Isaac Newton was the scientist famous for discovering gravity. Called by many as the greatest scientific mind prior to Einstein, Newton began investigating the Bible to determine whether or not it is authentic. Applying his brilliant mind to the evidence, Newton concluded,
“There are more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history.”¹
But wait a minute! Newton lived over 300 years ago. What are scientists and other scholars today saying about the Bible, and are the “sure marks of authenticity” that convinced him still valid today?
For those who believe in the Bible because its message is personally meaningful to them, evidence for its validity might not be important. However, for honest skeptics and others seeking truth, we will examine evidence for the Bible to see if it is God’s Word as claimed.
But what kind of evidence are we looking for, and would such evidence convince skeptics? Of course no one can be convinced unless they are honestly seeking truth.
What we need for those who are honestly seeking truth is evidence that demonstrates the Bible bears the marks of God’s fingerprints. In other words, is there evidence that God supernaturally gave us its message?
Over the next few weeks we will examine the following four basic areas:
1. Does the Bible demonstrate divine authorship?
2. Is the Bible consistent with science?
3. Is the Bible historically reliable?
4. Does the Bible foretell future events accurately?
If the Bible is truly God’s Word, we would expect these lines of evidence to come together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, demonstrating its authenticity. What will the evidence reveal?
Does the Bible Demonstrate Divine Authorship?
The Bible claims to be God’s special revelation to man, the primary way He communicates to us. Francis Schaeffer observes in God Is Not Silent,
“So we have three things coming together: God, the infinite-personal God, who made the universe; and man, whom He made to live in that universe; and the Bible, which He has given us to tell us about the universe…to tell us what we need to know.”²
The Bible is actually 66 different books written by more than 40 men, spanning a period of 1,600 years, who claimed that their words came from God Himself.
The Old Testament consists of 39 books, beginning with the creation of the world, and ending about 400 years before Christ. In the Old Testament, God establishes His basis for dealing with man. He primarily deals with one nation, Israel, which descended from the patriarch Abraham.
The Old Testament lays out the consequences for our disobedience, yet reveals God’s heart of grace and mercy for those who turn to Him in faith. The Old Testament speaks of a Messiah (Christ) who would one day come to save us from our sins, and eventually bring peace to Israel and the world.³
As the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ is the central person of both the Old and New Testaments. The New Testament begins by angels proclaiming Jesus Christ as our Savior.4 However, since most Jews were looking for the Messiah to deliver them from Roman rule, they rejected Jesus.5
These are the consistent, progressive themes of the Bible. Imagine the difficulty of 40 men from different generations writing 66 different books that speak of the same God, our need of Him, and His promise of a future Redeemer who would save and deliver them.
Yet, these men from different times were able to present a harmonious concert of thought…writing about the same God and the same consistent themes–in 66 distinct books. And those common themes run from Genesis all the way to Revelation.
Many believe that the unified themes of the Bible provide clear evidence of God’s fingerprints. Bible scholars question how 40 authors who never had the opportunity to collaborate could invent such a rational, unified message.
The Bible’s rational, unified themes would be expected if it is truly God’s Word. That is our first line of evidence that the Bible at least could be God’s special message to us.
² Francis A. Schaeffer, He Is There and He Is Not Silent (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1972), 60.
³ Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Zechariah chapters 12 through14.
4 Luke 2:1-22; Matthew 1:18-2:15; Acts 10:43.
5 John 1:11.