Sunday, July 11, 2010

Unadulterated Truth of the Bible

As much as I enjoy reading the works penned by great thinkers, scientists, historians, theologians, and philosophers regarding their defense, or even skepticism, toward the Christian Faith I often find, as I read the Word of God, I am reminded God's thoughts are higher than mine, that God's word is perfect, and that it is a living word (meaning that it is literally as though God were speaking and revealing Himself to me.  Because He is alive and with me, He speaks and reveals himself to me through that word).  What was wisely said once by a respected teacher, I find to be most certainly true - the Bible is the best and most reliable authority on itself. 

I believe this is singularly true of the Bible.  If it is the Word of God, as it claims, there is a higher truth and revelation to be found within - from an unadulterated source.  God, as my Heavenly Father, desires most that I should know Him and therefore believe and obey Him.  He is constantly working in my life and in the lives of humanity, to this end.  He desires our obedience not because He is a dictator, but because He knows and wants what is best for us.  In short, He loves us.  But He will not and does not force himself on us.  The act of belief is a concious choice, although the faith and ability are given by God to all men.  As our father, He does not wish that His will be some great mystery to us.  This is why He has given us His word and His incarnate son Jesus.  Like a good earthly parent, God desires to share with us His will for our lives.  Now some would be very likely to protest were I to now mention infallability of the Bible, but my point in using that term would be to merely point out that God, unlike man, by definition must be an infallable being in all respects.  God's words are in every sense righteous and eternally true, as God by nature does not change.  The Bible is then, a compilation of divinely inspired works penned by men as God's chosen instruments.  The point of this word is to convey God's personality, truth, will, and salvation to man.  To do so, he chose men, as you or I might choose a pen, but the pen cannot claim any accomplishment beyond the fact that it was our choice medium for recording our thoughts, ideas, desires, beliefs, and so on.

It is for these and many other reasons, I find, that most skeptics of the Bible have not actually bothered to read the Bible.  This is a fundamental flaw in judgement.  They are fearful.  I have met many skeptics who seemingly know a lot about the Bible, but this is always based on perhaps mountains of information they have gathered second hand, not conclusions they have made for themselves.  They find their investigation satisfactory because it supports a foregone conclusion.  They then parrot their skepticism without having actually understood in context or in truth.  They are willingly ignorant of God.  They believe by blotting out belief, they are freed from any accountability, if what they dread were to turn out to be true.  As the Bible says, "their thinking has become futile and their foolish hearts darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools."  You see, if a man or woman encounters the words of the true God, they cannot be left unchanged by it.  This is the source of fear.  Not of finding truth, but of being changed.  They are comfortable in their sin and ignorance.  They may well refuse to acknowledge Him, as the Romans of Paul's day did, but despite their best effort, they cannot claim to have not been introduced to evidence of Him.  Whether through His word, His creation, His witnesses - all of man will leave this life having encountered the true God.  This is why the Bible explains that "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."

All this said, in reading one of my favorite books from the scripture, the book of Isaiah, I wish to share the following passages free of any commentary. They speak for themselves. These words were written approximately 700 years before the birth of Christ and describe with incredible detail, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Even when read to a non-believer, an honest person must acknowledge this prophetic passage as having proclaimed the life of Jesus of Nazareth:

"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel."  Isaiah 7:14

"Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan— The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder. For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."  Isaiah 9:1-6

“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols. See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.”  Isaiah 42:6-9

"Which of them foretold this and proclaimed to us the former things? Let them bring in their witnesses to prove they were right, so that others may hear and say, “It is true.” “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?” Isaiah 43:10-13

"I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth."  Isaiah 49:6b

"But my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail."  Isaiah 51:6b

"See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Just as there were many who were appalled at him—his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness—so will he sprinkle many nations,and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand. Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their face he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."  Isaiah 52:13-15; Isaiah 53:1-12

"Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear...The redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins, declares the Lord" Isaiah 59:1&20

1 comment:

  1. It reminds me of the man on PBS who claims to be seeking truth concerning matters of the world. He goes to all types of people to try and decide if his questions can be solved by God or by the ideas of philosophers and the like. Though he seeks the counsel of Christian thinkers/scientists..., he states "but I'm not ready for God yet." He looks truth and the most rational logic in the face and chooses to ignore it. You cannot truly seek Truth unless you are willing to accept the answers to it.