|SOME OF THE HARDEST QUESTIONS ANSWERED|
|When we say that the Bible is the Word of God, does that imply that it is completely accurate, or does it contain insignificant inaccuracies in details of history and science?|
|Some theologians teach that the Bible is inspired and authoritative, and that it is an accurate revelation of what God wants us to know about salvation - but they leave room for minor errors in non-crucial areas. One theologian, for instance, says that the Holy Spirit's work in inspiring the Bible only guaranteed "selectivity of events and accuracy of reporting and interpretation sufficient to achieve God's purpose throughout the rest of man's existence." (Dewey Beegle, Inspiration of Scripture, p. 190)
However, classic Christianity rests on the assurance that the Bible is completely accurate. It may contain statements that are (1) figures of speech; (2) non-technical descriptions; or (3) difficult to understand. But actual errors would fall into a different kind of category. If there are any errors in Scripture, no matter how small, the book can no longer be our standard of truth. I become the standard of truth, as I determine which Bible statements are right and which are wrong. And if I can't trust God to get the facts straight on things like dates and measurements (where I can check on Him), why should I expect Him to be more accurate in areas like sin and salvation (where I can't check on Him)?
The Bible doesn't use the word "inerrant," but the idea is obvious.
? Psalm 19:7-9 - "The law of the Lord is perfect ... the testimony of the Lord is sure ... the commandment of the Lord is pure ... the judgments of the Lord are true forever."
? Psalm 119:43 - "the word of truth."
? Psalm 119:142 - "Thy law is the truth."
? Psalm 119:160 -"Thy word is true from the beginning."
? John 17:17 - "Thy word is truth."
|An inaccurate Bible contradicts God's character quality of absolute truthfulness.
? Titus 1:2 - "God who cannot lie."
? Hebrews 6:18 - "It is impossible for God to lie."
Some consider this a minor issue, but the idea that the Bible contains errors opens the door to serious spiritual danger. When people decide they have the authority to label one verse as a mistake, they soon find others that they consign to the "error" category. I've watched it happen over the years. Each generation rejects more and more Scripture, as it gets in the way of their own opinions.
What about those contradictions in the bible that I have heard about? GO
[ If this information has been helpful, please prayerfully consider a donation to help pay the expenses for making this faith-building service available to you and your family! Donations are tax-deductible. ]
Author: Dr. John Bechtle
Copyright © 1995, Eden Communications, All Rights Reserved - except as noted on attached "Usage and Copyright" page that grants ChristianAnswers.Net users generous rights for putting this page to work in their homes, personal witnessing, churches and schools.
|Why does God allow innocent people to suffer?|
|This is one of the most difficult questions for Christians to answer.
The "problem of pain," as the well-known Christian scholar, C.S. Lewis, once called it, is atheism's most potent weapon against the Christian faith.
All true science and history, if rightly understood, support the fact of God. This evidence is so strong that, as the Bible says: "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Psalm 14:1).
|Most atheists, therefore, without any objective evidence on which to base their faith in "no God", must resort finally to philosophical objections. And this problem of suffering is the greatest of these.
That is, they say, how can a God of love permit such things in His world as war, sickness, pain, and death, especially when their effects often are felt most keenly by those who are apparently innocent? Either He is not a God of love and is indifferent to human suffering, or else He is not a God of power and is therefore helpless to do anything about it. In either case, the Biblical God who is supposedly one of both absolute power and perfect love becomes an impossible anachronism. Or so they claim!
This is a real difficulty, but atheism is certainly not the answer, and neither is agnosticism. While there is much evil in the world, there is even more that is good. This is proved by the mere fact that people normally try to hang on to life as long as they can. Furthermore, everyone instinctively recognizes that "good" is a higher order of truth than "bad".
We need also to recognize that our very minds were created by God. We can only use these minds to the extent that He allows, and it is, therefore, utterly presumptuous for us to use them to question Him and His motives.
"Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Genesis 18:25).
"Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, why hast Thou made me thus?" (Romans 9:20).
|We ourselves do not establish the standards of what is right. Only the Creator of all reality can do that. We need to settle it, in our minds and hearts, whether we understand it or not, that whatever God does is, by definition, right.
Having settled this by faith, we are then free to seek for ways in which we can profit spiritually from the sufferings in life as well as the blessings. As we consider such matters, it is helpful to keep the following great truths continually in our minds.
There is really no such thing as the "innocent" suffering.
Since "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23), there is no one who has the right to freedom from God's wrath on the basis of his own innocence.
