In the 20th century, we witnessed one of the most remarkable discoveries in recorded history: the discovery that the universe is finite. The implications of this discovery are indeed staggering. Beginning with Albert Einstein in 1903, twentieth-century physicists have demonstrated that space-time and matter had a finite, simultaneous beginning! Prior to this discovery, atheistic scientists and philosophers rested comfortably on the notion that the universe was eternal. Consequently, a universe without a beginning needed no cause-it just was. However, a universe that has a beginning either created itself
(a logical and scientific absurdity) or was caused to exist by a Being who preceded it. By definition, that means a transcendent Creator-One who exists outside time and space!
A Supernatural Message
A transcendent Creator presents some interesting possibilities. Because a transcendent Creator possesses the sufficient means to act in our space-time domain, He also has the capability to get a message to us. The Bible claims to be that message.
The Bible authenticates that its text is an extraterrestrial, supernatural message system from a transcendent Creator in several ways.
Because the Bible declares that God is omniscient (all-knowing), He possesses a perfect understanding of the physical universe. Consequently, we would expect any book claiming to be the word of God to be 100% accurate when speaking on scientific issues. Indeed, the Bible is without error or contradiction when it speaks on scientific issues.
Throughout the Bible’s text, there are highly specific and accurate statements regarding the laws of physics, the nature of our solar system, the planet Earth, and its life forms that were penned centuries before this scientific knowledge was discovered by the scientific community. This phenomenon, called scientific foreknowledge, is present throughout the text of the Bible and is a powerful hint of supernatural authorship.
Design of the Text
Throughout the Bible, we find the “fingerprints” of a supernatural message system. Numerous design features in the Biblical text defy coincidence and demonstrate that the Bible, which consists of sixty-six books penned by forty authors over thousands of years, is an integrated message system.
Finally, because the Creator revealed in the Bible exists outside our space-time domain, He is able to “see,” in effect, the beginning and the end of our time domain simultaneously.
Consequently, the Bible authenticates that its message is of extra-dimensional origin through predictive prophecy; i.e., by writing history in advance! No other “holy book” on planet Earth authenticates its message in these four ways.
The Skeptics’ Bias
One hundred fifty years ago, most people in the Western world believed that the Bible was indeed the word of God. However, in the last 150 years, liberal theologians, secularists, and the media have convinced many that the Bible is unreliable.
Skeptics generally believe one or more of the following about the Bible:
- The Bible’s text has been severely corrupted over time by copying errors and deliberate changes.
- The Bible is a scientifically inaccurate book filled with erroneous concepts such as a flat earth and a geocentric universe.
- Many believe that Bible prophecy is no more than history; i.e., they believe that the Bible’s prophecies were written after the fact.
- Finally, many believe that the evidences of design are no more than a carefully designed hoax or simply the result of chance.
Ironically, astonishing evidence has gradually accumulated in the fields of archaeology, astronomy, physics, and biology, which confirm the scientific and historical accuracy of the Bible, the supernatural origin of its text, and the fact that it has been preserved virtually unchanged for over two thousand years.
When was the Bible written and by Whom?
- Book of Job ~ 2,000 B.C.
- The Law ~ 1,500 B.C.
- Psalms ~ 1,000 B.C.
- The prophets ~ 800-450 B.C.
- Synoptic Gospels A.D. 50-65
- Gospel of John/Revelation A.D. 80-100
- Epistles A.D. 50-90
Authored by The Holy Spirit
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness
2 Timothy 3:16
for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
2 Peter 1:21
Because of the supernatural nature of the Bible, skeptics often assume the Bible’s stories are either embellished or wholesale fraud. To fairly examine the Bible, we need to apply the same tests to the Bible’s text that we would to any other ancient document. One of these principles, according to Aristotle, is to give the benefit of doubt to the document itself. Biblical scholar John Warwick Montgomery puts the principle this way:
One must listen to the claims of the document under analysis, and not assume fraud or error unless the author disqualified himself by contradictions or known factual inaccuracies.
The manuscript evidence for the antiquity and integrity of the Bible is overwhelming. There are thousands of manuscripts extant with a variation of less than .5%.
Some of the major manuscript finds of the Old Testament are as follows:
- 1776: Benjamin Kennicott listed a total of 615 extant Hebrew manuscripts.
- By 1890 there were a total of 731 manuscripts of the Old Testament published worldwide. The oldest of these were from about the 9th century.
- In 1890 the Cairo Geniza manuscripts were found in the attic of a synagogue in Cairo, Egypt. Over 10,000 Biblical texts were discovered which were dated between the 10th and 12th centuries.
The Dead Sea Scrolls
Discovered in March 1947 by an Arab shepherd boy who was pursuing a lost goat. Generally regarded as the greatest manuscript discovery in history.
- Thousands of manuscripts were found in eleven caves.
- Portions of every book of the Old Testament were discovered except the book of Esther.
- They were written by a devout sect of Jews, the Essenes, between the 3rd Century B.C. and the First Century.
The Dead Sea Scrolls
- The gap between the last prophet Malachi and extant manuscripts was narrowed from about 1400 years to as little as 150 years.
