Pastor Gary Buchman
Emmitsburg Community Bible Church
Part 1: How do I know That There is a God
(1/16) This is the second in our series on 10 Questions That Skeptics Ask. This question may come in various forms:
- Isnít the Bible full of errors and contradictions?
- Hasnít the Bible text been corrupted over years of translations?
- Isnít the Bible just manís concoction?
When we read the Bible we discover that the Bible writers claim that it is the very word of God. Listen to a few of them.
- 2 Tim. 3:16 "All scripture is given by inspiration of God." That is, it is from the breath of God.
- 2 Peter 1:21 "Prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." Literally, they were guided like a ship is guided by the rudder, so the Bible writers were guided by the Holy Spirit.
- 2 Sam. 23:2 (David), "The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me and His word was on my tongue."
- Jeremiah 1:9, "The Lord said to me, ĎBehold I have put my words in your mouth."
There are many, many more, but you get the idea. The Bible writers claim that this is Godís book. But is there evidence? How can we be sure? Like last week there is much more information than we have time for, but I hope you will print this out and do more research. I hope that what I give you today will be enough to help you rest assured and perhaps
to help you to answer when someone asks you why you believe. Here we go.
I. Consider Itís Unique Product
- Itís Unity- This Book we call the Sacred Book, the Hagios Biblios, or the Holy Bible is in actually 66 books, letters, postcards, and historical documents. It has at least 40 different authors, including shepherds, statesmen, farmers, fishermen, kings, rabbiís, priests, a doctor, and a tax collector. It was written over a span of 1500 years, in 3
different languages, on 3 continents. It contains history, poetry, biography, drama, exposition, letters, parables, sermons, stories and wisdom literature. Yet with all this diversity there is complete harmony and unity. There is but one overall theme and that is Godís plan of salvation in Godís Son Jesus. There are no contradictions, and no errors in the original
manuscripts. There is total agreement among the writers. What do you think we would have if we took 40 people today and asked them to write on the topics that the Bible contains in poetry and narrative? You can hardly get two people to agree on a few things let alone the diversity of things that the Bible deals with. I believe we would end up with a crazy quilt of
controversial concepts. The Bible is a tremendous unity of harmony.
- Itís Honesty Ė What other religious book shows the sinful flaws of its heroes? Noah gets drunk. Moses gets angry. Samson pursues heathen women. David commits adultery and murder. Solomon marries many women and builds temples for their gods. Elijah gets depressed and runs in fear of a woman. Peter denies the Lord and practices hypocrisy.
- Itís Theme Ė The common theme thru out is Godís redemption through Jesus Christ. John records Jesus saying, "You search the scriptures for in them you think you have eternal life and these are they which testify of me."
II. Itís Indestructible Permanence
(Matt. 24:35) "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my word will by no means pass away." The Bible claims that its words are eternally permanent. From the 4th century on, people like the emperor Diocletian through people like Joseph Stalin have tried to destroy the Bible but it is still here. The French philosopher Voltaire once said, "Another century
and here wonít be a Bible in existence on earth." But when Voltaire died, as if in poetic justice, his home and printing press were purchased by the Geneva Bible Society and became a depot for printing and distributing Bibles. Isaiah wrote (40:8), "The Grass withers and the flower fades but the word of God stands forever."
III. Itís Historical Precision
(Daniel 5) As the 20th century was coming to an end historians were saying that outside the Bible there was no evidence of a King David. But in the 1990ís an archeologist found a column in Israel that had David the King inscribed on it. A few years prior the same was said and happened with Abraham. Until almost the 20th century historians said that the
Bible speaks of a society called the Hittites, yet we have never found any evidence of the Hittites until some archeologist started digging and found a city that was Hittite. From a library found from Abrahamís time we have learned that the culture of the day called for the action that led to Sarah using Hagar as a surrogate as Rachel did with her hand maids to have a child
for her. When Jericho was discovered, it was discovered that its walls had fallen out and not in as would be the case in regular warfare. Why? The answer is because this would allow for compete access into the city by the Israelites.
