in such terrible ways for a fictitious story they said they believed, that would have been a good time to change their story; but they didn’t!
  4. Even if all the first manuscripts of the New Testament had been destroyed we could put 98% of the New Testament back together from quotes included in letters we have from early Christians.
  5. The only reason academic people reject all this is not because of evidences but because of a refusal to believe in God and the miraculous.  A fact they will often admit.
  6. Renowned Jewish archaeologist Nelson Glueck said, "It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference."
  7. Guess how many archeological sites have been carried out which validate some facts of the Bible.  1,000,    3,000?          No!    Over 25,000 archeological sites have validated facts of the Bible.  Dr. Albright says, "There can be no doubt that archeology has confirmed the substantial historicity of the Old Testament Tradition."
  8. With the astounding growth of Archeology it has not been the Bible that has been put to shame, but constantly it has shamed the skeptics.  There are many instances in which scholars denied the Bible’s validity since many of the events and towns had never been heard of, thus they attributed the stories to fancy tales; yet later, modern archeology proved the existence of such events, peoples and places.

One Such Example.  Everyone who has taken Old Testament in most of the 20th Century in college has been taught the “Source theory”, which states that the much of the Old Testament was not written as it purports to have been written, by Moses.  The theory they have taught is that these Old Testament stories were just handed down and developed by oral tradition until about the time of David. One reason for the development of this “Source” theory was because they thought that writing wasn’t even known in the time of Moses.

Yet in 1975, construction workers broke through the ceiling of a large library and made one of the most important archeological finds of the 20th Century.  It was a library of thousands of tablets.  As scholars read these tablets, they discovered that this was not just a library but also a whole commerce center.  They discovered references to other such centers in the Mid-East, some of which they therefore searched for and found.  They dated these library / commerce centers to the time of Abraham and the City of Ur.  They discovered they used a credit system so people traveling and trading throughout the Middle East could do business; Ur was the largest trade center connected with this system, the New York City of their time. – the original home area of Abraham – who lived a 1,000 years before Moses.  My Seminary Professor declared this discovery blew this “Source” theory apart.



III.   How The Bible Came To Us

It seems God does everything with man out of respect for the partnership which He has made with us; He has given us authority over the world, authority with Christ so that God will speak and work in the world through people.

Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation.  For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.    II Peter 1:20-21  

In the same way God brought the scriptures to us, it says, through men, but only as they were led by the agency of the Holy Spirit.

I have seen  some go into seminary, but their faith has been thrown out as some present the scriptures as just a work of men.  But, this fact inspires me all the more, rather than tearing down my faith, because I see here too, how God works with people in our history to bring about His Kingdom.  

If we just say men wrote the Bible, that doesn’t sound persuasive, but as we study it and see the totality of the results of it we come to see it is a book like none other ever written or could have written by human minds.

44 men over 1600 years, writing in 4 different languages, wrote this book of books which carry a common theme and character and purpose.

We have already discussed the amazing prophetic power it carries which has seen hundreds of prophecies fulfilled over hundreds of years.

Yes, the Bible was birthed out of men’s experiences with God; yes it came out of our history, but that makes it all the more valid.  Think of it! If a book just appeared out of nowhere, how much validity would there be too it:  no testimony of nations, families, people, to confirm the truth of its events and declarations.  No rather, it is better it came out of our history.  God has a “His-story” with us.



IV. Changed Lives and Cultures

Here is a book that has totally changed the world - what would the world be like if the Bible had never been?

Take for example the 12  common men with no formal education or experience other than following Jesus for three years. (Not even four years like a college education.)  They were fishermen, a tax collector, political zealots, etc.

Think about it!  These 12 common men, who were with Jesus, go out with an amazing story which would not be easy to sell – a man they knew was crucified and raised from the dead, three days later he ascended bodily to heaven and He is going to come back and rule the world and heaven for He is the Son of God!  Given their culture, circumstances, standing, all odds were against them.  Yet, they went out throughout the known world and change the world.

What could possibly account for their success?  Only the fact that it was true and they had the power and truth to back it up!

II Peter 1:16  We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

Acts 26: 26  "For the king knows about these matters, and I speak to him also with confidence, since I am persuaded that none of these things escape his notice; for this has not been done in a corner.