As far as babies are concerned, and others who may be incompetent mentally to distinguish right and wrong, it is clear from both Scripture and universal experience that they are sinners by nature and thus will inevitably become sinners by choice as soon as they are able to do so.
The world is now under God's Curse (Genesis 3:17) because of man's rebellion against God's Word.
This "bondage of corruption," with the "whole world groaning and travailing together in pain" (Romans 8:21, 22), is universal, affecting all men and women and children everywhere. God did not create the world this way, and one day will set all things right again. In that day, "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain" (Revelation 21:4).
|Jesus Christ suffered|
|The Lord Jesus Christ, who was the only truly "innocent" and "righteous" man in all history, nevertheless has suffered more than anyone else who ever lived.
And this He did for us! "Christ died for our sins" (I Corinthians 15:3). He suffered and died, in order that ultimately He might deliver the world from the Curse, and that, even now, He can deliver from sin and its bondage anyone who will receive Him in faith as personal Lord and Savior. This great deliverance from the penalty of inherent sin, as well as of overt sins, very possibly also assures the salvation of those who have died before reaching an age of conscious choice of wrong over right.
With our full faith in God's goodness and in Christ's redemption, we can recognize that our present sufferings can be turned to His glory and our good.
The sufferings of unsaved men are often used by the Holy Spirit to cause them to realize their needs of salvation and to turn to Christ in repentance and faith. The sufferings of Christians should always be the means of developing a stronger dependence on God and a more Christ-like character, if they are properly "exercised thereby" (Hebrews 12:11).
Thus, God is loving and merciful even when, "for the present," He allows trials and sufferings to come in our lives.
"For we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).
|How can one God be three persons?|
|The doctrine of the Trinity -- that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are each equally and eternally the one true God -- is admittedly difficult to comprehend, and yet is the very foundation of Christian truth. Although skeptics may ridicule it as a mathematical impossibility, it is nevertheless a basic doctrine of Scripture as well as profoundly realistic in both universal experience and in the scientific understanding of the cosmos.
Both Old and New Testaments teach the Unity and the Trinity of the Godhead. The idea that there is only one God, who created all things, is repeatedly emphasized in such Scriptures as Isaiah 45:18: "For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; . . . I am the Lord; and there is none else." A New Testament example is James 2:19: "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well; the devils also believe, and tremble."
The three persons of the Godhead are, at the same time, noted in such Scriptures as Isaiah 48:16: "I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; From the time that it was, there am I; and now the Lord God, and his Spirit, hath sent me." The speaker in this verse is obviously God, and yet He says He has been "sent both by The Lord God (that is, the Father) and by His Spirit (that is, the Holy Spirit).
The New Testament doctrine of the Trinity is evident in such a verse as John 15:26, where the Lord Jesus said: "But when the Comforter is come whom I will send unto you from the Father, He shall testify of me." Then there is the baptismal formula: "baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matthew 28:19). One name (God) -- yet three names!
|JESUS -- That Jesus, as the only-begotten Son of God, actually claimed to be God, equal with the Father, is clear from numerous Scriptures. For example, He said: "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty" (Revelation 1:8).
HOLY SPIRIT -- Some cults falsely teach that the Holy Spirit is an impersonal divine influence of some kind, but the Bible teaches that He is a real person, just as are the Father and the Son. Jesus said: "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will show you things to come" (John 16:13).
TRI-UNITY -- The teaching of the Bible concerning the Trinity might be summarized thus. God is a Tri-unity, with each Person of the Godhead equally and fully and eternally God. Each is necessary, and each is distinct, and yet all are one. The three Persons appear in a logical, causal order. The Father is the unseen, omnipresent Source of all being, revealed in and by the Son, experienced in and by the Holy Spirit. The Son proceeds from the Father, and the Spirit from the Son. With reference to God's creation, the Father is the Thought behind it, the Son is the Word calling it forth, and the Spirit is the Deed making it a reality.
|We "see" God and His great salvation in the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, then "experience" their reality by faith, through the indwelling presence of His Holy Spirit.
