Creation and Biblical Accuracy
The Creation and Fall are referred to frequently throughout the rest of Scripture as completely historical events. There is never the slightest suggestion that the Creation, Adam or Eve are figurative or mythological. The strongest example is in Romans 5:12ff, where Paul draws a triple parallelism from Adam to Christ to the believer. The existence of all these is considered equally historical. The parallel between Adam and Christ is made again in 1 Corinthians 15. Luke traces Jesus' genealogy back to Adam. (Luke 3:38) Paul expects his readers to assume the historicity of Eve as well. (1 Timothy 2:13-14, 1 Corinthians 11:8-9, 2 Corinthians 11:30) Peter takes the creation to be as historical as the flood and the final judgment. (2 Peter 3:3-8)
There can be no question that the New Testament authors accepted the literal historicity of Adam and Eve. There exist over 100 quotations or direct references to Genesis 1-11 in the New Testament, and every one of the New Testament authors refers to it somewhere in his writings. Jesus Himself referred to these chapters at least six times.
The Old Testament authors, too, referred frequently to the Book of Genesis. What is thus at stake is not just the Book of Genesis itself, or the Creation account, but the veracity and authority of the entire Scripture. If Adam and Eve were not historical persons, then Paul was wrong and Jesus mistaken. And if Jesus and the Bible writers were wrong when they treated Genesis as history, then there is no reason to regard them as right in any other statements they made. Thus, it should be no surprise that those who hold a weak view of Genesis almost invariably find it leading—if not in their own minds, then in the lives of their children and students—to a weakened view of the importance and authority of the entire Bible.
Christians are often encouraged to believe the Bible, but with little regard to its trustworthiness. Actually, it is critical to the vitality of one's faith in Christ and His exceedingly precious promises to substantiate the Bible's trustworthiness by adequate evidence. "The heart cannot delight in what the mind rejects as false."
Nowhere is the spate of evidence more compelling toward verifying the credibility of the Bible than in the scientific discipline of archaeology. Had the learned evolution proponents bean right in their testimony before the Scopes Trial Court in 1925, sixty years of intensive world-wide archeological investigation surely would have borne irrefutable proof. However, the very opposite has been true. The discoveries of archaeologists have not in a single instance shown the Bible to be in error at any point. Rather, the digging of archaeologists has piled evidence on top of evidence proving the historical accuracy of the Bible!
The biblical critics of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries could find no mention of the Hittites in literature, hence the Hittites were thought to be folklore. The Old Testament Book of Daniel—a sharply pointed thorn in the side of unbelievers because of its many explicitly fulfilled prophecies—was a fabrication out of the second century B.C. Belshazzar, a major character in Daniel, could not be found in any of the historical records of the kings or the writings of historians, therefore, he could not have existed. Writing was unknown in the days of Egyptian Pharaohs, hence Moses could not possibly have written the first five books of the Bible. Cities mentioned in the Bible were mythological places and Bible characters were legendary figures. And the New Testament history concerning the beginning of the Christian Church through the efforts of the Apostle Peter and the Apostle Paul, as recorded by Luke in the Book of Acts, was a mid-second century imaginative writing, according to the German historical school of the mid-nineteenth century. (Evidence that Demands a Verdict, p. 72)
In view of such a concerted attack, it is little wonder that the ordinary preacher and layman (not to mention future secular teachers and professors) would come to doubt the authenticity of the Bible. Jesus Christ quoted the Book of Deuteronomy more than any other Old Testament book, twenty-two times, someone has said. Clearly, if Christ was so grossly in error, quoting extensively I from a forgery, how could any of His sayings be trusted?
