Saturday, June 16, 2012
Is the Bible the Inspired Word of God? - III
In our last two blog posts we considered several evidences that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. There is an additional factor, however, that must be taken into consideration. The Westminster Confession of Faith mentions several characteristics of the Bible "whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God," but then adds this qualification: "Yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts" (W.C.F. I.v.). For some people, the content of the Bible is actually an argument against its being divinely inspired. To them the message of sin and salvation is obscene – it condemns men as guilty sinners and requires them to believe on Christ in order to escape eternal punishment. That, they say, is too demeaning to be acceptable!
What it comes down to in the end is a matter of perception. The average person does not like to see himself as being a sinner and in need of salvation. Thus to him the Bible's whole theology of sin and redemption looks unreal, if not patently offensive. But to the individual whose eyes have been opened to see his condition as God sees it, and is troubled by what he sees, the Bible speaks with a stark realism like no other book can. He knows that he has heard the voice of God speaking through its pages. His conscience tells him that what the Bible says is true, and so does the Holy Spirit when the individuals is in the throes of a conversion experience.
We might add one other observation as well. Once a person becomes a committed Christian he is likely to find that the Bible is a sure and reliable guide through life's perplexities. He passes through "many dangers, toils and snares," to quote John Newton's famous hymn. He is surrounded by friends and acquaintances who have made shipwreck of their lives. But the believer, if he relies on Scripture as his guide through life, spares himself many sorrows and finds peace and rest at last. This, too, is a testimony to the Bible's divine authorship.
An atheist, of course, can deny practically anything if he is really determined to do so. But on this issue the atheist has to deny too much. On his scheme of things none of the writers of the Bible knew what they were talking about, and half of them wrote under fictitious names. None of the miracles in the Bible ever took place. Jesus was flat out lying about His identity. The several dozen witnesses to His resurrection were all hallucinating. The apostles got it all wrong, and the entire Christian Church was taken in by the scam! At some point, however, it takes more faith to deny than to believe!