How a person asks a question, often reveals the reason they are asking a question
Rarely do I find people who have the quality of inquisitiveness in genuinely wanting to know and understand the Bible. On occasion persons cross my path who have a sincere desire to know God through His word. When this happens, I am always delighted and excited. I am one of the fortunate who have discovered, over four decades, that the key to happiness and fulfillment in this life, comes from only one source: knowing God and loving Him.
The God who created this universe, decided that He would reveal Himself to the world, through His word. It is by the people and events that we read in the Old Testament that we are prepared to meet God in the person of Jesus in the New Testament. Every story, person, and event of the Old Testament allows us to understand who God is and the great love He has for every person.
During Christmas week, 2021, a young man who I will designate as TK, wrote to me regarding some of the essays I have published at this website, and a few of the questions he has regarding the historical resurrection of Jesus. The manner in which TK asked his questions was what first caught my attention.
A majority of people who ask questions about God and the Bible, are not really asking anything, they are making comments based upon their own understanding of these subjects. Many of the comments I see on a daily basis, are expressed by mockery, or criticism. With this young man, TK, he asked—not only the right kinds of questions—but in a way that demonstrated his sincerity, intelligence, and genuine desire to know who God is. This is a rare character that I have seldom seen and I believe that TK is a true student who God will reveal great things to, and use to reveal Himself to many people.
In this Essay, I will present the six questions this young man asked me, and the answers revealed to us, through the Bible.
Follow with me as we read the questions TK asked, and the answers the Bible reveals:
1. Is the Bible absolutely the 100% perfect, inerrant and plenary word of God as many Christians today claim?
TK: “I know the common MAP acronym but I am not sure if this constitutes the entire Bible to be perfectly written. For example it is easier to believe there were many less than 600,000 men in the Exodus of Egypt and this would make more sense. Or that the Sun literally stopped in the sky for a full day as written in Joshua seems unlikely as there should be natural evidence for this long day. Or that the test for an unfaithful wife is fully commanded by God despite not seeming to make scientific sense. Or even that Genesis chapter 1 and 2 seem to contradict. Is there really good evidence to believe the entire Bible is perfect?
Notice the way that TK framed this question: this is the standard format for an atheist to begin his criticism of the Bible, but it was clear to me that TK was not making criticism, but genuinely seeking an answer.
There is no place in the Bible where it claims that what men write in the scriptures is infallible. It is the words, principles, laws, and facts that God speaks—either directly or through the writing of the prophets—that are infallible.
Not All Of The Bible Is God’s Word
Although this sounds like a heretical statement, it is absolutely true. The Bible contains the words of evil men, liars, demons, murderers, and the immoral. The statement that “every word is God’s word” cannot be true. What is true is that God included His words, the words of evil men, and those of the righteous, in order to demonstrate the sin of man and describe for us how He intends to save those who receive the Savior He sent into the world.
The Bible is the word of God in that it contains His principles regarding sin, evil, suffering, the nature of man, his need for salvation, and the Savior He provided for every person. In this regard, the Bible is absolutely reliable.
When God Himself Is Speaking, This Is Made Clear To The Reader By The Words:
- “The Lord Said,” 217 times in the Old Testament
- “Says the Lord,” 841 times in the Old Testament
- “The Word of the Lord,” 250 times in the Old Testament
- “God Said,” 43 times in the Old Testament
There are hundreds of additional places where God is described as speaking, using various terms and descriptions. The point is that we can tell when God is speaking in the Bible, and we can also tell when it is men or women who are speaking.
There are also many places where men are either speaking or writing the words that God dictated to them in the Bible. When we arrive at the New Testament, we see that the writers of the various letters we read in the 27 books of the New Testament often used a Scribe—someone who took dictation from the author and wrote their words for us to read. In the case of Paul, he apparently suffered from an eye disorder and required assistance in writing the various letters we see placed into the New Testament. This does not mean that Paul was not the author, only that he used an assistant to record his words.
We see an example where Paul used a scribe to write for him in his letter to the Colossians. At the end of this letter, the NLT version shows us where Paul is writing the text himself by the use of all caps:
HERE IS MY GREETING IN MY OWN HANDWRITING—PAUL. Remember my chains. May God’s grace be with you all. ~Colossians 4:18
In the case of Luke, he was a well-educated physician who took extraordinary steps to interview the various eyewitnesses who had firsthand knowledge of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. He then recorded their testimony in his Gospel and the Book of Acts. Notice how Luke begins his Gospel account of Jesus:
Many people have set out to write an account of the events that have been fulfilled among us. They used the eyewitness reports circulating among us from the early disciples. Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I also have decided to write an accurate account for you, most honorable Theophilus, so you can be sure of the truth in everything you were taught. ~Luke 1:1-4
Notice the statement: “Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning.” Here we see that Luke intended to write a very orderly, accurate, and reliable account of all that concerned Jesus. One of the world’s greatest archeologists and historians, Sir William Ramsay, describes the accuracy and detail of Luke’s historical references, without a single error.
Dr. Ramsay believed that during his extensive trip through Asia Minor, he would find that Luke had made several errors in his descriptions that were recorded in the Book of Acts. Instead, Ramsay discovered that Luke was “a historian of the first rank.”
If A Man Is Honest In The Least, He Will Be Honest In The Greater
Dr. Ramsay learned that Luke was proficient in recording every minor detail in all of his descriptions. The historical accuracy of Luke was unequalled by any who wrote during that period of history.
If Luke was so proficient in these minor details, Ramsay determined that he must also be honest in all the larger facts that concerned Jesus Christ. Understanding that Luke was accurate in the cities, names, places, and customs he recorded, it is certain that the important narratives of Jesus’ death and resurrection would also be reliable.
The Book Of Ecclesiastes: An Example Of Inaccurate Words Of Men
Most people who read the book of Ecclesiastes assume that Solomon is writing an accurate account of the things he describes. Our assumption would be wrong. When Solomon wrote his words in Ecclesiastes, he was in a backslidden place regarding his relationship with God. Not everything Solomon wrote is true because he is writing his own observations about how he thinks life operates, from a heart and mind that have been compromised by sin and disobedience.
The book of Ecclesiastes is unique amongst those of the Bible. This is the only complete text in the Bible that is a reflection of the human point of view rather than the view of God. For this reason, it is filled with errors. At the same time Ecclesiastes is also fully inspired, because God wanted the world to see what happens when a person forgets God.
Inspiration Is Not A Guarantee Of Truth
Some people have the idea that if it is in the Bible, then it is guaranteed by God to be true. There is no place in the scripture where God said this. If it is God speaking, then we can be certain that what we are reading is the truth. If it is a human being speaking, it may or may not be true. Sometimes satan is speaking in the Bible, and we can be sure that these words are not true. On other occasions, we see evil men or women making statements that are also not true.
We can have great confidence in the fact that when there are errors in what is said in the Bible, there is also text to tell us that these words are not true. From these examples you can see that the Bible is filled with various errors by many individuals. For this reason, many people who are not trained in the scriptures misunderstand, twist, or misuse the words of the Bible. People who have not taken the time necessary to read the Bible with understanding do not understand that when people or the devil make statements in the Bible, this is not the word of God but their own words.
The Bible Can Be The Word Of God, Though The Words Of Men Within It Are Not
What the Bible represents is the precise texts, persons, events, and details that God wanted recorded and included, so that those who read these narratives could understand who God is. In this regard, what is included in the sixty-six books of the Bible is absolutely flawless and one hundred percent reliable. Remember that the inclusion of these specific texts, does not mean the texts written or spoken by people, is one hundred percent accurate. What their inclusion does mean is that God is showing us specific people and the events of their lives, so that we can understand how He interacts, works, and reveals Himself to all of us.
Although not everything people said in the Bible is true, God wanted their words to be recorded so we can see that not all that people say or profess is reliable. Only those things God has told us are the truth, and we can rely upon the words of God. When we say that the Bible is “inspired,” this is what is meant. When we say “the word of God,” we are describing the Bible with all of its inspired text—both His words and the words of individuals who often do not speak truth.
Learning To Rightly Divide
In order to acquire the ability to discern truth from lies, facts from fiction, we must become students of the Bible and be proficient in “rightly dividing the word of truth.”
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” ~2 Timothy 2:15
Simply defined: we must have a good working knowledge of the entire Bible, so that we have the ability to segregate and divide out, the texts that are applicable for every important subject that is in the Bible.
For example: if I asked “where is the chapter in the Bible that gives us the guidelines for marriage,” where would you turn to in the Bible? There is not a single place where all of the scriptures that describe marriage, are found. The texts are interspersed throughout the entire Bible. A student of the Bible who is becoming proficient in dividing the words of truth, will have some skill is locating the various texts throughout the Bible that describe marriage or any other important subject.
The inner dispersal of information from Genesis to Revelation, written by 40 men over a period of 1,450 years, yet congruent with each other, is an example of the supernatural construction of the Bible.
This is why people who read the comments of those who criticize the Bible as filled with errors begin to imagine that the Bible cannot be trusted. The reason some people make these comments and observations is because they don’t understand what they are reading. In this regard, sometimes it is helpful to have someone who has spent a great deal of time studying the Bible to guide us. We see an example of this principle in the New Testament.
So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. ~Acts 8:30-31
God Does Not Sugarcoat Our Spiritual Condition
One of the unique attributes of the Bible is that God wanted us to be able to see real people with their real faults. God never seeks to sugarcoat our sinful nature. He points out the faults of the people whom He includes in the Bible so that we can see how He works in the lives of those who are fallible—but He still loves them and is faithful to bring fallible people into a correct relationship with Himself.
God wanted us to see that Abraham, although he is spoken of by God as “the Father of Faith,” there were times when Abraham did not have much faith. When a plague broke out in the world, Abraham did not trust God. His fears caused him to go down to Egypt to find food. While there Abraham told his wife, Sarah, to lie for him and say that she was his sister. This was because Abraham knew the Egyptian kings would often take the beautiful wife of a man and have him executed.
“Therefore it will happen, when the Egyptians see you, that they will say, ‘This is his wife’; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. Please say (lie) you are my sister, that it may be well with me for your sake, and that I may live because of you.” ~Genesis 12:12-13
Abraham did not exercise the correct behavior of a person who truly trusts in God, and God wanted us to see this character flaw in Abraham so that we would be encouraged. When we also fail to have faith, and act wrongly in our life, by the example God gave us with Abraham we can see that God will not abandon us, cease to love us, or fail to complete all of His promises in our life.
Because God placed people before us in the Bible who are sinners just like us, people with wrong intentions often take the false things these Biblical characters said or did and seek to prove that the Bible is filled with errors.