V.   How The Bible Was “Canonized”

The word canon comes from the root word that means “reed”.  A reed was used in measuring as a standard or rule.  As God worked in people’s lives and society, they recognized God has spoken and they wrote down these things.  The things that were written which were recognized as “God-breathed” were eventually compiled by the people of Israel to complete the Old Testament, and by the Christian community to complete the New Testament.

So for instance in regards to the New Testament as time went on and many writings were present, the churches came together because it saw the need to recognize which writings had the weight of authority and genuiness.  These early Councils established rules they would go by to separate out the scriptures from other writings.  Other writing were as simple as regular letters people had written or general writings telling about events or even fictitious writings (“pseudipigraphical”) some had written.  The fact that they had to separate out the fictitious and the normal writings from those everyone recognized as “God-breathed”, inspired writings, gives even more credence to the Scriptures, because they had every chance to exaggerate, falsify or enlarge their story; but they didn’t.

Even the fact that the Bible shows all the faults and failings of the Apostles gives it more genuiness, because if they had been falsifying the whole thing, why not hide their leader’s failings and add fabulous tales.

The rules they went by in choosing which were to be considered scripture were these:

1. Did local church communities attest to its authority; for instance, would they say things like yes our church knew the Apostle Paul and he wrote this letter to us.  It is in our history and we have a relationship with the person and the writing.  This goes a long way against what people might think that maybe somebody just made up an imaginative story and threw it out into society and history and somebody picked it up, not knowing where it came from and started believing this incredible story.

2. Were these scriptures collected and used by the people of God as scripture.

3. Is it prophetic.  Did it come from a proven man of God.

4. Did it carry a weight of authority.   Did they recognize it as having come from the hand of God.

5. Is it dynamic with life-transforming power from God.

What about the Apocryphal Books?

The Apocryphal Books were 14 books written between the 3rd and 1st Centuries BC.  The Jewish people and the Christians have recognized them as interesting and informative books, but not on the level as scripture.  

Jesus never referred to them or quoted them.  None of them claim inspiration, and one in I Maccabees 1:27 claims it is not inspired. These books were never included into the Bible until the reformation when the Catholic church added them in the Council of Trent in 1546.  This is viewed as suspect since the reformation people like Luther were calling for Biblical support of the Catholic teachings.  Not finding support for some of the ideas except in the Apocrypha the Catholic Church declared that now the Apocryphal writings were accepted as Scripture.



VI.    Accuracy of Transmission

One of the common ignorant arguments against the Bible is that it must not be accurate since it has be handed down over so many years; even if it was correct in the first place how do we have any assurance that it has been accurately transmitted to us.  This is a valid question, but we have good answers.

One good answer is that we now have confirmation of the accuracy of transmission of Scriptures because of the discovery of old manuscripts such as the Qumran or “Dead Sea Scrolls”.  Here in 1947 was a discovery of many scrolls hidden away in the dry desert caves in the Dead Sea area.  These scrolls had been hidden there by a religious community that thrived before and during the time of Christ.  

Here we found ancient scriptures from the Old Testament with fragments from every Old Testament book except Esther and a complete manuscript of the book of Isaiah.  When compared with what we have today and we find that these scripture texts which have been handed down to us over 2000 years show virtually no changes, certainly none that change any thoughts or doctrines.  This is an amazing confirmation that the texts copied and recopied over 2000 years were transmitted faithfully.

Again to put some perspective to the manuscript evidence:  Homer’s Iliad has only 643 old manuscript copies left from the centuries of copying.  But, the New Testament has 5,366 copies of old manuscripts.

Now there are variants, which have crept into the transmissions, such as a variant spelling of a word.  Some magnify these to discount the scriptures.  But, that is like ignoring an elephant to focus on a gnat.  So as some copies followed with the same variant, some people will say, (because there are three thousand manuscripts which followed with this variant), they will say there are a 3000 variants in the transcribed text, thus distorting the issue.  But, what scholars tell us is we have 100 percent of the New Testament and we are sure of 99.5% of it.  These small changes make no doctrinal changes.

