Dr James White…
The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds;
There is no one who does good.
The question seems to always come up (of course), “Can you give me proof that God exists?” When such a person says that he does not see any convincing evidence for God’s existence, what he is doing is appealing to his subjective experience and opinions for validating God’s existence. He is appealing to his personal preferences, opinions, and experiences which led that person to doubt God’s existence. What would convince one person might not convince another.
When an unbeliever asks for material evidence in the search for answers, they are looking for something that is testable, something that can be proven using the scientific method. The scientific method is a system of learning that consists of observation, hypothesis, experimentation, prediction, and theory. It is based on logic and observations of the material universe and its properties, something that excludes transcendence, that which is in the Christian believer’s worldview. God exists outside of, and independent of, the material universe.
So if the unbeliever is asking for evidence, something within the material world, it would be considered a category error.
In a nutshell the materialist cannot logically ask for material based evidence for the immaterial without displaying a category mistake, so the materialist is left with the option of trying to demonstrate that the Christian worldview is irrational. If he can’t show that Christian theism is false, then how can the unbeliever rationally maintain his atheism?
Materialism, can’t be proven to be true. It is assumed. So how can an atheist prove there is no God? How does he demonstrate that materialism is the correct philosophical standpoint? I ask that the unbeliever truly search the Word of God in the Revelation that He has breathed onto the pages of the Bible. Do your research and pray that God will light the Way. I truly believe that the unbeliever truly knows there is a God as it is Worded in Psalm 14:1.
Materialism: Materialism is the belief that matter is the only thing that exists and that all things can be reduced to matter (and energy since matter is a form of energy). Therefore, materialism would state that all things in the universe, including mankind, are necessarily restricted to operate within the bounds of physical laws.
I have been confronted recently on the reliability of the Christian Bible. There were several issues that were brought forth to me, and I will try to respond to some of them on this post.
I will start with the “Reliability of the Bible”
– The Bible is 98% textually pure. Through all the copying of the Biblical manuscripts of the entire Bible, only 2% has any question about it. Nothing in all of the ancient writings of the entire world approaches the accuracy of the biblical documents.
– The 2 percent that is in question does not affect doctrine. The areas of interest are called variants, and they consist mainly in variations of wording and spelling.
– The NT has over 5000 supporting Greek manuscripts existing today with another 20,000 manuscripts in other languages. Some of the manuscript evidence dates to within 100 years of the original writing. There is less than a 2% textual variation in the NT manuscripts.
– Some of the supporting manuscripts of the NT are:
1. John Rylands MS written around A.D. 130, the oldest existing fragment of the gospel of John.
2. Bodmer Papyrus II (A.D. 150-200).
3. Chester Beatty Papyri (A.D. 200) contains major portions of the NT.
4. Codex Vaticanus (A.D. 325-350) contains nearly all the Bible.
5. Codex Sinaiticus (A.D. 350) contains almost all the NT and over half of the OT.
Next, “When were the gospels written?”
– None of the gospels mention the death of Peter and Paul (A.D.ish 60-62) nor the Neronic persecution (A.D. 64) nor the destruction of the Jewish temple in A.D. 70–that Jesus prophesied would occur in Matthew 24 and Luke 21. Why would the book of Acts not contain the super-significant events of the death of Peter and Paul and the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple since it is a history of the early Christian Church, persecution, and also included Peter and Paul’s accounts and travels? The logical conclusion is that it was written before these events. Furthermore, Luke was written before Acts, and most scholars agree that Matthew and Mark were written before Luke.
Why would the book of Acts not contain the super-significant events of the death of Peter and Paul (A.D. 60?) and the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple (A.D. 70) since Acts is a history of the early Christian Church and included Peter and Paul’s accounts and travels? Logically, this would infer it was written prior to these dates.
This is significant because Jesus had prophesied its destruction when He said, “As for these things which you are looking at, the days will come in which there will not be left one stone upon another which will not be torn down” (Luke 21:6, see also Matt. 24:1; Mark 13:1). If they were written after the A.D. 70 destruction, don’t you think they would have included the event?
– Matthew: The various dates most widely held as possible writing dates of the Gospel are between A.D. 40-140. But Ignatius died around A.D. 115, and he quoted Matthew. Therefore, Matthew had to be written before he died. Nevertheless, it is generally believed that Matthew was written before A.D. 70 and as early as A.D. 50.
– Mark: Mark (the disciple of Peter received his information from Peter) is said to be the earliest gospel with an authorship of between A.D. 55 to A.D. 70.
– Luke: Luke was written before the book of Acts; and Acts does not mention “Nero’s persecution of the Christians in A.D. 64 or the deaths of the apostle James (Gal. 1:19, A.D. 62), Paul (A.D. 64), and Peter (A.D. 65).” Therefore, we can conclude that Luke was written before A.D. 62.
– John: The John Rylands papyrus fragment 52 of John’s gospel dated in the year 125-135 contains portions of John 18, verses 31-33, 37-38. This fragment was found in Egypt. It is the last of the gospels and appears to have been written in the 80s to 90s.
An important note is the lack of mention of the destruction of the Jewish temple in A.D. 70. But this is understandable since John was not focusing on historical events and was most probably written 20 or so years after the destruction of the Temple. John focused on the theological aspect of the person of Christ and listed His miracles and words that affirmed Christ’s deity.