James Orr helps us understand the intellectual climate of those dark days: "Comparatively few materials existed, outside the Bible itself, for testing the correctness of the statements of that book regarding the peoples, countries, and civilizations, with which its pages, in so many different ways, bring us into contact. What information about ancient countries was derived from outside sources—as, e. g., from the Greek historian Herodotus—was late, confused, contradicted the Bible as well as confirmed it, and, of course, was freely used by unbelievers to discredit the authority of the Bible." (p. 61 The Reason for Our Hope) Then it began to happen! One of the most remarkable developments in human history began to unfold bit by bit, like the breaking of dawn which grows brighter and brighter until full day. Archaeological discovery upon archaeology discovery aimed "big-Bertha" guns at the critics' assertions, pounding blow upon blow until today there is scarcely a voice to be heard anywhere questioning the historical reliability and accuracy of Biblical events. Indeed, quite the, opposite is true. Hear the testimony of a few of these witnesses as compiled by Josh McDowell in Evidence that Demands a Verdict:
(1 ) Nelson Glueck, the renowned Jewish archaeologist wrote, "It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference." He continued. his assertion of, "the most incredibly accurate historical memory of the Bible, and particularly so when it is fortified by archaeological fact." (p. 68)
(2) William F. Albright, known for his reputation as one of the great archaeologists, states: "There can be no doubt that archaeology has confirmed the. substantial historicity of Old Testament tradition." (p. 68)
(3) Millar Burrows of Yale observes: "Archaeology has in many cases refuted the views of modern critics. It has shown in a number of instances that these views rest on false assumptions and unreal, artificial schemes of historical development. This is a real contribution, and not to be minimized." (p. 69)
(4) Sir Frederic Kenyon says:"... the evidence of archaeology has been to re-establish its authority, and likewise to augment its value by rendering it more intelligible through a fuller knowledge of its background and setting. Archaeology has not yet said its last word, but the results already achieved confirm what faith would suggest, that the Bible can do nothing but gain from an increase of knowledge." (p. 69)
Dr. W. A. Criswell beautifully captures the remarkable archaeological confirmation of Scriptures in his book, Why I Preach that the Bible is Literally True. "A thousand silent witnesses have been brought to life to testify to the truth of the record we find in God's Book." Making his point of telling moment, Dr. Criswell writes:
Consider the examination of witnesses. If a witness is truthful, the more he is questioned, the more accurately will his testimony be seen to accord with the framework of circomstances into which it is fitted. If he is false, the more he is questioned the more will his falsehood become apparent. It is this principle, applied in the field of Archaeology, which has confirmed the Word of God. A thousand silent witnesses have been brought to life to testify to the truth of the record we find in God's Book.
James Orr expressed his awe at the turn-of-events this way:
By a singular providence of God, the state of things is very different now. Sixty years ago we were in the dark; now we are comparatively in a blaze of light. As if by magic, Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria, other ancient lands, have yielded up their buried palaces, their monuments, their long-lost libraries, a voice has gone up rebuking the scorner, and bearing testimony, as emphatic as it was unlooked for, to the credibility of Holy Writ. (p. 61, The Reason for Our Hope)
An avalanche of archaeological discoveries have confirmed the antiquity of writing well beyond the time of Moses, Babylonian tablets show Belshazzar to be one of the greatest figures of that period, tending to prove the historicity and authenticity of Daniel. Deuteronomy has been authenticated. Dr. Criswell observes, "Without exception, everything that has been discovered emphasizes the antiquity and authenticity of this great volume." (Criswell, p. 39) Finally, for the last word, we turn to Henry M. Morris:
It must be extremely significant that, in view of the great mass of corroborative evidence regarding the Biblical history of these periods, there exists today not one unquestionable find of archaeology that proves the Bible to be in error at any point. (p. 72, McDowell, Evidence that Demands a Verdict)
One of the most significant testimonies to Bible veracity concerns the third Gospel writer, Luke. Fully twenty-two percent of the New Testament (the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts), was written by this "beloved physician." Luke details every important doctrine of the Bible in either of his two books. In Acts, for example, Luke records in detail: (1) the supernatural beginning of the, Christian Church at Pentecost with the coming of the Holy Spirit; (2) the miraculous conversion of the Apostle Paul on the Damascus Road; (3) the transformation of the Apostle Peter into a fearless champion of Christ; (4) the missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul, including his defense of the faith before King Agrippa and his preaching the Gospel in Rome openly and unhindered for two whole years.
Luke, in his Gospel, called by one scholar "the most beautiful book ever written" writes of the supernatural birth of Christ and tells with consummate artistry and grace such parables as that of the Good Samaritan, the Rich Man and Lazarus, and the Prodigal Son. The loveliest story of all is the narrative of the Emmaus appearance of the risen Lord (Luke 24: 13-35). A strong note of joy runs through Luke's Gospel. Prominence is given to prayer and to the work of the Holy Spirit. The Gospel sounds the note of universal relevance with its message of "a light for revelation to the Gentiles" and God's salvation proffered to all mankind. Women are accorded a prominent place. Christ's call to salvation embraces society's outcasts. Luke's narrative reaches its climax at Calvary: Christ's triumphal entry, cleansing of the Temple, arrest, trial, crucifixion, death, resurrection, appearances and ascension.
From the foregoing, it is clear that a major test of Bible accuracy rests with the credibility of the writer of over one-fifth of the New Testament. More than three dozen miracles are recorded in its pages.