The inclusion of sinners and their incorrect statements in the Bible is inspired by God for our benefit. It is helpful for us to see these individuals as they really were and how God was exceedingly patient with them. It helps us in our own weaknesses when we see how gracious and kind God is to people when they are in the midst of their sins. It is this kindness of God that softens our heart and brings us to repentance in our own life.
This Is What Is Meant By The Term “Inspired By God”
Solomon, in writing Ecclesiastes, shows us how God wanted the world to see what happens to a man when he forgets God. What happens to a person when they let the pursuit of wealth, pleasure, building, and the things of this world take the place of God. Solomon began well, but he did not finish well. God wants all of us to finish our life on earth successfully and make it home to heaven. For this reason, God inspired the writing of Solomon to place this text before us, so that we can see the folly of a man who has lost the most precious possession he began his life with—God.
In no way should anyone take all of the words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes as the words of God. In order to rightly determine if what someone writes or says is from God, we must be able to compare it to what has already been written by God Himself in the Bible. Anything that is said or written that is contrary to what God has said is wrong and not from God.
Ecclesiastes presents the human view of God, and because of this it is often wrong. Solomon repeatedly uses the term “under the sun” to describe his view. This is evidence that Solomon’s opinion in this text comes from a human perspective of life on earth (under the sun). In this regard, Ecclesiastes shows us the error of human thinking in comparison to the thoughts and opinions of God.
Atheists And Ecclesiastes
Atheists will sometime assert that Ecclesiastes is atheistic. This is not true. The writer of Ecclesiastes is not an atheist, but a backslidden believer in God who has forgotten God in his life. The atheist is one who has convinced himself that God does not exist by a standard he set for himself. Although the evidence for God is overwhelming and empirical in every regard, atheists ignore the evidence of the universe, and human life, even the conscience within themselves, and insist that God does not exist.
In my experiences with hundreds of atheists over the past 44 years, these individuals are not interested in evidence, but in argument. They want to convince themselves that they really are an atheist, so they continually try to impeach every argument that proves God. Of course, God does exist and His existence can now be proven by the science of the universe. The reality of facts can never change the heart of one who does not want to believe. People always believe what they want to believe, and they are not always influenced by truth or facts that are contrary to what they want to believe.
The Bible Does Contain Errors
- There are evil men who speak errors in the Bible.
- The devil often speaks errors in the Bible.
- Men give incorrect views or opinions of God that are wrong, in the Bible.
Based upon these errors of men and the devil, it is not hard to prove that the Bible does contain errors. A diligent student will also notice that the Bible always shows us these errors and tells us plainly that these statement and views of God are inaccurate.
Using Ecclesiastes To Impeach The Bible
Because of the inaccuracies that Solomon had regarding God, as he is in a backslidden place in his life, many critics of the Bible often quote passages from Ecclesiastes to try and prove that the Bible is inconsistent, inaccurate, or not true.
Our first hint that Ecclesiastes cannot be relied upon as the words of God is in its introduction.
These are the words of the Teacher, King David’s son, who ruled in Jerusalem. Everything Is Meaningless “Everything is meaningless,” said the Teacher, “completely meaningless!” ~ Ecclesiastes 1:1-2
Solomon began his reign as the king of Israel by great wisdom. Through compromise and sin, he fell away from the Lord and became a fool. The writings of Ecclesiastes is an example of a once wise man who is now in spiritual decline at the end of his life.
Solomon Begins With Wisdom
That night the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream, and God said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!”
Solomon replied, “You showed great and faithful love to your servant my father, David, because he was honest and true and faithful to you. And you have continued to show this great and faithful love to him today by giving him a son to sit on his throne.”
“Now, O Lord my God, you have made me king instead of my father, David, but I am like a little child who doesn’t know his way around. And here I am in the midst of your own chosen people, a nation so great and numerous they cannot be counted! Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?”
The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom. So God replied, “Because you have asked for wisdom in governing my people with justice and have not asked for a long life or wealth or the death of your enemies—I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have! And I will also give you what you did not ask for—riches and fame! No other king in all the world will be compared to you for the rest of your life!” ~1 Kings 3:5-13
The text of 1 Kings Chapter 4 confirms that God did exactly what He promised Solomon: he became the wisest man during that period of history.
God gave Solomon very great wisdom and understanding, and knowledge as vast as the sands of the seashore. In fact, his wisdom exceeded that of all the wise men of the East and the wise men of Egypt. He was wiser than anyone else…His fame spread throughout all the surrounding nations. He composed some 3,000 proverbs and wrote 1,005 songs. He could speak with authority about all kinds of plants, from the great cedar of Lebanon to the tiny hyssop that grows from cracks in a wall. He could also speak about animals, birds, small creatures, and fish. And kings from every nation sent their ambassadors to listen to the wisdom of Solomon. ~1 Kings 4:29-34
How could the world’s wisest man become a fool? He forgot the Lord and gave himself completely to the things of this world. The evidence for Solomon’s errors is seen in the Book of Ecclesiastes. The opening statement tells us all we need to know; Solomon says: “Everything is meaningless.”
Solomon’s view of life—that “everything is meaningless”—is in direct conflict with what God says about life on earth. Life is not meaningless, haphazard, or random. Everything that takes place in the life of human beings, the earth, and the universe is all under the sovereignty and control of the God who made all that exists.
The Realities Of A Life With God
People who trust in the Lord will have difficulties, but the wisdom God imparts through His word enables us to live satisfied, productive lives that have meaning and purpose. Those who deny God in their lives have nothing. There is no lasting peace; there is constant fear of the unknown. There is uncertainty over what happens at death, and there is no meaning or real purpose in all that a person does in their life. Atheists proclaim that a life without God enables them to be truly free, but this is not true. We become a slave to whatever controls us. If we are controlled by our fleshly appetites, and this world, we become a slave to sin. This, in turn, leaves us empty and hopeless. Despite what atheists declare regarding their freedom without God, the reality is that they are all empty and filled with fear continually.
They promise freedom, but in truth they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you. ~2 Peter 2:19
This is precisely what we see in the comments of Solomon as he has fallen away from the Lord and now feels the consequences of that life. Solomon achieved everything that this world tells us will bring happiness and contentment. None of these things satisfied Solomon, and they have not satisfied anyone else over human history who have also achieved all these successes.
“Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!” What do people get for all their hard work under the sun?…Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content. ~Ecclesiastes 1:2-3, 8
So I set out to learn everything from wisdom to madness and folly. But I learned firsthand that pursuing all this is like chasing the wind. The greater my wisdom, the greater my grief. To increase knowledge only increases sorrow. I said to myself, “Come on, let’s try pleasure. Let’s look for the ‘good things’ in life.” But I found that this, too, was meaningless.
So I said, “Laughter is silly. What good does it do to seek pleasure?” After much thought, I decided to cheer myself with wine. And while still seeking wisdom, I clutched at foolishness. In this way, I tried to experience the only happiness most people find during their brief life in this world.
I also tried to find meaning by building huge homes for myself and by planting beautiful vineyards. I made gardens and parks, filling them with all kinds of fruit trees. I built reservoirs to collect the water to irrigate my many flourishing groves.
I bought slaves, both men and women, and others were born into my household. I also owned large herds and flocks, more than any of the kings who had lived in Jerusalem before me. I collected great sums of silver and gold, the treasure of many kings and provinces.
I hired wonderful singers, both men and women, and had many beautiful concubines. I had everything a man could desire! So I became greater than all who had lived in Jerusalem before me, and my wisdom never failed me. Anything I wanted, I would take. I denied myself no pleasure. I even found great pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors.
But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere. ~Ecclesiastes 1:17 – 2:11
If you are a critic of the Bible and are seeking to prove that the scriptures are inconsistent by the text of Ecclesiastes, it will not work. All that is proven by Solomon’s words is that the entire Bible, and all that God said about sin and this present world, are true.
The Infallibility Of The Bible
When we say that the Bible is infallible, it does not mean that what some men and women said, is perfect. There are some occasions when men said certain things that are recounted from their own memories, and they generalize or recount events from their own mind.
Take for example, Matthew records the prophecy of the Messiah’s betrayal, coming from the prophet Jeremiah. The actual prophecy Jesus fulfilled is from Zechariah.
Matthew 27:9-10 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced, 10 and gave them for the potter’s field, as the LORD directed me.”
Zechariah 11:13b …And the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—that princely price they set on me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD for the potter.
The division of each scroll of the Old Testament into individual books did not take place until much later, after Matthew and Peter quoted from Zechariah and Jeremiah. At the time the gospel of Matthew was recorded, the writings of Zechariah were included in the larger scroll of Jeremiah.
Jeremiah, being the more important of the two prophets, Matthew simply quoted from the scroll of Jeremiah, where Zechariah’s prophecy was located.
When Matthew was trying to remember where the prophecy was written, he was doing so from memory and mistakenly thought it was from Jeremiah’s writing.
As a pastor and Bible teacher I have often made this same mistake, without realizing my error while I am teaching. I have often stated that a particular verse of scripture is located in a certain book, when in fact the verse came from a different book of the Bible. The text of the verse I am quoting was correct; I simply described the wrong book.
This demonstrates that men are fallible, but the word of God is infallible. The fact that we observe this occurring in the gospels gives us a great reason to believe that the New Testament scriptures are genuine.
If a person was seeking to fabricate a lie and write a story to convince us, he would make sure that the details of his accounts were consistent with known sources. However, if a person was simply trying to recount the verse of scripture that he believed were fulfilled—much as I do when teaching on a Sunday morning before the congregation—he might misquote the wrong book. This tells us that the details written in Matthew 27:9 are a genuine account of what actually took place. This so-called “discrepancy” is not a valid reason to doubt the New Testament. In reality, it is a great reason to believe it.
From this example you can see how someone who is not trained in the Bible might misinterpret what they are reading, not understanding the context or what has actually occurred. Critics of the Bible are quick to make these errors of judgment, without the ability to properly understand what they are reading. The Bible is not unreliable; it is people who are unreliable because they do not understand what they are reading.
2. Questions Regarding The Historical Resurrection of Jesus
TK: 2. Why is it that all 4 of the gospel resurrection accounts are completely different? Doesn’t this indicate errancy that there are no exact similarities?
The manner in which TK framed this question is a tremendous illustration of how people read these questions in various places all over the internet, but don’t realize the question itself is incorrect.
A better way of answering this great question would be: “Precisely how are the four Gospel accounts of the resurrection completely different?
Atheists begin with a negative in their questions, and it is the negative that is incorrect, not the texts they are questioning.
In truth, all of the accounts of Jesus resurrection are telling us the exact same thing: Jesus was crucified, died, laid in a tomb, but seen alive three days later, over a period of 40 days, by over 500 eyewitnesses.
