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The Reasons to Believe

This podcast is designed to equip Christians to do what the Holy Scriptures command, and that is to, “earnestly contend for the faith” and to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh us a reason of the hope that is in us.”

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God & Glory – Life After Death (Reasons to Believe #184)

Welcome to The Reasons to Believe podcast, episode #184. My name is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International.

Our Reasons to Believe Scripture Passage for today is Hebrews 9:27. It reads, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”

Our Reasons to Believe quote for today is from Sam Storms. He said, “The word ‘death’ is used in Scripture to describe three experiences: 1. Spiritual death, or the separation or alienation of the individual soul from God (cf. Gen. 2:17; 3:3, 8-9; Eph. 2:1, 5); Eternal death or second death, which is the culmination or eternal continuation of spiritual death (cf. Rev. 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8); 3. Physical death which is the temporary separation of the material and immaterial aspects of the human constitution (cf. Gen. 35:18; James 2:26; Phil. 1:21-24; 2 Cor. 5:1-8, 1 Cor. 15:35-58).”

Today we are returning to “The Handbook of Christian Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli, which we were using as our guide for this podcast before taking a brief detour with John R. Rice’s “Our God-breathed Book: The Bible” since the authors were starting to say some things which I disagree with on the matter of scripture, its inerrancy and interpretation, etc. So, we are back with a new topic. Our Reasons to Believe powerpoint today comes from Part 5 of the Handbook titled “God & Glory” – Chapter 10: Life After Death:

The human race has come up with six basic theories about what happens to us when we die.

Materialism: Nothing survives. Death ends all of me. Seldom held before the eighteenth century, materialism is now a strong minority view in industrialized nations. It is the natural accompaniment of atheism.
Paganism: A vague, shadowy semiself or ghost survives and goes to the place of the dead, the dark, gloomy Underworld. This is the standard pagan belief. Traces of it can be found even in the Old Testament Jewish notion of sheol. The “ghost” that survives is less alive, less substantial, less real than the flesh and blood organism now living. It is something like a “ghost image” on a TV set: a pale copy of the lost original.
Reincarnation: The individual soul survives and is reincarnated into another body. Reincarnation is usually connected with the next belief, pantheism, by the notion of karma: that after the soul has fulfilled its destiny, and learned its lessons and become sufficiently enlightened, it reverts to a divine status or is absorbed into (or realizes its timeless identity with) the divine All.
Pantheism: Death changes nothing, for what survives death is the same as what was real before death: only the one, changeless, eternal, perfect, spiritual, divine, all-inclusive Reality, sometimes called by a name (“Brahman”) and sometimes not (as in Buddhism). In this view—that of Eastern mysticism—all separateness, including time, is an illusion. Therefore, in this view, the very question of what happens after death is mistaken. The question is not solved but dissolved.
Immortality: The individual soul survives death, but not the body. This soul eventually reaches its eternal destiny of heaven or hell, perhaps through intermediate stages, perhaps through reincarnation. But what survives is an individual, bodiless spirit. This is Platonism, often confused with Christianity.
Resurrection: At death, the soul separates from the body and is reunited at the end of the world to its new, immortal, resurrected body by a divine miracle. This is the Christian view. This view, the supernatural resurrection of the body rather than the natural immortality of the soul alone, is the only version of life after death in Scripture. It is dimly prophesied and hoped for in the Old Testament, but clearly revealed in the New.

For both (5) and (6), the individual soul survives bodily death. That is the issue we shall argue here. We do not take the time to argue against paganism (2) or reincarnation (3) or pantheism (4) here, but only against modern materialism (1), since that is the source of most of the philosophical arguments against immortality in our culture.

We divide our argumentation into seven basic subdivisions, which are placed in an ascending order of compelling force. The refutation of objections merely makes life after death possible. The arguments from authority (i.e., secondhand) are weaker than arguments from reason (i.e., firsthand) because they have an extra link, the trustworthiness of the authority. Within arguments from reason, reason finds better reasons in itself than in mature and better reasons in God than in itself. Arguments from experience are even more convincing and direct than arguments from reason. And within experience, some classes of people have special experiences which give them special certainty.

Lord willing, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

—PRAYER—

Now, if you are listening today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, my friend, please keep in mind these reasons to believe. God bless!