During the Darwin era and spilling over into 1925, the German historical school taught that the Book of Acts was a product not of I the First Century under Luke's "pen" but rather the book was a I mid-second century composition. Then, bit by bit, the evidence, came forth showing the "learned" theologians and "expert" witnesses to be in gross error on their surmises. No better witness to this marvel can be called to testify than a person regarded as one of the greatest archaeologists to ever have lived—Sir William Ramsay. Josh McDowell captures this exciting bit of high drama with these words:
He [Ramsay] was trained in the German historical school of the mid-Nineteenth Century. As a result he was taught that the Book of Acts was a product of the mid-Second Century A.D. He was firmly convinced of this belief and set out to prove its teaching. However, he was compelled to a complete reversal of his beliefs due to the overwhelming evidence uncovered in his research. He spoke of this when he said, "I may fairly claim to have entered on this investigation without prejudice in favor of the conclusion which I shall now seek to justify to the readers. On the contrary, I began with a mind unfavorable to it, for the ingenuity and apparent completeness of the Tubingen theory had at one time quite convinced me. It did not then lie in my line of life to investigate the subject minutely; but more recently I found myself brought into contact with the Book of Acts as an authority for the topography, antiquities and society of Asia Minor. It was gradually borne upon me that in various details the narrative showed marvelous truth. In fact, beginning with a fixed idea that the work was essentially a Second Century composition, and never relying on its evidence as trustworthy for First Century condition, I gradually came to find it a useful ally in some obscure and difficult investigations." (pp. 70-71)
McDowell goes on to report:
Ramsay also maintained nothing but the highest regard for Luke's abilities as a historian: "Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy; he is possessed of the true historical sense; he fixes his mind on the idea and plan that rules in the (progression) of history, and proportions the scale of his treatment to the importance of each incident. He seizes the important and critical events and shows their true nature at greater length, while he touches lightly or omits entirely much that was valueless for his purpose. In short, this author should be placed along with the very greatests of historians." (p. 71)
F. F. Bruce's reaction bears quoting: "When Luke has been suspected of inaccuracy, and accuracy has been vindicated by some inscriptional evidence, it may be legitimate to say that archaeology has confirmed the New Testament record." (p. 69, Evidence that Demands a Verdict)
Contrary to the teaching of the German historical school—which highly influenced the course of liberal theology in America—Luke's writings were not a mid-second century imaginative composition, hence untrustworthy. Rather, the evidence clearly supports a mid first century development. Archaeology has shattered the Tubingen theory along with the Graf-Wellhausen theory and others that scoffed at the accuracy of Scriptures. Nelson Glueck, who was the world's foremost biblical archaeologist, said, "We can already say emphatically that there is no longer any solid basis for dating any book of the New Testament after about A. D. 80...." (p. 65, Evidence that Demands a Verdict, J Glueck was cited by John Warwick I Montgomery in an interview for Christianity Today, 18 January I 1963. Montgomery said, "In my opinion, every book of the New Testament was written by a baptized Jew between the forties and the eighties of the First Century, A. D. (very probably sometime between about A.D. 50 and 75)." (p. 65, Evidence that Demands a Verdict)
No more graphic example of God's superintending hand, preventing the writers of Scripture from wandering into what is false, can be gleaned than from that of Moses, trained and educated in the University of Pharaoh. In Acts 7:22 we read that Moses "was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians."
Archaeologists have dug up and put together all the things Moses read. He learned from the science of his day that the earth was hatched out of a great cosmic egg, an egg that had wings and was flying around through space. And he learned that mankind sprang from little white worms that were found in the slime and ooze and mud after the Nile's overflow.
Moses probably also learned that the Chaldean civilization taught that the earth is one gigantic monster, covered with feathers and scales. The feathers and the scales are the rocks and the trees. The Babylonian textbooks recorded that in the beginning there was a monster and a great god who had a fierce battle. The great god flattened out the monster, his body became the earth and wherever the great god spit man came up.
Against such a backdrop of scientific theories with their wild and weird and grotesque views, Moses "penned" the most sublime and majestic language in the human speech: "In the beginning God created the heavens and earth ... And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness ... So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them." What kept Moses from recording what he had learned in the "classroom"?
The Egyptians believed that the sun was the reflection of the light on the earth, and that the earth was the center of the universe. But in Genesis we find that Moses reversed that order—it is the sun that gives light to the earth. In Job 26: 7 we read: "God stretched out the north over the empty space, and hangeth the earth upon nothing." Yet the Egyptians taught that the world is supported by five great pillars, one at each corner and one in the middle, while the Greeks held that the world rested on the back of a giant named Atlas. The Hindus believed that the earth is sustained on the back of a gigantic elephant, etc.... We turn to Isaiah 40:22 and I read: "It is He that sitteth upon the circle of the earth."
The Bible's remarkable silence on world cosmological and anthropological absurdities of the Greeks, Egyptians and Chaldeans is a powerful evidence of the superintending hand of Almighty God.
