Authenticity of the Bible

21 Sep

I love Lord of the Rings, I think it’s genius. I think I’d make a good elf, I reckon I could pull it off! (obviously I’d look as good as Orlando Bloom and get to hang around the magical forests with Liv Tyler). It’s the 8th best selling book in the world, which is pretty impressive, I have no doubt that’ll change once the last Harry Potter book comes out (but we all know it’s the poor mans LOTR).

Of course the biggest selling book of all time is the Bible (the name coming from a greek word meaning ‘books’). It is the manual for life, it is what Bible believing Christians turn to always. A relationship with God, is grown, in part, through his word the Bible. It is clear that it is of great importance and popularity, and yet it is ridiculed and thrown aside. Many say not relevant, others say fairy stories and some say religious conspiracy.

Perhaps the reason for such a following and yet such skeptism is the evidence laid out before us or the ignorance regarding it.

There are two key areas which are significant in backing up the authenticity of the Bible..

Archaeological/Historical evidence
The most documented Biblical event is the world-wide flood described in Genesis 6-9. A number of Babylonian documents have been discovered which describe the same flood.

The Sumerian King List, for example, lists kings who reigned for long periods of time. Then a great flood came. Following the flood, Sumerian kings ruled for much shorter periods of time. This is the same pattern found in the Bible. Men had long life spans before the flood and shorter life spans after the flood.

The 11th tablet of the Gilgamesh Epic speaks of an ark, animals taken on the ark, birds sent out during the course of the flood, the ark landing on a mountain, and a sacrifice offered after the ark landed.

The Story of Adapa tells of a test for immortality involving food, similar to the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

Sumerian tablets record the confusion of language as we have in the Biblical account of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9). There was a golden age when all mankind spoke the same language. Speech was then confused by the god Enki, lord of wisdom. The Babylonians had a similar account in which the gods destroyed a temple tower and “scattered them abroad and made strange their speech.”

How about historical evidence from other manuscripts:
Suetonius, in his The Twelve Caesars says:
Because the Jews at Rome caused continuous disturbances at the instigation of Crestus [a Latin reference to Christ], he [Claudius] expelled them from the city.[11]

Compare this reference to Acts 18:2 which clearly refers to the same event.
“And he [Paul] found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome); and he came to them”.

Another clear reference outside the Bible is found by the Roman historian Tacitus in his work The Annals of Imperial Rome.

To suppress this rumour [that the massive fires of Rome had been deliberately set by men], Nero fabricated scapegoats – and punished with every refinement the notoriously depraved Christians (as they were popularly called). Their originator, Christ, had been executed in Tiberius’ reign by the governor of Judea, Pontius Pilatus.

The Jewish historian Josephus (ca. 90-95 AD) mentions the martyrdom of the apostle James, refers to James as Jesus’ brother, mentions the martyrdom of John the Baptist, and mentions Jesus a second time. Other references include the Roman historian Thallus (ca. 52 AD) as quoted by Julius Africanus concerning the darkness at the crucifixion, the Roman author and administrator Pliny the Younger’s (ca. 112 AD) mention of the early Christians’ worship of Christ, and historical references from the Roman Emperors Trajan and Hadrian.

There are of course more, but it would turn into an essay rather than a blog post!

Scientific evidence
The Bible isn’t a scientific book as such, but when it does describe the order of things it’s 100% accurate. Well of course it is, God made everything and the Bible is from God, he should know how it all works! Consider:

The Shape of the Earth
“He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in” Isaiah 40:22

This may or may not be construed to support the spherical shape of the earth. The horizon is a circle and a circle is flat.

The Earth is suspended in nothing
He spreads out the northern[skies] over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing,” Job. 26:7

This is particularly interesting, considering that the belief of other cultures at that time did not have the earth suspended in nothing, but rather upon pillars, or people, or animals.

The Stars are Innumerable
“He took him outside and said, ‘Look up at the heavens and count the stars – if indeed you can count them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be” Gen. 15:5.

The Existence of Valleys in the Seas
“The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at the rebuke of the LORD, at the blast of breath from his nostrils” 2 Sam. 22:16

The Existence of Water Paths (Ocean Currents) in the Seas
O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!…When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,…You made him [man] ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet…the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas” Psalm 8:1,3,6,8

The Hydrologic Cycle
“He wraps up the waters in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight” Job. 26:8

“He draws up the drops of water, which distill as rain to the streams; the clouds pour down their moisture and abundant showers fall on mankind” Job. 36:27-28

“The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again” Ecclesiastes 1:6-7

I could go on for a very long time, but the nature of a blog post dictates constraint. I hope, however, that this has given those of you who doubt, something to think about. And those of you who believe some encouragement that Gods word is constantly being proved as being nothing but authentic and accurate.

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One Response to “Authenticity of the Bible”

  1. Martin March 23, 2009 at 6:02 pm #

    I realize that the historical facts of the bible are accurate in many cases, and that there are many keen observations of the natural cycles on the earth, but it is quite a jump to say (not that you necessarily are saying) that this authenticates the belief in who Jesus was and to believe everything written down that he said (or at least is said to have said). Maybe my question is actually, what are you really saying that this means?

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