Reasons for Faith in the Bible Part III: Objections
by PastorErick | 11/15/17, 11:05 AM
The last couple weeks we’ve been going over some reasons for faith in the Bible. The first piece of evidence we went over was Jesus’ clear affirmation of the Bible as God’s word. The idea behind this argument basically went like this:
If Jesus rose from the dead, then whatever He said should be accepted
The evidence shows Jesus did rise from the dead.
Therefore, we should accept what Jesus said
The second reason that we covered was about the prophetic prediction/fulfillment of the Bible in real space/time history. I won’t rehash all that now, but suffice it to say, it takes A LOT of faith to believe that all these predictions “just happened” to be fulfilled by coincidence.
So….. at this point we could go over the archaeological confirmations of the Biblical details. We could also talk about how the Bible’s preservation over millenia points to its supernatural origin. We could talk about lots of other stuff (evidence) that gives us good reason to have faith in the Bible. But instead of all that, I’d like to spend a few weeks dealing with objections to the Bible as God’s word. Why? Because sometimes it helps your case even more when you have good answers to the strongest objections.
What are some of these objections?
Science has disproved the Bible
The Bible is full of errors
The Bible is full of contradictions
The Bible has been lost in translation
The Bible is outdated
The Bible has been corrupted
Are there other objections to the Bible? Probably (I’m sure there is), but the ones listed above seem to be the biggies. With that said, let’s try and deal a bit with the first objection:
SCIENCE HAS DISPROVED THE BIBLE
First of all, let’s state this up front: The Bible is not a science book. It is primarily a salvation book. Frankly, the Bible is silent on many issues of science: It doesn’t tell us how to cure polio, it doesn’t tell us there are hundreds of millions of galaxies and it doesn’t tell us the microscopic differences between cockroaches and waterbeds (can't we all just admit there part of the same family?)!
Alright, now that we got that out of the way, we should acknowledge the Bible does have some things to say about science. For example we are told that the universe did not happen by random chance, but was actually created (more on that in a bit).
So then, has science disproved the Bible? What people generally mean when they ask something like this is “Evolution has disproved the Bible.” And to be even more specific, what people mean by that is “macro-evolution” has disproven the Bible (as opposed to “micro-evolution” which pretty much everybody agrees is….a thing). There are many possible responses to this claim, but first try this question:
What specifically about evolution has “disproven” the Bible?
I have found when I ask this, generally speaking there isn’t much of a response. Most don’t know all that much about the various theories of evolution to be able to speak much about it.
Some however, may bring up the fact that a large number of Christians believe that the earth was created some thousands of years ago in six literal days. The scientific evidence for evolution seems to be strong enough to contradict such a claim. Therefore, evolution “disproves” the Bible.
Now the “young earth view” stated above is indeed the view of some, and there are even some scientists that hold to this view in contradistinction to an evolutionary view. It may be possible to argue against the whole idea of evolution from a young earth perspective if one thinks they have solid arguments.
But whatever your view, for the sake of argument we can point out that this view has not necessarily been the view held by historic, orthodox Christians (and is certainly not required to be considered a Christian). As a matter of fact, many orthodox Christians see nothing inherently contradictory between evolution and the Bible at all.
All throughout the history of the Church there has been debate and differentiation among Christians about how exactly to interpret the origin story in Genesis. Long before Darwin published his “Origin of the Species”, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, John Wesley, and many, many others allowed for the possibility of a non-literal understanding of the text. In the immediate aftermath of the publishing of Darwin’s theory, orthodox conservative Christans like B.B. Warfield (not a man known for shying away from a fight over orthodoxy!) believed some sort of non-literal view as acceptable. Today, there are many orthodox Christian thinkers (Alvin Plantinga), Theologians (Bruce Waltke, John Sailhammer), Pastors (Tim Keller), etc. that hold to different views than the “young earth view” listed above. Some of these thinkers allow for an old earth (but no evolution), others allow for the 6 days in Genesis to be interpreted symbolically for longer periods of time. Many others are open to accepting some form of evolution as a possibility for how God has worked in His world.
Why all the differing views from Bible believing Christians? Perhaps for some it’s because they are looking for some sort of acceptance within the broader academic world, but I think for most it’s because they actually believe that the Scriptures allow (and maybe even call for) some other view besides the young earth view.
Along with this, we must remember that in none of the historic Creeds of Christendom (Nicene, Athanasian, Apostles) are we told that we MUST hold to a certain age of the earth or to a certain number of days in which the universe was created.
I bring all this up simply to say that the theory of evolution (if true) WOULD NOT in it of itself disprove the Bible.
What would disprove the Bible is “naturalistic” or “non-theistic” evolution (that is, the blind faith view that everything just happened to come into existence and then slowly evolved by random chance out of nothing some 14 billion years ago), but since there’s literally no evidence scientifically, philosophically, logically, theologically (or any other “-ally”) for such a view, we need not worry about debating it.
So then, has science disproved the Bible? Not at all. Has science helped us understand more of what we read in our Bibles? In many cases, yes. Is scientific truth somehow different than Biblical truth? In one sense, yes in that the truth given to us by science is limited to what can be observed in nature, while the truth given to us in the Bible reveals that which goes beyond what is observable in nature. That said, all truth is God’s truth.
Next week we review our second objection to the Bible:
The Bible is full of errors….
- 31 - Reasons for Faith in the Bible Part I: Jesus Said So
- 24 - Reasons For Faith In Jesus’ Resurrection Part V: The Uniqueness of the Resurrection
- 17 - Reasons For Faith In Jesus’ Resurrection Part IV: The External Evidence
- 10 - Reasons For Faith In Jesus’ Resurrection Part III: The Birth, Rapid Expansion and Martyrdom Of The Early Church
- 03 - Reasons for (Christian) Faith Part II: The Counterproductive Gospel