Our God-breathed Book: The Bible, Part 6 (Reasons to Believe #183)

Welcome to The Reasons to Believe podcast, episode #183. My name is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International.

Our Reasons to Believe Scripture Passage for today is Galatians 1:8-9. It reads, “Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”

Our Reasons to Believe quote for today is from R. A. Torrey. He said, “The truly wise man is he who believes the Bible against the opinions of any man.”

As I promised in a previous episode, today we are continuing to take a brief detour from “The Handbook of Christian Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli, which we were using as our guide for this podcast, since they were starting to say some things which I disagree with on the matter of scripture, its validity and interpretation, etc. For this topic, we are now using “Our God-breathed Book: The Bible – The Verbally Inspired, Eternal, Inerrant Word of God” by John R. Rice. Our Reasons to Believe powerpoint today comes from the Author’s Foreword, Part 6:

We have two strong words to say in conclusion. One is, in the words of the inspired apostle in Galatians 1:8-9, “Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” And any interpretation of Scripture by those who deny the deity, virgin birth, and atoning death of Jesus Christ to save sinful men, is to be counted accursed. We do not need infidels to teach us about Christ and the Bible.

The next earnest word I would say is that those who are not much concerned about saving sinners, whose great concern is not to obey Christ in winning souls to Him, are not obedient Christians and thus not likely to have the high doctrine of Scripture of soul-winning scholars. A Spurgeon, a Talmage, a Torrey, a Riley, or a Rimmer, who were close to Christ, more filled with His Spirit, obediently winning souls, were far more likely to have the mind of Christ about the Bible than any scholarly scoffers.

The millions of devoted, common Christians who through the centuries have regarded the Bible as the inspired, infallible Word of God, are right. And honest, reverent scholarship will not change nor put questions about that truth but rather reinforce it.

Now we offer humbly, for God’s blessing, this book, the result of enormous labor. Since we entered into an active defense of the verbal inspiration of the Bible in a statewide controversy in Texas forty years ago, we have studied everything on this subject by responsible scholars that we could find. And we have, God knows, studied the Scriptures with passion and holy zeal to find all that God claimed for His Word. How many hundreds of pages of notes we have written in longhand! How many months of labor on the manuscript! We humbly commit it to God for His blessing.

JOHN R. RICE
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
1969

Lord willing, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

—PRAYER—

Now, if you are listening today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, my friend, please keep in mind these reasons to believe. God bless!

Our God-breathed Book: The Bible, Part 5 (Reasons to Believe #182)

Welcome to The Reasons to Believe podcast, episode #182. My name is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International.

Our Reasons to Believe Scripture Passage for today is Psalm 119:89. It reads, “For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.”

Our Reasons to Believe quote for today is from James R. White. He said, “How one views Scripture will determine the rest of one’s theology. There is no more basic issue: Every system of thought that takes seriously the claims of the Bible to be the inspired, authoritative Word of God will share a commitment to particular central truths, and that without compromise. Those systems that do not begin with this belief in Scripture will exhibit a wide range of beliefs that will shift over time in light of the ever-changing whims and views of culture. Almost every single collapse involving denominations and churches in regard to historic Christian beliefs can be traced back to a degradation in that group’s view of the Bible as the inspired and inerrant revelation of God’s truth. Once this foundation is lost, the house that was built upon it cannot long stand….The fact that many churches avoid uncomfortable topics, not only in the preaching of the Word but in Bible study as well, leads to the creation of blind spots in the theology of even the most devout Christians. These blind spots can then function as a door through which false teaching is introduced; hence the importance of doing as Paul said, preaching the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27 ESV).”

As I promised in a previous episode, today we are continuing to take a brief detour from “The Handbook of Christian Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli, which we were using as our guide for this podcast, since they were starting to say some things which I disagree with on the matter of scripture, its validity and interpretation, etc. For this topic, we are now using “Our God-breathed Book: The Bible – The Verbally Inspired, Eternal, Inerrant Word of God” by John R. Rice. Our Reasons to Believe powerpoint today comes from the Author’s Foreword, Part 5:

Dr. Charles Lee Feinberg, dean of Talbot Theological Seminary, La Mirada, California, wrote the following kind words:

Dear Dr. Rice:

Let me thank you very warmly for having written me at such great length.