When we have multiple witnesses at the scene of an event, the witnesses will write a recollection of what they remembered. Some will include details that others did not include. These differences in details are not contradictions or discrepancies. All of these descriptions can be true at the same time. The true definition of a contradiction is when two things cannot both be true at the same time. Simply because one writer includes certain details that other do not, does not define these narratives as contradictory, but complimentary.
There is adequate unanimity between these witnesses to demonstrate corroboration, but sufficient variation to eliminate collaboration.
Forensic Analysis Of Testimony
By examination of eyewitness claims, we can use a number of techniques that allow us to test the reliability of these witnesses. We can closely scrutinize the statements of eyewitnesses and look for things that they choose to minimize, and what things they choose to emphasize. We can study the text and see what these witnesses omit altogether. We can tell by the written testimony whether the witnesses are expanding their timeline or have shortened the duration of time in which these events are alleged to have occurred.
These basic tools allow us to determine whether any written testimony, whether ancient or recent, is true or false. When we examine the eyewitness who write their accounts, we can tell who is lying, and who is telling the truth. This allows us to easily conclude whether what we are reading is accurate or manufactured.
When we apply this particular skillset to the four Gospels of Jesus Christ, we find certain stunning and revelatory facts.
When we look at the death of Jesus by crucifixion, outside the four Gospels, we find that there is a substantial secular record that fully validates that Jesus existed, was crucified, and that these events are fixed in the records of both the Romans and the Jews from the exact time period that the four Gospels also place Jesus at Jerusalem.
Although the four gospels are written by four individuals, from their own unique perspectives, these separate testimonies all contain the same eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
When we consider whether or not the purpose of writing the four Gospels was to start a new religion and make people think that Jesus had the power of miracles when He did not, we find stunning evidence that this is not possible.
All successful conspiracy theories involve the fewest number of people as possible so as to remove any possibility that the witness would be caught in a lie. It is much easier for two people to maintain a lie and not get caught than it is with multiple witnesses. When we examine the number of witnesses that are named in the New Testament, we find that more than 20 individuals describe Jesus as performing miracles, claiming to be God, claiming to be Messiah, crucified, risen from the dead, and 500 eyewitnesses saw Jesus alive for a period of 40 days. Not one record exists in the entire history of the world which has ever impeached the certainly of what these witnesses said.
This tremendous number of eyewitnesses becomes an insurmountable problem for those who want us to believe that the testimony about Jesus is not true. In order to believe that 500 separate people are lying or deluded, we would have to believe that a massive and organized group of 500 people were able to write and preserves this false testimony for nearly 2,000 years.There are far too many witnesses to what Jesus said and did, for this many people to all keep their testimony consistent and not be discovered as liars.
We have the twelve Apostles, the many disciples of Jesus, the brothers of Jesus, and Paul, all saying the same things about Jesus. They all consistently tell us that Jesus performed all the expected works of God, they saw Jesus be crucified, and they saw Him risen from the dead, over a period of 40 days before He ascended back to heaven.
The Christian church preserved these records and maintained stewardship over these documents, copying them for hundreds of years and distributing these texts all over the world. Not once in the 2,000 year history of the Christian church has any documents surfaced that proves that what is written about Jesus in the New Testament is not true. It is not possible to maintain a false story for 2,000 years without it being uncovered as untrue.
We also find that the men who wrote these narrative about Jesus, stating that they had seen Him perform miracles, watched Him die on the cross, and saw Him alive after three days, had their homes taken away, lost their jobs, their families were killed, and all of the Apostles died horrible deaths affirming that they had told the truth. All of these men were tortured and died, refusing to recant what they had seen.
The idea that a large group of men got together in the first century and came up with this bizarre story, consistently wrote the same narratives and preserved this narrative for 2,000 years, dying for their lies, does not carry the weight of evidence nor reasonable logic necessary to sustain a conspiracy theory.
Forensic Examination Of The Written Testimony Found In The New Testament
We find in the four Gospels, that the writers of these texts have left us with great evidence that they obviously never realized or intended. Some writers include certain facts, others inadvertently omitted these facts. This differences between the statements of these witnesses is often seen by critics as inconsistencies. These observations are made because these critics are untrained. To those who are experts in determining the validity of written testimony, these differences are empirical evidence of truth. I will show you why this is true in the remaining portion of this article.
We see examples of these differences in written testimony for the New Testament in several places. For the sake of space, I will list only three here in this article. For additional examples, please see my book, “These Things Were Written: An Expositional Treatise Of The Life, Death, and Resurrection Of Jesus.”
Differences In Statements Between Matthew And Luke Concerning Jesus As He Is Before The High Priest
Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Well, aren’t you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?” But Jesus remained silent. Then the high priest said to him, “I demand in the name of the living God—tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” Jesus replied, “You have said it. And in the future you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, “Blasphemy! Why do we need other witnesses? You have all heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?” “Guilty!” they shouted. “He deserves to die!” Then they began to spit in Jesus’ face and beat him with their fists. And some slapped him, jeering, “Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who hit you that time?” ~Matthew 26:62-68 (NLT)
This verse doesn’t make sense upon first examination. When thee men began to beat Jesus in His face with their fists, and slap Him, they ask Jesus “who hit you that time?”
Understanding that they men who struck Jesus in His face are standing right in front of Him, why would they ask “who hit you?” This makes no sense to the reader until we also read Luke’s account of the same event:
They blindfolded him and said, “Prophesy to us! Who hit you that time?” ~Luke 22:64 (NLT)
Matthew left out the detail that Luke includes, that these men had blindfolded Jesus before they began to hit Him in the face, then asked “who hit you?” The reason these men asked this of Jesus was because He had claimed to be a prophet, who is able to know the future. Without Luke’s detail that Jesus was blindfolded, using Matthew alone, none of what is said about Jesus makes any sense.
Without realizing, Matthew forgot to include the important detail that before these men had beat Jesus in His face, they blindfolded Him. Luke was a Greek Physician who is highly trained in recognizing specific details. Luke includes this fact that Jesus was blindfolded before they struck Him in the face and asked “who hit you?” We see this attribute of inclusive details for Luke in His Gospel and in the Book of Acts. Luke is a precise recorder of details and always tells the reader much more about what is taking place than Matthew, Mark, or John.
This omission was clearly unintentional and not realized by Matthew. It becomes a marker for us as the reader that these narratives are telling us the truth. In false written testimony, we do not see these unintentional errors. We find that liars make certain that their details agree so that they will not be exposed as liars.
This type of testimony where one person includes something that other witnesses leave out, is empirical evidence of genuine testimony. The witnesses didn’t realize they had done this, but we observe it 2,000 years later and it becomes a certainty that these men are telling the truth.
Using this type of method to scrutinize and evaluate the words that are written in the four Gospels, there is no question that what we are reading are the actual words that were spoken by Jesus.
How Did They Do It?
How, we might ask, is this possible? How could these men remember the precise words that Jesus said and record them for us? Before Jesus was crucified, He told His disciples that He would bring to their remembrance all things He had said and done while He was with them, so that they could write an accurate account for the world to read.
These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. ~John 14:25-26 (NKJV)
The words written about Jesus in the New Testament are not only the actual words and accurate descriptions of events that took place, the witnesses are validated as telling the truth about what they saw and heard. These methods for evaluating written testimony are used by the FBI today, as well as many other state and federal agencies to prove whether testimony by witnesses is truthful or contrived.
The narratives of Jesus in the New Testament are valid, truthful, historical events that really happened. You can trust that what is written about Jesus came from men who actually saw and heard what they wrote. The New Testament is filled with text where the writers actually say that they saw these things with their own eyes and heard them with their ears. They state specifically that they wrote these things so that you might read and believe that God exists and He came to earth in the person of Jesus the Christ.
The Narratives Describing Jesus Are By Eyewitnesses
One of the criticism’s that I hear repeatedly about the New Testament is that the events described for Jesus were not written by eyewitnesses. This is particularly interesting since the writers themselves state repeatedly that they saw and heard the things they are writing.
Peter Said He Is An Eyewitness
There is an incredible event that is recorded by Matthew in his gospel where Jesus tells His disciples that some of them will not die before they see Jesus in His future kingdom. This did not mean that these men would not die until Jesus returns, but that Jesus is going to give them a future glimpse of what His return will look like while they are still alive. Matthew writes that this took place just six days after Jesus said this.
And I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.” Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus. Peter exclaimed, “Lord, it’s wonderful for us to be here! If you want, I’ll make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But even as he spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.” The disciples were terrified and fell face down on the ground. Then Jesus came over and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” And when they looked up, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus. As they went back down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” ~Matthew 16:28 – 17:9 (NLT)
Later Peter spoke of this event in his second letter, as something that he personally saw as an eyewitness. He stated that he had heard the Father speak from heaven and say that Jesus is His Son, equal to God.
For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. ~2 Peter 1:16-18
Again, reading the testimony of Matthew and comparing it with Luke’s description of the same event, we find that Luke said that this happened about eight days later.
About eight days later Jesus took Peter, John, and James up on a mountain to pray. ~Luke 9:28 (NLT)
To the untrained, this difference of two days looks like an inconsistency that would cause some to imagine that the four Gospels are not reliable. From the perspective of a Forensic Investigator, this difference of two days that differs between Matthew’s description and Luke’s description, is evidence of truthful testimony.
Let me explain why this is true. If it was the intention of a large group of men to write a story about a fictional character who they want us to believe is God, they would not have allowed a two day difference in the timing of this event to remain in the permanent record.
If Matthew and Luke are writing their Gospels independent of each other, not copying from Mark or each other, we would expect to find minor discrepancies like this between their testimony. In forensic investigation, these minor differences are classic evidence of truthful testimony. Notice that a difference of two days does not change the primary point of the story in the least. Both Matthew and Luke state that Jesus took Peter, James, and John up to a mountain and there before their eyes, Jesus’ image was transformed. His face was as bright as the sun, and His clothes as white as light. They both saw Moses and Elijah, and most important, they both heard a voice from heaven that spoke and said that Jesus is the Son of God.
It is interesting that when we see Jesus in His future kingdom, as described by the Book of Revelation, we see Him exactly as Matthew and Luke describe Him in their testimony.
His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were like flames of fire. ~Revelation 1:14 (NLT)
And his face was like the sun in all its brilliance. ~Revelation 1:16 (NLT)
His face shone like the sun, and his feet were like pillars of fire. ~Revelation 10:1 (NLT)
Repeatedly we read in the New Testament that what these men wrote, they did so as eyewitnesses. The testimony of those who were there when Jesus was crucified is that three days later, He was seen alive by over 500 eyewitnesses, over a 40 day period of time.
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.
After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also (Paul), as by one born out of due time. ~1 Corinthians 15:3-8
Paul wrote this testimony that he also had personally seen Jesus alive after He was crucified and risen from the dead. It was Paul who had carried documents of authority from the Jewish leaders at Jerusalem, to towns all over Israel to arrest and condemn Christians to death (Acts 9). Paul wrote that Jesus appeared to Him personally after He had risen from the dead. From that moment, Paul changed from an adversary of Jesus to His chief advocate in proving that He rose from the dead.
Dr. Thomas Arnold, Oxford History professor, concerning the evidence For Jesus Christ:
“I have been used for many years to study the histories of other times, and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them, and I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair inquirer, than the great sign which God hath given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead.”
Former Atheist Leader and Philosopher, Anthony Flew:
“The evidence for the resurrection alone is better than for claimed miracles of all other religions. There leaders are buried and still in their graves. Jesus tomb was found empty!” 
There are nearly 25,000 surviving manuscripts today which declare that Jesus said and did the things written about Him in the New Testament.
With their own words, these men stated that their purpose in writing this narrative was because they wanted to preserve a truthful historical account of what Jesus said and did, so that those who read their words would have an evidentiary basis to believe.
This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true. ~John 21:24
We proclaim to you, Jesus, who existed from eternity, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. …We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard… ~1 John 1:1-3 RCR
The Internal Forensic Evidence From Matthew And Peter, Regarding Judas
One example that proves the narrative of Jesus is genuine is observed in the New Testament by the difference in testimonies between Matthew and Peter’s narrative of Judas’ suicide. Matthew describes Judas as hanging himself on a tree after his betrayal of Jesus. Peter, in Acts chapter 1, describes Judas as falling head first into a field with his intestines spilling out. Some critics of the Bible see these differences in the description of Judas’ death as a discrepancy that casts doubt upon the reliability of the New Testament.
- Matthew says that Judas “hanged himself”.
- Peter says that Judas, “falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out…”
These accounts of Matthew and Peter do not conflict with each other; they are the records of the actual occurrences which took place, as each of these men described different parts of the same event as they remembered them.
Matthew recounts how Judas hanged himself.
Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!” Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself. ~Matthew 27:3-5
Peter describes further details of this event where the rope that was used apparently broke, and Judas fell into the rocks of the field below. This fall ruptured his stomach area, spilling out his intestines onto the ground. This is the reason this field was later called the Field of Blood.
And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty), and said, “Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus; for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry.” (Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out. And it became known to all those dwelling in Jerusalem; so that field is called in their own language, Akel Dama, that is, Field of Blood.) ~Acts 1:15-19
When different people are at the same scene of an incident, they will often remember different details of the same event. It is common for a person who is interviewing eyewitnesses to hear added details that others who were also present did not think of or say. These differences are understood by experts as consistent with true testimony.
As we observe this phenomenon in Matthew and Peter’s descriptions of Judas’ death, we understand that these variations bring great credibility to their testimony as valid and authentic accounts of the same event. There are no discrepancies between these two narratives; there are simply additional details given by Peter, which Matthew did not mention.
There are many places in the narrative of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, which retain slight differences in their descriptions. These are clear evidence of truthful testimony.
When people are at the scene of an incident, they often remember different details of the same event. It is common for a person who is interviewing eyewitnesses to hear added details that others who were present did not think of or say. These differences are understood by experts as consistent with the true events which took place.
As we observe this phenomenon in Matthew and Peter’s descriptions of Judas’ death, we understand that this brings great internal evidence for their testimony as valid and authentic accounts of the same event.
There are no discrepancies between these two narratives; there are simply additional details given by Peter, which Matthew did not mention. If the story was a fabrication, those who wrote the fabrication would be careful to make sure that the accounts of all witnesses were the same, so as to remove any doubts about their authenticity.
3. Questions Regarding The Existence of the Universe and the Bible
TK: 3. What are we to think of the Genesis creation account? It does not seem compatible with modern science. Personally I believe Genesis 1 is the account according to God himself which is completely different and incomprehensible to mankind due to the different realm of reality God is in. Genesis 2 and after is a narrative based story and not based on factual events as I see it. However I have not seen this theory written anywhere else. At what point does Genesis become more factual than narrative based such as with the leading up to the Exodus?
The questions that TK asked about God and the creation of the universe, are foundational to all other questions of human life. If the universe came into existence by a natural and unguided process, then human life is also accidental and of very little purpose.
If, however, the evidence for the universe reveals that it came into existence as the result of an intelligent Being of infinite knowledge and power, then we humans also have a reason for our existence and a purpose for our lives.
Does the Genesis Chapter One account of Creation—specifically state that God created the heavens and the earth in six days?
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
Verse 1, simply states: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The precise time when the original creation of the universe commenced, is not defined by this text—only that God is the source of all creation, in the beginning.
The original Hebrew reveals what God is saying
When we conduct a serious study in the correct usage of the Hebrew language, we find that Genesis Chapter 1 Verse 1 is not written as a collection of verses which describe the original creation of God.
The sentence, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” is an ending to God’s description of the creation of the universe. If it was intended as a part of God’s summary of the entire creation, then the second verse—”The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters”—would have been the beginning of the description of this creation. It is not. Verse 2 is a completely separate and distinct subject.
We see a clear example of this in Genesis Chapter 5:
Genesis 5:1 This is the book of the genealogy of Adam. In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God.
Genesis 5:2 He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created.
Notice that the first verse of Genesis 5, “This is the book of the genealogy of Adam,” is immediately followed by the connecting words: “In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God.” Notice that the second verse does not give us any details of the preceding verse, but is a separate and distinct event: “He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created.”
We do not see this as clearly in the English translation of Genesis 1:1-2 as it is apparent in the original Hebrew translation.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
bə·rê·šîṯ ’ĕ·lō·hîm bā·rā ’êṯ haš·šā·ma·yim wə·’êṯ hā·’ā·reṣ
Hebrew reads from right to left. Starting with the preposition “In,” which is always attached to the feminine noun “beginning.” This tells us that this is the original creation of the heavens and the earth, that is being spoken here as a separate and distinct event from all that follows. Also, it is worth noting that the word “Elohim” is plural, a compound unity of God. This is to say that God is One, but consists of more than one person.
The second verse is clearly intended as a separate and distinct statement about an event which took place at great distance from the original creation.
“The earth was or became without form, and void;
wə·hā·’ā·reṣ hā·yə·ṯāh ṯō·hū wā·ḇō·hū,
The term “without form, and void” is preceded by the Hebrew word ha-ye-ta, which has been translate “was.” There is some evidence that ha-ye-ta could also be correctly translated as “became.”
It is interesting that those who have an agenda to prove that verse 2 of Genesis Chapter 1 is a part of the first verse—always translate hayeta as “was.” While at the same time they translate Genesis 19:26—where Lot’s wife turns back to look at Sodom—they translate hayeta as “became” (a pillar of salt). Both Genesis 1:2 and Genesis 19:6 use the same Hebrew word: hayeta; yet, one is translated “was” and the other, “became.”
This appears to be solely for the sake of convenience in proving that Genesis 1:2 is stating that the earth was in a state of formlessness, rather than something occurred which caused it to become formless and void.
Genesis 1:2 The earth was (hayeta) without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
Genesis 19:26 But his wife looked back behind him, and she became (hayeta) a pillar of salt.
A point certain—since the Hebrew word hayeta may be translated as “became” in the context of Lot’s wife; it can also certainly be translated as “became,” in Genesis 1:2. You will read from some scholars that the Hebrew does not allow for the translation “became formless and void,” but this is simply not true. There are just as many Hebrew scholars who will adamantly declare that the Hebrew demands the translation “became.”
In this examination of the original language, it is not important to choose “was,” or “became.” This is a subject for future discussion. For now, let us examine the second verse of Genesis 1 and use the translation: original language as “was.”
Genesis 1:2 The earth was without form, and void…
It is proposed by some scholars that verse 2, is describing the earth before God prepared it for habitation by Adam. If this theory is true, then beginning at verse 3, God is describing how He made the earth inhabitable for man, not how He created the entire universe in six days.
Therefore, we should not discount the fact that the universe could have been created by God 13.7 billion years ago and the earth was formed just 4.56 billion years ago—when God made the environment suitable for human habitation during the six days described.
This is possible because of what the Bible says, not because of what Theologians say.
The earth was made by the Lord to be inhabited, according to Isaiah Chapter 45:18.
Isaiah 45:18 For thus says the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he has established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else. (UKJV)
The earth was made to be inhabited, but it would take the natural process of time for the earth to develop to a point where it would be inhabitable. Let me explain:
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
We know that this is true from the word of God, as described in Genesis Chapter 1:1. When God spoke the universe into existence, it was not immediately ready for human life. It would take billions of years for the matter that was produced in the big bang, to form stars, galaxies, and planets. In other words, although God made the universe for life so that it could be inhabited by human beings, this life would not be created on earth for some time.
At every micro second of the nearly 14 billion years of the Universe, God was actively involved in ordering the universe. He did not simply”wind it up,” and leave it to run on its own.
The process of time
Very often, God uses–what appears to us here on earth as naturally occurring circumstances, to bring about supernatural events. God chose Abraham and Sarah to become the parents of a son who would bring the Messiah into the world. Sarah was well beyond the normal age of conception, so God performed a miracle; using the natural events of a pregnancy and birth to bring Isaac into the world. The supernatural event was observed in God making it possible for an old man and woman who were physically incapable of conceiving a child—able to conceive. Then God used the natural process of a normal 9 month human gestation period to bring this son into the world, who God had promised to Abraham and Sarah.
When Jesus came to the earth as the Messiah, He did not arrive as a grown man. He came as a baby, who had to learn and grow as any child would, in order to become a fully mature man. God used the normal events of pregnancy, birth, and the development of a child—into a man, in order to bring about the supernatural arrival of God to the earth. This all took time. See Prophecy 138 for additional details.
What science says about the age of the earth
Scientist today describe the earth as formed out of the universe, about 4.56 billion years ago. This process occurred when the earth began to take shape by the compression of gases thrown off by our sun.
The substance of our solar system in which our sun, the earth, and the other planets exist, are made up of material that is at least 4.56 billion years old. The formation of our solar system happened in conjunction with the formation of our sun. As the material of the sun began to spin and flatten into a disk, some of this material was thrown off and later formed the planets of our solar system, including earth. This all took a great amount of time.
It is thought by scientists that the atmosphere of earth developed by volcanic activity which produced the specific gases and water vapor that would later produce a perfect balance of oxygen and other gases, necessary for human beings to breathe. Earth’s massive oceans may have come through collisions with asteroids and comets which carried water to our planet.