Though these relationships seem paradoxical, and to some completely impossible, they are profoundly realistic, and their truth is ingrained deep in man's nature. Thus, men have always sensed first the truth that God must be "out there," everywhere present and the First Cause of all things.
|Christian Answers Network|
|WHAT IS FAITH?
|WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT CHRIST & CHRISTIAN FAITH
The Life of Christ
Jesus of Nazareth is the most important person who ever lived. He has influenced more lives and civilizations than anyone else. More people look to him for guidance and inspiration, even today, than anyone else who has ever lived. Why? The answer of the New Testament is that Jesus was not just another human being, but the incarnation of God. No apology, nor even any defense, of that assertion is ever given. It is simply stated, with the offer to test it out in experience. That Jesus is who he said he was is proven in the reality of life day by day, not simply in thought processes.
The basic source of information about Jesus is the New Testament Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. From them it is possible to reconstruct an outline of what Jesus did and said. We are not told everything we would like to know, but enough is there so that we will not go astray.
Jesus' life may be conveniently divided into five periods: his birth and early years, his baptism and early ministry, his Galilean ministry, his ministry in Perea and Judea, and his death and resurrection.
|HEBREWS CHAPTER 11
1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that countryfrom whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:
19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.
21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.
22 By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.
23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment.
24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;
25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
28 Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
29 By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.
30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.
31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.
32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
|General Explanation of:
Faith has both an active and a passive sense in the Bible. The former meaning relates to one's loyalty to a person or fidelity to a promise; the latter confidence in the word or assurance of another. Faith is not merely what a person believes, i.e., accurate doctrine or creed, but also and more importantly, that the object of his faith is valid. A man's life is governed by his thoughts; he will ultimately become that which he dwells most upon in his mind. This is the reason for Paul's instruction to the Romans, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Ro 12:2). He wrote similar instruction to the Philippians, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things" (Php 4:8).
The Value of:
People are kept secure by (2Ch 20:20; Ro 11:20; 2Co 1:24; 1Jn 5:4), are established by (Isa 7:9), are saved by (Jn 3:15; Ac 16:31; Ro 9:30-32; Gal 2:16; Eph 2:8-9; Php 3:9), healed by (Ac 14:9; Jas 5:15), are sanctified by (Ac 26:18), receive the Holy Spirit by (Gal 3:5, 14), live by (2Co 5:7). Causes men to be a blessing to others (Jn 7:38). Disbelieving God is a great sin (Jn 16:9; Ro 14:23). Faith is necessary to please God (Heb 11:6).
The Gift of God:
The apostles ask Jesus to increase (Lk 17:5). God gives a certain measure of (Ro 12:3; 1Co 2:4-5). Given by the Spirit (1Co 12:8-9).
|The Purpose of:
To gain understanding and to grow in the truth (Ps 119:97-105,129-131; Jn 8:31-32; 2Ti 2:15; 1Jn 2:5,14). To grow in the grace of God (Ac 2:42-47; Ro 4:4-5; 5:2; 1Co 15:10; Eph 4:15; Heb 4:16). To help us to rejoice through our faith (Ro 5:2-5,11; 15:13; Php 1:18-19; 2:17-18). To strengthen the man of faith (Ro 6:12-14; 11:20; 1Co 9:27; Php 4:6-7; 2Th 3:3; 2Ti 4:7-8; 1Pe 1:3-5). To be transformed into the image of Christ (Ro 8:29; 1Co 15:49; 2Co 3:18; 4:3-6). To become strong people of faith (Eph 4:1-3,11-13,15-16).
The Effect of:
Faith not works (Gal 5:5-6). Produces good works (1Th 1:3; 2Th 1:11), internal changes (1Th 2:13), perseverance (Jas 1:3).
The Righteousness of:
The true righteousness of God comes from (Ro 1:17; 3:21-30; 4:3,11; 9:31-33; 10:4-11; Gal 2:16; Php 3:9; Heb 11:7).
The Biblical Position Concerning:
Credited as righteousness (Ge 15:6; Ro 4:3; Gal 3:6; Jas 2:23). Inspired by God's goodness (Ps 36:7,9). Inspired by the Holy Spirit (1Co 12:8-9). Explained (Ps 118:8-9; Lk 17:6; 18:8; 1Ti 4:12; Heb 11:1-3,6). Worry, doubt, and the lack of faith (Mt 6:25-34; 14:31; Lk 9:40; 17:5). Prayer for increase of faith (Mk 9:24; Lk 17:5). The gift of God (Ro 12:3). The righteous live by (Hab 2:4; Ro 1:17; Gal 3:11; Heb 10:38). Miracles accomplished by (Mt 17:18-20; 21:21-22; Mk 9:23; 11:23-24). Secures salvation (Col 2:12; 2Th 2:13; Heb 4:1-11; 6:1,12,18).