Is the Bible a Pack of Lies?
Derryck believes the Bible is false. We offer rationale and evidence that it is true.

Derryck asks: One of my many bibles is over 200 years old and is chronologically dated. So my first question to you is, Quote: The creation is dated 4004 BC. This makes the universe approximately only 6000 years old, do you believe this be factually correct? I have studied the bible over many years. Before I read it I was led to believe it was a true historical record but having studied it I now know that this cannot be true. It's difficult to know where to start because I have come across that many contradictions that it has to be a total pack of lies. Saying that reminds me of a quote by Thomas Paine, one of the 'founding fathers' who famously stated that 'The word of God is in his creation, not in a book of lies written by men.' You see, like me, he also read the bible and we have reached the same conclusion and because of this I feel honoured.
Question about A Point of Doctrine: Errors in the Bible
Motivation - Curiosity: Sincere curiosity; Student: Doing research
Bible view - Ancient literature - [question 78, Tuesday, 24-Jan-2012]

Hello, Derryck. We appreciate your candor. AFTB has received multiple comments from non-believers, but you are the first to actually go on record and ask a question. Not only that, you are the first non-believer who has told AFTB that he or she actually reads the Bible. We respect that. Here is our answer to your challenge. We address the age of the Earth question in our article on dinosaurs, found at this AFTB link.

Thomas Paine

Derryck mentions Thomas Paine in his question. According to WikiQuote, Thomas Paine had a lot to say about religion. One quote that caught my eye is this:

All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

This, of course, is true. National churches generally enslave. The first amendment to the US Constitution addresses this head-on, and this is why Jefferson was correct when he pushed for separation of church and state. However, Derryck raises a question about the validity of the Bible, not about human organizations such as the church. The Bible asserts that all people come short of God-prescribed perfection. In a scathing rebuke of human goodness, a prophet in the Bible says:

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
- Jeremiah 17:9 [KJV]

It follows that human institutions are inherently corrupt. This applies to churches and every other institution. It also applies to your situation, Derryck. Perhaps a misguided person taught you that the Bible is a history book. The Bible is not a history book. Nor is it a science book, calculating the age of the Earth. Instead, the Bible is a book about morality, human relationships, overall well being, spirituality, and similar personal aspects of everyday life. History and science appear in the Bible, but it is a mistake to interpret these subjects as the Bible's primary message. Instead, view them as pointers to God, His character, what He does for you and others, and how we can honor Him. We address history and science later in this article.

Curiously, the specific quotation Derryck attributes to Thomas Paine appears on WikiQuotes as follows:

The word of God is the creation we behold and it is in this word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man.

This is so true, and the Bible agrees. Paine links the word of God to creation. There is a parallel verse in the Bible which completely ratifies Paine's assertion. It is Psalms 19, seen in the box below. The Psalm says that the heavens tell all people about God. This is precisely what Paine asserts. No human intervention is required to see God in His creation. So Thomas Paine, the Bible, and hopefully Derryck agree that the majesty of God appears unobstructed in the universe around us.

The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
- Psalms 19:1 [NASB]

In addition to Psalms 19, there are several Bible passages that assert the invisible God is visible through the awe and splendor of the universe around us (Romans 1:20, Deuteronomy 4:19, Job 31:28, Psalms 8:3, Hebrews 1:1, Isaiah 40:s26, John 3:8, Romans 2:15). Romans 1:20 goes as far as saying that no human being has an excuse; everyone has seen God through His creation.

What is the Primary Authority in Your Life?

It sounds, Derryck, that you have made a personal decision about the primary (or ultimate) authority in your life. You have chose reason as your primary authority. This is a good. Many people have not made such a decision or even addressed the question. Not only that, you have read the Bible and concluded that it is not worthy of governing your life. So reason, not the Bible, governs Derryck's behavior.

Unlike Derryck, other readers may not have made a personal decision about ultimate authority. The list of possible governing authorities is surprisingly short:

  • Your own reasoning, as Derryck has chosen
  • Pure logic
  • Your senses
  • Your personal fortitude (e.g., I did it my way)
  • Your feelings
  • A teacher
  • The Bible
  • The Qu'ran or other writings
  • Nothing governs my behavior
  • I have not decided

what is the ultimate authority in your life?
Have you asked yourself this question? What is the primary authority in your life? You have one, but you may not know what it is. We encourage you to think about this important question.

Why Should the Bible be an Authority in Your Life?

Perhaps most people, like Derryck, choose reason as their primary governing principle. Reason is a good choice. Other choices such a senses, feelings or nothing surely lead to trouble. But AFTB submits that choosing the Bible is a very reasonable thing to do. Your own reasoning takes time to develop, and is subject to errors due to lack or experience or improper teaching. There are many strong arguments for biblical superiority over personal reason as a primary authority. Here is a short list.

The Bible has influenced the course of human history more than any other book. In fact, most scholars and historians acknowledge the Bible as the foundation of Western civilization. For Easterners, even the holy book of Islam, the Qur’an, which was written hundreds of years after the Bible, calls Jews and Christians people of the Book.

