The Ultimate Question

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Liar, Lunatic, or Lord?    3 minutes 15 seconds, C.S. Lewis

It is the ultimate question:  “Is the Bible true?”

Why is this the ultimate question?

The Bible contains a number of exclusive claims.  The God of the Bible is tremendously specific.   He poses exclusive questions.  Our answers determine our eternal destination.

The Bible, Scripture, The Word, reserves exclusive claim to Truth, not just a few truths, the Truth itself.   There is the claim the One True God wrote the Bible through men inspired by the Holy Spirit.  Scripture says of itself it is “God-breathed” and cannot be broken.

Click here to read what Jesus Christ says about Scripture

The Bible offers the first comprehensive explanation of the origins of life, the nature of love, and description of the hydrologic cycle.  In Scripture you find it reported the earth is round, long before science posted that conclusion.    Centuries before the beginning of modern medicine, Scripture proclaimed, “the life is in the blood,” and, remarkably,  “before you were conceived in your mother’s womb, I knew you.”  Scripture describes the unseen world, which led scientists to first consider the unseen universe, leading to the discoveries of atoms, molecules, and the components of the living cell.

Scripture also contains hundreds of prophecies, more than 300 centering on Christ alone.    Most have come true to the letter.*  The remaining prophecies describe future events.  The Bible claims exclusive right to describe the future, and claims to present the one true God.  The statistical probability these prophecies came true by sheer happenstance serves to verify the veracity of Scripture, as do innumerable archaelogical discoveries, and the authentication of ancient documents.

Prof. Greenleaf, Harvard, analysis of evidence

And, the Bible is unique in other ways.  It contains 66 separate books written by 44 authors during the course of about 1,500 years.  Miraculously, it all hangs together as if one editor was ultimately in charge.   Some of the books are detailed histories, others are poetry, others are songs, some are books of wisdom and teachings on practical living, one celebrates love and eroticism in marriage, many others tell of the life and ministry of Christ, and the last book, Revelation, is a fabulous account of future events filled with imagery and symbolism, incomparable in its depth and breadth and dramatic description of the end of time and the final judgment of all humankind, and the Devil.  

Ultimately, the Bible presents one theme: the God of Love, animated by the Son incarnate, made known to man by the Holy Spirit, has triumphed over Evil.

Note: the Bible is also the all time best seller.

And finally, the voice of God speaks to you through the Bible, it speaks to you as an individual, telling you that you alone are responsible, you alone will stand before God on Judgment Day, and only you can decide if Christ Jesus is indeed God in the flesh, the only one who can deliver you from sin, and usher you into heaven, by his righteousness alone.   The Word claims exclusivity in describing the nature of man, the nature of evil, the holiness of God, the problem of the Fall, and the nature of sin, the wages thereof being the death sentence, and pardon coming only from faith in the Son, accepting his substitutionary death on the Cross.

And so, these are the reasons this is the ultimate question: is the Bible true?

Your eternal destination depends upon your answer.   And the measure of joy you experience on earth hangs in the balance as well.

The challenge:  read and study and find out for yourself if this Bible really is or is not the Truth.  Ask yourself:  why did Jesus willingly die on the Cross, and why did he have to die there, in that way?   Ask yourself why he says: “I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no one comes to the Father, but by Me.”    John 14:6

RESOURCES:

Prof. Stoner.Probability.Prophesy*

You bet your life

Precious interview with Corrie ten Boom   Prayer, forgiving enemies, a prophecy of suffering, evil days

Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer 1982  Infanticide, abortion, euthanasia, permissive society, pornography—the change from a Christian worldview, to a humanistic one…but…the final reality is an infinite, personal, Creator God.

C.S. Lewis: from theism to Christianity   Why this scholar came to believe.

Dead Sea Scrolls prove Bible is true

Evidence That Demands a Verdict

Christian Apologetics

Ten Commandments vs. Humanist Principles

Books:

New International Version or New King James Version of The Bible  (a study Bible is most useful)

The Message, a paraphrase by Dr. Eugene Peterson

Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis  (from atheism to faith)

A Shattered Visage, by Ravi Zacharias

The God Who is There, by Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer

The Knowledge of the Holy, by A.W. Tozer

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6 Responses to The Ultimate Question

  1. sinned34 says:

    It is the ultimate question: “Is the Bible true?”