Now in a way these small variants actually help to prove the reliability of the scriptures in this way:   They earmark or help track the “families” of copies that have been disseminated out into the world.

The fact is that the scriptures were not disseminated in a single line of copies down through history.  Rather than having copies in a straight line in history as a straight pole, the copies of the Bible are more like a tree with copies, early on, being sent out to different areas of the world, to Africa, Asia, Europe etc.  Now as we go back to these early copies we can compare, say, the African “family” of copies with the European “family” of copies.  If people had been messing with the copies, the changes would be glaringly obvious, but the scriptures have stayed the same, proving the accuracy of transmission.  This is an amazing confirmation of consistency of transmission to the Bible Text.  In the early centuries, there was no way continents could compare text.  They could only transmit accurately the copies they had in hand originally.

Along that same line of thought, we see another great example of comparison of parallel scriptural sources.  In the 200’s BC, 70 Jewish Scholars assembled to translate their scriptures into Greek.  This version is known as the Septuagint (meaning 70).  Thus, there is another translation but in a different language, providing another transmission bible which has continued, also since then, which still remains in agreement with the Hebrew Old Testament.  Comparison of the Old Testaments of the different languages agree, which they wouldn’t if the Old Testament Scriptures started being “messed with”.

How could they be transmitted so exactly? Because the scribes went through extreme lengths to assure the accuracy of each text.  For instance they would know a text would have a certain number of letters per page and per line.  Not only would they proof-read them but they would add up all the letters to assure that there was not one too many or too few.  If they found a mistake, they would destroy it, although it may have been one whole day’s work.  This would insure there would be no alternative copies floating around to confuse from the original.

The attitude the scribes had was, this was literally the word of God, and every smallest stroke was important.  Jesus told us in Matthew 5:8 “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”

When the translators of the King James Bible did their work, they were working off of transcripts that were only 600 years old, going back to around 1000 A.D.  Today with the years of modern archeology and discoveries we understand the early languages much better and have hundreds more manuscripts dating much older.  One piece of the Gospel of John discovered goes back to 125 A.D.  One silver scroll we have of the book of Numbers goes back to 500 B.C.




VII.  The Bible Code

There has been a discovery that the Bible seems to contain a code.  Now this is not a basis for our faith, but it is very interesting and seems to be verified as an amazing thing.

For some reason, we do not know why, Isaac Newton believed the Bible contained a code and recently when they collected and studied all his papers of his life they discovered he spent more time on trying to find the code than he did on all his other well-know scientific work.  Fifty years ago a Jewish Rabbi noticed if you skipped every 50 letters in the Torah (first 5 books of the law) it would keep spelling out the word "Torah".  

Then a few years ago, another Jewish rabbi thought the computer could be put to work on this and he started finding other words.  In fact, thousands of revelations have been found that relate to history.  The code appears not just as single words, but words in approximate locations of text with related names, dates, topics closely grouped.

Now some disparage this, and say this could happen in large works such as War and Peace and indeed they have found some words in this manner; however this does not seem to compare with the scope and complexity of the Bible code.  Remarkable confluence of words and names surpass any conceivable way any human mind could create such a code.  Continued scrutiny will probably show more.

A Jewish reporter from the New York Times reporting on a treaty in Israel heard about this and investigated the story as a sideline.  At first he presumed it to be fraudulent.  When he went to interview the rabbi he thought he would be shown a bunch of parchments but instead was taken to the computer and had it shown to him.  He then took it back and took it to the Pentagon’s Master code official who developed his own computer program to check it out and came back to report that there really is a code system in the Bible.

The theory was then published in a scientific magazine only after several independent studies to prove it.  It was then reported to the Jewish government.  They have found over 1,000 historical incidents to this date in the Bible code.  Much more work is being done on the Bible code and it seems to be valid.  It is like God is further revealing His creativity and power and witness to the scriptures.  Some think the Bible may be “the Book” referred to in scripture that contains all names and events.




VIII.   The Bible And Science

Many of these following ideas in this section are taken from Grant Jeffries book Creation.

The Bible was not written to be a scientific book, yet some interesting references refer to scientific truths.  One such truth we already discussed is the very fact that the Bible says the world was created out of nothing.  To the Greeks and modern men up until the last century this was ludicrous for men believed that matter always was.