The story of the Exodus occurred in a time when the Israelites were not allowed to use straw to make bricks, so they gathered stubble, and they werenít allowed to use stubble.
When Sir Flinders Petrie discovered the cities of Pithom and Rameses, he found that unlike any other cities in Egypt they were built with mortar. Listen, lower levels of the cities were built with bricks with straw. Middle levels were built with bricks with stubble, and upper levels were built with bricks without straw.
In Daniel 5, Daniel refers to Belshazzar as the last king of Babylon. Historians said, "Error. Nabonidus was Nebuchadnezzarís son and last king of Babylon. But again, an archeologist found a document stating that Nabonidus left Babylon for a while and placed his son Belshazzer as vice regent or co-king of the city. Nabonidus was not in Babylon when it
fell, Belshazzer was.
Sir William Ramsey was an atheist and skeptic and an incredibly intelligent man. He was also an historian and archeologist. Luke was a first century Dr. who wrote the gospel of Luke and Acts. Both books are incredibly detailed in places, titles, and people. Ramsey thought he could discredit the Bible by tracing the accuracy of the writings of Luke.
Instead, he discovered the incredible accuracy of Lukeís writings and he became a strong believer and follower of Jesus Christ.
The late Dr. Wm. Albright, one of the worldís greatest archeologist ever and from Johns Hopkins said, "The reader may rest assured nothing has been found to disturb a reasonable faith, and nothing has been discovered which can disturb a single theological doctrineÖ. We no longer trouble ourselves with attempts to harmonize religion and science, or to
prove the Bible, the Bible can stand for itself."
IV. Itís Scientific Precepts
In a few weeks we will go into deeper detail, but for now there are many scientific statements which has taken men centuries to discover on his own. Like:
- The earth is round (Isa. 40:22)
- The Life is in the blood (Lev. 17:11) Contrast this to the fact that Dr.s bleed George Washington to his death thinking that they had to drain bad blood.
- The hydrologic cycle of the earth; that is, the precipitation, evaporation, cloud construction, and movements of moisture by the wind currents (Eccl. 1:6-7, Job 38)
- That all creatures reproduce after their kind (Gen. 1-2)
- There are springs and fountains in the sea (Gen. 7:11; 8:2, Prov. 8:28)
- That there are paths in the sea. Mathew Maury used the 8th Psalm to discover the Gulf Stream and the other ocean paths
- Unlike the theory of evolution that has to by-pass laws of physical science, the Bible supports every one.
V. Itís Prophetic Accuracy
(Deut. 18:20-22) The Bible contains several thousand precise and detailed prophecies. Not vague and general prophecies like that of a fortune cookie. There are over 2000 in the Old Testament. There are over 332 of those fulfilled in the life of Jesus Christ alone. Matthew especially makes note of this. Notice how many times he will say, "As it is
written." Dr. Peter Stoner, former chair of the Dept. of Mathematics and Astronomy at Pasadena City College, along with 600 students calculated the probability of just 8 prophecies being fulfilled by Jesus as 1 in 10 to the 17th power; the odds of 48 prophecies being fulfilled by Jesus as 1 in 10 to the 157th power. That 332 prophecies would be fulfilled is beyond
comprehension. There have been over 2000 prophecies fulfilled. The Bible itself states in Deut. 18, that if it is predicted and doesnít happen you know it isnít from God. No other religious book dares to claim predictive prophecy, not the writings of Buddha, or Confucius. Even the Koran only makes one and that was self fulfilled stating that Muhammad would return to Mecca.
Take the nation of Israel as an example. The Bibles says that Jerusalem would be destroyed and the people would be scattered because she would not receive her Messiah. In 70 A.D. Rome did just that. For 1900 years the Jews did not have a home land. Yet they maintained their identity and in the 20th century Palestine was given back over to the Jews an in 1948 Israel became a
nation again just as the Bible said she would.