It is not often that one sees in written form exactly what one has come to believe through the years with reference to the Word of God. I could write a book on all your paragraphs, but it will have to suffice to say that you have a very high regard for Scripture, and every point that you have made is amply substantiated by the Word of God.

May the Lord give you many years to set forth the truths that are very precious to us. If our view of Scripture be faulty, then everything else must be wrong.

Yours in His faithfulness,
/s/ Charles Lee Feinberg
Charles Lee Feinberg,
Dean

Dr. S. Maxwell Coder, dean of education, Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, wrote as follows:

Dear Dr. Rice:

Thank you for your very gracious letter of May 14. I am delighted to learn that you are writing a book on the inspiration of the Bible. It is a pleasure and a privilege to comment on the points you have raised.

I have always believed as you do that the Scriptures were known in their entirety in the mind of God efore the foundation of the world. I have used Psalm 119:89, 152 in support of this. The Holy Spirit has evidently spoken to both of us through these same verses. The content of the Scriptures and the death of the Lamb of God in my understanding are two of the elements in the total plan of God which antedate the foundation of the world.

The Scriptures which you have cited to demonstrate that God prepared the holy men who were used to give us the Bible long beforehand say precisely the same thing to me that they do to you. I am glad to have this listing and these comments which you have prepared.

You and I both know that we are regarded as holding extreme views because we take such verses literally, but I can take no other position, and no one is going to shake my convictions about this.

May the Lord greatly use your book when it is published.
Sincerely in Christ,
/s/ S. Maxwell Coder
S. Maxwell Coder
Dean of Education

These men, of course, are not responsible for the views expressed in this book except as they have stated their opinions in the letters above. We are grateful for their counsel and that of other men who wrote.

Lord willing, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

—PRAYER—

Now, if you are listening today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, my friend, please keep in mind these reasons to believe. God bless!

Our God-breathed Book: The Bible, Part 4 (Reasons to Believe #181)

Welcome to The Reasons to Believe podcast, episode #181. My name is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International.

Our Reasons to Believe Scripture Passage for today is Ezekiel 3:1-3. It reads, “Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll. And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.”

Our Reasons to Believe quote for today is from R.A. Torrey. He said, “God’s Word is pure and sure, in spite of the devil, in spite of your fear, in spite of everything.”

As I promised in a previous episode, today we are continuing to take a brief detour from “The Handbook of Christian Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli, which we were using as our guide for this podcast, since they were starting to say some things which I disagree with on the matter of scripture, its validity and interpretation, etc. For this topic, we are now using “Our God-breathed Book: The Bible – The Verbally Inspired, Eternal, Inerrant Word of God” by John R. Rice. Our Reasons to Believe powerpoint today comes from the Author’s Foreword, Part 4:

2. Romans 8:29 tells us that God did foreknow all those who would be saved. And I Peter 1:2 says that certain Christians are “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.” I think that the choice of salvation is offered to all men but that God knows who will be saved. If this be true, as these Scriptures seem to say, that God knows ahead of time about every individual, would it not mean that the writers of the Scripture and the circumstances surrounding them and their characteristics and personality were all known ahead of time so that God would make the eternal Word when it comes in human words, be with the words and color and the human element which He Himself had carefully prepared?

Forgive me for writing at such length, but I need your help. I am not writing for controversy but asking for counsel.

I will be deeply grateful if I may hear from you, and if you will give me your frank opinion about these matters before I should incorporate them in the book.

In Jesus’ name, yours,
John R. Rice

Dr. R. Laird Harris, dean of the faculty, Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, wrote as follows:

Dear Dr. Rice:

Thank you for your letter of 19 May and the searching questions that you propose. I am interested that you are writing this study on inspiration, for although the subject has been written on often before, yet we constantly need new treatments to consider and to oppose the new ideas that are everywhere around. May the Lord bless your effort and give it wide usefulness.

I think you have considered very carefully the questions that you raise, and there is really not much more that I need to say. On your first question, “Did the Scriptures exist completely in the mind and plan of God before they were given for men to write down?” I would say that you have argued very cogently that they did. The Scriptures that you quote seem to say so, and the Old Testament types and prophecies would involve the same thing. You are quite right to guard this teaching by remembering that not only was the Word of God fixed in the mind of God, but that this included the human instruments and testimony and feelings and experiences that were to be incorporated in the Bible. These too were planned, and we must insist that they were planned in such a way that what these writers would say was true, God Himself being the author.