Another Biblical idea is that the world was created and is running toward an end.  This fits the Second Law of Thermodynamics that describes the fact that all systems and elements in our Universe tend to disintegrate.  This of course flies not in the face of the Bible, but of evolution, which proposes things are constantly evolving to a higher better development.

In the Book of Job is says in 26:7, “He stretcheth out the North over the empty place and hangeth the Earth upon nothing.  What an amazing statement, men in the past could not possibly envision such a possibility.

Scientists talk about a “hole” in the North towards the polar star where there seems to be an unusual gap  in the distribution of galaxies.

Job 38:16 says, “Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea?”…  Yes underwater exploration has discovered numerous huge springs of fresh waster pouring out of the floor of the ocean.

I will just quote from Grant Jefferies Book Here:  Genesis describes the supernatural creation of man in these words, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). Scientists used to ridicule the apparent simplicity of the scriptural account that God used “the dust of the ground” to construct the incredibly complex proteins, molecules, and sixty trillion cells that make up a human being.  However, scientists were recently startled to discover that the clay and earth found in the ”dust of the ground” do contain every single element found in the human body….every single element found in the human body exists within the soil.




IX.   To Duplicate the Bible

Let's say:  If you were going to duplicate this feat of creating another type of book as amazing as the Bible and start another new religion; here is what you would have to do:

Compose a book that contains a unified theme, which would be written by 44 men of different walks of life in different times and situations and occupations over a period of 1600 years in four different languages.  Include in it 2000 prophecies which would be specifically fulfilled over the years to come.  Give details accounts of towns, individuals and stories that none of your contemporary civilization has any record or proof of their existence, yet will become proven to have existed by over 25,000 archeological future digs spread all over the middle eastern world about 4000 to 2000 years later.

Foster a made up amazing story of how one of your contemporaries, which was well known, was, contrary to everything they saw and heard, the son of God, who healed the sick, performed miracles, raised the dead, was himself raised from the dead, they all saw him and saw him ascend into heaven and now rules from heaven.  Convince hundreds and thousands of these contemporaries to believe this so strongly they would be willing to suffer tremendous persecution and death for the cause of your lie.

Have in it such an amazing quality of inspiration that it will change countless lives, set the foundations of governments and laws and survive the concerted effort of empires to remove it from the world.  

Write it in such a way that every time people read it, it would be fresh and revealing and would constantly be the best selling book in the world every week of every year.

Chapter Three - Evidences of Jesus Christ

The historical records detailing the life, teachings, miracles, and resurrection of Christ are overwhelming.  He is not a person of myth but a person of our history, flesh and blood.

Some scholars have concluded that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of history’s best-attested events.

One scholar by the name of FF Bruce says, "Some writers may toy with the fancy of a Christ-myth theory, but they do not do so on the grounds of historical evidence.  The historicity of Christ is a axiomatic for an unbiased historian as the historicity of Julius Caesar. It is not historians who propagate the Christ-myth theories."

"That a few simple men should in one generation have invented so powerful and appealing a personality, so lofty an ethic and so inspiring a vision of human brotherhood, would be a miracle far more incredible than any recorded in the Gospels."

"After two centuries of Higher Criticism the outlines of the life, character and teaching of Christ, remain reasonably clear and constitute the most fascinating feature in the history of Western man".

A quote from the writings of the well known historian of the time, Josephus:  "and there arose about this time Jesus, a wise man, if indeed we should call him a man; for he was a doer of marvelous  deeds, a teacher of men who receive the truth with pleasure.  He led away many Jews and also many of the Greeks. This man was the Christ.  And when Pilate had condemned him to the cross, on his impeachment by the chief men among us, those who had loved him at first did not cease:  for he appeared to them the third day alive again, the divine prophets having spoken these and thousands of other wonderful things about him; and even now the tribe of Christians, so named after him, has not yet died out."

Even writers who were against Jesus still prove of his existence of Jesus and the things He did by writing about Him:

"As the Mishnah is a (Jewish) law-code and the Talmuds com-mentaries on this code, there is little occasion in these writings for references to Christianity, and what references there are, are hostile.  But, such as there are, these references do at least show that there was not the slightest doubt of the historical character of Jesus."

