(Photo: Dan Delzell)
What if I were to tell you that human reason, common sense, and an understanding of mathematics are all that are needed to recognize the authority of the Bible? Not faith....but common sense and rational evidence. Would that surprise you?
And yes....I am talking about recognizing this remarkable declaration: "All Scripture is God-breathed." (2 Timothy 3:16) This is a fact....and while part of your soul will resist it, your mind can come to initially recognize this reality based on historical evidence and mathematical certainty.
I am not talking about believing in Jesus as your Savior. That phenomenon does require faith. I am not talking about believing in heaven and hell. That too requires faith. I am only talking about knowing the rational facts and having the sense to recognize the authority of the Bible given its supernatural attributes.
Here is what you can do if you are open to testing this for yourself. Begin with the religion of Judaism. Go to their authoritative documents in the Old Testament. Study the history. Compare what the Old Testament says with what other historians have to say about the lands and the stories described in the Bible. You will find that the confidence which Jews have in their Scriptures is based on facts....and actual history....not fable. This is why Christians accept the Old Testament as well. It is rooted in history....and there are plenty of ways to see if the history of the Bible truly matches human history. If you dig into it, you will find that it does.
The noted Jewish archeologist Nelson Glueck said, "It may be stated categorically that no archeological discovery has ever controverted a single biblical reference. Scores of archeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or in exact detail historical statements in the Bible." That is no surprise. The Bible is God's history book for the world which He created, as well as the history of the people He chose to be His children.
The famous historian and archeologist Sir William Ramsay was very skeptical of the accuracy of the New Testament. He sought out to disprove the authenticity of the Scriptures. Dig after dig the evidence without fail supported the biblical accounts. Ramsay became so overwhelmed with the evidence that he eventually converted to Christianity.
In the words of the University of Yale archeologist Millar Burrows, "Archeological work has unquestionably strengthened confidence in the reliability of the scriptural record." In comparison, the vast civilizations and huge cities described in the Book of Mormon have not a shred of archeological evidence. The Bible can be trusted before one ever comes to faith....because human reason and common sense are able to grasp the historical veracity and archeological evidence of the Scriptures.
As if this evidence was not enough to trust in the supernatural nature of the Bible, God placed over 300 prophecies in the Old Testament which were fulfilled in the Person of Jesus Christ. (http://www.bibleprobe.com/365messianicprophecies.htm) This is where the mathematical evidence comes into play. The statistical probability of getting just 8 prophecies fulfilled all in one man is 1 in 1,00,000,000,000,000,000. That is 17 zero's in case you are counting! And that is only 8 prophecies....not 300. So you see....it is impossible that the Bible did not come from God.
By the way, can you name any other religious book that has even one fulfilled prophecy? You can look hard....but you still won't find one. All those other religions are based on blind faith, and mythology....not history....and archeology....and common sense. Without fulfilled prophecies, those other books can't hold a candle to the luminescent brilliance and authority of the Scriptures.
So you see....you have to reject history, archaeology, and mathematics to reject the authority of the Bible.
Many skeptics have been converted to Christianity once they considered the evidence with an open mind. Josh McDowell and Lee Strobel are two prominent examples. And then there is C. S. Lewis, who "....came into Christianity kicking and screaming." His book, "Mere Christianity," has been one of the most influential books for skeptics for the past 65 years.
Francis S. Collins is a physician-geneticist, famous for his landmark discoveries of disease genes, and his leadership of the Human Genome Project. When he completed graduate school, he was an atheist. Collins became a believer as a result of philosophical and scientific considerations. You can read all about it in his book, "The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief."
Do you see what can happen when a person opens his heart and mind to the evidence? It is incredible. God has given us plenty of rational evidence pointing to supernatural revelation. If you will use the mind which God gave you....and accept the evidence....you will end up at a door. You will end up one step away from a relationship with your Creator....and with the One who died for your sins on the cross. Just open your eyes....and follow the evidence. Follow the rational reasons that the Bible must have come from God.
