What is it with that book called the Bible? Christians insist it’s a message from God, but this is an increasingly difficult construct for many to accept as our culture moves toward more universal secularization–which is resulting in an increasing rejection of all things spiritual. You can’t, after all, have a message from Someone who doesn’t exist–who’s a fictional entity. It is, many have concluded, the record of faith in a Deity some worshipped in a less enlightened time–a time when the as-of-yet unexplained scientific phenomena were attributed to the supernatural. But is this a correct assessment? Has science explained away God–or did and does He still exist, independent of any advance of the progress of science?
“And we also thank God continually for this, that when you received the word of God [concerning salvation] which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of [mere] men, but as it truly is, the word of God, which is effectually at work in you who believe [exercising its inherent, supernatural power in those of faith].” (1 Thessalonians 2:13 AMP)
That, really, is the billion dollar question–did mankind make up stories about a supposed God, or does He exist independently of whether we believe in or regardless of what we believe about Him? And the Bible itself; is it a fabrication–a made-up compilation of the writings of various individuals during an approximately four thousand year period, ending about two thousand years ago? Or did these individuals faithfully record what a very real and living God gave them to pass on to all future generations?
Our world has changed–significantly–and if you think about it, in approximately just the last ten years or so. It is within this time period that we have become increasingly standardized because of the universal availability of smart technology. It is a rare person today who does not have internet access at his fingertips 24/7; to the contrary, it is almost impossible to separate most of us from our phones, and because they are so portable and powerful, they have increasingly become our one-stop go-to technological devise of choice. And why not? You can quickly and efficiently do almost anything anywhere on them!! This isn’t a bad thing; it’s actually unbelievably cool if you think about it. But what it has done–and continues to do–is standardize our thinking. What does this mean?
What it means is that all of us are, more and more, believing the same things. We laugh at Wikipedia being the source of all knowledge, yet our children and grandchildren are learning about the world around them, not by personally going out and interacting with it, but by googling it. And because of the algorithms in place, everyone who googles a particular topic gets the same answer–typically someone’s opinion presented as fact. Yes, marketers target us individually with products we have a higher likelihood of buying based on our search history. But the information that pops up as a result of a question like “is the Bible true” or “is evolution real?” is based on how often a source has been accessed, which is based on how it is prioritized in Google’s internal algorithms.
So, as our young minds seek out the answers to the big questions of life online, they all get taught the same standardized answers, highly skewed toward a secularized worldview and hostile to the biblical truths. And they learn that Christians are hateful, that evolution is an incontrovertibly established scientific fact, and that no particular religion is any more true than another because they’re all fictionalized anyway. And we wonder why younger generations are abandoning a literal biblical understanding of our world in droves! How could they not? It would be bizarre of them to do otherwise; they’ve been indoctrinated to the contrary, practically since birth!
And their opinion of those of us who do still adamantly cling to the veracity of Scripture is that we are dinosaurs, unwilling or unable by virtue of longstanding habit or personal preference, to abandon our prejudices and accept the world’s version of truth. Yet is this a correct assessment? Is it really backward or foolish to believe the Bible?
There is ample evidence for the credibility of the book called the Bible. Yes, you can pretend it’s nonsense or ignore it, but if you honestly research both sides of the issue (not just the Steven Hawking version), you come to see that even based purely on secular records you can at least conclude that there was a Jesus of Nazareth, that He was killed, and that a major world religion burgeoned shortly afterward. And because humankind is highly cynical by nature, you also can’t but conclude that something genuinely fantastic occurred to cause belief in Him to spread so rapidly afterward. So why the resistance to the message?
Much of the resistance to the message of the Bible comes from one of two camps; 1) either a person doesn’t want the message to be true, so they reject it, or 2) they’re potentially open to it until they start hearing about miracles and a dead Person coming back to life. Yet not liking a message doesn’t make it wrong; I may not like that my boss wants me to stay late at work, but it doesn’t make it any less true.
But the supernatural stuff that smacks of fables; that’s harder. That does seem highly unlikely in our scientific cut-and-dry world, and unless you’ve seen it personally, it isn’t something we take seriously. Yet one of the closest twelve followers of Jesus had exactly the same issue; he was there at the crucifixion, he saw a very dead Jesus, and when the others said they had seen and spoken to Him he absolutely rejected it. Because even though people two thousand years ago didn’t have our technology, they weren’t any less stupid—and they certainly knew the dead don’t become un-dead! Yet even he changed his mind after He saw Jesus himself!
So the question becomes–can you believe the eyewitnesses from two thousand years ago? Can you accept their personal testimonies? Does the passage of time make something any less true? Does it become any less true if fewer and fewer people believe or accept it, or if our current sources of information tell us we now know better? Because that’s what’s happening; our world is becoming increasingly secularized, to the point that one day in the perhaps now no longer too distant future, it will be possible for those who continue to unrelentingly insist in the truth of the Bible to be persecuted universally across the globe. How do I know this? The Bible has already told us this–two thousand plus years ago–and when it happens, it will be the biggest biblical validation for those who are aware of it.
I’ve long wondered how it could be that the world would become so deceived as to permit future forces hostile to Christianity to ban sales and purchases to those without a certain mark (which in some manner we don’t yet comprehend will be the equivalent of a rejection of God); now I understand. The world won’t be appalled because it will have come upon us all so gradually and universally. Those who persist in insisting in the validity of the Bible will have been slandered and vilified long enough and the general populace so unified in its thinking that it will seem as if the obstinate ones who refuse to get with the program deserve everything they get.
So—should we believe in the biblical God? Should we accept the eyewitness testimonies and pleadings of those saw it all and tried their best to faithfully pass it on to us? Can we accept that Jesus Christ was the eternal Son of God born a human man, to bridge the chasm between our sins and an otherwise unfathomable God, and that the supernatural manifestations He did were to validate His claims? Will we acknowledge our guilt before Him, and trust that because of His death and resurrection our Father in heaven forgives and fully accepts those who believe in Him? The answer is yes, a resounding YES–absolutely!!!
“When we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, we were not telling just clever stories that someone invented. But we saw the greatness of Jesus with our own eyes…Most of all, you must understand this: no prophecy in the Scriptures ever comes from the prophet’s own interpretation. No prophecy ever came from what a person wanted to say, but people led by the Holy Spirit spoke words from God.” (2 Peter 1:16-21 NCV)
Show Yourself to me, so I can know You! Amen.