On your second question, “How much were the Bible writers conditioned, etc….?” again I believe you have given the arguments rightly. God did prepare His prophets and apostles ahead of time. Isaiah wrote in elevated style. The Book of Chronicles is more prosaic. But then God is interested in all kinds of people and uses all kinds of people to give His Word. The only point is that when He gives it, He gives it in truth.

You have mentioned Isaiah and Jeremiah. I would add also Ezekiel, who was given a scroll to eat which God Himself had written. The words of this scroll were to be given out to the people, but obviously they were Ezekiel’s words as well as God’s words. The result therefore is that the Bible is truly the Word of God and every word in it is God-breathed, and yet it is also the word of men who spoke what God wished them to speak, and spoke in accordance with His will as they themselves naturally would speak with their own characteristics. Only, these characteristics are overridden by the Spirit of God who preserved them from error in fact, doctrine and judgment. You have outlined the problems and answers very well; I simply say “Amen!”

* * *
Sincerely in Christ,
/s/ Laird Harris
R. Laird Harris
Dean of Faculty

Lord willing, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

—PRAYER—

Now, if you are listening today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, my friend, please keep in mind these reasons to believe. God bless!

Our God-breathed Book: The Bible, Part 3 (Reasons to Believe #180)

Welcome to The Reasons to Believe podcast, episode #180. My name is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International.

Our Reasons to Believe Scripture Passage for today is Psalm 119:89. It reads, “For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.”

Our Reasons to Believe quote for today is from Ken Ham. He said, “Imagine if we started raising generations of children who stood uncompromisingly on the Word of God, knew how to defend the Christian faith, could answer the skeptical questions of this age, and had a fervor to share the gospel from the authority of God’s Word with whomever they met! This could change the world.”

As I promised in a previous episode, today we are continuing to take a brief detour from “The Handbook of Christian Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli, which we were using as our guide for this podcast, since they were starting to say some things which I disagree with on the matter of scripture, its validity and interpretation, etc. For this topic, we are now using “Our God-breathed Book: The Bible – The Verbally Inspired, Eternal, Inerrant Word of God” by John R. Rice. Our Reasons to Believe powerpoint today comes from the Author’s Foreword, Part 3:

3. The whole matter of the crucifixion of Christ, the types picturing it, the allusions to it, and the doctrines involved, were evidently planned before God killed innocent animals and made garments for naked Adam and Eve and before righteous Abel offered a sacrifice that pictured Christ. It seems that is involved in the mention of Christ as “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” in Revelation 13:8.

I am deeply concerned to see the truth about this, and if what I am suggesting is true, then the Word of God and whatever human color, testimony, feelings and experiences are incorporated in the Word of God were planned of God ahead of time and thus incorporated in the Bible. If I am not understanding these Scriptures correctly in the light of some other Scripture or Bible truth, I honestly want to know it and will welcome any counsel or criticism that may come to mind.

II. HOW MUCH WERE THE BIBLE WRITERS CONDITIONED AND PREPARED AHEAD OF TIME SO THAT THEY WOULD UTTER EXACTLY THE WORDS OF GOD, IN THEIR OWN VOCABULARIES, AND EXPRESS ALSO THEIR OWN CONDITIONS, FEELINGS AND TESTIMONIES?

1. Some Scriptures seem to say that God so prepared His men ahead of time that their personalities, their surrounding conditions and their terminologies, would be distinctive, yet fit exactly the words of Scripture which He would give them.

For example, Isaiah 49:1 and 2, “The Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me.” And verse 5 says, “Now, saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him….” I would think that the beautiful language, the color, the exalted artistry of the writing of Isaiah is involved in this “polished shaft” that God made him and that God made his “mouth like a sharp sword.” Thus if God prepared Isaiah with his characteristics, his surroundings, his vocabulary, and if God prepared the Word of God ahead of time, then it would represent Isaiah and God, yet we could say that the Bible is “every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4), and that the Scripture is “not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth” (I Cor. 2:13).

