The universe was created by an infinite intelligence…This should be the logical conclusion of any objective thinking!
Every life on earth stems from somewhere. There is always a primary source to everything that moves. Thinking objectively will bring any sensitive mind to come to the conclusion that there is someone somewhere who is at the origin of everything that exists. Though our minds cannot understand fully the origin of the One who has originated everything, it is more difficult to think that there is not an originator to everything that exists.
The orderliness in the creation is the greatest proof that the creation is the handiwork of an infinitely intelligent being…The order in the cosmos system is so amazing. Our galaxy is created in such a way that every planet is just in the right place.
The earth, our planet, is just at the right distance to other planets…The distance to the sun is calculated which such accuracy that the earth cannot be burned with the heat from the sun. Conversely, the distance of the earth to the sun is also calculated in such a way that cold cannot freeze the earth…The earth circulates on a clear elliptical path around the sun all year-round making the alternation of seasons possible (winter, summer, etc.)…There is a force of attraction between the earth and every other celestial body that maintains the earth in the space and in perfect balance…There is so much to observe about the perfect other and the intelligence in the astronomic space.
When we consider the orderliness in our body, we just have to be hardened in the heart not to recognize that we are not the product of some hazards or evolution. Every organ in our body is designed with great details; the number of cells is accurate, the tissues of the organs are in the right number, etc. Our eyes are designed to see and recognize our environment…Our noses are designed to perceive odors and allow us to breathe at the same time…Our tongue is designed to recognize the taste of food. Every other organ of our body has a specific function… Every organ, every part of our being is just occupying the place it was supposed to occupy…There is perfect harmony in our physical being. Much more than all these, we doted we the capacity to think, to talk, to move, to have desires, to have feelings of love or hate, etc. This can only be the work of an infinite intelligence.
The inner belief
Almost all human beings are somewhat aware of the existence of an infinite and sovereign being. Something in all of us recognize that there is a deity somewhere. Despite all our effort not to believe, the signature of the creator is deep in our hearts, reminding us that we are all created beings. This has caused men to invent all sorts of religion to reach out to the infinite being, to express our worship to some kind of mysterious and superior beings. However, the only true source that has the answer to all human questioning is the bible.
The Bible explains…
Except in the bible, there is nowhere else where a clear account is giving to the origin of man, the history of humanity, the purpose of man on earth and the future of humanity. It is only in the Bible that the identity and the nature of God are revealed…the reason for the present state of man is explained …there is an explanation of the reason for being of the evil… there is a clear plan of redemption to the fallen man cut short of God’s glory… a savior is revealed to man who can enter into a living relationship with. It is only in the Bible we can find comfort and hope in whatever situation we may find ourselves.
The Bible is the only book that has a record of the visitation of God who came into this world in the person of Jesus-Christ. And when Jesus came he clearly stated: ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John14.6)
The Bible also affirms that there is nothing that has not to be created without the Word of God and that the Word of God is Jesus-Christ. (John1:1-3, 14).
John 1:1-3, In the beginning, was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made.
John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
What confers to the Bible his authority? Why must we believe his sayings?
It is a matter of life and death to find out the truth on the authority of the bible. If we don’t settle out this matter, we cannot for sure go further in understanding the source of all potentials. Let’s take some time to examine this serious matter: the authority of the Bible.
Let us dwell in the writings related to Jesus-Christ. The whole bible is centered on him. When man first fell short of God’s glory by disobedience, God made the promised of a redeemer who was to crush the head of the serpent. Centuries after centuries, the prophecies about the coming of a messiah were reiterated and many types of Christ were presented along with the history of humanity. All the happenings related by the Old Testament were preparing humanity to the coming of the promised messiah. The writings that are specifically concentrated on the accrual life of Jesus is the New Testament.
The authority of the New Testament is based scientifically, historically and archeologically upon proven facts. We may not go into all the facts in detail, but the reader may use the links in the text to know more about any subject matter highlighted.
The archeological authority of the New Testament.
Critics of the reliability of the New Testament said that the writing of the New Testament was written the second century after the actual events took place. So, the writings cannot be considered accurate. But, many archeological scripts confirmed that the chronicle reported in the New Testament all took place before 80 AD. Some of the archeological discoveries are:
- The scripts of John Ryland: 130 AD
- Papyrus Chester Beaty: 155 AD.
- Papyrus Bodmer II, 200 AD.
After his many research, William Albright confirmed that there is not a historical base for anyone to think that any book of the New Testament was writing after 80 AD. He stated this Magazine Christianity Today.
Sir William Ramsay is considered one of the greatest archeologists of all time. He concentrated his studies on the history of Asia. He first did his research undermining the importance of chronicle stated in the book of Acts of the Apostles. He taught the Book was irrelevant to his studies. When he read the modern critics about the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, he thought that the chronicle was not relating facts before 50 AD and so were not historically credible. He did further research on the New Testament and recognize that Luc, the author of the Acts of Apostle was a great historian indeed. For him, the chronicle related by Luc was done with such a great accuracy that it was hard for any true historian to contradict.
