A recent commenter has raised a question. I’m hoping I’m understanding the question properly, but he’s wondering if someone could come up with a more thoroughly explained book of God, if all the old religions would disappear. I take it to mean if there was a book with more explanatory power of reality as a whole, would I reject the Bible?
First off, let’s get something clear. There are too many people that are turning away young people that are asking questions in the church. It doesn’t help us at all. The Christian faith is not meant to be an anti-intellectual faith. We are told to love the Lord our God with all our minds.
My reply is partially what Thomas Aquinas once said which can be found in the biography G.K. Chesterton wrote on him. In asking why he believed Aquinas said “It is not based just on documents of faith, but on the reasons and statements of the philosophers themselves.”
There was a day and age when Christians were intellectuals and were reading the literature of the time. Calvin even instructed that people in the schools should be reading the wisdom of the pagans and their literature. We should approach them with the idea that all truth is God’s truth. Plato and Aristotle said a lot of great things. Naturally, we don’t agree with all of it, but I would say that that’s nothing we should be surprised at. Even in Christian circles, I have a number of heroes in the faith and I disagree with them on some issues.
When I begin a defense of Christianity, I will normally start with defending the existence of God. That can be done in a number of ways but the philosophical arguments are the ones I use. I will use the kalam argument, the moral argument, and one of my favorites as many readers know is the argument from beauty.
I realize there a lot of Christians who begin with the resurrection. I have no problem with that. If the critic is wanting to attack the New Testament, I could go there as well because if Jesus did rise from the dead, it’s quite likely that he did so by a supernatural power and the first candidate would be the God he proclaimed.
But let’s suppose I have convinced you that God exists. Now we get to the question of which book best explains reality. I’ll tell readers now that I have read books in other religions. I have read the works of Confucius. I have read the Koran. I’ve read the Book of Mormon and I’m going through the Doctrines and Covenants. I have copies of the Tao Te Ching and the Upanishads and the Bhagavad-Gita and they’re waiting in line.
It would take much more to say why I believe the Bible and each of these could be several blogs in itself and after we finish the Trinity series, I might just do that. Keep in mind that we could be discussing the Trinity for awhile though.
I believe the Bible first off because I find it to be consistent. I do hold to inerrancy, which is a strong reason for believing it’s divine, but I’d say consistency tells me something. There is a great unifying nature to this book.
Second, I believe we have the text that was included. The Bible is more backed textually than any other ancient work and to deny the Bible, we have to deny every other work in ancient literature textually.
Third, I believe it’s backed by archaeology. Now are there still some questions? Yeah. I give the benefit of the doubt to Scripture because we’ve had too many times where we’ve been told the Bible is wrong and a later discovery shows it to be right.
Fourth, I believe that there’s been prophetic fulfillment in the Bible. I believe the prophecies of Daniel are quite accurate and the prophecies that Christ fulfilled came about. I also believe many of the typologies that we see of Christ in the Old Testament are striking.
Fifth, I believe the Bible is the correct one because it does match with the statements I do see in the philosophers. I see a God in there that matches very closely what I can get from reason. I believe there are aspects I could not know about him of course, unless he revealed them, but the ones that I can know I see in Scripture. (I’d add ones that must be revealed, like the Trinity, have great explanatory power for reality.)
Sixth, I believe the teachings of Christ work on an experiential level. Jesus Christ shows me not just who God is, but he shows me the nature of humanity. Imagine if I wanted to show you how a product worked, but every example of that product I gave was defective. You might wonder what a real functioning product was to look like. Look around you. All humans fall short of the nature of humanity. We don’t know what it means to be truly human. That is, we don’t know until we look at Christ.
For all of these reasons, I believe God has spoken in the Bible and if he has, I don’t believe he’s going to say anything that will contradict this message. If the Bible is true and Jesus did rise from the dead, that will not change ever. Even if new revelation comes, the Bible will still be the Word of God.
I hope this helps the questioner out.