A similar thing is said about Jeremiah, in Jeremiah 1:4-9: “Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Then said I, Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord. Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.” Jeremiah was known and sanctified and ordained a prophet before he was formed in the womb, this Scripture says. And then Jeremiah should speak “whatsoever I command thee,” the Lord said, and “I have put my words in thy mouth.” It seems to me that the eternal Word, already settled in Heaven, and God’s prophet, known and sanctified and ordained before he was born, fit together to give to us the Scriptures that are wholly God’s words and yet through the words of men (in the original manuscripts).

In the light of the above Scriptures, Galatians 1:15 and 16, regarding the Apostle Paul, may have the same meaning. “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood.” Was every detail of Paul’s life so governed and controlled and known ahead of time by the Lord that when he wrote Scriptures, the Scriptures would be put in the words and colored by the vocabulary and personality and characteristics which God had already prepared and planned?

Lord willing, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

—PRAYER—

Now, if you are listening today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, my friend, please keep in mind these reasons to believe. God bless!

Our God-breathed Book, Part 2 (Reasons to Believe #179)

Welcome to The Reasons to Believe podcast, episode #179. My name is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International.

Our Reasons to Believe Scripture Passage for today is 2 Timothy 3:16. It reads, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”

Our Reasons to Believe quote for today is from Norman Geisler. He said, “The inerrancy of Scripture is the foundational doctrine in which all other doctrines rest, and the Psalmist rightly said, ‘If the foundation be destroyed, then what can the righteous do?’”

As I promised in our last episode, today we are taking a brief detour from “The Handbook of Christian Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli, which we were using as our guide for this podcast, since they were starting to say some things which I disagree with on the matter of scripture, its validity and interpretation, etc. For this topic, we will now use “Our God-breathed Book: The Bible – The Verbally Inspired, Eternal, Inerrant Word of God” by John R. Rice. Our Reasons to Believe powerpoint today comes from the Author’s Foreword, Part 2:

To get the viewpoint of a number of the best Bible-believing scholars, we wrote to some of them the following letter:

Dear Dr. ———-:

I am writing to you and about twelve other godly scholars concerning a matter of great interest to me and, I think, to you. Because of my faith in your devotion to Christ and the Bible, and my respect for your scholarship, I want your counsel.

I have been working for months on a book on the inspiration of the Bible. There are other good books on inspiration, but because of certain areas about the human sources and color in the Scriptures, some good men keep insisting on a “restudy” of inspiration. There is the seeming paradox that men wrote the Bible, and in it express their hopes and desires, their history, their testimonies, and yet the Bible insistently declares that God gave the very words of the Scripture. In a study of this matter there are thoughts that come to mind, on which I would be deeply grateful if you can counsel with me.

I. DID THE SCRIPTURES EXIST COMPLETELY IN THE MIND AND PLAN OF GOD BEFORE THEY WERE GIVEN FOR MEN TO WRITE DOWN?

1. Some Scriptures seem to teach so. Psalm 119:89 says, “For ever, O Lord, they word is settled in heaven.” Was all the Word of God, including the part yet unwritten, settled in Heaven when this Psalm was written?

On the same line, Psalm 119:152 says, “Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever.” I not the past tense. That seems to teach that they were founded before they were written down.

In Acts 15:18 we read, “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.” That is recorded as a statement of James, but I regard it as an inspired and authoritative statement. If so, does not that mean that all the Bible, in detail, was known unto God from the beginning of the world?

2. Consider the ceremonial law. The Tabernacle in the wilderness, and its furniture and appointments, were evidently copied after a heavenly tabernacle which Moses saw in Heaven. Hebrews 8:2 speaks of Christ as “a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.” And verse 5 says that earthly priests “…serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.” Would that not mean then that all the ceremonial matters involved, and their spiritual meaning, were already planned out in every detail before the Scriptures were written down?

Lord willing, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

—PRAYER—

Now, if you are listening today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, my friend, please keep in mind these reasons to believe. God bless!

Reasons to Believe #177

Welcome to The Reasons to Believe podcast, episode #177. My name is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International.

Our Reasons to Believe Scripture Passage for today is Psalm 119:105. It reads, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

Our Reasons to Believe quote for today is from Tim Keller. He said, “We should let Scripture interpret us more than we interpret Scripture.”

Our Reason to Believe powerpoint today is titled “The Bible: Myth or History?, Part 9” from “The Handbook of Christian Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli.

The authors continue with the third part of this chapter subtitled, “Eight Basic Principles of Biblical Interpretation.”