VI. Itís Incredible Preservation
(Isa. 40:8) Consider that when it comes to works of antiquity we have:
- 643 copies of the writings of Homer (Iliad and Odyssey guy)
- 9 of Euripides
- 8 of Thucydides
- 7 of Plato
- 5 of Aristotle
- 10 of Julius Caesar
- Over 15,000 of the New Testament alone. We have hand written copies from all over the Middle East from the 1st to 5th centuries. Combine this with the many thousands of pieces of manuscripts and quotations form the early church Fathers and you have the single greatest preserved work of the ancient world. And when they are all compared we rest
assured that what we have is Ivory Soap, it is 99 and 44/100% pure as it was when it was first written. It has not been corrupted. It has been incredibly preserved.
- Consider the Old Testament. Until the 20th century, the oldest manuscript we had was from the 9th century. The reason being that when copies of the Bible would become worn, they would be re-copied and the old one would be buried. The scribes that copied the Bible came up with a method to be assured that it would be copied accurately. Every letter in
every book would be counted in every manuscript. If an error was made the manuscript would be destroyed. In the middle of the 20th century and incredible discovery was made in a cave in the Qumran area of Israel. A Cache of Old Testament manuscripts was found from the 2nd or 3rd century B.C. When compared to the 9th century manuscripts they were exactly the same. No
contradictions and no corruption.
We have only scratched the surface, this morning, but enough I hope to confirm that this book is a super-natural book and in fact the Word of God. No other book in the world is loved and hated as much as this book. No other book is criticized and scrutinized as much as this book. Why? Because Hebrews 4:12 says it has the power to cut into the heart and
soul of men.
VII. Its Ability to Pierce the Hearts of People
(Hebrews 4:12) "Its not the parts of the Bible that I donít understand that disturbs me, rather itís the parts of the Bible that I do understand that disturbs me." Mark Twain. The God of this universe has communicated to us in several ways as we saw last week. He has revealed Himself in Natural Revelation or creation. He has revealed Himself in our
consciences. He has revealed Himself in Jesus, and He has spoken to us in a book that he compiled for us called the Sacred Book, or the Holy Bible. He has given it to us as a gift, a treasure, an heirloom. Letís spend just a few moments listening to Paulís counsel to his young pastor prodigy Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:14-17.
- Vv. 14-15 You Must Continue in it. Folks, you must make the time to read it regularly, daily. Meditate in it. Memorize it. Study it. Desire it as much as your favorite meal. Moses and Jesus remind us that you need this more than food.
- V. 15 It has the Plan of Salvation or how to be rescued from the Penalty of sin which is hell. It reveals why Jesus came; how Jesus came; and what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross and from the empty grave. Use it to tell your family and friends how to be rescued.
- V. 16a Remember, this book comes from the very breath of God from the 1st verse of Genesis to the last verse of Revelation; this is Godís life and love to you.
- V. 16b It will teach you history, prepare you for the future, assure you in the present.
- V. 16c It will reveal your dark side, and expose your sinful thoughts, words, actions, and failures.
- V. 16d It will show you how to clean up and be restored with your Father and get it right. It is a book that reveals that God allows do-overs.
- V. 16e It will show you how to have the best marriage, the best way to manage your money, have purpose for your life, treat people, even your enemies so you can sleep at night.
- V. 17 It will equip you to face all the challenges that you will face in this life as a mature man or woman. It will set you apart from the majority of the world that doesnít the Savior.
Magazines, Novels, even devotionals are okay but do not let them or the TV or your PC become a substitute for spending time in this book. Resolve to make this the year that you will take the time to take in the breath of God. Donít let it be your coffee table center piece.
Pray- Father thank you for giving us your words.
Benediction Romans 15:4-6
Next week Ė Why Do Christians Believe that there is Just One way To God? What about other sincere faiths; arenít they all like rivers that flow into the same ocean? Donít we all really worship the same God?
Part 3: How can Christians say that there is just one way to God?
Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman