Evidence for the Authority of the Bible

Come now, let us reason together,’ says the Lord.”

-          Isaiah 1:18

“Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.” 

-          Psalm 51:6

“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

-          John 8:31-32

“I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life.”

-          John 14:6

 “By their fruit you will recognize them.  Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?  Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.”

-          Matthew 7:16-18

This section of the site provides evidence from outside the Bible which confirms the authority of the Bible (and also the truth of Christianity.)

By way of introduction to this subject, it should be noted that all systems of belief require some amount of faith.  (In other words, all systems of belief extend beyond that which can be proven by purely intellectual evidence.)   Even naturalistic systems of belief exclude the supernatural by precept, rather than by provable scientific evidence.  (It should be noted here that science can only prove beyond a reasonable doubt those things that can be verified by repeatable experiments.  Everything else, including both the Creationist and Evolutionist explanations of man’s origins, is in the realm of scientific theory, and there may or may not be good evidence to support a particular theory.)

As will be explained in more detail later in this section, I believe that an overwhelming preponderance of the  scientific and logical evidence points rather toward the conclusion that a theistic God (a personal God, who created the universe but is not part of the universe) exists.  So the real question is not whether we will have faith, but what (or Who) we will have faith in.

However, God does not require blind faith.  He claims to be the truth, and He invites us to seek the truth, to reason with Him, and to distinguish between true and false prophets by observing the real-world effects of putting their precepts into practice.  Therefore, we can legitimately claim to believe what is unseen on the basis of what is seen.  In that sense, Christianity is a reasonable faith.

Even though John 14:6, in which Jesus says “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life,” is familiar to many Christians, I think we often miss the full significance of this verse.  If Jesus’s claim in John 14:6 is true, it means not only that Jesus is God, but also that, if we sincerely and persistently seek the truth in any field of endeavor, we will eventually find God.

And, for the reasons explained in more detail in the rest of this section, I believe that is in fact the case.  Just as it used to be said in the days of the Roman Empire that “all roads lead to Rome,” my study of the non-Biblical evidence for the authority of the Bible has led me to the conclusion that, if we sincerely and persistently seek the truth in any field of endeavor, we will eventually find God.   Furthermore, I believe there is such an abundance of evidence for the existence of a theistic God[1] (from both within and outside the Bible) that it actually takes more faith to be an atheist or agnostic than to be a believer.

The best one-volume summary of the non-Biblical evidence for the authority of the Bible that I have found so far is the book I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek.  I would encourage anyone who is interested in pursuing these topics further to purchase that book.[2]  Given the breadth and complexity of this topic (which does require at least one book to explain fully), only summary information can be presented on this site.

 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist summarizes the evidence for the authority of the Bible (and the truth of Christianity) in “12 points that show Christianity is true.”  These 12 points are shown in the chart below, along with a list of the intellectual disciplines that provide supporting evidence for each point.

Some more detailed information on each of the “12 points”  is presented below.  Finally, this section of the site concludes with a “13th point” entitled “So Christianity is True:  So What?” that examines the implications of this evidence for our individual relationships with God, and explains how to become a Christian.

1.  Truth About Reality Is Knowable

Although many people in today’s society deny that there is any such thing as absolute truth, there is actually a fundamental logical contradiction right at the beginning of all relativistic systems of thought, which can be summarized as follows:  How can you be absolutely sure there is no such thing as absolute truth?

2.  The Opposite of True is False

This point is based on one of the most fundamental principles of any logical inquiry, known as the Law of Noncontradiction.  The Law of Noncontradiction states that contradictory claims cannot both be true at the same time and in the same sense.  A medieval philosopher named Avicenna once said that anyone who denies the Law of Noncontradiction should be beaten and burned until he admits that being beaten is not the same as not being beaten, and being burned is not the same as not being burned!

3.  It Is True That The Theistic God Exists

There are at least three major scientific or logical arguments for the existence of a theistic God.[3]   These are the Cosmological Argument (the argument from the beginning of the universe), the Teleological Argument or Argument from Design, and the Moral Argument.  These three arguments draw on evidence from at least five academic disciplines (astronomy, biology, chemistry, physics, and logic.)  Although all systems of belief require some amount of faith (i.e, some extrapolation beyond what can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt), I believe that when these three arguments are considered together there is a strong preponderance of scientific and logical evidence for the existence of a personal, creator God.  Some additional information on each of these three arguments is presented below.

            3A.  Cosmological Argument

The Cosmological Argument (or argument from the beginning of the universe) for the existence of a theistic God can be summarized as follows:  a) Everything that had a beginning had a cause, b) The universe had a beginning, and c) Therefore, the universe had a cause.  There is strong scientific evidence to support the view that Genesis 1:1 (“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”) and the Big Bang Theory describe the same physical phenomena. 

Some of this evidence can be seen in Einstein’s famous equation, E=mc2, which describes the relationship between energy and mass.  This equation can also be written m = E/c2.  c in this equation is the speed of light in a vacuum, which is approximately 300 million meters per second (or 3 x 108 meters per second.)  So c2 is 9 x 1016 meters per second, which is an enormous number (90,000 trillion meters per second.)  Viewed from the perspective of destruction (which unfortunately is often the first view humanity takes of these things), this is the equation that tells you how powerful an atomic bomb can be.  If only a small quantity of atomic mass is transformed into energy (which is what happens in an atomic fission reaction), enough energy to level a city can be released.

Viewed from the perspective of creation, this same equation tells you that a very large quantity of energy is required to bring a very small amount of mass into being.  And therefore, to bring into being the extremely massive universe that we all know exists all around us, an infinite supply of energy is required.  And if we strip away all of the theology, and just describe God from the point of view of a physics textbook, describing God as an infinite source of energy is actually not a bad description at all.

The scientific evidence for God’s presence at the beginning of the universe becomes even clearer when we also consider the First Law of Thermodynamics.  The First Law of Thermodynamics (also known as the law of conservation of energy) states that the total energy of an isolated system is constant; energy can be transformed from one form to another, but cannot be created or destroyed.   So one of the implications of the First Law of Thermodynamics is clearly that the normal, routine, purely materialistic processes of science cannot fully explain the origin of the universe. 

I do not profess to be an expert on all the details of physics, but regardless of how finely you divide the sub-atomic particles, there still has to be a moment when you somehow get a lot of mass and/or energy from nothing (which I refer to as the “zero moment.”)  And by science’s own definition in the First Law of Thermodynamics (or by science’s own admission), science alone cannot explain the “zero moment.”

And when we put these general laws together with the specific scientific theory of the Big Bang (which essentially states that the universe suddenly exploded into being, at some time and place in the remote past), it becomes clear that Genesis 1:1 (“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”) and the Big Bang theory are describing the same physical phenomenon.

But you do not have to take my word for this!  Here’s a quote from Robert Jastrow, the founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies:  “astronomical evidence leads to a Biblical view of the origin of the world…the essential element in the astronomical and Biblical accounts of Genesis is the same.”[4]

Additional evidence for the Cosmological Argument is also presented in I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist.

             3B.  Argument from Design (or Teleological Argument)

The Argument from Design (or Teleological Argument) for the existence of a theistic God can be summarized as follows:  a) Every design had a designer, b) The universe has a highly complex design, and c) Therefore, the universe had a Designer.  Two important lines of evidence for the Argument from Design are the anthropic principle and the theory of irreducible complexity. 

The anthropic principle says that there are many physical conditions throughout the universe, and environmental conditions on Earth, that appear to have been fine-tuned to support human life on Earth, and would be incompatible with human life if they were slightly different.   Some good examples of this principle are presented in in I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist.

The theory of irreducible complexity essentially says that as the sciences of microbiology and biochemistry have advanced, we are discovering increasingly complex and interdependent systems within the human body, on a microscopic level, that would be very difficult or impossible to randomly evolve over time.   Although there is good summary information on the theory of irreducible complexity in I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist,  Michael Behe’s book Darwin’s Black Box:  The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution provides more detailed scientific evidence for those who want to pursue this topic further. 

And these are only two of the several lines of scientific evidence for the Argument from Design.

               3C.  Moral Argument

The Moral Argument for the existence of a theistic God can be summarized as follows:  a) Every law has a law giver, b) There is a Moral Law, and c) Therefore, there is a Moral Law Giver. Some of the evidence for the existence of a universal Moral Law is discussed in the First Principles section of this site (in the subsection on The Authority of the Bible as a guide to the Natural Law.)   There are also very good discussions of the Moral Argument in I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist  and in C.S. Lewis’s book Mere Christianity.   

To quote briefly from chapter 2 of Mere Christianity“Supposing you hear a cry for help from a man who is in danger.  You will probably feel two desires-one a desire to give help (due to the herd instinct), the other a desire to keep out of danger (due to the instinct for self-preservation.) 

But you will find inside you, in addition to these two impulses, a third thing which tells you that you ought to follow the impulse to help, and suppress the impulse to run away.  Now this thing that judges between the two instincts, that decides which should be encouraged, cannot itself be either of them.  You might as well say that the sheet of music which tells you, at a given moment, to play one note on the piano and not another, is itself one of the notes on the keyboard.  The Moral Law tells us the tune we have to play; our instincts are merely the keys.

Another way of seeing that the Moral Law is not simply one of our instincts is this.  If two instincts are in conflict, and there is nothing in a creature’s mind except those two instincts, obviously the stronger of the two must win.  But at those moments when we are most conscious of the Moral Law, it usually seems to be telling us to side with the weaker of the two impulses.  You probably want to be safe much more than you want to help the man who is drowning, but the Moral Law tells you to help him all the same.”   

4.  If God Exists, Then Miracles Are Possible

As noted earlier, a theistic God is a personal God who created the universe, but is separate from the universe.  If such a God exists, then almost by definition miracles must be possible.  Miracles are supernatural events, or events with causes outside the realm of the natural or material universe.  A naturalistic worldview is a “closed box,” in which only events with natural causes are possible.  A worldview that includes a theistic God is an “open box” in which both natural and supernatural events are possible (although the supernatural events are rare by comparison with the natural ones.)

5.  Miracles Can Be Used To Confirm A Message From God

Ancient kings used seals to confirm the authenticity of their messages.  In a similar way, one of the best “seals,” or confirmations of authenticity, for a message from God would be an event that only God Himself could do (i.e., a supernatural event, or a miracle.)  The idea that a message from God would be confirmed by miracles is also consistent with one of the other imperatives of God’s communication with us:  since what God wants most is for us to love Him (Matt. 22:36-40), and love requires free moral choice, He cannot simply overpower our natural senses and thoughts.  As C.S. Lewis put it in his book The Screwtape Letters (in which he tried to imagine a demon’s perspective):

“You must have wondered why the Enemy [God] does not make more use of His power to be sensibly present to human souls in any degree He chooses and at any moment.  But you now see that the Irresistible and the Indisputable are the two weapons which the very nature of his scheme forbids Him to use.  Merely to over-ride a human will (as His felt presence in any but the faintest and most mitigated degree would certainly do) would be for Him useless.  He cannot ravish.  He can only woo.”  

6.  The New Testament Is Historically Reliable.  This is evidenced by:

    1. Early testimony
    2. Eyewitness testimony
    3. Uninvented (authentic) testimony
    4. Eyewitnesses who were not deceived

Historical evidence strongly suggests that many of the books of the New Testament were written within about 30-40 years after Jesus’s death.  This is one of the reasons why their claim to be eyewitness accounts is credible.  Many of the books of the New Testament (particularly the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts) also contain historical details whose accuracy can be verified from sources outside the Bible.  The New Testament writers also challenged their readers or listeners (including important public officials) to verify the facts for themselves.  The New Testament writers also included facts about themselves that were embarrassing and religious teachings that are demanding, both of which are less likely to appear in fictionalized or legendary accounts.  Finally, sources outside the Bible confirm that many early Christians were willing to die for their faith, and that Christianity spread rapidly throughout the ancient world despite persecution from many of the governing authorities (neither of which would have been likely to occur if the New Testament writings were somehow inaccurate or deceptive.)

7.  The New Testament Says Jesus Claimed To Be God

Jesus’s most famous direct claims to be God are in John 8:58, where he said, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!” and in John 10:30, where he said “I and the Father are one.”  His Jewish audience clearly understood both of these claims as claims of divinity, because they picked up stones to stone him (John 8:59, John 10:31-33).  Jesus’s claim in John 8:58 is also a clear reference to Exodus 3:13-14, where Moses asks the name of God, and God replies “I AM Who I AM.  This is what you are to say to the Israelites:  ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

Jesus also acted as God on many occasions and in many ways, including performing miracles, proclaiming that people’s sins were forgiven, and accepting worship  (see, for example, Mark 2:1-12, John 9:1-41 [especially 9:38], and Matthew 28:16-20.)

These claims and actions of Jesus leave only three possibilities open:  either Jesus was a liar or a lunatic (which is what we would think of an ordinary man who said these things), or he is the Lord he claimed to be.[5] 

8.  Jesus’ Claim To Be God Was Miraculously Confirmed By:

  1.  His fulfillment of many prophecies about himself
  2. His sinless life and miraculous deeds
  3. His prediction and accomplishment of his resurrection

There are at least three types of miraculous confirmation of Jesus’ claim to be God.  The first is the many prophecies about Jesus that were fulfilled during His life on earth.  In combination, these prophecies create a very unique place in history for the Messiah, because all of these prophecies must be true about a particular person in order for that person to be the Messiah.[6]  For example, according to the Old Testament the Messiah must be a descendant of Abraham (Genesis 12:7), a descendant of Judah (Genesis 49:10), and a descendant of David (Jeremiah 23:5-6), who was born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).  He also will not have a powerful earthly kingdom (see, for example, Isaiah 42:1-3 and 52:13-53:12), yet He will be known as “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6) and as “The Lord Our Righteousness” (Jeremiah 23:6).  Daniel 9:25-26 predicts the death of the Messiah in approximately A.D. 33,[7] and the subsequent destruction of Jerusalem (which occurred in A.D. 70.)   Psalm 22:12-18 describes the death of the Messiah in detail, including the piercing of his hands and feet and the fact that his executioners would gamble for his clothing.

The second type of miraculous confirmation for Jesus’ claim to be God is the many miracles that He himself performed during His life on earth.  There are many miracles reported throughout the four Gospels (the New Testament books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), which are the main accounts of Jesus’ life on earth.  For example, Matthew chapters 8-9 alone include ten miracles, nine of which are healings and one which involved calming a storm.  These miracles demonstrate Jesus’ authority over the natural world (which can only have come from a supernatural source), and therefore confirm His authority to teach the things He taught.

But the most important miracle of Jesus’ life on earth, and the one that is foundational to the entire Christian faith, was His prediction and accomplishment of His resurrection.  In John 2:18-19, the people asked Jesus “What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” and Jesus answered “Destroy this temple [referring to His earthly body] and I will raise it in three days.”  And despite the best efforts of skeptics to disprove it over the past twenty centuries, Jesus’ death and resurrection remain among the best-attested events of ancient history.  A complete discussion of all of the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus is beyond the scope of this site, but it is summarized in chapter 12 of I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, and is discussed in more detail in many books, including Gary Habermas’s The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus and Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ.

9.   Therefore, Jesus is God

10.  Whatever Jesus (Who is God) teaches is true.

These are logical points that follow from points 1-8 above.  In other words, points 1-8 above summarize the context for Jesus’ claim that “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life.”  (John 14:6)

11. Jesus Taught That The Bible Is The Word of God.

12. Therefore, It Is True That The Bible Is The Word Of God (and anything opposed to it is false.)

 Although the New Testament (which says that all of the Bible is “God-breathed” [2 Tim. 3:16]), was written after the death of Jesus, there is abundant evidence that Jesus considered the Old Testament authoritative, imperishable, and inerrant (all of which are also characteristics of God).  In Matthew 4:1-11, Jesus answered the devil three times by saying “it is written” and then quoting the Old Testament.  Jesus also regarded the Old Testament as both authoritative and inerrant in his disputes with the religious authorities, saying (for example):  “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God”  (Matthew 22:29), and “the Scripture cannot be broken.”  (John 10:35)  Jesus also regarded the Old Testament as imperishable, saying:  “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.  I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”  (Matthew 5:17-18)

Jesus also prophesied the writing of the New Testament (by divine inspiration) in two places.  In John 14:25:26, Jesus said:  “All this I have spoken while I am still with you.  But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”  And in John 16:12-13, Jesus said:  “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.  But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.”

And the text of the New Testament makes it clear that the New Testament authors considered themselves to be writing not under their own authority, but under divine inspiration, as the bearers of this new revelation from Christ.  For example, the apostle[8] John describes the entire book of Revelation as “”The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him” (Rev. 1:1).  Similarly, the apostle Paul said:  “I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up.  I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.”  (Galatians 1:11-12), and “we…thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.”  (I Thess. 2:13)

13.  So The Bible Is The Word of God:  So What?

This final section of the site goes beyond the intellectual evidence for the authority of the Bible and the truth of Christianity that is presented in the “12 points.”  Although there is abundant intellectual evidence for the truth of Christianity, the essence of Christianity is not merely intellectual assent to Christ’s teaching, but a personal relationship with God, which Jesus described as “following Him” (Matthew 4:19) being “born again” (John 3:3-18) or “believing in His name” (John 1:11-12 and 3:18)

The key teachings of the Bible about how to begin this personal relationship with God can be summarized in the following four precepts: 

          A.  God loves us and has a wonderful plan for our lives.

Jeremiah 29:11, which says “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” and John 10:10, in which Jesus says “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” are a good summary of the Bible’s teaching on the love and mercy of God.  Those who want to quickly find more information on this topic should also read Psalm 103, and Isaiah chapters 42:1-4, 52:13-53:12, and 55:6-13.  Those who want to study the topic of God’s mercy in detail should read the entire book of Romans[9], in which the first eleven chapters explain God’s mercy to us, and the last five chapters explain what our response should be.

          B.  Humanity is sinful and separated from God, and we cannot come into a right relationship with God by our own effort or merits.

The Bible teaches that humanity is by nature morally imperfect (“all have sinned[10] and fall short of the glory of God” -  Romans 3:23), and therefore cannot enter into a right relationship with a holy and perfect God by his own efforts or merits.  In fact, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), or in other words, what we earn in return for our moral imperfection is spiritual separation from a holy and perfect God.  God’s challenge to those who want to be justified by their own efforts or merits is:  “Be holy, because I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44) or “Be perfect, therefore, even as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  (Matthew 5:48)

In other words, God does not grade on a curve, and that is the way that it inevitably has to be, or else God would not be absolutely good.  And the prospect of a God who is not absolutely good should be even more frightening than the prospect of God’s judgment.

But fortunately, the person of Jesus Christ provides a bridge between imperfect man and perfect God:

          C.   Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for humanity's sin.  Through Him you can know and experience God’s love and God’s plan for your life.

The Bible also clearly teaches that Jesus is the only way to salvation.  In John 14:6, Jesus says “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”  And Acts 4:12 says:  “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” 

This is the point at which many people abandon Christianity because it is “too exclusive” or “too judgmental,” or Jesus’ claims are “too radical.”  But those emotional reactions neglect to consider a very important question:  What if Jesus’ claims are true?[11]  If Jesus was both fully God and fully man (as He claimed to be), then He could legitimately offer a sacrifice that was both human and infinite, and legitimately claim to pay the penalty for all of mankind’s sins, past, present, and future.

And this message of hope is what is at the heart of Christianity.  As Jesus said in John 3:16-17:  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”  Or in other words, Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross allows God to be both just and merciful, or as the Bible puts it, to be “just and the one who justifies [declares righteous] those who have faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:26)

However, just knowing these doctrines intellectually, or having powerful emotional experience with God, does not make anyone a Christian.

          D.  We must individually choose, as an act of the will, to receive Jesus Christ into our lives as our personal Savior and Lord.

There are many places in the Bible where becoming a Christian is described as a matter of “belief” or “faith” in Christ.  Some of the most well-known of these include John 1:12, which says: “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name[12], he gave the right to become children of God,” and Ephesians 2:8-9, which says:  “For it is by grace [unmerited favor] you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”  This means that in order to become a Christian we must stop trusting in our own works to get us into heaven, and instead trust that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is sufficient to pay the penalty for all of our sins, past, present, and future.  In other words, we must trust in, and acknowledge our dependence on, God’s mercy.

There are many other places, including Jesus’ first preaching in Matthew 4:17, and the apostle Peter’s first sermon in Acts 2 (see especially Acts 2:38) where the Bible also says that we need to “repent” in order to become a Christian.  The Greek word for “repent” (i.e., the original language of these scriptures) is “metanoia” which literally means “change of mind.”   In its Biblical context, “repentance” also always means a change for the better.  In other words, in addition to acknowledging Christ as Savior, every Christian also must acknowledge him as Lord.  This means turning away from a self-directed (and often sinful and selfish) lifestyle to one that acknowledges that God has the right to direct our lives in a very personal way.

But God does not want us to be His slaves, or even His servants.  He calls us into a very personal and intimate relationship with Him, in which He does not call us servants, but “friends” (John 15:15), and also says to us:  “Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”[13] (Revelation 3:20)  And in His love and mercy, He also leaves each of us free to choose whether and to what extent we will pursue a relationship with Him, because He wants us to love Him, rather than just obeying Him out of fear or compulsion.

Becoming a Christian is simple.  All it takes is a short prayer similar to the following:

“Jesus, I acknowledge that You are who you say You are.  You are my personal Savior and Lord.  I thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life.  Come into my life, take control of my life, and make me the kind of person You want me to be.”

It is my hope and prayer that many people who are not currently Christians will choose to become Christians after considering the evidence presented throughout this section of the site, and that those who are already Christians will be strengthened in their faith.

I will close this section of the site with a few observations about my own faith.  Although I believe that the Bible presents a very compelling story of God’s mercy toward mankind throughout history, and that the freedom we currently enjoy in America (and in other free societies throughout the world) is God-given, the fundamental reason why I am a Christian is because I believe Christianity is true. 

In other words, I believe that scientific evidence points toward a definite beginning and a highly complex design for the universe, both of which help confirm the existence of a personal God as Creator.  And I believe the basic rules of morality are universal (even though the ways in which these moral truths are expressed, and the system of maintaining moral order, may differ somewhat in different cultures), which is another factor that points toward a universal Lawgiver.  And I believe that God really intervened in human history, in the person of Jesus Christ, after many centuries of preparation, and that this helps confirm the entire Bible as historically accurate.

I also believe that an unbiased review of human history suggests rather strongly that the Judeo-Christian view of human nature (which says that humanity is by nature imperfect, and is capable of great evil unless we seek God’s help) is more realistic than the secular humanist view (which says that we can perfect ourselves by our own efforts).  Man’s inhumanity to man is one of the most consistent themes of history, and throughout the course of recorded history, man’s inhumanity to man has cost hundreds of millions (if not billions) of lives.[14]   In the 20th century alone, man’s inhumanity to man (from the trenches of World War I in 1914-1918, through the Nazi and Communist wars, revolutions, and concentration camps, and Rwanda and Bosnia in the 1990’s) cost well over 100 million lives, and possibly as many as 200 million.

On the flip side, it is also very deeply ingrained in human nature to hope that society will progress, and that all of the conditions of our life on Earth can somehow be improved.  And I find this tendency very difficult to explain by naturalistic means alone.  If we were forced to develop our worldview solely by observing human behavior (particularly during the most recent century), without any reference to supernatural or spiritual matters, then I believe we would have to arrive at a worldview very similar to that of Hobbes, which says that human life is likely to be “nasty, brutish, and short.”

Nearly all of us are instinctively repulsed by Hobbes’s worldview, without necessarily being able to articulate very well why we find it repulsive.  We have a very strong desire to believe in in the inevitability of continued progress and improvement (both individually and as a society) despite much empirical evidence to the contrary.  Or as I like to put it, human nature is “hard-wired for hope.”  And I find this very difficult to explain by naturalistic means alone.  I believe that humanity’s strong desire to cling to hope (even against the odds, and contrary to a considerable part of our life experience) is evidence of God’s design and God’s presence in our lives. 

So to sum up, I believe that the Judeo-Christian worldview is only one which adequately explains both the good and the bad sides of human nature.  And I also believe strongly in God’s mercy, which is powerfully expressed to us in the person and work of Jesus Christ.  God sent his own Son to die on the cross in our place (as a human, yet also infinite, sacrifice), so that He could be both perfectly just and perfectly loving and merciful at the same time.  And all He asks in return is that we love Him back.  Although life here on earth is often imperfect and unfair in many ways, God has made sure that ultimately, life will be unfair in favor of those who choose to follow Him (or in other words, that He will treat us much better than our own deeds really deserve.)  And those are the reasons why I am a Christian.

[1] A theistic God means a personal God who created the universe but is separate from creation.  This definition fits either the God that Christianity and Judaism know as Yahweh, or the God that Muslims know as Allah.

[2] The material supporting I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist is also available in PowerPoint form from Impact Apologetics at www.impactapologetics.com

[3] A theistic God means a personal God who created the universe but is separate from creation.  This definition fits either the God that Christianity and Judaism know as Yahweh, or the God that Muslims know as Allah.

[4] Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers, 14.

[5] C.S. Lewis was the original author of this “liar, lunatic, or Lord” argument for the divinity of Jesus.  For a complete discussion, see his book Mere Christianity.

[6] “Messiah” in Hebrew, or “Christ” in Greek, mean Anointed One, or the person appointed by God to restore and rule His kingdom (Daniel 9:25).  As discussed in more detail later in this section, other Old Testament passages make it clear that this ruler will not have a powerful earthly kingdom, but will be called “God.”  

[7] Sixty-nine sevens, or 483 years, after the issuance of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.

[8] The word apostle means “one who was sent.”

[9] See especially Romans 1:16-17, 3:21-26, 5:1-10, and 8:28-39.

[10] To “sin” literally means “to fall short of the mark.”

[11] Pontius Pilate’s essential failing was that he neglected to give sufficient consideration to the question of whether or not Jesus’ claims were true.  By simply throwing up his hands and saying “What is truth?” (John 19:38), he committed one of the most grievous moral misjudgments in recorded history.  So it is very important that we not do the same.

[12] It should also be noted that the name “Jesus Christ” means “savior and Lord.”  Specifically, “Messiah” from the Hebrew, or “Christ” from the Greek, mean the Lord’s Anointed One, who will restore and rule His kingdom (Daniel 9:25).  “Yeshua” from the Hebrew, or “Jesus” from the Greek, mean “the Lord saves.”  

[13] Eating a meal together was (and is) an expression of fellowship, in ancient cultures even moreso than in modern ones.

[14] Although some of man’s inhumanity to man has allegedly been committed “in the name of God,” that does not change the fact that, in reality, all of these acts are products of our deeply flawed human nature.  If we are unsympathetic when someone says, “the devil made me do it,” then we should be even more unsympathetic when anyone attempts to use the name of God to justify acts which we all know to be immoral.  As Jesus said (and as Abraham Lincoln once famously quoted Him):  “A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.” (Mark 3:24) 

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