Know Which Stories Are Historical

There are three possibilities here: literal history, nonliteral history or fiction (drama, parable, fable, myth—many forms). Modern history is usually literal. Traditional history is often nonliteral—for example, the speeches in Thucydides. Fictions are not historical at all.

Some biblical stories are literal history—for example, the court history of the kings of Israel. Some is nonliteral history—for example, the story of the Garden of Eden and the Fall in Genesis 3, and the creation story in Genesis 1 and 2. And some stories are literary fictions—for example, the parables, perhaps Jonah, probably Job.

Genesis 3 is the crucial example in the Old Testament. There are three reasons why the Fall can’t be mere moral parable or fiction. First, if the Fall is not historical at all, then its effects—suffering and death—also are not historical. If sin is historical in its effects, it must be historical in its cause.

Second, if Adam’s fall didn’t really happen, then Christ’s salvation need not have really happened either. Paul deliberately juxtaposes and parallels these two in Romans 6, calling Christ the New Man or Second Adam. If “the first Adam” was not historical, why must the second Adam be? If the disease is merely mythic, not historical, then the cure can be merely mythic, not historical.

Finally, if the Fall didn’t really happen in history, then God rather than humanity is to blame for sin, for God must have created us as sinners rather than innocents. If there was never any real unfallen state, then we were sinners from the first moment of our creation, and God was wrong to declare everything he made “good.”

So the story must be historical. But it need not be literal. The two trees, the talking snake and the magic fruit seem to be poetic symbols rather than literal, physical things.

The same is true of the creation poems in Genesis 1 and 2. Creation really happened; God really did design and create the universe and all its ordered species. But these chapters cannot possibly be literal eyewitness descriptions, for there were no eyes before there were humans. And God has no physical body or literal eyes. So this story must fit the middle category: historical but not literal.

It is not difficult to decide where most passages in the Bible are meant to fit. Until the modernists came along, nearly all readers, educated and uneducated alike, interpreted nearly all passages in nearly the same ways. God did not design the Bible to be a dark puzzle for bright scholars but to be a bright lamp for travelers through a dark world.

Lord willing, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

—PRAYER—

Now, if you are listening today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, my friend, please keep in mind these reasons to believe. God bless!

The Bible: Myth or History?, Part 8 (The Reasons to Believe #176)

Welcome to The Reasons to Believe podcast, episode #176. My name is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International.

Our Reasons to Believe Scripture Passage for today is Matthew 4:4. It reads, “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

Our Reasons to Believe quote for today is from Thomas Aquinas. He said, “The author of Holy Writ is God, in whose power it is to signify his meaning not by words only (as man also can do) but also by things themselves.”

Our Reason to Believe powerpoint today is titled “The Bible: Myth or History?, Part 8” from “The Handbook of Christian Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli.

The authors continue with the third part of this chapter subtitled, “Eight Basic Principles of Biblical Interpretation.”

Know When to Interpret the Bible Literally vs. Symbolically

Modernists often interpret “turn the other cheek” literally and embrace pacifism, but interpret the miracles symbolically and embrace naturalism. Why? Fundamentalists often interpret the “days” of creation literally and reject evolution, but interpret “This is my body” symbolically and reject the notion of the real presence in the Eucharist. Why? Are there any consistent and objective guidelines for literal versus symbolic interpretation?

The first and simplest answer is this: When the biblical author claims he saw something in the external world with his own eyes, or that someone else did and told him, then we are to interpret it literally. (Remember, we must distinguish interpretation from belief; to say we must interpret it literally is not to say we must believe it.) On the other hand, when a thing is not visible to the eye, we cannot interpret it literally. Here are three such cases.

1. Sometimes the object in question is by its nature invisible, like God or the soul.

2. Sometimes the author claims to have “seen” it only with the inner eye, in a vision or a dream.

3. And sometimes the author “made it up”; it is fiction, like a parable.

The line between literal and nonliteral is not simply the line between natural and supernatural, or miraculous. For one thing, miracles are visible, not invisible, at least in their effects, though not in their causes. For another thing, the natural-or-supernatural criterion is an external criterion taken from philosophy or theology, not an internal criterion taken from the form of the text itself.