"According to the earlier Rabbis whose opinions are recorded in these writings, Jesus of Nazareth was a transgressor in Israel, who practiced magic, scorned the words of the wise, led the people astray, and said he had not come to destroy the law but to add to it. He was hanged on Passover eve for heresy and misleading  the people. His disciples, of whom five are named, healed the sick in his name ."

The following is quoted from a writer of the first or second century, called Suetonius:  "Jews who stirred up by Christ, were causing public disturbances", this passage accords well with the Acts of the Apostles, which mentions a decree of Claudius that, "the Jews should leave Rome."

"These references prove the existence of Christians rather than of Christ: but unless we assume the latter we are driven to the improbable hypothesis that Jesus was invented in one generation; moreover, we must suppose that the Christian community in Rome had been established some years before 52 AD, to merit the attention of an imperial decree."

"No one has questioned the existence of Paul, or his repeated meetings with Peter, James, and John; and Paul enviously admits that these men had known Christ in the flesh. "

"lf we do proceed to ask what the independent non­Christian evidence for the Gospel miracles is, He shall find that early non-Christian writers who do refer to Jesus at any length do not dispute that He performed miracles.  Josephus, as we shall see, calls Him a wonder - worker; later Jewish references in the rabbinical writings,  as we shall also see, attribute His miracles to sorcery, but do not deny them, just as some in the days of his flesh attributed His powers to demon-possession.  Sorcery is also the explanation given by Celsus, the philosophic critic of Christianity in the second century.  The early apostles referred to His miracles as facts which their audiences were as well acquainted with as they themselves were; similarly the early apologists refer to them as events beyond dispute by the opponents of Christianity.

"About the middle of this first century a pagan named Thallus argued that the abnormal darkness alleged to have accompanied the death of

Christ was a purely natural phenomenon and coincided... " (Here again he doesn't question if  there was a Christ;  he takes it for granted.)

"Thallus, in the third book of his histories, explains away this darkness as an eclipse of the sun.... unreasonably, as it seems to me... unreasonably, or course, because a solar eclipse could not take place at the time of the full moon, and it was at the season of the Paschal full moon that Christ died). "

As some writers have asked, what can we say of Jesus Christ for He was either a liar (not a very moral person), a lunatic equal to a poached egg (but he validated what he said by miracles) or he was who he said he was -- the Son of God.  What do you think?

God calls on us to believe in His Son.  That is there is no other salvation apart from Him.  It is His plan.

Jesus said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."  So we too, do not intend at all to argue, but to bless.  

If you are interested in learning more, you may call Pastor Shea at the church.  This pamphlet is just the beginning of discipleship materials to help you grow to complete maturity as a Christian. We also offer accredited Bible College classes within our church.

Pastor Shea also offers personal mentoring to help you in your growth. His phone number is 515-30-1144.  Be committed to grow in the grace and the knowledge of God.

References to the Bible

"If you are an intelligent person, you will read the one book that has drawn more attention than any other, if you are searching for the truth."

It is impossible to govern the world without God and the Bible.  -- George Washington

The whole inspiration of our civilization springs from the teachings of Christ and the lessons of the prophets. To read the Bible for these fundamentals is a necessity of American life.           

 -- Herbert Hoover

In regard to this great book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man's welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it.

-- Abraham Lincoln

John 10:35  Jesus said "the Scripture cannot be broken"

II Timothy 3:16  All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Matt. 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

1 Timothy 2:5
5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,                                   
16-0728

References to Some of the Books I have used in regards to Apologetics:

The New Testament Documents: are they reliable? by F. F. Bruce, Inter-Varsity Press

Know Why You Believe by Paul E. Little, Inter-Varsity Press

I Believe in the Historical Jesus by I. Howard Marshall, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

Handbook of Christian Apologetics by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K Tacelli, Inter-Varsity Press

Books by Josh McDowell:

More Than a Carpenter, Tyndale House Publishers

Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Thomas Nelson, Inc.

The Best of Josh McDowell A Ready Defense, Compiled by Bill Wilson, Thomas Nelson, Inc.