The outer crust of the earth was formed over a long process of cooling. At the same time, the sun was going through many changes which caused its luminosity to increase from about 70% early in its formation, to its current 100% luminosity, which produces the precise amount of light and energy required for life to exist on earth. As the interior of earth molten core began to cool, continents began to move by massive tectonic movement. Scientists think that these massive shifts in the continents have occurred at least three times, before our current arrangement of land masses took shape.
All of these events required the process of at least 4.5 billion years to complete. This was the naturally occurring process of time that God built into the universe, our solar system, and the earth, that was required in order to form a planet fit for human habitation.
When Genesis 1:2 states that the earth was without form and void, it was during this long period of time in forming a planet fit for inhabitation, that verse 2 is describing. Although God made the earth to be inhabited by human beings, this would take a very long time to accomplish.
Let me be clear here, in every microsecond of the entire process of preparing the universe for earth much later, God was at work. He did not set the universe into motion and then allow it to evolve into its present state.
Although God rested on the seventh day after the earth was ready and man was created, God has not rested from His active involvement in the universe—earth itself—nor each one of our lives, since these things were created. Jesus said that until the present time, God has been working, and Jesus said the He is also continually working.
John 5:17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”
In one of the early comments that I received from a reader who purchased my book, he unfairly characterized me as believing in “Cosmic Evolution,” I do not.
God originally created the universe and He has been working every since that time to make it suitable for human inhabitation. At every micro-second of time, over the past 13. 7 billion years, God was working to prepare the earth for man.
The evidence, the evidence…
It is preposterous to state that the entire universe was created in six days and that every process necessary for life was completed in this period of time. Primarily because the text of Genesis 1:1 does not state this, and secondly because scientists today are able to measure the age of the universe and conclude with certainty that nearly 14 billions years have passed since the original expansion of the universe began. This passage of time was not evolution—it was God working to prepare the Cosmos for earth, and then in six days God brought the earth into a state of readiness for human life.
Once the earth was at a point in its development when God determined it was ready for inhabitation, He commenced with the six days described, beginning at Genesis 1:3. The Sun already existed, but it was not visible on the earth because of the heavy atmosphere and water which covered the planet. God separated the water from the land, created an atmosphere that allowed the sun to be visible, and then added the various life forms which are described in the creation account of Genesis 3-31.
A verse of contention
One of the verses from the Bible which has been used to make the case that the entire universe was “created” in six days, is found in Exodus 31:17.
Exodus 31:17 It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.’ ”
Notice that there is a different word used here (made) in reference to the six days of creation. Genesis 1:1 describes God as “creating” the heavens and the earth. The English word “create” came from the Hebrew word “bara,” which mean to make from nothing.
The Hebrew word used in Exodus 31:17 for made, is “asa,” which is describing the firmament only, not to create the entire universe from nothing as Genesis 1:1 indicates.
It is clear that Exodus 31:17 is not referring to the original creation of the universe described in Genesis 1:1, but the time afterwards when God caused the firmament surrounding the earth to allow light to be seen on earth. It was then that God utilized the six days of restoration of the earth in Genesis 1:3-31.
Confirmed by the Geologic Record
In evaluating the text of the Book of Genesis Chapter 1, we must keep in mind that there is, at this time in the history of the world, also a geological record as well as an astronomical record of creation. We can reject the “big bang” theory because it makes the beginning of the universe a natural event, whereas the Bible describes it as a supernatural event of God’s creation. The fact is—the universe had a beginning. It is not eternal; and therefore, it must have a cause. Our position as Christians is that God is the cause of the universe. He spoke, and the universe came into being.
In order to intelligently understand the timing for all the events which Genesis describes, we must also examine the geologic and astronomical evidence that science and astronomy have discovered, and examine this evidence in light of the Genesis account.
Scientists say that the universe has a beginning.
The Bible states: Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
Scientists state that approximately 13.7 billion years ago, the universe began suddenly with great precision. Following this sudden expansion of matter, it took the universe billions of years to congeal the gases that were produced in the original moments of the big bang and form into stars, planets, and galaxies. There is no indication in Genesis 1:1 that God immediately made the heavens, which includes stars and planets. There is certainly room for an interpretation that the formation of the stars and planets took time, a very long time.
God always uses naturally occurring events, over the course of time, to accomplish His will.
According to scientists, it took about 100 million years before the first stars began to form. From these stars, gases were thrown off that formed discs and eventually planets. This was also a process that took a very long period of time.
In the beginning (of everything), God created the stars, planets, and galaxies; but the entire formation of all the stars, planets, and galaxies took billions of years. This long process certainly fits the Genesis 1:1 model.
The age of the earth
The earth did not exist at the precise moment that the universe began. It would take more than 9 billion years before our star, and solar system would form, out of the matter that existed from the initial expansion of the universe. We notice that the first, second, and third verses of Genesis chapter 1 are all separated by periods, not commas. In the original Hebrew language in which these three verses were written, they are described as three separate events which are linked to each other in the description of God’s creation of the universe. We find that verse 1 is the original creation of the matter that began suddenly in a massive expansion of gasses. Verse 2 is a description of earth about 9 billion years later, just prior to God forming it for life. Verse 3 is a vivid description of how God separated the land from the water and then created an atmosphere, plants, animals, and finally human life on the earth.
The original creation of the universe from Genesis 1:1, which took place about 13.7 billion years ago, is in perfect harmony with the singularity referred to as the “Big Bang” by Cosmologists.
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
The condition of the earth just prior to God making it suitable for life is seen in Genesis 1:2, about 4.56 billion years ago:
Genesis 1:2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
Finally, in Genesis 1:3-31, in six literal 24-hour days, God brings order to the earth, making it suitable for life.
Genesis 1:3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light..
The following is my personal theory for when God created the universe and then brought the earth into a state where life could be sustained upon it.
The original creation, from the moment of the Big Bang:
• Creation begins: 13.7 billion years ago, Genesis 1:1 “in the beginning…”
• The first stars form: after 100 million years.
• Our sun begins to form: after 9.10 billion years.
• Earth begins to form: after 9.14 billion years.
The formation of our solar system in years, looking back:
• Our sun formed: 4.6 billion years ago.
• Earth is formed: 4.56 billion years ago.
• First life created on earth: 1 billion years ago.
• Dinosaurs first appeared: 230 million years ago, died after 135 million years.
• Forming and/or the Restoration of the earth: 6,000 years ago, the six days of Genesis 1:3-31
Day 1: Genesis 1:3-5, God causes the light that is already in existence by our Sun, to be seen on the surface of the earth (no land yet).
Day 2: Genesis 1:6-8, dividing the thick atmosphere of the earth from the water that covered the earth.
Day 3: Genesis 1:9-13, dividing the seas from the land so that land appears, seeds begins to grow (seeds were already present); grass, herbs, and trees begin to grow.
Day 4: Genesis 1:14-19, the stars, moon, and sun are fully visible on the land of earth (they already existed but were unseen on the surface of the earth).
Day 5: Genesis 1:20-23, creation of fish, birds, and the larger sea creatures. Each created according to their own kind, not evolved.
Day 6: Genesis 1:24-31, creation of land animals, creation of man and woman, dominion over the earth given to man, command to reproduce; all plants, herbs, and trees given to mankind for food.
Day 7: God ends His work of creation on the earth.
A need-to-know basis
We should remember that the Bible is not the complete story of everything that God has done in eternity. The purpose of the scriptures is to inform us of our story. The events that are spoken of in Genesis are for the purpose of revealing what God has done for us, not for any other creation that He has made. We know very little of the creation of the angels—only what God has determined that we should know at this time, and what is necessary for us to understand—regarding our salvation story. We know very little of any other creation that God has made, either on the earth or anywhere else in the universe.
The above timeline fits both the Biblical description of creation, as well as the scientific timeline for creation. There is no compromise made here, or intrinsic need to seek to reconcile science and the Bible. This timeline simply works—as is, because this is obviously what actually took place. It is certain that over the process of time and the accumulation of additional knowledge, science will adjust the time estimated for the origin of the universe, and Biblical scholars will adjust their current long-held tradition of a six-day duration for the creation of the universe. Genesis chapter one describes the earth being brought out of its state of being formless and void during a period of six days that are re-creative, not an original creation.
At the present time, a young earth and young universe is unprovable and insupportable, considering the evidence that is available.
What is certain is that the above theorem is the only reasonable explanation for why the residual radiation of the universe defines it as being almost 14 billion years old—in tandem with the geological and paleontological record of the earth which demands that our planet is billions of years old.
When Christians insist on a six-day timeline for the creation of the universe and date the earth at 6-10,000 years, contrary to the evidence, we make ourselves fools. This is one of the reasons that many intelligent people do not take the Bible seriously or honestly consider the Christian faith as valid.
We claim to base our conviction that Jesus Christ died and rose again on facts, while denying the facts which prove the age of the universe.
Faith based on facts
Contrary to popular belief, our faith in the Bible and Jesus Christ is not based on faith alone. We believe these things because the facts of the Bible support our faith. Why then would we find it difficult to believe the age of the universe is about 14 billion years, when these conclusions are supported by empirical evidence?
The only evidence that has led Theologians to conclude that the universe is about 10,000 years old is a misinterpretation of the text from Genesis chapter one, regarding the creation of the heavens and the earth in six days. The language of the first verse of Genesis does not state that God made the heavens and the earth in just six days; it declares that God created both in the beginning.
We must be honest in this regard. The reason that the Christian church has held tightly to the conviction that the universe is young is because of traditions that were confirmed before Cosmologist had the ability to understand the true age of the universe.
What does the evidence reveal?
What is certain is that the earth is not 6-10,000 years old.
Our planet appears to be billions of years old, because it is. It took a very long duration of time for the naturally occurring events required to form a planet were completed. When the earth was first formed from gases that spun off from our sun, there was no atmosphere, water, or land. It took the process of millions of years for these necessary elements to form on the earth which would allow for life much later.
What The Universe Proves
The current scientific evidence that exists today, proves that the universe could not have begun on its own. There is no evidence anywhere that the processes required to cause the universe to exist, were natural or unguided. Just the opposite is true. Every process that caused the universe to begin, and continue to expand—producing first and second generation stars—required a guided process that included forethought. In other words, for the universe begin and not collapse back upon itself, specific events were required with precise balances between essential physical constants, or we would not have the universe we now live in. Even greater, how these processes would proceed, was required before the universe began. Knowledge was necessary for precisely when gravity and electromagnetism should be required; knowledge was required before the universe began, for how and when hydrogen and helium would be needed, and what the precise balance of these first four elements of creation would have to be.
If it was not known before the universe began, what gravity and electromagnetism must be balanced at; what the correct ratio of hydrogen to helium must be, we would never have had a universe like the one we live in. The scientific evidence that the universe reveals to us, proves that knowledge by a thinking Being, and unlimited engineering prowess was required. No natural or unguided process could ever produce the results that cause our universe to begin.