    Actually, it’s not the ultimate question, it’s just one of a myriad of simple-to-answer questions like “Is the Quran true”, “Is Olympus the home of the Gods”, or “Did aliens build the Egyptian pyramids”. The answer to all those questions, interestingly enough, is a resounding “no”.

    The Bible offers the first comprehensive explanation of the origins of life, the nature of love, and description of the hydrologic cycle.

    Actually, there are older religions that offer explanations of the origins of life, so the Bible certainly isn’t the first. Nor is it very comprehensive, coming in a couple of self-contradictory paragraphs at the beginning of the Bible. It’s also just plain wrong.
    As for the nature of love, once again, the Bible is late to the party.
    The description of the hydrological cycle is a great example of cherry-picking scriptures. The writers of the Bible didn’t have a clue about it, as shown here.

    In Scripture you find it reported the earth is round, long before science posted that conclusion.

    Yeah, except the word the Bible uses is generally meant to state “round” as in a disc, not “round” as in a “ball”. At best, it is inconclusive, and did you know that the Greeks figured out it was round at about 600 BCE, without help from any gods?

    Centuries before the beginning of modern medicine, Scripture proclaimed, “the life is in the blood,” and, remarkably, ”before you were conceived in your mother’s womb, I knew you.”

    So you’re saying that it isn’t easy to learn, even to primitive man, that if a person (or animal) loses enough blood they will die? I don’t even get the point of you saying God knew people before sperm and egg were joined – that’s a great non sequitur.

    Scripture describes the unseen world, which led scientists to first consider the unseen universe, leading to the discoveries of atoms, molecules, and the components of the living cell.

    Umm, no. The Bible says nothing about ANY of these subjects. People found out everything about those things on their own.

    Scripture also contains hundreds of prophecies, more than 300 centering on Christ alone. Most have come true to the letter.

    Yeeeah. Except that when prophecy is really closely examined, it’s easy to show it is fraudulent.

    The statistical probability these prophecies came true by sheer happenstance serves to verify the veracity of Scripture, as do innumerable archaelogical discoveries, and the authentication of ancient documents.

    Sure. People who were writing the tales of Jesus (starting around 40 years after his supposed death and resurrection), who knew those prophecies, couldn’t just lie about what Jesus did to make it look like he “fulfilled” those prophecies, right?

    As for archeological discoveries, there are certainly some that offer veracity to some of the tales in the Bible, but there is a lot that the Bible gets wrong. The Genesis creation myth is one, the worldwide flood is a second, the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt never happened, and that’s just a start.

    It contains 66 separate books written by 44 authors during the course of about 1,500 years. Miraculously, it all hangs together as if one editor was ultimately in charge.

    Miraculously? Actually most of the Torah was collected together during the Babylonian exile. That’s when the Exodus tale was created in order to give the Jews a history for themselves, and a hope that they would be brought out of captivity a second time.

    The challenge: read and study and find out for yourself if this Bible really is or is not the Truth.

    Been there, done that. It’s obviously a book of mythology. It takes a lot of spinning and twisting to pretend that it isn’t. Talking snakes? A man living in a fish for three days? People who began existing without being born? The dead rising? Ridiculous!

    Ask yourself: why did Jesus willingly die on the Cross, and why did he have to die there, in that way?

    Jesus probably never actually existed. If he did, then his story was inflated to turn him into something more than he probably was: just another man, with a few good ideas on how to treat his fellow man, and a massive ego.

    • Allan Erickson says:

      sinned34:

      It is curious the impulse to destroy Christ and deny his claim to deity. It’s been going on since that first day he stood in the Synagogue reading from Isaiah proclaiming himself Messiah. The first thing people did was try to throw him headlong off a cliff. You simply join a host of adversaries down through the centuries leveling the same accusations. (I know. I resisted Christ for 20 years.) Since none of the counter arguments have gained traction for 2,000 years, the claim he never even existed appears the nuclear option. It is convenient to ignore non-Jewish and non-Christian historians, not to mention all the Jewish accounts and other eye witness accounts of his existence, his teaching, his actions, his impact and his miracles. Arguably the most influential person in history is for you a ghost. A rational approach might call your analytical skill into question. Sources: The Case for Christ, Strobel; The Case for the Existence of God, Overman; Evidence that Demands a Verdict, McDowell; Mere Christianity, Lewis; A Shattered Visage, Zacharias.