Hayes argued before the Scopes Trial Court:
The original manuscripts containing the inspired word of God, written in Hebrew, in Aramaic, and in Greek, have been lost for many hundreds of years, and each of the Bibles mentioned is a translation, not of those manuscripts, but of translations thereof into the Greek and Latin. The earliest copy of the Old Testament in Hebrew now in existence was made late as eleventh century.... (p. 121)
Just twenty-two years later, a simple Bedouin shepherd boy, idling away his time, cast some rocks down a hole in the side of a hill eight miles south of Jericho and the walls of skepticism regarding Old Testament reliability crumbled. The sound of shattering pottery led to the discovery of 40,000 inscribed fragments from which more than 500 books were reconstructed.
The Dead Sea Scrolls, "The greatcoats manuscript discovery of modern times," according to the dean of American Biblical Archaeologists, Dr. W. F. Albright of Johns Hopkins University, suddenly, miraculously, shoved the earliest Old Testament translations back to 100-125 B.C. The chief importance of this magnificent find lies in its supporting the fidelity of the Old Testament. Of the 155 words in Isaiah 53, for example, only seventeen letters are in question. Ten of these letters are simply a matter of spelling. Four more are minor stylistic changes, such as conjunctions. The remaining three letters comprise the word "light" which is added to verse 11 and does not affect the meaning greatly. (McDowell, p. 61)
Papyrus, a kind of writing paper, was used in ancient days. Because of the lack of rainfall and the preservative nature of desert sands, literally tons of papyri were preserved and eventually excavated in Egypt, including portions of Scriptures.
One benefit of papyrology was to establish the nature of grammar at the time of Christ. Some words, whose meanings were not clearly comprehended before, became understood. Critics of the Bible taught that many words in the New Testament were coined by the disciples since these words did not appear in classical Greek. But the discovery of papyri eventually showed that the New Testament Greek was simply the language used by people of the Roman World.
Since the nature of grammar at the time of Christ had become known it became possible to prove that the books of the New Testament were written in the first century, a most important fact.
A singularly important by-product of the papyri discovery was the finding of a fragment of the Book of John which is dated early second century. This is objective evidence, not resting on theological presuppositions. This evidence pushed the date of the Gospel of John back into the first century in order to allow time for the work to get into circulation, prompting Howard F. Vos to write, in his book An Introduction to Bible Archaeology:
The interval then between the dates of the original composition and the earliest extant evidence becomes so small as to be in fact negligible and the last foundation for any doubt that the Scriptures have come down to us substantially as they were written has now been removed. Both the authenticity and the general integrity of the books of the New Testament may be regarded as finally established. (p. 52, Vos)
The ACLU's strategy in Dayton, Tennessee, July 10 to July 21, 1925, was one of the heaping derogatory remarks and haughty sarcasm I upon the credibility of the Bible in particular and Bible-believing I Christians in general, while casting evolution dogma in light of scientific accreditation and intellectual respectability. Clarence Darrow was most vicious in his attacks on the devout Tennessee hill-folk, ridiculing the Bible at every point in his argumentation before the court—argumentation that went out across the land over the air waves of America's first nationwide radio hook-up (WGN out of Chicago). Over 165,000 words a day were transmitted to eagerly awaiting newspapers by the one hundred reporters that descended on this small hill-country town.
In arguing before the court (and the nation at large) about the demerits of the anti-evolution low the Tennessee legislature had passed, Darrow made the Bible the centerpiece of his attack on the one hand and Bible believers on the other. He offered no evidence or logic validating evolution but rather resorted to inflammatory rhetoric and character assassination. Those of us who follow closely today's creation versus evolution controversy observe a similar pattern. Evolution dogma cannot stand up in the light of intensive scrutiny. By attacking the Bible and Bible believers, evolution dogmatists deceive the naive and keep the, unsuspecting off guard.
Darrow, on the second day of the trial, rightly defined the, creation-evolution controversy as a "death struggle between two civilizations. " (p. 74) The crying need of the hour is for the Christian Church to come to a realization of this truth. The creation-evolution controversy is a death struggle between two wholly antithetical world views, i.e., religious philosophies. With not even a whimper from the Christian Church, our school systems, print and TV media, political arena, judicial realm have gone over to the enemy. With but a few notable exceptions, America is almost totally evolutionistic. Yet intellectual credibility—as we have been at pains to point out in our essays—rests with the Bible believer!
The average Christian, and not too few Christian ministers, have failed to perceive that the dogma of evolution is an essential foundation for certain political aims: Marxism, Secular Humanism, Totalitarianism. To admit to creation would spell the death knell of these atheistic political systems.