There has been an awful lot of really negative and childishly stupid stuff posted on MyNews24 regarding God and Christianity. And by God, I mean Jesus as well. The same people who fire broadsides at Charles Dumbwin for his lack of research into, amongst other things, evolution, quote ad hoc from the Bible with no understanding whatsoever, and scoff at any explanation given.
The Bible is: A book of history
A book of poetry
A book of prophecy
A book of moral imperatives
The Bible is not: A book of science. It cannot be construed as such, and anyone who does, is being foolish. However, it reveals facts only discovered by scientists thousands of years after it was written, so I’m going to tackle the first assertion.
The Bible is a book of Bronze Age fairy tales.
Psalm 8:8 - ‘The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.’ All the translations, from the King James to the New Living Bible use more or less the same terminology. Some use currents instead of paths. The meaning remains the same.
These mighty currents were first discovered by Matthew Maury, a naval officer who was confident that the Bible didn't lie. Disabled by an accident in 1839, Maury left active sea duty and became the superintendent of the US Naval Observatory. As head of the US Depot of Charts and Instruments, he could finally seek answers to a persistent question on his mind: “What were "the paths of the seas" mentioned in Psalm 8:8? After studying old ships’ logs he compiled charts of ocean-wind and sea currents. To study the speed and direction of the ocean currents Maury set adrift weighted bottles known as ‘drift bottles’. These floated slightly below the surface of the water, and thus were not affected by wind.... From the location and date on which the bottles were found, Maury was able to develop his charts of the ocean currents — the ‘paths’ of the seas — which greatly aided the science of marine navigation....
"He was elected to the Hall of Fame for Great Americans. A monument erected in his honour... reads: ‘Matthew Fontaine Maury, Pathfinder of the Seas, the genius who first snatched from the oceans and atmosphere the secret of their laws.'"
"God... draws up drops of water, which distil as rain from the mist, which the clouds drop down and pour abundantly on man. Indeed, can anyone understand the spreading of clouds, the thunder from His canopy?" Job 36:26-29
"The wind goes toward the south, and turns around to the north;
The wind whirls about continually, and comes again on its circuit.
All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full;
To the place from which the rivers come, there they return again." Ecclesiastes 1:6-7
Thousands of years before scientists understood or acknowledged the hydrologic cycle, it was documented in the Bible. The verses below describe the repeated cycle of precipitation, the flow of water into oceans, its evaporation, and its condensation, which is transported inland in clouds, and driven by currents of winds -- including the now familiar ‘jet stream,’ which was unheard of in former times.
Job 26:7 ‘He stretches out the north over empty space and hangs the earth on nothing.’
I don’t know about you, but that sounds suspiciously like the earth in space, and not flat, or on the back of a giant, or whatever fanciful idea people come up with.
Since Creation cannot be proven or disproven, I’ll go onto another favourite: the flood. Everyone knows the biblical account, so I’m not going to bore you by going into it, and most people know of the Gilgamesh Epic, on which they claim the flood account is based, but I’m going elsewhere for additional evidence.
In Greek Mythology Deucalion (Ancient Greek: ?e??a????) was a son of Prometheus ; ancient sources name his mother as Clymene, Hesione or Pronoia. The anger of Zeus was ignited by the hubris of the Pelasgians, and he decided to put an end to them. Lycaon, the king of Arcadia, had sacrificed a boy to Zeus, who was appalled by this savage offering. Zeus loosed a deluge, so that the rivers ran in torrents and the sea flooded the coastal plain, engulfed the foothills with spray, and washed everything clean. Deucalion, with the aid of his father Prometheus, was saved from this deluge by building a chest.
Like his Biblical equivalent Noah and Mesopotamian counterpart, Utnapishtim he uses his chest to survive the deluge with his wife, Pyrrha.
In various Hindu traditions, Manu, is a title accorded to the progenitor of mankind, and also the very first king to rule this earth, who saved mankind from the universal flood. He was absolutely honest which was why he was initially known as "Satyavrata" (One with the oath of truth). His wife is Satarupa (Shatrupa).
Now we cross another ocean, this time to South America, where they had their own flood story .One of the most significant surviving Mesoamerican literary documents and primary sources of knowledge about Maya societal traditions, beliefs and mythological accounts is a product of the 16th century K'iche' people. This document, known as "Pop wuj" in proper K'iche - "the book of events" and originally written around the 1550s, contains a compilation of mythological and ethno-historical narratives known to these people at that time, which were drawn from earlier pre-Columbian sources (now lost) and also oral traditional storytelling. This narrative includes a telling of their version of the creation myth, relating how world and humans were created by the gods, the story of the divine brothers, and the history of the K'iche' from their migration into their homeland up to the flood and the salvation of a husband and wife, who repopulated the earth.