      I’ll not waste time responding to those areas where you simply state a contrary view without a shred of evidence, documentation or source material. One area I think requires response since it is critical. You suggest the early followers of Jesus simply lied about his life to make it appear he had fulfilled OT prophecy. It is an interesting proposition. Let’s examine it. First, we would have to accept that 12 men who lived and traveled with him for 3 years all agreed to the conspiracy. Then, we would have to conclude they maintained the lie, and worked closely together to record details, to the letter, soon after the death of Jesus. The 12 disciples would also have to eventually recruit Paul and Luke into the conspiracy, along with at least 1,000 others, early Christians in and around Jerusalem at the time. Starting from the beginning, they would have to:

      >Fabricate that he was born in Bethlehem as was prophesied, and they couldn’t very well manipulate events to make that happen since they were all infants or unborn at the time of his birth. It is unclear how infants would be able to somehow persuade Joseph and Mary to travel 120 miles walking from Nazareth to Bethlehem to obey a Roman decree, or how those infants could influence the Roman government to execute a census, forcing the pregnant Mary to real so far, at full term.

      >The disciples would also have to get the cooperation of Simeon at the dedication of Jesus in the Temple, and somehow, convince him to lie and falsely proclaim the deity of this Jesus.

      >Also, his followers would have to rig the event in the Temple when he was 12, and get the priests there to corroberate the falsehoods that he taught with incredible insight for one so young.

      >The disciples would then have had to lie about the many miracles he performed as prophesied, and somehow, find a way to stiffle the crowds who supposedly witnessed these events, not to mention the people who were actually healed. The blind man for example who was thrown out of the Temple for testifying Jesus had healed him. Being thrown out of the Temple in that day meant no one, including your family, could have anything to do with you. It was in many ways a death sentence. Why this man would confirm a lie and heap upon himself a death sentence is difficult to understand.

      >Plus, John the Baptist and his entire family would have to cooperate in the conspiracy to fool the entire world. John literally lost his head preaching righteousness and proclaiming the deity of Christ. I wonder why a man would allow himself to be beheaded for a lie?

      >Since it was prophesied he would be rejected by his own people, the disciples must have been brilliant in PR, getting most every Jew in the Holy Land at the time to reject Jesus and turn away from him, not only for three years during his ministry, but also in the end, at the trial before Pilate.

      >The disciples would have had to get a hold of the man who was demon possessed, and get him in on the lie, getting him to proclaim Jesus had delivered him.

      >Lazarus and his sisters, and extended family and friends would all have to participate in the lie that Jesus raised him from the dead. Likewise, the Centurion whose servant who was healed and save from death would have to cooperate in the lie, as would the Roman commander whose son was saved, and the widow whose son was raised from death, and the family of the little girl who was brought back from death. They’d all have to lie.

      >The 5,000 people he fed with a few loves and fish would have to agree to lie.

      >The family of the boy delivered of an evil spirit, they’d have to lie too. The crippled woman and the man with the withered hand would have to lie too. Also, the ten lepers healed would have to lie.

      >Jesus would have to participate in the hoax too. He predicted his death many times, continued to claim his deity over and over, performed so-called miracles and played to the crowd over and over for three years, constantly being threated with injury and death. I wonder what was his motive to participate in such a hoax. Certainly, anyone who willfully deceived people cannot be called a good, moral teacher, and anyone who claims to be God is either a crazy man, or a liar, right?

      >Jesus and the disciples would have to make sure he was crucified and ‘pierced’ according to prophesies made centuries before crucifixion was invented by the Persians. They would have to make sure he got the death penalty, that he was killed, that the soldier would stab him with a spear, that the soldiers would not break his legs after they broke the legs of the others, that the soldiers would gamble for his clothing. All these prophesies would have to be fulfilled by the conspirators. It is unclear how a bunch of lower class Jews could enlist the cooperation of Roman legionnaires, but certainly, for the hoax to proceed, it had to be accomplished. There were a lot of witnesses.

      >It was also prophesied he would beat half to death and marred beyond recognition, so the disciples had to make sure that happened, and Jesus had to go along with it.