The Bible continues to improve lives of millions of individuals worldwide. Countless numbers of personal accounts tell of the Bible as a source of inspiration and encouragement in people's private lives. These testimonies range from simple 'I feel better now' observations to astounding, miraculous reversals of death, despair, and desperation in the lives of individuals who read and practice the Bible.

As literature, the Bible has an unmatched majestic beauty and profound depth. It is analyzed and studied in schools and universities along with other world-renouned literature. Dr. D. James Kennedy claims 'There is nothing like it in the all the literature of the world.' Much of this article is based on an important book by D. James Kennedy entitled Why I Believe.

The Bible is filled with historical detail, much of which has been, or is being validated by archaeologists and historians. This runs against Derryck's pack of lies argument. Even though morality, not history, is the Bible's focus, the correctness of the Bible's many historical facts undergirds its authority to govern people's lives. Periodicals such as Biblical Archaeology Review document an ongoing verification of fine-grained historical details in the Bible. A few examples with Wikipedia references are:

This Wikipedia page lists 52 major excavations and surveys related to the Bible between 1841 and 2007.

Recently, Dr. Eilat Mazar, a third-generation Israeli archaeologist affiliated with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, uncovered two small clay seal impressions that bear the names of two obscure Bible personalities: Yehuchal (Jucal) son of Shelemiah and Gedaliah son of Pashur. These men were opponents of the famous prophet Jeremiahm, and their story appears in Jeremiah 38:1. Of her discovery, Dr. Mazar said, 'It is not often that such discoveries happen in which real figures of the past shake off the dust of history and so vividly revive the stories of the Bible.'

Discovery of Israeli archaeologist Eilat Mazar
Israeli archaeologist Eilat Mazar recently uncovered these two seal impressions from two biblical personalities of Jeremiah 38:1, Yehuchal (Jucal) son of Shelemiah and Gedaliah son of Pashur. Click the image to view the web site of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, with which Dr. Mazar is associated. AFTB thanks them for use of their image.

Note that these are historical references, not scientific references. Derryck brings up the age of the Earth as a biblical scientific reference. However, scientists are still unsure about the origin of the universe, so it is a matter of faith as well as a matter of science. We have a short discussion of the age of the earth on this page of the AFTB web site.

The Bible contains predictive prophecy which has proven true over the ages. Unlike Buddha, Confucius, and Lao-tse who produced no predictive prophecy, and unlike Mohammed who produced only one (that he would return to Mecca), the Old Testament has 2000 predictive prophecies that are incredibly specific and detailed. The literal fulfillment of these prophecies supports the Bible's claim of special status relative to other authorities of personal governance.

Since literal fulfillment predictive prophecy is the most convincing of pro-Bible arguments, it is attacked most vigorously by anti-Bible forces. A Google search of 'predictive prophecy' yeilds an abundance of articles for and against it. Here again, this calls for a personal research, analysis, and decision.

The Bible presents Jesus Christ as either a lunatic, a liar, or Lord of all. The claims in the Bible about Jesus Christ are completely astounding. A 'normal' book would not make such claims. The man Jesus claims to be God Himself. That is, Jesus claims to be the Creator of the universe in human flesh.

In his book Mere Christianity, Christian thinker C. S. Lewis makes this bold statement about the Bible's Jesus:

A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg - or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us.

The Role of Faith

Once in a while you find someone who is completely sold out to the Bible and to the God it proclaims. This happens when faith is added to the rationalities presented above. What is faith? Here is how the Bible defines it:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
- Hebrews 11:1 [KJV]

We encourage you to muster your own faith, and place it in the Bible, its message, and its God. As the verse says, treat faith as a real substance and rationale evidence of things beyond your grasp. Reason coupled with Bible-based faith is a powerful formula for an exciting, healthy, and fulfilled life. In fact, the Bible without faith is an empty shell; but with faith, the Bible promises great reward:

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
- Hebrews 11:6 [KJV]

Still Unconvinced?

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
- Psalms 1:1ff [KJV]

If you are not convinced the Bible is worthwhile, why not follow Derryck's lead and give it a try? Start with Genesis, the first book of the Bible. Every major Bible doctrine is introduced in Genesis. After reading Genesis, you might want to skip next to Deuteronomy, or Second Law, which summarizes Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. In the New Testament, start with Matthew. For relaxation and encouragement, read Psalms and Proverbs.

You can read the tried-and-true King James Version (going strong since 1611AD), or any of the several modern versions. Only theology students and a few religious zealots care about which version they read. Any version from a mainstream bookstore or library will do just fine.

Finally, we think it is a good idea to check out the article What is the Meaning of Life? on this web site. This article provides good context for Bible reading. Do you know what the meaning of life is? It might surprise you to discover the Bible's answer!

by Paul Richards

Mon, 26-Jun-2017 03:44:44 GMT, unknown: 642324 AB.nJTgZcqA1o