We find important examples of symbolic language in the Bible’s first and last books: the first three chapters of Genesis and the last eighteen chapters of Revelation. We find important examples of literal language in the miracle stories in both Old and New Testaments. But both fundamentalists and modernists seem prone to violate this simple guideline here, for theological rather than textual reasons. Fundamentalists have theological reasons for not wanting to interpret Genesis symbolically, and modernists have theological reasons for not wanting to interpret miracles literally. But these are both criteria of belief, not interpretation.

Another point both sides ignore or deny is that a given passage could be rightly interpreted both literally and symbolically. (See Aquinas’s quotation.) For instance the church fathers often interpreted the exodus symbolically. The children of Israel symbolized the church, Moses symbolized Christ, the Red Sea symbolized death, the Promised Land symbolized heaven, the wilderness symbolized purgatory, Egypt symbolized the world, Pharaoh symbolized the Devil (Jesus calls him “the ruler of this world,” in Jn 12:31; 14:30; and 16:11). But they also believed it really happened. They were signs, and a sign must first stand there in the real world, literally, in order for it to have a second meaning in what it points to beyond itself.

For some strange reason, both sides seem reluctant to see the dimensions of interpretation the other side sees. For instance, most fundamentalists (and also many traditionalists who do not call themselves fundamentalists) are reluctant to explore the rich symbolic parallels between Christ’s resurrection and the many mythic symbols of dying and rising gods, life battling with death, life and death interpenetrating, and the like. Modernists, on the other hand, would be terrified to find out that the symbols they love really happened. Both sides see the symbolic-literal issue as either-or when in fact it can sometimes be both-and.

Language that is not literal can still be true, and accurate, and extremely important. It is an elementary but common mistake to confuse the nonliteral with the nontrue or the nonimportant. Some of the truest and most important things we ever say are nonliteral—for instance, “I was beside myself,” “My heart bleeds for you,” or “Mother has gone to her home in the sky.”

Lord willing, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

—PRAYER—

Now, if you are listening today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, my friend, please keep in mind these reasons to believe. God bless!

The Bible: Myth or History?, Part 7 (Reasons to Believe #175)

Welcome to The Reasons to Believe podcast, episode #175. My name is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International.

Our Reasons to Believe Scripture Passage for today is Psalm 18:30. It reads, “As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.”

Our Reasons to Believe quote for today is from Tim Keller. He said, “The New Testament is filled with accounts of miracles that Jesus performed during the course of his ministry. Scientific mistrust of the Bible began with the Enlightenment belief that miracles cannot be reconciled to a modern, rational view of the world. Armed with this presupposition, scholars turned to the Bible and said, ‘The Biblical accounts can’t be reliable because they contain descriptions of miracles.’ The premise behind such a claim is ‘Science has proven that there is no such thing as miracles.’ But embedded in such a statement is a leap of faith. It is one thing to say that science is only equipped to test for natural causes and cannot speak to any others. It is quite another to insist that science proves that no other causes could possibly exist.”

Our Reason to Believe powerpoint today is titled “The Bible: Myth or History?, Part 7” from “The Handbook of Christian Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli.

The authors continue with the third part of this chapter subtitled, “Eight Basic Principles of Biblical Interpretation.”

Interpret a Book According to Its Genre (contd.)

Behind the textual dispute between modernists and orthodox Christians there lurks a philosophical dispute. Modernists assume that real things cannot also be signs and symbols; that symbols are only mental, not real. Orthodox Christians, on the other hand, assume that God, like any artist, makes things that are also signs and symbols. As Aquinas said, “The author of Holy Writ is God, in whose power it is to signify his meaning not by words only (as man also can do) but also by things themselves” (Summa Theologiae I, 1, 10).

Examples of the third resemblance, similar miracles in pagan myths, include multiplying food, turning water into wine, walking on water and raising the dead. These miracles also appear in much myth and fiction. These similarities do not prove that they do not also occur in reality, any more than the appearance of apples or battles in fiction proves that all apples or battles are fictitious.

If modernists reply at this point that the difference is that we find apples and battles in the real world but we do not find men walking on water or raising the dead, then they beg the question. According to the Bible and many other authorities, both written and personal, many people have seen real miracles, just as they have seen real battles. Why do modernists disbelieve all these reports? They cannot give textual reasons for their disbelief without begging the question (e.g., “the texts are myths only because they contain miracles”). They cannot give scientific reasons because science is agnostic about miracles; it can neither prove nor disprove them.

