Kansas City, Missouri
Volumes have been written trying to determine the exact relationship between reason and revelation. This fact can easily be shown by making a trip to any large library and looking through the card index for books entitled "Reason and Revelation" or "Revelation and Reason." Basically there have been two erroneous positions taken in an effort to ascertain the province of reason. The mystics have maintained that reason is absolutely unimportant. To them the important thing is the inner illumination of the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, the rationalists assign to reason an ultimate role. They think there is no need for special divine revelation, but that all truth can be demonstrated by reason alone. One middle-aged theologian undertook to demonstrate by reason alone every truth taught in the Bible. He sought to reason to the Incarnation, Trinity, etc. Others in this second class exalt reason to the place that they refuse to accept anything in the Bible unless it has a rational explanation. Consequently, they reject all miracles, for a miracle naturalistically explained is no miracle at all.
God made man and He knew what kind of a creature He made him. Man's mind is such that it cannot believe without at least what he believes to be sufficient evidence. A Christian should be able to give the reasons for his faith (I Pet. 3:15). There must be sufficient evidence presented to man so that he can believe the Bible to be of divine origin. The Bible asserts its inspiration in numerous passages of Scripture. Peter says "No prophecy ever came by the will of man: but men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Pet. 1:21 ). Paul guarantees that his message came by revelation of Jesus Christ (Gal. 1:11, 12). Man's mind must be satisfied that the Bible is of divine, rather than human origin. His reason must be employed to ascertain with whom the Bible originated.
It is precisely at this point that we can speak of Christian Evidences. The mind of man must be persuaded that it is more reasonable to believe than to disbelieve. But once having decided the Bible to be of divine origin, it then becomes the only province of reason to understand what it says. It no longer is the right of man to pass judgment upon what the Bible says. If it is of divine origin, then man must acquiesce to its teachings.
Ours is an age in which we vitally need a thorough understanding of the foundations of our faith. But instead of finding a desire for a study of these matters in the minds of unbelievers and brethren, we find a deep-seated apathy toward such. These subjects require thought, and serious thought is work. Therefore, some had rather listen to something that requires less of them. If preachers want to preach to a bored audience, let them preach on Christian Evidences. The brethren's attitude is "We don't have my infidels around here, so why waste such valuable time?" Yet many of the Lord's people believe without being able to tell others why they believe. Our young people need to be strengthened in their faith in the Bible. There is but one group of people that is not reluctant to study evidences of inspiration. This group consists of those parents who, have lost a son or daughter to infidelity. But this is too late to become interested in the subject. We should protect and strengthen the faith of our children, rather than merely trying to reclaim a few of them after they have been lost.
Unity and Harmony
Thousands of volumes have been written on Christian Evidences. Perhaps hundreds of arguments have been made to show the Bible to be of divine origin. Yet to my mind, no stronger arguments have been presented than these old and oft used arguments. The perfect unity and harmony of the Bible is a miracle. Miracles are not performed by the power of man, but by God's power.
The Bible consists of 66 separate books. The oldest book in the Bible is very likely the book ef Job. It is thought to have been written about 2000 B.C., or about the time of Abraham. The five books of Moses were written about 1500 B.C. The book of Revelation was the last letter to be written, and is dated about 95 A.D. So we see that about 2000 years lapsed from the beginning until the completion of the Book.
Furthermore, the Bible was not written by one man. At least forty separate writers had a part in the writing of the Bible. Most of these men never saw each other. They lived in different centuries. Certainly there could not have been any collaboration on their part to "palm-off" on a gullible public a series of forged documents. Furthermore, these men did not even speak the same language. Had they met one another, without the aid of a miracle, they could not even have conversed with one another. Too, the Bible was originally written in at least two different languages, some authorities say three, and Harry Rimmer says the Bible was first written in four different languages, though he never named the fourth language, so far as I know.
The products of men are filled with contradictions. One expects to find divergencies in works written by a symposium of men. Almost any casual reviewer of the most carefully written book can find mistakes and contradictions in the author's work. But not so with the Bible. Man can hardly write a single volume in a few weeks time on a single subject without contradicting himself. Yet the Bible was written by forty men, over a two thousand year period, in two or three languages, on at least half a hundred separate themes, and no contradiction has been sustained against it as yet. There are several groups who have sizeable cash awards awaiting any person who can prove the Bible to be wrong in a single instance. Thus far, there have been very few who have publicly and seriously undertaken the task, and none has succeeded. It is true that there have been many alleged contradictions, but many volumes have been prepared answering every single alleged contradiction in the Bible. I had one professor in a university tell me that "the Bible has piles of contradictions it it." I asked him to do two things for me. First, define a contradiction; and secondly, point out one! He defined a contradiction as a difference between two writers. But this is not a definition of a contradiction. A contradiction exists only when there is no possible harmonization. Then the instance the professor cited was this. One of the gospel writers records the fact that Jesus appeared to the women after his resurrection, and another writer omits recording this appearance altogether. But this is not, and could not be a contradiction. The second writer would have had to deny the appearance to the women in order for there to have been a contradiction between the two writers.
In order for these forty men to write consistently as they did, on subjects which they did not even themselves fully understand at the time (I Pet. 1:10, 11 ), there must have been a great superintending mind directing each of them, as the Bible so often indicates. Paul states the only satisfactory solution when he says, "Which things also we speak, not in words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth; combining spiritual things with spiritual words" (I Cor. 2:12). The unity and harmony of the Bible is sufficient reason for me to know that God directed the writers by the Holy Spirit.
Simplicity and Incomprehensibility
In some ways the Bible is a very simple book. It deals with the profoundest of subjects, and yet does so in language which every responsible person can understand. Man can take a simple subject and confound the wise with his explanation of it. Not long ago I heard philosophy defined as the art of stating what everybody already knows in language which nobody can understand. But the Bible is unlike this. It asserts and proves its simplicity. Jesus said "If any man willeth to do his will, HE SHALL KNOW of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from myself" (Jno. 7:17). Paul says "whereby, when ye read, YOU MAY UNDERSTAND my knowledge in the mystery of Christ" (Eph. 3:4). And Isaiah stated that the way would be so plain that "wayfaring men , yea fools, should not err therein" (Isa. 35:8). All can understand what God requires of them.
Yet, paradoxically, we can say the Bible is incomprehensible. I use the word "incomprehensible" only for want of a better one. I do not mean by "incomprehensible" that the Bible is not understandable, but I mean that the mind of no man has ever grasped all it teaches. It is a book that a man can spend a lifetime studying, and yet gladly will confess that as he faces the sunset there are many treasures in it that he has not fully known. One can read the Bible through every month of his life, and still will tell you that each time he reads it through, he learns something more. No man knows all there is to be known about the Bible. Yet this is not true of the works of man. There are many brethren who have sufficient mental ability to take any work written by man on any subject, of comparable size with the Bible, and after having studied it as carefully and as long as they have the Bible, will have grasped even the minutest point made in the book. The Mind that gave the Bible is infinitely beyond the greatest mind of man. The sun will soon set on your life and mine, and when we close our eyes in death, there will yet be many things prepared for us in God's holy Word the benefit of which we have not received because time will have run out on us before we could learn all that God has said to us. Man never becomes bored reading the Bible. Not so with any product of man. Those who have read it through hundreds of times find it dearer, more interesting, and more profitable each new time they read it through.
The only adequate answer to these facts is that — HOLY MEN SPAKE FROM GOD!