Many other historians such as John A.T Robinson recognized that the chronicle related in the New Testament all happened in the first half of the first century and not in later dates as the critics pretended.
Some critics advocated that the matter was transmitted from mouth to ears in accordance with the oral tradition in vigor in those days. For sure there was a time where all the New Testament chronicle were transmitted from mouth to ears. But these times were short-lived.
We cannot say in a formal manner that the New Testament writings are the product of Oral Tradition. For a work to be considered the Product of Oral Tradition, the period of that Oral Tradition must be long enough. According to Simon Kistemaker, a scholar of the New Testament, ‘ In general rule, for something to be considered the product of an Oral Tradition, it demands the accumulation of folklore for many generations from the primitive people; it is a gradual process that must span upon many centuries. But, in conformity to the thought of the modern critic, we can conclude that the chronicle of the Gospel is born and was documented in just about a century after. In accordance with the method of the formal critic, the building up of each element of the Gospel should be considered as a well-elaborated program following a much-accelerated process’.
Much other research such as A.H McNeil of Dublin University, Paul L. Maier, professor of ancient story of the University of Michigan concluded in their research and analysis that the chronicles of the New Testament should not be considered as myths, they are real facts that actually took place as the Biblical authors reported.
TESTS OF THE AUTHORITY OF AN HISTORICAL DOCUMENT.
According to Josh McDowell, a historian and University Teacher, the authority be conferred by three major tests: The Bibliography test, the intrinsic evidence test, and the extrinsic evidence test.
The Bibliography Test of the New Testament.
This test is all about examining the different texts through which original documents have gone through up to us. In other words, because we don’t have the original documents, how can we know if all the copies from the original document are credible?
Concerning the subject matter at hand, the facts concerning New Testament days are not only related by the authors of the New Testament. Many other historical writings can confirm the exactness of the New Testament recitals.
The story of Thucydides (460 to 400 BC) has been transmitted by only eight scripts. The script span from 900 AD to 1300 AD. Also, we do not have many scripts about the story of Herodotus. However, just as F.F Bruce will conclude, ‘there is no classical sage that will listen to any argument questioning the truthfulness of the story of Herodotus or Thucydides saying that the manuscripts upon which their story are based date from 1300 AD’.
Aristotle wrote his poesies around 343 B.C, yet the most recent scripts that we have are dated 1100 AD.
When it comes to the authority of the New Testament we have many more manuscripts that we can rest our belief upon. The story of Thucydides, Herodotus, Aristotle, and many others that have been recognized by historians and researchers as true. Today, historians have been able to gather more than 20 000 copies of manuscripts related to the New Testament. The only historical fact that has anything close to the New Testament in terms of manuscripts is Iliade which has 643 manuscripts.
- Harold Greenlee, a reputable scholar of the New Testament has this to conclude: ‘from the moment that sages can accept the authority of some classical ancient stories, not having enough manuscripts to substantiate their exactness or base on manuscripts that have been recopied from the original documents, it is clear that the validity of the New Testament is assured’.
So the bibliographical test of the New Testament chronicles is evidenced by the number of scripts relating to the historical facts. Many critics have risen to question the truthfulness of the New Testament, there have been more than 100 years of intensive critic, but the evidence of the truthfulness of facts is much more than the arguments advanced by the critics.
Intrinsic Test of the New Testament Authority.
The bibliography test only confirms to us that the document at our possession is actually the one that was originally written. Now was what that was writing worthy of our faith? In order to know if the original text is worthy of our faith, we must examine the document itself.
A method of examining the truth related to a document can be based on the recitals of witnesses. This method is proposed by Dr. Louis Gottschalk. If there is harmony in the testimonies of the many witnesses, then their testimony can be worthy of belief.
The authors of the book of the New Testament are people who lived in Jesus ‘days. They are eyes witnesses of the facts that they reported. One of them, John, spoke of the things that their eyes have seen and that their hands have handle.
Now let us go back to the text of the New Testament and examine more deeply what the witnesses said.
Luke 1: 1-3: ’Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the Word;
It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, ‘
2Pe 1:16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
1Jn 1:3 that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
John 19:35 and he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.
Luke 3:1 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene,…
When those things were written, those who lived in those days were still alive, they had all the liberty to contradict what was writing. But that was not the case. They knew that everything was related exactly the way they happened. This was the manner in which they were speaking ‘you all have seen that…’ Let’s take this example of Act 2:22 ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: (…).
Or Act 26:24-26 and as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.
But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.
For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.
There were many persecutions and oppositions in the days of the write-up of the New Testament. So if anything was wrongly reported, they would have written to contradict the actuals saying of those witnesses. The testimony reported was not only glorifying the persons in the story but all their weaknesses, their sins were frankly reported. The New Testament should thus be considered as a simple report of facts from eyes witnesses.
The Extrinsic test of the New Testament authority.
Our concern here is to check if there are historical elements contradicting or confirming the chronicles of the New Testament.