This part of the essay explores some of these key events and the precise fine-tuned constants that have existed since the inception of the universe. It is important to state at the beginning of this section of the essay, that the fine-tuned physical constants of the universe, prove the existence of a Being with intelligence and technological abilities that are unlimited. Call this Being whatever you like, but He must exist or the universe could not exist. This is what the scientific evidence we possess today, proves.
Building Complex Structure Requires A Plan And Purpose
When anyone endeavors to build a house, he must first draw up a blueprint for how that house will be built. The reason this is done before we begin is that in order to build anything we must first understand the outcome of our actions.
The universe is the most technically sophisticated structure ever built. Before it could exist as it does today, it was necessary that certain processes would take place at specific times. Most of the significant events that were necessary for the universe to continue its expansion, must occur within the very limited domain of Plank Time.
Plank Time is a method of measurement which breaks one second into 10^43 Plank Times, or attoseconds. An attosecond is 1×10−18 of a second (one quintillionth of a second). To put this in perspective, an attosecond is to a second what a second is to about 31.71 billion years. For the layperson, Plank Time breaks seconds into such small measurements of time that all the early events of the Universe can be understood.
To give you an idea of how small an attosecond is, this tiny fraction of a second is equal to 1000 zeptoseconds, or 1⁄1000 of a femtosecond. For those unfamiliar with these cosmological terms, within just one second, many of the fundamental events of the early universe took place.
For example: Gravity and Electromagnetism came into existence at -10^43 of a second, the tiniest fraction of a second, the moment when the universe began. In order for the universe to continue any further, these two fundamental constants had to be precisely calibrated at a tolerance no greater or lesser than 1 part in 10^40.
To give you an idea how small a change of 1 part in 10^40 is: In a universe filled with sand at 75 percent, 10^40 is equal to one grain of sand. This means that when the universe began at its earliest stage of -10^43th of a second, gravity and electromagnetism were set so precisely that any change, plus or minus one grain, the universe would have collapsed back upon itself and ceased to exist.
There are 209 of these physical constants, 49 that were essential to the genesis of the universe. If every one of the physical constants were not set immediately at the precise moment they occured, we would not have the universe that exists today. Imagine a control panel before you with 209 dials, all set precisely where they must be in order for the universe to exist. Change any of these settings even slightly, human life ceases to exist. What is the chance that a purely natural process could have achieved 209 precise settings the first time? The answer is, of course, it could not.
- Scientific Evidence For God: A Fine-Tuned Universe
- How The Physical Laws Of The Universe Prove God
- How God Created The Universe: Science And The Bible In Symmetry
Either we believe this is a fortuitous accident, or we believe that our universe was caused to exist because a Being knew these precise settings before the universe began, and He engineered the universe to conduct itself in this manner.
Which is harder to believe, a person could create a universe, or an accident of Brobdingnagian proportions accidently caused the universe? Today many scientists postulate that there are millions of other advanced civilizations in a universe of this size. Many of these civilizations may be millions of years ahead of us here on earth in their technology. Some scientists have said that these advanced people may have the power of creation to make a person, planet, or even a universe.
Today scientists are discussing the concept of terraforming of a planet, a moon, or other celestial body by modifying the atmosphere, temperature, or surface to make these habitable like Earth. We are a very young civilization. Imagine civilizations a billion years ahead of humans. How hard is it to imagine that a person could create life at some point? It is no great stretch of our imagination to believe that a Being who has always existed, could possess the knowledge to create the universe we observe.
It is very hard to imagine that all that we observe today in the universe, and here on earth, came about by accident. This is especially true in light of current science which allows us to understand that precise processes took place at the tiny fraction of time the universe began, that were not possible by accident.
Things Which Are Precisely Set Within Boundaries, Are Not Accidental
What mechanism in nature would permit such a precise setting of 1 part in 10^40? How could an unthinking natural process choose this exact balance in the tiny moment of Plank time, and get it right the first time? If gravity and electromagnetism were not precisely calibrated at the setting that took place instantaneous with the beginning of the universe, there would be no universe to support human life.
The idea here is that in naturalistic processes there are no “aimed” elements of precision. In order for a precise outcome to be possible, an intelligence that understands the implications and results of precision are necessary.
“That picture would have our collapsing pre-Big-Bang phase somehow ‘aimed’ with incredible precision at such a very special ultimate state, of the same extraordinary degree of specialness that we appear to find in our actual Big Bang.”
This statement of science came from Roger Penrose, a preeminent theoretical physicists who is forever linked with other giants of science such as Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein. By definition, Dr. Penrose wrote that the process that was in place when the universe began by an extreme low state of entropy did not happen by accident, it was caused.
“The probability of finding ourselves in a universe of such a degree of specialness, if it had come about just by chance, has the utterly absurdly tiny value of around 1 in 10 to 10^124, irrespective of inflation. This is the kind of figure that needs some completely different kind of theoretical explanation!”
It was this realization that the universe was directed to a specific outcome that convinced preeminent atheist Dr. Antony Flew to conclude that God must exist. Dr. Flew was the most influential atheistic philosopher of the twentieth century.
“Science spotlights three dimensions of nature that point to God. The first is the fact that nature obeys laws. The second is the dimension of life, of intelligently organized and purpose-driven beings, which arose from matter. The third is the very existence of nature. But it is not science alone that guided me. I have also been helped by a renewed study of the classical philosophical arguments.” ~Antony Flew, “There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind”
In computing the probabilities for such an event, we find that there is no possibility these precise constants could have occurred by accident. If it was not an accident, it was on purpose. If it was on purpose, then a Being with a powerful and unlimited mind must have known what the setting for these physical constants must be and knew this before the universe began.
Consider This Process In The Following terms:
Think of your home with all of its furniture, appliances, walls, lights, carpet, clothes and everything else that is in this building. What is the chance that all of these physical things just happened to come into existence by a random chance?
The universe is significantly more complex than any building on earth. When it began, there were events taking place that were so important that if they were inaccurate in the precise calibration they have for any of the physical constants that exist, the whole universe would collapse upon itself when it began.
What is the chance that gravity and electromagnetism knew ahead of time what they must be set at, and the precise moment they must come into existence? Of course, there is no possibility that these two fundamental constants could have known anything, they are physical, inanimate parts of the universe. How could a purely natural process cause the balance that gravity and electromagnetism are set at? The answer is, of course, there is no possibility any natural process is capable to achieving this.
There are 209 of these physical constants that exist, all precisely set, all essential to produce and maintain our universe. Remember the blueprint. An unlimited mind drafted plans for our universe that detailed precisely these 209 physical constants. Every one of these constants must be set at a precise time, and at a precise setting, or no universe could exist like ours. No unguided natural process could ever produce these results.
If not an accidental event, then it was purposeful. If it was purposeful, and the parameters had to be known before the universe began and carried out at a limited window of time, the only way this could take place is by a Being of unlimited power and intelligence.
The following essay is written to help the non-scientist understand how God created the universe in light of these physical constants that exist to make it possible: How God Created The Universe: Science And The Bible In Symmetry
4. Questions Regarding the Old Testament Law and Christians Today
TK: 4. “What laws of the Pentateuch should Christians follow today? I know Jesus fulfilled the ceremonial laws but what about the moral laws? Should Christians now still follow the practice of stoning and death penalty for most crimes or are they just a basis for laws made on the image of modern society? Should Christians still keep the Sabbath or practice the “everlasting covenant” of circumcision?”
The fact that TK had the perception to ask this question at his age, is truly astounding. I know people who are in their 70’s who don’t ask questions of this magnitude.
When a person reads the Laws of Moses, they sometimes get the idea that God has instituted these rules for the whole world and we are required to follow them today. Many critics of the Bible scorn those who believe in the literal interpretation of the Old Testament, because of these dubious laws. Some people stumble over obscure Old Testament laws because they believe that God intends that we keep them today.
As we study the text of these chapters in the Old Testament, we find that only the Children of Israel were given these laws. God was calling a distinct group of people out of the world to be His very own. He wanted to teach these people about who He is and what He requires. In order for the Children of Israel to belong to the Lord, they would have to live holy and separate lives from everyone else in the world. We discover in the New Testament that when Christ came into the world, He fulfilled and completed all these law—fully satisfying the demands of God’s law.
The Three Parts Of God’s Law To The Israelites:
ONE: The Ceremonial Law was specifically given to Israel for worship (Leviticus). These laws were instituted for the purpose of preparing the Israelites for the time when their Messiah would arrive, and ended with the appearance of Jesus as the Messiah. These law described and regulated the procedure for sacrifices and the requirement that were necessary because of sin. The believer in Christ today, no longer must keep the ceremonial laws of Moses because Christ has fulfilled all of these for us.
TWO: The Civil Law was applicable to the Children of Israel for their daily living (Deuteronomy 24). The body of these laws are the primary source of misunderstanding for many people today. These civil laws were only for the Israelites and are not applicable to the believer in Christ today. While the principles behind these laws still have an enduring benefit for everyone today, their actual strict observance is not required. Many of the principles of these laws are highlighted in the text of the New Testament as proper behavior for those who trust in Christ.
THREE: The Moral Law is illustrated by the Ten Commandments. They are the direct commandments of God, and demand obedience (Exodus 20:13). These laws are applicable for every generation and will never end.
The question for us today is whether God expects us to also keep the Ceremonial and Civil laws described by Leviticus and Deuteronomy. This question came up not long after the Christian church began in the first century. The Jews who observed Gentiles coming to Christ, insisted that they also keep the laws of Moses.
Acts 15:1 While Paul and Barnabas were at Antioch of Syria, some men from Judea arrived and began to teach the believers: “Unless you are circumcised as required by the law of Moses, you cannot be saved.”
Acts 15:5-6 But then some of the believers who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees stood up and insisted, “The Gentile converts must be circumcised and required to follow the law of Moses.” So the apostles and elders met together to resolve this issue.
The question of whether the Christian church was required to keep all the laws of Moses as they believed upon Jesus, was address in the Book of Acts, chapter 15. A determination was made by all the Apostles that under the New Covenant of Salvation that was made possible by Jesus’ death and resurrection, the Laws of Moses were no longer applicable to those who believe in Jesus, with the exception of four:
- Do not eat meat sacrificed to idols.
- Do not commit sexual sin
- Do not eat meat where the blood has not been bled out.
- Do not drink blood.
Acts 15:11-21 We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus… And so my judgment is that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead, we should write and tell them to 1. abstain from eating food offered to idols, 2. from sexual immorality, 3. from eating the meat of strangled animals, and 4. from consuming blood. For these laws of Moses have been preached in Jewish synagogues in every city on every Sabbath for many generations.
