Vol: 29 Issue: 21 Tuesday, November 21, 2017
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (2 Peter 3:3-4)
I wish I had a dollar for every time somebody offered a similar argument: “They’ve been talking about the Second Coming since the First Coming. They’ll still be talking about it a thousand years from now.”
The Bible is under attack in this generation unlike any generation in history. The entire American educational system is dedicated to eliminating the ‘superstitious’ notion of Divine Creation and replacing it with the godless theory of evolution.
It is called “the theory of evolution” for a reason. It is only a theory. (Theory — “an unproved assumption, abstract thought, speculation) And, because it IS a theory, the ‘facts’ change with each new ‘discovery’.
The Christian is at an extreme disadvantage when discussing the truth of Scripture with a skeptic. The Christian has the Bible as his only source of information and is bound to follow its teachings. The skeptic, however, is under no such restrictions.
While the Christian is bound to ‘thus saith the Lord’ the skeptic counters with ‘thus saith everybody’. Everybody knows’ is one of the most difficult argument to overcome, since ‘everybody’ cannot be cited, chapter and verse.
In short, the Christian is bound by rules, the skeptic gets to make them up as he goes along. This is the main reason that the Bible has a reputation as a ‘difficult’ Book. Bible ‘difficulties’ like, ‘who did Cain marry?’ leaves many a Christian speechless.
The skeptic loves to cite ‘contradictions’ contained in the Bible, especially since Christians teach that the Bible interprets itself and that God’s Word never contradicts itself.
Who did Cain marry?’ is but a single example.
The critic generally falls back on one of a number major assumptions, all of which sound logical until you take a closer look.
The first mistake is assuming the unexplained is unexplainable. That this is a mistake is self-evident. The skeptic is more than confident that science will continue to unlock the mysteries of the universe.
Science has mapped the human genome — it is only a matter of time before man will successfully clone a human being.
But where the Bible is concerned, unless and until we find an autographed picture of King David of Israel in a cave somewhere, the skeptic will argue David never really existed.
Actually, in 1993 an excavation dated to 850 BC uncovered a stele inscribed with “the House of David,” with a second discovery in 1994, the “Mesha Stel” which also contained a reference to Israel’s greatest King.
And although Israeli archeologists have identified the ruins of Goliath’s hometown, there remain skeptics who remain convinced King David is a myth.
The second mistake made by the skeptic is assuming the Bible ‘guilty til proved innocent’ — that is, unless a Scripture can be exonerated by archeological or other supporting evidence, it is not true.
Skeptics long claimed Pontius Pilate never existed, so the Passion story is untrue. Until a plaque bearing Pilate’s name dedicating an arena to the Roman Procurate was uncovered near Ceasarea Phillipi in 1965.
Another mistake is failing to understand a passage in context. Perhaps the most common mistake is when a critic carelessly rips an isolated passage out of its proper context. Or, they interpreted it in a way that the author never intended.
Taken out of context, one can use the Bible to prove almost anything. (TV preachers do it all the time.) A skeptic can do the same thing to disprove almost anything. As the wise man said, a proof text without context is a pretext.
Another error is assuming that if two accounts differ, it means that they are mutually exclusive or contradictory. For example;
“And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen.” (1 Kings 4:26)
“And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; whom he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem.” (2 Chronicles 9:25)
So which is it? Is this an error? No. The word translated ‘stalls’ has two meanings.
In one instance, it refers to the place where a horse is kept. On the other hand, the teams of horses that pulled Israeli chariots were also called ‘stalls’.
A Hebrew chariot was drawn by ten horses. Forty thousand ‘stalls’ would be necessary to house enough horses to pull four thousand Hebrew chariots. The two passages are in complete harmony.
Another mistake is to assume that the Bible approves of all that it records. Solomon was a polygamist, but that doesn’t mean that God approved of the practice.
(God didn’t approve of Israel having kings, either.)
Another common assumption is that God wrote the Bible, without noting that He used human authors. It is a human book, written by human authors, using human literary devices.
Every word is divinely inspired, but every word was written down on paper by a human being. Consequently, James had a different writing style, used different examples and imagery than did Paul.
James says ‘faith without works is dead’ whereas Paul writes,
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
A contradiction? No. James preached to the Hebrew Israelites who had tremendous faith in their laws and religion.
Paul preached to the Gentiles who until Paul’s introduction, had no living God to have faith in.
“In Whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him.” (Ephesians 3:12)
Ok, so where DID Cain find a wife? The Bible doesn’t say. Did he marry his sister? Not exactly. Cain undoubtedly married a relative of some sort, either a distant cousin, or possibly a niece.
Adam lived for 930 years, and Genesis says that he had many other children. There is no Biblical reason to believe Cain and Abel were the firstborn of Adam and Eve. It is merely assumed.
When a man and women live to be 100 years old, there can be as many as 4 or 5 generations existing within their family.
If we do the math, by the time Adam died, using a template of 4 generations for the first 100 years and assuming that 5 children would be produced by each couple, by Adams death, there would be a population of over 7,812,500 people on earth.
In fact, by the time Adam was 500 years old, the earth would have had a population of over 250,000. Maybe more. This model assumes five children per family. But people lived hundreds of years and there was no birth control.
Most importantly, it should be noted that the Bible never said when Cain took a wife. But as pointed out from mathematics, by the end of the second century of Adam’s life, Cain would have had thousands of choices.
The Bible is true. We can have confidence in its teaching and its promises. The skeptics are always there, nipping away at the edges, but consider this. The Bible has been under more or less constant attack by the smartest guys in every generation since it was compiled.
If a single thing in Scripture were conclusively disproved, a named person who didn’t exist, a place that never was, an event that didn’t take place, then the Word of God is broken.
And of all the thinkers and philosophers who have lived during the last two thousand years, not one has been able to claim the title of the man who proved the Bible wrong.
Because nobody can.