Pages from the Past
The Bible - Humanity's Greatest Heritage
Destroy the Bible and you have destroyed the most valuable portion of the literary heritage of the race, for this Book is the source and beginning of all good literature. There is matchless beauty in its words and the most sublime philosophy in its teachings. William Lyon Phelps calls the King James Version of the Bible the "best edition of the best book ever written." It would be impossible actually to destroy the Bible, for it is woven into the literature of the scholar and scientist as well as the talk of the man on the street.
Although the Bible was not written as a textbook of science, it does contain sufficient scientific wealth to, prove that we can have absolute confidence in its statements. While written to unfold the scheme of redemption for all mankind, the Book, nevertheless, abounds in scientific allusions; and we marvel at the accuracy with which these subjects are treated. Science was a long time discovering that the present order of things had a beginning. But the Bible asserts this fact in the very opening verse, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." (Gen. 1:1.) Science tells us that the creation was at first chaotic and that orderly arrangement came later. The Bible says, "And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep." (Gen. 1 :2.)
Millenniums of time went by before men of science discovered the fact that light existed before the sun was made. But Moses revealed this truth when he wrote, "And God said, Let there be light; and there was light." (Gen. 1:3.) But it was not until the fourth day of creation that "God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night." (Gen 1 :14-18.)
Geologists tell us that the strata of the earth were formed by water and point out the marine fossils on the highest mountain peaks. Long before this discovery the pen of Inspiration had recorded, "The waters stood above the mountains." (Ps. 104:6.) And all through those centuries of ignorance when most men believed the earth was flat, the Bible was saying, "It is he that sittest upon the circle of the earth." (Isa. 40:22.) While there was an occasonal flash of intuitive perception that caused a lone philosopher from time to time to contend for the rotundity of the earth, the idea that the world was without visible support was too much even for the greatest of the sages. But Job declared of the Lord that "He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing" (Job 26:7).
How was it possible for the writers of Scriptures to record the physical phenomena of the earth with such unerring scientific accuracy so many thousands of years prior to the establishment of the scientific truth of these declarations? There is but one answer: the book of Nature and the book of Revelation teach but one set of truth, and both books were penned by the same hand. The same Creator who made this vast universe also inspired the Holy Scriptures.
The Bible's accuracy in history, geography, and topography sustain its divine authorship and strengthen our confidence in it. Many facts recorded in secular history are accurately set forth on the pages of the Bible - written centuries before the events took place. The historians who lived as the Bible was being penned corroborate the accuracy of its statements; those who came centuries later stand in awe before the Book's unerring fidelity in describing the events that happened long after the bones of the penmen had returned to dust. The minor errors to which critics point have been inserted by copyists and only serve to prove the credibility of the volume. No other book of antiquity will stand the test to which the Bible has been exposed. Critics have worn out their hammers pounding away on the anvil of God's word. The hammers break and crumble, but the anvil is still there. Every time the archaeologist puts his spade into the sand, the Bible record receives another confirmation.
The Bible is the only book which has withstood alike the attacks of its critics and the neglect of its friends. Fire and sword have been its aggressors; kings and crusades have tried to destroy it. All in vain. At the beginning of the fourth century Diocletian launched a vehement attack upon the Bible. He ruthlessly sought out and destroyed every scrap of Scripture that could be found in the earth. Christians perished by the thousands, and a column of triumph was erected which declared, "The name of the Christian has been extinguished." But within twenty short years the Bible had come forth again to rekindle the world and to be endorsed by Constantine in 325 A.D. as the infallible judge of truth.
Voltaire declared that within one hundred years after his day there would be no Bible to be found anywhere except in a museum. He believed that "reason" would replace the Bible. But Voltaire is gone and all but forgotten, while the Bible continues year after year its leading position as the world's best seller. The powers of this earth rise and vanish, "but the word of our God shall stand forever." (Isa. 40:8.) It was Jesus Christ Himself who said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." (Matt. 24:35.)
The Bible is the only source-book of God's plan for human redemption. Sin and guilt are. recognized as universal. (Rom. 5:12.) The Bible presents the only antidote for sin, the only hope for the world. God sent His Son to be a propitiation for our sins, "and not for ours only, but also for the whole world." (I John 2:2.) A knowledge of the Son is necessarv for eternal life. (John 17:3.) And Jesus said, "If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments." (John 14:15.) He has commanded us to believe in Him (John 8 :24) ; to repent of our sins (Lk. 13 :3 ) ; to confess Him before men (Matt. 10:32, 33) ; and to be baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (Matt. 28:18, 19.) He then requires that we live according to the "commandments" He has given. (Matt. 28: 20.) If we do these things, His promises are sure and inviolable. They will be kept.
The Bible is the living word of the living God; "supernatural in origin, eternal in duration, inexpressible in value, infinite in scope, divine in authorship, human in penmanship, regenerative in power, infallible in authority, universal in interest and personal in application." This book is worthy of our confidence. Will you not study it carefully, prayerfully, and persistently? Believe what it says; obey what it teaches. God will reward you if thus you do.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: The preceding article was originally published in the Gospel Guardian, December 12, 1956.)
Truth Magazine II:2, pp. 18-19