These strange Old Testament laws of mixing fabrics, stoning people to death for sins, daughters sold into slavery, and laws regulating menstruation, genital emission, and many others, were only applicable for the Children of Israel, before Messiah arrived. The purpose of these strict laws were to establish the holiness of God in the minds of the people. Anyone who wanted to approach the God of the Hebrews, must also be holy and separate from the practices of the pagan nations that surrounded them.
The purpose of God’s laws for the Children of Israel was intended as an example to the world that those who will know and worship the God of the Bible must be separate from the traditions of this world. This is the basis of the word “Holy.”
Some of the Pharisees accused Jesus of seeking to do away with the Laws of Moses, but Jesus said just the opposite:
Matthew 5:17-20 Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus said that all of the laws of Moses were still in effect, but they are fulfilled by His death and resurrection. Every person who seeks to be redeemed from their sins by the death and resurrection of Jesus, He fulfilled these laws for us. By Jesus’ perfect life in keeping all these Old Testament laws faultlessly, we also fulfill all of these laws. As Jesus’ death takes our sins away, His righteousness imparts perfection to us. Jesus came and lived a perfect life and kept all the Laws of Moses for us, because we are not capable of this perfection ourselves. Everyone who places all their trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins, and receives the salvation He offers the world, is seen by God as also perfectly keeping all the laws of God.
Jesus clarified this issue by saying that not even the “jot or tittle,” the smallest marks on the Hebrew words, will be done away with. Jesus said that anyone who breaks or teaches others to not obey these laws will be held accountable by God. Jesus said that our righteousness must exceed the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees, if we will enter heaven. It is by placing our salvation in the hands of Jesus that we fulfill even the Jot and Tittle of the Law and are fully qualified for heaven.
Righteousness That Exceeds The External
The scribes and Pharisees were the most righteous men in Israel, externally. If you looked at these men, from the outside you saw that they kept even the smallest parts of Moses Law. Jesus said that we must go beyond the external keeping of God’s laws and also keep the heart of the Law. Jesus gave examples of what this means by saying: “you have heard that it was said, ‘a man shall not commit adultery.’ I say to you that if a man even looks at a woman to lust after her, he has committed adultery.”
The perfection that God requires in keeping His law is not just religious, and external, but also internal, by a changed heart. No person can ever achieve this kind of righteousness by trying to keep the laws of Moses. This is why Jesus came to earth and lived a perfect life for us, fulfilling all of the laws of Moses. Then He offered His perfect life for all of our imperfect lives, and made our salvation possible. The Bible says that anyone who trusts in Jesus for their salvation—all their sins are removed and they become perfect in righteousness—keeping all the laws that God requires.
The Purpose Of The Laws Of Moses Were To Teach Us That We Can’t Keep These Laws
James wrote that anyone who attempts at being righteous before God by keeping the laws of God, must keep them all—perfectly. If we are guilty of breaking even one of these laws (lying), we are guilty of breaking them all.
James 2:10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.
God’s standard is perfection and He accepts nothing less. Everyone who seeks to be acceptable to God by trying to keep the law, always fails because none of us are capable of perfection. Everyone who has tried to keep the laws of God has failed. James said if we have failed in just one part of the law, we are guilty of breaking the whole law of God.
God did not lower His standards, He sent His Son to die for us and complete all the laws perfectly. God determined that anyone who places themselves in Christ—receives the same moral perfection that Jesus possessed. When God looks at those who have placed their trust in Jesus, He see them without a single sin—perfect in every way. Jesus righteousness is imputed to us the moment we trust in Him.
The True Purpose Of The Old Testament Law
Later in the New Testament, Paul defined why the Laws of Moses were given; as “examples” to us that we can never be made righteous by trying to keep the Laws of Moses, because no person can fully achieve this. Paul defines the purpose of these law as a “teacher” that would bring us to Christ. We look at the Laws that God required in the Old Testament and see that we will never be able to keep these laws. We can either give up and stop believing in God, or we can continue our search in the New Testament and learn that Jesus perfectly kept all of these laws for us. When we place our trust in Christ, God imputes His righteousness to our account and we also become righteous—keeping every law that God requires.
In Romans 6, Paul asks the question: “since we are saved by grace and not by keeping the law, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?” We cannot use the grace of God as a license to sin, because we have been forgiven by Jesus. Anyone who would continue to sin, while understanding that Jesus died for those sins, does not understand what Jesus endured to make our salvation possible. Once we realize what Jesus has done for us and that our sins are the reason He had to go to the cross, we do not want to sin any more.
In the Book of 1 John, the Apostle describes what we do when we do sin, after we have come to Jesus for our salvation: “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Everyone who is saved by Jesus still struggles with sin as long as we are alive in our earthly bodies. There will aways be a struggle between doing right and sin. When we make a mistake, God will forgive us, if we are sincere and come to Him with the desire to be forgiven and not sin again.
This process is repeated over and over again throughout the entire life of those who come to Jesus for salvation. Christians are not perfect, but they have a perfect Savior who forgives them every time they ask, and He keeps them in fellowship with God. Only when we die and our spirit leaves our body for heaven, will we finally be free of sin forever.
For a complete understanding of how God saves by grace and uses the laws of the Old Testament to lead us to Christ, see the books of Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews.
1 Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition.
Galatians 3:11-13 So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” This way of faith is very different from the way of law, which says, “It is through obeying the law that a person has life.” But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”
Galatians 3:23-25 Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed. Let me put it another way. The law was our teacher until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian.
Hebrews 10:1 The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves.
Ephesians 2:8-9 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
If the reader will pay attention to the context of each chapter of the Books of Leviticus, and Deuteronomy, they will consistently notice who these texts are addressed to: “The Children of Israel.”
Leviticus 1:1-2 Now the Lord called to Moses, and spoke to him from the tabernacle of meeting, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them:
Deuteronomy 1:1-3 These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel …Moses spoke to the children of Israel according to all that the Lord had given him as commandments to them...
Deuteronomy 4:44-45 Now this is the law which Moses set before the children of Israel. These are the testimonies, the statutes, and the judgments which Moses spoke to the children of Israel after they came out of Egypt...
These are the laws that God gave to the Children of Israel. He did not give all of these laws to the whole world. Why was God giving strict and difficult laws to the Children of Israel? The Lord tells us why these laws were instituted:
God Was Setting Apart A Holy People For Himself
Exodus 19:6 And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation. This is the message you must give to the people of Israel.
Deuteronomy 4:20 But the Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be His people, an inheritance, as you are this day.
Deuteronomy 6:1 Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which the Lord your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess…
The Children of Israel had been slaves in the land of Egypt. As a result, many of the Hebrews had seen the pagan practices of the Egyptians and how they worshipped thousands of gods and participated in gross religious rituals. Later in the New Testament we learn that the gods of these pagan nations, were not really gods, but demons masquerading as gods, leading people into lies, perversion, and destruction.
1 Corinthians 10:20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God.
God Was Bringing The Children Of Israel Into A Land Occupied By Evil People
When God led the Children of Israel out of Egypt, He was bringing them into the land that had been occupied by many pagan nations who worshipped demon gods, killed their children as acts of worship to these gods, and practiced sexual perversion and participated in many vile and horrible practices.
Deuteronomy 4:1 “Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to observe, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers is giving you.
Deuteronomy 7:1-4 When the Lord your God brings you into the land which you go to possess, and has cast out many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than you, and when the Lord your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them. Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son. For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods; so the anger of the Lord will be aroused against you and destroy you suddenly.
Deuteronomy 12:29-31 When the Lord your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.
The Canaanites, Amalekites, and other pagan nations, worshipped the gods of Baal and Molech. These vicious gods demanded the sacrifice of babies upon the altar of the fiery hot arms of their god. These nations practiced sexual perversion and used their bodies as instruments of evil.
God Told The Israelites, “Do Not Imitate The Pagan Nations Around You”
Because of Egypt and their gods, and the practices of the Canaanites, and Amalekites, the Children of Israel were well acquainted with pagan worship. God, wanting to establish a new and holy people for Himself, enacted strict rules for of conduct for His people so that they could worship God properly and as He deserves. We must remember that the God of the Bible said that He is the One True God, and all others are really demons acting as gods to gain the worship of human beings. The God who created the universe, earth, and human life, deserves exclusive and perfect worship, because He is perfect and Holy. It is natural that God is angry when people worship demons and things He created instead of Him who made all these things.
Deuteronomy 14:1-3 You are the children of the Lord your God; you shall not cut yourselves nor shave the front of your head for the dead. For you are a holy people to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
Because God had led the Children of Israel out of slavery and pagan worship in Egypt, He didn’t want His people to get enslaved again to these new pagan gods. For this reason, God instituted strict laws for His people to discipline their worship and prepare their hearts and mind for the coming of their Messiah.
God was setting apart a holy and special people for Himself that would be the line of descendants from where the Messiah would be born. He wanted these people to be holy and separate from the pagan world, as examples of the beauty and perfection of our true life that would begin after our earthly life is finished.
Laws Of Separation: Mixing Crops, Animals, Clothing
“You must not plant any other crop between the rows of your vineyard. If you do, you are forbidden to use either the grapes from the vineyard or the other crop. “You must not plow with an ox and a donkey harnessed together. “You must not wear clothing made of wool and linen woven together. “You must put four tassels on the hem of the cloak with which you cover yourself—on the front, back, and sides. ~Deuteronomy 22:9-12 (NLT)
These laws from Deuteronomy 22:9-11, are known as laws regarding the principle of separation. God was calling a people from out of the world to be His own. God created the world and nature with an order. This same order exists between men and women, and how we live our lives. Order helps us avoid confusion and distinguishes the roles of men and women as different, although both are equal before God and loved the same. This order and distinct differences between the two sexes, allows people to know how to conduct themselves in life and honor God with their bodies by how they live.
Although these laws from Deuteronomy 11 may not apply to us today, they are still useful in understanding God’s order in nature and usefulness in their application.
The laws regarding the mixing of crops, fabrics, and animals, were instituted for the Hebrew people because of the pagan nations that surrounded them. It was the practice of these pagan people to mix their crops together as a part of their fertility rites in worship of their gods. Mixing of fabrics was similarly a religious practice by these pagan nations as a part of their worship system to their gods.
The God of Israel did not want His people to imitate these nations because to do so would eventually cause them to be like them and abandon the One True God. Imitation is a short step away from adaptation. Once we begin to act like people who don’t know God, it will not be long before we abandon God ourselves.
