God Has Revealed Himself

 

Affirmation 2

This Designer has revealed Himself to mankind not only in nature, but in Holy Scripture and in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

 

 

  I am convinced that if a person will submit themselves to the objective facts rather than tradition, emotion, or even personal taste, they will conclude that the Bible is divine rather than human in origin and Jesus Christ is who he said he was.

We can learn a lot about God by his handiwork (refer back to Point 1), but why should we believe Christianity is true?  Why should we believe the Scriptures are reliable?  How can we expect to really believe that Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead?  Good questions !!  Let’s get started.

Need a primer? Try How I Know Christianity is True from Patrick Zuckeran of Probe Ministries.

 

Why should we believe Christianity is true?

First, it is important to define truth.  To many that might sound foolish, but we live in a postmodern [for an outstanding introduction in to postmodernism, click here for audio or here for a (pdf) written message from Phil Johnson] culture that generally no longer believes in absolute truth, or that you can be sure about anything.   Stand to Reason has several good articles on their apologetics page in the Responding to Relativism section here.  

Here is a quick summary of the two kinds of truth–and it is not complicated.  There are objective and subjective truths.

Objective truth–that which is true for everyone always (not dependant on the subject).  Examples: the multiplication tables, physical laws, etc.    Those things that are discovered rather than decided; those things that are not matters of preference; those things that you can be wrong about.

Subjective truth–that which is dependant on the subject.  Examples: "Rice pudding is delicious" or "NCAA football is more exciting than NFL"   These are matters of preference or taste.  This is the only truth postmodernists believe exists.

 

 

Need an Answer?–Go to the Authority 

When I need medical advice, I ask a doctor or dentist.  An electrical problem… an electrician (or read something written by an electrician…), hopefully you are seeing a pattern here.  The obvious authority figure when it comes to Christianity is Jesus Christ himself.  Most, but not all, of what is recorded of Jesus of Nazareth is in the Scriptures.  The following sections (and numerous resources available at monergism.com, Stand to Reason, Probe, …) will address how reliable/trustworthy those records are.  Here I am addressing the content of Jesus’ teachings and the significance of what he accomplished.

The worldview/body of knowledge known as Christianity is true because Jesus said it was.  Of course when you make an appeal to authority like this, you had better be able to establish the authority.  Otherwise it would be like saying "this guy somebody told me about said it was true"–far from compelling.  So who was Jesus?  Who is He that we should take his word for it?  Reminder: "how do we know what He really said?" questions are addressed in later sections.

If one reads and understands the clear teachings of Jesus Christ, there are only three options available.  He is either who He said he was, the Lord, or he was a liar, or he was a lunatic. 

 

C. S. Lewis said it best in his classic work Mere Christianity:

 

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of thing Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill him as a demon 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. He did not intend to.

--C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity


 

Did Jesus Claim to Be the Son of God?

Absolutely. I’ll put a few references here, but this topic could easily fill another page (maybe I’ll do that as time permits?)

He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" 16 Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." 17 And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.

--Matthew 16:15-17


But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, "I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God." 64 Jesus said to him, "You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven."

--Matthew 26:63-64


I and the Father are one." 31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?" 33 The Jews answered him, "It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.

--John 10:30-33


Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am." 59 So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.

--John 8:58-59


 

Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?

Again, the evidence is very strong that he did.  Not only did he rise from the dead, but he predicted that he would.  

Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." 20 The Jews then said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?" 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body.

--John 2:19-21


For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

--Matthew 12:40


Does it matter?  Nothing matters more.  Christianity stands or falls with the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  

And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.

--1 Corinthians 15:17


How do we know He really rose from the dead?  He presented himself for inspection.  

Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe." 28 Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" 29 Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."     (also note that he accepted yet another claim at his divinity!)

--John 20:27


Finally, and most convincingly, we have the violent deaths of his disciples.  It is important that we draw a clear picture here.  We have a group of people who either saw the risen Lord, or would know if it was a lie.  They went to their deaths professing faith in Christ and testifying to the truth of the resurrection.   It is true that people die for what they believe all the time (Islamic terrorists…), but it is important to remember that these are people who were there and knew if it was true or not.  Yes, to die for one’s belief is a mark of sincerity and commitment.  But who would be willing to die for something they knew was a lie?  What are the chances you could find a group of people willing to die for a lie?

 

Has God Spoken? 

[From Has God Spoken? by Greg Koukl–part of the Ambassador Training Course available from Stand to Reason]   

Christianity claims that God has spoken in such a way the we actually have the objective authority we need.  The case for Christianity stands or falls on the reliability of the record of the historical events in the Bible.   Have you heard people say (or wished yourself) "if only God would speak…"    He has.