– Book of Acts
Similarly, the book of Acts which was written after the gospel of Luke by Luke himself. Acts is a history of the Christian church right after Jesus’ ascension. Acts also fails to mention the incredibly significant events of A.D. 70 which would have been extremely relevant and prophetically important, yet it is not mentioned in Acts. Why? Because it was written before A.D. 70.
Acts does not include the accounts of “Nero’s persecution of the Christians in A.D. 64 or the deaths of the apostle James (Gal. 1:19, A.D. 62), Paul (A.D. 64), and Peter (A.D. 65),” and we have further evidence that it was written very early and not long after Jesus’ ascension into heaven.
“At the earliest, Acts cannot have been written prior to the latest firm chronological marker recorded in the book: Festus’ appointment as procurator (Acts 24:27), which, on the basis of independent sources, appears to have occurred between A.D. 55 and 59.”
“It is increasingly admitted that the Logia [Q] was very early, before A.D. 50, and Mark likewise if Luke wrote the Acts while Paul was still alive. Luke’s Gospel comes before the Acts (Acts 1:1). The date of Acts is still in dispute, but the early date (about A.D. 63) is gaining support constantly.”
If what is said of Acts is true, this would mean that Luke was written at least before A.D. 63 and possibly before 55-59 since Acts is the second in the series of writings by Luke. This means that the gospel of Luke was written within 30 years of Jesus’ death.
– Massacre of the babies
Bethlehem, as far as the Romans were concerned, was an insignificant and very small town located about five miles south of Jerusalem at around 2500 feet elevation. It probably had a population of no more than 500-600 people. Micah 5:2 it says, “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah . . . ”
If there were as many as 600 people in Bethlehem, how many children would have been under the age of two? Ten, twenty, thirty? Whatever the number, it would not have been hundreds. It would have been relatively few. Add to this the fact that Herod was known for committing horrendous crimes against people and you could see why this event in an insignificant village in the Jewish area might be ignored.
– Jews wandering in the desert
It may be that the traditional site of Mt. Sinai is incorrect. Gal. 4:25 says “Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children.” Present theories dealing with Mt. Sinai’s location have it in the Sinai Peninsula, yet the Bible says it was in Arabia.
– Darkness at Christ’s death
“Circa AD 52, Thallus wrote a history of the Eastern Mediterranean world from the Trojan War to his own time. This work itself has been lost and only fragments of it exist in the citations of others. One such scholar who knew and spoke of it was Julius Africanus, who wrote about AD 221 . . . In speaking of Jesus crucifixion and the darkness that covered the land during this event, Africanus found a reference in the writings of Thallus that dealt with this cosmic report. Africanus asserts: ‘On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun.'”
– Prophecies of the Bible
Odds of Jesus filling the prophecies:
The odds of Jesus fulfilling 48 of the 61 major prophecies concerning Him are 1 in 10157; that is a one with 157 zeros behind it. By comparison, the estimated number of electrons in the entire known universe is about 1079; that is a one with 79 zeros behind it.
– Virgin birth prophecy
Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”
Note: the Jews who translated the Septuagint (Greek Translation of the Hebrew Old Testament) translated Isaiah 7:14 as the word virgin–not young maiden.
Matt. 1:18,25, “This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary . . . was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit . . . But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.”
– Born in Bethlehem
Micah 5:2, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
Matt. 2:1, “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem.”
– Preceded by a messenger
Isaiah 40:3, “A voice of one calling: ‘In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.'”
Matt. 3:1-2, “In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.'”
– Side pierced
Zech. 12:10, “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one mourns for an only son.”
John 19:34, “Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.
Psalm 22:16-18, “a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.”
Luke 23:33, “When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals–one on his right, the other on his left.”
John 19:33, “But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.”
John 19:23-24, “When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes . . . they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.” This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, “They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” So this is what the soldiers did.”
– Scientific Accuracies in the Bible
The spherical shape of the earth (Isaiah 40:22).
The earth is suspended in nothing (Job. 26:7).
The stars are innumerable (Gen. 15:5).
The existence of valleys in the seas (2 Sam. 22:16).
The existence of springs and fountains in the sea (Gen.7:11; 8:2; Prov. 8:28).
The existence of water paths (ocean currents) in the seas (Psalm 8:8).
The water cycle (Job. 26:8; 36:27-28; 37:16; 38:25-27; Ps. 135:7; Ecc. 1:6-7).
The fact that all living things reproduce after their own kind (Gen. 1:21; 6:19).
The nature of health, sanitation, and sickness (Gen.17:9-14; Lev. 12-14).
The concept of entropy, that energy is running down (Psalm 102:26).
Historical revisionists like to tell the fable of the Medieval Church teaching that the earth is flat. Along with that fable skeptics feel vilified when science proves the Bible incorrect. Is this the case in actuality? No, it is a straw-man argument. As far back as the ancient Greeks, people knew that the earth was round.The whole fable is simply nineteenth century hype.
Oxford Professor Alister McGrath stated, “The idea that science and religion are in perpetual conflict is no longer taken seriously by any major historian of science. One of the last remaining bastions of atheism which survives only at the popular level – namely, the myth that an atheistic, fact-based science is permanently at war with a faith-based religion”
Have the skeptic show you the scripture where a flat earth is taught.
When you are confronted by an unbeliever stating that there is little or no intolerance or discrimination against Christians, here is a plethora of documentation, refuting that erroneous statement. Keep in mind that this is only Europe, not the rest of the world.
Please pray for our Christian Brothers and Sisters!