Regarding the mixing of animals that plow fields, this is a practical law that distinguishes between the temperaments of an ox and a donkey. These two animals are completely different from each other in how they think and act. Mixing these two different animals with conflicting personalities would cause trouble for the farmer as he tried to plow his fields. The God of the Bible is very practical and He knows that mixing animals of different personalities will cause problems for the farmer.
The Jews were God’s people now and He wanted better things for them than the pagan nations had chosen for themselves. If they chose to honor God and listen to Him, they would also be honored by God as He would bless them above all the nations of the earth. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:31, that whether we eat or drink, or in whatever we do, we should do it all for the glory (honor) of God.
“Remember You Were Slaves”
Deuteronomy 15:12-15 (NLT) If a fellow Hebrew sells himself or herself to be your servant and serves you for six years, in the seventh year you must set that servant free. “When you release a male servant, do not send him away empty-handed. Give him a generous farewell gift from your flock, your threshing floor, and your winepress. Share with him some of the bounty with which the Lord your God has blessed you. Remember that you were once slaves in the land of Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you! That is why I am giving you this command.
It was because the Hebrew people were slaves in Egypt that God wanted to ensure that they did not also enslave each other in the new land they were coming into. We notice that Moses instructs the people on how they are to treat a fellow Hebrew who “sell themselves” to be a servant of another Hebrew because of their debt or poverty. These servants were not treated in the same way that the Egyptians treated the Hebrews, as property, but instead as members of their family. The term of their service was only seven years. After seven years, every servant was to be released and they owed no further debt.
In many of these cases, the servants did not want to leave their master’s home because they were treated so well. In these cases the master would bring the servant to the front of the house, place the earlobe upon the wooden post of the house and pierce it through with an awl. A ring would be placed in the ear, signifying that this was now a willing servant who served their master because of love, as a “doulos.” This later became an illustration in the New Testament of those who place their complete trust in Jesus for their salvation. Because of their love for Jesus, they make themselves willing servants who love their Master and serve Him forever. They choose to remain in the Lord’s house because they love Him, and He loves them.
Are There Two Different Gods In The Bible?
In both the Old and New Testaments, we see a very harsh, speedy, and distinct judgement of God for certain people who violated the laws of God.
Some people see an angry and vindictive God in the Old Testament, in contrast to a kind, loving, and graceful God in the New Testament. What many seldom understand is that the Old Testament allows us to see one aspect of God; His Holiness, perfection, and hatred of sin because of what it does to human life. In the New Testament we see the equal side of God: His love, grace, mercy, and kindness in sending His Son to die for the sins of the world. There are not two different Gods in the Bible, but One God who shows us both parts of His Nature by both the Old and New Testament scriptures: Holy, and Just as well as, Loving, Merciful, and Full of Grace.
The people who interacted with God in the Old Testament are presented with a Being God who has no tolerance for sin and demands perfection. When God created the universe and place human beings upon earth, everything was perfect. Sin did not exist, there was no evil, sickness, suffering or death. It was only when satan sinned, and Adam sinned against God that sin entered the world.
Where Evil Originated
Some people blame God for the evil and suffering that is present in the world, but fail to assign blame where it is due. God did not sin when He created us like Himself—with the privilege of self determination. He gave us the most precious and beautiful gift imaginable; the privilege of choosing how we want to live.
I have two sons who are living their own lives. Although I want them to live for Jesus and love Him because I understand that this kind of life will ensure them a beautiful and meaningful existence, I cannot make them live for Jesus. It’s not that I have no power to change the way they are living, I certainly do. I can try to force them to live right, but would this really work? People do not respond to force—they do respond to kindness and love.
Romans 2:4 Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Can you see that it is his kindness that is intended to turn you from your sin?
We must each choose to love people and God, because we want to, not because God or anyone else forces us. You will not find any place in the New Testament where Jesus ever tried to force a person to do what is right. He told them the truth and then let the individual make up their own mind.
When we do what is right for God or another person, this shows that we truly love them. Only by each one of us having an opportunity to choose whether we will love God and obey Him—can we, and God—know if we really do love Him. Obedience is always the most visible evidence of true love.
All the sin, suffering, and death that is in the world today, is because of sin—not because God created sin, or permits it to exist. The entire purpose of Jesus’ coming to earth and dying on the cross, was to end evil, suffering and death. From the time of Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead, He possessed victory over this world. He did not end the present world of evil and sin at that time, because He wanted to give all of us time to decide which side of salvation we are on; with Jesus, or against Him.
God Does Not Approve Or Condone Sin—He Gives Grace
Since the cross, God has withheld final judgement in order to give the world time to decide whether they want to be a part of God’s perfect world that He has promised, or to be excluded.
Not long from now, Jesus will come to earth a second time, for judgement. When Jesus comes again, He will judge all evil and sin, end it, and establish His righteous kingdom on the earth for 1,000 years. At that time no one will hurt or kill anyone ever again. All sickness, suffering and death will end. Everyone who wants to live in this perfect new world, will be allowed to enter and will never see suffering or evil again.
5. Questions Regarding the Christian Church
TK: 5. “Why are there so many different church denominations? This indicates that there is a high degree of errancy with so many differentiating beliefs. How can we know which ones actually preach truth?”
Jesus did not come to earth to found a religion. The different denomination and religions of the world are creations of man. Jesus said that He would build “His church.” Every person who believes in Jesus and trusts Him as their Savior, is a member of His church.
The rules of conduct for Jesus’ church are found in His words, and the instructions presented to us in the New Testament.
We are not saved by a church; we are not kept by the church; we are not bound by the traditions and practices of a church. We are member of Jesus one church that is made up of everyone who loves and believes in Him.
All of the doctrines and principles of life for the Christian, come from the Bible and the teachings of Jesus. We don’t rely upon the opinions and commentaries of men or women, we trust in the texts of the Bible. Commentaries help us understand, but they are not a basis for building doctrine or the practices of the Christian faith.
The Bible is the final authority, not the opinions of people.
6. Questions Regarding Our Response and Treatment of Non-Believers
TK:6. “How should we love non-believers and the wicked? How should the unrepentant wicked or enemies of God be treated by Christians? David says in Psalm 139 that he hates those who hate God and counts them among his enemies. Is this the correct way of acting? I know some non-believers do not believe out of ignorance but there are genuinely some who despise God.”
Jesus said that we are to love our enemies and do good to them. We are to love other believers more than people in the world, and show favor to others who also love Jesus. Our response to the unsaved and evil persons in the world is to love them the way that Jesus loved evil and corrupt people that existed when He came to earth.
We pray for people who don’t know the Lord, and live a life ourselves that is like Jesus lived His life. It is by our example of love and grace towards people who don’t know Jesus, that we are able to lead them to Him.
I became a believer in Jesus when I was 19 years old. I tried to lead my parents to the Lord, but was unsuccessful for nearly 35 years. It was not until the last year of my parents lives that they came to me and told me that they had seen my love for Jesus and how He had blessed my life. They told me that they wanted what I had, and they both received Jesus as their Savior in the final year of their life.
It was by living for Jesus myself, consistently for so long, that I was able to bring my parents to the Lord. It was not by what I said as much as how I lived, that made a difference in the lives of people I have brought to Jesus.
Great Questions, TK. May the Lord continue to bless you as you study His word and come to know Him better each day.
 William M. Ramsay, St. Paul the Traveler and the Roman Citizen, 1982, page 8: “I began with a mind unfavorable to (the accuracy of the New Testament) but more recently I found myself brought into contact with the Book of Acts as an authority for the topography, antiquities, and society of Asia Minor. It was gradually borne upon me that in various details the narrative showed marvelous truth.”
 William M. Ramsay, The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament, 1915, page 222: “Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy…this author should be placed along with the very greatest historians.”
 Thomas Arnold, Christian Life, Its Hopes, Its Fears, and Its Close, 6th ed. (London: T. Fellowes, 1859), pp. 15-16
 Gary Habermas, “My Pilgrimage from Atheism to Theism: An Exclusive Interview with Former British Atheist Professor Antony Flew.” Available from the Web site of Biola University at http://www.biola.edu/antonyflew
 Physicists have described the universe as a masterful machine. Some scientists and mechanical engineers describe the universe as “indistinguishable from a quantum computer.”
1.First described as a machine by Johannes de Sacrobosco in “The Universe as a Machine,” (De Spehra Mundi), 1230 A.D.
2.Described by Isaac Newton in his laws of motion with the laws of universal gravitation.
3.Gottfried Leibniz: “The Notion of the World’s being a great Machine, going on without the Interposition of God, as a Clock continues to go without the Assistance of a Clockmaker; is the Notion of Materialism and Fate, and tends, (under pretense of making God a Supra-mundane Intelligence,) to exclude Providence and God’s Government in reality out of the World.”
4.Dennis Richard Danielson, The Book of the Cosmos: Imagining the Universe from Heraclitus to Hawking, Basic Books, 2001 (p. 246).
5.”The universe is a physical system.…In fact, the universe is indistinguishable from a quantum computer.” Lloyd, Seth (2006-03-14). Programming the Universe: A Quantum Computer Scientist Takes on the Cosmos (p. 54). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
 1. Based on observations from the Hubble Space Telescope, there are between 125 and 250 billion galaxies in the observable universe. It is estimated that at least ten percent of all Sun-like stars have a system of planets,] i.e. there are 6.25×10^18 stars with planets orbiting them in the observable universe. Even if it is assumed that only one out of a billion of these stars has planets supporting life, there would be some 6.25 billion life-supporting planetary systems in the observable universe.
2. Temming, M. (18 July 2014). “How many galaxies are there in the universe?”. Sky & Telescope. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
2. Marcy, G.; Butler, R.; Fischer, D.; et al. (2005). “Observed Properties of Exoplanets: Masses, Orbits and Metallicities”. Progress of Theoretical Physics Supplement. 158: 24–42. arXiv:astro-ph/0505003. Bibcode:2005PThPS.158…24M. doi:10.1143/PTPS.158.24. Archived from the original on 2 October 2008.
3. Swift, Jonathan J.; Johnson, John Asher; Morton, Timothy D.; Crepp, Justin R.; Montet, Benjamin T.; et al. (January 2013). “Characterizing the Cool KOIs. IV. Kepler-32 as a Prototype for the Formation of Compact Planetary Systems throughout the Galaxy”. The Astrophysical Journal. 764 (1). 105. arXiv:1301.0023. Bibcode:2013ApJ…764..105S. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/764/1/105.
 Penrose, Roger (2011-09-06). Cycles of Time: An Extraordinary New View of the Universe (p. 77). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. page 143.
 ibid, page 127
Categories: Doing good for enemies, Forgiving People, Going to Church but unsaved, Leading People to Jesus, Living For Jesus, No Compromise, Reasons For Unbelief, Robert Clifton Robinson, Studying the Word of God, To Love Jesus