The dispute between the modernist demythologizer and the traditional believer is neither a textual dispute nor a scientific dispute, but a philosophical and theological dispute. Modernists read their philosophy of naturalism into the text, not out of it. They read the miracles out of it not because the text tells them to but because their philosophy tells them to, and they tell the text what to say.

From a strictly textual point of view, some biblical narratives have the form of invented moral fable, like Jesus’ parables and probably the book of Job; some have the form of eyewitness description, like the miracles in the Gospels; and some have the form of traditional, highly stylized and selective history, like 1 and 2 Chronicles. Finally, there seem to be some borderline cases, like Noah’s ark and Jonah’s fish, about which literary critics can intelligently disagree.

Lord willing, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

—PRAYER—

Now, if you are listening today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, my friend, please keep in mind these reasons to believe. God bless!

The Bible: Myth or History?, Part 6 (Reasons to Believe #174)

Welcome to The Reasons to Believe podcast, episode #174. My name is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International.

Our Reasons to Believe Scripture Passage for today is Psalm 119:105. It reads, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

Our Reasons to Believe quote for today is from John MacArthur. He said, “The task of hermeneutics is to discover the meaning of the text in its proper setting; to draw meaning from Scripture rather than reading one’s presuppositions into it.”

Our Reason to Believe powerpoint today is titled “The Bible: Myth or History?, Part 6” from “The Handbook of Christian Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli.

The authors continue with the third part of this chapter subtitled, “Eight Basic Principles of Biblical Interpretation.”

Interpret a Book According to Its Genre
We should always interpret a book by the standards appropriate to its literary form or genre. Thus we should first find out what that form is. There are different principles which govern the interpretation of poetry versus law, parable versus biography, science versus religion, myth versus history.

The point is obviously valid but commonly violated—for example, by students of political philosophy, who attempt to contrast Plato’s Republic with Machiavelli’s The Prince as if they had the same literary form. They do not. Plato’s Republic is not practical politics but ethics and metaphysics. The politics is only an analogy, a parable. Plato explicitly says that his “ideal state” could never exist on earth. Machiavelli, on the other hand, explicitly says that he is not writing ethics or metaphysics but merely reporting on what strategies, moral or immoral, have actually worked in history to get, keep and efficiently use political power. Comparing these two books is like comparing Aesop’s fables with Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.

A more crucial example of this confusion is comparing Darwin and Moses, or whoever wrote Genesis. If Genesis were science, or if On the Origin of Species were religion, the two accounts would meet and perhaps conflict. But in order to conflict, they must meet, and they do not. Darwin does not ask who created species or why but only how they appeared. His answer is evolution by natural selection. Genesis tells us who created (God) and why (goodness) but not how. Oceans of ink have been spilled and wasted on this confusion.

Modernists often try to show that biblical miracle stories are myths by pointing to resemblances in form between these stories and myths. For instance, they point to (1) repeated stock events, (2) symbolic numbers and (3) similar kinds of miracles in pagan myths.

An example of repeated stock events is Moses’ repeated returns to Pharaoh, asking him to let the Israelites go, Pharaoh’s repeated refusals and his defeat by the ten plagues. However, the fact that events like these are often described in myths does not prove that they cannot also occur in history. Many other events described in myths, legends and fairy tales also occur in history, like repeated warnings, betrayals, romance, murders, travels, puzzles and punishments.

Some examples of the second kind of resemblance, symbolic numbers, are the three days that Jonah was inside the great fish and Jesus was in the tomb, the seven churches of Asia in Revelation, the ten plagues, the forty years the Israelites wandered in the wilderness and the forty days Jesus was in the desert. Three, seven, ten and forty are all symbolic numbers. Once again the parallel does not prove that the events described did not really happen. This is so for two reasons. First, sometimes real things do happen in threes, sevens, tens or forties. For instance, you can visit the actual ruins of the seven churches in Asia. Second, if God is in control of history, he might well providentially arrange for events to conform to symbolic number schemes precisely so that Jesus’ three days would parallel Jonah’s, and his forty days in the wilderness would parallel the forty years of Moses and the Jews.

Lord willing, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

—PRAYER—

Now, if you are listening today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, my friend, please keep in mind these reasons to believe. God bless!