Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Not Enough Evidence?


A few weeks ago I asked the question of our teens, “Why do you or why do you not believe that Jesus is Savior?” The results were split down the middle in teens that did believe and did not believe. From those who said they didn’t believe, it fell into one of three categories: Bad things happen, He’s unrealistic and contradictory, and he doesn’t seem to be there. 

As we jump into tackling these three categories, we have a simple question to ask of ourselves, “How much evidence do we need to believe in God?”
I ask that, because it’s different for everyone. Some people hardly need any, believing straight away. While others have no end to the amount of evidence they need to believe that God exists, and that if God exists it is the God of the Bible. 
No matter what the evidence is, people that do not want to believe in God will not believe in God, because they have already made up their mind that he does not exist. So, how much evidence do you need to believe that God exists? Because I am about to give you a ton.

Let’s talk about astronomy. Here are three things that point to the universe being made by God. 
First, the current theories of how stars form all have one problem with them: they require stars to exist in order for stars to form. It doesn’t matter if it’s a super-nova, or a black hole. New stars are assumed to come from dead stars, yet they question becomes where did the first stars come from?
Second, our moon is moving away from us at about an 1in 1/2 per year. If we rewind the clock, the moon would have been touching the earth 1.5 million years ago. Yet the make up the moon rocks we have studied, show that the moon is not of earth origin. In addition, the moon is 400x smaller than the sun, and the sun is 400x further away. This gives our moon the distinction of providing the only place in the solar system where a moon allows for a total solar eclipse. Which by we are able to examine the the atmosphere of the sun.
Third, Earth is perfect. It falls into what scientists call the gold locks zone. A few more degrees closer to the sun and our atmosphere would burn up. A few degrees further from the sun and we would freeze. If our rotation was any faster, we would experience violent winds that would cause major destruction. But if our rotation was any slower we would have extreme temperature changes.

This is just some of the amazing evidence that point to us not being here by chance.

Let’s talk about some evidence about the Bible. People will say that the Bible has been changed over time, and that it has contradictions. Let’s tackle both those ideas.

Has the Bible been changed over time? How many of us believe that there were people like the Pharaohs in Egypt? Or Julius Caesar in Rome? Or Alexander the Great in Greece?
The reality is, that the information we have about these people is very small. If we take the average amount of manuscripts we have for anyone person or writing of the ancient world and stack them on top of each other it would stand about 4ft high. 
If we then take all the New Testament writings we have and stack them up it would be about 6,600ft. 
We have over 25,000 manuscripts of the New Testament that we can compare and contrast against each other. And we’re finding more and older ones every year. And the evidence points to the New Testament that we have today, being the same that was written within the first 40 years of Jesus’ life. 
In addition to all the manuscripts we have of the New Testament, we have over 1 million quotations from the early Church fathers that we can connect with the New Testament. That means, if we didn’t have any of the manuscripts we have, we could still put together the New Testament we have today based only on the quotations of these men.

The second point about the Bible, is how the manuscripts of the New Testament vary from each other. Did you know that there are 96 ways to say John loves Mary in Greek? Yet they all mean the same things. This is what we’re talking about when we say that the manuscripts vary from each other. They say the same things, just in a different order. So depending on the background of the scribe, he might use a variation of a sentence, yet meaning the same exact thing. And we can compare the thousands of manuscripts to see just what these variants are.
Finally, let’s talk about contradictions. Here’s a problem we have reading the Bible in modern America 2,000 years removed from the original writings: we read everything from out point of view, rather than from the originals writers point of view.
Here are two examples: Proverbs 26:4-5 reads, “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him. 5 Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.”
Seems like a contradiction to us right? But let’s put ourselves in the shoes of a Jewish person reading this. The reality is this is a form of Hebrew parallelism. Where it will say one thing and then reverse it in the next sentence. Which is strange to our way of saying things. We would say it like this, don't do this _______, (verse 4) unless this situation (verse 5).
So in verse 4 it's saying don't get sucked into a fools argument on their terms.
Then in verse 5 it's saying point out their foolish argument.
The first is a reminder to not let yourself fall into a trap. The second is to counter point the fool on your terms.
This contradiction is a really a type of speech we do not use in our modern syntax.
Let’s look at a second contradiction. This one come from Matthew 26:9-10 “9 Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: ‘They took the thirty pieces of silver, the price set on him by the people of Israel, 10 and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.’”
The problem? In the book of Jeremiah that Matthew is quoting, there is no quote like this. Instead the only place in Scripture that mentions 30 pieces of silver is in the book of Zechariah. So the Bible is wrong right? 
Again, let’s put ourselves into the writers shoes. First off we need to understand that the order of the Jewish Old Testament and the Christian Old Testament are different. The Jews had the book of Jeremiah ordered first in the prophet section, whereas our Bibles have Isaiah first. Couple this with the common practice of referencing the first book of a section with all the following quotations. Thereby combining quotations from multiple prophets.
But all that to say, is that the point of the passage isn’t dealing with the 30 pieces, but rather the Potter’s field. Which is the focus of two chapters in the book of Jeremiah.

Here’s the evidence, and we haven’t even scratched the surface. There is more evidence found in astronomy. More evidence found in textual criticism. And more evidence found in debunking the idea of contradictions.
But does it matter? How much evidence is enough for you? The only person that can answer that is you. My challenge is if you want more evidence, or if you want to strengthen your belief, check out these two videos.

"Our Created Solar System - What You Aren't Being Told”

“How Badly Has the Bible Been Corrupted?” by Dr. Daniel Wallace


Let us boldly come to God with our questions, seeking the Truth, from the God of Truth. Amen.

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