All of these accounts were said to have occurred around the same time. Of all these accounts, only one has a ship with the right dimensions, in a land-locked country. I’ll leave you to guess which one it is.
Dr. Paolo Matthiae, Director of the Italian Archaeological Mission in Syria, "hit an archaeological jackpot" in 1975, when he discovered, amongst other things, hundreds of cuneiform tablets, amongst them tablets with frequent mention of the exodus of the Jews. Something which is hotly disputed by certain ‘historians’.
The tablets also verified the names of the pagan gods Baal, Dagan and Asherah, names up until then only found in the Bible. They also mention the name Abraham and Ur of the Chaldees, Abraham’s birthplace.
The Hittites were also a supposed Biblical invention, but in 1906 archaeologists unearthed the Hittite capital and in the years following excavated what is now known to have been a massive and very prominent Hittite civilization.
When Nebuchadnezzar conquered Israel, he brought Daniel to his court. There the faithful prophet interpreted the king's strange dreams and won his respect. One dream in particular was obviously fulfilled:
‘...it happened, when I, Daniel, had seen the vision and was seeking the meaning, that suddenly there stood before me one having the appearance of a man.... And he said, “...The ram which you saw, having the two horns—they are the kings of Media and Persia. And the male goat is the kingdom of Greece. The large horn that is between its eyes is the first king. As for the broken horn and the four that stood up in its place, four kingdoms shall arise out of that nation, but not with its power...."’ (Daniel 8:15-22).
Decades later, Media and Persia conquered and ruled the vast Babylonian empire. They were replaced when the Greek armies of Alexander the Great swept through the Middle East. When Alexander died, his empire was divided among four generals, and its glory soon faded.
This was recorded not only in the Bible, but in the Persian Annals and by Greek historians, amongst them Herodotus, a historian highly respected by secular historians.
And now on to the subject of Jesus, so hotly disputed in the last eighty or so years, mainly at the instigation of the ‘historians’ in the USSR.
Cornelius Tacitus (55-120 AD), "the greatest historian" of ancient Rome, had this to say:
"Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man's cruelty, that they were being destroyed."
Julius Africanus, writing around 221 AD, found a reference in the writings of Thallus, who wrote a history of the Eastern Mediterranean around 52 AD, which dealt with the darkness that covered the land during Jesus' crucifixion:
"Thallus, in the third book of his histories, explains away the darkness as an eclipse of the sun, unreasonably, as it seems to me." A solar eclipse could not take place during a full moon, as was the case during Passover season.
We, as believers, are often asked to produce proof of God, which is impossible. However, if you approach the subject with an open mind, and accept the evidence as such, there is plenty of evidence. What I’ve written above is a small sampling, and there is far more where that came from.
So, as I’ve said before, if someone always tells the truth in the things that can be tested, then I’m inclined to believe the things that cannot be. So I believe in the God of the Bible, I believe He created everything we see, not in six literal days, but in six literal time periods, following the exact pattern laid out in the Bible.
I believe the Bible because it was written by the very same people who show themselves in the worst light imaginable. I believe the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God, and all the valid translations concur in everything except the language used. And before you rush into print with ‘valid’ being used as a bolt-hole, I do not accept ‘The New World Translation of The Holy Bible’, as this is an invention of the Jehovah’s witnesses. I do not believe the Catholic Bible, as it has books added that have no place in the Christian Canon. I say that, because the Bible, as it is, forms an harmonious whole, where the addition of the Apocrypha causes disharmony.
I can say I believe the Bible because I know the Author, but that is not objective, whereas the evidence I’ve given above is.
I’m certain a storm is going to erupt over this article, and straw-men by the dozen are going to be wheeled out, but this is what I believe, and there is no place for evolution in my view, as it remains fanciful theory and wishful thinking, rather than science.
Why wishful thinking? Because it obviates the necessity of answering for your actions. Which is not to say that all atheists or agnostics are immoral. Far from it! It just makes it easier to live as you choose if there will never be any form of reckoning.
Finally, this was written that those who are honestly doubtful about the existence of God, might do a further amount of research on their own and, if they are still not convinced, can honestly say they found insufficient evidence.