      >He predicted his resurrection, and OT prophesies refer to it as well, so the disciples and Joseph of Arimathea had to arrange for the body to be stolen from a tomb guarded by both Romans and Temple soldiers, all of them guarding the tomb with the full knowlege fo the resurrection claim, instructed by their superiors to make sure the body was not stolen, under penalty of death, so all those soldiers had to cooperate with the lie too, even in the face of death. Why would they do such a thing?

      >And it is claimed 500 people saw him after the resurrection, so they’d all have to agree to maintain the lie as well.

      >Finally, the disciples all ran away when Jesus was arrested. But something happened to them after the crucifixion and resurrection. Where once they’d been cowards, running for their lives, now they boldly proclaim Christ, even in the Temple, under penalty of death. What could possibly explain this radical transformation? And why would each of them, except John, go on to preach Christ as Messiah for 10, 20, 30, 40 years, all of them suffering martyrdom in the end, all of them willingly going to violent deaths, just to cover a lie?

      There is more, so much more, evidence that demands a verdict, but as Christ himself proclaimed, “narrow is the way that leads to salvation, and few find it.” He also rebuked the crowd who demanded more miracles saying for some, no amount of evidence would ever suffice.

      I pray you take another look and reconsider. Your eternal destination hangs in the balance.

      PS: the statistical odds are against you. Do you know the probability that Jesus could accidentally or fraudulently fulfill even 8 of the 300 prophesies about him. Google Dr. Peter Stoner and do a little research.

      >

  2. sinned34 says:

    Since none of the counter arguments have gained traction for 2,000 years, the claim he never even existed appears the nuclear option.

    Actually, the claim he never existed is due to the fact there is little evidence that he ever existed. Plus the tales of Jesus’ miracles, which we know don’t happen. People don’t walk on water, or magically turn water into wine, or heal people by touching them. You’ll notice stuff like that never happens. We’re stuck with whatever our doctors and scientists can do to stave off disease.

    It is convenient to ignore non-Jewish and non-Christian historians, not to mention all the Jewish accounts and other eye witness accounts of his existence, his teaching, his actions, his impact and his miracles.

    All the non-Jewish and non-Christian historians? I might actually settle for a single eyewitness account written from the actual time of Jesus. You ARE aware that the earliest gospel was written some 40-70 years AFTER Jesus supposedly lived, aren’t you? There is not a SINGLE contemporary document written about this supposed miracle man you worship.

    A rational approach might call your analytical skill into question.

    You believe word-for-word in a book that contains talking snakes, unicorns, and people rising from the dead, yet you are willing to call MY rational and analytical skills into question? Oh, the irony!

    The Case for Christ, Strobel; The Case for the Existence of God, Overman; Evidence that Demands a Verdict, McDowell; Mere Christianity, Lewis; A Shattered Visage, Zacharias

    I’d rather consult the works of actual historians and archaeologists, instead of Christian apologists with an axe to grind and a god to please, thank you very much. Try: The Bible With Sources Revealed, Friedman; Did God Have a Wife?: Archeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel, Dever; How the Bible Became a Book, Schniedewind; The Bible Unearthed, Finkelstein.

    Let’s examine it. First, we would have to accept that 12 men who lived and traveled with him for 3 years all agreed to the conspiracy. Then, we would have to conclude they maintained the lie, and worked closely together to record details, to the letter, soon after the death of Jesus.

    Record details, soon after the death of Jesus? Once again, show me a single source document recorded during the actual life of Jesus. There isn’t one. Jesus himself never even wrote a single word down.

    The 12 disciples would also have to eventually recruit Paul and Luke into the conspiracy, along with at least 1,000 others, early Christians in and around Jerusalem at the time.

    As if THAT is hard. Ever heard of Zeus? Jade-Emperor? How about Quetzalcoatl? Millions of people believed in those completely fake, fictional gods. And just like Jesus’ followers in the past and present, they were willing to die for their deities.

    For something a little closer to home, how about L. Ron Hubbard? In 40-50 years’ time, what kind of things do you think HIS followers will say about him? How about Sun Myung Moon? I bet he’ll have
    AMAZING things attributed to him half a century after he’s dead.

    Fabricate that he was born in Bethlehem as was prophesied

    Once again, how hard do you think THAT would be forty years after his death? They wouldn’t have to worry about Joseph or Mary: the story about the Roman census would have been the perfect cover for their tale. Besides, the books Luke and Matthew disagree on when Jesus was born by about a decade. Luke says Jesus was born during the reign of Augustus, while Matthew says he was born during or just
    after the reign of Herod the Great, a difference of about ten years’ time.