Two friends of John, the Apostle confirmed the proofs of what was writing in the write-ups of John. The historian, Eusebe, kept the writings of Papias, Bishop of Hierapolis ( 130 AD): ‘ The ancient ( Apostle John) have the habit to say: Marc, being the interpreter of Peter, was writing with exactness all that Peter was mentioning concerning Christ, his words, his works, but without any given order. Because he was neither a direct hearer, nor a companion of the Lord; but, as I have said already, he followed Peter who was adapting his teachings to the necessities of the moment, without trying to compile the words of the Lord himself. In this sense, Marc was not committing any mistake by reporting what Peter was saying. He was simply mentioning what he was hearing.’
Irenee, the Bishop of Lyon (180 AD, he was a student of Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, who a Christian for ninety years and was a disciple of John the Apostle), wrote: ‘‘Mathew preach his Gospel among them Hebreux in their own tongues and founded a church, while Peter and Paul preached at Roma and founded a church there. After their departure (their death, around the year 64 BC when the neron’s persecution busted), Marc, the disciple-interpreter of Peter, transmitted himself the essential of Peter’s teachings. Luke, the disciple of Paul, wrote in a book the Gospel preached by his master. Then, John, the disciple of the Lord who dwelled with the lord in his ministry, wrote his gospel as he was living at Ephesus in Asia.’
Besides these extrinsic proofs, we have a number of archeological and historical proofs from authors such as Sir William Ramsey, F.F Bruce, A.N Sherwin-White, Dr. Clark H. Pinnock, etc.
Beyond Archeology, History and the Testimonies of Witnesses…
Scholars of the New Testament had invested time to know how the Apostles of Christ died. In the exception of John the Apostle, they all died through a horrible death. They die as martyrs following the example of their Master Jesus-Christ.
Jesus went through suffering that no one has ever known at will never know.
Jesus came to take the place of each one of us as a sinner. He had to die for sins he has never committed. The task was not an easy one because Jesus was to suffer what no man has ever suffered in order to achieve his earthly mission. Sin has affected the spirit, soul, and body of man after the fall. Jesus was to suffer not only in his body but also in his soul and spirit. His body was to be bruised to the extent that all beauty was to be removed from him. At the same time that Jesus was agonizing in his soul, demons were tormenting him spiritually (reference Isa53:1-5 and Ps22).
Despite the foreknowledge of his sufferings, Jesus spent all his life to demonstrate love as anyone has ever done. He healed the sick, he comforted the broken-hearted, he delivered the captive, he fed the hungry, he gave to drink to the thirsty, he defended the oppressed, and he spent hours in prayers, in crying and weeping day and night for 3.5 years because of the sins of men( heb5:7). But when they were to choose between a criminal and Jesus, all these people for whom Jesus sacrificed all that he was, preferred a criminal to him. The situation is not different today, some people have just decided that they will never submit to the lordship of Jesus.
The first Apostle of Jesus was inspired by the example of Jesus. If they were not absolutely convinced of the truth related to Jesus, they would not have accepted to live the life of self-sacrifice that they lived. They abandoned everything, they forsook all, and they took their cross unconditionally to go through all manner of sufferings because of their faith. They have gone through untold sufferings (hunger, thirst, persecutions, rejections, insults, repeated fasting, etc.). Some of them died crucified, somewhere stoned to death, some were murder with a sword … but none of them denied the Lord in whom they put their faith.
This is the biblical record of the sacrifice the first disciples :
Heb 11:36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
Heb 11:37 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;
Heb 11:38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
What could inspire such a level of sacrifice to these men?
Something happens in the life of these men. There was something beyond the natural that happen to them. A spiritual fire descended upon them: the Holy Spirit.
This is the biblical record: Act 1:8 but ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Act 2:1-4 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
When a man has a contact with the Spirit of God, the Spirit of God establishes faith in the heart of that man concerning the Birth, the life, the death and resurrection of Christ. The conviction of the Holy Spirit goes beyond our senses. It is a supernatural touch from the creator. That touch happens only when we decide to surrender our lives to Christ, repenting from our sins and deciding to live our lives in accordance with the ordinances of Christ.
With a living contact from the Holy Spirit, we can experience the things that the Bible talks about such as New Birth (John3:3-14), the peace of God (John14/27), divine healing, miracles, etc. At this stage, we will never have any doubt about the existence of God, the authority of the Bible or the person of Jesus such as revealed in the New Testament.
In order to have that living relationship with God, you need to make a hearty prayer in this manner:
‘Lord Jesus, I recognized that I m a sinner. I recognized that I cannot do anything to save myself. I believe that you died on the cross so that I might be saved. I ask you to forgive all of my sins. Wash me in your precious blood that you shared on the cross of Calvary for my sins. Write my name in the book of life. I surrender my life to you, make me the person you created me to be’.
If you made this prayer with a sincere heart, you are now born again. Something has happened about your spirit. You can now become all you have been created to be. You can now achieve your full potential.
The Bible says that John 1:4 in him was life, and the life was the light of men.
That light in Christ is the source of all potential. It is the light in Christ that can fully awake the sleeping giant in you. You have to stay in contact with that light. One of the ways to do that is to pray to God to direct you towards a living church where you can fellowship with other believers.
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