Koukl frames the question this way.  What kind of book is the Bible?   We have two choices, the Bible is:

  • A book given by God to man. 

  • A book by men about God.

There is a big difference here.  If the evidence supports the former, then it is God’s authoritative word.  We no longer have to wish for God to speak, he has spoken.  We don’t need to find our "own way" to worship God, we need to discover and follow God His way.

 

Fingerprints of God–Six Marks of the Bible’s Supernatural Origin 

[Also from  Has God Spoken?, Koukl] 

Koukl presents these points in a way to help you remember them.  He uses the fingers of the hand as reminders of these six points (don’t have six fingers?–you’ll have to read it to figure out how he does it).

(pinky) – The Bible has supernatural fulfilled prophecy–predictions of the future that are precise, detailed and accurate.

The Bible, unlike any other volume in history, gives detailed prophecies relating to the rise and fall of empires and individuals that have proven 100% accurate.  So accurate in fact, textual critics are constantly trying (in vain)  to date the writings after the fulfilled events.  Jesus fulfilled dozens of prophecies about Himself–the folks at CARM have a page demonstrating these fulfillments, click here to see it.

(ring finger) – The Bible has supernatural unity (picture the wedding ring as the symbol of unity).

Sixty six books & letters by forty or so authors of very diverse social, economic, and cultural backgrounds, (Luke-physician/historian; David-shepherd/king; Joshua-general; Matthew-tax collector; Paul-rabbi) and a diversity of occasions for writing (jails, dungeons, battlefields, palaces) addressing a wide variety of topics.

An internal consistency and complementary message where each of the writers adds to the whole of God’s completed revelation.

(big finger) – The big questions– The Bible has supernatural insight.

The Bible not only gives answers to the big questions in life, it does so in a way that is consistent with the way we experience the world–it makes sense. 

The Bible makes sense of good and evil as we experience it.  The source of man’s nobility and the depths of his cruelty and depravity are all fully consistent with Biblical revelation.  Our intuitive understanding of the transcendent value of human life (why we fumigate termites but not people).

The solution for the problem of man’s guilt (people feel guilty–because they are guilty) is not denial, but forgiveness.  Justice is served and divine love is demonstrated.  "The Bible’s answer resonates with the deepest intuitions we have about ourselves and our world." [Koukl]

(index finger) – The Bible is an index into history (historically accurate).

A book from God had better get its history right.

Archeology is constantly confirming the accuracy of the Biblical record.  Probe ministries has an introduction to Archeology and the Old Testament.

Here is an example of a third century mosaic that was recently found.  This  pre-Constantine (325 A.D.) mosaic clearly reveals that Jesus Christ was thought to be divine before Nicea (in fact, the controversy in the early church was whether he was human–his divinity was unquestioned).  This is worth mentioning because of the falsehoods popularized by the Da Vinci Code.  

Tepper said the third inscription is the most
archaeologically valuable. It reads: "The God-loving Aketous has
offered this table to the God Jesus Christ, as a memorial."
 
[
Washington
Post Story
][ABC
News/AP
]–Associated Press photo

Some of the links
below have a lot more information.

 

(thumbs up) – The
Bible supernaturally changes lives.

Those who have
studied, believed, and followed the teachings in the Bible have been
transformed.  This transformation has been universal:  around the
globe, across the ages, and across every social, economic,  and ethnic
boundary.

 

(fist) –
It’s a fighter–The
Bible has demonstrated supernatural survival.

There have been continual concerted efforts to destroy the Bible, all to no avail.  External attacks through destruction and intimidation and internal attacks through criticism have failed to destroy it.  Do you think a book that is offensive in many respects, and under constant attack would survive if it were a book by men about God?

Biblical Claims on It’s Own Behalf:

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

--Matthew 24:35


The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.

--Isaiah 40:8


... But the word of God is not bound!

--2 Timothy 2:9b


Voltaire Disagreed:

“Voltaire, the noted French infidel who died in 1778, said that in one hundred years from his time, Christianity would be swept from existence and passed into history. But what has happened? Voltaire has passed into history, while the circulation of the Bible continues to increase in almost all parts of the world, carrying blessing wherever it goes”  [Sidney Collett, All About the Bible].

Irony:     (try not to smile)

“Only 50 years after Voltaire’s death, the Geneva Bible Society used his press and house to produce stacks of Bibles” [Geisler and Nix, A General Introduction to the Bible]

One can only wonder if a similar fate awaits The Jesus Seminar, [a good article here].

 

Common
Objections
 

"The Bible has been changed…",  "The Bible Was Only Written by Men … and Men Make Mistakes", "The Bible is Just a Matter of Your Own Interpretation" …

 

More Information

Web Sites

Books



…more to come