We continue from where we left off. If you have not read the first part, please do so here>> PART 1
THE BOOK IS UNIFIED
An old argument, but a convincing one nevertheless. There are 66 books in the Bible, written by more than 40 different people over more than 1500 years; written in 3 different languages, in many different countries, and by people of every social level, from the herdsman and fisherman and cheap politician up to the king on his throne; written under varying circumstances; and yet, in all this wonderful conglomeration, we find an absolute unity of thought.
The fact that this harmony is not skin deep is one of its greatest strengths. Sometimes the oneness is hidden under layers of seeming disagreement, and can only be uncovered through extensive research. Even more impressive is the way this unity develops organically from the very first book to its conclusion in the very final book. The fruit develops from a seed, then a plant, then a bud, then a flower, and finally a mature fruit.
Therefore, we are constrained to conclude that the Master-mind that thought was behind the human hands that wrought this magnificent temple of God’s truth that we call the Bible, whose stones have been quarried at times and places so far apart from one another, yet where every smallest part fits each other part.
THE PRECISION WITH WHICH IT RELATES TO HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY
Several people throughout history have cast doubt on the veracity of the Bible’s claims about its historical events and geographical locations. Despite this, archaeologists working in the contemporary era have again and again uncovered evidence of the people, places, and civilizations that are described in the Bible. It has been shown beyond a reasonable doubt that the descriptions included within the biblical text are more trustworthy than the hypotheses of experts.
The contemporary traveller to the museums and areas associated with the Bible cannot but be struck by the true physical and historical context that the biblical text describes.
ITS LESSONS ARE MUCH BETTER THAN THOSE OF ANY OTHER BOOK
Some people find it acceptable to draw parallels between the teachings of the Bible and those of other non-Christian thinkers including Zoroaster, Buddha, Confucius, Epictetus, Socrates, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, and others.
THERE ARE THREE KEY AREAS WHERE THEIR BELIEFS DIVERGE FROM THE BIBLE:
First, there is no room for mistakes in the Bible, although the truth is found in a mixed bag in every other major religious text. Socrates indeed shared his thoughts on the proper passing of a philosopher, but he also shared advice on how a lady of the town should go about her daily business. There are gems to be found in these men’s teachings, but it’s important to keep in mind that Joseph Cook once described them as “jewels scooped out of the dirt.”
To add to the first point, the Bible is the last authority on all matters of truth. When it comes to matters of morality and the afterlife, that ancient Book contains every essential truth. While discussing this topic, I have repeatedly challenged anybody to show me a single moral or spiritual truth that couldn’t be found inside the pages of this book. No one has ever been able to do so. I’ve made an effort to contrast the teachings of various non-Christian thinkers with those of the Bible. Whether or not they realised it, they had stolen intellectual pearls, and they had taken them from the same book they mocked.
The Bible’s third advantage is that it is the single most trustworthy book in existence. Put all the truths you have gleaned from the literature of all eras into one book, and even then, you will not have another book that will replace this one. Collect all the lovely concepts you can from all the literature of ancient and current times, and throw away all the junk.
This little book fits in the palm of my hand and I keep one in my vest pocket, but it contains more truth than all the books written by man throughout history combined. So how do you plan to justify this expenditure? One correct path stands out from the others. This is a book from God, not from man.
THE BOOK WAS ABLE TO PREVAIL IN THE FACE OF OPPOSITION
This book has never been popular. As soon as it was out into the world, people began to hate it and wanted to eradicate it. To no avail: Celsus attempted it with his brilliant mind, Porphyry with his profound philosophy, Lucian with the arrows of his satire, and Diocletian with the might of the Roman Empire.
Every Bible was ordered destroyed by imperial edict, and everyone found in possession of a Bible was executed. Over centuries, every engine of destruction that human science, philosophy, wit, logic, or ruthlessness could bring to force on a book has been brought to bear against that book, and yet, that book has a mightier grip on the world today than it has ever had before.
Without “the hiding of God’s power” contained within it, that book would have been destroyed and forgotten centuries ago. However, because it contains “the hiding of God’s power,” it has fulfilled wonderfully the words of Christ, though not in the original sense of the prophecy: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”
BASED ON THE NATURE OF THE BOOK’S SUPPORTERS AND DETRACTORS
The Bible’s divine nature is attested to by two factors: the nature of people who embrace it and the nature of those who reject it. I do not want to imply that Christians are inherently superior to atheists, but if you can point me in the direction of a fellow who is living a selfless, committed life, one who has completely given himself up to doing God’s will, then I can safely assume that he is a believer in the Bible. Show me a person who rejects the Divine authority of that book, and I will reveal to you a man whose life is characterised by avarice, lust, spiritual arrogance, or a stubborn insistence on doing things his way.
Consider this hypothetical situation: you have a book attributed to a specific author, but those most familiar with that author claim it is not by that author, while those least familiar with that author say it is. Which opinion would you choose to believe? Today, those who know God best claim the Bible is His book, while those who know God least say it is not. Which one do you think is true?
What’s more, people are more inclined to embrace the Bible as they improve, and they are more likely to reject it as they deteriorate. Every one of us can think of a man who was formerly both sinful and non-believing but who eventually found faith when he gave up his sins. Did any of us know a sinning believer who, upon repenting, becomes an unbeliever? Men are more certain that the Bible is God’s Word the closer they live to God, and less certain that it is God’s Word the farther they live from God.
The Bible’s supposed to be a fortress, but where is it? In the clean, selfless, joyful house. The citadel of adultery is where? Sin city, complete with bar and brothel for drinking and gambling. We may find it odd if a man walked into a bar, set down the Bible on the bar, and then ordered a drink, but we would not bat an eye if he set down some infidel writing on the bar and did the same thing.
To be continued…