The Reliability of the Bible Part 1b – Does the Bible Claim to Be the Word of God? – Addressing Objections

Posted: February 26, 2014 in Biblical Interpretation, Positive Apologetics
Tags: , , , , ,

By Matt Lefebvre

This post is a continuation of the series on the reliability of the Bible. Please see the introduction and Part 1a if you have not read them yet.

Introduction

WordObj1b“In a religious context, a revelatory claim makes great sense, assuming one is confident one is looking at a revelation from God.  But in a secular context and in a world where many writings make such claims of being in contact with the divine, it is important that some standard of assessment exist—not to prove beyond a doubt the character of the writing, for no humanly devised judgment can do that, but to set a direction that indicates the plausibility and general credibility of the text.” (Darrell Bock and Daniel Wallace, Dethroning Jesus, p.32).

This quote essentially summarizes what I was trying to do in the previous article.  For the religious, the question is simply how we can see which book(s) constitutes revelation from God, while for the non-religious, the question is if we can realistically recognize revelation from God, leaning toward the negative, as there is no basis of belief in God to create an expectation that God might reveal Himself.  For the former group, the evidence I have already presented might be sufficient, at least to get them to seriously consider that the Bible might be truly the word of God.  However, for the latter group, being more skeptical to even the idea presented, irrespective of the particulars, there will no doubt be some lingering questions.  I do not pretend to be addressing every possible objection, but I do intend to deal with some common objections, especially related to the evidence I have already presented.

Addressing Objections

Darrell Bock

Darrell Bock

Daniel Wallace

Daniel Wallace

As the quote from Bock and Wallace above suggests, the objective is not to use human standards to prove beyond a doubt that a given book is from God, because naturally, if something is from God, it just will not conform to human standards at every turn.  However, though we might not be able to track down proof for every word, by presenting a general reliability, we can point the finger at fundamental skepticism and ask whether that is the best approach.  Having said that, the following objections do not all come from atheists, but also from scholars who at least claim to be Christians (that they actually are genuine Christians is highly doubtful in the case of some).  So, some of these objections do not necessarily undermine the idea that God has spoken, but the question is more concerned with how much He has spoken.  Whatever the case may be, there is nothing wrong with having questions, as long as they really are honest questions and not simply an excuse to believe whatever we want to believe, regardless of which way the evidence points.

If you are only interested in one particular objection, feel free to read it on its own, as the arguments are largely independent.

Objection #1: The Bible Is a Human Book

WordObj-figure 1-1

Objection #2: The Bible Contains Unscientific Ideas

WordObj-figure 2-1

Objection #3: The Bible Contains False Prophecy

WordObj-figure 3-1

Conclusion

As I stated in the introduction, I have not dealt with every possible objection, but a selection of objections that are commonly raised, especially in response WordObj54bto the evidence I presented in the previous article.  However, I do believe these objections are representative of the fundamental presuppositions behind doubting the Bible as the word of God.  Norman Geisler quotes Stephen Davis as he sums this up well.

“What leads them to liberalism, apart from cultural and personal issues, is their acceptance of certain philosophical or scientific assumptions that are inimical to evangelical theology—e.g., assumptions about what is ‘believable to modern people,’ ‘consistent with modern science,’ ‘acceptable by twentieth-century canons of scholarship,’ and the like.” (Quoted in Inerrancy, p.307).

Scholars read some other human books and find some similarities in the Bible, so then they question how it could be a divine book.  They see the Bible as inconsistent with modern science, so they dismiss its claims.  They see miraculous detail in the predictions and do not believe in miracles, so they conclude that there must be some other explanation.  However, as I have shown in this article, these objections do not hold up and I submit that their failure should lead to a reexamination of those cherished presuppositions that have such a great influence over the view of the Bible.  I have contended that the Bible claims to be the word of God and shows it in different ways, and I have also proceeded to answer objections to that contention.  Next it will be time to continue and see if God’s word, even if spoken in the past, can actually be said to have been preserved accurately.

Part 2 of the series

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