    The disciples would also have to get the cooperation of Simeon at the dedication of Jesus in the Temple, and somehow, convince him to lie and falsely proclaim the deity of this Jesus…
    …his followers would have to rig the event in the Temple when he was 12, and get the priests there to corroberate the falsehoods that he taught with incredible insight for one so young…
    …disciples would then have had to lie about the many miracles he performed as prophesied, and somehow, find a way to stiffle the crowds who supposedly witnessed these events…
    …he disciples must have been brilliant in PR, getting most every Jew in the Holy Land at the time to reject Jesus and turn away from him…
    …The disciples would have had to get a hold of the man who was demon possessed, and get him in on the lie…
    …The 5,000 people he fed with a few loves and fish would have to agree to lie….
    …etc, etc

    There’s one serious problem with every single example you stated regarding how many people would have to be in on the conspiracy of Jesus: we don’t have ANY writing from a SINGLE ONE of those witnesses.

    For example: if I told you that I flapped my arms and managed to fly ten feet above the ground for a full mile in front of a thousand witnesses, what would be the first thing you would ask for proof that this happened? Right, you’d ask to talk to some of those witnesses. Sadly, we don’t have one single word from any of those thousands of supposed witnesses to Jesus’ miracles.

    Let’s turn this around for a moment: from the examples you gave here, thousands upon THOUSANDS of people saw Jesus do amazing things. Of those deeds, He supposedly healed dozens (if not hundreds) of people, fed thousands, cast out demons and killed a herd of pigs because of it, and when he was resurrected, the overspill of power from his raising caused a number of undead to rise and walk through town. Heck, you even pointed out that he supposedly was reviled and rejected by every single individual in Israel! Yet with the incredible fame he must have gathered from all these amazing feats, the only documents written directly about his life are the four gospels. Four short books, by unknown authors, is the best evidence you have? (You ARE aware that nobody actually knows who wrote the gospels, aren’t you? You couldn’t possibly be that ignorant of the formation of your own holy book!)

    Even the Romans, who kept meticulous records, never wrote anything about this Jesus, who, had he existed as you say, must have created quite a stir in Israel, and was executed by the Romans on the demand of the Jewish people. It’s quite pathetic that nobody seemed to get around writing about the God Of The Universe until almost half a century after he left Earth! When it comes down to it, the silence from the time of Jesus’ life is deafening, and it makes sense that most (if not all) of the tales about him are a mythology.

    As I’ve demonstrated, almost all of your post uses the writings of five unknown writers as an authority to claim that thousands of people saw Jesus perform his miracles, without any statements from any of those thousands. You feel that these poor examples was a strong argument, yet you accuse ME of being the person lacking in analytical skills?

    Finally, the disciples all ran away when Jesus was arrested.

    Now THIS is an interesting point: the people who supposedly wrote about what happened to Jesus (including events when he was in private chambers with Pilate) weren’t even THERE! How amusing is THAT? Your risking your eternal soul on events described by unknown authors that weren’t even present when those important events happened!

    He also rebuked the crowd who demanded more miracles saying for some, no amount of evidence would ever suffice.

    One of my favorite arguments against an all-powerful, all-knowing god that will punish me for all eternity if I don’t believe in him is this: such a god would know exactly what it would take to convince me of his existence (even if I, myself don’t know what it would take), and performing that act would require the equivalent of zero effort on his part (omnipotence being what it is), but he certainly hasn’t done it so far. Obviously, if the God of the Bible exists, he must WANT me to go to hell!

    the statistical odds are against you. Do you know the probability that Jesus could accidentally or fraudulently fulfill even 8 of the 300 prophesies about him.

    Funny you should mention that. I used to be a Christian, and I remember those “incredible” lists of supposed prophecies that Jesus fulfilled. When I started actually researching them (bear in mind that this was 15 years ago now, and I can’t remember much of it off the top of my head), it turned out that a LOT of the supposed prophecies, read in context, actually aren’t prophecies. Plus, some prophecies described in the New Testament (particularly in Matthew) don’t actually appear in the Old Testament, and there are prophecies, or parts of prophecies that never were fulfilled by the writings in the gospels of Jesus.
    I suppose I could take the time to locate some examples on another night.

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