Why is it seemingly so difficult for us human beings to use common sense when it comes to religious facts and spiritual matters? Well....there are a variety of ways in which our behavior disrupts our ability to use common sense. For example, our anger often leads us to throw common sense out the window and we resort to nonsensical behavior. Lust does the same thing....and so does jealousy. People often make terrible decisions when under the control and the "spell" of anger, lust, or jealousy.
A similar thing happens in the intellectual realm. A stubborn refusal to be open-minded to the evidence will only disrupt a person's common sense when it comes to things like history....and archaeology....and mathematics. It makes a man unreasonable......and hard to reach.
If a man refuses to accept the rational evidence which points to biblical authority, his moral predisposition against the Bible will lead him to do what William Ramsay was doing for awhile. Ramsay had been spoon-fed ideas from his professors that kept his mind closed on the matter....and like others, when he sought to make a case against the Bible by actually looking at the evidence.....shazaam! He came to his senses and accepted what human reason, archaeology, and history were showing him. It wasn't rocket science....it was just common sense.
That acceptance of the facts brought him to the door.....the door where Jesus was waiting for him. Common sense and human reason can only bring you to the door.....but those things will never connect you to Christ. Only faith does that....when you believe that He is God and that He left heaven and came to earth to die for your sins....and rise again. That faith is something which is built upon Christ, the Rock. He is the author of faith....and of history....and of archaeology....and of science....and of mathematics. Without Christ, we would not have any of those things. He created them. "By Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth." (Colossians 1:16)
Christ stands upon true history....not revisionist history....and He stands upon true archeology, true mathematics, and true science. It's not that He needs those things. It's just that those things are under His feet because He is the King of King and Lord of Lords, and above all things.
When man refuses to be open-minded to the evidence, he convinces himself that he is standing on reason. Imagine that....a man standing on reason while rejecting the One who created Him and who died for him. It's a sad picture....and it is the result of man going into it with a bias against God.
Some people, like William Ramsay, escape their self-imposed tomb of irrational thinking and unbelief. Many others do not....and they go to their grave without ever coming to their senses. "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." (Proverbs 14:12) Why did that wrong way seem right to man? Because he was blind to the supernatural revelation of the Gospel message....and close-minded to many things that can be interpreted and understood simply with common sense and rational thought.
Are you at the door? Or have you not even made it yet through the matters of common sense which would convince you that you can trust the authority of God's Word? Are you still so close-minded that you cannot even see the most basic matters of history, archaeology, and mathematics as they relate to the Scriptures? If you refuse to go through those preliminary stages of biblical evaluation, what hope is there that you will ever find yourself standing at the door where you would say "yes" or "no" to Jesus?
Are you a lost soul....a confused soul....a seeker....or perhaps one who has seen the light? Whatever you do, don't give up. The Lord may have led you to read these words for a reason. Is Jesus Christ anywhere on your radar at this time in your life? Or have you been duped into believing that the Bible cannot be trusted as the "God-breathed" document it claims to be?
Perhaps you remain unconvinced. Then get out a telescope. "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands." (Psalm 19:1) Add astronomy to the list with history and archaeology and all the rest. It all points to the one true God, maker of heaven and earth. He didn't have to love us enough to send His only Son to save us, but He did. (see John 3:16) He didn't have to love us enough to send us a love letter....the Bible....but He did. If you choose to harden your heart to God's love for you, then you can explain to Him on Judgment Day why you resisted all the evidence that He put right in front of you....and why you resisted the sacrifice which He made for you upon the cross.
Accepting forgiveness from Christ is not a common sense decision....it is a supernatural transaction between God and man. With the way this world seems to be headed, aren't you ready for some good old-fashioned supernatural religion in your life right now? If so, turn to the Bible for wisdom....and to Jesus for salvation. It doesn't get any better than God's Word and God's Son.