- Demonstrated the reliability of the text. Regarding the reliability of the Old Testament as transmitted through time, Geza Vermes stated:
‘The umran Biblical documents cover the whole Hebrew Bible with the exception of the book of Esther, and are about one thousand years older than the most ancient codices previously extant. With this newly discovered material at their disposal, experts concerned with the study of the text and transmission of the scriptures are now able to achieve far greater accuracy in their deductions and can trace the process by which the text of the Bible obtained its final shape. Moreover, they are in a position to prove that it has remained virtually unchanged for the last two thousand years.”
New Testament Manuscripts
Caesar’s Gallic Wars
Regarding the dating of the New Testament autographs (the original texts), the eminent archaeologist Wm. F. Albright stated:
We can already say emphatically that there is no longer any solid basis for dating any book of the New Testament after about
The Early Church Fathers
Even without the very ancient manuscripts at our disposal, the reliability and antiquity of the New Testament can be demonstrated by the writings of the early Church fathers.
By the third century the Church fathers had cited the New Testament so extensively that nearly the entire text of the New Testament could be reconstructed with these citations. Sir David Dalrymple stated that if every ancient manuscript of the New Testament from the 2nd and 3rd centuries were lost, he could reconstruct “the entire New Testament in the writings of the church fathers except eleven verses.”
J. Harold Greenlee stated that the early Church father’s citations “are so extensive that the New Testament could virtually be reconstructed from them without the use of New Testament manuscripts.”
Purity of the New Testament Text
Because of the large number of NT manuscripts available for study, experts have been able to catalog the minor differences and have concluded that the New Testament has been preserved with unparalleled purity.
According to New Testament scholar Benjamin Warfield, “The facts show that the great majority of the New Testament has been transmitted to us with no or next to no variation. ”
Norman Geisler, a world-renowned Bible scholar, echoed this when he stated: “Only 400 words of the NT are in doubt, whereas 764 lines of the Iliad are questioned. This five percent textual corruption (in the Iliad) compares with one-half of one percent of similar emendations in the New Testament.”
Science and the Bible
For centuries skeptics have claimed that the Bible is inaccurate when it speaks of scientific phenomena. However, not only is the Bible 100% accurate regarding scientific phenomena, but it also anticipates dozens of recent scientific facts thousands of years before their modern discovery. A partial list follows:
Twentieth Century Cosmology
Time, Space, and Matter Finite
Genesis 1:1, 1 Timothy 1:9, Titus 1:2
Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, You are very great: You are clothed with honor and majesty, Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment, Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain...
Psalm 104:1-2; cf. Isaiah 40:22; 42:5; 45:12
Stars Cannot Be Numbered
As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured; so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.
Sphericity of the Earth
It is he that sitteth above the circle [literally a sphere, ‘khug’ in Hebrew] of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in...
In another remarkable verse, Job, the author of the oldest book in the Bible, seems to understand that the Earth is a sphere:
He has inscribed a circle [khug] on the surface of the waters, At the boundary of light and darkness.
Job 26:10 NASB
Over 1,700 years after Job penned these words, the Greek mathematician Eratosthenes (3rd cent B.C.) proved that the Earth was indeed a sphere.
Elephants, Atlas, Turtles or Job
The ancients were fascinated with the question of Earth’s resting place. Some believed that it rested on elephants or on the backs of turtles. The Greeks believed that Atlas was the pillar upon which it rested. However, Job, who had “inside information,” and knew better. “He stretches out the north over empty space, And hangs the earth on nothing.”
Twentieth Century Physics
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
1st Law of Thermodynamics
Genesis 2:2-3, Hebrews 4:3-4, Nehemiah 9:6.
2nd Law of Thermodynamics
Psalm 103, Isaiah 51:6, Matthew 24:35.
The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.
Psalm 8:8; cf. Isaiah 43:16
The fact that there are predictable oceanic currents or paths in the seas was not discovered until the 1840s by Matthew Fontaine Maury, yet it was anticipated nearly 3,000 years earlier by the psalmist.
Ocean Floor Mountains
The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God.
The Water Cycle
The Earth’s water cycle, elucidated 300 years ago by Pierre Perrault and Edme Marriotte, demonstrated that oceanic evaporation was the source of rain clouds and river waters. This fact, and other aspects of global weather, was anticipated nearly 3,000 years earlier in the Bible.
- Jet Stream Ecclesiastes 1:6-7
- Evaporation Job 26:8, Eccl 1:6-7, Amo 9:6
- Source of River Water Ecclesiastes 1:6-7
- Fresh-Water Springs in the Sea Job 38:16
In modern times, dinosaurs were discovered by an English physician named Gideon Mantell in 1820. However, 4,000 years ago, Job describes anatomic features of ancient creatures which do not fit any contemporary animals. However, they do seem to fit what we know about some species of dinosaurs! Check it out in Job 40-41, Psalm 74:14; 104:26; Isaiah 27:1.
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
2 Peter 3:10
The Bible is unique in many ways:
- The manuscripts are very ancient and have been preserved with unparalleled purity.
- It evidences a supernatural origin in its anticipation of contemporary scientific knowledge.
- The Bible proclaims a message of salvation which is based on faith and not good works.
- It is the only “holy book” that authenticates its message is from an extraterrestrial source.